Episode 62: Bake Believe | Books That Make You Hungry with Author Cori Cooper

On this week's dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm, our Library Laura Podcast guest is Author Cori Cooper. She wrote a delightful middle grade urban fantasy novel called Bake Believe. We have a fantastic conversation about baking and books and it's so much fun. You'll want to grab a snack for this episode...it'll make you hungry. 

Connect with Cori Cooper online at coristories.com, on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and don't forget to pick up a copy of Bake Believe

Books from today's episode (my Bookshop.org storefront) 

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Cori Cooper released her first book, Bake Believe, through Immortal Works Press in November 2020. She has a sequel coming out in Spring of 2022, called Bake Off. 

She also had a goal for herself in 2020 to finish 20 manuscripts. Some are very rough drafts that she squeezed in to meet the goal, but she did it. I love her quirky, youthful writing voice that she brought to life in Bake Believe. And I'm excited to see what else she brings out of her files to share with us in the years to come! 

She started writing quite a while ago, and when her children were little she had started querying about some manuscripts. But she ultimately decided to set aside her writing and her goal of being a published author while her children were small, opting to spend her time fully with them during those years. Now they're growing up, and she's devoting more time to her work as an author. 

She's totally glad she made that decision, saying, "I have my all to my kids at that time, and because of that I feel like i can give my all to writing now." That there was a time and a season for both of those things, and for her one didn't have to take away from the other. 

She compares writing to baking, saying that she enjoys editing "because it's like tinkering with a recipe." I love the way that Cori writes her recipes that are interspersed throughout Bake Believe, and I really hope she writes a cookbook in the future. (She said she might!!)  

When it comes to reading, she loves a book that engrosses and surprises her. She will find herself currently reading several books, sampling each of them until she gets sucked into a story, and then reading that one book obsessively until she's done. "Book hangovers" (that feeling you get when you finish a book and nothing can ever be as good again and you're sad) are a common occurrence, and she's always chasing the next book that will make her feel that way. 

As a child, she loved the Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins books. She also told this great story about receiving a beautiful copy of Gone With the Wind from her grandma, and reading it one day "just to get it over with." Well, she ended up getting totally engrossed and really enjoying it. She then reading quite a few more classics, trying to find that feeling again. 

 Books to Make You Hungry

Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist - an essay collection with recipes after every chapter... I especially love Shauna's description of making risotto. Yum.

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord - a cheesy YA rom-com about two kids who run the twitter feeds for their parents restaurant businesses and then get in a "twitter war" (a la Wendy's clapbacks) with each other. There's so much food in this book, including monster bars, which is why I ended up thinking of this book for Cori. 

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo - no one ever says that Emoni's cooking is magical...but they never say it's not either. This YA story of a single teen mom who dreams of being a chef is lyrical and interspersed with recipes and great food-writing. (Content warnings for this one) 

Roll with It by Jamie Sumner - A cute middle grade book about a girl in a wheelchair who loves to cook and is inspired by the Great British Baking Show. 

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks - a middle grade mystery that does a great job balancing heavy topics like an incarcerated parent with a light theme of Zoe trying to perfect the perfect fruit loops cupcake recipe over the summer. 

Measuring Up by Lily Lamotte and Ann Xu - a cute and amazing little graphic novel about a Taiwanese  girl living in Seattle who wants to win a cooking competition so her A-ma (grandma) can come visit. She's inspired by Julia Child. I think Cici (from Measuring Up) and Cat (from Bake Believe) would be great friends. 

The Secret, Book, and Scone Society (and rest of the series) by Ellery Adams - a cozy mystery series with a baker who makes comfort scones that magically touch people's emotions. Also mystery solving, strong female friendships, an amazing bookstore, and more. I love this series. 

Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman - A picture book with a magic stew that will turn you into a pirate. Laugh-out-loud funny. 

Extra recommendations that we didn't mention on the podcast: 

All You Knead is Love  by Tanya Guerrero - I haven't read this but it looks so cute. 

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson - A bit younger than middle grade. Ryan likes to cook and is navigating a talent show and friendships at school. Cute and great representation of a young black girl. 

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks - this YA graphic novel set in a fall festival will make you so hungry! 

Pie by Sarah Weeks - "It's delightful" per Cori...she emailed me to make sure I knew about it. 

Books Cori Recommends

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd -Felicity is new in town and there's magic afoot. This middle grade novel is "way cute" according to Cori, who was currently reading it. 

School of Charm by Lisa Ann Scott - this is also a middle grade book and is "super fun" according to Cori (also was currently reading). 

Story Genius by Lisa Chron - a book to keep Cori's technical writing sharp

The Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt - a gothic romance that's fairly clean, Cori borrowed this from her mom and remembers reading other of Holt's books as a teen. 

Gladys Goes Out to Lunch by Derek Anderson - a funny picture book about a gorilla who escapes and goes to get some lunch. Complete with a recipe for banana bread at the end. 

The Bliss Bakery Trilogy (Bliss, A Dash of Magic, Bite-Sized Magic) - a fun series of stories with a lot of overlap with Bake Believe. A family cookbook is magical, but in danger of being stolen for nefarious purposes instead of used to help others. 

Once Upon a Marigold  and Much Ado about Grubstake by Jean Ferris - the Marigold books are twists on fairytales that we've both enjoyed, and then Much Ado About Grubstake is set in Grubstake is a grubby down-on-its-luck mining town filled with grubby down-on-their-luck miners, and 16-year-old Arley runs the boarding house. Funny and charming. 

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman - somehow we ended up on the topic of enjoying ameteur sleuths (I think because of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society?) and in any case, Cori recommends this book about a quirky proper widow who ends up solving mysteries, which sounds amazing. 

Cori's 10-year-old daughter really enjoyed reading Measuring Up and loves graphic novels such as The Babysitters Club Graphic Novels and Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale. 

Laura (Also) Recommends 

The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Van Velde  and Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett -- recommended when we got on the subject of fairytales and retellings. 

PIcture book biographies and how much I love that they exist: Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Itzhak: A Boy Who Loved the Violin by Tracy Newman. 

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk -- a beautiful middle grade book, I mentioned because we were talking about #ThisCharacterIsReading and I wanted to do one for Crow in that book like I did with Measuring Up and Bake Believe. 

Thanks for joining us on this episode with Cori Cooper. Be sure to follow her and buy her book! Let me know in the comments if you're hungry yet...or a book that makes you hungry.

With lots of literary love from my library to yours,

~ Laura 


  1. Loved visiting with you Laura! Thank you again for the oppprtunity!!


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Laura is an avid reader who is happiest when surrounded by books, tea, blankets and/or friends. Host of the Library Laura Podcast.


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