Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Book Like: Hello Sunshine

At least half the books I read, I pick up because I enjoyed a previous one written by the same author.  In this case it was Eight-Hundred Grapes which I read last summer by the pool while watching Luke which, like seeing a movie at the drive-in, automatically elevates the experience and thus my like of the book (or movie).  I added this one, Hello, Sunshine, to my TBR a few months ago and then won a giveaway for an advanced copy on Goodreads.  If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, a way into mine is free books.  I was pretty excited.

Hello, Sunshine is the story of Sunshine Mackenzie who is a big time, famous chef.  She has a cookbook, a YouTube channel, millions of followers on social media, and is about to have a show on the Food Network.  She specializes in farm fresh meals, even though she lives in New York City, but is something she learned growing up on a farm.

Then, on her birthday, she gets hacked.

Turns out, there's a lot about what is presents about her to the world at large that isn't real.

Her most famous recipes?  Developed by someone else.  She didn't grow up on a farm and even her name isn't true.  Sure, she's the face on the camera and in the book but most of what she's claimed to have done, she didn't.  And now the world knows it.

She quickly loses her social media followers, her next cookbook, and the Food Network show.  Along the way she also loses her staff, her husband, and her apartment.  So back to Montauk she goes, to crash with her estranged sister and young niece she's only met a few times.  Their parents are gone and the sisters have had very little communication over the last 5 years.   But Sunshine has nowhere else to go and somehow works her way onto her sister's couch for an extended stay (helps that her sister needs a part-time babysitter).

Sunshine works on putting her life back together, figuring out who exposes her (as true as it all was), and maybe trying to get a job for herself that is real.  She ends up in the kitchen of a famous and reclusive chef (a job she gets rather easily...) where she analyzes the returned plates before they are scraped into the trash - see what people eat and don't (is this a real thing??).

She reconnects with some of her lost staff, some who have stayed loyal to her despite the drama.  She kinda works things out with her husband.  She reconnects with her sister.  She really bonds with her niece.  Of course, there is some resolution to pretty much everything by the end of the book, this is contemporary fiction. 

I enjoyed this book, I've read a decent amount of "foodie" novels and while I don't pretend I'm a great cook (or even enjoying cooking that much), I do enjoy reading about people who are and what they can make.  In this hyper social media fascinated world, it was an interesting take on what is real and what isn't, how we present ourselves to the world through Instagram and the like.

It was a quick read, not even 250 pages, and I think the cover is fantastic.  And I know we aren't supposed to judge books by their cover, but I totally do.  Overall, worth the read.  It's not going to be the best book I read this summer but for sitting in the sun, supervising pool time, it was perfect.

Goodreads | Amazon

I won a Giveaway on Goodreads for an ARC (advance reader's copy) of this book (which was already on my to-be-read list) which I received a few weeks ago.  All opinions are my own!

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