Tag Archives: Relationships

Review: Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest
By J. Ryan Stradal
(Pamela Dorman Books, Hardcover, 9780525429142, July 28, 2015, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

Food has a way of bringing people together but in this novel, not only do they come together, but they continually evolve to discover who they really are.

The Rest of It:

Lars Thorvald, a chef, spends his days consumed with the beauty of the bounty before him. His wife Cynthia, an aspiring sommelier, appears to be his perfect match, but when their daughter Eva is born, Cynthia realizes that motherhood is not for her and abandons both her husband and infant daughter to pursue a life elsewhere.

This was a wonderful read. Many have said that it reads like a collection of short stories but I didn’t get that feeling at all. Each chapter is based on an ingredient that becomes very important at the end of the novel, but it lends a certain mystery to the story as new characters are introduced and the pieces begin to come together.

If you are a foodie, you will enjoy this book. Even if you’re not, you will enjoy this book because it’s smart and the characters are a little quirky and flawed but they all meld together to tell a really good story.

It’s about family and friends and really, the pursuit of happiness and whatever your definition of happiness may be.

This is a debut novel for Stradal but you’d never know it while reading it. It’s a delightful read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Make sure you check out these additional resources:

Fun Resources for your Book Club!

Online Book Club Kit (recipes, wine pairings, playlists!)
Q & A with J. Ryan Stradal

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review & Giveaway: The Last Pilot

The Last Pilot

The Last Pilot 
By Benjamin Johncock
(Picador USA, Hardcover, 9781250066640, July 7, 2015, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

Amid the excitement of space exploration, one couple is forced to deal with a horrible tragedy and the aftermath that it leaves behind.

The Rest of It:

The story centers around Jim Harrison and his wife Grace. Jim is an Air Force test pilot in Muroc, California on a base which later becomes Edwards Air Force Base. He’s a member of the New Nine, which is the first group to fly manned missions to space. As you can imagine, this is a very exciting time for them all.

Grace is not your typical Air Force wife. She worries, but she seems to know deep down, that things will turn out okay. But things are not okay. Jim and Grace suffer a terrible tragedy and it’s threatening to tear them apart. Grace desperately needs Jim during this time, but Jim chooses to bury himself in work.  How can you help another person when your own grief is too heavy to bear?

I really liked this novel. The excitement of space exploration is what grabbed my attention initially, but this couple’s situation really stayed with me. Not to mention the casual mentions of real-life astronaut Jim Lovell and larger-than-life Pancho Barnes. Barnes, who seriously steals the show in this one, could be the subject of her own book. She runs a bar, flies an airplane and basically knows everyone and better yet, seems to know exactly what everyone needs.

This knack of hers comes in handy more than once.

This was a smooth read for me. Even without the use of quotation marks, the writing and dialogue flowed effortlessly. Yes, there might have been a little confusion on my part when more than one character had the same name (two Jims, two Graces) but I quickly figured out who was who.

Overall, I really enjoyed this debut from Benjamin Johncock and I would absolutely read his work again. Check out his website here.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy, check out the details below.


GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

This giveaway is for one copy of The Last Pilot and is open to the US and Canada. A winner will be chosen randomly by me. The book will come directly from the publisher. Only one entry per person.  Giveaway closes on Sunday, July 26, 2015 (pacific). I will contact the winner for his/her mailing address.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!


Source
: Review and giveaway copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.