Cover Image: The Ingredients of Happiness

The Ingredients of Happiness

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed The Ingredients of Happiness.
It’s a thought-provoking book which although centres around some excellent character development it actually also inspires you to think about what makes you happy.
The book centres on main character Dr Cooper Hunziker who has just landed her dream job of working in the psychology department and continuing her research at Yale University.
She’s just written a book about happiness and is on the book selling promo campaign at the same time as starting her new role, settling into a new town and juggling her long-distance relationship.
The story follows her journey of self-awareness and self-improvement.
Cooper feels that her boss and others in the department are out to get her – hiding her mail, stealing her research assistant, leaving her out and so on.
And she soon starts to question whether Yale and her research is actually making her feel happy and fulfilled.
There were some breadcrumbs that I picked up that all was not quite as it seemed around the plagiarism and lack of support from her boyfriend.
The happiness group sounds wonderful – I’d love to be a member!
I really loved some of the supporting characters and the friendships that Cooper started to make.
I also enjoyed the little happiness quotes at the start of each chapter.
The ending left me wanting to know what happens next not just for Cooper but for her friends too – this could easily make a series!
With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This is an interesting take on happiness. I like that it is a novel written by a psychologist. The conclusion is one of those things that sounds simple but is so hard to do in real life.

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This started out with a cool concept but the characters were really unlikeable.

I had a hard time wanting to finish, so I eventually put it down.

I received an advance copy. All thoughts are my own.

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A beautifully written book that explores the relationships with not only oneself, but with a whole variety of people too; bosses, colleagues, friends, family, strangers etc.

I felt a lot of feelings throughout this book; I was often hopeful, happy and inspired. But on occasion I was also shocked, outraged around downright miserable. I definitely felt how the characters felt on their journeys.

One specific moment gave me actual goosebumps as the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.


I absolutely adore the inclusion of the chocolate cake recipe; never have I been more jealous of a fictional character as when all of the delightful cakes were talked about in great detail.

I would have loved an epilogue to see exactly what happened with everyone's situations. Vague questions to avoid spoilers but...

Was the romance a success? Did the sister trip go well? How was the birthday cake? Did the app work? Did the group continue? Was the quiz truth admitted to? Who got tenure? Did Stella hide more than the letters? Did the shady couple make long distance work? And many more.

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Thank you to Netgalley, the publishers and of course the author for gifting me this advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

The story is about Cooper Hunziker, a 32 year old who accepts a position as an assistant psychology professor at Yale University whilst she is also on the verge of publishing her book "The Happiness Connection", however despite writing this book Cooper isn't happy and some people at Yale University have it in for her making it tough for her to fit in. Cooper has had a hard time and is suffering from some childhood trauma which is brought to light in the story, whilst she deals with different issues in her life whilst trying to find out what it really is that will make her happy.

Quite a lot of content with some highs and lows and covers some difficult topics but overall an enjoyable read that I would recommend.

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This one was a tough one for me, I had a really hard time staying invested in Cooper's story. I am glad that I stuck it out because the last third of the book was worth the wait. If there was a sequel to this book, I would read it because I think the story would move along at a faster pace now that Cooper knows what she wants from her own life.

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Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to receive this book for an honest review.

Unfortunately, I have to say I was a little disappointed. I expected this book to be completely different.
I found it disturbing about how unhappy Cooper. I also felt like it was hard to keep up and a bit slow.
I kept wondering if Cooper will ever be happy.

I think Lucy Burdette is a better mystery writer and look foward to reading her mystery novels.

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This is my first book by Lucy Burdette. I found it good, but had a hard time liking the main character. I loved the setting at Yale.

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I’ve read several mysteries by Lucy Burdette so I mistakenly thought this was a mystery as well but was pleasantly surprised when no one died (though there were several people who would have been perfect to be the victim). I enjoyed getting to know Cooper and her new friends in Connecticut but found the story predictable. I also found it troubling that she let her legal issues sit without any action on them whatsoever for so long. Despite that, the writing flowed well and the story was engaging. Still kinda wishing there was a dead body, though.

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I really thought I’d like this book but I found it boring and very predictable. I’d already guessed each twist so it really felt like I was just waiting for it to end.

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The main character in this novel is supposed to be an expert on Happiness. But Cooper was a very negative person which was not at all what I was expecting in this one as this made for difficult reading.

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What a charming romance with an MC Cooper you grow to love and cheer on from miserable Yale psychologist to contented best-selling author. I almost got bogged down by the emotional drains in Cooper's life, yet the author writes such real characters -- especially the women in the happiness group she co-leads with hunky Judd -- that I could not help but plow through, knowing there was good stuff ahead. And boy was there! One of my fave books this year, a delight that uplifted my spirits. Highly recommended for romance fans who love intelligent stories with endearing characters.

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This book tells the story of Dr Cooper Hunziker who becomes a media sensation after her self help book on happiness is a hit. Everything seems to be going well - she is in with a shot of getting a tenure at Yale, her book is a success and she has a great boyfriend.
We soon find that all is not what it seems, someone is out to get her and the happiness guru is not happy at all.
Cooper takes on an advisory role in a friendship group and while she helps the women, she finds they help her in ways she never thought possible.
I really enjoyed the book, loved the elements of friendship and family relationships and especially loved the foodie element.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Most people want to be happy. Yet why is that so hard sometimes? In The Ingredients of Happiness, author Roberta Isleib helps her characters and readers realize where life’s true joys lie.
Many of us pursue happiness by chasing success, just as her main character Cooper does when she accepts a stressful, tenure-vying Yale professorship. Or we invest in unsatisfying relationships without calculating the cost, just as Cooper does, mismatched in love and invested in a toxic friendship. Through her engaging, thoughtful story, Isleib shows us where real happiness can be found: in supportive relationships, meaningful careers, and the simplest of pleasures such as cuddling a beloved cat or baking a scrumptious chocolate cake (recipe included!)
Happiness quotes and research set the stage for each chapter, and readers can glean much insight into their own happiness journey by noting the rich wisdom on offer there. Isleib also introduces many useful ‘happiness’ exercises through Cooper’s fictional self-help group’s tasks: One I particularly appreciated was to make a list of your daily activities, then think about which ones make you happier. Quite revealing! (So no more doom scrolling for me, I say.)
Isleib accomplishes all this within a page-turning mystery (who reported the plagiarism? why?); provides us with a take on childhood dynamics that dampen our happiness; and sets up delightful comeuppances for the bad guys. Even then, happiness wisdom frames the action. When Cooper finally takes down her blustery boss, for instance, she says: “Wasn’t it Jung who wrote that every person must face a measure of darkness in his life? I suppose it might be your turn.”
One other delight: Isleib, author of the Key West Food Critic mysteries, truly excels whenever food enters the picture. You’ll be hungry after reading wonderful descriptions of quiche (carmelized onions, leeks, homemade cheese), chicken pot pies (brimming with real carrots, potatoes, peas and chunks of chicken in creamy sauce), ravioli (fresh pasta stuffed with rich roasted eggplant and cheese, floating in a red sauce with fresh basil and more carmelized onions), and cake of course (melted chocolate, bundt pans brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with large crystals of sugar). Yum!
So do your happiness levels a favor today and read The Ingredients of Happiness. As you do, you just may find the wisdom you need to come to terms with the past, rethink a career, or ditch the toxic people in your life once and for all. All that wrapped together make for a very satisfying read. I highly recommend!
Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for this opportunity to offer my honest review.

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Cooper Hunziker seems to have landed her dream job as an assistant professor in psychology at Yale University and her self-help book, The Happiness Connection, is being published. But Cooper isn't happy. The department chair and staff are far from welcoming & have saddled Cooper with the task of co-leading a happiness support group. When accusations of plagiarism from a pop magazine arise, the university legal team is eager to protect its reputation at any cost. Can the visit of her lawyer fiance Daniel & her best friend Alafair help Cooper find the happiness she touts? An unexpected ending leaves Cooper in a better place in both her personal & professional lives.

Burdette's own background as a psychologist played a major role in the development of this story.

I received a digital ARC from Netgalley and Severn House. All opinions are my own.

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Dr Cooper Hunziker has a new job in the psychology department at Yale. She has a book coming out about happiness but she isn’t really that happy. Very awkward in certain situations an in a not too friendly work environment makes life challenging. It makes you think about life choices and what happiness is. And you’ll want to make the chocolate cake recipe at the end of the book.

Thank you to the author, Severn House, and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) copy of this book and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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Interesting book about the cutthroat world of academics in an elite university. Cooper Hunziker, PhD. has left her boyfriend and best friend behind to come to Yale to vie for a tenured professor job. Her father's family comes from a legacy of Yalies and she broke the chain when she didn't get in.so this is her second chance. Ironically, she has just written a book on happiness and is working on a study on childhood attachment as it impacts adult romantic relationships. good thing she has all those happy studies to peruse because her Yale experience is pretty much a big basket of suck! The department administrative assistant seeming hates her and is undermining her at every turn, she is accused of plagiarism, and her field of study seems irreverent compared to her competition for tenure. To top it off, she is assigned to co-lead a self help group at the library that leads to all kinds of emotional twists and turns.

I enjoyed this book partially because I went to school in New Haven and loved the reference to my old haunts. But mostly, I enjoyed the unraveling of a complicated set of circumstances meant to ruin Coopers life, romance and reputation. This book was a real page turner with a hint of potential romance. . .

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Told in Cooper’s voice, and starting every chapter with a piece from her book, this was well written and easy to follow; as well as being interesting if a bit… much. Cooper isn’t easy to love. She is weak at times and dithering. Two-thirds of the book was her being hurt and not knowing how to fix it even though her field of expertise gave her all the tools to try to build a happier life. I would have prefered more time with the happiness group and Judd, personally. While Cooper has decided on a path, I feel like everyone else had a lot more personal growth, yet we don’t get any real closure for them.

I am finding it incredibly difficult to talk too much about this book without massive spoilers. Honestly, I think I would have rather read Cooper’s non-existent book than this one. It wasn’t happy. At all. In fact, I had to take several breaks and do literally anything else while reading this. Maybe I am not the target audience… I loved the blurb and the idea behind it. I wanted to see someone actually becoming stronger, putting all these ideas together to make a happiness plan and truly rocking it. I wanted to see so much more growth. If there were to be a second book, I would buy it in hopes of seeing this, because I think the book was leading to the transformation I desire but it felt like the author was like… dang, I ran out of time. Gotta publish! The book in and of itself was good… just not at all what I was expecting or really wanting. This isn’t the feel good piece where we watch someone work toward being happy- it’s more the self reflection and catagorization of things to do before one can start the journey. That in itself is fine- necessary even. It definitely made the book more real to me. But I personally needed the other part of the journey to feel satisfied. For me, this was a three star book. It’s well written, just not for me.

⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 3 out of 5.
As far as adult content goes, there’s language and talk of heavier subjects- gas lighting, bullying (in a way), and family issues. There wasn’t anything really inappropriate… I would say it’s geared towards adults but late teens might also like it.


I was lucky enough to recieve an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Seven House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. My thanks! The book came out today- are you reading it?

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I love Lucy Burdette's mysteries and this book was something different but with a good dose of suspence.
Cooper should be living the dream as she's going to be a published author, got a place as assistant at Yale and is happily engaged.
But not everything is what seems and the academic competition and other facts could destroy everything and she doesn't know who she can trust.
This is a compelling and gripping novel, I rooted for Cooper and hoped for the best. it's an entertaining story and I thoroughly enjoyed this new aspect of Lucy Burdette's novel.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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I'm a fan of Lucy Burdette's Key West Food Critic Mystery series and was interested in reading one of her books outside that genre. The Ingredients of Happiness is an enjoyable piece of women's fiction, but it was pretty clear who were the icky people. A perfect book for a summer read by the pool.

Thanks to Severn House for access to a digital ARC via NetGalley.

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