HELLO, SUNSHINE by Laura Dave

July 12, 2017

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Sunshine Mackenzie is an Internet cooking sensation with cookbooks, an upcoming Food Network show and millions of fans. Until the night of her surprise birthday party, when someone hacks her social media accounts and accuses her of being a fraud. Since she can’t really cook, and her recipes are created by her producer’s wife, who she’s slept with, fraud seems an apt description. And her life implodes. Danny, her husband, leaves her and returns her cookbook advance, wiping out all their cash. Then he sells the apartment out from under her, leaving her penniless, homeless and pretty much friendless.

Since she can’t really cook, and her recipes are created by her producer’s wife, who she’s slept with, fraud seems an apt description. And her life implodes. Danny, her husband, leaves her and returns her cookbook advance to the publisher, wiping out all their cash. Then he sells the apartment out from under her, leaving her penniless, homeless and pretty much friendless. So Sunny decides to go home to the Hamptons.

Most people think of the Hamptons as a summer enclave for the rich and famous, and that is true. But there are people who live there all year round, and Sunny grew up there. Her sister still lives there but they are estranged, haven’t spoken in years. So when Sunny shows up, her welcome is a cop ticketing her for trespassing. Eventually, her sister lets her in and a strained relationship resumes.

Sunny finagles a job as the “trash” consultant at a high end restaurant using her niece’s name instead of her own. A few of the staff recognize her but don’t bother her. She has a plan to get the chef to teach her to cook and re-start her career, but he’s not interested. Then she finds out she’s pregnant and things get even more complicated.

This is a redemption story, but to get to that Sunny has to hit rock bottom. I was tempted to put down the book more than once as her life went on the skids as she was a completely unsympathetic character. Kudos to Laura Dave who somehow kept me turning pages anyway, and I was very glad I did. I liked how the story moved and turned, but the ending felt a bit rushed and incomplete. A few more pages would have been nice. In spite of all that, ultimately I did enjoy the book.

7/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

HELLO, SUNSHINE by Laura Dave. Simon & Schuster (July 11, 2017).  ISBN 978-1476789323.  256p.

Kindle


THE SIMPLICITY OF CIDER by Amy E. Reichert

May 18, 2017

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Sanna Lund is the fifth generation to live and work on the family apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Once a thriving family business, now it is just Sanna and her aging father, and business is terrible. Sanna is obsessed with making cider, but doesn’t have the first idea about how to sell it.  Her father borrowed money to purchase all the expensive equipment necessary for making and bottling cider, but it is just collecting dust. She also has a gift – she can see colors in the apples that grow on their orchard. By mixing different colored apples she can achieve the flavors she wants. It’s the touch of magical realism that Reichert is known for.

Isaac Banks is a web designer whose ex-wife, a drug addict, has overdosed and died. Their young son, Bass, doesn’t know and Isaac can’t bear to tell him, so instead he takes him on a road trip for the summer. They wander aimlessly until they reach Door County, where he learns the Lund family could use some help in their orchard. Sanna is suspicious when her father hires Isaac, but they have a trailer out back where father and son can live. Then the senior Lund falls off a ladder and is seriously injured, and it’s Isaac and Bass that pick up the slack.

Sanna is surprised to find herself attracted to Isaac, and he to her, but he also realizes that he is going to have to move very slowly to win her over. Sanna has a brother who moved away from the orchard and is now trying to talk her father into selling to a big developer. There are other complications along the way before the happily ever after is reached.

Another enjoyable and delicious read – with recipes.

Enjoy this short video – Amy E. Reichert talks about her new book, THE SIMPLICITY OF CIDER, and why Wisconsin is more romantic than you thought!

5/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE SIMPLICITY OF CIDER by Amy E. Reichert. Gallery Books (May 16, 2017). ISBN: 978-1501154928. 336p.

Kindle