Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: Grace for the Char-Baked by Lisa Buffaloe

Book Cover and Synopsis:
With "Char" as a nickname, Charlotte Wilson's cooking skills are more incendiary than culinary. Charlotte is the last person on earth who should run a bake sale. But when her plans of running in a charity marathon are side-lined by a broken foot, her old flame's suggestion becomes a challenge amidst her friends' simmering doubts.

Luke Hammond has spent the last five years studying and preparing to travel overseas as a medical missionary. When his high school sweetheart unexpectedly comes back in his life, Luke wrestles with what he feels God calling him to be and what he wants to do. His reappearance rekindles an attraction that could char Luke and Charlotte's heart or cook up the perfect romance.

My source for book: Personal library
My Thoughts:
The idea of someone with a charred thumb, so to speak, holding a bake sale is quite amusing, so I was rather curious to see what this novella had to offer. It also gave me the chance to try a different author, which is always fun. :)

Charlotte's ineptitude in the kitchen is quite extreme, which gives her friends plenty of near-disaster scenarios to tease her about. Their relentless jokes about her lack of skill got a bit stale (pun intended) for me after a while, making me feel kind of bad for her despite the fact that her tendency for calamity bordered on unbelievable. I liked how Charlotte wouldn't let them stop her from holding the bake sale, no matter what, and how she was determined to prove them all wrong about her lack of kitchen skills. (No-bake recipes can actually be pretty good!)

The writing is decent; though the dialogue at times feels a touch stiff, it's not enough to hinder things. The one thing that struck me as slightly odd is that both Charlotte and Luke expressed a feeling of being called to the mission field, but it never seemed completely genuine to me. I had a hard time imagining either character in a mission field setting... their "call" to the field seemed more like something they "wanted" to want, rather than an actual calling. It wasn't a deal-breaker for me, just something I noticed and found interesting.

Overall, Grace for the Char-Baked is a mostly amusing diversion. Lost love is given a second chance, and the bake sale turns out much differently than Charlotte ever imagined. I wouldn't call it overly realistic, but then again, I don't necessarily want to read complete realism in my down-time. :) While it probably won't be extremely memorable for me in the long run, I did find it fairly entertaining while reading.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

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