A disgraced chef rediscovers her passion for food and her roots in this stunning novel rich in culture and full of delectable recipes.
French-born American chef Sophie Valroux had one dream: to be part of the 1% of female chefs running a Michelin-starred restaurant. From spending summers with her grandmother, who taught her the power of cooking and food, to attending the Culinary Institute of America, Sophie finds herself on the cusp of getting everything she’s dreamed of.
Until her career goes up in flames.
Sabotaged by a fellow chef, Sophie is fired, leaving her reputation ruined and confidence shaken. To add fuel to the fire, Sophie learns that her grandmother has suffered a stroke and takes the red-eye to France. There, Sophie discovers the simple home she remembers from her childhood is now a luxurious château, complete with two restaurants and a vineyard. As Sophie tries to reestablish herself in the kitchen, she comes to understand the lengths people will go to for success and love, and how dreams can change.
First of all, this book made me hungry. The descriptions of the food are to die for! The author really brought the environment of a professional kitchen to life (I assume it’s realistic), and I cannot imagine the stress and pressure these people live with on the daily.
Sophie was a lot of fun. She watches her dreams go up in smoke and wallows in her grief for a while—as we all would—before deciding she’s had enough. Her missteps are believable, and her determination—once she finally finds it—is inspiring. This was an enjoyable read that kind of made me want to visit France.
Samantha Vérant lives in France. The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Berkely in exchange for an honest review.)
At the beginning of the year, I set quite a few goals for myself (not resolutions). Eight goals in each of three separate categories, one being reading and one being writing. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how I’m doing on those goals, since we’re halfway through the year.
1) Read GWTW.
2) Read 1 book per month from TBR.
3) Read all books on AWR list.
4) Read one classic per month.
5) Read one book of poetry.
6) Read 2 books per month to review.
7) Read one inspirational book per month.
8) Read 75 books.
I haven’t read any of Gone with the Wind since January, so I better get on that. I have read one book each month from my TBR pile. I successfully read all of the books on the reading list for my American Women Writers class. I have read a classic per month. I have not read any poetry. (Oops.) I’ve read and reviewed at least two books each month. I’ve read at least one inspirational book each month. And I’ve currently read 69 out of my goal of 75 books.
1) Finish Witches HTRYN.
2) Finish 1st draft of Siren Song.
3) Finish 1st draft of The Fall.
4) Start Camelot.
5) Revise Casting Shadows.
6) Finish copyediting classes and start making money at it.
7) Have 500 followers on this blog.
8) Have 200 followers on my personal blog.
I’m still working on the revision of Witches.Siren Song is outlined, but I stopped working on it, and started writing on The Fall again. No progress on Camelot. No progress on Casting Shadows. I’m still working on the copyediting classes. I’m still chipping away at the blog goals.
Verdict: I’m doing okay on my goals, but I need to get it together and get on all of them!
I’ve kind of been struggling to get words on the page lately. (Ironic, since it’s summer, and time off from classes was supposed to mean time to write…) I switched WIPs, from Siren Song (which is currently outlined) to The Fall (which..is not. Not even remotely outlined. Sigh…)
I’m just having some trouble getting myself motivated.
But I saw this post over on Ana Spoke’s blog, and it piqued my interest (Is that even the right word? Google did not help me at all here.)
Has anyone used Scrivener? Any tips/suggestions/thoughts?
I finished up the outline for Siren Song in January, and then promptly didn’t write a word until… late February. My “goal” (which I frequently find myself ignoring) is two 500-word sessions a week. I can remember writing 10,000+ words a day for NaNo years ago, so 500 words twice a week should be ridiculously easy. Should be.
As it turns out, actually making myself sit down and write is almost impossible. But this morning, I made that my first priority, and wrote 1,000 words.
Not setting any records with that, but I’m thrilled with it.
I also started outlining my final project for my capstone class, which is a short story based on the mythos of Camelot. I’m actually looking forward to writing it, and using it as backstory for when I start writing the Camelot project sometime in the future (because my Muse gave me a fantastic idea with that months ago).
This week has been plenty busy. Craziness at work (which should soon be resolving itself in a very positive way.). Trying to get everything for the first week of classes done, as well as the reading done for the second week (Just about have that complete.). And perhaps I should pack sometime today, since I’m leaving for Atlanta tomorrow. Perhaps…
However, HTRYN Lesson One is going well. Sort of. It’s a bit depressing, but I should finish the first pass through Witches today. I’m seeing a lot of the same issues. Being aware of them is the first step to fixing them, right? (Here’s hoping.) I’m seeing a lot of telling-not-showing, and there’s more distance from my characters than I’d like. I do have an idea about fixing one issue that’s been bothering me somewhat for a long time, however.
I’m also less than five scenes from finishing the outline of Siren Song! I’m really happy about that, even if it’s not the greatest outline ever. I’m hoping there will be less wandering about with an actual outline to work from. (Knowing my tendency to get distracted, I’m almost positive that will be true.)
I’m off to finish things up so I can enjoy my sort-of-mini-vacation!
It’s true, I really am too busy to write (fiction) right now. I know that sounds like a cop out, but it’s not. Really.
School starts next week, and I’m going to be out-of-town M-F for work, so I have to attempt to get everything done for the first week, plus the second week’s reading, this week. So there’s that. Plus, an hour-long commute to work right now. Let’s not forget trying to work out, eat healthy, and not let the house become a complete disaster.
So, while I may not actually be writing fiction, I am outlining Siren Song (just a general phase outline), to the tune of 5 scenes a day. And I’m almost done with that, which will make the actual writing so much easier!
I love when my stories surprise me. On Tuesday, I had a character I never even thought of saunter onto the screen and inform me that he was there to provide conflict (And also scenery. Of course.). So there’s that.
I hope everyone else is getting more writing done than I am.
How is not writing inspiration to actually get words on the page? Well….
I set weekly writing goals, as a way to keep motivated. But, let’s be honest, work, school, and frequently sleep come before writing. This results in me feeling guilty and leads to resentment. Which makes me less likely to actually want to write, if things do not go according to plan or even remotely according to plan).
If I’m feeling guilty because I didn’t get my words in on Monday or Wednesday, then I feel like I have to make up those words today, and I just don’t have time for that many words. So I resent the prospect and end up not writing today, either.
However, if I give myself permission to not write whenever it’s necessary, without the idea of having to make those words up, then that instantly makes my brain less stressed. Which means I actually feel like writing.
Does this make sense, or am I just making excuses?
Last week wasn’t the best week–writing or otherwise–that I’ve had lately. I ended up working five days. My mom moved back to New Orleans. There was a lot going on. I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped/planned.
I think I got one writing session in. And approximately zero sessions in on my other projects. Only five blogs written as well, and the ones I did write were short at best. But that’s okay. Tomorrow is another day.
This week, I’m planning on three writing sessions, three brainstorming sessions, six blog posts (plus an extra book review), work on two essays plus a project, a midterm exam, cleaning my computer room again (why does everything migrate there?), and work on a couple of projects. Oh, and (hopefully) five or six workouts. Plus working four days.
Hmm. When I list it like that it seems like a lot.
Just out of curiosity, how many projects can you work on at a time? (Not physically simultaneously, just, you know, during the same general time frame.) I’ve read about people with more than one WIP at a time, and the idea is slightly…mind-boggling to me.
I’m editing one project, Witches, and writing Siren Song. But…I still have The Fall rattling around back in there, and then there’s that new Camelot/King Arthur/Guinevere story the Muse wants to play with….Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, my writing goals are not very intense right now. If I get in a couple of 500-word sessions a week, I call it a good week (the habit is what’s important to me right now, after an extremely extended hiatus from writing.). I also don’t want to lose the emotion I have for those other two stories. Not when holding on to my motivation has been so tricky anyway.
The idea I’m currently considering: continue editing Witches of course, to the tune of about 5 chapters a week. (This is just really a pass to change it from 3rd-person POV to multiple 1st-person, not an in-depth revision.) Continue writing (at least) two 500-word sessions on Siren Song a week. One session with The Fall. And one with the Camelot story. Every week. To facilitate this, I would also want to actually outline all three stories before starting to write the other two. I don’t have any sort of outline for Siren Song, so this would undoubtedly be beneficial in that regard.
Is this insanity? Has anyone tried writing multiple stories like this at the same time?