Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#Collaboreads | A Foodie Book

#Collaboreads | A Foodie Book - A Simpler Grace

Although this was not a sponsored post, it does contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own. For more info on affiliate links, please see my disclosures(*asterisk denotes affiliate link)

I'm back again for another installment of the #Collaboreads linkup. This month, we read foodie books. Click the link below to check out what the others read this month!

#Collaboreads | A Foodie Book - A Simpler Grace

by Kate Jacobs

Food television star Augusta "Gus" Simpson is at risk of losing her show due to low ratings just before her fiftieth birthday. As a last resort. her producer pairs her up with a young internet food personality and former Miss Spain, CarmenVega to co-host a live cooking program. With the introduction of an armload of supporting characters, each with their own agendas and problems, everything that can go wrong for Gus and Carmen, does go wrong. 

What part of the book could you not get enough of?
It's hard for me to find a part of this book that I can say was riveting. To be frank, it was kind of boring. Ok, it was very boring. The story dragged on and the characters were lackluster. I've read Jacob's first series, The Friday Night Knitting Club*, and they were much better. Comfort Food felt a little too wordy. Every sentence was overly descriptive with details that weren't relevant to the plot in any way but instead came off as if the extra words were being used to increase the book's word count. It was quite a disappointing sophomore attempt from Jacobs.

How did you relate to/care for the characters? What are your thoughts on the plot line and twists and turns?
I could not relate to any of the characters in this book. Gus, the protagonist, was very a high brown and snooty woman who refused to acknowledge the problems within her family and life, but rather nudged them under the rug for safe keeping. Of her two daughters, one was the boring cliche for a single, professional woman in New York City who had no life but rather spends her free time home alone watching game show reruns; the other is the epitome of a spoiled brat. Gus's cooking show counterpart, Carmen, came off as whiney and needy. The other supporting characters were predictable and ordinary.

Speaking of predictable, the plot was more of the same. One of the first live cooking episodes Gus and Carmen are supposed to be hosting, Gus decides she'd like to have her daughters on the show to assist her. Then, one of her daughters' ex-boyfriends finds his way onto the set. Then, the culinary director. Then Gus's former tennis star neighbor. It was an "I have a tv show and I think everyone in my contacts should be involved" nightmare that ends up with ingredients getting swapped out unexpectedly and the kitchen catching on fire. I chuckled, yes, but you could see the turns in the plot from a mile away.

What other books are like this one? If none, did it remind you of a particular tv show or movie with its themes and characters? Does it serendipitously line up with things going on in your life or in the news right now?
I can't think of any books that Comfort Food reminds me of, but I can equate it to a really bad episode of Chopped, when the contestants open up a basket to reveal a pile of completely random and unrelated ingredients they must create an edible dish out of, and an early 90's sitcom (like Full House), when all family problems are neatly wrapped up in the thirty minutes allotted for the show.

It was difficult to relate to a book when the points of conflict in the story are more like jello than a stone wall.

You know you judged this book by the cover. What did you think of it? How did it relate to the contents of the novel? And the font and layout of the pages?
From my research, I count five different covers for this book. Two are variations of the same design: a black cover with a muted photograph of a plate of fruit. Two more have cupcakes on them, one more elegant looking and one with a handwritten cover and the third variation has a professionally-dressed woman leaning against an oven and holding a tote full of food. None of them give you any indication as to what you can expect from the novel, but rather that it's about food.

On that note, however, the food featured on the covers isn't anything that is prepared through the story. No one makes cupcakes and the plate of fruit is more rustic country than anything that would be displayed in Gus's kitchen. I don't understand why there are so many cover designs. They are all nice but none of them are applicable to the book.

STARS | ★★☆☆☆
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
I'd have to say that I would not recommend this book to anyone unless you like drabby, ultra-faux feel-good story. I was quite disappointed. The other books I've read from Jacobs had much better character development and the plots were more enjoyable. Maybe next time, Jacobs.

This post is part of the #Collaboreads linkup with Rachel and Amber. For more info on how you can participate, visit Rachel's page for details.

I'd love to know - have you read any foodie books lately that you can recommend?

The post #Collaboreads | A Foodie Book first appeared on A Simpler Grace. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your friends!


  1. I normally like throwing books like this into my reading queue to break up any more serious/suspenseful reads, but this does definitely sound boring! There's a difference between fluff and boring. ;)

  2. There's a big difference! I probably would have abandoned this one had it not been for this post. Hope next month's collaboread is better!

  3. Sorry this was a dud for you!

  4. Me too! I was really hoping this one was going to be good. Hope next month's read is better!