How to Bake a Manby Jessica Barksdale Inclan (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Ghostwoods Books on October 21, 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When Becca Muchmore drops out of grad school, all she has left to fall back on is her baking. Ignoring her mother's usual barrage of disapproval and disappointment, she decides to start a small business hand-delivering her wares. A friend introduces her to an office of hungry lawyers, who agree to give her a try. Her lizard-booted neighbor Sal is happy to help out when he can, and almost before she knows it, Becca's Best is up and running.
Before she can settle into a routine, things get complicated. The office ogress could easily be Becca's sister and has absolutely no patience with cookies or other frivolities. Even worse, her boyfriend is the man of Becca's dreams--kind, funny, successful, and brain-meltingly gorgeous. As the dark undercurrents threaten to pull her down, Becca swiftly finds herself neck-deep in office politics, clandestine romance, and flour. Saving her business (and finding true love) is going to take everything she's got, and more.
Packed with charm, sparkling humor, and a genuinely unforgettable cast, this delicious tale of a woman struggling to find her path might just be Jessica Barksdale Inclán's finest novel to date.
Becca barely makes it through one class of her graduate school career for a business degree before deciding to call it quits. She doesn’t feel like she belongs there with the young, straight-out-of-undergrad people or that she can really devote two years of her life to this degree right now. Her life has been rather stagnant as she’s worked the books for several years in what she feels is a dead end job, and she quit that to go to business school. But she does have one bright spot in her life: baking. Becca learned how to bake delicious desserts from her mother at a young age, and she’s perfected and honed her baking skills throughout her years. Now that she has no job and no school to attend, she decides to start her own small baking business, delivering fresh, homemade desserts to a law firm twice daily thanks to a hook up from her best friend. And Becca’s Best is born…
How To Bake a Man is full of delicious desserts, and Becca’s love and devotion to painstakingly crafting these treats to perfection is an obsession to her. She uses baking as an escape–a crutch–and she has certainly used her baking as a means to make friends and an excuse to be social in the past. Her childhood best-friend lives across the country while Becca is still in San Francisco, but we still get to know her through phone calls back and forth. Becca is unsure of herself when it comes to men after being burned in her one serious relationship, so she can’t see a good thing when it’s right in front of her. But she’s like with anyone in front of her. She’s a terrible judge of people’s interpersonal connections and relationship wishes, so she makes a lot of assumptions and mistakes through the course of this book as she second guesses herself and everyone else’s motives.
The office that Becca peddles her desserts is full of a strange mix of people. From the assistant who knows exactly what’s going on with everyone and the guy who works right behind her who is harboring a huge crush on her, to the office bitch who could be Becca’s doppleganger that has everyone ducking for cover whenever she leaves her office, to the lawyer that hired Becca in who’s fraternity brother’s with her best friend’s husband and always seems a bit sad and too serious, the cast of characters is well-developed and Becca is drawn into their lives as she learns what they like to please them with her snacks. But she’s also instantly smitten with the office meanie’s boyfriend, who’s in from another law firm to help on a huge case, and seems to be equally fascinated by Becca. As the days go by, Becca’s business starts to boom, but so does her involvement with these law firm workers, and the consequences of such deep attachment can be detrimental to Becca’s self-respect and sanity.
One of my favorite parts of How To Bake a Man is Becca’s neighbor Sal, who volunteers to drive her to the office and help with the baking. He quickly becomes her partner and best friend, picking her up with his quirky life mottos and winning everyone over with his positive attitude. He even helps her with all of her problems–even when it comes to men–and he does so happily. He’s such a bright spot and calming guy to Becca’s flighty and nervous, so they compliment each other in the business nicely.
I give How To Bake a Man a 4.5 out of 5. This is a nice, fluffy read with minimal angst that has moments of family drama, relationship issues, and unrequited love. Becca has a bit of a problem of seeing herself clearly as well as those around her, so this leads to quite a bit of conflict. The desserts are described with such detail and with a great deal of love that it’s no doubt that the author is a foodie, and there’s even quite a few recipes at the back so you can bake your own tasty desserts. I highly recommend this book if you love your chick lit on the fun side with a nice dose of self-exploration and growth, along with a nice tour of desserts!
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