The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins

 

IMG_20170602_093305
The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins

Synopsis

On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe. The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them. Anna is about to marry Lia’s twin brother, and Lia’s ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it’s over.

When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia’s window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it’s a promising sign. But the past won’t let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living. And the food is great.

A warm, witty novel, brimming with the trademark romance, friendship and eccentricity that Danielle Hawkins’s fans adore.

My Review: 4/5 Stars

Don’t read The Pretty Delicious Cafe without treats nearby! Food plays an integral role in this novel as the main character, Lia owns a cafe with her best friend and soon to be sister-in-law, Anna. The story is full of delicious food descriptions and there is even some Pretty Delicious Cafe recipes included at the end of the book.

While the love story was central to the story there was a lot more to this book than just romance. Lia’s zany family and relationship dynamics were fantastically written and characterised. I was pleasantly surprised when a series of dramatic events turned so dark. It almost seems like there was too much going on in this book, but it felt like just the right amount of drama while I was reading it.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe is full of surprises and great food! I loved the New Zealand setting and common sayings. The language rang true to me and the setting descriptions reminded me that I really do need to visit myself.

Details

Title: The Pretty Delicious Cafe

Author: Danielle Hawkins

Published:  November 21st 2016 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance

Amazon

Goodreads

 

Book Launch: ‘The First Year’ by Genevieve Gannon @Gen_Gannon

About the Book

‘Genevieve Gannon writes with a fresh and funny narrative voice … chick lit at its very, very best’ Tess Woods, author of Love at First Flight

The first year of marriage is hard no matter what. Throw in jealous exes, high-pressure careers and two wildly different families, and the degree of difficulty goes up a few more notches. Determined to beat the odds, one couple comes up with a plan to keep their romance alive – but life has other ideas.

Saskia is an up-and-coming jewellery designer, waiting tables at a trendy cafe to keep her fledgling company afloat. Andrew is a corporate lawyer who wants to be known for more than his family’s money. They’re passionate about their work and each other, but with Andy’s job in jeopardy and Saskia’s jewellery label taking off, the pressure is taking its toll.

As life pulls them in different directions, the two of them are forced to decide: Just how important is their marriage? And how hard are they willing to work to protect it?

‘A clever and entertaining read-into-the-wee-hours-of-morning story about love, creativity and the things that make us tick. Genevieve Gannon writes with passion and wit in a story you’ll relate to whether you’ve struggled through love, art or the wrath of public transport ticket inspectors.’ Claire Varley, author of The Bit in Between

Details

Title: The First Year 

Author: Genevieve Gannon

ISBN: 9781460708460

Published: April 24th 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Romantic Comedy

I’m looking forward to reading this one with a nice coffee or two!!

IMG_20170424_144451

The Brontë Plot by Katherine Reay

Perfect for classical book lovers!                                     

the_bronte_plot
Img Source: Goodreads

 

The Brontë Plot is a contemporary novel set in Chicago that features quotes and inspiration from dozens of favourite classics, particularly works of the Brontës of course. I didn’t find out until I began writing this review that it is also classed as Christian Fiction. It clearly wasn’t too obviously religious, though, so that may be either a good or bad thing for some readers.

The story centres around Lucy who makes a living selling rare books for the slightly kooky and endearing interior designer, Sid. Lucy’s Dad was a bit of a con-man and unfortunately Lucy has picked up some of his bad habits. This causes much trouble for Lucy, particularly when her boyfriend, James, discovers she deceived him as well as Sid.

James’ grandmother, Helen, reveals that she has a history with Lucy’s family and decides to take Lucy on a bookish sight-seeing trip to England despite the fact that James has split up with her. All sorts of things come to a head in a Brontë – ish style in Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters.

I’m not sure how I feel about this novel. I really enjoyed the literary references, but I didn’t really feel a connection to any of the main characters. James and Lucy’s was a bit off for me as well. They went from strangers to being in a committed relationship and then split up really quickly, which just didn’t feel right. I’m not sure how they could have such strong feelings about each other based on what we knew about them.

Description

Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious measures to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt, and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother Helen hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom, as Helen confronts the ghosts of her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines, who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of change.

Now Lucy must go back into her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.

Details

Title: The Brontë Plot

Author: Katherine Reay

ISBN: 1401689752 (ISBN13: 9781401689759)

Published: November 3rd 2015 by Thomas Nelson

Genre: Contemorary, Christian Fiction

Pages: 334

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Book Depository

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Christmas at Thornton Hall by Lynn Marie Hulsman Book Review

Title: Christmas at Thornton Hall  Christmasatthorntonhall

Author: Lynn Marie Hulsman

ISBN: 9780007568871

Published: Dec 2013, HarperCollins UK, Harper Impulse

Rating: 3/5

Pages: 386

Description:

Need a fun, festive treat to warm you up on cold winter nights? Don’t miss this terrific debut from a witty new voice in romantic comedy!

When Juliet Hill unwittingly discovers a most-definitely-not-hers-rhinestone-studded lace thong in her high-flying lawyer boyfriend’s apartment, this usually feisty chef is suddenly single and facing a very blue Christmas – with only a ready meal for one to keep her company!

So when she’s personally requested to cater for the family at Thornton Hall three days before Christmas, it’s not long before Juliet’s standing at the (back) door of the Earl of Gloucester’s impossibly grand ancestral pile.

The halls are decked, the guests are titled, those below the stairs are delightfully catty, and all-American Juliet sets to work cooking up a glorious British Christmas with all the trimmings.

But other flames are burning besides those on the stove… Sparks fly with Edward, the gorgeous ex-soldier turned resident chef, and are those sidelong looks Juliet’s getting from her boss, the American tycoon Jasper Roth?

As the snow starts to fall on the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, so does the veneer of genteel high society and there are more than a few ancient skeletons rattling out of the Hall’s numerous dark cupboards!

CHRISTMAS AT THORNTON HALL is a country house romance for the modern age, a must-read for fans of the scandals and drama of Downton Abbey and the charm and wit of Helen Fielding.

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Christmas at Thornton Hall is the 6th Christmas themed book that I have read as part of the December Challenge that I’m participating in with the Aussie Readers Group at Goodreads. This one was a bit longer than a lot of the other Christmas themed novels around and it took me a little bit longer than I would have liked to get through. That’s my own fault though, not the book’s, since I must have gone crazy for a while earlier this year and elected to study two university subjects over the Christmas break so I have been pretty busy around here lately!

The longer than usual length allowed the author, Lynn Marie Hulsman, to pack in a lot of action and interesting characters. I quite often felt a bit stressed out for Juliet, the main character, because there was so much going on around her. She’s a top chef to the stars dealing with a break up with her boyfriend, Ben and sexual tension with Edward, her sexy fellow chef and Jasper Roth, her handsome and wealthy boss while cooking for a huge, snobby Christmas party on her own at Thornton Hall which is one of those super wealthy English properties that have been owned by titled families for generations.

There were quite a few times that I questioned whether Juliet really had true feelings for any of these men as she seemed to be able to jump from fantasizing about one to another in a matter of seconds. Her previous ex was also brought up often so that makes four love interests in one book which is perhaps a few too many for me.

Juliet was a bit of annoying main character to be honest. 99% of her problems could have been solved just by talking about them to the relevant people but she seemed to avoid that like the plague. I could certainly relate to her tendency to drift off and daydream at the drop of a hat but I found myself getting frustrated at her indecisiveness and unwillingness to talk to anyone about anything.

The other characters were all well developed although I would have liked to have read more about Edward the fellow chef. He was missing for the majority of the story and from what I did read about him he seemed like a pretty interesting guy. He leaves Juliet in the lurch at the beginning of the book to cope with the Christmas festivities at Thornton Hall on her own with no explanation after a night of passion. I found it difficult to believe that Juliet simply didn’t bother to give him a call to find out why he left. If some guy pulled a stunt like that on me I’d be chasing him down if only to give him a piece of my mind!

Edward had his reasons for leaving but will he be able to explain everything in time to stop Juliet from traipsing off to America with her married boss? Jasper Roth is rich, handsome and American so he did what any American who wants to succeed in London does apparently and married Lady Penelope who is titled but crazy. He has been after Juliet for ages and hopes to leave his wife and take off home to America with Juliet. Jasper wasn’t the most likable of characters, he was far too interested in expensive things and rude to his staff for me.

There are a host of terrific supporting characters in Christmas at Thornton Hall. At times it was perhaps a few too many to keep up with. Some of my favourites included Terrence, the sassy gay butler, Rose and Seamus, the elderly and kind couple who have worked at Thornton Hall most of their lives and The Earl of Gloucester who is known by the downstairs staff as The Painter since he is a well known artist. The Earl has some interesting secrets of his own.

Christmas at Thornton Hall is a Christmas story with an interesting plot and characters. There is mystery, plenty of romance and few steamy love scenes. There are plenty of laughs and I found it to be a really enjoyable Christmas themed read with a noticable lack of cheesiness which I quite liked.

View on Goodreads

View on Amazon

Scatterbooker reviews The Perfect Christmas by Kate Forster

Title: The Perfect Christmas 

The Perfect Christmas CoverAuthor: Kate Forster

ISBN: 9781474008501

Published: September 2014, Harlequin (UK) Limited

My Rating: 3/5

Description:

A holiday short story that proves that true love is forever, not just for Christmas…

Hollywood movie star Maggie and friend and manager Zoe need an escape from their complicated star-studded lives in LA. With its history and Christmas charm, London feels like the perfect getaway.

But can they truly leave their realities behind?

In their luxurious quarters, the girls meet Holly who is ideal at showing Maggie and Zoe the sumptuous sights and sounds of London in their most glittering light. But behind her bright façade, Holly is hiding a secret: suffering from unrequited love, she’s looking for a Christmas miracle. Desperate to see an unattainable love story for Holly come together, will our LA starlets succeed in providing a Hollywood ending before the dawn of Christmas Day?

Packed to the brim with festive cheer, this is the only story you’ll need this Christmas…

My Thoughts:

I received my copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Perfect Christmas is the fourth book that I have read so far as part of the Aussie Readers December Challenge at Goodreads. All these Christmas themed books are really getting me in the mood for the festive season. If only the weather would start behaving now, it’s very miserable and dreary in Melbourne today. At least it isn’t as cold as London would be this time of year which is where The Perfect Christmas is set.

London is the perfect setting for such a short, sweet novella which is full of Christmas spirit, romance and finishes with a Christmas miracle. I really liked all of the characters and would love to read more about them, in fact The Perfect Christmas could have easily been longer for my liking.

I you enjoy romance or Christmas themed short stories then you will love The Perfect Christmas.

Goodreads     Amazon