Friday, October 2, 2015

Recipe For Disaster - Review & Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
“Be careful what you wish for.”  Why?  Because you just might get it!  You’ve heard this quote.  Sometimes we wish for something in the moment and then, when it comes to fruition, we realize we really hadn’t thought it through.
Anneke Stroudt, a successful architect and home builder, often wishes she didn’t have to deal with difficult ─and, using her word, stupid─ people.  And she also wishes she had more time to spend working on the restoration of the beautiful historic property that she had speculatively purchased.  But her job demands many hours of her day, and the rest of her day she gladly shares with her chef fiancĂ©.

Until one fateful day when Anneke both loses her job and her fiancĂ©, and she is forced to move into the gutted house.  Now what?  Anneke no longer has a source of income.  And the century old house will take both many months of intense labor and megabucks to restore before she can put it on the market.  Hence, she is now property rich but cash poor.  What was she thinking?

 Thinking before speaking has never been Anneke’s strong suit.  But doing is ─ beginning with demolishing the basement, which leads to the discovery of a mysterious and very old leather-bound book.  The book belonged to Gemma, the cook for the house’s original owners, and is filled with intriguing and tempting recipes as well as sage commentary and advice.  For someone in desperate need of both, can Gemma provide Anneke with the right ingredients for sustenance and life lessons?

If you value historic homes, or if the thought of renovating one is fascinating or enticing to you, you’ll love Stacey Ballis’ Recipe for Disaster.   It is filled with significant detail on, well, the details involved in the step-by-step renovating process.  As someone whose carpentry skills are pretty much limited to using a hammer to hang a picture on the wall, I’m just going to take her word for its accuracy!  I love the idea of a turn-of-the-century (the twentieth century!) home, of the family that lived there a hundred years ago, what their lives were like, and what foods they ate.  I loved Gemma’s book, her diary; her thoughts and her recipes.  I’m definitely going to try some of them!

Reading Gemma’s words of wisdom and experience often made me think of another familiar quote: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”  Still true today, good recipes and good advice are always in fashion.  

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About the Author:
Stacey Ballis is the author of several novels, incuding Inappropriate Men, Sleeping Over, Room for Improvement, The Spinster Sisters, Good Enough to Eat, Off the Menu and Out to Lunch, and the upcoming Recipe for Disaster currently available for pre-order, being released March 3, 2013. Her first cookbook, Big Delicious Life is out now in a digital edition, and she is at work co-authoring a new cookbook called Cooking for You: Wellness in the Kitchen with Dr. Francis Ardito, which will be released in 2015. She is also a contributing author to the anthologies Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, and Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume, and Living Jewishly. She is currently at work on a new work of full-length fiction called for Berkeley/Penguin, which will be out in 2016.

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Berkley Books is giving one lucky winner a print copy of
Recipe For Disaster by Stacey Ballis
US only

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