Father Dowling Mysteries by Ralph McIrney

For fun and light reading, McIrney is great.  Not too schmaltzy.  Likeable characters in familiar surroundings.  These are great reads for holidays whether you’re on a beach or taking a break over Thanksgiving weekend.  They are quick reads with mostly satisfactory endings.  I have to admit my first exposure to these tales was on the telly.  The friendly priest chasing around in the snow and ice to help his flock was extremely endearing. Sewing up an entire story in less than an hour, bringing people back to church and solving mysteries to boot. What more can you ask?

Fire and Ice by J.A. Jance

As a huge fan of Jance mysteries I did eat this one up.  Both Beaumont of the S.H.I.T. squad from Washington as well as Brady from Bisbee.  Well as usual this read really quickly and as a result didn’t add too many of the other people in their lives.  She literally goes back and forth between the two main characters so the book moves at a fast pace.  It is not confusing as she writes about Brady but Beaumont speaks for himself.  One assumes they will intersect, hopefully you too come to this conclusion and I’m not ruining anything.  A couple of story lines are revisited from other books but are explained so it doesn’t hinge on reading the previous books (even though they are great and you get to know each of the main people in both sets of mysteries – oh go ahead and read them, but start at the beginning of each series now).  I am trying to decide if I think the book is really good or I just like the author’s work so much and her characters that I liked it.  If I picked it up independently of its predecessors I think it would still hold water, just maybe not as much as her previous stuff.  What the heck, this is a fun book that is a super quick read and I definitely enjoyed it.

Midwives By Chris Bohjalian

Don’t know how many of you are into Oprah, but this is one from her book club. I have read quite a few from this list and have enjoyed many of them. Midwives, as the title suggests, is about midwifery. Not necessarily a book I would have picked up but it came from a new friend who suggested I may enjoy it after we had spoken about several other titles. It does get a little graphic sometimes but not for shock effect; just as an emotional as well as instructional standpoint. It is written from the perspective of a daughter of a midwife, who was 13 at the time of the story but is now grown. The story itself definitely holds water. The addition of the hormonally charged teens just adds to the reality of feelings expressed throughout. Your opinion of ‘at home birth’ may even change. I have to say for me personally one of the main characters who describes herself as a hippie and my personal view of that genre has been completely blown up with her passionate description of what it means to her and how she has lived her life. Maybe just a little thing but really made her character come alive and made me think even more how I wish we could all just ‘get along’. Understanding how we are all different is great but really honouring it can be completely different too. On a completely different note as I was laughing about a section in the book my 13 year old daughter asked me what I was reading that was so funny so I explained briefly what a midwife was and the paragraph was something akin to pushing a pickle through a straw when she asked why anyone would want to do that, completely horrified. Good question. Perspective is everything.


UK Chica is the culmination of a lot of effort from a few people. Firstly, the name is a nod to my BFF (OK, I’m not 15, but she is the bomb!). She brilliantly came up with it. I am from the UK and call my girls chica all the time. I love different languages having studied French and German as a kid and Spanish as an adult. So that makes sense – well at least to us!

The idea of this site is because I read a lot and friends know this and they ask for recommendations all the time. Let me also add that I read a lot of different stuff. I may have my daughter add a section on sci fi, or as I call it, weird, as she is very discerning and reads that genre a lot.

You will also find new as well as old books reviewed here. I try to read classics each year, working my way back through Shakespeare or Dickens, for example.

As for me, I grew up in the suburbs of London and studied science in college. Community happened in pubs, and I love a good chin wag, discussion or disagreement between friends, old and new. or as a wise man has said and recently quoted by Jase, “Strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet”.