Mostly I pick which book to read next based on cover alone. When I first buy the book I skim the blurb to see if it's in the ballpark of something I'd like and to make sure it's got nothing in it that would turn me off. After sitting on my kindle or bookshelves for eons I've usually long forgotten what it's about by the time I finally get around to reading it. I rarely if ever read the reviews for books I'm about to read either so I go in blind most of the time.
I read across all kinds of genres so my shelves are a total mismatch and riot of covers and I never know what I'm in the mood for until one of the covers calls to me.
This cover called. From the looks of it I had thought it might be a quirky Small Town Romance but it's sooo much more. Actually, I wouldn't even call it a romance, it's just Small Town but I still love this book!
I'm never very good at giving a quick run through of plot and there's just so much to this one that I barely know where to start with it but long story short...
The names of the MC and her sister actually threw me a bit in the beginning and took a while to grow on me but eventually I just loved everything about them, including their names. Queen Elizabeth and Merry Carole.
Queen Elizabeth (Queenie), is a talented chef and originally from a small Texas town (North Star). She has spent the past ten years moving from one job to another and from big city to big city to try and outrun her past which has left her with a lot of emotional baggage. Top of her baggage list would be - Being raised by an uncaring and at times cruel mother who had a taste for other women's husbands, a town full of mean girls and snobby first families who took delight in letting her (and her sister Merry Carole) know they were considered trash, and a broken heart from the man she's loved since they were in junior school together. After losing her latest catering position and tied accommodation she returns home to North Star to try and collect her thoughts and see where she should run to next.
While she's considering her options on where to head next she's offered a position as chef at the local prison, with the responsibility of cooking the Last Meal for prisoners on Death Row.
It all sounds a bit bleak, no? Just take another look at that cover though... It's a story about finding yourself and making your own luck and laying your demons to rest by meeting them head on. It's such a great story and I'm selling it short and probably turning a lot of people off it but it's brilliant.
For all it sounds depressing it's actually really heartwarming and the characters are vivid and funny and likeable and the Texas setting just came to life for me. I loved every single thing about this book. Everything!
I'm rambling. I find it really hard to put into words how I feel about 5* books but I want to let as many people as possible know that this is a great read. My mum isn't much of a reader but I pick out two or three titles a year to pass on to her as being special and this one is going straight to her house tomorrow.
I'm going to go now and buy all Liza Palmer's other stories and although I may take my time in getting to them I know that when I do they'll be written by someone who knows how to tell a story. This lady can write!
This finish gets me 360 pages closer to 1 Million pages challenge. 84,376/1,000,000