Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "I'll Be Your Blue Sky" by Marisa de los Santos, Served with a Recipe for Dark Chocolate Blueberry Bites

I am very excited to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos. Not only did this book give me a chance to revisit some favorite characters, it inspired some delicious Dark Chocolate Blueberry Bites.

Publisher's Blurb:

The New York Times bestselling author revisits the characters from her beloved novels Love Walked In and Belong to Me in this captivating, beautifully written drama involving family, friendship, secrets, sacrifice, courage, and true love for fans of Jojo Moyes, Elin Hilderbrand, and Nancy Thayer.

On the weekend of her wedding, Clare Hobbes meets an elderly woman named Edith Herron. During the course of a single conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she should have done months earlier: break off her engagement to her charming—yet overly possessive—fiancé.

Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died—and has given her another gift. Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay in a small seaside town in Delaware, Blue Sky House now belongs to Clare. Though the former guest house has been empty for years, Clare feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by Edith and her beloved husband, Joseph.

Exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman—and Blue Sky House no ordinary place. With the help of her mother, Viviana, her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown, and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House—a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare discovers a story of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, and what—and who—she loves.

Shifting between the 1950s and the present and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos—an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and illuminates the tender connections that bind our lives.

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (March 6, 2018)

My Review:

I have been a fan of Marisa de los Santos's books since stumbling across Love Walked In and Belong to Me several years ago. The eclectic group of characters that somehow came together as a large, strange, extended family--by birth and by choice, captured my heart. de los Santos writes characters that are not perfect but are immensely likable and memorable, so when I found out that I'll Be Your Blue Sky would give me a chance to spend time with some of my favorites from those two books, I was excited to sign on to this book tour. You don't need to have read the first two books to love and appreciate this one (and I say that as someone who usually insists on reading series or related books 'in order') but I heartily recommend them and I think it makes reading I'll Be Your Blue Sky all the better.

In this book the story is focused on Clare, who was eleven in Love Walked In and is now in her twenties and about to marry Zach, but is having second (and third and fourth) thoughts and in fact, is spending the day before her wedding compiling a mental list of ten reasons why she should marry him. That she gets stuck at nine and that the reasons range from how he cooks eggs to how he doesn't tailgate, make it pretty clear that this marriage would be a mistake, but it takes a stranger to prompt Clare to call off the wedding. That stranger is Edith, an elderly woman staying at the resort where Clare's wedding will take place. In addition to saving her from a huge mistake, Edith dies soon after their conversation and unexpectedly leaves Clare a house on the Delaware coast--"a place to breathe easily" and feel safe--something Edith sees she needs. Finding two hidden ledgers at the house and wanting to know more about the mysterious Edith and Blue Sky House, Clare begins to investigate. 

The story unfolds through Clare and Edith's points of view, Edith's past in the 1950s and Clare's experiences in present day. de los Santos weaves both time and perspective pretty seamlessly and I found myself equally caught up in both stories. There are secrets and twists, some a bit more obvious than others but still a few surprises. There are tougher subjects covered--primarily domestic violence and abusive relationships, but there are plenty of lighter moments with family and love and humor--especially between Clare and Dev, her longtime friend and former boyfriend. Warm and witty, I'll Be Your Blue Sky is the kind of book you want to curl up with or crawl into and spend time with the characters. I was sorry to turn the last page and it made me want to go back and reread the first two books. If you enjoy great and lovable characters, women's fiction, contemporary fiction, romance, or any and all of the above, you will enjoy this one.


Author Notes: Marisa de los Santos is a  New York Times bestselling author and award-winning poet with a PhD in literature and creative writing, Marisa de los Santos lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with her family.
Connect with Marisa on Facebook and Twitter.


Food Inspiration:

Although there's not a lot of it, there is food to be found in I'll Be Your Blue Sky--some of it included: green apples in a glass bowl, French toast decorated with edible flowers, a "perfect egg over easy"--striped with sriracha, tomato tart, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, turkey, pecan pie, The Home Book of French Cookery, bowls of berries and pitchers of juice, mini cinnamon roles and mention of 'undersized hotcakes,' deviled eggs, Butterscotch Krimpets, drop biscuits, jam and butter, bowls of cut fruit, coffee, blueberry-peach pie with lattice crust, sandwiches, scallops on the half-shell with a drop of cocktail sauce, watermelon, falafel, tahini, taboon bread (pita), lox and bagel, gin and tonic, fig newtons and cheddar cheese, apple pie, toast buttered to the edges, donuts, Thai food, blueberries,lobster, banana split, bacon and eggs, a platter of cheeses, prosciutto, and baguette, bowls of blueberries, strawberries, olives, and a big plate of molasses cookies, sour cherry pie, and tea with lemon.

No single food or dish  called out to me as central to the story and characters so I decided to put a few things together--the bowls of fruit, the blueberries mentioned in a few places, and the chocolate-covered strawberries that Dev 'scarfs' with "the happy oblivion of a six-year-old" at Clare's rehearsal dinner. 

If we were closer to the season for good strawberries, I would have dipped some in chocolate, but instead I decided to go with dark chocolate and blueberries which are mentioned in the book, and also a nod to the 'blue' in the book's title. Looking for ways to display the pretty blueberries, I decided to top dark chocolates with them, using a mini-muffin tin and blue and yellow mini cupcake liners.

Dark Chocolate Blueberry Bites
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 12)

1 cup fresh blueberries, washed well and patted dry
5 oz dark chocolate

Place liners into a mini muffin pan, set aside.

Break chocolate into small pieces and melt--either in a microwave safe bowl (or measuring cup) or with a double-boiler on the stove. stirring until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Carefully pour the melted chocolate into the paper liners--filling them about half-way. Sprinkle blueberries into each of the melted chocolate-filled liners. Some of the berries will sink into the chocolate and some will remain on top. Lightly tap and gently shake the pan to remove any air bubbles.

Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden. Remove and place in fridge for another 30 minutes before serving.

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge. With the fresh fruit, chocolates should be consumed within 3 to 4 days. 

Notes/Results: There is just something about the combination of good dark chocolate and berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries) that is especially delicious and the firm bite of the creamy chocolate with the burst of the fresh blueberries, both on top and inside, is really appealing. I used a combination of Lindt dark chocolate in both 70% and 78% cacao--which runs to the bittersweet side of things, but is still creamy and sweet enough for the berries. If I had thought of it before, I might have picked up some dried blueberries at the store and dropped them in the melted chocolate first for a contrast in textures, but otherwise I wouldn't change a thing. These chocolate treats are quick to make (except for the chilling/firming time) and taste great. They also provide lots of antioxidants with the blueberries and dark chocolate, so they make for a relatively healthy treat. ;-) I will happily make them again.

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "I'll Be Your Blue Sky" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.



  1. Deb,
    I love this simple recipe that sounds rich and delicious. With Passover just around the corner- since this treat has no flour, it would make a perfect Passover dessert. Pinning thanks

  2. she always has the best book covers. I like anything blueberry. Strawberries sound good too-but I must confess, I prefer then au natural.

  3. Chocolate and blueberries - genius! Cheers from CArole's chatter

  4. I really should read these books, I have all three and so many people I trust love them. Anyway, I agree about the combo of fresh fruit and dark chocolate ... yumm. And this little dessert is so easy to make and so pretty.

  5. I loved I'll Be Your Blue Sky so much that I ran right out and bought You Belong to Me and Loved Walked In. I'm also going to try your Dark Chocolate Blueberries, they sound fabulous.

  6. Now I have to try this recipe. Sounds like something I could make easily before my son comes to dinner. the book plot sounds great too. An old house with secrets...that's for me.
    I tried so hard to get a post done to linkup with Souper Sunday yesterday. Verizon has been letting me down and I just could not get online. Right now I have a Wi-Fi connection and I'm making the most of it! I'm in Tallahassee now but once I get home, no internet :-(

  7. This looks like the PERFECT snack to go along with this book - delicious!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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