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When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

harbison_whenindoubtThis is my first time reading Beth Harbison and I was delighted to receive an advance reader’s copy from St. Martin’s Press (thank you!). Also thanks to St. Martin’s Press for helping me celebrate my 20th book read and reviewed this year by insisting that my favorite dessert, cupcakes with buttercream frosting, appear on the cover (j/k).

Seriously, they look delicious.  Gemma’s recipes should have accompanied the ARC.

What I liked about Gemma as a protagonist is how well she keeps her cool under pressure. She has to deal with some REAL jerks in her line of work and being self-employed, she practices customer service every day by playing nice. Like being filmed on camera, without her knowledge or consent. Or dealing with that guy (girls, read it and come back, you’ll know who I mean).

She also thinks about what other people’s needs are first — allergies, dietary preferences, using protection (cough), clarifying her services in a newspaper ad, etc.  Gemma is really too good for the lot of them and in an almost Cinderella-like way, a benevolent but mysterious figure steps in to help her down the correct path.

Minor criticisms of the book — I think the book could have done without the occasionally use of profanity. I understand the necessity for the sex scene to the plot but my personal preference is that sex happens off-page, like a fade to black.  That said, it’s relatively tame compared to Teresa Medeiros (for lack of a better example).

I would recommend reading this with a friend or at least a plateful of cupcakes.  Good eating and good reading always mix.

And just for fun, what’s your favorite type of cupcake? Mine is lemon!  My husband loves red velvet.  Thanks Liz R. for asking me this question in the first place. 🙂  Enjoy your Friday peeps!

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Lauren Miller is a Midwestern born writer with a passion for Jesus, the written word, and dogs. She has two decades of experience in the library field and reviews books for the Historical Novels Review (UK). She likes to spend her free time enjoying period films, discovering new reads, and being surrounded by other people’s pets. Lauren, her husband, and their wily Maine Coon (who isn’t quite a dog) live in Missouri. You can learn more about Lauren’s writing at

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