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Friday, December 12, 2008
The Cassandra Cookbook by Shawn James
Virtualbookworm.com Publishing, August 2008
264 Pages, Paperback,
RAW Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)
Cassandra’s parents own a bakery in Brooklyn and named it after their only child, Cassandra. It is a very popular stopping place for those needing tasty baked goods. It’s so good, a large company, ITC Foods, wants to buy the rights to the cookbook and sell the products nationwide. The deal will make enough money for her parents to retire to Florida and leave the running of Cassandra’s to Cassandra. Cassandra is engaged to a lawyer and her wedding is fast approaching. While negotiating with her parents, she leaves the shop in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, when she reaches her home, she discovers her fiancé is keeping secrets from her. The wedding is off. While setting up the ITC takeover of the cookbook, Cassandra meets Simon James, the company representative. There is an immediate attraction between them, but because of Cassandra’s former relationship, she has difficulty letting down her defenses. Simon is not about to give up and he pursues her. Simon has his own issues – one being his very controlling mother. Will these two ever get together? And will Cassandra actually sell the recipes? THE CASSANDRA COOKBOOK by Shawn James is the story of love and money – which is more important? The characters are well-developed and it is easy to see how they arrive at their decisions. There were side characters and action that kept the book moving. It is good entertainment.
Reviewed by alice Holman, RAWSISTAZ.com
Remember, there's still time to pick up a copy for yourself or someone you love. Makes a great gift!
Barnes & Noble
Monday, November 10, 2008
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Know All Your Ingredients, November 6, 2008
Jennifer Coissiere (Georgia) - See all my reviews Cassandra Lee gets one life-changing blow after another. Having caught her fiancé in a compromising situation, only days before they exchange nuptials, Cassandra has more on her plate than she knows what to do with. The Cassandra Cookbook by Shawn James is not only about cakes and cookies, but how one woman is determined to secure the future of her parents and herself, by the choices she has to make. Will she be able to successfully make everyone happy? Cassandra's parents, Carlton and Helen Lee, are the owners of Cassandra, a bakery they opened when she was but a little baby. Through the years Cassandra followed in her parents' footsteps, learning the tricks and tools of the trade. Using the knowledge and her eye for attracting people, Cassandra helped to change the profits coming in to their bank accounts. When a major conglomerate corporation takes interest in the bakery's cookbook, a sign of the changes to come are obvious. James delivered a series of characters who were three dimensional, and believable. The plot was well developed. However, with such a great storyline the editing needed to be on point and it was not. The grammatical errors, extra words, and punctuation misplacements served to be a distraction at certain points throughout the book. Even with the errors, I still recommend The Cassandra Cookbook to a reader looking for romance, a little drama and whimsical characters.
Jennifer Coissiere APOOO BookClub
***Cassandra Rules, November 2, 2008
By OOSA Online Book Club "O.O.S.A. Gets It Read!" (World Wide Web, USA) - See all my reviewsThe Lee family owns a bakery that they named after their daughter Cassandra. Cassandra loves the bakery and currently is working as a manager. In the last five years she's made a lot of changes that have as a result generated a lot of revenue. In exactly one week Cassandra and Gerald will be married. As her parents near retirement Cassandra has no doubts that she will soon be the owner. She is overflowing with excitement. Regrettably, Cassandra's dream life is due for major upsets. First, she learns that her parents have decided to sell the bakery. Although she is clearly upset, Cassandra wants to please her parents and goes over the contract to ensure that they aren't getting the short end of the stick. Second, she catches her fiancé in their bed with another. Is Cassandra able to stand the heat in the kitchen? Or has she been burned too many times? "The Cassandra Cookbook" is a satisfactory enough read. The author repeatedly uses `I digress' which after awhile becomes excessive. Reviewed by: Carmen
A Tantalizing Recipe For Literary Success, October 28, 2008
Apex Reviews (Durham, NC USA) - See all my reviewsCassandra Lee has spent nearly her whole life working in and building up her parents' bakery, named for her, thinking it would one day become hers. What she did not count on was that she would do such a good job that corporate food giant ITC would want to buy it. Although she is heartbroken that her parents would want to sell the store, Cassandra talks them into letting her represent them in the transaction so she can make sure they receive the best deal possible. To further add to her stress, she finds her fiancé in a compromising position that brings their engagement to a halt (in her mind, at least). Her whole life is turned upside down, but she knows she needs to keep it together to be there for her parents. Simon James is the market researcher at ITC who has been assigned to head up the project in preparation for his promotion to Product Manager. This project is his big break, and he struggles with his new role while balancing advice from his mother and his good friend, Smitty. Then, he and Cassandra meet and hit it off, and he has to figure out how to keep the deal professional while pursuing his feelings for her. The Cassandra Cookbook is a story of African Americans in the business world, showing how the choices they make can determine whether they will succeed or fail - an important theme, no matter your skin color. It is a classic tale of good person does well, bad person does not, with a strong message that you should consider how every choice you make affects other people. While the book is enjoyable, it needs editing for grammar and punctuation, and the descriptions are so heavy-handed as to be distracting, rather than helpful to the story. In addition, the first-person viewpoint, jumping from person to person, makes for some confusion and distraction for the reader. However, the story is compelling and the characters life-like, giving an interesting behind-the-scenes view of both the corporate business world and a successful bakery. It also gives some insight on the issues that African Americans must deal with every day in their quest to succeed.
Jennifer Walker Apex Reviews
Friday, August 8, 2008
A dash of determination.
A recipe for success.
Cassandra Lee’s lifelong dream is to take over the downtown Brooklyn bakery with her name on it when her parents retired. Her dream turns into a nightmare near the eve of her wedding when she learns corporate giant ITC Foods has plans for the store and her low down down low fiancé Gerald is caught in the arms of another man.
Cassandra perseveres, acting as her parents’ agent working with ITC rep Simon James to complete the deal. As their professional relationship gets personal, Simon reveals a secret that devastates Cassandra. Sending Cassandra over the edge, Simon must come up with a plan to heal her broken heart and make her dreams come true.
Read the first Chapter here!
Or buy the book at one of these online retailers:
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
That’s the only time you’ll ever see those designer names featured as the subject in my writing.
A lot of writers think adding the names of designers in their stories will make their writing trendy and hip. However, smart readers see through this gimmick and know it’s just another example of really bad writing.
Using designer brand names to describe what a character is wearing isn’t creative writing, it’s what a lazy writer does to avoid writing details in a story. It’s easier for a bad writer to describe a character wearing an navy Armani suit and tan Manolo Blahnik sandals than to describe them wearing a tailored navy double-breasted Italian business suit, crisp ivory cotton blouse and Bone colored Italian leather strappy sandals.
What’s the difference between the two descriptions? It’s in the readers’ imagination. In one description the reader sees the labels the character is wearing but learns next to nothing about them as a person. The opportunity to develop the character is lost.
However, the more detailed description seems vague on paper, but readers have a clearer picture of who the character is as a person in their minds. The words tailored and crisp give the reader an image of the character being a well-dressed person. These adjectives tell the reader something about who the character is, what they are what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
Without the labels getting in the way readers can make their own story regarding the character. And in a novel, it’s the story the reader creates reading between the lines that makes what’s on the page important.
Personally I hate name-dropping and do my best to avoid it in my stories. I feel it cheats the reader out of an opportunity to use their imagination. I don’t want my readers to have their reading experience constantly interrupted by a commercial. Besides, these designers aren’t paying me royalties, so why should I give them a free endorsement?
Monday, June 16, 2008
The next individual to beg you for a dollar ore a quarter won’t be a disheveled person down on their luck the media portrays. They won’t be a poor mother looking for money to feed her kids. They’ll be young spoiled and Black.
I’ve had the misfortune of running into people wearing $1000 leather jackets, $200 sneakers $250 jeans, Bling, Bling, necklaces, watches, gold and all types of jewelry walking up to me to ask for a quarter or something to eat. Mostly they’re young Black or Latino Males, and the occasional female of color . Usually they start out with some sad story about coming out of jail, being put outdoors by their woman, coming out of the hospital before they ask for cash. Some of the more brazen ones just roll up on me and ask for cash. One brought his son with him to solicit in a supermarket. Who the hell is raising these people?
I don’t want to hear any explanations. Since when did it become okay to for an able bodied person who is dressed better than me and has no job to walk up to me and ask for money? What entitles them to my money? What happened to THEIR money? The cash they were supposed to pay for food, transportation, rent and light and gas? Oh wait, they spent it on those fly sneakers that Bling and the latest gear.
No, I don’t have it. Not for a bunch of spoiled little brats with an over exaggerated sense of entitlement. You want something to eat? Hock that gold around your neck or those diamonds on your wrist. You want a ride on the Bus? Sell that $1000 Pelle Pelle jacket or those $200 sneakers or use that cell phone you love to yak it up on to call a cab Don’t ask me for my money when yours is burning a hole through your pocket. You want money? GET A JOB.
Why do these new age bums offend me? Seven years ago I worked with the homeless population. I met people with nothing and less than nothing. I grew up poor on Section 8 and welfare. I struggled through seven years of unemployment. I’ve been poor and Black. I know what it is to do without; I haven’t bought a new anything since 2001. If it weren’t for Christmas and birthday gifts I wouldn’t have anything. It makes my blood boil to hear some spoiled brat in the latest panhandling when they have a home and enough money to buy designer clothes, sneakers and jewelry. I’m sure they have other words for people who sponge off people and make no efforts to work towards making their own living. Call them Hustlers, gangstas, pimps, ballers, thugs, rappers, Artists, poets, musicians writers: But in my book if they walk like a bum, talk like a bum then well, they’re a BUM.
Here’s my message to today’s new age bum: Life is a struggle. I’m not suffering and neither are you. Get up off your ass and do something.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Over the past year i've been doing revisions the old fashioned way. I'm glad i did too. I caught a lot of typos and grammatical errors in the hard copy I would have missed on the computer. I'm hoping this makes my future self-published books of a higher quality.
I've got the covers designed for two books, and I want to release them within a couple of months of each other. Right now I'm playing with fonts and layouts on these and tring to make a visual that "grabs" the reader. I hope to get some Jpegs up here soon.
I'm working out budgeting, financing and an overall business and marketing plan. I hope to have something out in six months or so.
I'll be back here soon with more news soon.