goodreads: (Default)
Title: The Vintage Teacup Club
Author: Vanessa Greene
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 400 pages
Date read: August, 2017

At a car boot sale in Sussex, three very different women meet and fall for the same vintage teaset. They decide to share it - and form a friendship that changes their lives.

Jenny can't wait to marry Dan. Then, after years of silence, she hears from the woman who could shatter her dreams.

Maggie has put her broken heart behind her and is gearing up for the biggest event of her career - until she's forced to confront the past once more.

Alison seems to have it all: married to her childhood sweetheart, with two gorgeous daughters. But as tensions mount, she is pushed to breaking point.

Cosy and entertaining book that just stayed on the right side of being fluff. I grew to care for all the ladies of the Vintage Teacup Club as well as their families. They all seemed very real to me with all their flaws and charms. There isn't much of substance to the book, but delightful reads about friendships have always been right up my aisle, and I was very charmed by it.
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Title: The Potluck Club
Author: Linda Evans Shepherd
Genre: Chick-lit, Christian
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 388
Date read: April, 2017

In the small Colorado town of Summit View, a surprising multi-generational mix of women from Grace Church meet once a week to pass a hot dish and to pray. But the Potluck Club, as they call themselves, is a recipe for disaster when they send up enough misinformed prayers to bring down a church. And the funny thing: the more they pray, the more troubles seem to come their way. It isn't until they invite God to the table that they discover friendship is the spice of life, and a little dash of grace, just like salt, goes a long way.

A nice, cozy novel about a prayer group in a small-town community. In style it reminded me quite a lot of "The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society" by Beth Pattillio as the plot very clearly takes backstage to getting to know the characters.

Of course - as per usual in such books - I grew more fond of some of the characters than others, but there were none I decidedly disliked (at least, not after I learned what made them tick) and all in all I really liked getting to know them, and enjoyed my visit with the Potluck Club.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane
Author: Ellen Berry
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 370
Date read: March, 2017

In the beginning...

Kitty Cartwright has always solved her problems in the kitchen. Her cookbooks are her life, and there isn't an issue that "Cooking with Aspic" can't fix. Her only wish is that she had a book entitled "Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You".

Forty years later...

On Rosemary Lane, Della Cartwright plans to open a very special little bookshop. Not knowing what to do with the hundreds of cookbooks her mother left her, she now wants to share their recipes with the world - and no amount of aspic will stand in her way.

But with her family convinced it's a hare-brained scheme, Della starts to wonder if she's made a terrible decision. One thing's for sure: she's about to find out...

Unfortunately not the feel-good chick-lit I had hoped for, and I almost put it down at 57% because it took such an unpleasant turn. Fortunately it improved, and I enjoyed the last 40%, but I did think that the build-up was FAR too slow compared to the actual plot and resolution.

I'm surprised by all the high ratings I see on Goodreads. This only just made it up to 3 stars for me.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: After You (Me Before You #2)
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 409
Date read: January, 2017

Lou Clark has lots of questions.
- Like how it is she's ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.
- Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home.
- Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.
- And will she ever get over the love of her life.

What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.
Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions?
Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.
Open it and she risks everything.
But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in...

I loved "Me Before You" - rated it 4 stars and sobbed my way through much of the end of it. So I was simultaneously predisposed to like this one too... as well as ever so slightly worried whether or not it could live up to my expectations.

And unfortunately it couldn't... not completely anyway. I really enjoyed parts of it - laughed at some parts, got a tad choked up at others, but there were also aspects that just didn't work for me. Jojo Moyes just tried too hard to get the reader emotionally invested to the point that it almost - almost - felt like manipulation. Fortunately she never quite crossed that line (or I'd have thrown the book away in disgust), but it did sour things for me that she even came close.

But otherwise...
I liked Lou and thought the way she worked through her grief very believable.
I mostly liked Lily... at least later on in the book.
I liked the grief circle.
I liked Mrs. Traynor.
I can't quite make up my mind about Sam, but think I liked him - I definitely liked Donna!
I didn't much care for Lou's mother, father nor sister :-/
I liked the ending, even if I didn't much care for how Lou was pressured to get there.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The New Rector (Tales from Turnham Malpas, #1)
Author: Rebecca Shaw
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 264
Date read: January, 2017

When Peter Harris arrives in Turnham Malpas as the new rector, he finds the village people welcoming but set in their ways. Yet despite his own weaknesses and the sadness of his childless wife, he comforts and advises his new parishioners, growing more and more involved with the rural way of life. Then the whole village is rocked by spiteful trick that goes terribly wrong, and a gruesome murder that points to a killer in its midst. Now, more than ever, Peter's pastoral role is crucial - and yet he is wrestling with his own private hell that may still wreck his own life.

A nice account of life in an English village - written in much the same style as Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy (although a LOT more simplistic). It was extremely soap-opera'ish at times, but despite its weaknesses and occasional OTT'ness, I ended up really enjoying it. The characters were likable and (with certain memorable exceptions) believable, and I got to really care for them.

Not high literature in ANY kind of way (see above re. soap opera), but a fun read, if you're able to keep your eye-rolling at bay.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Wish Upon a Star
Author: Trisha Ashley
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 468
Date read: December, 2016

Single mum Cally’s life is all about her little girl Stella. She’s resigned to the fact that the only romance she’s going to get is from the rom-coms she watches, and with her busy job and her daughter, she doesn’t have time to even think about love.

But life gets very tough when Stella gets sick. Balancing her job as a recipe writer and looking after Stella is all consuming, so when Cally meets handsome baker Jago the last thing she wants to do is fall in love, especially when she’s been badly burned by a Prince Charming from her past. Can laid-back, charming Jago unlock Cally’s frozen heart and help her find true love and magic under the mistletoe?

Not really sure why this is labelled a Christmas book? It's even less so than "The Magic of Christmas". But it's so sweet and adorable that I loved it all the same, and was actually disappointed when I turned the last page.

Trisha Ashley writes little-town communities so very well. True, her books do get a bit formulaic, but they're so charming that I don't really mind. I loved Cally, Stella and Jago, and would have liked to read more about them. And it was so refreshing to read about main characters with a spine for a change! Even if Aimee and Adam need need more than subtle clues to finally get the point!

Lovely book, and though total fluff, it still deserves a five star rating for pure enjoyment and a fairly realistic description of subconscious courting :-)
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Title: The Magic of Christmas
Author: Trisha Ashley
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 412
Date read: December, 2016

In the pretty Lancashire village of Middlemoss, Lizzy is on the verge of leaving her cheating husband, Tom, when tragedy strikes. Luckily she has welcome distraction in the Christmas Pudding Circle, a group of friends swapping seasonal recipes – as well as a rivalry with local cookery writer Nick over who will win Best Mince Pie at the village show…

Meanwhile, the whole village is gearing up for the annual Boxing Day Mystery Play. But who will play Adam to Lizzy’s Eve? Could it be the handsome and charismatic soap actor Ritch, or could someone closer to home win her heart? Whatever happens, it promises to be a Christmas to remember!

Not really very Christmassy until the last few chapters, but very much a cozy comfort book, so I enjoyed it all the same. I liked reading about life in a small village, and even though I did feel the romance was tied up a bit too quickly, there'd been signs throughout the book, so I only really minded because I thought a certain guy was assuming too much, and didn't really care for that.

There were a few surprises along the way, but I'd guessed the final twist concerning Tom's death at a fairly early stage. Just glad it all got sorted out though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Little Shop of Happy Ever After
Author: Jenny Colgan
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 358
Date read: August 2016

(Disclaimer: this blurb was written by somebody who obviously hasn't read the book, as it's actually WRONG! However, I'm useless at summarizing books myself, and the end result (Nina owning a book-bus) is correct, so I'll leave it as-is.)

Given a back-room computer job when the beloved Birmingham library she works in turns into a downsized retail complex, Nina misses her old role terribly - dealing with people, greeting her regulars, making sure everyone gets the right books for their needs. Then a new business nobody else wants catches her eye: owning a tiny little bookshop bus up in the Scottish highlands. No computers. Shortages. Out all hours in the freezing cold; driving with a tiny stock of books... not to mention how the little community is going to take to her, particularly when she stalls the bus on a level crossing...

Probably my favourite book by Jenny Colgan so far. It was a bit slow to take off, but once it did (basically once Nina first made it to Scotland) I was utterly charmed and just didn't want to put it down! Nina pretty much has my dream job, and I loved reading about her adventures and living vicariously through her.

I'd seen the ending a mile away, but that's okay. You're allowed to in books like these. It was a perfect comfort read.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Woman He Loved Before
Author: Dorothy Koomson
Genre: Chick-lit, Suspense
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 465
Date read: June, 2016

Libby has a nice life with a gorgeous husband and a big home by the sea. But over time she is becoming more unsure if Jack has ever loved her - and if he is over the death of Eve, his first wife. When fate intervenes in their relationship, Libby decides to find out all she can about the man she hastily married and the seemingly perfect Eve. Eventually Libby stumbles across some startling truths about Eve, and is soon unearthing more and more devastating family secrets. Frightened by what she finds and the damage it could cause, Libby starts to worry that she too will end up like the first woman Jack loved.

While I absolutely adored the first book I ever read by Dorothy Koomson ("My Best Friend's Girl"), most subsequent reads have unfortunately disappointed. This one more than most, as I spent most of it deeply frustrated by Jack and Libby's complete inability to communicate! For really stupid reasons too.

The last 150 pages showed a brief improvement, and I was pretty much tied to my chair to discover what happened next during that time, but unfortunately the ending was another disappointment with - wonder of wonders - yet more failure to communicate. This time with a better reason, granted, but still.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Thyme Out (also published as "Second Thyme Around")
Author: Katie Fforde
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 384
Date read: May, 2016

When Perdita Dylan delivers her baby vegetables to a local hotel and finds that her unpredictable ex-husband, Lucas, has taken over the kitchen, she is horrified - particularly when she discovers he's being groomed as the latest celebrity chef and needs her picturesque, if primitive cottage, and her, in supporting roles.

Her life is further complicated when Kitty, her 87-year-old friend, has a stroke. Perdita needs someone to lean on - and Lucas seems so keen to help that she starts to wonder if he's really such a villain. Can she cope with all this alone? Or should she face up to the fact that 'You can't cuddle lettuces'?

It's difficult for me to give this a fair rating, as the different parts of the book were of so very, VERY varied quality.

The first 100 pages infuriated me, and I felt like tossing it across the room. If it hadn't come very highly recommended by people whose opinions I trust, I wouldn't have gotten any further. But I stuck with it, and fortunately it improved, until the last 100 pages, where I had a very had time putting the book down. So with the first 100 pages deserving just 1 star, and the last 100 pages deserving 4 stars, I decided to average it out.

My problems with the book can be boiled down to just one thing - lack of boundaries. In those first 100 pages, Perdita decides she knows better than Lucas how to run his restaurant ("Oh, but she did it for a good cause!" Grrr. So what if she did? That doesn't give her the right! Lucas would have had every right to fire Janey because of it), and Lucas stomps all over Perditia's boundaries not one, not two, but three times. But because he turns around and helps her with Kitty, we're supposed to just forget all of that? In any real-life relationship where somebody behaved like this, I'd call red flags all over the place. Seriously, the "jerk with a heart of gold" trope is getting old. The good things he does later, don't cancel out his jerk'ish behaviour earlier.


Fortunately after the first 100 pages both Perditia's and Lucas' behaviour improved, and the plot turned a lot more enjoyable, so I no longer considered giving it up as a DNF. I was still slightly disappointed in it, as I'd had it recommended to me as a "foodie novel" which wasn't the case at all - it was a romance, plain and simple. Sure, one of the characters worked in a restaurant, but that part took up a LOT less page-space than I had expected. I also wish we'd have gotten to see Roger's reaction to getting his comeuppance, but that's a minor detail.

All in all, not a book I'd recommend. But if you do end up reading it, try to just ignore the first 100 pages, and the rest of the book will be a lot better for it.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Attachments
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 357
Date read: April, 2016

It's 1999 and the internet is still a novelty. At a newspaper office, two colleagues, Beth and Jennifer, e-mail back and forth, discussing their lives in hilarious details, from love troubles to family dramas. And Lincoln, a shy IT guy responsible for monitoring e-mails, spends his hours reading every exchange.

At first their e-mails offer a welcome diversion, but the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realises just how head-over-heels he is, it's too late to introduce himself.

After a series of close encounters, Lincoln eventually decides he must follow his heart... and find out if there is such a thing as love before first sight.

Perfect readathon material - I breezed through it in no time at all.

Just as charming and feel-good a novel as I've come to expect from Rainbow Rowell. While it couldn't quite live up to "Fangirl" or "Landline", I still liked it a lot, and really enjoyed the unusual narrative... even if it did take me awhile to figure out that Beth and Jennifer weren't supposed to be the main characters.

I liked Lincoln, and was pleased to see he wasn't quite the helpless person the first few chapters made him out to be; my heart broke with Jennifer and Beth through their trials (their friendship was brilliantly shown without any telling necessary at all); and I mentally cheered when everything worked out in the end.

The only problem is that now I have no more new Rainbow Rowell books to read. I'll have to hope she publishes something else soon :)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Genre: Chick lit
Rating: 4.5
# pages: 462
Date read: March, 2016

Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. Was it murder, a tragic accident...or something else entirely?

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

This book took my breath away, and I found it very, very difficult to decide whether to give it 4 or 5 stars, so ended up splitting the difference as it was a tad slow to start and a tad quick to finish. Very minor nit-picking though!

Much like with "Leaning on a Spider's Web" by Jennifer Rees-Larcombe, you know going into it that somebody's going to die by the end of the book, but have no clue who. This adds an extra dimension to the book, as I couldn't help continuously guess who it might be, and pretty much no matter who, hope that I was wrong.

"Big Little Lies" is not your average chick-lit; it contains a lot more depth than that, and I think it's an important book to read, in order to show that it can happen to everybody, and you never know all the secrets of even your closest friends.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Curvy Girls Club
Author: Michele Gorman
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 310
Date read: December 2015

Pixie, Ellie, Katie and Jane have been best friends since meeting at Slimming Zone. Tired of being judged on the number of calories they consume, they decide to form a different kind of club. The fun evenings they spend together, not worrying about their size, make them happier than they'e been for years!

But the club doesn't stop real life from getting in the way and together the girls have to address some much bigger issues than just their weight.

Will Pixie ever be brave enough to leave her abusive husband Trevor? Can Jane ever regain her confidence and go back to work as a TV presenter? Will Katie always carry a torch for the office lothario? And what if Ellie lets her all-consuming jealousy destroy her relationship with 'The One'?

A fairly run-of-the-mill chick-lit. It kept me well entertained for most of the ~300 pages, but I did have to put it down from time to time as it took some twists and turns I wasn't a huge fan of... nor felt were justified or in character... at least not the character we'd been introduced to for the previous 200 pages or so. Especially when it came to Pixie and Alex. I found their sudden changes (trying to stay out of spoiler territory) TOO sudden and didn't really buy it.

But while it definitely had some issues, I was mainly looking for an easy, fluffy read while sick, and it fit the bill perfectly there, so I'm inclined to be generous with my rating... it does slightly bother me that none of the women on the cover are actually overweight though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Twelve Days of Christmas
Author: Trisha Ashley
Genre: Christmas, chick-lit
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 402
Date read: December, 2015

Christmas has always been a sad time for young widow Holly Brown, so when she's asked to look after a remote house on the Lancashire moors, the opportunity to hide herself away is irresistible -- the perfect excuse to forget about the festivities.

Sculptor, Jude Martland, is determined that this year there will be no Christmas after his brother runs off with his fiancee and he is keen to avoid the family home. However, he will have to return by the twelfth night of the festivities, when the hamlet of Little Mumming hold their historic festivities and all of his family are required to attend.

Meanwhile, Holly is finding that if she wants to avoid Christmas, she has come to the wrong place. When Jude unexpectedly returns on Christmas Eve he is far from delighted to discover that Holly seems to be holding the very family party he had hoped to avoid.

Suddenly, the blizzards come out of nowhere and the whole village is snowed in. With no escape, Holly and Jude get much more than they bargained for -- it looks like the twelve days of Christmas are going to be very interesting indeed!

I'm always on the lookout for cozy Christmas reads, but haven't had too much luck so far, so when I had this book recommended to me by two different people only a couple of days apart, I figured I had to try it. I almost put it down again within the first few chapters as I didn't care much for the writing style, but I trusted the people who'd recommended it to me, so stuck with it, and am really glad I did, as it turned out to be the perfect Christmasy read :) I don't know if the writing style changed, or if I just got more used to it, because I stopped paying much attention to it, and just dived into the the story itself.

It had everything I'd like in a Christmas story - lots of details about Christmas preparations, engaging characters, a child to experience Christmas through, and of course a suitable romance to tie it all up in a nice little bow :)

It was sweet without being sugary and had me wanting to celebrate Christmas together with Holly, Jess and all the others... although I guess I could do without Coco and Guy!
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Great Christmas Knit-Off
Author: Alexandra Brown
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 400
Date read: December, 2015

Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale.

There, Sybil discovers Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, is struggling and now the shop is due for closure. And when Hettie decides that Sybil’s wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen.

Lovely read :) I was instantly charmed and found myself longing to go celebrate Christmas in a cozy English village like Tindledale where everybody knows everybody, everybody cares for their neighbour, and everybody wants to gather either at the pub, at the bookstore or to knit and natter!

Parts of it were perhaps a bit too perfect, but I tend to think that's allowed for Christmas stories :) It was a wonderfully cozy read and I never wanted to leave.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Memory House (Memory House Collection #1)
Author: Bette Lee Crosby
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 178
Date read: November, 2015

Ophelia Browne has been granted the unique gift of finding and caring for forgotten memories. But now she's nearing ninety, and Browne women seldom live beyond ninety.

Before time runs out Ophelia must find a successor. Someone who can take hold of the gifts and keep the memories from fading.

When broken-hearted Annie Cross shows up on the doorstep of The Memory House Bed and Breakfast, Ophelia knows she is the one. The two women forge a bond of friendship as they sip magical dandelion tea and share stories. When Annie starts to sense the memories Ophelia is delighted, but then a thread of violence begins to unravel and Ophelia fears things have gone too far.

I was contacted by the publisher for an honest review.

Fair or not, experience has taught me to set my expectations low when I'm contacted for a review - especially when it's an author or a publisher I haven't heard of before - so I started this book with some reservations, which quickly turned out to be completely unfounded. I was very pleasantly surprised indeed by this book. Instead of the run-of-the-mill chick-lit/romance I'd expected, it's a charming tale of an unlikely friendship, and I ended up finishing it in just two sittings. It fit the bill perfectly when I was looking for some comfort reading yesterday morning.

I loved Ophelia and Annie, and really enjoyed reading about their growing friendship. They did get very close very fast - almost too fast for credibility perhaps - but it fit the story, so I could forgive that liberty. It did fit the pattern of there being areas of the story that were less polished than I could have wished for though (another example is Michael's actions - I didn't feel they were ever fully explained). It didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the book - it just felt like it lacked the final editing to fully tighten up the writing.

I wish I hadn't read the author's note at the end though. Knowing that the memories were taken from some of Bette Lee Crosby's other books detracted from my enjoyment of it somehow. I preferred the memories to just stand on their own, with no real backstory. People who've read the other books may feel otherwise.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Vacationers
Author: Emma Straub
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 304
Date read: August, 2015

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

My expectations of this were rather low, which is probably why I ended up really enjoying it! It's pretty much your run-of-the-mill beach read, but with enough interesting characters to give it a twist... especially as I ended up changing my mind about almost all of them through the cause of the book, and found myself a lot more sympathetic to them than I had expected to in the beginning.

It's definitely not high literature in any sense of the word, but it's an entertaining read about a family you come to care for - warts and all.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek) Envy
Author: Sandra Brown
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 549
Date read: July, 2015

When New York publisher Maris Matherly Reed receives a tantalizing manuscript from someone identified only as P.M.E., its blockbuster potential-and perhaps something else-compels her to meet its author. On an eerie, ruined cotton plantation on a remote Georgia island she finds Parker Evans, a man concealing his identity and his past. Maris is drawn into his tale of two young friends and a deadly betrayal ... and to Parker himself. But there's something especially chilling about this novel, its possible connection to Maris's own life, and the real-life character who uses her, or anyone, to get what he wants.

Sandra Brown writes trash. But ridiculously readable trash. I couldn't put it down and read it at times where I should have been doing other things ;) It's been so long since I read it last, that I'd forgotten most of the details, but they came back to me as I went along making for a fun combination of enjoying a new book and the fun of rediscovery.

It is not high class literature in any sense of the word, but it kept me nicely entertained. I have a hard time believing people as evil as Todd exist, but certainly enjoy reading about them getting their comeuppence... at least when they're brought to justice and aren't just killed off at the end because that's easier... Yes, that's a pet peeve of mine, can you tell? ;)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Peach Keeper
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 272
Date read: October, 2014

It's the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam - built by Willa's great-great-grandfather and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina - has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate - socialite Paxton Osgood - has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight inn.

But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property's lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families - and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living.

"The Peach Keeper" is only the second book I've read by Sarah Addison Allen. The first was an instant favourite ("Garden Spells"), so I was slightly hesitant to pick up another of her books, as I was certain it couldn't live up to my expectations. And it didn't - quite. Still, it came close enough that I didn't feel too cheated and it is a lovely charming book. I wasn't too convinced by the romantic pairings, but LOVED the growing friendship.

Definitely a feel-good book, and while not an instant favourite, I liked it enough that I'll definitely continue to pick up more of her books.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The School of Essential Ingredients
Author: Erica Bauermeister
Genre: Foodie
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 261
Date read: July, 2014

Once a month, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect...

The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian's soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. And soon they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create.

Not quite as good as "Joy for Beginners", but I still really enjoyed it. Apparently I like short-stories more if they're disguised as a novel ;)

A charming book, even if I did care more about some of the characters than others, and it almost made me want to take up cooking classes myself :)


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