Review: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

This is a charming story about Samantha moving back home to small town Michigan from her temporary pastry chef stint in NYC. Though her big city boss was a total jerk, Samantha did leave behind good friends and big dreams.

She didn’t realize that her dreams could be fulfilled in Michigan if she’d only give it a chance. Back at her family’s orchard, Samantha spent time with her mom and grandmother, finding out little by little just how special the family recipe box was. I loved how her two worlds collided via the recipe box, giving Samantha the opportunity of a lifetime – if she decided to take it.

I loved the orchard setting, the convivial relationships among the women, persistent Angelo, and that awesome recipe box. I couldn’t quite identify with Samantha’s personal struggles, and the story was fairly predictable, but in the end I was satisfied — much like I am when hearing the expected crunch of an apple. All good stuff.

-calliope

Buy THE RECIPE BOX

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Review: Crazy Days of Christmas by Jill Barry

Food and romance go together like toast and jam as far as I’m concerned; that is, perfectly! In Crazy Days of Christmas, Lucy finds herself suddenly short one chef at the restaurant she owns. Chef James happens to be looking for a short term assignment, and is glad to fill in at The Town Mouse. They both get more than they bargained for: a micromanaging restauranteur and a menu revolutionary who step on each other’s toes and push back more than expected! 
I mostly enjoyed all the restaurant talk and menu changes in this light romance. I have fun reading about food. Jill Barry also did a nice job maintaining the tension between Lucy and James without it feeling forced. I was charmed by the development of their relationship, even when Lucy and James weren’t even sure where it was going! The only negative for me was that this food-focused romance had such a Christmassy title… a little bit misleading. 

Not to fear, there was a happily ever after for Lucy AND her restaurant, and that makes this reader pretty happy. 

-calliope 

Buy CRAZY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS (it was FREE when I last checked!)