Thursday, November 4, 2010


We were lucky enough to get our sticky little fingers on an ARC of Melissa Senate's latest THE LOVE GODDESS' COOKING SCHOOL and we have one warning. It's like the rule don't grocery shop on an empty stomach; don't read this book if you're hungry. I may or may not have gained five pounds over the two days I devoured it (those Halloween candy wrappers littered around me have nothing to do with it). It's also not a coincidence that every meal I've prepared over the past week has been Italian-inspired. And I seriously have Melissa to thank for helping to end my stove-strike. I even made chicken parmesan using homemade spaghetti sauce. Okay, okay, it wasn't my homemade sauce, it was Stacey's, but it still counts, right? Right.

Here's what the back cover has to say: Holly Maguire’s grandmother Camilla was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine—a Milanese fortune-teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can’t make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that’s why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla’s Cucinotta, she’s determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother’s legacy.

But Holly’s four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla’s chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter’s heart. Juliet, Holly’s childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can’t find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad, Liam, from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla’s essential ingredients of wishes and memories in every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed—and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.

Lila's Take: We've been so caught up in the world of YA that reading this book reminded us of our first love, chick-lit women's fiction, that we've been neglecting the past two years. It was a little jarring to read about a main character in her *gasp* thirties who *gasp* drinks wine and is*gasp* allowed to have sex! But we liked it. We liked it a lot. Holly might start out with your typical broken heart, but her journey is unique and exciting. She heads back to Maine where she used to spend the summers and plans on helping her grandmother with her Italian cooking school to distance herself from her ex-boyfriend and his little girl. Of course, things don't always go according to plan, and when her grandmother unexpectedly passes away, she decides to try to take over the school to keep her grandmother's spirit alive. Throughout the course of the novel, Holly teaches herself to cook (it is obvious that Melissa has a great knowledge of Italian cooking, because the language, recipes and ingredients are authentic and ridiculously mouthwatering to boot. Our Grandma Josephine would be proud!), helps to heal the hearts of her broken students and even manages to stumble upon some love of her own. It's feel-good in the best way possible and even includes exact recipes in the back for brave readers to try on their own! What more could we ask for? Well, besides Melissa coming over and cooking for us.

Check out what the other Bookinistas are up to this week!

Elana Johnson marvels over The Mockingbirds

Lisa and Laura Roecker dish about The Love Goddess' Cooking School
Christine Fonseca is nostalgic over books she loved growing up
Shannon Messenger is excited about the Ninth Ward
Megan Miranda adores The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Myra McEntire raves about NetGalley
Kirsten Hubbard considers the good, the bad and the ugly impact of reviews
Bethany Wiggins can't get enough of Black Hole Sun
Jamie Harrington is thrilled about The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball


Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Thanks for mentioning a book we might not otherwise hear about in the kid lit world. I am reading a YA paranormal book right now that is very similar to another YA book I'm listening to on cd. I'm thinking maybe it's a sign I need to deviate a little bit :) Thanks girls!

Marissa :)

Matthew Rush said...

Sounds very nice. Thank god this is a novel because for a second I thought you were reviewing a cookbook.

And I'm part Italian. Everyone who knows anything knows that Italian is the best food in the world, the French be damned.

Bada boom, bada bing, you know what I mean?

Christine Fonseca said...

Oh, this looks good. And man, I love many adult genres too and I get very caught up in my YA world and "forget" to read in those other genres too

Liza said...

I love to cook, I love to eat and I love to read. This sounds like a fantastic read! Thanks.

Marsha Sigman said...

Holy Hell. The only way this book could sound any better is if there were an order form in the back for prepackaged meals.

'Cause that's how I like to cook. I am an expert at peeling off those cellophane wrappers.

Elana Johnson said...

*gasp* This sounds amazing!

Carolyn V. said...

That book sounds great! And plus now I'm a little hungry.

Melissa Senate said...

Thank you SO much for this wonderful review! Nice surprise!

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Okay, now I feel guilty for not cooking more. I have all my Italian grandmother's recipes for pretty much the best food ever (no really, her chicken parm is THE BEST) and...I think I've made them maybe, twice since I moved out. #Shannonfail)

Anyway, great review. Definitely sounds like I need to read this. :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

*gasp* Not all three - old age, alcohol, and sex - in one novel?!! Oh, my!

Great review, ladies! :-)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I feel hungry just reading this post. But man, I'm like you--I have got to read more adult books!! I feel so out of touch with them now. But man, I miss them. Perhaps I can squeeze this one in soon. I don't know why, but I LOVE books that feature cooking and food. I'm so weird.

Great review, chicas!

Claire Dawn said...

This sounds amazing!I miss woman's fic. Might have to start reading some again after nano. Putting this on TBR!

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