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The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,680 ratings  ·  385 reviews
26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good.

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out o
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  1,680 ratings  ·  385 reviews

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Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Magical, Charming, heartwarming and oozing with sweetness!

Rachel Monroe has a secret - she can grant wishes. Sounds wonderful, right? But to her it is anything but. Being able to grant wishes is a HUGE responsibility especially if things go wrong. Just because she can grant wishes, doesn't mean she can control them, and she vows to never grant a wish again. But things change, as things often do, when she accidentally grants his best friend's daughter's birthday wish. Fearing that things could ge
Bookworm Extraordinaire
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

3.5 Stars

This was a super charming little book...


This one had Sarah Addison Allen feel to it. Rachel Monroe has a secret, she can make wishes come true. Sometimes with disastrous results. When one accidentally gets granted, Rachel decides it's time to pack up and leave town. She lands in Nowhere, North Carolina where she meets a great cast of characters hiding secrets of their own.

I enjoyed the heck out of this one. It was light-hearted,

2.5 Stars

Rachel has spent most of her life trying to ignore her magical "gift", and with good reason: sixteen years ago it ruined her family's life...

For all it's faults, this story has a truly original concept: more the pity for the way it turned out.

The initial dark tone ends up disappearing in an avalanche of badly explained facts, stereotypical characters, and a never ending mention ( and eating) of pies!
I really don't understand how all of that people aren't diabetics. Really!

Even so, it w
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Rachel Monroe is something of a modern day fairy godmother: she can make wishes come true. Whenever someone makes a wish, a slip of paper flutters down out of nowhere and as soon as she reads the words on the paper, their wish is granted. When Rachel was younger, one of her own wishes came true and it was terribly life changing and she vowed never to make any other wishes come true. That is, until the day her friends daughter wished for a unicorn and a pony with a sugar
Jul 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I received this via Goodreads FirstReads giveaways in exchange for an honest review.

Cute charming little story and the food descriptions, my god they made me hungry haha. I would love one of Catch's pies.

The magical abilities of sone of our characters were neat and the town itself I loved but again it's a question of liking it but not loving it.

It also annoyed me how long it took her to accept het ability. While I understand the why of it and all... it just felt drawn out to me.

The romance
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a fan of magical realism, I was ecstatic to win an early copy of this book from the author. The setting is quaint and cozy Nowhere, North Carolina, and the main character has the ability to grant wishes, including her own. She meets a woman named Catch who has a little magic of her own, and there is yummy baking involved. The themes of second chances and choosing happiness were uplifting, and overall, as you can tell by my rating, I was completely charmed by this magical book!
Grace {Rebel Mommy Book Blog}
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Rachel can make wishes come true. That doesn't mean it is a good thing though. Rachel leaves her home to escape the wishes and finds herself in Nowhere, North Carolina - town of the Lost and Found. Rachel stays with the town pie maker Catch. She finds a job and meets a guy. But will her ability to make wishes come true run her out of this town too?

This book was just so darn delightful. The wishes and some other magic that popped added such a fun aspect to the story. I loved how all aspec
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars...

This was truly a magical read and I am so glad I had an opportunity to read it! Anyone who is a fan of Sarah Addison Allen or enjoys her writing will be delighted with this southern tale of small towns, friendship, and forgiveness by debut author Susan Bishop Crispell. I look forward to reading more by her in the future.

I was enchanted by Rachel and her "special" talent with wishes, yet sad with how her life was affected by it. When she lands in Nowhere, NC while fleeing her TN home
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been dying to read this book since I read the synopsis and it didn’t disappoint! A charming North Carolina town, magic, pies, secrets, a hot neighbor—what’s not to love? This magical story is about finding yourself and choosing to be happy. The characters are complex and memorable and Nowhere drew me right in. I loved the emotion behind Rachel’s desire to stop the wishes. The romance with Ashe was both steamy and sweet. And endings are hard, but I really loved this one. It was satisfying an ...more
Mary Ann Marlowe
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is such a fun, magical story. Rachel has a powerful secret: she can grant wishes. But she's had some seriously bad luck when some of those wishes came true. Wanting to escape, she runs to a new town where she discovers magic is just a part of life. There she encounters people who teach her about herself, her family, and how to sort out what she wants versus what she needs. There are a number of subplots that are handled deftly and carried out to a very satisfying conclusion. And a sweet rom ...more
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Susan's words for a while now, so I was beyond excited to get a copy of this gorgeous thing in my greedy hands.

Love love loved Rachel. She's easy to relate to {well, besides that granting wishes thing...}, smart, and stronger than she realizes. It was enjoyable being in her head and going through the highs and lows with her. Catch is my favorite type of character. I love the snarky grandmother type, and let me assure you Catch is exactly that. She has a secret of her own and i
Sep 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Rachel Monroe can make wishes come true. When one of her friend’s daughter’s wishes is granted she is so afraid something else will go wrong she leaves and winds up in a town called “Nowhere” in North Carolina, which is exactly where she would like to be, nowhere. As she tries to make a new life in this small town she is taken in by a kind elderly lady and meets a man but the people of Nowhere are not so easy to accept her. Will she be able to call this place home or will she once again move on ...more
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
I really wanted to give this book a higher rating, but I just can't. The basic story was cozy and fun yet the writing was lacking in flow and tenderness. The ending wasn't complete for me; I wanted it to be more definite and truly hopeful. It didn't wrap everyone's lives up quite like I would have liked. ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you're the kind of person who wishes (pun not intended but I am *totally* leaving it) that Pushing Daisies had gone on to have five more seasons, THIS is a novel for you.

Crispell's prose is effortless and homey, and I have been craving pie from the moment I started reading. The story and characters were delightful, and I was pleased to see how their journeys unfolded.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
I randomly picked this one off the shelf at the library one day and the synopsis intrigued me enough to take it home. I am ever so glad I did! The idea behind the story is certainly an interesting one and from the first pages to the final chapter, I was sucked into Rachel's world completely. From Rachel herself, to Ashe, Mary Beth, Everley, and especially Catch, I fell in love with all the characters and the way they interact with one another. As for the town of Nowhere, NC itself, it seems a pr ...more
3.5 stars

I think this is what’s called magical realism — It has fantasy elements but is really a drama. Rachel has the power to grant wishes, usually involuntarily. When she was little, she wished her little brother out of existence and has been burdened by guilt ever since. She takes off in her car and mysteriously runs out of gas in Nowhere, North Carolina, where the fantasic is usually believed. She’s taken in by Catch, an old woman who helps people keep secrets through baking pies. So we hav
Rachel McMillan
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell If you like Sarah Addison Allen, you will love this book. It's about a young woman who is finding herself and accepting her past in a quirky town peppered with eccentricities. With the warmth characterization of Billie Letts and the narrative ease of Alice Hoffman, Crispell spins a tale of magic and loss in an artful and beguiling way. Rachel has an unusual secret: she can grant wishes. What seems like a blessing is more often a curse as s ...more
Apr 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Where do I even begin with this book? I only finished it partly because it was a book club book, and partly because I was aghast at the terrible story-telling and flat characters. It was emotionally immature and assumed the reader was just as shallow.
Kelly Ford
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a magical page-turner about a woman who accidentally wished away her little brother as a child, an action that landed her in a hospital and therapy because no one believed that her brother ever existed--including her parents. Now an adult, the wish-granting ability that Rachel so desperately wants to suppress is back full force. She leaves town to avoid accidentally harming her closest friends and lands in Nowhere, North Carolina after running out of gas. She decides to give Nowhere a ch ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
DNFing on page 129. I am in a serious, serious reading slump, and it's bad.

This book isn't horrible, it just exists. The plot is kind of ridiculous, and even though it was explained to me why people choose to eat the pie when it will make them not spill secrets, I still do not get it. If I lived there I would not eat the pie if it made me do something I didn't want to do. So in my mind, the very bones of this novel DO. NOT. WORK.

Mix in some flat characters that could be just about any character
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
It was the pie on the cover. That, and wishes. I'm a sucker for a book with a pie in it and wishes. And I was in the mood for a bit of romance.

Well, it was a silly toy of a book, with all kinds of crazy plot points like a main character who can grant wishes, who wishes away her little brother, who ends up in a town called Nowhere, who lodges with a woman who binds secrets. It would have made a pretty good episode of Twilight Zone once upon a time, but readers expect more of their books. Oh well.
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First off, this book will make you HUNGRY and make you want to start baking all the delicious things! Second off, this book will invade your heart and make you all swoopy-eyed and you'll be feeling ALL the feels!
What a great debut!
Linsey Miller
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this. Magic, pies, and romance - basically everything good in the world.
Apr 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ridiculous from beginning to end, and not in a charming way.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Terrible. Don't do it. ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Place:  Nowhere, North Carolina

People:  Rachel Monroe--a young woman with a secret she's trying to hide (or run away from). Catch--an old woman with a gift of her own who takes Rachel into her home and under her wing. Ashe--Catch's neighbor and friend.

Plot:  Rachel has a very unusual ability--she can make wishes come true. The trouble is, they don't always turn out the way she (or the wisher) expects. For years, she has tried to suppress her ability; now, after accidentally granting a wish for h
Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)
What a pleasant surprise. If you read this book, please, suspend all thoughts of “that could never happen”. This book, you see, was fantastical. But, I felt it was done in a believable way. Please just accept it and read on!

You see, there were no unicorns (ha), fairies, wizards, etc. It was fantasy but in a small town America kind of way.

I’m my recent years I’ve been enjoying the books written about small towns. This book was done differently though because of the “secret ingredients”.

This book
Monica Hills
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
You will definitely want pie after reading this book. Rachel can grant wishes but has no ability to control them. When she was young she made a wish that changed her life forever. Now she is worried that is going to happen again. She winds up in a town called Nowhere. This is where the real story begins.
This was a quick, light read. Not my favorite but not bad either. I do really want that pie.
Mary Klinkowsky
May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
2 stars. The premise for this book was interesting; it just didn't execute it in a way that it kept my attention. The romance was unbelievable. The magic system made absolutely no sense (you'd have Rachel making the pies and yet they still somehow used Catch's magic, how did that make sense?) We never really got a sense of how the wishes worked and why Rachel wasn't bombarded with all of the wishes ever (because we're only told that she doesn't have to be present for them to come around toward h ...more
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Susan Bishop Crispell earned a BFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Born and raised in the mountains of Tennessee, she now lives twenty minutes from the beach in North Carolina with her husband and their literary-named cat. She is the author of The Secret Ingredient of Wishes (2016) and Dreaming in Chocolate, which releases on Feb. 6, 2018. As you might expe ...more

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If you've got an overflowing Want to Read shelf of books that you keep meaning to get to (one day!), you're in good company. Our company, that...
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“Life is shitty sometimes, Rachel. But what good does it do to run away from everything because you’re afraid of something bad happening?” 2 likes
“Don’t let some stupid what if get in the way of enjoying a little slice of happiness.” 1 likes
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