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Off the Menu Paperback – July 3, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; 1 edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042524766X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425247662
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Stacey Ballis dishes up another fabulous and soul-satisfying meal in her newest novel. With the perfect blend of humor and heart, Ballis' writing is powerfully honest and genuinely hilarious, and embodies everything I love about contemporary women's fiction. Off the Menu is an irresistibly delicious five-course read!”--Jen Lancaster, New York Times Bestselling Author


"Alana Ostermann has a great job working as an executive culinary assistant to Patrick Conlon (one of Chicago's top chefs), great friends (including one with whom she has been trading some "special" benefits), a great family and an adorable dog — all of whom love her dearly. So what if she still hasn't met her Mr. Right? But when an online dating service accidentally matches her up with a sweet, sexy transplanted Tennessean named RJ, Alana begins to think she may have found the missing ingredient in the recipe for a perfect life. Readers hungry for cleverly written contemporary romances will definitely want to order Off the Menu."Chicago Tribune



“Witty and tender, brash and seriously clever, Stacey Ballis’ characters are our friends, our neighbors or, in some cases, that sardonic colleague the next cubicle over…Her storytelling will have you alternately turning pages and calling your friends urging them to come along for the ride. And in Stacey Ballis’ talented hands, oh what a wonderful ride it is.” --Elizabeth Flock, New York Times Bestselling Author


"ENTICING. Ballis writes a bit like Emily Giffin and Isabel Wolff, and the recipes will please gal foodies as well."—Booklist


"A wonderfully joyful ode to good food, best friends, tough choices and great love.  Off the Menu = one delicious read...that comes complete with recipes!  So much fun."  --Alison Pace, author of You Tell Your Dog First


"Stacey Ballis knows her readers like books smart and funny—and she always delivers." --Laurie Gwen Shapiro, Author of Brand X: The Boyfriend Account

About the Author

Stacy Ballis is the author of six foodie novels: Inappropriate Men, Sleeping Over, Room For Improvement, The Spinster Sisters, Good Enough to Eat, and Off the Menu. She is a contributing author to three non-fiction anthologies: Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume, and Living Jewishly. She is currently at work on two new works of full-length fiction for Berkley/Penguin. She was an educator for over fifteen years in Chicago including teaching high school English in the Chicago Public Schools and serving as Director of Education and Community Programs for Goodman Theatre for seven seasons before pursuing a full-time career in writing and consulting.

More About the Author

Stacey Ballis is the author of several novels, incuding Inappropriate Men, Sleeping Over, Room for Improvement, The Spinster Sisters, Good Enough to Eat, Off the Menu and Out to Lunch, currently available for pre-order, being released December 3, 2013. She is also a contributing author to the anthologies Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, and Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume, and Living Jewishly. She is currently at work on a new work of full-length fiction called Recipe for Disaster for Berkeley/Penguin, which will be out in December 2014.

Customer Reviews

Great characters, great descriptions, great food.
YG
All the characters are way too nice, funny, smart and charming that makes the book boring and flat.
Alex
Such an engaging and fun read, I would highly recommend this book to anyone that loves to laugh!
Christine King

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amy Hatvany on July 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
#1. The protagonist, Alana, is smart, sassy, and endearingly authentic.

#2. The cover has chocolate cupcakes on it!

#3. Stacey Ballis's writing style is self-assured and wickedly funny, filled with one-line zingers that made coffee shoot out of my nose.

#4. The relationships Alana has with her family and friends are so lovely, so intimately drawn, you feel as though you could walk into any of their houses, take your shoes off, and prop your feet up on their couch.

#5. The glorious descriptions of food will make you drool.

#6. Your heart will ache as you connect with Alana and her desire to find a lasting, meaningful love.

#7. A dog named Dumpling.

#8. Your heart will sing as you watch Alana stumble across an amazing, grown up romantic connection with RJ.

#9. Recipes for all the glorious food descriptions included in the back of the book!

#10. Cat + Fly paper = Hysteria.

I was so enamored with this story! I loved that Alana was fiercely independent, but at the same time vulnerable and sweet. I loved that she wanted to find love, but didn't link her self-esteem to whether or not she did. This is a truly wonderful beach read...Highly recommend!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By crissy on November 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The protagonist has a great high paying job ( and don't worry, she'll remind you of her above average salary on a regular basis, as well as how much she gives her parents and saves in trust for the nieces and nephews, while maintainng her own very large condo and a cabin in the country too!), a perfect loving family who is embraced by all of her friends and who are welcome at dinner unannounced at just about every holiday. She has a crazy egotistical boss who is very demanding, but loves her and confesses that she is the sole heir to his tremendous fortune. Of course she has no time to date (and spends an unusual amount of time and description on her dog), but manages to meet the perfect gentile gentleman on an online dating site. He is, naturally, handsome,charming, artistic and romantic with a fabulous career of his own and he writes and speaks to her as only as a wishful- thinking woman would put such overly saccharine words in his mouth. I was half-hoping he would turn out to be gay or SOMETHING! The man is so perfect, too good to be true, in fact, as are all of her friends, by the way, that I only kept reading to see if her dog shitting in the guy's shoes was a clue to the eventual revelation that the dude was a con artist who had his real family in another state. But no. Her major conflict is a decision she has to make either to co-star on a TV show with her cooking Pro boss (for buckets of money, no less!) or work for an organization to teach teens to cook. AND SHE DOESN'T EVEN NEED TO CHOOSE THEN! She figures out a way to do them both. And, as an aside, they are so many references to, and instances of, anal leakages (gaseous and otherwise) by our protagonist and her dog, it's a wonder none of her close circle of friends didn't suggest treatment for her irritable bowel system.Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Stacey Ballis just gets better and better. I loved, loved, loved reading Off the Menu. I felt like I was listening to a particularly articulate girlfriend recount her adventures. I'm so sad to reach the end because I want to stay in Alanna's world. And don't even get me started on the food descriptions... I'm hungry now!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By praetor1983 on July 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stacey Ballis' newest novel, Off the Menu, has at its heart a slightly fictionalized take on the wonderful romance and love suffusing her life.

Drawn with rich and layered characters - Alana, her over-the-top wonderful/annoying/loving/asshair/compassionate/jerk boss Patrick, her frankenpup Dumpling and bevy of amazing and colorful friends - the story pulls you in and doesn't want you to let it go.

A true delight in ordering this read off the menu was in the satisfaction of finishing it ... and wanting more. If all "chick lit" could be this good, I wouldn't find the time to go to work. A stunningly fun read. Now, go out and order/buy/pick-it-up - and I mean now.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hannah Lane on November 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has somewhat stalked me-I have seen it in Target, at the bookstore, and on my recommendation list Amazon offers. Never have I been so sorely disappointed in a book, and I've read some pretty dreary stuff.
My biggest beef is the main character, Alana. I spent an excrutiating twenty-or-so chapters with her and felt no connection whatsoever. She has no problems, she meets the perfect guy a few chapters in, and she has a personality that seems to be constructed of pieces of every chick-lit character in history. RJ, the wonderful stud that enters her life, is just as dull.
What's odd is the way the first half of the book is written, you expect for RJ to turn into a major creep (I was betting on stalker serial-killer...or a con-man who stole someone's identity). I was actively rooting against them to end up together, I expected for her to end up with her boss or to be single at the end of the book.
I don't want to tear apart someone's work, but the top review raves about how wonderful this book is, hopefully this will help keep you from wasting ten bucks. Don't buy this book, it's unmemborable and dull.
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