Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Truffles By The Sea by Julie Carobini

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Truffles by the Sea

Bethany House (February 1, 2008)


Julie Carobini

Julie Carobini is an award-winning writer whose stories often spotlight her family, the sea, and God's timely work in the lives of those around her. She lives with her husband, Dan, and their three children in Ventura Beach, California.

She also likes to blog! Go leave her a comment at Waves of Grace.


If you read, Julie's first book, Chocolate Beach, then you might remember Gaby as Bri’s dramatic, lovesick best friend. Unfortunately, things get worse—much worse—for her before they get…well, best not to give it away.

Sometimes all a girl has left is chocolate...

Gaby Flores has a penchant for drama and an unfortunate knack for dating Mr. So Wrong. After breaking off yet another relationship, watching her apartment building burn to the ground, and discovering that her dippy delivery guy has run off with most of her business, Gaby decides it’s time to turn things around.

So she moves to a tiny waterfront loft and takes on a new motto: “Be gullible no more!” With help from her friends, she works to rebuild her flower shop—and her life. But when legal troubles and quirky neighbors and two surprising romances enter her beachy world, Gaby’s motto and fledgling faith are put to the test.

Can a young woman prone to disaster in both work and love finally find happily ever after?


Once again, I’m reading an author that is new to me. Julie Carobini is a mom who loves the Lord, adores the beach and loves being a writer. This is the second novel in her “chocolate” series, and apparently there is a bit of history from book one that is needed to fully appreciate book two. Since I haven’t read the first book in the series, I found myself a bit lost at the beginning of this book. However, as I continued reading I was able to find the “voice” of the main character - Gabby – and quit worrying so much about what I’d missed. Apparently the first novel features her best friend Bri, so maybe Gabby’s history is just missing. I’ll have to go backtrack a bit before I can say one way or another.

This novel is well-written as far as description of scenery and emotion. At one point, Gabby makes a very blunt assessment of herself stating that, “Anyone who really knows me also knows that pregnant pauses and I cannot coexist. They seem to have a gravitational pull that yanks words right out of my mouth.” Her lack of verbal control finds her later, on the same page, walking into her place of business with….”my dignity trailing behind me.” I like Julie Carobini’s turn of the phrase, but she never made me care about the women in her book.

The main character has been the victim of some bad circumstances beyond her control. Haven’t we all? Yet she worries all the time about her appearance. She says she wants to start fresh and be different, but she is constantly describing every male within eye-shot as some kind of chocolate. She’s insecure around everyone she meets and second guesses herself all the time. In short, she desperately needs a huge shot of confidence. Her faith seems genuine enough, but it never progresses much beyond something she uses as a means to boost her mood or an excuse to get out of uncomfortable situations. Her naivety is almost palpable.

The friendships between Gabby and a couple of her girlfriends are something else that seems surreal. Gabby just lost a great deal in her personal life and is financially drowning, yet the first thing her friends want to know is how her latest date went or whether or not her landlord is cute. One friend, Liv, pitches in and helps her try and get her business off the ground, but even as she gives graciously of her time, she is preoccupied with finding time to work out and the details of Gabby’s love life rather than anything of substance. Oddly enough, in many ways, Gabby ends up relating more to the teen next door than to friends her own age.

In a nutshell, I could not relate to the people in this book very well at all. While their circumstances were serious and their desire to grow spiritually was stated, they still seemed preoccupied with things that weren’t very important. Try this for yourself and make your own decision, but other than some great word-pictures, I didn’t connect with this story.

However, I know there are chocolate lovers out there, so I want to give you a message from the author herself! Looks like there is a chocolate contest in the air! I hope you are a winner!!

Julie's Invitation:

To celebrate my upcoming CFBA tour March 5-7, I'll be giving away a copy of Truffles by the Sea AND and a 1/2 lb. box of yummy truffles to three of your readers.

All they need to do is drop by my blog during the tour and leave a comment and a way to contact them if they win.

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