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Review and Giveaway: The Cake Therapist

June 30, 2015

The Cake Therapist

Neely is a talented pastry chef who can taste feelings.  She decides to return to the small town she grew up in to open a bakery and to run away from a broken marriage.  As her business catches on, she becomes part of the community and senses the worries and troubles of others.

Olive and Edie are two young girls in the 1930s trying to make it on their own.  Their story merges with Neely’s in an unexpected way.

The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig alternates between Neely’s story in the present and Olive and Edie’s in the past, with Neely’s story being told in the first person and Olive and Edie’s in the third person.  It takes a while for the stories to connect but they eventually do in a satisfying way.

Neely is a sympathetic character who was easy to relate to.  Her descriptions of her baked creations made my mouth water.  I didn’t mind the hint of magic realism surrounding her “gift” since it was written subtly.

I found Olive and Edie’s story a little hard to follow at times but it all come together in the end so it wasn’t an issue.

There was a lot going on in this book.  Besides the two major storylines, there were several subplots that I felt could have been developed a little more.  I have to admit I liked the book a lot but can’t say I loved it.  Still, if Fertig continues Neely’s story in another book, I’d happily read it.  If you like foodie fiction, you’ll probably want to give The Cake Therapist a try.

CakeTherapistBakeHappy

As a special treat, Tandem Literary is allowing me to give away copies of The Cake Therapist and Bake Happy, both by Judith Fertig, to one lucky reader!  To enter to win THE CAKE THERAPIST and BAKE HAPPY, simply fill out the entry form.  Contest is open to those with a US address only – one entry per person, please.  I will use random.org to determine the winner.  Contest ends at midnight EDT Thursday, July 09, 2015.    Comments are welcome (and appreciated) but will not get you an entry in the contest.

 

weekend cookingI will link this up to Weekend Cooking which is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Mailbox Monday

June 29, 2015

Mailbox Monday June 29

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.    Another week has flown by and now the year is half over!  I did manage to squeeze in quite a bit of reading time – now I need to find some writing time.  I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Tuesday

Thursday

Friday

 

What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t!

June 26, 2015

Alligator

When Magnolia’s teacher tells her class to bring something from nature for show-and-tell, Magnolia decides to bring an alligator.  Her teacher says, “Alligators are trouble!” but Magnolia assures her this alligator will behave.  Mischief ensues and Magnolia gets blamed when the alligator is naughty.

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! written and illustrated by Elise Parsley is an adorable picture book that is sure to make little ones giggle with delight.  Many young readers, especially those with younger siblings will be able to relate when Magnolia’s angelic looking alligator is mischievous and gets her in trouble.  Parsley’s adorable illustrations are the perfect complement to this fun story!

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

 

Review: Find the Good

June 25, 2015

Find the Good

When Heather Lende, the obituary writer for her local small town newspaper, was asked to write an essay about one piece of wisdom to live by, she pondered for a while and came up with “Find the good.”  She says,

Find the good.  That’s enough. That’s plenty.  I could leave my family with that.

Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons From a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende is a collection of inspirational essays about just that.  Lende draws on her experience writing obituaries in Haines, Alaska to find the good in most situations, whether it’s making friends while walking the dog, keeping a messy house when the grandchildren are around, or fulfilling your mother’s last wishes.

The essays are short and sweet and give readers a peek at life in one small Alaskan town.  There’s nothing particularly deep or earth shattering in this book but it’s pleasant and reassuring and I enjoyed it as I read it.  The essays don’t have to be read in any particular order so it’s easy to dip in and out of this book.  Pick Find the Good up when you’re looking to be inspired or give it as a gift!

Review copy provided by Algonquin Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

June 24, 2015

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

This week’s words are from The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis.

1. shtetl – “A life of shtetl dimensions.”

A shtetl is a small Jewish town or village found in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.

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2. imbroglio – “And for much of the day now he and Leora had been traveling, beginning with the surreptitious early-morning flight from Tel Aviv to Kiev, another from Kiev to Simferopol, the bus from there to Yalta, and then the imbroglio with the hotel.”

An imbroglio is an intricate or complicated situation.

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3. refusenik – “Kotler came to know them in Israel at the periodic gatherings of former refuseniks.”

I could figure this one out but I was curious to see if it’s actually a word so I looked it up.  Refusenik is in my dictionary and it is a Soviet citizen, especially a Jew, who is refused permission to emigrate.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Cut Me Loose

June 23, 2015

Cut Me Loose

Leah Vincent was born into a Yeshivish family – her father is a rabbi in this orthodox sect that is committed to study halls for men to study ancient religious texts.  Vincent grew up devout and longed to fulfill her role as a Yeshivish woman as a wife and mother.  Her family felt she was being unfavorably influenced by her classmates so, at fifteen, they sent her to Manchester, England to live with her aunt and uncle and attend one more year of high school before Seminary.  When her aunt discovered she was exchanging notes with a boy, Vincent’s family disowned her and sent her to New York to make it on her own.

At sixteen, Vincent was totally unprepared for life on her own, especially in a city as large as New York.  Exposed to many things for the first time, she made some poor choices and her life quickly spiraled out of control.  As she reached rock bottom, she wondered if she’d have the strength to work her way out of her misery.

Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood is Leah Vincent‘s story of despair and triumph and I found it fascinating.  Born into a religion that suppresses women and avoids modern ways, she was ill-equipped for the world when she was forced into it.  Confusing sex with love she ended up in some bad relationships and turned to self-destructive behavior.  She wanted more out of life, though, and clawed her way out of despair.  My heart ached for this young girl from such a sheltered background trying to make it on her own.  I cringed at her poor choices, even though I could understand why she was making them, and I marveled at her triumphs.

Vincent’s story is well written and compelling but be forewarned it’s not always easy to read.  She’s open and honest about her behavior so the book is gritty and unnerving at times.  Her story is an important one, though, and it’s one that shouldn’t be ignored.  If you enjoy memoirs or stories about strong women, you won’t want to miss Cut Me Loose.

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Mailbox Monday

June 22, 2015

Mailbox Monday June 22

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   Last week was busy!  Vance was on vacation so I spent a lot of time at the store.  Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to much reading time.  I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Thursday

What did you find in your mailbox last week?

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