A tale of the Curious Cookbook
Three months after losing his parents in a car crash, Denver weatherman Daniel Whitaker returns to Laramie, Wyoming. It's bad enough dealing with the death of his parents and his failing relationship of 15 years, but when he finds his childhood home full of clutter, Daniel is at a loss. He enlists Landon, his parents' sexy neighbor, to help him sort through the mess.
Landon Kushner is a study in contradictions. He builds wind sculptures out of scrap metal and loves the outdoors, but he also rides a mint-green Vespa and has an affinity for knitting and fortune-telling. He's been friends with Daniel's parents for years, and he's more than willing to lend a hand.
Their plan is simple: Clean the house so Daniel can sell it and get back to his life in Denver. But when a strange cookbook comes into Landon's possession, Daniel begins to realize that the universe - and Granny B - may have other plans.
©2015 Marie Sexton (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
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"Lose the Narrator Along the Way Next Time"
Tails of the Curious Cookbook is the series name for an anthology of five short stories by five great writers. The writers, R.J. Scott, Amy Lane, Marie Sexton, Amber Kell, and Mary Calmes have written vastly different M/M romance stories with the unifying theme of a curious cookbook entitled Recipes for the Heart subtitled Mystical Meals and Dangerous Desserts hand written by the anonymous Granny B. The stories come in either a Kindle e-book or audible format. The cookbook is depicted as very old, tattered, faded, leather bound, and rich with notations from its users adding clarifying notations and reactions to the varies magical recipes. The recipes when prepared and served is intended to aid in sorting out some confusing romance aspect of the stories or make one feel better after a broken heart. These books will appeal to those with a romantic soul and believe in the magic of comfort food served with a side of the power of suggestion of magic.
I have written five separate reviews for each of the five stories. Please refer to the list below when looking up the appropriate review:
1. For a Rainy Afternoon by R.J. Scott
2. Food for Thought by Amy Lane
3. Lost Along the Way by Marie Sexton
4. Cookies for Courting by Amber Kell
5. Just Desserts by Mary Calmes
Lost Along the Way: Tails of the Curious Cookbook by Marie Sexton and narrated by Jeff Gelder. There is no two ways about it. I did not like Jeff Gelder’s narration. His voice although present in tone, is rather monotone. He has an annoying habit of leaving a small pause after every sentence. It gives the listener this sort of run, run, run, stop cadence that transforms good writing into something as boring as watching paint dry. Whether the sentence is 3, or 5, or 15, or 30 beats long, every pause at the sentence end, seems like a paragraph break, disrupting the flow. The story itself is excellent. However, I recommend that you read this one rather than listen to it.
The story involves a weatherman broadcaster from Denver named Daniel Whitaker who is in a fifteen year old tepid relationship with Chase. His relationship with Chace has estranged Daniel from his parents residing in Laramie. The parents are both killed in a traffic accident and Daniel has to return to Laramie to sort out the estate. Chase finds multiple excuses not to go with Daniel. So when Daniel arrives in Laramie he meets the neighbor sculpture landscaper Landon Kushner who is enlisted to help sort out the household goods. Enter Granny B and her magical cookbook. Daniel takes the cookbook and uses the recipe, meatloaf with mushroom gravy for finding what is lost along the way ALSO for cutting through the BS, to reconnect with Chase. After the meal multiple images of tips, clues, and evidence of another man being in his house come crashing into Daniel’s mind pointing to Chase’s infidelity. When Daniel reached his parents’ home there is the compassionate helpful Landon there, waiting for him. The conclusion of the story is obvious at this point; broken heart meets new love. That is with the help of Granny B’s recipe for chicken soup for a broken heart and also a recipe for zucchini bread for passion.
"Not what I was expecting"
Danny is stuck in a relationship with a man who is slowly pulling away from him and he doesn’t know what to do. When he finds out his parents have suddenly died and left him his childhood home, he runs away from making tough decisions by taking a long time to clear out the house.
While there he meets Landon, a gay man who has been friends with Danny’s folks in a way that Danny never could. They had accepted Landon for who he is whereas they forced Danny to choose between his lover or his family.
Most of the story is spent with Danny ruminating about his dwindling relationship with his husband, Chase and the loss of the relationship with his parents for Chase.
Landon helps him to see that he had to choose happiness and at the time that meant Chase. He also helps him to realize that Chase is no longer bringing him happiness, so he needs to make a new decision.
Danny also finds Landon to be an amazing person and the best cure for his long- standing loneliness (despite his relationship status) and is delighted to find that Landon has been crushing on him (via his parents) for years.
Together they work through some of Danny’s issues, his parent’s house and make a road map of their future, together.
I have to say that I was not expecting this when I read the blurb. I was expecting things with Chase to really have been over by the time Landon comes into the picture. I thought that it would be uncomfortable to have a new relationship starting on the heels of the old… and it was… but not as badly as I expected.
Landon is a wonderful character and I wish we’d had more time with him and in his head. He’s got such a big heart and is such an improvement over the Eeyore-like Chase. I really appreciated his take on Danny’s life and thought he was spot on in his analysis.
The smexy times were nice and the HEA was sweet.
All in all a good – and surprising!- short story.
Jeff Gelder is not my favorite narrator. His reading style is a bit more flat than I’d like, but he does a fair job with this. He doesn’t do anything to differentiate the characters but he does try to infuse the appropriate emotion into the dialog. I feel the non-dialog parts end up sounding a bit too upbeat (regardless of the words being read) and that sometimes gets distracting. However, as a way to listen to this story it isn’t bad even if it doesn’t necessarily add a lot to the experience.
"Eek... a miss for me."
think I'm the only person who didn't like this book. Like, the only one.
I loooove Marie Sexton, and I basically worship her, but this one was all wrong for me.
To start, I'll talk about the audiobook narrator. Jeff Gelder. I've listened to a few books narrated by him, and he is usually an okay narrator for me. Not with this one. I really didn't like his stilted manner of speaking, and his tone, which was almost void of emotion. It sounded vaguely robotic to me, and I think that the audio had a serious affect on my star-rating. He took weird pauses while speaking, and it broke up the dialogue in a way that was disconcerting.
In terms of the story, I just had a really hard time getting behind a couple that was basically courting and getting to know one another while one guy had a boyfriend of 15 years. When Landon and Daniel meet, Daniel is still living with his serious boyfriend and even calls him his "husband". Sure, the boyfriend was sort of a dick, and we all knew that that relationship was doomed, but the boyfriend and Daniel had been together for SO long, that all of the flirting between Landon and Daniel just felt wrong to me. I didn't like how Daniel was wiling to give his relationship with his boyfriend a fighting chance, and then immediately after they broke up, he was super-fast lovey with Landon.
The magical elements of this book were okay, but nothing worth getting excited about, IMO. I felt sort of "meh" the whole time I was listening, and I was missing feeling my usual Marie Sexton LURVE.
Though I seem to be in the minority, I didn't enjoy this one. (Picture a really sad face here.)
**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
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