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MyNeedToRead

My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

Becca's Best - Jessica Barksdale Inclan Intial reaction (upon finishing): Stayed up all night (it's 6am as I type this...yikes!) to finish. I'm charmed! I love Becca, and I love her best. ^_^I love the San Francisco Bay Area (but of course, being a native of the region). I love to bake. I dig laid-back, genuine people. Since this book had all of these things in spades, I also loved this book. ^_^ Becca's Best was a supremely charming book, with the warm fuzzies of chick-lit, but none of its more silly aspects.For one, the protagonist Becca Muchmore was not a disty TSTL heroine with some hilariously damnable weakness (like being a shopaholic, workaholic, gossip-monger, etc.). No offense to the Kinsella-esque stuff out there (which I also dig, to be fair), but it was refreshing to romp with Becca's voice, which is free of endless witticisms and perfectly snappy remarks. She's not a parody or caricature, either. On more than one occasion I thought, "she reminds me of...me!" She felt...normal (whatever that means). Identifiable.That said, near the beginning of the story I didn't quite understand why characters were written to have certain reactions and behaviors: one such instance involved Becca's taking great, GREAT offense to the fact that she was mistaken for one of her clients (who shared physical characteristics but happened to be a very mean woman). Much later in my reading, however, I felt like I "got" what the author might have been doing. Characters that initially seem like caricatures are as such because that's how Becca sees them. And so many occurrences and details are representative of much more than their face value...and it's often related to Becca's overall growth. Due to the nature of the protagonist's passion and fledgling business, there's a emphasis placed on the art and delights of baking. I absolutely loved how a different treat was discussed at the beginning of each chapter, and tied into the events or emotions of that particular section. It was a cute device, and had my mouth watering constantly. Call me daft, but I didn't get a sense of a "forgone conclusion" as I was reading the book. Sure, a book of this sort typically has a certain type of resolution (talking about the romantic HEA, here), but I felt like the story could likely have ended in any number of believable, understandable ways. This might have been due a greater focus on the process of growing and living over the "goal" of a romantic pairing. I felt like I was following Becca as she was taking a chance living her life, just as unsure of the future as she was.Thank the stars for Ms. Inclan's inclusion of RECIPES(!!!) at the tail end of the book. A quick read-through (and a video) showed me that they aren't complicated. It seems as though some of the recipes are from the author's own family recipes...and you know that if something is good enough to be passed down through generations, it's good enough to attempt making. ^_^Becca's non-existence (in the real world) notwithstanding, I really wanted the best for her and hoped she would find herself, regardless of whether that included a guy. Having that feeling for a character is great, ain't it?