Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: A Pinch of Ooh La La

By Miriam Plotinsky

Opening a successful bakery sounds like a good idea in a book, but it's not always possible in real life. Still, it's a lot of fun to read about cakes and pastries! At first glance, Renee Swindle's A Pinch of Ooh La La looks like another story about a woman with post-traumatic breakup disorder who opens a bakery to smashing success. However, there is so much more to the story than first meets the eye.


The plot centers on Abbey Ross, a spunky baker whose blended family is the most extensive and entertaining bunch that anyone could ever imagine. Her father, a jazz icon, has several ex-wives and girlfriends and even more children, and together they form a big, happy family. While this prospect seems both unrealistic and anti-feminist (Abbey's father is far too reminiscent of a privileged patriarch with scads of women at his beck and call), the scenes involving Abbey's family are lively and help paint the picture of Abbey's strong identity.

When Abbey meets a seemingly perfect man in Samuel Howard, her life falls into even more complicated territory. Samuel is traditionally minded, and he values neither Abbey's unusual upbringing nor her artistic roots. Instead, he hopes to steer her toward a more standard life path. What follows is realistically complex, making Abbey's life struggles realistic in spite of her fantastical personal history.

With strong characters appearing literally everywhere, the story never stalls. Particularly enjoyable are Bendrix, Abbey's best friend, and her father, Lincoln, whose devotion seems incongruous in comparison with his active romantic history. A bevy of step-mothers and mother figures also weigh in on Abbey's problems to quite a bit of comic relief.

The story that Swindle cooks up in A Pinch of Ooh La La is as delightful and savory as the wedding cakes Abbey creates with such artistry. Working with fondant isn't easy, and neither is writing a story with such heart. But both are worth it if the results are as pleasing as they are in Swindle's latest.

Thanks to Penguin for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have one copy for a lucky US reader!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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

37 comments:

Janine said...

Have a fabulous birthday, Miriam! I enjoyed your review.

TinaB said...

Happy Birthday Miriam!!!

Bonnie Franks said...

Happy Birthday, Miriam! Enjoyed your review and best wishes for all your endeavors!

Bonnie Franks said...

Nutty Snickers Fudge and thanks for directing me there!!!!

susieqlaw said...

Happy Birthday! Best wishes to you!

Krissy Wise said...

Happy Birthday Miriam. Enjoy a nice slice of birthday cake with that oh so yummy butter cream frosting.

pascale said...

I love food related books- thanks for the recommendation!

pascale said...

And, happy birthday! Keep writing reviews, whatever you do!

Milena Mutter said...

Happy Birthday, Miriam, and best wishes !

Suzanne said...

Happy Birthday!! Here's to your health and happiness.

Laura Bryant said...

Happy Birthday Miriam.

Ro said...

Cheers Miriam!

Bridget T. said...

Happy Birthday and best wishes!

Melanie Backus said...

Happy, Happy Birthday. And may your roads ahead be smooth ones.

mauback55 at gmail dot com

Lisa W said...

Happy Happy Birthday!

Bonnie K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bonnie K. said...

Happy Birthday, Miriam! Thank you for the book reviews. Hope you're having a wonderful day.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Happy birthday, Miriam! Best of luck in your new endeavors.

Virginia Guin Reese said...

Happy, Happy Birthday! Miriam hope you enjoy your day and YEAR. Keep reading and reviewing as your move forward with your future.

Bonnie K. said...

I wasn't sure if you wanted me to comment on the Just About Baked or here--so did both. I commented on the Nutty Snickers Fudge recipe.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Margarita Mini-Bundts sounds like it would be good.

bn100 said...

Happy birthday!

Nutty Snickers Fudge

Anita Yancey said...

I hope that you have a super great birthday Miriam.

Anita Yancey said...

I hope that you have a super great birthday Miriam.

Tami said...

Happy Happy Day!!

Patricia said...

Have a wonderful birthday, Miriam! And what a sweet book to end with.

Shelby N. said...

This birthday cookie cake definitely interests me...looks fantastic!

http://justaboutbaked.com/?p=1517

Shelby N. said...

Hope your birthday was special and that you got to spend it just the way you wanted!

Robin Driscoll said...

Hope you have a fantastic birthday, may all your wishes come true.

Robin Driscoll said...

OMG, the Magic Middle Cookies is one I am going to have to try!!

rubynreba said...

Happy Happy Birthday!!!

rubynreba said...

Strawberry Cream pie sounds good.

Emily Lewis said...

Happy birthday!

Amy Mays said...

Happy birthday Miriam! I liked the recipe for the m&m cookie dough fudge bars.

DonnaC said...

Happy birthday Miriam! Hope you get a lovely cake that reminds you of the ones in this book :)

Bridget O'Neill said...

Happy birthday Miriam!

Mir said...

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, ladies, and for checking out my recipes. I hope you enjoy!