mini-review roundup: food! childhood favorite! Stiefvater!

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert | July 21, 2015

Pitched as You’ve Got Mail-meets-How to Eat a Cupcake, this super cute novel will leave you starving! Lou’s day goes from bad to worse when, in an attempt to surprise her fiance with a delicious coconut cake for his birthday, she walks into his apartment to find his half-naked secretary. She lets her emotions get the best of her and the dinner service at her restaurant (where she’s the owner/chef) is a total disaster…and it’s the night that a food critic just so happens to have made an appearance. A scathing review has her business crumbling and the only bright spot is a charming British man. Unbeknownst to the pair, however, is that Al is the over-the-top rude writer while Lou owns the restaurant he single-handedly brought down.

There aren’t any plot twists or shocks here, but that’s okay. Sometimes you need a fluffy, light-hearted romance and that’s exactly what I got with The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. You know what’s going to happen chapters before it does and I’m positive you can already guess at the ending, but that doesn’t detract from the journey to get there. Certain passages had my mouth watering and the secondary characters were every bit as fleshed out as Lou and Al. Fun, fun, fun and I could totally see this as a made-for-tv movie!

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
May, 1994

It’s always a gamble when you revisit childhood favorites. Do they hold up? Is it possible to stand the test of time or is it a completely different (read, lesser) experience when viewed through adult eyes? There have been rumors floating around since last fall that Lena Dunham wants to adapt this one for the big screen and while I’ll keep my thoughts on Lena mum for now, I realized it had been years since I read this one and went on a mad hunt for a copy. My library came through and I blazed through this one in an afternoon.

1290s England. Catherine, the 12-year-old daughter of a knight, has just been given the news she’ll soon be married off and she vows to scare off any and all potential suitors. Sassy and charming and full of wit, I had completely forgotten how hilarious Catherine and this novel were! Or maybe I didn’t get some of the humor at the time..? Either way, I’m thrilled I decided to pick this one up again after so many years and I know it’s one I’ll be revisiting time and time again.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
October, 2011

I hate to do this to a Maggie novel, especially since I was SO overjoyed at being able to dive back into her incredible writing, but this was a DNF for me.

Every November the water horses rise from the sea, terrible and red-eyed and fully capable of killing humans. Those brave – or foolish – enough attempt to capture them, hoping to tame the beasts for the Scorpio Races, when the water horses take to the land. Having lost his father to a water horse, Sean (last year’s champion) knows just how deadly they can be. Puck, already orphaned, is about to lose her brother to the call of the mainland and she never intended on entering the race, she only saw it as a means to save their house and buy some food. And she certainly hadn’t planned on being the first girl to enter.

Okay, sure, the writing was great, but nothing happened. I love dual narratives, but I love them more when they further the story. Here, the two characters spent their time preparing for the race…and nothing else. It reached the point where I was looking for anything to distract me: laundry, dishes, paying bills. Finally, after six days and no progress, I decided to call it quits at 40%. I’m chalking this one up to me not being a horse person and I know I’m in the minority here. So, so sorry, Maggie :(

6 thoughts on “mini-review roundup: food! childhood favorite! Stiefvater!

  1. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy The Scorpio Races (which is by far my favorite Stiefvater novel). But The Coincidence of Coconut Cake sounds like a romantic comedy-type read (which I approve of!) & Catherine, Called Birdy sounds like it’d be fun to read too.

  2. […] Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman I remember the very first time I read this book and, while I won’t say how many years it’s been since then, I will say it’s been a while. There’s been talk of a movie in the works and that piqued my interest in revisiting a childhood favorite – always something I’m hesitant to do. This novel, however, more than holds up and I was surprised by just how funny it was! […]

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