This book was sent to Traveling With T for review consideration.
Recipe for Disaster
Summary from Goodreads:
To an outside observer, Anneke Stroudt is a mess—her shirts are stained, her fingernails stubby, her language colorful. But, despite her flaws, Anneke’s life is close to perfect. She has a beautiful historic house to restore and a loving fiancé who cooks like a dream.
Until Anneke’s charmed existence falls apart when she loses both her job and her future husband in one terrible day. In need of a new start, she packs up her disgruntled schnauzer and moves into her half-finished home, where she throws her pent-up frustration—and what little savings she has—into finishing the renovation.
But at the first step into the house’s overhaul, Anneke is sidetracked when she discovers a mysterious leather-bound book, long hidden away, filled with tempting recipes and steamy secrets from Gemma Ditmore-Smythe, the cook for the house’s original owners. Slowly, with the help of some delicious food and Emma’s life lessons, Anneke begins to realize that, just like a flawless recipe, she’s been waiting for the right ingredients to cook up a perfect life all along…
Traveling With T’s Thoughts:
Ok. Well this book just kind of happened into my life. Shortly after Rhiannon at Ivory Owl Reviews was talking to me about RECIPE FOR DISASTER on Twitter, the book showed up in my mailbox. Having read a previous Stacey Ballis book before, I was curious about this one (and I had mad love for the cover!)
So, you know from the summary that Anneke’s life is going to explode- although you don’t know how bad things are going to get. I’m reading and can’t really find myself investing time in learning about how her life was good (or wait….. is it that good? Food for thought, there!) and them BOOM. Things get messy. Then it hits it’s stride and I began to find myself caring for these characters- wondering what Stacey Ballis has planned (because we have at least 200 pages left!)
The stomach bug hits me. I can’t read. I can’t even think about food. Not to put too fine of a point on this- but I really could care less what happens to Anneke. It’s every man (or woman) for themselves while I battle the stomach bug from the seventh circle of hell.
Days later, I gingerly pick the book back up- and start reading again. But it’s like I’ve lost some magic of the earlier reading. RECIPE FOR DISASTER does find it’s groove for me again, though!
Why am I telling you all this? Because my thoughts of the book might be tainted (again, it was a rough week!)
What I Liked:
Anneke and her friends: Strong characters who you could see perfectly. How Stacey Ballis described them was perfection.
Stacey’s ability to let Anneke be humorous. Listen- Anneke could have been a straight up witch- she had a lot of reasons that could have worked out that way. But, she had a humorous side- and it gave her something that made her memorable.
GEMMA!!!! Even though she was not an actual character- her thoughts in her journal and how she provided for Anneke- well, Gemma deserves a standing ovation.
What I Didn’t Like:
I just feel it was a bit on the long side for the type of book it is. I find myself enjoying these hybrid versions of chick lit with foodie/home decorating tones to hit the sweet spot at around the 400 page mark. RECIPE FOR DISASTER is close to 450 pages. However, that is just my opinion- and as referenced above- I could have just been in a bad place from other circumstances of the week.
Are you looking for a book that is heavier than traditional chick lit- but still has many of the themes that make it so popular? Look no further. Stacey Ballis has a gift for a foodie style book with roots deep in a chick-lit world.
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T