Let the Magical Mayhem begin! Cindy Eller has not one, but two weddings to prepare for in less than two weeks when the cupcakes hit the fan – a mysterious man has appeared, claiming to be betrothed to Cindy and that she must marry him before her sister’s nuptials can take place. Obviously this doesn’t sit well with Cindy’s Ordinary boyfriend, Timothy. That’s the way to cake – and the wedding – crumbles!
Start at the beginning: This is the second book in the series and there were times as I was listening that this became quite clear for as a reader I didn’t know what the author was referring to, which is fine, as I generally didn’t really need to know it. Because this is the second in the series, the conclusion is a happy for now with some threads left open for the next in the series.
How to know if you’ll like this book: Are you a foodie? You’ll love this. Lots and lots of descriptions of baked goods. You’ll want to open up a shop and start selling some of the goodies described.
Is there romance between a chef and a prince? One of my favorite scenes is when the prince kidnaps Cindy because he read a romance novel and thought it was considered romantic. Bwuahahaha.
Narrator: Michele Carpenter’s narration and accents give all the characters flair. She does a great job using a similar accent for all the characters so they sound like they’re form the same region, without making any character too similar. They are all distinguishable.
Disclaimer: Michele Carpenter is the narrator for my own trilogy.
Buy: How (Not) to Kiss a Prince (Cindy Eller #2)
Summary: Snowed-in at a lodge on a work retreat, Kelsey will not only have to organize her work colleagues, but also her love life. First Darrell, her ex, makes her life miserable by handing her credit card debt she didn’t sign up for or enjoy. Then the cute statistician at the office, Charlie, flashes hot and cold with her. Is he interested or not? And then there’s Luke, who is running the lodge in the absence of other employees and he’s a Ranger. He’s definitely interested in her. Maybe being snowed-in isn’t such a disaster after all!
Review: Molly Harper is funny, which is no surprise as she’s a former humor columnist. It’s even funnier to hear the narrator, Amanda Ronconi, say and act some of these lines. Kelsey is a smart, funny, high energy person. She’s got a sense of humor and is willing to crack jokes at herself. You have to wonder how a girl like her stuck it out with Darrell for as long as she did. Molly does explain and it is plausible but the backstory made me feel more like I was missing a key element than filling in the blanks. Perhaps this was more readily apparent in a previous book in the series. Both of Kelsey’s crushes are good guys. I would happily see her wind up with either one of them, which is very rare for me to say so. And I would definitely read about the one who didn’t win Kelsey’s heart.
Narrator: I recently listened to Amanda Ronconi in another audio book. She did a great job then and she did a great job this time. When I first heard her speak I couldn’t place the previous audio book I had heard her narrate. I think that means she did an excellent job adapting to the character profiles and accents. I’d listen to her again. She’s definitely a great listen for contemporary romances.
Buy: Snow Falling on Bluegrass, Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Audiobook)
Heroine: Lottie and her daughter, Mabel, are planning to visit Aunt Kate this Christmas because Aunt Kate is starting a bed and breakfast (B&B) business. When Kate is hospitalized, Lottie and Mabel leave a day early for their Christmas vacation. The B&B is in dire straights, so are Aunt Kate’s finances, and the help just absconded for a break to recuperate. Everything hinges on getting a good rating from the reviewer. But Lottie hasn’t the foggiest clue what to do to run a successful B&B.
Hero: Danny, the taxi driver, is an unlikely but most definitely needed hero. When Lottie offers him enough money to fund a trip to see his young daughter in America, he agrees to aid her in anyway he can. He helps paint, fix, repair, clean, and cook. And along the way the two find they have an affinity for each other.
Review: The B&B reviewer and his family are seriously dysfunctional. I am very glad that the creepy brother/in-law doesn’t barge in on Lottie in the bath. He was a very ignorant self-absorbed cad. His wife was a hypochondriac and couldn’t stand her children. The two kids were terrors. I’d be afraid for Mabel to hang out with them. The only one sane was the reviewer. Are you up for some crazy hijinks involving scolding plumbing, falling down ceilings, holes patched with toothpaste? Then you’re in for a treat with this wifi-less Victorian-themed holiday chick-lit. Happy ending for all. There’s definitely room for continuation.
Buy: The Reluctant Elf
Hero: Baxter Dunne is Chef Hot Cakes and Leilani’s former boss. When she left his restaurant Baxter realized he needed her in his life and not just for her cooking, but the woman herself. So he does what any man would do in order to woo a woman – he puts his television show on the road and themes it around bakeries just like hers and makes her his first stop.
Heroine: Leilani Trusdale quit New York City when her father became ill. Most of her city friends don’t understand, but Leilani wants to spend her time and talent on person’s who enjoy food and not their social status or figures. So she sets up shop in sleepy Sugarberry Island and is a hit with the residents. She can’t imagine moving back to NYC, he can’t imagine moving to a small town.
Review: Sugar Rush is a sweet romance in more ways than one! Each of the characters are likable. Baxter is a self-made chef and has worked in kitchens most of his life. He and Leilani get off on the wrong foot before they even start. She blames him for the stress and hard time she had professionally in his kitchen. He was trying to negate the gossip by not rising to it. In the end he’s got to win her heart by being vulnerable. My favorite aspect of the story besides the steamy kissing scenes in the kitchen, was Leilani and Charlotte’s friendship. I also enjoyed Alma – she reminded me of Betty White. There were some other characters like an assistant and a college student and a lesbian that kind of blurred in the narrating. I couldn’t tell if they were one and the same or different. In the end it doesn’t truly signify because as side characters they were supporting not staging the romance.
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi is a lovely narrator to listen to. She did an excellent job with Baxter’s and Charlotte’s accents. I’d listen to her again.
Buy: Sugar Rush (Cupcake Club), Sugar Rush (Audio book)
Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds
Emmaline Neal is a police officer in Manningsport New York. She has an extracurricular activity that most women don’t do. Jack Holland puts on a brave face but he has some personal demons he has to deal with. Right from the start this author will have you laughing and if you’re having a bad day, or even a bad week, this is a great pick-me-up.
As the story begins there are circumstances that will have you feeling sorry for these two. Even though Em has a job most of us wouldn’t have, this author has made her a woman that you can identify with. There’s a couples bonding scene that had me wishing I were an actual spectator. And then the scene ends with me laughing – sorry I just couldn’t help myself.
Our author shows her readers how some of the “beautiful” people can be so self-absorbed. She also shows how cruel people can be toward those that are “different”. This would be a perfect book to read while you sit by a fire – jealous – having a mulled wine or cider along with your favorite throw or animal. One thing I loved about this story is that the author didn’t create one picture perfect character. It made them more believable and some more relatable. There are even some readers who may also be able to identify with a few of them. Jack is what might be called brooding and not everyone will like his character but that just adds to his persona.
This is a series that each book could probably be read on their own but it’s my hope that you are reading them in order. It’s a town you will fall in love with and wish you could visit while on vacation. If you do find that place and take reading material with you, make sure to take this series along for the ride. It will be interesting to see if we get another look into the lives of the residents of Manningsport – I certainly look forward to finding out.
Buy: In Your Dreams (The Blue Heron Series)