Monday, April 16, 2012
Katherine Tegen Books, 2012
Source: Received an ARC from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.
I love books that have something to do with cooking or baking; I find it very comforting just as I love to watching shows featuring those activities. Plus the cover is bright and cheerful, which had me anticipating a fun story with family, food, and magic.
The Bliss family has a cookbook that has been handed down for generations and is filled with all sorts of secrets that are not shared with the Bliss children, Thyme (Ty), Rosemary (Rose), Sage, and Parsley (Leigh). While for the most part they don't mind as they are too self-absorbed or young, Rose does bristle at this. She has a natural talent for baking and is an awkward stage of adolescence. She is starting to notice boys but feels too plain; she feels overshadowed by her superstar older brother; she also alternates between feeling stifled by her home and never wanting to leave. It's a lot of complicated feelings, she's at a difficult age, and I understood where she was coming from.
All of these feelings come to a head when the Bliss parents leave town and the mysterious but glamorous Aunt Lily sweeps in to town. Buoyed by the absence of their parents and the encouragement of Aunt Lily, the kids start to experiment with some of the recipes in the book, causing havoc in their town. But Aunt Lily is also dangerous with a hidden past and her magical influence over people. She encourages the worst in the Bliss children even as Rose fights to do the right thing. Lily especially tempts and targets Rose with beauty and fame; Rose must rely on her own sense of right and wrong to determine the correct course of action.
For me, the book was pretty predictable, which is not a bad thing. But waiting for Rose to discover Lily's true colors was agonizing for me. I'm not sure why I felt so strongly about that plot point but it was on my mind through the whole book. I didn't even really enjoy the love spell Ty casts on the girls in the town or the crazy backwards spell that leads to a disco party because of my dread. This dragged down my enjoyment of the story and my overall rating but is obviously a very weird, personal thing.
Overall: A fun magical story with family and baking.
Cover: Delicious with yummy food in the window and pretty swirls on the words.