The Christmas Surprise [Jenny Colgan]

The Christmas Surprise par [Colgan, Jenny]Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little English sweetshop she owns. But when fate deals Rosie and her boyfriend Stephen a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it’s going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their friends to hold them together.

After all, don’t they say it takes a village to raise a child?

My thoughts on the novel: It doesn’t take much convincing for me to pick a Jenny Colgan novel. A few years back, I absolutely adored the Cupcake Café series. However, when adding The Christmas Surprise to my Christmas book reading list, I hadn’t realised that it was another adventure from the Rosie Hopkins series which I haven’t read yet (although they are in my ebook waiting list!). But, I wouldn’t let that keep me from a Christmas story. So, I entered Rosie’s world as a complete newbie and thanks to the introductory note the author added at the beginning, I had enough background info to get my Ws straight: who, what, when, where.

Now, plot-wise, let me start by saying that the intrigue is as beautiful as the cover lets on. I admit that I didn’t expect such a deep, emotional story. The part set in Africa is very moving with vivid descriptions, you can almost feel the local atmosphere. The first major twist about Rosie and Stephen is touching and tearful. It marks the beginning of a rollercoaster of emotions for the couple. Can they weather this major storm? They’ll have to go through some difficult moments that will put the solidity of their relationship to the test.

It’s a very sensitive, family-oriented novel. It definitely convinced me to read the first installment, Welcome To Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop Of Dreams.

On a side note, I liked the recipes at the end of the book. I hope the author won’t mind too much that I’m correcting her on a teeny tiny mistake. Yule log in French is spelled “bûche de Noël” with a circumflex accent on the “u”. The dots for Noël are correct though. (I know it can be a difficult language at times!) 🙂

All in all, I highly recommend The Christmas Surprise. It’s another successful story from one of my favourite chick-lit writers.

Score: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

 

Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop [Jane Linfoot]

The snow is falling around Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s cutest little wedding shop, and wedding dress designer Seraphina East is in her cosy studio designing exquisite dresses to make even the most demanding bride’s dreams come true.

Unless the bride is her big sister Alice of course. Saying that the two sisters don’t always see eye to eye is an understatement. Alice hasn’t even asked Sera to design her wedding dress. But when an absent groom and ill-fitting dress threaten to ruin Alice’s happiness let alone her big day, Sera’s determined to give her sister the winter wedding of her dreams – even if that means keeping not one but two irresistibly gorgeous best men under control…

Is Sera going to end up being the maid of dishonour…Or will repairing her frozen relationship with Alice be the icing on the wedding cake?

My thoughts on the novel: Cuteness alert! Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop perfectly combines everything we love about chick lit — the romance, the clichéd characters (i.e Bridezilla, playboy, etc.), the supposedly carefully planned wedding turning into a real nightmare, all wrapped up in a Christmassy cloud of sweetness.

I haven’t read the first installment entitled The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, however it’s not a prerequisite. You can still fully enjoy this new plot. I really like the character of Seraphina who appears very down to earth, if not too self-conscious because of her big sister who comes across as the perfect, never-swearing sophisticated city girl. Alice is typically the kind of character you love to hate. The idea of a “wedding manual” epitomizes how exacting and insufferable a bride can become. For the life of me, I don’t get how they can be so fussy about insignificant details, but that’s what makes it so entertaining. At times, she becomes so obnoxious, it’s plain hilarious. As for the notorious playboy, Quinn, he’s the guy who never fails to remind you of someone you’ve crossed paths with in your own life. He’s bad news and you’d better steer clear of him, although I must admit that he spices things up, especially when confronted with other male characters or when stranded on an island with just the right “items”.

All in all, it was very pleasant and refreshing to read about the series of failures leading up to the big day over the magical Christmas weekend. It’s light, amusing and romantic. The writing style is lively, the plot is fast-paced and the ending is heartfelt.

Finally, I really liked the final notes about cocktails and pastries. I’m definitely going to try the “easy peasy chocolate brownies” because, let’s face it, you can never go wrong with Nutella chocolate spread.

I highly recommend this novel if you love all things girly, Christmassy and sparkly.

Score: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Christmas At The Gingerbread Café [Rebecca Raisin]

Christmas At The Gingerbread Café (The Gingerbread Café, Book 1) par [Raisin, Rebecca]Christmas is the season the Gingerbread Café in Ashford, Connecticut was made for…but owner Lily couldn’t be feeling less merry if she tried. She’s spent another year dreaming of being whisked away on a sleigh-ride for two, but she’s facing festive season alone – again. And, just to give her another reason to feel anything other than candy-cane perky, a new shop across the road has opened… Not only is it selling baked goods, but the owner, with his seriously charming smile, has every girl in town swooning.
But Lily isn’t about to let her business crumble — the Gingerbread Café is the heart of the community, and she’s going to fight for it! This could be the Christmas that maybe, just maybe, all her dreams – even the someone-to-decorate-the-Christmas-tree-with ones – really do come true!

My thoughts on the novel: From the gorgeous cover to the yummy title, I knew I would delightfully delve into this festive short story. Not only is it filled with all the Christmassy elements you expect in such a seasonal novel, but it’s also very entertaining and fun. I really enjoyed the little war between Lily and her new, good-looking business neighbour.

You cannot but appreciate the lovely dynamic there is between Lily and business partner CeeCee, a real mother figure who helps Lily in the process of moving on from ex-husband Joel who broke her heart and left her for someone else. Will Lily finally get the happy ending she longs for?

All in all, Christmas at the Gingerbread Café is a great, enchanting story for this time of year. I’m definitely adding the next two installments in the Gingerbread series to my reading list for 2017!

Score: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Little Christmas Kitchen [Jenny Oliver]

The Little Christmas Kitchen par [Oliver, Jenny]Christmas at the Davenports’ house was always about one thing: food!
But when sisters Ella and Maddy were split up, Ella to live in London with their Dad, and Maddy staying in Greece with their Mum, mince pies lost their magic.
Now, a cheating husband has thrown Ella a curved snowball…and for the first time in years, all she wants is her mum. So she heads back to Greece, where her family’s taverna holds all the promise of home. Meanwhile, waitress Maddy’s dreams of a white Christmas lead her back to London…and her Dad.
But a big fat festive life-swap isn’t as easy as it sounds! And as the sisters trade one kitchen for another, it suddenly seems that among the cinnamon, cranberries and icing sugar, their recipes for a perfect Christmas might be missing a crucial ingredient: each other.

My thoughts on the novel: From England to Greece, the author embarks the reader on a lovely Christmas adventure where two sisters must come to terms with their difficult past marked by their parents’ divorce and a childhood spent apart from one parent.

On top of that, Ella and Maddy have personal issues of their own to resolve, whether a marriage on the rocks or dreams of a big career in the music industry. Will they be able to find the answers they’re looking for? Both characters are endearing and touching. The plot is well-paced and entertaining. It was particularly fun to read about the creation of a girls’ band. It will give food for thought about the concept of fame!

This festive book is about knowing oneself and learning to forgive and move on. To make it all sweeter, the novel is filled with great baking ideas and Greek specialties.

This heartwarming novel will make your mouth water and your heart melt.

Score: ♥ ♥ ♥