Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Book Review: Georgia's Kitchen by Jenny Nelson - and a Giveaway!

Cover Art for Georgia's Kitchen by Jenny Nelson

Synopsis (provided by Gallery Books):

At thirty-three, talented chef Georgia Gray has everything a woman could want -- the top job at one of Manhattan's best restaurants; a posse of smart and savvy gal pals who never let her down; and a platinum-set, cushion-cut diamond engagement ring courtesy of Glenn, the handsome entertainment lawyer who Georgia's overbearing mother can't
wait for her to marry.  But when a bad review costs Georgia her job, and Glenn suddenly calls off her wedding, Georgia takes her bruised ego to Tuscany, where she sharpens her skills at a new trattoria and quells her longings with Italy's delectable offerings: luscious cheese, delicious wine and sexy Gianni, the owner of the vineyard next door.  So when Gianni tempts Georgia to stay in Italy indefinitely, why can't she say yes?  An appetite for something more looms large in Georgia's heart -- the desire to run her own restaurant in the city she loves.  But having left New York with her career in flames, she'll need to stir up more than just courage if she's to realize her dreams and find her way home.

Despite the hopeful planning I did in late spring and the purchase of a new bathing suit in early summer, it's August, and I still haven't found my way to the beach. If I had, I would have packed my copy of Georgia's Kitchen, the debut novel by Jenny Nelson, a former editor and producer at iVillage.com, Vogue.com and Style.com, to read while lounging on the sand and soaking up the sun. Georgia's Kitchen (Gallery Books -- August 3, 2010) is the perfect summer read!

As someone who recently crossed over the bridge and into the Land of Thirty-Somethings, I saw a lot of myself in Georgia. What woman wouldn't relate to a character who was snapped out of her seemingly happy reality by a series of misfortunes that were completely out of her control? Who hasn't made life decisions that were largely influenced by other people's opinions rather than their own happiness?

Although you may find yourself questioning whether you've read this story before due to the similarities it bears to Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun, you can't help but be pulled in. You want to follow Georgia as she leaves her life behind in New York in order to make a fresh start in Italy. Nelson's descriptions of the various neighborhoods in Manhattan and of the life within the hill towns of Tuscany are vividly detailed and believable. I found myself getting lost in the imagery, even during the parts of the story that were somewhat formulaic and predictable.

Regardless, Georgia's Kitchen is an enjoyable and delicious read that will surely put a smile on your face, especially if you are a fan of cooking or dining out at restaurants, a lover of Italian cuisine, or an armchair traveler with a yen to return to that one place that served as the scenic backdrop for a pivotal life moment.

BOOK GIVEAWAY
Are you interested in reading Georgia's Kitchen? Are you curious to find out whether Georgia's trip to Italy helped her find the path that would lead to her opening her own restaurant in New York? Then, enter to win your own copy of Jenny Nelson's debut novel, described by Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis as "a fun read that women of all ages can relate to."

You get up to four chances to win:
  1. Comment here and tell me what your favorite summer/beach/vacation book is.

  2. Write about the giveaway (make sure to link to this post) on your own blog and then come back here and leave an additional comment with the link to your blog post.

  3. Tweet about the giveaway. Copy and paste the following into Twitter: "I just entered to win Jenny Nelson's debut novel Georgia's Kitchen courtesy of @tasteasyougo! Have you entered yet? http://bit.ly/clPWeU." Then come back here and leave an additional comment with your Twitter username.

  4. Spread the word about the giveaway on StumbleUpon then come back here and leave an additional comment with your StumbleUpon username.
This giveaway will end on Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. The winner (US and Canada only) will be chosen with the help of Random.org and announced on Wednesday, August 11, 2010.

I'm looking forward to seeing your book recommendations!  Good luck!

A winner has been chosen! Any comments posted beyond the giveaway deadline will not be considered as entries. Thanks!

Taste As You Go Disclaimer: I was provided with the opportunity to read/review this book at no cost to me. I do not accept monetary compensation for writing about my experiences or my thoughts. All opinions expressed are my own. -- The giveaway prize provided courtesy of BookSparksPR.

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