Book Reviews

Sweet and Sour by Astrid Amara at Horns Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Erotic Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by jj on 06-April-2021

Book Blurb

Miles thought he and Itai would make a great team, despite the infidelities haunting their past. After all, Itai is smoking hot, they’re both driven entrepreneurs, and they love each other. What else did a person need?


Well, a lot more, apparently, because not only are they no longer passionate, they don’t even share the same passions. Like people, affections change, and Miles wonders if a relationship this broken is truly worth repairing.


Itai’s business launch with his ex-boyfriend isn’t helping. And Miles himself has a new business to grow over a busy few weeks where Thanksgiving and Hanukkah collide to form either the best holiday season ever, or a kosher caterer’s worst nightmare.


But help comes in the unexpected, ruggedly handsome form of Detective Dominic Delbene, a pickle aficionado with his own ghosts, who stakes out the deli to capture a dangerous drug dealer. As Hanukkah’s eight days come to an end, Miles discovers that Nic is not only good with pickling; he’s good at everything.



First edition published by Loose Id, November 2013.


Book Review

This story is very charming and rather fun especially if you like pickles, organic food, guys who love to cook, and a little touch of mystery. Toss into the undercurrent a resurrected duo that still seems shaky and an undercover operation in the well established pickle store. That was an ingenious balance and I adored it. Everyone will get an education in pickles (just check out the subtitles at the beginning of each chapter), organic Jewish cooking, and the delights of a well-run very specialized deli that is now managed by the son of the original owners. He adds his special touch to an already winning operation and I got to see it blossom even more. This was great fun!

Miles Piekus, owner of the 'Pickle Store', needs to gently bring the old customers up to date even though that means being called on the carpet many times. He can manage and the long-term customers are slowly coming to terms with the new stuff. What Miles cannot seem to manage is the second time round with the guy whom he believes he loves.  The relationship feels like it has been dumped into its fifth decade blues when it is just trying to be re-worked after a two year split. The failing partnership of Miles and Itai was a bit of a disappointment in the story for me, but it is a perfectly natural event that can occur.

Detective Dominic Delbene, Nic for short, brings an amazing breath of freshness and energy into the deli. A stakeout needs to be set up based on reliable info. Nic alerts Miles to the fact that several undercover folks will be within the deli and he himself will fill in as a worker. Nic fits right in and is a great help to Miles. Apparently, Nic's parents owned an Italian deli for years. Miles gets just a small sense that Nic may be gay, but even if he isn't, their interaction really points out the downside of his current relationship. Miles and Nic certainly make a fascinating, affectionate combo.      

Hanukkah is just starting while the action heats up at this very special pickle store. Between all the fun inside about how such a small operation is managed and the wonderful specialty food treats that are prepared, the setting itself is a major and stimulating player in the story. I don't think there was any mystery to what was going to happen with Miles and Itai. It made Nic look all the more enticing as his orientation unfolds. The real high points are the store, the undercover operation, and Miles's first attempt at a catering gig. Toss Nic into the equation and this is a winner! Give it a chance and get 'pickled pink' just as I did!





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 81 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-January-2019
Price $4.99 ebook
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