Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O'Neal

The Basics:
The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O'Neal
Published March 4, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

It sounded so happy and upbeat, I couldn't resist.


Popular blogger and foodie queen Lavender Wills reigns over Lavender Honey Farms, a serene slice of organic heaven nestled in Oregon wine country. Lavender is determined to keep her legacy from falling into the profit-driven hands of uncaring relatives, and she wants an heir to sustain her life’s work after she’s gone. So she invites her three closest online friends—fellow food bloggers, women of varied ages and backgrounds—out to her farm. She hopes to choose one of them to inherit it—but who?

There’s Ginny, the freckle-faced Kansas cake baker whose online writing is about to lead her out of a broken marriage and into a world of sensual delights. And Ruby, young, pregnant, devoted to the organic movement, who’s looking for roots—and the perfect recipe to heal a shattered heart. Finally, Val, smart and sophisticated, a wine enthusiast who needs a fresh start for her teenage daughter after tragedy has rocked their lives. Coming together will change the Foodie Four in ways they could never have imagined, uniting them in love and a common purpose. As they realize that life doesn’t always offer a perfect recipe for happiness, they also discover that the moments worth savoring are flavored with some tears, a few surprises, and generous helping of joy.

My thoughts:

What an amazingly feel-good book. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. As much as I was rooting for the women to get their happily ever afters, whatever they might be, I was
also really curious about some of the secrets that dominate the book.

All four of our central women drew me in. Lavender's still spunky in her old age, sure of herself and of where she's been and of what it takes to grasp joy. Ginny's so fragile in her freedom, so afraid and unsure. The circumstances of her marriage really intrigued me, and I wanted to know more, even though I didn't want to spend any more time in her hometown of Dead Gulch than strictly necessary. Ruby was a delight, of course, though I found that her inner voice, when she narrated was a little different from her voice within the group. She was a little gungho about Ginny's situation, and that struck me as an odd tone for her.

Valerie and her daughter Hannah felt the least resolved, to me, and this might be because we spend so little time with them. I appreciated that their story was addressed in some ways, but I thought there needed to be a little bit more here.

I loved the inclusion of emails and text messages. The blog posts were a mixed bag for me, they didn't always add anything for me, but I liked seeing that

And of course, the blogging. I'm a sucker for a book that involves writing, and apparently now blogging as well. It was interesting to read about how they all came together online, and to read about the community that developed around their blogs. I loved the idea of it, of these four very different women drawn together by words exchanged and shared online. Love love love.

In the end, I think there are some really positive messages to take from this - that it's never too late, that there's a lot of power in female friendships, that we need to listen to our own voices instead of those around us.

Bottom line:

I finished The All You Can Dream Buffet with a smile on my face. I enjoyed it a lot and happily recommend it. It's a contemporary women's story about friendship and love, joy and dreams. It wasn't syrupy sweet, but it was a happy book. Enjoy it!

5 stars
For fans of contemporary romance, women finding themselves, friendship tales.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a cute read. I love books that include emails and texts and whatnot.