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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

More ‘Foodie’ Fiction This Week!

Button for Weekend Cooking memeWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth F, over at ‘Beth Fish Reads’. It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. When leaving your link, don’t forget to leave a comment for Beth F, we all like to receive comments and share your thoughts.


Isn’t it strange how some things occur and a seemingly random series of events, can be so linked? I guess we have only to look to the theory of ‘Six Degrees Of Separation’ to bear this out, although I see that ‘Facebook’ declare that they have now reduced this to Four Degrees!

When I posted my last ‘Weekend Cooking’ post, it was relatively easy for me to choose the content for the post, as I had received a couple of great fiction book recommendations with food related links in their titles, following a comment left in a post I had published on another regular meme. Lo and behold .. a comment in that same ‘Weekend Cooking’ post, came from an author, who when I payed a reciprocal visit to her site, has written a novella titled ‘Must Love Sandwiches’, a ready made subject for my post this week!!

Not only that, but on the weekend I visited her site, ‘Must Love Sandwiches’ was being offered as a free Kindle download for a few days, which is even better. The author, Janel Gradowski, was so sweet, that I have also agreed to promote and review the book, which is intended to be the first in a series of books, which will be collectively known as ‘The Bartonville Series’.

I love sandwiches, although I have to say that I prefer the traditional English sandwich, two slices of bread with just a couple of fillings, over the giant whopper ‘Subway’ style sandwiches which are fast becoming a part of life here now, and which, when we first came across them many years ago in the US, we just couldn’t even begin to contemplate eating.

This of course, is not to be confused with the ‘English Tea Sandwich’, which demands almost ritualistic preparation, calling as it does for the crusts of the bread to be removed, each sandwich to be uniform in shape and size and relies on the sandwich filling to be barely visible to the naked eye! Click here for a short video to see exactly what I am talking about!

Emma has worked hard to establish herself as an artist. The artists’ colony where she lives is heaven compared to the rundown trailer parks she grew up in. After a relationship comes to an unexpected end she decides to make some drastic changes in her life, but it isn’t as easy as just flipping a switch. Her best friend, Daisy, thinks she’s being too extreme. Plus, the owner of Emma’s favorite food truck is more tempting than the gourmet sandwiches he serves. That makes everything even more complicated. Is taking a different route in life the best thing to do? What if she ends up miserable instead of on the path to happiness?

“Must Love Sandwiches” is the first volume of The Bartonville Series of foodie fiction. This is a “cake” sized (novella) story of approximately 30,000 words. Recipes and two “truffle” sized (flash) stories of about 1,000 words each are also included.


Photograph of author Janel GradowskiJanel Gradowski grew up, and still lives, in the mitten of Michigan. She is a wife and mother whose writing companion is a crazy Golden Retriever named Cooper. In the past she has worked many jobs. Renting apartments, scorekeeping for a stock car racetrack and selling newspaper classified advertisements are some of the experiences that continue to provide inspiration for her stories. Now she writes fiction and is also a beadwork designer and teacher. She enjoys cooking and is fueled by copious amounts of coffee.

Her work has appeared in many publications, both online and in print. She is the author of two series. Her first culinary fiction series is The Bartonville Series. Each volume will contain foodie fiction stories of various lengths, all set in Michigan. The 6:1 Series features themed collections of her stories that are based on the title’s theme.

I am looking forward to sharing the ‘foodie’ connections you have all made this week!

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Hi Yvonne, Must Love Sandwiches sounds like a good read. I hope you enjoy it. That clip on how to make Afternoon Tea Sandwiches is interesting. I had no idea so much went into making those and now I’m actually wanting to try out making the cucumber ones.
    Enjoy your weekend 🙂

    • Hi Naida,

      The quintessential ‘English Afternoon Tea Sandwich’, is only found in the higher end of the restaurant and hotel chains these days, but it is always good to treat yourself once in a while. The whole thing is usually served on a 3 tier cakestand, with the sandwiches on the bottom, a selection of small fancy cakes in the centre and scones with jam and cream on the top tier. It always looks fantastic if done properly, although I have never attempted to reproduce it at home!

      ‘Must Love Sandwiches’ sounds like a great first book in a fun new series and although I don’t generally read a lot of short stories, I am looking forward to this one, especially as it includes recipes!

      I hope that you have a good Easter and thanks for stopping by.

    • Hi Diane,

      I don’t generally go for reading short stories, however at just under 100 pages ‘Must Love Sandwiches’ is really more of a novella and long enough to support a convincing storyline.

      The premise for the series as a whole, sounds like a fun way to enjoy reading and I am certainly up for the challenge of giving the concept a try.

      Thanks for stopping by, your comments and thoughts are always appreciated.

      Have a good Easter.

    • Hi Caite,

      The idea certainly sounds appealing, but I can’t imagine just how much extra weight I would be carrying, if he was as good a cook as he sounds.

      I can’t wait to see if Janel describes any of the gourmet sandwiches he makes!

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I appreciate your visit and comment.

    • Hi Janel,

      Thanks for being the inspiration for my post this week. I look forward to promoting and reading ‘Must Love Sandwiches’ and wish you every succes with this book and any future episodes in ‘The Bartonville Series’.

      Have a good Easter weekend and thanks for stopping by to comment.

    • Hi Uniflame,

      Thanks for choosing to stop by Fiction Books this week. I love ‘meeting’ new people, so your visits will always be welcome and your comments always appreciated.

      In Janel’s own words … “Sometimes all you need is one or two bites to satisfy a craving.”

      These bite sized stories sound like they have the making of a great little series and I am open to having Janel prove me entirely wrong about the merits of the short story.

      Have a good Easter day.

    • Hi Joy,

      To me, this sounds like just the kind of premise which lends itself so well to a short novella and I can see how Janel is aiming to spin this out into a whole series of similar, everyday events, all with a ‘foodie’ theme.

      The story about how I got to this post may have been a little long-winded, but the chain of coincidences just struck me as amazing. I think it is great when I can link more than one post together, as it somehow feels as though there is a kind of continuity about the whole process.

      I am not so sure that I like the concept of us all getting that much ‘closer’ in terms of degrees of separation, with all the social media access in the world. To me it takes away some of the mystery and discovery about some of the inherent differences between us all as humans, which keeps us interesting to one another and not becoming complacent in our search to discover new things.

      Thanks for your interesting comments and I hope that you have a good Easter day.

    • Hi Beth,

      I haven’t had a series of three posts fall into place quite so easily before and I have to admit that it is very satisfying to see some continuity and synergie between articles, it makes life much more interesting.

      The video is one of the best I could find by someone with such a typically English accent and I think is also one of the most straightforward to follow. I don’t think there are many places who would present their afternoon tea in this way, complete with china three tier cakestand, but it is always a nice indulgence in decadence to be treated in this way occasionally.

      Thanks for hosting and have a good Easter.

  • There seem to be an increasing number of foodie fiction books on the market. On the one hand I love to read some of the recipes included but on the other hand worry that they are sometimes used purely as a gimmick in which to sell a book.

    Anyway, obviously a woman after my own heart, I also prefer the ‘English’ sandwich though every now and then I do like to partake of the more continental baguette filled with mushrooms and melted brie or camembert.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I might indulge in this series of short ‘foodie’ stories, however I wouldn’t read a full length fiction novel, which was just ‘padded out’ with the inclusion of recipes.

      I think that the only problem I have with short stories, is the purchase price of many of them. I can buy any magazine off the shelves and there will be at least a couple of short stories included in the price of a couple of pounds or so (I am not too sure of my pricing facts there, as I have to admit that I have NEVER bought a magazine for myself. I don’t enjoy all the ‘trashy’ elements of many of them, think they are a rip-off for what they are and personally I would rather read a book anyday!)

      A book of short stories is a different proposition altogether, although I would really need to be in the mood for reading such a book.

      I too, enjoy continental baguettes, as once again, they generally only come with a couple of modest fillings. A huge manufactured bread roll, stuffed with as many fillings, in as copious quantities as possible, does nothing for me … in fact there is nothing more likely to make me lose my appetite!

      Interesting comments, I really enjoyed reading this.

    • Hi Nikki,

      I don’t typically read cookery or recipe books and I wouldn’t fancy a full length novel which contains too many ‘foodie’ references or recipes.

      All the same, it is quite tempting when food is mentioned in a novel, especially if it is a dish which I am unfamiliar with and I have to go away and look it up. The book I am reading now has a couple of references to Eastern European food which I haven’t come across before and when I checked them out, the pictures were to die for. The trouble is, they always seem to be references to all the sweet and delicious things, which aren’t good for me, yet make me feel so hungry!!

      I have got enough ‘foodie’ references for a few more ‘Weekend Cooking’ posts though, which is great.

      The weather has turned out gloriously sunny here in Somerset today, although still a little chilly in the shade. Dave had to go and check out a query on his trail in Cheddar, so we headed over there. The gorge was heaving with visitors and the shops and cafes were doing a roaring trade. Even the ice cream traders were selling out fast, which can’t be bad for the coldest Easter day on record!

      I hope that you have had a good weekend so far and enjoy tomorrow.

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for stopping by Fiction Books this week. I love ‘meeting’ new people, so your visits will always be welcome and your comments always appreciated.

      I am not a short story reader typically, unless as one of a series of stories, published together as a single book. However, Janel’s series looks very tempting, so I am going to give ‘Must Love Sandwiches’ , the first part of ‘The Bartonville Series’ a try.

      Apart from anything else, I just love the way she describes her various stories:

      Truffle – story of approximately 1,000 words (flash fiction)

      Cookie – story of approximately 2,000 words (small short story)

      Muffin – story of approximately 5,000 words (short story)

      Loaf -story of approximately 10,000 words (novelette)

      Cake – story of approximately 25,000 words (novella)

      That’s tempting enough to keep me reading anyway!

      I hope that you are enjoying the Easter period.

Written by Yvonne