Monday, August 10, 2009

Review: Table Manners by Mia King

Aloha from the mainland! Before leaving Hawaii, and in honor of Mia King (who lives on the Big Island), I took a nice afternoon off last week to finish reading Table Manners. With beach bag, sunscreen, and beach chair in hand, I headed to Laie Beach Park and put a wonderful cherry atop the lovely summer I've had. I honestly can't think of a better way to have concluded my summer than with a great book!

So, last month I won a wonderful signed, advanced copy of Table Manners, and a signed copy of Good Things from Mia King's personal blog. The giveaway was in honor and anticipation of the August 4th release of Table Manners. As a fan, I was so excited for the opportunity to get these wonderful books, and to watch another wonderful author continue to write.

Synopsis: Picking up where Good Things ended, we find Deidre McIntosh building on the wonderful ideas she had developed for a cookie line. Here she was developing a new brand and company during the day, all while gracing the arm of her gloriously rich and handsome Seattle bachelor boyfriend Kevin, to a myriad of events and fundraisers at night. As in the previous novel, Kevin's sister Marla continues to see Deidre as simply not good enough for her brother, and continues to seek out opportunities to show Deidre how ill-fitted she is for the family. Not only then must Deidre make her cookie line a success, but must also find a way to hang onto a beautiful new relationship.

Review: There really is something very clean, crisp, and clear about Mia King's writing that I just can't seem to put my finger on. I love the preciseness of her language, and the way it seems to lack pretension. In fact, it is the this clear, precise voice that makes the story so easy to fall into and to engage with her characters. As with other novels that I've read where there is another character or even situation working to pull apart the confidence and love of our main heroine, Deidre faces challenges with jealousy and inadequacy. I could picture her saying in her head, "Why is he with me? He's such a great guy, and maybe he'll wake up and realize I'm not as stunning and amazing as so and so." This felt very real to me, as I think many of us tend to think that of a loving partner at the time. The one part I found surprising and satisfying was Deidre's reactions to really difficult situations or strife. In my head I could see the main character lashing out, showing what a strong woman can do, but Deidre didn't need to do that. Somehow this character continued to make choices that felt low impact, not as emotionally ridden as I would have thought the author would take them. I kept waiting for tears, yells, or quiet wallowing. Instead, Deidre methodically faced her circumstances, and I really admired that.

So, what the selling point besides being a genuinely fun, great, escapist read? Can I say that the sweet treat mentions and cooking really made the reading experience like eating a chocolate croissant with a warm beverage. You can't help but indulge yourself in picturing the beautiful sweets and dishes created in the book, and to top it off, many of them are included in the back of the book. For me, I found Mia King's second novel to be a fun, sweet success!

This is a wonderful book that includes cooking and recipes. I'm finding that I love books that really describe beautifully made, good food. What books stand out to you as having great food references?

For more information: Table Manners.


  1. Great review! I read Table Manners last week and you can find my thoughts on my blog. I loved all the food references and then the recipes at the end - bonus!

    One book that stands out re: food references would be The School of Essential Ingredients. I read it a few months ago and loved the writing. Wonderful.

  2. I love anything with cooking and recipes, plus you had me when you said there was something about her to see if the library has any of her books...

  3. I love Mia King. Everything...her writing style, what she writes about, the characters...very enjoyable. Can't wait to read this one! The only thing that would make it better is of course to read it in Hawaii!!

  4. Mmmm, cookies. This book sounds delicious! :)

  5. Another new author for me to looks like a fun read!

  6. I am glad you are enjoying your vacay! And I am glad you enjoyed this book, too!

  7. Mary --Thanks! I'll have to check out your review, and thanks also for the book for me check out. :)

    Susan--Glad I could give you a suggestion. I also really love books that combine lovely food recipes and a good story. I hope you enjoy it!

    Staci--Nice to see another fan. LOL. Yes, reading it in Hawaii would always be an added bonus. Doesn't it also make you want to find the lake mentioned in the book and go read it there? I sure do! :)

    Heidenkind -- Yes, very delicious!

    A Buckeye Girl Reads--I hope you enjoy her stuff. I sure do! :)

    Rebecca--Thanks. :) You're sweet. Now I'm home, so I have to shake off my Hawaii sand and get back to my real job!