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131 Reviews
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good bedtime, chapter book
Note: the first time I posted a review of Bliss, I received something like five positive reviews over a two week period and then seven negatives within three days. I took my review down for awhile and then wrote a very similar review, and I was lucky only to get one negative mark in a two month period. I wanted to add this note up front. It appears that there is some...
Published on February 5, 2012 by Richard Staats

versus
26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not as good as I was hoping
I love baking, so I was really looking forward to this story. It was cute enough, I suppose. Rosemary's insecurities definitely felt real and believable, and they explained her naiveté and poor choices. Though some of the issues she overlooked felt contrived (like the tart and the key at the end), so that was disappointing.

I also could not get over some...
Published on August 29, 2012 by Tabitha


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good bedtime, chapter book, February 5, 2012
By 
This review is from: Bliss (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Note: the first time I posted a review of Bliss, I received something like five positive reviews over a two week period and then seven negatives within three days. I took my review down for awhile and then wrote a very similar review, and I was lucky only to get one negative mark in a two month period. I wanted to add this note up front. It appears that there is some kind of "flame war" going on between the various reviewers. (Just for the record, I don't have a stake in this fight. I just want to write an accurate review. I promise to not review any of the other comments on this book.)

Kathryn Littlewood has put together a cute chapter book that revolves around the Bliss family.

The Bliss family runs a local bakery, but all is not as it seems.

The family has a secret that has been passed down from generation to generation since the Middle Ages.

Beware fair reader for spoilers follow!

The protagonist in the story is Rose, short for Rosemary. She has three siblings, Parsley Bliss (Leigh), Sage, and Thyme (Ty). They are the children of Purdey and Albert Bliss, and the Bliss family runs a magical bakery.

From curing the swine flu to causing true love, the Bliss family can do it all using the Cookery Booke. The Cookery Booke is a tome of magic spells that create food products with amazing properties.

Rose learns about the magic spells used to bake her family treats when she is ten years old. Ever after that time, Rose dreams of casting magic spells through baking.

Her big chance comes when her mom and dad are called away to a nearby town to bake up magical treats to cure the flu. (The whole scene with the mayor and her fake entourage felt out of place with the rest of the book

The Bliss parents deny that anything magical is going on, but the mayor of the town, Ms. Hammer, who rides in Hammer's Hummer, insists that the mom and dad go with her.

The adults leave the three children to run the shop with the help of a former US Marine, but trouble ensues.

Aunt Lily (a beautiful, but poisonous plant) descends on the children nearly the moment the parents disappear.

Through guile and black magic, Lily is eventually able to wrest the magical cookbook from the children ... enter the sequel.

Mom Bliss is not upset; she insists that everyone has a nice meal before heading out after Lily and the Cookery Booke.

I have just a few observations for the would be buyer. It is a fine book, but it really should be read to children under 13 years old. Most kids that I know in the 8-12 range would not understand some of the vocabulary and historical references.

When you read the book to your child, you will have to explain that this is just a fantasy, because normal parents do not leave their young teen kids to watch a shop and take care of the family for weeks at a time.

I was also confused why the author did not refer to the Bliss parents as Mom and Dad. It felt a little like a throwback to a 60s style commune (and their use of generous, unusual "vegetable spices" in baked goods).

There were some other, minor plots in the book, but the story did not hinge on any of the other threads, e.g., Rose's fixation on a boy at the coffee and tire shop, etc.

All in all, it is a fine book and a good start for Kathryn Littlewood.

In service,

Rich
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26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not as good as I was hoping, August 29, 2012
This review is from: Bliss (Hardcover)
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I love baking, so I was really looking forward to this story. It was cute enough, I suppose. Rosemary's insecurities definitely felt real and believable, and they explained her naiveté and poor choices. Though some of the issues she overlooked felt contrived (like the tart and the key at the end), so that was disappointing.

I also could not get over some of the plot points of the story--it takes much more than an hour or so to prep a bakery for the day, and bakeries open *much* earlier than 8:30am (because everyone is at work by then). So those running a bakery often have to start preparing well before the sun comes up. I also did not buy it that Rose wouldn't have a way of getting in touch with her parents immediately (they were in another town baking, where there's plenty of phones and cell coverage). The logical part of my brain kept kicking in and pointing out these inconsistencies, keeping me from enjoying the story.

My eight year old son read this book and said that it doesn't really `get good' until the halfway mark. I have to agree. Not much happens in the first half, but once Rose and her brothers break out the cookery booke it gets more interesting. My son found it funnier than I did because the humor is definitely geared toward a younger audience.

In the end, though, neither my son nor I were interested enough to seek out the next book when it comes out.

Age appropriateness: there are no incredibly tense moments, so I think this book would appeal to grade-schoolers who have advanced reading skills.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Long, slow, an obvious plot, and a remarkably disappointing ending, October 10, 2012
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This review is from: Bliss (Hardcover)
I just finished reading this to my children and was so disappointed I felt compelled to write a review for other parents contemplating this book.

The plot is obvious. It is, as another reviewer noted, the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Magician parents go away and kids wreak havoc messing around with magic in the absence. At 384 pages, the development for such an obvious plot line is slow and plodding. Is the lead character, Rose, endearing or sympathetic? Not really. There are certainly points that are hilarious, and my kids laughed uproariously. But they seemed infrequent during the many nights of reading.

Of course I won't give away the ending. What I will say is Chapter 18, the final chapter, swings wildly in tone from moment to moment. It swings from high tension to relief and humor back to high tension bordering on terror and then a flat, almost 'oh well' ending. The radical shifts in tone were jarring, and to my mind, incredibly unsatisfying. On top of all that, there was a critical plot point left unresolved and lingering like the Empire Strikes Back. I'll admit I could be conditioned for children's book to have satisfying, clearly resolved endings.

Upon finishing the last line, my nine and seven-year old looked at me and said in unison, "That's the end? Really?" Maybe the requisite sequel will be redeeming, but my two cents is that there is a high probability you will be disappointed with Bliss.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very moving book, August 28, 2013
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This review is from: Bliss (Kindle Edition)
This book has some funny ,sad,embarrassing, romantic, and so over all I love this book and I bet the next one is even better than this one !!! I hope u love ed this book as much as I do please read this book and I think you will want to read the next one to
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really feeling the magic, November 3, 2012
This review is from: Bliss (Hardcover)
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When I read the premise of Bliss, I was very intrigued. It sounded like such a fun idea: would the temptations of her family's magical bakery prove too much for young Rose Bliss? My daughter and I read the book over the course of several months and, though reading it in short chunks didn't help, it never really captured me the way I might have thought. Minor spoilers to follow.

I think the biggest problem with this book is it's far too wordy. It felt to me like there was a lot of filler that could have been trimmed, which would have made it a tighter, more compelling story. Since it's middle grade, I found it kind of odd that it delved into minutiae that struck me as the sort of details only adults might fully be able to appreciate. I know a lot of these things went straight over my daughter's head.

What I did like about the novel was Rose. I'm sure most kids can identify with feeling a little invisible at times. The book has some good things to say about the way people tend to fills the roles they're assigned. Rose is seen as the mature, responsible one, and she is, but she chafes under the weight of those expectations. She's likable and sympathetic, yet flawed in a way that makes her seem entirely real. Why wouldn't she find it hard to refuse someone who makes me feel like she exists? I really enjoyed her and thought her character was deftly handled.

Another strong point was Rose's relationship with Aunt Lily. Littlewood isn't heavy-handed about presenting Aunt Lily in a very self-serving way, but my daughter picked up on the subtext. We talked a lot about Aunt Lily and whether Rose really saw Lily as she actually was. I liked that she and I were able to dive into a pretty deep analysis of the book, yet in a way that clearly caught my daughter's interest instead of giving her the impression that we were having a literary lecture.

Still, there's just something so flat about this book. The recipes are interesting and the little stories accompanying them are fun, but they just never seemed to live up to their potential. Littlewood has something to say about the burdens of having special abilities and whether or not it's always a good idea to use them, and I thought it was all to the good that the recipes had consequences, but I didn't think the writing was quite deft enough to carry the stories. It's missing an essential spark that makes stories like this come to life.

While it felt fairly obvious to me that this book was meant to set up a series, I don't plan on coming back to it. It's not a badly done novel, it just wasn't one that really pulled me in. My daughter said she liked it, but she wasn't as excited about it as she has been with some of the other books we've read together, and she took a long hiatus at one point in favor of reading something else--usually a good indication that she's not entirely engaged with a story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like the best book EVER!, March 4, 2014
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This review is from: Bliss (Kindle Edition)
I loved ❤️ this book it was soooooo awesome! I would defiantly recommend this book to kids around the 3rd to 6th grade, but anyone who likes fiction, mystery, and of course, MAGIC will absolutly fall in ❤️ with this book!

This book will make you wanna read and not stop until you finish it because it is really good! No it isn't it is fabulous... wait no it isn't it is MAGNIFICENT!

- read📖 read📖 forever
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bliss - a bliss novel, November 14, 2014
This review is from: Bliss (Kindle Edition)
in this book Ty, Rose, Sage and discover that their parents are going on a trip, to cure a illness in another state. After they leave , A glamorous but mysterious lady comes who claims their to be "aunt Lily" everybody loves her, and she seems just like the person who understands Rose. They get themselves in hot water! when they " magic" the whole town to some very unbelievable things. Read the book to find out!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The premise had promise, January 4, 2014
By 
CL (Washington) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bliss (Kindle Edition)
but the book didn't deliver. A girl struggling with feeling ordinary in the midst of others who seem extraordinary; a family run bakery; a secret, magic cookbook; parents called away; a mysterious stranger who claims to be a long-lost aunt; and a series of misadventures with the cookbook that may require revealing the secret to resolve.

The character of Aunt Lily vacillated too much between a lurking, sinister presence to genuinely helpful. The parents are scarcely gone, and all admonitions to keep the secret safe have vanished as Sage is quick to offer to show "Aunt Lily" the magic cookbook. Likewise it makes no sense when Rose caves to pressure to let 9 year-old Sage hold onto the key (which predictably is stolen by Aunt Lily). The voice under the floor, tempting Rose to use magic on herself, seemed to be thrown in, but its existence was never adequately explored. The ending sets up a sequel, but the result is an incomplete story.

Language--"g-dforsaken", "spawn of Satan".
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Story, February 24, 2012
This review is from: Bliss (Hardcover)
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I often grab a middler's novel from the children's section of the library just for the fun of reading it. I can read it quickly and it doesn't tax my brain with multiple sub-plots to keep track of. A good novel for the eight to twelve year olds has a good plot, believable characters, and is just plain fun. "Bliss" by Kathryn Littlewood meets my qualifications.

The story centers around Rosemary (Rose) Bliss and her siblings, Parsley (Leigh), Thyme (Ty), and Sage, as they tend to the family bakery for a week while their parents leave town on an emergency. The bakery is known for magical delights that have curing powers. When Aunt Lily shows up unexpectedly and the children decide to experiment with some of the recipes in the family's Cookery Book, the results aren't quite as they expected.

Although Rose and her brothers and sister are part of a magical family, they are as ordinary as can be. Any twelve-year-old girl will relate to Rose and her feelings of inadequacies -- all girls go through that phase. Baby Leigh is about preschool age and very typical. The boys, Ty and Sage, well, their mischievous brothers. Rose is bothered by Aunt Lily's sudden appearance and doesn't quite know what to do about her.

The Bliss children's capers with the recipes from the Cookery book are chaotic and delightful. They have only a few days to undue the calamities before their parents return home. Aunt Lily isn't really all that much help.

I also look for books for my middler granddaughters that don't focus on romance. There are far too many for that age group. I want them to have fun reading. Again "Bliss" fills that need for me. As I'm on the lookout, Ms. Littlewood's books will be at the top of my list.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical!, January 30, 2014
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This review is from: Bliss (Kindle Edition)
I absolutely loved this book! It was magical and I will see if I can get the next 2 books. I rated the book this way because it seemed to speak to me. I think another reason why I rated it that way was because Rose is a lot like me.
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Bliss
Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood (Hardcover - February 14, 2012)
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