Day Three of the Spring Carnival brings another sweet treat! Today I am reviewing When In Doubt Add Butter by Beth Harbison. Don't you just want to reach in and eat those cupcakes? Monday it was all about pies, today I am going to share sugar cookies with buttercream frosting because sugar cookies and buttercream and all about butter! Before we get to all the yummy stuff...... have you entered the Food Cover Challenge? Make sure to do it for your chance to win. Also don't forget to head over to the Spring Carnival Map and check out all the other fantastic booths and challenges going on. Have fun!
All week, I am sharing food recipes from my Pinterest board. Now sugar cookies are always delicious especially when they are frosted with colored frosting, but sometimes it is too much to roll and cut them out individually so I have the perfect solution! Sugar Cookie Squares, the deliciousness of sugar cookies with the easy preparation of a pan cookie! What is not to like? Here is the fantastic recipe!
Enjoy! Now here is my review:
When In Doubt Add Butter by Beth Harbison
As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full.
There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.
For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
At thirty seven Gemma thinks she is content with her life. She is a personal chef, and every week she cooks for a different family every day. Some of her clients are fun and a pleasure to work for, while others are the most difficult people to please, but she manages to do it. Everything is going fine until the night she shows up at one of her clients, and unbeknownst to Gemma, there is now a peacock living there. Peacocks are sexually attracted to blue, and Gemma’s car just so happens to be blue. One run over peacock later, Gemma is out a job. As she scrambles to get another person to cook for, she begins to wonder if she is really and truly happy with her life and her current situation. Then everything begins to unravel and she knows she is in trouble. Can Gemma add a bit of butter and make everything right again in her world?
What I Liked:
- This book definitely made me laugh. Gemma is easy to like and she certainly manages to get herself into some funny situations, such as the peacock incident where she inadvertently runs over a peacock that is trying to hump her car. Gemma has spunk and spark and she is a great protagonist.
- I enjoyed getting to knew each of Gemma’s clients as the book progressed. Some of them are fun, and others are just beasts, like Maria the woman who has a long list of things she will not eat. I liked how she learned new things about her regular people, like the old Russian man, who Gemma thinks is a part of the Russian Mafia. However, the mysterious Mr. Tuesday is definitely my favorite.
- The romance in this one is just right. I loved that it was a slow burner and that it had a fun little twist as well. There are a few breathless moments where you wonder if everything will fall into place, but in the end I was pleased, and I had a smile on my face.
- I appreciated that this book introduces us to a woman who is grossly obese and a shut in. It takes awhile for Gemma to get to know her, but once she does she is a very interesting character and you can’t help but cheer Willa on as you hope that she somehow will succeed at her weight loss. There is actually an interesting discussion between Gemma and Willa on calories and such that I enjoyed.
- Even though this may appear to be a light, fluffy chick lit type book, it actually has some depth to it, and I appreciated that it exposed some more emotional issues such as dealing obesity and teenage pregnancy and adoption. This is a read that I thought provided the right balance between fun and serious. It is a book that won’t make you think too hard or tear out your heart. It is a perfect light beach read.
And The Not So Much:
- This is not a big issue, but I was expecting this book to feature sweet treats as the cover displays those delicious looking cupcakes, but there are no deserts in the book. All the cooking refers to regular type meals and there are not any recipes included, which is something I always enjoy in my foodie type books.
- I was a bit disappointed that the whole thread regarding the teenage pregnancy and adoption didn’t go anywhere. I kept waiting for something big to happen as far as that story angle was concerned, but alas it is only used to show character growth, and nothing more.
- One thing that niggled at me the whole time was how could Gemma cook for someone for over a year and never meet them in person, it really isn’t explained how she managed to get the job without having an interview with the man. You would think that having a stranger come into your home every week and prepare your meals that you would at least want to meet them.
- While I did enjoy the Epilogue at the end, I thought that everything tied off a little too happily ever after. It is nice to get a big happy ending for everyone but a few things felt like a bit of a stretch to me, like the situation with Willa, I don’t think enough time had passed to make that believable.
When in Doubt Add Butter is perfectly pleasant way to while away an afternoon. It features interesting characters and a good story line. This is a simple book with a fun little romantic twist that should satisfy the romance lovers. The only disappointment for me was that it lacked all the fun recipes that I adore in food books. Still if you are looking for something good and easy for a beach read or traveling this would be a nice book to pack.
You’ve got one life with zero guarantees, so you do your best, adapt if possible and keep breathing. I recommend striving for happiness, but many opt for duty and responsibility. Mileage varies.”
“Your life, your game, your rules.”
“Here’s the only thing I know for sure: Chopped pineapple is incredible on hot dogs. Honest to God. I love pineapple on everything---I would probably even eat it off a cadaver’s hand---but toss it with a little chopped onion and...put it on a hot dog, and it’s bliss. There’s not a lot you can count on in this world, but pineapple? It’s solid.”
“I don’t wrap it in bacon, because as great as bacon is for just about every reason, I don’t love it withered and stringy around a filet mignon or draped like a limp dick over a meat loaf.”
“Don’t we all do that after a few drinks, Internet-stalk people we used to know? When they leave all their information open, it’s like Christmas morning.”
“Interesting how you could commit the act with just about anyone--have sex, make love, do the deed, whatever you wanted to call it---it meant as much or as little as you wanted it to until the sex became decidedly unsexy and became, instead, a medical condition. And then a person.”
I borrowed this book. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.