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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Bake-Off Paperback – May 3, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Susan Mallery and Beth Kendrick: Author One-on-One

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her funny, emotional stories of finding family wherever you can, like in Already Home. In this Amazon exclusive, she sat down with Beth Kendrick to discuss their work. Read the resulting interview below, or turn the tables to see what happened when Beth interviewed Susan.

Susan Mallery

Susan: When you interviewed me about my book Already Home, we discussed my poodle, Nikki, and her fashionista ways. Well, Nikki wants me to tell you that she thinks your dogs are scandalously underdressed. She’d like to know when she’ll be allowed to give Friday and Roxie a makeover?

Beth: Well, you have to understand that not every dog possesses Nikki’s ladylike sophistication. Roxie and Friday are both mutts from the pound. High fashion isn’t really their thing—Friday would no doubt insist on wearing a sideways trucker hat and stained sweatpants. For him, being naked is a thousand times more dignified than being dressed. Roxie, on the other hand, is a bit high-strung and has an unfortunate tendency to eat everything that crosses her path. She would make haute couture into a chew toy. But if Nikki ever needs some artfully shredded denim, Roxie’s the perfect dog for the job.

Susan: So your new book is called The Bake-Off, which leads me to believe the storyline involves baking.

Beth: That’s right.

Susan: I hate to bring this up, but didn’t you once screw up brownies from a mix because you forgot to turn on the oven?

Beth: What are you saying? Are you saying that just because I can’t work my own oven that I’m not Top Chef material?

Susan:Yeah, pretty much.

Beth: Well, that’s why it’s called fiction.

Susan: When you first sold this book, you mentioned something about being inspired by a miniature lawnmower. I’m not really seeing a direct connection between baking and lawn care equipment. Care to clarify?

Beth: Oh, yeah, the lawnmower! I almost forgot about that. I got the idea for this book at 1:30 a.m. the night before my toddler’s birthday party. I was trying—and failing—to decorate a sheet cake with a tiny red lawnmower and piped green icing to look like grass. The Cake Boss I am not, and I was tired and frustrated and thinking: I can’t do this—I quit. Kid won’t remember it anyway. But then I thought, You know, if someone offered me a million dollars, I would figure out a way to make this cake beautiful. And I was off and running with the idea of two estranged sisters who can’t bake at all, but are desperate for money and recognition. So they enter a family recipe and go for the gold at a national, high-stakes dessert championship, even though they’ve been feuding for years and can barely boil water. Beth Kendrick

Susan: How did the lawnmower cake turn out?

Beth: Um—(clears throat)--awesome. Next question!

Susan: Who would you rather have as your celebrity baking partner, Snooki or Kanye West?

Beth: Jon Hamm.

Susan: Did you do a lot of research for this book?

Beth: Girl, you don’t even know. I plunged into the first draft full of swagger and bravado: “It’s just pie! How hard could it be?!” Well. As anyone who’s ever made a pie crust from scratch will tell you, it’s not for the faint of heart. I interviewed a pastry chef, along with a woman who had won several national cooking contests. Turns out, competitive baking is a vibrant subculture unto itself, like beauty pageants or dog shows. Bursting with potential for scandal, rivalry and drama--like Melrose Place with muffin tins. Or at least, that’s how it is in my book. You know me and my wild imagination.

I also enrolled in a weekend baking boot camp. That was humbling.

Susan: I’ll bet.

Beth: Yeah, I was definitely the problem child in that class. But you know what? I can make pie now. Lots of other stuff, too. I hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year, and I baked everything from scratch—pumpkin pie, dinner rolls, cheesecake. I wouldn’t be caught dead making brownies from a mix now.

Susan: What about macaroni and cheese from a box?

Beth: Of course I still make that. My muse thrives on carbs and artificial orange coloring.

Susan: Jenna, the main character of Already Home, has to deal with some truly outrageous behavior from her ex. How would Amy and Linnie, your heroines from The Bake-Off, advise her?

Beth: Well, Amy is one of those freaks of nature who’s still buddy-buddy with all her ex-boyfriends and swaps baby photos with them on Facebook, so she’s useless here. Linnie, on the other hand, has a genius IQ—not that this helps her when she’s trying to make piecrust from scratch--and she will use it for evil if she’s crossed. I’m sure she’d be happy to help Jenna freeze her ex’s bank account, credit cards, and email. That should keep him too busy to bother her for awhile.

Susan: Every writer has themes and central conflicts they come back to again and again in their work. What would you say is the message at the heart of this book?

Beth: When all else fails, add more butter.

About the Author

Beth Kendrick is the author of twelve women’s fiction novels, including Put a Ring On ItNew Uses for Old BoyfriendsCure for the Common BreakupThe Week Before the WeddingThe Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service, and Nearlyweds, which was turned into a Hallmark Channel original movie. She lives in Arizona with two big rescue mutts and vacations at the Delaware beach, where she devotes a great deal of time to eating local strawberries and drinking wine. You know, for research.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; 1 edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451233107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451233103
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #669,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Pauline on May 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love baking so this was a no brainer for me. And I've read Beth Kendrick in the past and enjoyed her writing.
I was not disappointed. This story about sisters, about the sometimes difficult dynamics within a family...all of that touches us at some point in our lives. And how we perceive things differently as we get older, realizing our priorities in life. Beth Kendrick explores all of this in a light, easy read.
I finished this novel in between running to the kitchen removing my baking sheets from the oven. I don't believe I've ever even tried to make pie crust, but I might try now!
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By Deb on May 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a fun book filled with cooking, love, and even a villain. The characters are quirky, enjoyable, and believable. This would make a great book to take to the beach!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Looking for something fun and easy to read, this is it. We have romance, we have baking, we have sibling rivalry and a glorious Polish grandmother. Who knew all that stuff about baking competitions? That added some interest. Liked the characters too. And the recipes? I'm keeping those around! They look like heaven!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two sisters with a great deal of past resentments are brought together through the scheming of their grandmother and their own separate agendas. Linnie is the analytical one and is a former child prodigy who is now working a casino table in Vegas. When the antique broach of her grandmother is stolen and pawned, she must come up with the money to get it back without her grandmother knowing. Amy was a former wild girl, now settled in the suburbs with husband and children. She longs for the artistic recognition that she never had. Their grandmother Syl brings them together with the lure of a baking competition that she has entered with her friend for many years that has a $100,000 prize and television coverage. She offers her secret apple pie (szarlotka) recipe in order to cement the deal and connives to make the sisters take on the competition. We follow the sisters as they try to figure out how to bake and present and see the seamy underbelly of the cooking competition world as well as some of the more positive aspects. An unanticipated romance and some downright evil competition help the sisters move closer together. The end has some unexpected twists, but comes together well, like the sister's complementary talents bring to their version of the apple pie.
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We read this book in our book club and everyone really liked it. We had been reading books that were more serious and needed something a little lighter. This was the perfect book for us. There was poor behavior on the part of some of the characters, but generally the characters were enjoyable and the story line was interesting. We enjoyed the book and plan to read more like it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed The Bake- Off. The sister's interactions with each other, and with their feisty elderly grandmother, long buried resentments, family secrets, along with the baking competition. The Bake- Off was great fun as are all of Beth Kendrick's books.
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The Bake Off is fun to read - sisterly rivalry, cooking, Vegas, marriage, just an all around great chick-lit book - read it in 2 days. This is a perfect summer read - light but with characters that you care about and an interesting story. Also loved the 2 recipes that are in the book as well.
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Format: Paperback
Sisters Amy and Linnie grew up skirting around each other, watching as the chasm between them split beyond repair when they were teens. As adults, Linnie -- once a beautiful genius on the path to greatness -- has settled for dealing blackjack in Las Vegas, where she scampers about in tight-fitting uniforms and ponders where she went awry. Popular wild child Amy has settled into a life of domesticity with her husband, a successful dentist, and their twins, but she wonders if her happy life is really "enough."

Neither sister is concerned about the incident that separated them for good -- not anymore, anyway. But their grandmother Syl, a sassy Polish immigrant, is determined to end the hostilities . . . and all over a delicious, flaky and irresistible apple pie.

Secret Sisterhood Szarlotka is the prized recipe passed through generations of the Bialek family -- and now it's Linnie and Amy's turn to prepare it. Grammy Syl has entered the same baking competition for years but, with a few well-placed fibs, it's the sisters who arrive to prepare the szarlotka before a team of judges in New York City. Linnie is desperate for cash and Amy is desperate for a respite from her busy family life -- so what's it going to be? Make up and bake up -- or fail and bail?

Beth Kendrick's THE BAKE-OFF is a sweet, fun and entertaining look at family, love and the perfect pastry. Kendrick immediately drew me into the Bialeks' world with tales of Linnie's unfulfilling life in Vegas and Amy's frazzled days in Connecticut. Each woman was sympathetic, colorful, interesting -- a fully fleshed-out and compelling character. I could sense the discord between them -- anyone could, of course -- but there was something tangible beneath the surface: love.
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