Leslie Nicoll's Reviews > Strawberries for Dessert

Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton
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Aug 14, 10

Read from August 10 to 11, 2010

Another terrific book from Marie Sexton. I really enjoy authors whose writing gets better with each book. While I thought Promises, A to Z, and The Letter Z were all terrific, Marie really hits the ball out of the park with this one.

In this story, Jonathan, Zach's ex, and Cole, Jared's "friend with benefits" get together on a blind date which is a total disaster. Even so, they manage to overcome obstacles; this book is the story of their 18 month journey to become a couple.

The book is written from Jonathan's first person POV but we come to learn what Cole is thinking and feeling from a series of emails that he writes to Jared. It's a very effective device and works better than the alternating POV of Zach and Angelo that was used in A to Z and The Letter Z--primarily because I didn't have to suffer through the irritating first person dialect that Marie used to write Angelo's parts. (I really, really like Angelo but I hate the way he comes off sounding like an ignorant hick. But I digress...)

Cole and Jonathan have very small parts in the other books (although Cole does have one significant scene in The Letter Z that I went back and re-read while I was reading Strawberries for Dessert). In the previous books, Jonathan didn't come off as particularly likeable (he dumped Zach) and for the first 50% of this book I wanted to wring his neck. Cole, on the other hand, I liked from the start although my heart ached for the "poor little rich boy" who lived his life like a cliche, mostly because he didn't know any other way to live.

Like I said, I have enjoyed all four books and although none are perfect, I think Strawberries for Dessert is the best so far. Promises was marred by an over-the-top action scene near the end that I thought was unnecessary; A to Z and The Letter Z had the Angelo dialog (noted above) which was annoying but not a dealbreaker. In Strawberries for Dessert I suppose the endless discussions of food and wine might bother some people--but since I enjoy food and wine, it didn't bother me! I almost wish Marie included some of Cole's recipes...I'd love to know how to make Sauteed Pasta with Lobster. Yum! I also enjoyed Cole's emails and the endless variations he had to refer to Matt: "your big angry cop," "that big bad cop you live with," etc. It was very funny and a nice touch of humor when things got a little too angsty.

All in all, a terrific book. Definitely recommended. Even though this is Marie's fourth book and uses previously introduced characters, I think this could easily be read as a standalone. In fact, if you read this one first and then go back and read the others, you'll be able to see how much her writing and storytelling has improved over the course of the series.

Five stars and a spot on my "I'll read this one again," shelf.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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ElaineY In fact, if you read this one first and then go back and read the others, you'll be able to see how much her writing and storytelling has improved over the course of the series.

Which is exactly what I did (though I did read Promises back in January and found it good but not great) and yes, that certainly worked for me. In fact, I suspect if I had read all 4 books in sequence, the problematic POV changes might have put me off so much I may have decided not to buy anymore. Whew...so glad I didn't do that.

As for Sauteed Pasta with Lobster, I haven't made it myself but have had it a couple of times in the restaurants and it's sublime.


Betryal Elaine, just to be clear on what you're saying, should I be reading these books in order or it doesn't matter? If that's case I'll have to stop this one now before it's too let. Hell, I'm not even sure what the order is supposed to be. :groaning:


Leslie Nicoll Sidney--I'm not Elaine but I'll answer your question. There are overlapping characters in all four books but I think the only one that wouldn't make sense without having read the others is The Letter Z. In Promises, Matt ("the big bad cop") and Jared get together. A to Z is primarily Zach and Angelo's story, although they meet Matt and Jared at a folk festival--but even if you hadn't read Promises, it would still make sense. The Letter Z has Matt, Jared, Zach and Angelo all interacting together (and as I said in my review, Cole shows up for a significant scene) so without the background of the other two books, The Letter Z probably wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. Strawberries for Dessert is pretty much a standalone with Jonathan and Cole, although both of them have been mentioned/appeared in the previous books. (Jonathan is Zach's ex, and Cole is Jared's "friend with benefits.") But what I just told you is all you really need to know about the other books to read Strawberries.


Betryal So I don't have to have a spazz attack because I haven't read the other two yet. Wow, thanks, Leslie! That was very helpful. I had even stopped reading Strawberries and put myself on standby till someone answered before I kept going. Although having said that and my habit of reading in order is a must I'll still get to the first two before Strawberries before tagging it to continue.


Leslie Nicoll They are all great stories. For each of them, I read them in one sitting, then went back to re-read and enjoy. That's my sign of a really good book.

L


ElaineY Sidney wrote: "So I don't have to have a spazz attack because I haven't read the other two yet. Wow, thanks, Leslie! That was very helpful. I had even stopped reading Strawberries and put myself on standby till s..."

Hi Sidney - and thanks, Leslie:) - no need to stop reading Strawberries unless you're one of those who are terribly anal about such things. I read Promises first, back in January and read Strawberries this week. I didn't even know the books were connected when I started Strawberries and both books are standalone.

I see you've read Promises so you'll be able to connect Jared immediately (I didn't even remember who he was which is why I had to go back and reread Promises!)

I haven't read A to Z and The Letter Z yet. Am taking a break to read Riddle of the Sands.


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