Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: Sweet Nothings

By Melissa Amster

**Giveaway is now closed**

Ever since I read Something New by Janis Thomas last fall, I was eagerly awaiting her sophomore novel, Sweet Nothings. It was definitely worth the wait!

Life’s sweetest moments happen when you least expect them...

When Ruby McMillan’s husband announces one morning that he’s dumping her for another woman, she’s unable to decide which indignity stings the most: the dissolution of their eighteen-year marriage or the deflation of her white-chocolate soufflĂ© with raspberry Grand Marnier sauce. Without a good-bye to their two teenaged children, Walter leaves Ruby to cope with her ruined dessert, an unpaid mortgage, and her failing bakery.

With only royal icing holding her together, Ruby still manages to pick herself up and move on, subsidizing her income with an extra job as a baking instructor, getting a "my-husband’s-gone” makeover, and even flirting with her gorgeous mortgage broker, Jacob Salt. For as long as she can remember, Ruby has done what’s practical, eschewing far-fetched dreams and true love in favor of stability. But suddenly single again at the age of 44, she’s beginning to discover that life is most delicious when you stop following a recipe and just live.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

When I get stressed out, I usually want to curl up in bed with a good book and avoid all my responsibilities. When Ruby gets stressed out, she comes up with a new recipe and calls it a “stressipe.” While I am nowhere near as creative as that, I found the idea very clever and wanted to try some of the recipes she came up with, if only she gave more details. (I can’t just throw ingredients together and expect a masterpiece!) This was just one aspect (out of many) of the story, that had me laughing and grinning. Janis Thomas created a lovable and genuine character to whom I could easily relate, even if I had never been in her shoes. The fun and entertaining secondary characters, each with their own quirks, along with the snappy dialogue kept this story flowing from page one to the very end. Her descriptions made the story feel like a movie in my head, as I could easily visualize characters and places throughout.

The only thing that didn’t work for me was the way Ruby’s assistant, Marcy, talked. I got that she was quirky, but even when she mellowed out a bit, she still talked that way. I just found it weird and somewhat annoying. However, that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story and Marcy was more of a background role than some of the other secondary characters, like Ruby’s hilarious best friend, Izzy, who tells it like it is.

I had a lot of fun reading Sweet Nothings and almost forgot it was a book sometimes. I felt like I was chatting with a close girlfriend while reading it. The cute cover also drew me in, as I couldn’t resist the festive look and the bright colors.

Of course, I had to work my movie casting magic with this novel, in hopes that a Hollywood big shot is reading my review and looking for ideas. (You never know!)

Ruby: Tina Fey
Izzy: Justina Machado
Jacob: Simon Baker
Walter: Jon Favreau
Marcy: Mae Whitman
Ruby's mother: Julie Andrews (there's a reason for this...)
Cheryl: Gwyneth Paltrow (she’s never actually seen in the book, but if there were pictures around, she’d be the one portraying her)

Thanks to Penguin (Berkley) for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have TWO copies for some lucky readers in the US!

How to win:
Since Ruby was a skilled cake decorator, tell us how she should decorate a cake for your next birthday.

One entry per person.

Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win. Entries without contact information will NOT be counted.

US only. Giveaway ends August 18th at midnight EST.

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28 comments:

Jessica said...

light purple frosting... with daisies and butterflies all over the place!

jrryba(at)gmail(dot)com

Charlotte said...

Heart shape cake with white frosting, red roses and Happy Birthday in red. I have had 73 cakes made like this. Will Have number 74 next year.

CABWNANA1@bellsouth.net

TinaB said...

Chocolate cake covered with fondant zebra print with lime green and purple for accent colors!
Brannanflooring@aol.com

Kritter said...

Well my birthday is tomorrow (August 13!!) I would love a birthday cake that represented things I love - my police officer husband, my pup and reading!

kdurham2@gmail.com

Lisamarie said...

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

tropicalsunlover05(at)yahoo(dot)com

Summer Grinstead said...

I'm a fan of polka dots!

sumsum085@aol.com

Nova said...

I would want a Dome-shaped cake covered with a layer of fondant, on which about 100 ruffle-blossoms are attached. beautiful pink ruffly cake.
sparkle40175@hotmail.com

Jessica said...

I think she should decorate it with a picture of a golden retriever, like my dog Haley. =]

Thanks!

-Jessica M
walkingcorpse11@hotmail.com

Bonnie K. said...

My favorite cake for my birthday is the carrot cake. So, I'd like it decorated with carrots and some greens along with walnuts on the edge and sides. Also, for a different cake , I love little flowers; so, maybe some small violets and a few wild flowers.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

Maureen said...

She should decorate it with flowers since I like all different types.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

pascale said...

I would love a cake covered with icing (buttercream) sunflowers! I have made that several times for my girls and it makes me so happy!

pascale.poitras@verizon.net

Britney Adams said...

I'm invisioning a chocolate cake with turquoise and white chevron striped fondant and a red, scripted initial (the recipient's initial) on top!

texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

susieqlaw said...

With buttercream white icing and buttercream flowers all over the cake on light pink and lavender.

sendsusanmail at gmail dot com

cindy r said...

Key Lime and we could top it off with key lime martinis and margaritas! YUMMY
write(on)cindy(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jennifer Huelsebusch said...

Chocolate cake with white icing. Decorated in red!!

Jhuelsebusch@sbcglobal.net

Kim Pinch said...

I would love a decadent dark chocolate and fruit topped birthday cake.

Kim Pinch said...

I would love a decadent dark chocolate and fruit topped birthday cake.

Linda Kish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Kish said...

White cake with butter cream frosting and edible flowers to decorate it.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Tiffany Drew said...

Chocolate cake with a picture of Paul Rudd on it would do just fine for me. Yummy in more ways than one!

jaidahsmommy(at)comcast(dot)net

bn100 said...

with images of different kinds of chocolate

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Anita Yancey said...

I would like a yellow cake with pink buttercream icing with colorful butterflies all over it.

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Sheena said...

I'd love a chocolate pnut butter cake with dark chocolate frosting and reeses miniatues on top!

wapneski@yahoo.com

Bridget O'Neill said...

Red velvet cake with buttercream frosting, with little edible books on it :)

Bjoneill@hotmail.com

StephTheBookworm said...

I would like a cake with sock monkeys because they are my favorite.

Stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

I would love an owl cake!

Connie said...

I would like a yellow cake with basic white buttercream frosting and pink piped flowers around the edge of the cake. I love soft and simple. Cake is my favorite. Looking forward to reading “Sweet Nothings.”

conniecape(at)aol(dot)com

Melissa said...

Thanks for participating and telling us what you'd want on your birthday cake.

Thanks to Penguin for sharing the book with our winners.

Random.org chose TWO winners from all entries with contact info (one entry per person).

Congrats to:
12-Britney Adams
17-Linda Kish