Cover Image: Craving London

Craving London

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Reading Craving London: Confessions of an Incurable Romantic with an Insatiable Appetite is like sneaking a peak at the diary of a good friend to see how the people and events shaped the person they are today. This book is part comedy with hilarious anecdotes from the dating scene and part travel guide with bucket list recommendations on what/where to eat to live in London. I found these recommendations refreshing since we have all been trapped at home during COVID and need to be able to live vicariously. I admit that I am not a great baker or cook (my husband says the best thing I make for dinner is reservations) so I cannot appreciate all the techniques she described, but I can appreciate the hunt for food and the beauty in the plating and how good it feels to have these decadent meals delivered to me on a plate at my favorite restaurant. I also am not afraid to eat alone and take in my surroundings. Throughout the book, I was intrigued by the author’s zest for life and her courage in creating the life she wanted versus playing it safe. I’m not sure I could have been that brave even in my 20’s when I thought I was invincible. The descriptions about the night life and drinking reminded me of scenes from Sex and the City, if only Carrie had been a lot less promiscious. It is actually quite refreshing to see someone stop and pause rather than reacting, but then sex was never her drug of choice. I loved the nicknames she gave to each guy. I wonder if they read this book now and recognize themselves and cringe? Overall, this was an easy read with lots of natural breaks and recipes you can go back and try if you like or skip over if you are lazy like me. I have to admit I may beg hubby to try the grilled cheese receipt as it sounds divine! I’m not pressing my luck with anything more challenging. I would be interested in hearing the author talk or checking out her blog. Kudos again for starting over, traveling, running marathons, eating, fasting, exploring, and living life on your own terms. Thank you to #netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
With (mostly) simple recipes scattered throughout, Ms. Stone has written a immensely enjoyable tale of an American in London seeking good food and the perfect soulmate. The food is easily found...the soulmate? Not so much. No names are given, rather, each possible candidate for romance is remembered with titles such as The Secret Agent, The Accountant or The Boyfriend. The writer's own shortcomings are examined as she reflects upon each relationship failure, and explores ways to resolve them.
A perfect book for anyone who enjoys reading about travel, food and love.
Was this review helpful?
Remember the pre-COVID days, when you could travel around the world and explore distant cities??  My family and I took an awesome trip to London in the summer of 2019.  While there we at a lot of great food, so this book, Craving London, appealed to me immediately.    

 This is a memoir by an American woman, Jessica Stone, who quit her job in the USA and moved to London to find a new job and try out living abroad.  She had broken up with "The Boyfriend" and was also looking to find true love.   This memoir is part food writing, part travelogue and part a look into her experiences dating in London.    Stone doesn't call any of the men in the book by their name but rather by monikers like "The Barrister"  or "Secret Agent".  While in London she worked part time as a copy editor for advertising firms and also attended Le Cordon Bleu.   She wrote a blog at the time about her experiences, which became the basis for this book.    The tone of the book was lightly humorous and it was nice to read about her quest to make a place for herself in London.  I was hoping that it would be a bit more about food than it was but I still enjoyed the book and it did bring back lots of good memories of London.    There were recipes at the end of some of the chapters that coincided with what Stone wrote about in that chapter.
Was this review helpful?
I do enjoy a good memoir that mixes travel and food!  I found this to be an easy book to read.  I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
I love this book. I've been wanting to travel to London for quiet some time, so for a short time I felt I was living through you, reading on your adventure with the culture, food and people was food for my soul. Thank you
Was this review helpful?
What a love letter to a life of eating and adventure. The author takes your breath away with her love of food in its many manifestations. She gives you tidbits she has picked up along the way and let’s you form your own appreciation for all things culinary. It was a delight and a pleasure to read of how she came to love her life of trying new meals .
Was this review helpful?
I didn't love this one. In fact, I am not sure I even liked it, to be honest. The "foodie" stuff was the best part, and there wasn't enough of THAT to save it.
Was this review helpful?
[NOTE - contains spoilers regarding the ending !]. Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and Ripe Press for the ARC. I was intrigued by the premise of the book, having moved to London as an expat around the same time (and same age) as the author, where I lived and worked for 11 years. I really enjoyed the portions of the story where she describes London’s charms, such as Borough Market (an amazing foodie destination!), Laduree, even learning about the little known restaurant in the historic Catholic Church that hosted Henry the VIII, near Bleeding Heart Yard. Likewise, I bookmarked nearly all of her recipes, and I took pleasure reading about her favorite global food experiences (I could taste the Churros y Chocolate she describes in detail during the Spanish getaway.)

While I had read the blurb, it didn’t dawn on me until midway through the book that this memoir was primarily focused on her failed relationships, and the self-learning and healing she felt she needed to do to find her fervent wish of “lasting love” (self-proclaimed at the end of an 8-day spiritual retreat). I started to tire of the anonymous monikers given to her partners and even NON-partners (shout out to The Barrister and The Photographer). I assume this was a carryover from the blog, but in a condensed memoir format, the nickNames became too cloying and tedious.

I enjoyed the descriptions of her retreat in Thailand; who wouldn’t love 3-4 weeks putting on a swimsuit and either feasting or fasting for your health daily, with no worldly cares? If the book has been written this way most of the time, it would have been  a 4* read for me.

But the last chapters had the most bizarre hurried qualities. The author had previously devoted long sections talking about her beloved flapjacks in detail, but relegates a reunion with the infamous “Boyfriend”, arguably her most significant relationship in 12 years, to a few paragraphs? And the marriage she has craved and finally enters in 2013 is barely a footnote in the last 2 pages? The abruptness of the ending soured me on the parts of the book I had enjoyed.

This book will appeal to: (1) expats moving to London and wanting a flavor of what to expect (2) cooks - there’s a good amount of recipes (3) women who for whatever reason, are lost in their journey to find love. It didn’t tick those boxes for me but I give the author credit for sharing her action-packed life adventures (retreats, marathons, global travel, the Cordon Bleu)
and her vulnerabilities with the reader.
Was this review helpful?
I love memoirs, which I have said time and time again, and I love reading about ordinary people and their lives. This one in particular really intrigued me: I am a Londoner and I absolutely love food. I had images of the culinary delights of London being described with a real hone in on British food. However, that is not what this book really is about.

I found the book quite confused and it didn't really have a clear direction or focus. The book really isn't about food, though it is mentioned and some recipes are included (not really anything to do with London/British cuisine). It is more about Stone's move to the UK, unsuccessful dating life and Stone's clear obsession with self-help books. It was very disjointed.

Stone based this book on her food blog and I think this really what has confused the book. Whilst the format of a food blog works online (with a detailed story before a recipe) this does not translate into a book.

Sadly, not for me.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this story. I loved how there are different elements gone into it. 

We get a tale of Jessica's life and her embarking on her new journey in life. It was good to read all the dating escapades. I liked how she gave each man a moniker rather than their real name. It gave us an insight into the character of the man. 

We got lots of recipes that I'm excited to try out and sample. Got to love a reason to try food. 

On top of all this we get a great travel guide for London. Learning the ins and outs of the City through the eyes of Jessica. 

All in all Craving London is a lovely light hearted tale. An amalgamation of dating tips, recipes and guide book.
Was this review helpful?
This Confessions of an Incurable Romantic with an Insatiable Appetite had me interested as soon as I spotted the empty plate on the cover and read the words Insatiable Appetite. I love eating, especially sampling little dishes here and there and can never get enough of culinary discoveries so I immediately felt akin to the writer. 
Turns out I might have focused on the wrong part of the subtitle. 
This novel is very much more of a romantic autobiography of a lost girl in London, looking endlessly for love, than a real ode to food. And while there is nothing wrong with the novel, when you are into man struggle and love self-help books, I was less interested by it all than I had hoped. This is really a question of taste, perhaps this is more for fans of Sex in the City and Desperate housewife, thought it is very tame… admittedly I never saw any of those shows so I might be a bad judge. I would have enjoyed more about tapas, Cuban foods and scones, and less about boyfriend hunts and learning about yourself through relationship failures and cleanses.
I guess this is not the humour that talks to me either, I find self-depreciation as refreshingly and surprisingly funny as anyone, but I have little patience for women who desperately seek relationships and Mr Soul mate and think it’s someone else’s job to make them feel whole. So I was left leafing through rather quickly by the end to get to the good bits: that’s the recipes scattered about. 
There is several nice recipes in the book, and admittedly I picked up the novel because I thought it was mainly a cookbook, which it isn’t really. I’m ok with that, I adored the novel “Like Water for Chocolate” and other similar ones, but maybe because I’m more into fiction, and perhaps because romance to me has little to do with the modern rather dismal and sex-crazed dating scene, I could not relate despite being the same age as the author. The message about self love is sweet, but I’m not into self help books. I really was not the target.
I’m just glad that inside those pages we find tasty British classics like brownies, cheese melts, banana pancakes and a curry of course that reads nicely. There is about 10 recipes that are closely related to the adventures of our author hero. I might have been greedy, but I admit that I had hoped for more Cuban foods too, since Ms Stone is Cuban in origin. Maybe in her next book?
Was this review helpful?
This was not the book for me.  I just couldn't get myself invested in the story.  I think my main issue was that everything seemed to go by so fast.  There wasn't much detail to draw the reader in, and instead it read like a list of food and love interests.
Was this review helpful?
I love visiting London and as a single girl in my mid-(or more realistically late) 30's I could relate to many of her stories and struggles. While reading about her journey to move to London, I jotted down several quotes and am looking forward to trying several of the recipes. I also jotted down the names of a few restaurants I want to try the next time I'm in London. One of the things I particularly like about memoirs is that the stories aren't wrapped up in a tidy little package and tied with a bow like they would be in a fiction book. And that is definitely true of Jessica's story, and I appreciated her honesty and vulnerability. 

With thanks to NetGalley and Ripe Press for an early copy in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Jessica Stone is still single five years after breaking up with her fiancé and decides that a change of scenery is necessary. Deciding to make a fresh start in London, Jessica takes a chance and moves there without a set plan. Settling into her new life, Jessica sets out to try to change her luck on the dating scene. Following some pretty disastrous dates, she turns her focus to food and cooking and enrolls in the Le Cordon Bleu. Interspersed with her story, Jessica adds some wonderfully sounding recipes that makes your mouth water. 
But I was a touch disappointed with this memoir. For a book entitled Craving London, I really didn’t come across as much craving as I thought it would have. For neither food nor men, I mean there was a recipe for a Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich. The writing just did not pull me into this book. It fell flat several times and I almost stopped reading, but I wanted to see how Ms. Stone fared through it all. 
**I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and this is my honest and voluntary review.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review. 

This was a great book about exploring life in your 30s. It had great scenes and a relatable author, but I just wish there was a bit more FOOD. It was fun and funny, but was light on actual food talk.
Was this review helpful?
England can get kind of a bad wrap food wise and I love that this book breaks down those barriers and gives us some great recipes to boot. This is not a cookbook though, it's a memoir of sorts, and I enjoyed getting to know Jessica Stone and learn about her journey. There are some funny stories that will make you laught out loud and relatable stories of being single and dating no matter where you live. The setting of her living in London really rounded out the book as a whole for me because I am a romantic dreamer who loves the idea of living in another country and experiencing the cutural differences, but I will never get that chance so living vicariously through Ms. Stone will have to do. I recommend this book if you enjoy memoirs or are a foodie.
Was this review helpful?
I was intrigued by the title and description of this book and it was an enjoyable memoir about an American in London. I must admit that I was craving more food and London descriptions, but if you are looking for a light, fun read, this is your book.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for this e-arc.
Was this review helpful?
Oh the food... Oh the recipes...

New Yorker Jessica has been single ever since her engagement ended. She sells up and relocates to London.

Throughout the book we meet various characters; The Barrister, The Boyfriend, The Accountant and she is on a journey to find The One. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments and I loved the comparison between the American and British names for things.

A brilliant easy read, devoured in an afternoon.
Was this review helpful?
As a woman in my 30's, it was wonderful to read about someone else going through the same ups and downs that can make you feel isolated at that same time in your life. If she was a fictional heroine though, I would say that this was slightly disjointed and that she doesn't seem to know what she wants for herself, but since she is a real person, this makes total sense. I would say though that the food element felt a bit forced and I kept wishing there were more descriptions about London.
Was this review helpful?
When I requested an ARC for this book on NetGalley I was hoping to escape our 2020 reality where restaurants are closed and we are all in our houses.
It seems like Jessica and I would have a lot in common, I have visited NY many times, love London, looooooooove food. Truly, when I finish a good meal I get sad it's over.
This book fell so short for me. I was hoping to read more about the culinary scene in London. When she attends the Cordon Blue, I got really excited but so little of this book was focused on food.
Rather it was a lot of following her pretty disastrous dating life. I think she should have done well with some therapy instead of all those self help books. And who goes to Thailand to poop (she does colonics and a fast)?
I feel like the book would have been a lot better if it focused more on food, and less on her dating. 
Also the recipes are so random. There is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and then a curry? 
I was disappointed in the book.
Was this review helpful?