Saturday, May 9, 2009

Book Review: Comfort Food

Gus Simpson is the queen of food TV. She has her own cooking show, cook books, appliance line. She has a beautiful home and tons of fame. But at 50, her life gets turned upside down when an up-and-coming host, former Spanish beauty queen Carmen Vega, becomes her cohost because of poor ratings. The two are at each other's throats from day one, both believing they deserve their own show.

Along with Carmen, Gus' new show includes her twentysomething daughters, practical Aimee and impulsive Sabrina; Sabrina's ex-boyfriend Troy; Gus' neighbor and hermit friend Hannah; and hunky new chef Oliver. During this milestone in her life and upheavel of her career, Gus learns how to not be such a "helicopter parent" and works with her daughters to form better relationships and work out bad feelings that have been lingering since the death of Gus' husband years ago.

Author Kate Jacobs does a great job of developing dynamic characters who grow throughout the novel, although at times it is difficult to keep up with all of them. She shows each person's faults and good qualities. The reader can sympathize with each character and understand where they are coming from -- even Carmen, who is set up to be the antagonist.

Comfort Food sends the message that there can be an immense amount of love between family and friends, no matter what the differences and obstacles are. The novel leaves the reader feeling satiated and with that warm feeling only good comfort food can provide!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Book Review: Something Drastic

In the hilarious and fast-paced Something Drastic, Colleen Curran introduces us to the lovely Lenore, whose boyfriend of 8 years leaves her unexpectedly on Boxing Day. Lenore has no clue why her Fergie has left her -- other than the fact that he is going to work in the tourist industry in Florida.

Over the next 12 months, Lenore tries to figure out why Fergie has left and if he's coming back. She tries to keep in contact with him through letters, even though he never writes back. As the weeks go on, Lenore learns things about her ex she had no idea were going on. She slowly embraces a new life, including making friends with her tenant Heidi, a professor, and getting an acting gig in a musical.

Readers can see how Lenore changes during her fun year-long journey of getting over Fergie. Many women can sympathize with the process Lenore goes through, but there are some zany situations she gets herself into that are pure Lenore. The quirky woman sends Fergie newspaper clippings with headlines such as, "Bear Tries to Eat Man's Head" and "Salmonella Kills Construction Worker at 5,000 Feet."