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HowdyYAL

Howdy YAL!

I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies. 

Because Everyone Should Date a Puppy Yeller: Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins

Stir Me Up - Sabrina Elkins
I had really lame cable in college.  The best channel was the Food Network.  And because I'm the most productive when my TV is on, I learned a lot about cooking.  I also watch lots of shows with Gordon Ramsay starring in it.  Mainly because he actually expresses my rage for stupid people in a way that I never could.  And maybe that's why I have become a food snot.
 
The other explanation is I have experienced several hideous meals of Czech sausage and sauerkraut  growing up thanks to my half German/half Czech dad who's one association to his  roots is his food, that as an adult I try to avoid anything processed or that has sausage in it.  I also hate mayo too.  I don't know how that happened other than it just looks like paste and I have had bad experiences at Jack In the Box with a Jumbo Jack being butchered by the white gunk.  The point is, I've sort of became one of those food snots myself and have a large collection of cookbooks and like to read books that involve some sort cooking.
 
 
Stir Me Up  involves lots of cooking by an idiot who ends up having to give up her room to an asshole.
 
Yes, that is my one sentence summation of this book.  But the book is actually pretty good, if a bit flawed. Even though Cami makes some horrible choices, she is likable for the most part.  Dim, yes.  But likable.  And really, you can't expect every YA protagonist to be smart.  By their general existence they're supposed to be stupid.  But some of the stuff Cami does is really dumb.  And I'm not talking about the whole trying to make a full course meal of Indian food in less than half a day.  Seriously, it took my sister a half of day just to make chicken tikka masala, but then again she did use the slow cooker.  
 
But she was smart enough to research how to prepare the meal ahead of time and she was a freaking music major.
 
Okay, so maybe if you don't watch The Food Network or Gordon Ramsay yelling at people you can get past that.  But some of the other choices she made just had me screaming TSTL.
 
I'll just highlight the biggest two:
 
1)  College:
 
Oh yes, you can either go to college or have  a cooking career.  Not both.  Never mind that several schools have hotel and restaurant management degrees that one can receive.  Or that maybe the genius protagonist that we're dealing with can go to junior college part time while getting culinary training.  Those things were never discussed.  It was all or nothing.  And honestly, while backpacking in Europe sounds fun, in the real world if you don't have a bachelors degree you're screwed.  And yeah, that often translates to the restaurant world too.  Hate to say it.
 
Also, seriously, as much as I loved the wannabe Gordon Ramsay dad I got annoyed with his reasoning to why Cami should go to college (i.e. so she could have a job where she could mother her future children, because women shouldn't work such long hours).  Please.  If that's the case, why should men work long hours?  Shouldn't they be fathering their children?  You'd think someone who was a single parent throughout most of Cami's childhood would know this.
 
Furthermore, maybe  she doesn't want children or, you know, most other industries require long hours too.  Really, any job you have today doesn't give you a lot of downtime.  
 
Just saying.
 
2) Julian:
 
I liked Julian towards the end.  But at the beginning of the book.  Asshole, asshole, asshole.   He actually reminded me a lot like Beast from Beauty and the Beast, but he wasn't an animal.  He was a man.  A wounded man.  And yes, I get he has a sob story which allows him to complain.  But freaking come on.  You can be a little nice to the girl who gave up her bedroom (which I totally would not do because I'm an evil bitch who needs her private space) for this douche and is forced to live in the tiny alcove on the second floor which doesn't exactly have a door.  Oh, and he's mean to her dog who's deaf and is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (one of the sweetest breeds of dogs ever known to man kind, seriously watch their Dogs 101 profile if you don't believe me).  Yeah, if he took my room and yelled at my dog...there would be hell to pay.  But Cami just crushes over him even though she has a freaking boyfriend.
 
Who she dumped in sort of  a shitty way, fyi.
 
Though I'm glad she dumped him instead of it being a long triangle mess that makes me roll my eyes.
 
But the way she got with Julian it was way too fast and it wasn't even instant love.  It was hate you then bam I want to make babies with you.
 
Which brings me to probably the biggest issues, other than the characters that this one had.  Pacing.  Pacing reeked.  With the relationship and the other plots as well.  
 
That aside though, I did enjoy this one.  It was a light easy read.  Though it really was more NA to me than YA.  Even though, there's only like one sex scene (though the MC is in her underwear a lot).  I guess it seemed more NA to me, since the character was hardly ever in school.  She was always working in faux Gordon Ramsay's restaurant.  And  I liked the cooking aspect a lot.  And faux Gordon Ramsay.
 
I also agree with him about ranch dressing and tunafish casserole -nasty.   I also sympathize for him in the ongoing food war he and his new wife were having.  Seriously, I can understand why he wouldn't eat these things.  The fact that I felt as outrage as he did, gives this book a plus.
 
Another aspect I enjoyed about this book was that there was no insta love.  Even though the pacing was off and I hated Julian.  At least Cami wasn't panting over him right away.  Any attempt at trying not to do insta love gets a point for me, even though the romance as a whole sort of flopped.
 
It was also a very easy novel to read.  I read it basically in the span of three hours on and off. 
 
However, despite the fact it was enjoyable it's hard to overlook its faults.  While wouldn't avidly recommend this one, I think that it's okay to read if you like contemporary romance.  I'm giving it an average rating (five on the blog, two point five BookLikes, and I'm rounding it to three on GR because it entertained me).  If you want to read something light and fluffy give this one a try, but there is potential you'll be groaning.  On a positive note though, I only paid two bucks for it and I think it was well worth that.
 
Source: http://howdyyal.blogspot.com/2013/10/stir-me-up-sabrina-elkins.html