Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell was a book I thought I was going to love. It popped up on goodreads as a recommendation, and was compared to Sarah Addison Allen.

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes features  pie, wishes, and starting over in a small town.  It also takes place in North Carolina.  It seemed like it would have a lot going for it. The comparisons to Sarah Addison Allen had me really excited to read it.  I jumped on the waiting list at the library, and eagerly waited for my copy.

It was incredibly disappointing.

I’ve loved all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books except Lost Lake (that one wasn’t horrible, just definitely nowhere near as wonderful as her other books).  I think the comparison to her writing had me starting this book with higher expectations than I would have had otherwise.  Honestly, that probably colored my opinion some.  I think I was expecting something like Garden Spells (I highly recommend reading it now if you haven’t read it yet)  Even without the comparison I still think I would have been disappointed.

The names of the characters drove me a little crazy.  The older, wiser, magic pie baking female character is named Catch.  There’s never any explanation as to whether that’s a nickname, some old family name, or just weird for the sake of being weird.  The hunky love interest next door is named Ashe, which doesn’t seem to fit at all.  For some reason, the two names sound a lot alike in my head, and it kind of drove me insane.  The other name issue I had was that, with the exception of Catch and Ashe, pretty much everyone went by some abbreviation of their name most of the time; Ray for Rachel, Ev for Everley, Mae or Maeby for Mary Beth.  It just seemed overdone.  I know, that’s a relatively small issue, but it adds up over the course of an entire book.

The dialogue wasn’t great.  The conversations just seemed a little stilted.  Catch had an annoying habit of saying things like “Miss-I-Got-All-Dolled-Up-and-Now-Everyone-Else-Looks-Like-Crap,”. There was something like that from her constantly.  It got old, and seemed like a lazy way to get a bunch of dialogue out of the way at once.

I had hoped the pies would at least be interesting, but even the baking parts of the book were disappointing.  There wasn’t much detail about the pie making, and there wasn’t anything particularly interesting about the pies.

Overall, it was an incredibly disappointing read.

So what about you?  Have you read The Secret Ingredient of Wishes?  What did you think of it?  Do you go into a book with high expectations if the author is compared to an author you really enjoy?


  1. I haven't heard of this author or the book, but do want to check out the book you recommended. Yes I have been disappointed by authors in the past not delivering a book like their previous work. I guess we have to forgive them as they are only human and could have a rough time always producing quality writing.


  2. I know what you mean about names. I read something or other, and every name read like the author had to come up with the most arcane name imaginable. It got old fast.

  3. I try not to go in to a book with expectiations, especially if it's a new to me author. It doesn't always work, but I try.

    I haven't read this one, and don't think I want to.

    By the way, the names sound pretty close to me when JAWS (my screen reader) says them too... It's not just you.

  4. It's always so disappionting when a book doesn't measure up to your hopes for it. But I'm always glad when people share that. (And the name thing -- yeah, come up with a reason and then I might buy it!)

    Also, thanks for making a couple of trips to The Marmelade Gypsy -- I'm very behind getting back to comments but I'm so grateful when you visit!

    And I just wanted you to know I just added myself as a new follower!


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