Christmas Read: Millie Vanilla’s CupCake Cafe – Christmas Weddings – Georgia Hill 4* Review

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Winter wedding bells are ringing at the Cupcake Café!

It’s winter in Berecombe and Millie’s café is up for sale. Her final task as its owner is to host her friends’ Christmas wedding on the beach, only she’s feeling anything but festive! Putting her ex, Jed, firmly out of her mind is proving impossible now he’s back working for her biggest rival.

What on earth is Jed up to? Telling her he still loves her is all very well, but if her café goes out of business, no-one will buy it. Christmas might be the season of goodwill towards men – but can Millie trust this particular man with her heart again?

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My Thoughts…

I ‘ve enjoyed reading the first two books in this series, so I’m pleased the final book has a festive flavour. Like all of these Cupcake Cafe books, they can be read as standalone but I recommend reading the whole series, which is a lovely quick read, to appreciate the character development and the overall plot.

Millie returns from her travels abroad, hoping to complete the sale of her cafe.  part of her wants to see Jed but she sent him away so there is no chance of that?

Another romance dominates this story apart from the loved-up couple who Millie is arranging the wedding for at the cafe. Ri and Alex are an unlikely couple but their’s proves to be an engaging story, with a mystical slant that I always enjoy.

This is a  gentle, romantic story, which incorporates the festive element beautifully. The ending is charming and full of vivid imagery, which makes it easy to imagine being one of the wedding guests. Thankfully everyone has a happy ending. What more could you ask for in a festive read?

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

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Read my reviews of the first two books in the series

Spring Beginnings

Summer Loves

 

 

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Millie Vanilla’s CupCake Cafe – Summer Loves – Georgia Hill 4 * Review

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Summer lovin’ never happened so fast…but will it last?

Heartbroken after breaking up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Jed, even baking in her beloved Cupcake Café while the summer sun’s shining on Berecombe Beach can’t cheer Millie up! So it’s time to bring in the big guns – her best friend, Dora.

But when Dora arrives, it’s clear she’s busy licking her own wounds and Millie can only watch as her friend falls head over heels for an old flame. With everyone around her finding love, should Millie give Jed the second chance he’s been asking for or has the time come for a fresh start away from Berecombe?

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My Thoughts

After being introduced to the Cupcake Cafe, I was intrigued to see what would happen in the summer. Millie is on her own again after her Spring romance with rich boy Jed, but her cafe is surviving and so is she, especially when her school best friend returns to Berecombe unexpectedly.

Dora, a successful actress returns home and finds Millie’s love life in tatters. Determined to see her friend happy she doesn’t
expect her own heart to be threatened when someone from her past returns to challenge and allure her.

Dora and Mike’s love story is poignant and steamy in equal measures and mirrors the theatre production they both find themselves involved with. Millie and Jed’s path to true love is equally frustrating and seems unlikely to have a happy ending until Millie can trust Jed again.

The older generation is determined not to be outdone in the romance stakes and provide much of the humour in this story, which seesaws between laughter and tears.

Another cliffhanger ending makes reading the festive chapter of this story a must.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe – Spring Beginnings – Georgia Hill 4* Review

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Is this the start of something wonderful?

Millie’s working all hours to make her seaside café a success, so when a rival multi-national café chain opens its latest branch just around the corner, stealing away her customers, it means WAR!

Millie’s remaining loyal customers step up – and a new arrival in town, the gorgeous, enigmatic Jed Henville, is also keen on helping Millie solve her business crisis. But it’s only after Jed sweeps her off her feet that Millie suddenly realises how little she knows about him…

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My Thoughts …

Cafe stories are really popular at the moment but this one is a little different. It has an old-fashioned quality, which fits in perfectly with the setting in an old-style English seaside town. The characters are varied and accurately reflect the clientele in most seaside cafes. There is a lovely community feel to this story which contrasts vividly with the underhand behaviour Millie is forced to confront when her business is threatened, by  a corporate rival cafe.

Romance has been in short supply for Millie who has worked through her grief by fulfilling her parents’ dream. Jed is not her usual type of customer but the attraction is instant and powerful and makes for some sizzling scenes, that push the boundaries of this sweet romance.

The plot is simple but effective and this is a pleasant read. It ends on an emotional cliffhanger that ensures you will pick up Summer Loves the second book in this series.

I received a copy of this story from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Christmas at the Cornish Cafe – The Penwith Trilogy #2 – Phillipa Ashley- 5*Review

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blurb-winter

Christmas will be slightly less turbulent than summer, won’t it? Demi certainly hopes so.

She and Cal are keeping their fledgling relationship under wraps for now. But then Kit Bannen, a hunky, blond – and somewhat mysterious – writer arrives at Kilhallon Resort, and not everyone is charmed. Cal is sure that Kit is hiding something. But is he the only one guarding a secret?

Demi is busy baking festive treats for the newly opened Demelza’s cafe, but when Cal’s ex Isla arrives to shoot scenes for her new drama, Demi can’t help but worry that things aren’t quite over between them. Kit flirts with both women, fuelling Cal’s suspicions that Kit has hidden motives for staying on at Kilhallon. Then Cal has to go to London, leaving Demi and Kit to decorate the cafe for Christmas . . . all by themselves.

A storm is brewing in more ways than one. As surprises unfold and truths are uncovered, can Demi and Cal finally open up to each other about their feelings?

buy-links-winter

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my-review-winter

Christmas at the Cornish Café (The Penwith Trilogy, Book 2)

A festive, gentle romantic story with complex characters and an interesting plot. The story concentrates on opening the café and there are lots of new characters. One threatens Cal’s new found happiness with Demi.
A lot happens in this story. Demi achieves her potential by leading the café project. She carries more than her share of emotional baggage and this influences how she perceives her relationship with Cal. Cal continues to battle his own secret demons, leaving him moody and unapproachable. He’s a good guy at heart and you want him to overcome the horrors of his past.
There are some unexpected plot twists and surprising character developments, which illustrate the village’s comaradie and the overriding spirit of the novel. A good mix of questions answered and new ones posed make reading the last book in the series essential. There is no cliff-hanger ending but it is hopeful, just as a festive read should be. I can’t help thinking the problems for Cal, Demi and their friends may not be over yet.
Cal and Demi are the contemporary counterparts of Poldark and Demelza and Cornwall steals the show in this novel too.
I received a copy of this book from Avon UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Christmas at the Cornish Café by Phillipa Ashley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Christmas at the Cornish Café (The Penwith Trilogy, Book 2) by Phillipa Ashley

Phillipa Ashley

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Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe – Debbie Johnson- 5* Review

 

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Blurb 2016- 2

Becca Fletcher hates Christmas so much, she’s considering getting ‘Bah Humbug!’ tattooed on her forehead. She has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch; Reasons that make this the very worst time of year for her.

Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura, and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture.

But little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill on a windswept bay, it’s a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, new love can blossom and where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it…

Buy Links 2016 -2

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Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe

I really enjoyed ‘Summer at the Comfort Food Café’ and as I’m a fan of festive books, I couldn’t wait to revisit the café at Christmas time. ‘Christmas at the Comfort Food Café’ is every bit as charming as the Summer but with snow. It is told in three parts: ‘Christmas Past, Present and Future’. It reads well as a standalone Christmas tale but if you haven’t read ’Summer at the Comfort Food Café’, don’t miss out.
This story reintroduces the reader to the delightful characters from the first book but concentrates on Laura’s sister Becca, who reluctantly visits Dorset for a month. Becca feels she is the antithesis of Laura. She is a loner, drawn to life’s vices, drink, drugs and one night stands. As Becca relives two life changing family Christmas days, we realise this is never going to be her favourite season.
Becca is soon charmed by Dorset and the regulars of the Comfort Food Café. The characters in this story are realistic and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the forthcoming festive wedding. Becca has left her teenage vices behind but we don’t know why. Even when her sister tries to fix her up with Surfer Sam she resists. Men are off the menu but he is drop dead gorgeous and she’s only human. Becca’s choice of confidant is not who you’d expect but when she reveals her secrets, her teenage bad behaviour reflects more as a cry for help than anything else. Becca’s emotional baggage threatens what she has with Sam but despite this, she leaves Dorset a changed woman.
Christmas Future offer hope and the chance of a happy ever after, the perfect start to any new year.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Debbie Johnson

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5*Review: Phillipa Ashley – Summer at the Cornish Café

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Blurb - Coastal

Demi doesn’t expect her summer in Cornwall to hold anything out of the ordinary. As a waitress, working all hours to make ends meet, washing dishes and serving ice creams seems to be as exciting as the holiday season is about to get.

That’s until she meets Cal Penwith. An outsider, like herself, Cal is persuaded to let Demi help him renovate his holiday resort, Kilhallon Park. Set above an idyllic Cornish cove, the once popular destination for tourists has now gone to rack and ruin. During the course of the Cornish summer, Demi makes new friends – and foes – as she helps the dashing and often infuriating Cal in his quest. Working side by side, the pair grow close, but Cal has complications in his past which make Demi wonder if he could ever truly be interested in her.

Demi realises that she has finally found a place she can call home. But as the summer draws to a close, and Demi’s own reputation as an up and coming café owner starts to spread, she is faced with a tough decision . . .

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My Review - Coastal

Summer at the Cornish Cafe

This story is a slow burner, but after a few chapters, Demi gets under your skin, especially with her ever faithful companion, Mitch. Angry, brooding Cal, with so many secrets and far too much emotional baggage, for our intrepid heroine to take on, is a hero you can’t ignore. His charm and vulnerability win through. Even though he is often a little callous of others’ feelings, I like him.
This contemporary interpretation of the historical romantic tale; ‘Poldark’ is cleverly done; with just enough parallels, both in relationships and plot to recognise for ‘Poldark’ fans. The Cornish setting is breathtaking and the locals, perfectly pitched. They are authentic and vivid and enrich this romantic story. Mitch is a fabulous ‘doggy’ hero, who provides the humour in this lively tale.
The ending is undeniably romantic but whilst the future looks bright, there is still a story to be told, making book two a must read Christmas book for me.

Summer at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Summer at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa

Phillipa

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Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe – Debbie Johnson – Extract

Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe

Definitely one of my favourite books this summer from the lovely Debbie Johnson,  I’m sharing my review again, now that the paperback has been released.

Blog Image- My review

Even at the story’s poignant beginning, the humour shines through, in the words of the enigmatic Laura, the heroine of this unusual story. I loved that we gathered all the necessary back story information, in letter form, as she answered a unique advertisement for a strange but intriguing, lifestyle job.

Laura is honest, loyal and has a lovely self -depreciating humour that is recognisable to most women, who have families, where they are the unappreciated lynchpin. The journey to their new adventure shares similarities, with most people’s long car journeys, with children and animals. The realistic dialogue and bordering on chaos scenarios made me giggle and reminiscence.

 Despite Laura’s fragile emotional state, a delightful sense of humour runs through this story. From the first meeting with the ‘Tall bloke.’ the visuals are great, so easy to imagine, especially ‘the flying undies as the top box is unpacked’.

The VIPS that make up the cafe regulars, all have a story to share as they reveal idiosyncrasies and secrets. Laura starts to heal as she listens to the cafe’s regulars stories and Matt (the tall bloke), help’s her discover the side of herself she never really knew existed.

This is a story of healing, family and being brave enough to dip your toe back in the pond again, after life’s unpredictable knocks. I would love to find this Cafe that restores your faith in human nature.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins in return for an honest review.

EXCERPT

‘I am feeling suddenly very tired and very sad. The absurdity of my situation flashes across my mind: I have uprooted my children, myself and my very elderly dog on some kind of wild-goose chase, pursuing God knows what. Happiness? Progress? A break from the underlying misery that seems to have been wrapped around my heart every day since David died?

Well, whatever it is, I’m not pursuing it fast enough – all I’m finding is exhaustion, grumpy kids, senile dogs and a caffeine overload. That and chronic embarrassment as I apologise to a mostly naked man, in the dark, in a place I’ve never even visited before – a place I’ve unilaterally decided to make our home for the summer.

I clench my eyes together very, very tightly, squeezing back any watery signs of self pity that might be tempted to overflow, and force myself to look at the man instead of the dog.

I can only see bits of his face reflected in the silvery lighting, but he looks about my age. Maybe a little older, I’m not sure. His hair is definitely a bit too long, and will probably dry a lighter shade of brown once it’s not soggy. His eyes seem to be hazel or brown or green, I can’t really tell, and he’s not smiling.

He was smiling when he was playing with Jimbo. But now he’s not. Now he’s looking at me. I guess I just have that effect on tall, handsome strangers.

’Are you all right?’ he asks, gruffly, frowning at me with such style and finesse that I instinctively know he frowns at least as much as he smiles. I suspect he’s one of those people who vastly prefers animals to people, and communicates much better with dogs than humans.

’Oh, yes, thank you… just tired. We’ve been driving all day and now we’ve got to find our cottage and unload the roofbox, and I don’t know how I’m going to do that because I didn’t bring the foot stool and I’m too short, and the kids need some dinner and I need some coffee… well, probably wine, to be honest, and…’

I catch a glimpse of his expression as I ramble incoherently, and note that he looks slightly frightened. I realise I sound like a crazy person and as I have the kind of hair that expands in heat and I’ve been stuck in a hot car all day, I undoubtedly look like one too.

’And yes, I’m fine, thank you,’ I say, firmly. ’Do you happen to know where the Hyacinth House is? I have the keys.’

’I can help you,’ he says, looking away from my eyes and gazing off into the distance. He sounds a little bit grumpy, a touch reluctant – as though he knows he should help, but doesn’t really want to engage.

’No, I’m all right…’ I insist, wondering how I’m going to get Jimbo off his feet without appearing rude.

’Let me help. I don’t have any wine, but I can help with the other thing.’

’What?’ I ask, staring up at him in confusion. ’You can help me stop being too short?’

Quick as a flash, a grin breaks out on his face and he lets out a laugh. It doesn’t last long and he seems to clamp down on it as soon as he can, like he’s not used to hearing the sound in public.

’Sorry, no. I’m a vet, not a miracle worker. But I can unpack the roofbox for you. I’ll get dressed and come round. Hyacinth is just back there – next to the swimming pool. This is the nearest you can get the car, but I’ll help you unload. I assume you’re Laura?’

I feel a jolt of surprise that he knows who I am and also a jolt of a stubborn desire to continue insisting that I don’t need any help at all. I settle for just nodding and giving him a half-hearted smile as he extricates his bare feet from underneath the snoring dog’s tummy.

’Thought so. In that case, if I know Cherie, she’ll have left wine in the cottage – so all your problems will be solved.’

Ha, I think, watching him disappear off up the path and noticing Lizzie still tapping away on her phone, face scrunched up in that very deliberate expression of vexed boredom that teenagers specialise in.

If only.’

Want to read more? Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson is just 99p on Amazon!

 

Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe – Debbie Johnson – 5* Review

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Summer at the Comfort Food Café
By Debbie Johnson

eBook: 29th April 2016 | PB: 16th June 2016

BLURB

The Comfort Food Café is perched on a windswept clifftop at what feels like the edge of the world, serving up the most delicious cream teas; beautifully baked breads, and carefully crafted cupcakes. For tourists and locals alike, the ramshackle cafe overlooking the beach is a beacon of laughter, companionship, and security – a place like no other; a place that offers friendship as a daily special, and where a hearty welcome is always on the menu.

For widowed mum-of-two Laura Walker, the decision to uproot her teenaged children and make the trek from Manchester to Dorset for the summer isn’t one she takes lightly, and it’s certainly not winning her any awards from her kids, Nate and Lizzie. Even her own parents think she’s gone mad.

But following the death of her beloved husband David two years earlier, Laura knows that it’s time to move on. To find a way to live without him, instead of just surviving. To find her new place in the world, and to fill the gap that he’s left in all their lives.

Her new job at the café, and the hilarious people she meets there, give Laura the chance she needs to make new friends; to learn to be herself again, and – just possibly – to learn to love again as well.

For her, the Comfort Food Café doesn’t just serve food – it serves a second chance to live her life to the full…

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Buy Links

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My Review - Coastal

Even at the story’s poignant beginning, the humour shines through, in the words of the enigmatic Laura, the heroine of this unusual story. I loved that we gathered all the necessary back story information, in letter form, as she answered a unique advertisement for a strange but intriguing, lifestyle job.
Laura is honest, loyal and has a lovely self -depreciating humour that is recognisable to most women, who have families, where they are the unappreciated lynchpin. The journey to their new adventure shares similarities, with most people’s long car journeys, with children and animals. The realistic dialogue and bordering on chaos scenarios made me giggle and reminiscence.
Despite Laura’s fragile emotional state, a delightful sense of humour runs through this story. From the first meeting with the ‘Tall bloke.’ the visuals are great, so easy to imagine, especially ‘the flying undies as the top box is unpacked’.
The VIPS that make up the cafe regulars, all have a story to share as they reveal idiosyncrasies and secrets. Laura starts to heal as she listens to the cafe’s regulars stories and Matt (the tall bloke), help’s her discover the side of herself she never really knew existed.
This is a story of healing, family and being brave enough to dip your toe back in the pond again, after life’s unpredictable knocks. I would love to find this Cafe that restores your faith in human nature.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins in return for an honest review.

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