When in Doubt, Add Butter
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When in Doubt, Add Butter

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  4,959 ratings  ·  736 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author ofShoe Addicts AnonymousandAlways Something There to Remind Mecomes a delicious new novel about the search for true love and all the ingredients that go into it.



As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over.In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her.At thirty-seven, she has her own...more
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
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Community Reviews

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Robert
What I hope to find (and what will get me to spend my money quicker and invest hours upon hours of my own time) when I pick up a book is one that doesn’t sound like 95 out of 100 books that I pick up and read the first few pages of, a voice that grabs my nose and yanks harder than a semi-truck in the middle of I-95.

WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD BUTTER is such a book, and it managed this feat admirably from the very first sentence of the very first page. “When I was twelve, a fortune-teller at the Herbert H...more
Sarah
**review includes mild spoilers**

If I could, I'd give this book 2.5 stars. It was OK, not terrible, but not great either. Gemma is a 37 year old private chef in DC and the book covers her relationships with her clients (one for every night of the week) as well as her relationships outside of work (her cousin Penny, friend Lynn, and her dating interests.)

This is obviously chick-lit, so I tend to have lower expectations for these kinds of books - nothing heavy, just light and engaging. I did zip r...more
Amy
When a book shows up at my doorstep (a Goodreads ARC) with colorful cupcakes on the cover, it has a lot to live up to. When that cover also uses the word “Butter” in the title, whoa, that’s raising the bar even higher. As a chick-lit novel, this book does live up to both those cover points as a tasty confection to inhale curled up in bed.

The book focuses on Gemma Craig, personal chef, with all her personal foibles. She is a somewhat stereotypical late 30s single woman, bemoaning her lack of rel...more
Lorretta
I received this through GoodReads Giveaways.

I read chick lit only occasionally, but I do enjoy it for quick reads on trips or in hotel rooms.

I wanted to really like this book because of the potential food descriptions and recipes. Alas, there was only miniscule description of food and zero recipes. How can a character boast that she makes the best meatloaf and then not provide a recipe?

The main character Gemma Craig starts off very likable and has an engaging way of describing her clients and t...more
Roberta
Send Back this Chicken Soup
(note: contains mild spoilers)

America, land of many appetites: Americans do love their food, and when they’re not eating, they love looking at cooking shows or reading about food. I am no exception, and as a chronic dieter, seek vicarious living through scrumptious food writing, so I considered myself fortunate to receive an Advance Reading Copy of Harbison’s book. (After all, who with a pulse doesn’t love butter?) I was anticipating something along the lines of Choc...more
Aditi
Another cheesy-breezy chick-lit novel. Its fun, light, witty and no doubt, mind-blowingly delicious(literally, from its cover to its tid-bits). "When in Doubt, Add Butter" will remind you more of Catherine Zeta-Jones movie "No Reservations".

Its about Gemma, who's in her late 30s, having no life of her own, works as a personal chef for five different clients. She enjoys catering for parties in the weekends at a country club. One day she gets fired by one of her clients, as a result getting a rar...more
Allie Smith
Really, a 3.5. I thought this was an interesting book. I bought it because Beth Harbison wrote it (I LOVED Always Something There to Remind Me) and let’ face, the cover is gorgeous! My kids thought it was a cookbook and kept asking me when I was going to bake them cupcakes. The heroine, Gemma, is a chef, so there’s quite a bit of food and cooking throughout the book - don’t read it when you’re hungry. Foodies, who love a good story, will be thrilled.

Gemma is a personal chef for five different ho...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Won as an ARC. Looks cute and short. Isn't. Is most def. not a 'Clean Read' and is not fun or sweet, or, contrariwise, literary. Just stupid. And boring. The characters are blank-backed cardboard and there's exactly one of each type that you'd expect to find. The writing style is tell, tell, tell, show, tell, tell. The dialogue is laughably unrealistic. The plot rises and falls as the MC thinks she needs it to, with coincidences abounding.

I am going to try a few of the kitchen tips: pineapple +...more
Erin
I get really frustrated by books like this, that seem so cobbled together that you wonder if anyone actually read the final product before releasing it. It wasn't terrible, but the lack of attention to detail, even in a lighter read, really bothered me. Early on, the main character mentions that she delighted her mother by taking a corporate job with benefits at age 26. A few chapters later she mentions that she lost her mother to a heart attack shortly after her 22nd birthday. Really? No one ca...more
Brenda
At first, I really liked the heroine of When in Doubt, Add Butter. She was quick, sassy, and self-deprecating. She owned her own business and took care of herself. She had the potential to be a really interesting character but then the plot sabotaged her and made her into an unlikable idiot. About a third of the way through, quick and sassy Gemma became stupid and whiny. I couldn't actually believe how stupid she became. I mean she wasn't living in an Agatha Christie novel. Every major plot twis...more
Marathon County Public Library MCPL

Private Chef Gemma Craig has given up on dating. Instead, she focuses on her steady catering clients: The Russian family, the high-maintenance society wife, the food-allergy obsessed housewife, "Mr. Tuesday" and the asexual businessman. Each client has their own quirks, but each brings Gemma some degree of satisfaction. When that begins to fall apart, Gemma goes out with her friend and ends up with a one-night stand that will change her life.

The characters are engaging and well developed and th

...more
Amanda
I tend to have different expectations of books I read from the chick-lit genre. I like these books to be light and fluffy, expect to read about ridiculous and unrealistic situations, expect nothing truly bad to happen, and expect that everything will all turn out okay. Basically, I want to read them on the beach with a smile on my face and a willingness to set them down and do other vacation stuff. Based on these expectations I enjoyed When in Doubt, Add Butter.

Positives:
- I enjoyed reading abo...more
Carrie
I won this ARC copy through the First Reads program and couldn't have been happier to read it! I've read 2 other books by Beth Harbison that I was partial to due to the writing. But this one was a truly fun read. I was hooked after the first chapter...and that is due to the hilarity that ensued.

Gemma Craig (no relation to Jenny Craig) is a personal chef who works for an array of families in the DC area. One is a cast member of a reality show (similar to the RHO franchise), another has some of t...more
Lo
Originally from http://thebittersweetbookworm.wordpre...

Contrary to most of the reviews that I read about this book, I liked it. I didn’t love it or think it was a super fantastic novel, but for a light read it was perfect! It was carefree and sweet and exactly what I needed for today, because I was avoiding studying and classes were cancelled due to icy roads.

I absolutely loved this line: “There you are, all ready to pass Go and collect two hundred dollars, and suddenly Colonel Mustard is trapp...more
Ciji W
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jo Anne B
I really enjoyed is book. It was so fun and light-hearted which reminded me of the whimsical Donut Shop books. I thought the premise of this book was original and that is hard to find in these kind of books. The main character is a private chef which was very interesting to read about. I would love to have one of these and only thought celebrities and rich people had them. In this book, regular people were her customers. Some did have peculiar requests and it did shed some insight into the life...more
Sara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather
I won this book from a Goodreads first-reads giveaway.

When In Doubt, Add Butter is the story about a personal chef, Gemma Craig (not to be confused with Jenny Craig!) and the quirky people who she cooks for. When Gemma was 12 years old, she was told by a fortune teller to never marry because she would be miserable for the rest of her life. The fortune teller ended up being a disgruntled teacher dressed up, but when the story opens, Gemma is 37 years old and has never been married. She works for...more
Cheryl
When in Doubt, Add Butter is about Gemma Craig, a thirty-seven year old personal chef and the things she goes through working for a wide variety of clients, while trying to keep her head financially above water and have some semblance of a life.

I won this on Goodreads and I’ll admit the cover is what made me check it out (well played, art department) and when I looked at a couple of reviews, I thought that it would be a mostly light chick-lit type book about a personal chef and her clients. For...more
Angela Risner
Beth Harbison's writing can be hit (Shoe Addicts) and miss (Hope in a Jar), but thankfully this is definitely a hit.

The story follows Gemma, a private chef who cooks for a different client every day. Gemma is single and 37, thus she is what Jane Austen would call a spinster without much hope. She doesn't see herself as anything special.

Gemma's clients run the gamut from Snooty McSnootertons to Mr. Tuesday Night (whom she's never met in person) to possible members of the Russian Mafia. When she l...more
Jill Hackett
Apr 18, 2012 Jill Hackett rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: chicks
I LOVED this book! I almost NEVER read romances but this one was just absolutely perfect in every way and I enjoyed it so much. Gosh, I feel like such a gooey little girl with rose-colored glasses and too much sugar in her veins but it was just so good!

It's so refreshing to read a book written by someone who honest to god knows how to write and tell a good story. If you're looking for a read that you can trust to have a happy ending and will fulfill all your expectations, this is the book for yo...more
Julia
I received this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Thanks for the advanced copy!

When in Doubt, Add Butter falls into the chick lit genre. I really enjoyed the book despite my initial book cover judgement (The cupcakes looked good, but I thought the novel itself would be boring. I thought it would be one of those typical "this is my recipe" at the beginning of every chapter let me relate it to my life kind of books -- it's not.). The various characters Gemma cooks for are interesting, and I love t...more
Kate
I received this book through Goodreads Giveaways.
I was excited to jump into the world of baking and love. Turns out, main character Gemma Craig is not a baker of cupcakes, but rather a personal chef. I enjoyed meeting all of the crazy families and personalities that she cooks for each week. Many of them seemed so real and interesting. Gemma was a relatable protagonist but at times she could be whiney and come off a little immature. (A 37 year old woman needs to think about savings!) I loved the...more
Neha
I received this book as an ARC through the First Reads program.

Given my interest in food memoirs, and just about any book that has something, even tangentially, to do with food, I was quite excited when I was notified that I won the book. This being the main reason I entered the giveaway to begin with. My excitement for the book ended once I started reading it.
I read it on an flight between the east and west coast, and honestly, that is the only reason I finished it.
The author's writing style i...more
Shea
I liked this book, but it wasn't my favorite from Harbison. I dont really know why--I can't say there was anything I didn't like specifically--but it just didn't draw me in like most of her books do.
Maybe it was because the plot was kind of transparent--I figured out the twist, or whatever you want to call it, pretty early on. After that, it just wasn't that exciting. I did like her friendships with Penny, Willa, and Lex.
I will say that I wasn't a huge fan of the title. Yes, she uses the phrase...more
Melissa
OK, this book was seriously shallow and I'm not sure why I picked it up at the library in the first place. I thought it might be about food, and I love stories about good cooking/food and it's interactions with life (Toast, etc.) but this one was just a dressed up romance novel whose story I figured out in the first three chapters. Not to mention that the author's knowledge of good cooking was not what I would consider "chef" material, rather Red Robin, TGIF, Ruby Tuesday type cooking.

The endin...more
Sarah
So I have a advance readers copy of this book and when I received I started to have a hard time getting into it. The first few chapters of the book seem to drag I almost gave up but I am always one to give a book a fair chance. I am not one for to much detail and that seems to be the case at first I have never read this author so that may be her writing style. But anyways as I got past the first few the book picked up and I could not put it down I read late into the night to finish it because it...more
Brittany
I received this book through the First Reads giveaway program on Goodreads.

I love this hilarious, heartfelt book so much that I devoured it in less than a day!

Beth Harbison has created a wonderful main character, Gemma Craig… not to be confused with Jenny Craig, a private chef who, due to events from her past, lives to take care of others. The variety of characters she cooks for and helps, in turn help her discover, not only herself, but true love as well.

While I knew who “Mr. Tuesday” was an...more
Melodie
Gemma is a personal chef. Thirty sevenish,she loves what she does,is good at what she does. She has a clear set of rules for her life.Not falling in love is one of those rules.
Now of course, you know where this is headed. Despite being able to see the general ending a mile away, I enjoyed this book. I liked Gemma's attitude and sense of humor. I really enjoyed following her around as she cooked for her eccentric and often difficult clients.
I enjoyed the romance dance between Gemma and Paul. J...more
Becca Moss
I don't know why this book had such awful reviews, I actually really enjoyed it! The whole twist with Mr. Tuesday was just adorable. I'll definitely read more of Beth Harbison's work.
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Beth Harbison grew up in Potomac, Maryland, in the shadow of Washington, D.C. Apart from the occasional irritation at being held up in traffic by a presidential motorcade, she has remained fairly uninvolved in the politics that define her home town.

More about Beth Harbison...
Shoe Addicts Anonymous (Shoe Addict, #1) Secrets of a Shoe Addict (Shoe Addict, #2) Hope in a Jar Always Something There to Remind Me Thin, Rich, Pretty

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“No one promised life would be easy or that the game wouldn't change without warning. There you are, all ready to pass Go and collect two hundred dollars, and suddenly Colonel Mustard is trapped in the conservatory, ranting and raving and waving a wrench, and no one knows what exactly a conservatory is or why anyone thought a wrench - of all things - would be a good murder weapon, or what branch of the military Colonel Mustard even served in! Has anyone seen his credentials?” 6 likes
“Well, you get my point: You've go one life with zero guarantees, so you do your best, adapt if possible, and keep on breathing. I recommend striving for happiness, but many opt for duty and responsibility. Mileage varies.” 4 likes
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