Frontier Follies: Adventures in Marriage & Motherhood in the Middle of Nowhere by Ree Drummond (2020)
I've watched Ree Drummond for years in The Pioneer Woman on Food Network, so I was really excited to read her new book all about life on her Oklahoma ranch, focusing particularly on marriage and motherhood. It's a collection of memories and stories, some older ones repurposed from her blog and others brand-new (she talks about the effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on her family).
Ree's personality really comes through in this book - everything I've seen of her on tv and expect her to be. She's relatable and personable, with an approachable writing style that feels like you're having a conversation with her. And she's funny! A little dry humor, sometimes self-deprecating, but I actually found myself laughing out loud at a story or two (especially the story about a doughnut). I enjoyed reading about daily life on a cattle ranch, practically in the middle of nowhere - I can't imagine having to drive an hour or more to go to the store, and I could definitely do without all the critters she comes across on her property. Definitely a must-read for fans or anyone who's wondering what it's like to live in the country! 4 stars
Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting (2020)
Blaire has just opened her cupcakes and cocktails cafe when Ronan opens his throwback sports bar on the same day, next door. It leads to some competition between the two (and maybe some sparks), but when a bigger threat opens across the street, the two decide to work together to make their businesses a success.
I didn't love this one as much as I thought I would. I thought the idea was cute - these two business owners in competition with each other as they try to drum up customers realize they actually like working together - but the execution was lacking for me. Ronan and Blaire felt like caricatures - him always in plaid, her always in '50s-style dresses. The story, and especially the dialogue, were very repetitive - it seemed like they just kept having the same conversations over and over. There was a distinct lack of drama - the competitor that moves in across the street is mentioned so little, they might as well not be there. It just never felt like the stakes were that high and thus the story was very predictable. However, I did enjoy the creativity in Blaire's cupcakes and the different events they held, and Ronan's grandfather was absolutely adorable; I loved learning more about his story. 3 stars