An #INSPY Audiobook Review | Jorie was smitten by the cheeky Contemporary INSPY humour of Bethany Turner within the pages of “Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish”! [Started during #CFSRS20]

Posted Monday, 21 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have been participating in the Christian Fiction & Clean Reads Reading Safari readathon for the past three years now. I have found the readathon to be personally enriching as it is a wonderful month of respite for book bloggers who want to focus on reading outside their blog schedules and tuck into the gentler side of fiction which is Inspirational Fiction (ie. INSPY). A portion of INSPY is Christian Fiction however, INSPY overall encompasses all faiths and religious backgrounds as it is faith-inspired literature. As a participant of the readathon – each reader moves through the event at their own pacing – seeking stories to read, authors to get to know socially online and reading the stories which interest them throughout the readathon. As you participate there is a chance you can win a book or several throughout the month. This year I am reading a mixture of stories I’ve won during past CFSRS readathons, stories I’ve won through bookaways with Christian Fiction authors or bloggers as well as stories on my shelf from my personal library as well as borrowing INSPY stories in print and audio from my local libraries.

In May 2020, I was hosting a few promotional tours and social blitzes for JustRead Publicity Tours – one of those tours was the ‘Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish’ Takeover Tour – wherein I received a complimentary print copy of the novel in exchange for posting promotional content on social media featuring my own book photography. Whilst the audiobook edition for “Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish” was included in my Scribd membership which I use to regularly listen to audiobooks. However, I finished listening to the audiobook via CloudLibrary which is a service through my library for listening to audiobooks. I was not obligated to post a review on behalf of this novel and have elected to do so for my own edification as well as continuing to share my bookish and readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this story:

You’d have to understand my affection and addiction to watching *celebrity chefs!* first and foremost – as I entered into my years of cooking a bit late in the game compared to most women. In fact, I took after Julia Child and I was wickedly overjoyed knowing that she didn’t get invested into cooking or the cookery arts until well into her thirties – wherein I happily beat her by a few years myself when I started to find that I enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen, too!

Prior to those years of my late twenties, I was resolved that perhaps when it came to cooking my real gift was for baking – as I just did not catch onto the buzz round using fresh farmer market ingredients and sorting out which vegetarian and/or vegan dish I wanted to create by using different cookbooks and/or vegan/veg blogger recipes online until after assisting Mum as her sous chef – I started to notice I was enjoying ‘going off the recipes’ and sorting things out on my own. It was a personal reckoning of joy and I was thrilled to bits about this new adventure I was undertaking.

This also lead us to requesting copious amounts of cookbooks & baking books at our local library and happily kept the Acquisitions Library well supplied with titles for vegans and vegetarians alike! Over the years we had to take a break from focusing on vegetarian foods and are more omnivores at the moment who are anxious to return back to living through the seasons with vegetables and grains. At the same time, I was no longer finding Food Network & the Cooking Network to be on the boring side of the ledger as half the time I felt a lot of that stuff flew over my head quite a bit.

I’m all-in now – from having personal favourite celebrity chefs to having series on Food Network I am wicked thrilled over seeing new episodes for whenever I’m able to see them to realising that it could take another lifetime to *bake!* like they do on the Great British Bake-Off! I even love a murder mystery series via Hallmark Movies & Mysteries called: “Morning Show Mysteries”. The title is elusive as she runs a restaurant and has a cooking segment on a tv show.

Thus, when I read the premise for “Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish” I thought how wicked wonderful one of today’s INSPY Contemporary novelists’ is taking a personal hobby following the lives of celebrity chefs and spinning it into a compellingly realistic story!

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Graphic created in Canva by Jorie. Hadley Beckett's Next Dish novel Photography Credit: © jorielovesastory.com.

Hadley Beckett's Next Dish
by Bethany Turner
Source: Borrowed from local library's CloudLibrary, Direct from Publisher, Scribd | Audiobook Subscription
Narrator: Aimee Lilly

Get ready for a heaping helping of humor, romance, and second chances

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanagh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show, To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel's other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.

When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum and is sent packing, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public's good graces is to work alongside Hadley. As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love.

In the meantime, hide the knives.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Cookery, Foodie Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Southern Lit, Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780800735234

ASIN: B087JZQCC3

Published by Revell

on 5th May, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital, Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

Length: 8 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

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The novels of Bethany Turner:

The Secret Life of Sarah HollenbeckWooing Cadie McCaffrey by Bethany TurnerHadley Beckett's Next Dish by Bethany Turner

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck (2017)

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey (2019)

Hadley Becket’s Next Dish (2020)

Published by: Revell (@RevellBooks)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Audiobook Published by: Oasis Audio (@oasisaudio)

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook (Digital & CD) and Ebook

Converse via: #Contemporary #ChristianFiction, #INSPYRomance, #INSPYbooks,
as well as #HadleyBeckettsNextDish and #HadBeck

About Bethany Turner

Bethany Turner

Bethany Turner is the award-winning author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck and Wooing Cadie McCaffrey and the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former bank executive and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn't matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she's chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.

Photo Credit: Photo by: Emilie Hendryx © EA Creative Photography

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on bridging us into the world of celebrity chefs:

Ms Turner definitely knows quite a bit about the art and craft of televised cooking shows as I felt like we were being treated to previously unknown ‘BTS’ (ie. behind the scenes) revelations as we saw what it is like on the other side of the camera for the contestants and/or participants of cooking shows on television! One thing I had oft been curious about myself was the length of production and how many episodes per day of production you could ink out – happily this question is answered within the first chapter and it doesn’t surprise me because I long ago learnt that Vanna White works one week a month and all the episodes for Wheel of Fortune are shot during that one work week for the entire *month!*.

The entire time you’re viewing the show being produced behind cameras, there are a lot of carryovers from other series I’ve seen produced and filmed. Turner taps into that hidden world where those in front of the camera are not always the best to deal with IRL and how their personalities belie the image they are attempting to create for themselves. All of this turnt into an incredible first-hand account of life on set as a celebrity chef which I felt was a strong representation of how it could be in reality. Whether it is or isn’t is unknown but it works for giving this story the backbone of drama which increases the joy of its comedic intermissions!

Turner also unpacks the celebrity aspect of their lives – how the public constantly wants autographs and selfies taken with them whilst news outlets constantly want to write about them or have them as guests on different tv shows. On that level, Turner has truly written a gem of a novel to understand what happens when the cameras turn off and how living a quasi-public life isn’t always what its cracked up to being for those who have to live under the glare of the general public.

my review of hadley beckett’s next dish:

Hadley Beckett has this internal sunshine about herself wherein even when she’s stressed to the max – she’s still a champion of trying to focus on the small things and not allow others round her to tip her over the edge of her own sanity. That is of course until this Max fellow who comes off as quite the cad as he doesn’t give two figs about Hadley whilst displaying his ego as if he were the most important chef in the world. Mind you, they were involved with a cooking show sequencing a competition for the ‘Culinary Channel’ (which in my mind was either Food Network or Cooking Channel) but the entire time the cast and crew are attempting to film what needed to get in the bag that day, Max with his less than gracious ego kept butting heads and making filming adversely difficult for all involved!

Hadley was betwixt a rock and a hard place knowing how to tap dance round Max – he infuriated her and those round him by his antics but it was a bit more personal for Hadley! She had admired the man and appreciated his work ethic and the accomplishments he’d made – but in person? She couldn’t be any closer to being oil to his water! They simply locked horns like mountain goats and didn’t have a lot of common ground. To add further insult to her injury, the whole crew treated Max like he could do no wrong and that if you tried to stand up for yourself? You only came to the conclusion that you didn’t even have to be in the room anymore. I felt for Hadley – here she was trying to be professional and everyone is bending over backwards for the jerk in the chef’s hat!

I did burst out in laughs at the moment Hadley is talking to Glenn about something involving Max and all of a sudden the other shoe drops and she’s being put in a position she didn’t expect! For starters, you tend to lose all your exertion to fight against something that has irked your ire when you’re being given one of the best compliments someone can impart on you. And, then, to make that moment worse, you’re being asked to do something you’d rather not do but how can you refuse?! I had a good chuckle over that scene because it had so much truth inside it! Just when you think you’ve read all the signs right and sorted out all the signals being given to you – someone walks up and gives you a curveball you hadn’t seen coming!

The purity of how this section of the opener was written is classic comedic drama – wherein, the characters in question do not realise what kind of potboiler they’ve become involved with until it is nearly too late to process everything lateron. In that moment, we, the readers knew what Hadley herself hadn’t yet struck upon and were waiting for her to make the connection! The ways in which Turner showcased the truer nature of both Max and Hadley at the moment both of them were like dual volcanoes exploding together and apart was simply brilliant! She brought to life the realities of cooking shows with such clear vision that you honestly can see that despite anyone’s best intentions getting two oppositional personalities together is not the easiest of tasks but to get them to part company without knives being thrown after working together? Almost impossible!

After their epic failure at the competition to turn lemons into lemonade, we find ourselves shifting forward a bit to where Hadley is filming her series for the Culinary Channel and struck by the appearance of a mysterious visitor. I was waiting for the details about what became of Max after filming ended with his walk-off? He might be a cad but he seemed to have fuell for his bad behaviour and as it was hinted at a bit in the context of the story, I dearly wanted those details before Hadley had a bit more success herself which she aptly deserved. It goes back to wanting to understand the sociological underpinnings of the character and to find a way to reconcile his behaviour which was in a word: atrocious!

There are several characters in the background – from Glenn and Stuart who were the men behind the camera attempting to keep things afloat when everything started to tank due to Max’s short temper and Hadley’s understandable exasperation to Leo Landry whom at first comes across as an opportunist to cash in on Hadley’s newfound success in the wake of Max’s sabbatical from the network. Those are the kind of people you have to weigh carefully – do they have your best interests in mind or are they just seeking something from you that hasn’t been disclosed? It felt right that Turner had written Hadley’s first meeting with Leo like she had – fully questioning this guys motives and questioning herself if she were in a safe position to hold a conversation with him.

You truly start to want to hug this novel! Turner presents so many wonderfully wicked life lessons within the context of the storyline with Hadley – especially lovely to see how she brokered the differences in success in business. To take one road or another and what that would meant to you as a person, as a celebrity and as a woman who is attempting to be independently resourceful with her own career. It was in those moments of revelation you saw a side of Turner’s writing that gave you every reason to hug the book!

By the time we meet Meemaw, we’re thinking there is a change coming down the line for Hadley – especially considering where their conversation took them! Meemaw seemed to put Hadley down a bit and to criticise the ways in which she built her career – which was something I couldn’t discern was part of the way she managed Hadley as a talent agent or if it went a bit deeper than that and those were her honest impressions about her granddaughter’s life. It would be hard to separate her words because her grandmother had a passionate discipline when it came to focusing on business. And, yet, what she said next not only gobsmacked me but it definitely took Hadley for a loop as well! Which just goes to show you – never become complacent in life because one day there is going to be a moment that arrives to upturnt your world!

What I liked about the character Leo Landry is that he was the external voice of reason Hadley needed in her life as he wasn’t connected to her inner sphere of work colleagues, family or friends. He could see what was outside her own understanding of her own career and that brought in a lot of depth about the industry of celebrity chefs and the perceptional analysis of viewers of those shows. I loved how Turner made both Hadley and the reader second guess Leo’s intentions with Hadley and to give us a humbling life lesson that it is better to hear someone out in full than to make presumptions about where their allegiances lie. And, further into the story allow some of our preconceptions about Leo become explored in a way we hadn’t expected!

Stuart ended up being the character who surprised me the most – given his back-history with Hadley, it was a credit to them both to put fame aside and to maintain a friendship which had begun in college. What I liked about him was his ethics and how he believed in Hadley – from her vision for her show to how she wanted to be seen on camera. Stuart turnt out to be the bloke who had Hadley’s back and always championed her as her best cheerleader. Which was also proven tenfold when Max tried to re-enter Hadley’s life at a moment none of them could have foreseen.

I was truly captured by this discombobulated version of ‘Max’ – he wasn’t confident or even self-assured, he was a distinctively different version of himself and in that new variant of his own personality you can see the flexibility of Turner’s writing. How she took an outright cad of a character and then gave you a reason to take a second look at him by ensuring you’d feel sorry for him is a wonderment of how a writer can craft together a story which will continuously surprise you as you’re reading it! Whilst at the same time, she took us on this internally introspective journey with Hadley herself – how she was trying to find footing to resolve what I never thought I could resolve either – the reinvention of Max or rather, better still, the restored version? It was hard to say. Did he evolve into the cad out of a disillusioned career or was it the trajectory of how he acted and thus presented himself due to mitigating circumstances not yet revealled that led-in to his newfound transformation? If Hadley found herself cooking her emotions to a slow simmer of calm after the shock of seeing Max again – I was about to find myself baking more scones!

As Turner places Max and Hadley back together, their fierce adverse reactions to each other reach a new pinnacle of insanity! Except for one clear difference – Hadley is checking herself to not allow herself to hold her prejudicial views of Max against him until she can prove he’s the same ‘old Max’ rather than the reincarnated new version of himself he seems to want to sport in front of her all the time now. Whilst at the same time, we see Max struggling against his own will to be ‘himself’ as that is now no longer the version of himself he wants to present. It was an interesting mix of strong emotions, fierce dialogue and two persons who were bemused with each other but clearly did not want to own that truth! And, yet, they were simply combustible whenever they were in close proximity of each other – as they brought out both the best and the worst in each other.

I seriously wished Hadley at Home was a bonefide tv series! She had this coy entertaining personality intermixed with some cunningly delish topics and a way of convincing you to cook or bake the foods she’s talking about which is of course the mark of a brilliant celebrity chef! Peering at how they were filming her series, where she went from set to being ‘at home’ in the truest sense of the word was a clever depiction as I oft wondered what it would to have this camera crew invading your personal space whilst you juggle both private and public worlds of your life.

Ohh my dear stars! When Hadley started to compare her experience filming with Max to scenes and sequences from Annie – I could barely contain my snorting laughter! The pieces of the film and story Turner tucked into this experience for Hadley were beyond brilliant because they were such close cousins of emotional strife and paired so well together that it was like a slow cooked stew! The fact that I listened to the soundtrack of Annie often enough to require re-purchasing the tape at least four times (because cassettes used to break that easily!) and I watched my VHS copy of the film enough times to have the video tape start to get lines through it notwithstanding – it is pure admiration to see a fellow writer instinctively understand how to insert pop culture references into the threading of dialogue and internal thoughts of their characters!

I was cackling by the time Max and Hadley were sorting out how to film together – mostly as when Ms Lilly was impersonating an impromptu retrospective impression of Suzanne Sugerbaker (ie. Designing Women) not only did she nail it but she also somehow embodied every Southern celebrity chef I’ve ever seen! It is this kind of fierce comedy which offsets the more serious moments of Hadley and Max’s slow brewing romance – as it was the kind of romance which sneaks up on a person whilst they weren’t paying attention. You could see how both Hadley and Max weren’t sure how to reconcile their growing attraction to each other and I delighted in their uncomfortable approach to sorting out their feelings because it felt realistically true to both of these characters. They were career driven and their personalities were so opposite on the surface of things – you wouldn’t think they’d find themselves smitten with each other. Except for the reasons Turner started to broach and interweave into their conversations. As that is the brilliant bit of Hadley’s Next Dish – taking two seemingly combustible characters who cannot stand the presence of each other and find them connecting in ways that never would have felt plausible if circumstances hadn’t thrown them together!

Part of what I loved about this story is how authentically honest, raw and real the relationship was portrayed between Hadley and Max. Turner took us closer into not just how a relationship could become built between ‘enemies’ but she allowed them the grace of having these long engaging conversations where they could unpack far more than the foundational blocks of a relationship. They discussed everything from the pressures of being in the public eye to the faults of being a celebrity chef and their dealings with an agent who wasn’t working in their best interests. They talked about the topics and subjects most would have waited to speak about until after a marriage and it seemed that they had a better ‘start’ to their relationship because they cleared the air of everything that might become a stumbling block down the road. It was in those conversations where you learnt the most about each of them – of seeing the insecurities of Max and the vulnerabilities of Hadley.

They were each hiding portions of themselves – from each other and from the cameras. Together they were finding themselves in a rather comfortable position of being more authentically real with each other than they first felt they could feel and that is what roots you into their story. To see the fullness of how by being together they were each repairing portions of themselves they might not have worked on if they hadn’t been forced together.

It has been a bit since I’ve read a dramedy and this story definitely appeals to both audiences of comedies and dramas because of how both are explored in equal merits of inclusion. Turner’s comedic timing is brilliant because it hones in on what is happening in-scene whilst giving you a reason to laugh so loud you could wake the dead in the cemetery! She understands how to write a fusion of fictional life and our own reality wherein there is this perfect mix of relatability towards what is popularly known and what gives the best foundation to tell a dramatic story. Her snark bold humour is also brilliantly encased in the joy of her lead character Hadley Beckett who speaks her mind but more often holds her tongue! She’s a spitfire but a humbled spitfire with a check of conscience which keeps her grounded. You cannot help but want to befriend Hadley and tuck into whichever story Turner has written because you cannot wait to see what she’s done with the journey of her characters’ inside those other stories!

on the realistic contemporary inspy styling of bethany turner:

It is hard not to roar with laughter when you reach the description of Max Cavanagh because Turner used Hugh Grant’s hair as a reference point from a particular era of his film career! I love when writers use pop cultural references in their stories – some of whom have the best instincts for what will draw the most laughs and have better comedic timing than others. Turner I felt had an natural instinct for this and it was a delight to watch her style of INSPY Contemporary Women’s Fiction unfold with each turning of the page!

What endeared me the most about how Turner wrote Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish is that if you needed a wicked respite from everyday life, this is a novel writ in a tone of narrative that not only makes you feel like you’re on a self-directed holiday but you can’t help but soak into her words, the twists of phrase she uses to illuminate the drama and to feel yourself relaxing into the story. If you are blessed to be able to hear this story in audiobook with the delightfully brilliant Aimee Lilly its a sweetened journey for you because Ms Lilly performs as if this were a one woman play bringing to life every nuanced moment of the story and giving you a narration that feels larger than life! I loved the intimacy of this performance – of how Lilly hugged so dearly close to the words of Turner and how in combination of each other, they built this beautifully sophisticated world ‘behind’ not only celebrity chefs and the cookery arts but behind how the path for any woman to find success in a field of men is one incredible Mt Everest to climb!

For a girl who watched every incantation of Law and Order (save one “Trial by Jury”) – I was smirking like you wouldn’t believe when Turner used this as both a frame of reference and as a marker of how time might take its passage in our lives but sometimes tv series regenerate themselves to ride out the waves of time with us! When she started referencing top Food Network chefs like Emeril, Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray – honestly, I was full of smirks! Mind you, I think it helps if you’ve been binge watching that network for over two decades now (*cough* like a certain book blogger) as you gain a lot through observing their individual personalities and how fittingly real her side humour is about them, too! Turner has found that beautiful balance between etching out living reality and fictional realism to where the two become brilliantly blurred together in one harmonious symphony of insight!

When Turner takes you through the needle threading us closer to the heart of what turnt Max into the Max Hadley herself couldn’t stand to be round into the Max Hadley had trouble recognising as er, Max? is a feat of genius. She doesn’t rush anything about this new incantation of a bloke we all felt we knew and gave us a firm set of reasons why sometimes its hard to tell which rattish bloke is a rat and which bloke simply needs to find a new chapter to call his own. The ways in which she captured both of those characters – the slow soothing pacing of getting inside their hearts, heads and emotional states countered against how they interacted with each other was some of the best sequences of the story for me. Just to follow in Turner’s footsteps as she took us through my least favourite tropes of Romance (ie. enemies to lovers) and gave me a reason to engage with a plot that truly left me wanton for more! Especially more time with Hadley and Max,.. sequel anyone!?

I loved how Turner gently tucked in both life lessons and Hadley’s walk in faith into the background of the storyline. For all the humour within the telling of this story, there is a heap of heart and a firm grounding of a faithful resolve built on the hope of what life can bring as long as you remain open and adaptive. One of my favourite kinds of INSPY stories are the ones which showcase faith in the everyday hours of life being lived and Turner excels at this style!

At the same time what was such a refreshing change for me was the innocent and clean humour! Every pop cultural reference felt as if it had spun itself into this novel by extracting those tidbits out of my own life’s history! I mean, she even mentioned The Golden Girls! It was wicked wonderful seeing all of these points of references – yet it took me nearly til the end of the novel to realise the reason I was as hugged inside this novel as much as I were is because someone shared my generation and thereby it was an interpersonal novel from that perspective above and beyond how much I loved the story itself. It is a rare treat to share so much with a writer who writing Contemporary Romances – from INSPY or mainstream markets and thus, my memories of #HadBeck will endure long after I’ve finished the experience of reading and hearing this story via the narration of Ms Lilly!

A note about the chapter breaks:

For reasons I couldn’t quite discern, each chapter had a tongue-in-cheek reference to cooking directions which was quite fitting really as this is a novel set in a culinary world but what confused me more is that there was a reference of which character this chapter would start off focusing on and that was what felt a bit muddling to me? For instance, if you’re reading a multi-character POV novel, it would warrant the inclusion of individual names in certain breaks in either the chapter itself or for each new chapter to reflect a different character (as their POV was in turn of sequence) as that is how you can discern whose in the hot seat whilst your reading their story. For dual perspective novels, you can sometimes find yourself switching between one or the other characters – however, in novels which focus on a singular character and only route you into their own head, heart and perspective (in regards to whose predominately focused upon) I’m unsure why this reference is needed?

I spent most of the novel half expecting to find us shifting to a different character – Max was the character I thought might takeover the lead in voice for the narrative but by page 49 Chapter Three the only person to take the lead focus was Hadley and yet all the chapters reference Hadley. Other novels do this as well and I cannot fathom what has caused it to happen because unless you are reading a time shift or time slip novel (where most dual narratives and perspectives reside) or having a multi-POV novel moving in and out of characters’ frequently, I think it would be safe to say you can just title the chapters in the cheeky manner of reference instructions off a recipe and leave off the subnote of Hadley.

Until of course, I reached Chapter 5 and then all the missing pieces started to quilt themselves together. This was a dual-POV novel – it just had to simmer a bit before it reached its own boiling point to merge both characters into trading off their spotlights of focus. *whew!*

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I cannot believe it took me so long to get into ‘Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish’ nor how long it took me to finish listening & reading the story therein – it has seriously become one of my top favourite most #unputdownable reads for 2020!

Hadley & Max are such memorable characters because of how vulnerable they were written and how authentically you felt their lives were wicked matches for any contemporary composite character you could hope to meet.Their lives were muddled together and they weren’t instantly connecting with each other but that is what endeared me the most – to see how two oppositional characters could find their way together and you can celebrate their journey because of how heartwarming it was to be there for every caustic fight & every surprising smile they exchanged!

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#AudioReads banner created by Jorie in Canva. Unsplash Photography (Creative Commons Zero) Photo Credit: Alice Moore

In regards to the audiobook directly:

I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

Number of Times I’ve heard the Narrator(s):

I haven’t heard Aimee Lilly narrate a novel previously and this is my first experience hearing her as a narrator which is quite lovely as I love finding new narrators to follow and seek out stories by other authors they narrate throughout their career. I loved reading this interview with Ms Lilly via Ms Laura Frantz’s author’s blog! I only wish I could have found her on Twitter – I dearly wanted to tag her and thank her for this wicked brilliant performance!

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Hadley Beckett: She has such a warm and engaging Southern accent but it is how she’s trying to temper her reactions in the beginning of the novel which made me smirk the most! You could tell she wasn’t happy being in this work environment and that stemmed from a particular person who was irking everyone’s ire but how she handled herself spoke volumes. Plus the cheeky humour helped wiggle some laughter out of you, too! Ms Lilly dynamically brought Hadley to life throughout the story – from her moments of Southern confidence to the emotional cooking fest after seeing Max’s transformation to the shocked joy of hearing how much her career was changing right before her eyes since hiring a new agent! Ms Lilly showed not only the dexterity to voice Hadley but the layers in which Turner wrote Hadley – as Hadley is an everywoman character, wherein you can immediately identify with her and feel as if you’ve walked her life throughout the story. Ms Lilly simply magnified this experience through her narration and it was wicked brilliant!

Max: His voice reminds of someone quite full of themselves and who has a personality which is neither approachable nor one that plays well with others. Until of course Turner gives you the switch-up you were not expecting and changes your own thoughts about the trope ‘enemies to lovers’! How Ms Lilly sorted out how to perform the sequences with Max – from immediate cad to redeemed restoration of a man who was for lack of a better way of saying it ‘lost’ – showed how intuitively Lilly performs the stories she’s narrating. She has the breadth and scope of a fuller cast and the beauty of honing in on the emotional convictions of the characters she’s narrating. With Max, it is a true feast of genius to see how she handled his character and how she along with Turner changes your opinion when you felt it was unchangeable!

Secondary characters:

Glenn and Stuart: The two men on set sounded exactly like you would have thought they would – they were there to keep the filming on schedule and they were also attempting to put out fires whilst filming took place. Neither of them seemed to have any regrets about giving into the whims of Max but when it came to handling Hadley they didn’t quite give her the level of respect she had earned and rightly deserved. If anything they seemed to play into Max’s hand well and that came through how they were being voiced.

Leo Landry: A talent agent who approached Hadley to go to the ‘next level’ of her career and had a soothingly smooth voice to boot. He wasn’t necessarily a rat but he did see the larger picture and he had the confidence of a lion to think he could sway Hadley away from the representation of her grandmother. At first I couldn’t tell if he was pure opportunist or if there was a layer of integrity about him. His accent was well timed as it gave the impression that he was from a certain place and he had a certain air of authority about how he spoke to Hadley.

Meemaw: As soon as I saw the name Hadley calls her grandmother my mind immediately routed itself back to watching episodes of Young Shelton with my Dad as the ‘meemaw’ on that show is played by the lovely Annie Potts (another actress I’ve followed since I was a kid!). The voice and impression Ms Lilly can carve out of this character would make any Southern grandmother blush because she infused her voice with both the Southern Belle and charm of the South with the authority of a talent agent who tends to separate her family from her business affairs.

Background characters: It isn’t oft I mention the characters in the background of a novel, mostly as they sometimes do not shine as brightly as Ms Lilly has portrayed them in the context of their purpose to the storyline. In this regard, the character who bursts to life and has such a small role in the story is the woman at the front desk when Max is at a hotel in Nashville. Lilly crafted a voice for her and a whole personality which shines so lovely through her exchange with Max about the breakfast order he wants to place. Very short exchange and yet it held the world of insight into both Turner’s writing and Lilly’s performance.

Another keen example of this is the waitress at the Pancake Pantry whom you could swear was chewing gum whilst trying to handle an order from Max! She had that indifference in her voice and it was mixed with the anxiety of being on a new job and dealing with a rather difficult and obtuse customer. It was mad brilliant really and it brought to mind dining out and having the infuriating frustration of not having wait staff know how to recommend dishes to order you can smell but cannot identify yourself.

Plus, I loved how everyone in the book had equal opportunities to be noticed and to have a light shined on them. This is a credit to Ms Lilly herself.

How the story sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

loved how the narrator Aimee Lilly approached narrating this story – as for me it was a theatrical performance as she truly settled into the characters and the ambiance of the novel. She had a way of etching out these mini performances within the text of the story – wherein, the words themselves gave breadth to the depth of what Turner had written because Ms Lilly performed through those words and gave you a wholly wicked performance of how this story can transcend the pages its writ on and become a one woman play!

Regards to Articulation & Performance of the story:

Articulation:

I definitely was wickedly delighted by how Ms Lilly articulated the novel – she had a way of turning the spin on a word and owning it in such a way, you knew whom you were hearing in your ears as you read / listened to the story! She had great instincts for drawing out the words to put empathsis on the emotions behind them but she also had a cheekiness about how she styled Hadley Beckett herself which was both refreshing and entertaining!

She even had a way of intuitive articulating how Hadley was feeling emotionally which is a tricky slope to pull off – to give you the kind of performance you’d see in a play or in a feature film, where you know the actress felt the emotions of her performance – Ms Lilly encapsulates this in her audio performance to such a high level of believablity it was one of my favourite aspects of the story! You can feel emotion through the author’s words and how the story is set to develop therein but when you add-on a narrator, they can make/break the experience for you. Ms Lilly is one of the exemplars of her field where she not only carries the story past the writer’s vision of it but she enables you to see all the hidden layers of a character’s soulful journey such as Hadley Beckett!

Performance:

Ms Lilly has a way with charming you quite immediately after you first listen to Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish as she has this conviction of character and setting in her voice. It took me awhile to put my finger on why her performance was so dearly familiar to me (being this is my first audiobook of hers I’ve listened too) and then it was like a lightbulb went off all of a sudden! I had recently watched the Broadway play “Ann” which is the story of Ann Richards (see the website for more details) via the BroadwayHD channel via Roku. Within this play Holland Taylor (an actress I have loved watching since I was a kid) not only took on the role of Ann Richards but she became Ann Richards – heart and soul and voice! To me, this can also be said of Aimee Lilly – she owned this story and she truly became Hadley Beckett!

(*) For further reference, kindly watch this interview with Holland Taylor about “Ann”

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

Throughout the duration of the audiobook, the sound remains crisp and true allowing you to accurately hear the narrator and to savour the way in which she performs the story!

Notes about using the Scribd app to listen to this audiobook:

This was the first audiobook I listened to via the Scribd app on my android tablet and I must say, I was most impressed! The interface was beyond easy to navigate and in some regards, I found it easier to listen to the audiobook on the tablet than I had on the computer! You have everything you need right at hand – from the controls of the audiobook to how to jump to one of the Scribd menu screens whilst your listening to the story itself. I definitely appreciated the forward/back buttons, the speed and snooze buttons as much as I did the easy maneuvering you can do to either bookmark a section of the story or pause it to contemplate what you’ve heard.

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

It is a happy luxury of mine to have a book in hand whilst listening to an audiobook – for me, personally, I love the immersion effect of reading and hearing the story through the narrator’s performance. It doesn’t happen often and whenever it does, I’m quite giddy about the prospect of what I will hear as whenever you read a book in print and listen to it in audio, there are different takeaways from both experiences. I sometimes notice things I might have overlooked if I hadn’t had the audio copy to hear as I read the print version of the story, too.

In closing, would I seek out another Aimee Lilly audiobook?

Ooh – how can you even ask me that question!? OF COURSE I’m seeking out more by this narrator!! She has such a wonderful capacity to perform a story as if you’ve tucked yourself into a play, giving yourself the luxury of seeing a story unfold and feeling as if you’ve lived every inch of the lives being narrated. This is half the wisdom of an intuitive narrator and half the ingenious wit of the author – when merged together, the end result is one smashingly brilliant audiobook! I hope she narrates more of Turner’s stories – she fuses you so direct into Turner’s vision of her characters, it is hard to separate Ms Lilly from your memories of Hadley and Max and the rest of the cast of whom I felt dearly connected to throughout the duration of the audiobook!!

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This lovely INSPY novel was first begun during my participation in #CFSRS20

This is the graphic I created for the Takeover Tour in May, 2020:

#SatBookChat badge created by Jorie in Canva. Hadley Beckett's Next Dish novel Photography Credit: © jorielovesastory.com.

I’ve been hosting #SatBookChat for the past six years out of seven I’ve been sharing my readerly life online via Jorie Loves A Story and my social feeds on Twitter. I knew the best place to feature a Contemporary INSPY Women’s Fiction novel would be on the feeds for the chat which was founded in celebrating both Romance & Women’s Fiction stories across markets (as I’m a hybrid reader of both mainstream & INSPY) whilst this year it has also expanded to include all stories featuring strong female characters across genres of interest and/or a work of Feminist Lit.

You can view the series of tweets I shared from May, 2020.

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I decided to withhold my review until the blog tour hosted by: Love Books Tours

Love Books Tours Host badge provided by Love Books Tours and is used with permission.

as I had such a wonderfully wicked experience when the blog tour was announced I was wickedly delighted to help share my thoughts & reactions about this novel with a wider audience than I might have had during the readathon in which I read it. Thereby I kept my book photography graphic as I had created it during the readathon itself to reflect it was my ‘second read’ during #CFSRS20!

Hadley Beckett's Next Dish blog tour banner provided by Love Books Tours and is used with permission.Be sure to click the banner to find out more about this lovely blog tour!

NOTE: My apologies to Love Books Tours & Bethany Turner – I lost my internet late Saturday and it wasn’t able to be restored until Monday morning. I wasn’t able to set this review ahead to run automatically as I fell behind writing my reviews & posts ever since my parents first started having medical emergencies at the start of September whilst I’ve been battling severe migraines. I had planned to finished editing this early Sunday morning for the tour. As it were, Mum injured her arm this weekend and as most of you know, I’m my father’s caregiver – I do my best to blog and get my posts up by my deadlines but sometimes life interferes. I released this post as soon as my connectivity was restored as its a story I love dearly!

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This STORY was meant to be my second read during:

#CFSRS20 readathon badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Follow my readerly journey from August – as I read INSPY stories across my backlogue of reviews and through direct participation in the readathon itself. My announcement page was consistently being updated with links and the stories I was currently reading throughout the month. See if we share any mutually favourite authors and/or if we’ve been reading or have read the same stories. I’d love to know if your reading any INSPY stories year – or if you have any recommendations for authors of INSPY Lit I should check out myself?

In regards to why I had to stop reading and listening to this lovely during the readathon – between the intensity of lightning storms & having my connectivity affected to life as it evolved taking me offline more than I felt possible the final fortnight of the readathon – I finally had to resolve my last batch of reads would have to be shifted forward after life calmed down again. Blessedly I hadn’t had the foresight to know what would happen the first weekend of September (wherein Mum had a medical emergency) and each day/week since has been a series of long days and circumstances which took me out of the stories. This review reflects the JOY I had with Hadley during the storms of my life this Summer and the beauty of the story I LOVED!

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!
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LibraryThing banner provided by librarything.com and used with permission.
This review will be cross-posted to LibraryThing.
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{SOURCES: The book covers for “Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish”, “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” and “Wooing Caddie McCaffrey”, synopsis, author biography and the author photograph of Bethany Turner were provided by the publisher Revell (courtesy of Baker Publishing Group) and are used with permission of the publisher. Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish blog tour banner and the Love Books Tours Tour Host badge were provided by Love Books Tours and were used with permission. Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish novel Photography Credit: © jorielovesastory.com. LibraryThing banner provided by librarything.com and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #CFSRS20 readathon badge, Audiobook Review banner, Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish #CFSRS20 banner, #SatBookChat spotlight badge on Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish #AudioReads banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #CFSRS20

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 21 September, 2020 by jorielov in #CFSRS20, #INSPYSundays, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Chefs and Sous Chefs, Christianity, Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Foodie Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Library Catalogues & Databases, Library Find, Love Books Tours, Modern Day, Nashville, New York City, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Reading Challenges, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Sociological Behavior, Sweet Romance, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Women's Fiction




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One response to “An #INSPY Audiobook Review | Jorie was smitten by the cheeky Contemporary INSPY humour of Bethany Turner within the pages of “Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish”! [Started during #CFSRS20]

  1. Wow, this is the most incredibly in depth review I’ve ever read – and I’ve read a lot, and written quite a few! Thanks for taking the time to do this in so much detail. Loving that you’ve listed this as one of your #unputdownable books for 2020. I loved it too, and am eagerly awaiting Bethany Turner’s next one!

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