At the Sun-Gazette, staff members tend to read. A lot. So we thought we would share what we're reading and let you know how they fare. Submissions from the community also are encouraged and may be mailed to the Lifestyle Department, 252 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701 or emailed to email@example.com.
We also are interested in what you want us to read and review; just send us an email or give us a call at 326-1551, ext. 3109.
Staffer: Tara D. McKinney, correspondent.
What I read: "How to Eat a Cupcake," by Meg Donohue.
Synopsis: Annie Quintana and Julia St. Clare grew up together in the same household, but are from two completely different worlds.
Annie, as the daughter of Julia's family's nanny/cook, and Julia as the privileged daughter of one San Francisco's most celebrated and wealthy couples.
Although they were best friends and practically sisters, they grew apart in high school and became estranged. Annie's mother died and Annie left the St. Clair's house at 18.
Ten years later Annie is a very talented, though underpaid, pastry chef still working hard to get over her mother's death.
Julia is a super successful businesswoman with a painful secret that may ruin her relationship with her fiancee. The two women meet again at a party thrown by the St. Clair's and catered by Annie's bakery.
Julia takes one bite of a cupcake and falls head over heels in love with Annie's talent and asks her to open a cupcakery with Annie as the pastry chef and Julia as the business end of things.
They struggle to ease the tension between them due to events in their shared past and fight to keep their new business open despite mysterious sabotage and vandalism.
Stats: Published by William Morrow Paperbacks in 2012, 309 pages.
What I thought: This book was pretty delicious.
It had friendship, jealousy, socioeconomic class issues, an ex-boyfriend/old crush, mystery, and the most yummy-sounding cupcakes ever. This book was only really missing the recipes for all the luscious desserts mentioned in the book like coconut flan and salted caramel pear cupcakes. I was practically drooling as I read about Meyer lemon cupcakes with passion fruit custard and vanilla bean butter cream. I think the author should make an accompanying cookbook for "How to Eat a Cupcake."
I really enjoyed the picture that Donohue painted of my hometown, San Francisco, including the fog and salt damaged cars, and Victorian homes. The book had a few unexpected twists in it. I really didn't see them coming and I'm usually pretty good at figuring out what's going to happen before it actually happens in a book, so Donohue did an excellent job keeping me guessing.
I guess the genre would officially be chic-lit, and it did fit that category, but with a little something extra. In fact, it was a little all over the place with the little mysteries and emotional upheaval for some of the characters. More focus on the cupcakery and cupcakes themselves would have really made this a more cohesive book.
But sometimes you're in the mood for a light read and "How to Eat a Cupcake," definitely fit the bill for girly fluff.
I would have liked to see more development of Annie and Julia's friendship. I felt that by the end of the book things were just starting heal between them. I also would have liked to read more about Annie's mother and her relationship with the St. Clairs and also her back story.
But overall, this was a good book that would be perfect to read poolside or on the beach. (But it's probably not the best book to read if you are trying to stay away from sweets.)
What I'm reading next: "The Paperboy," by Pete Dexter.