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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-07-31 11:09
In The Mood For Love (Beth Ciotta)
In the Mood for Love: A Cupcake Lovers Novel (The Cupcake Lovers) - Beth Ciotta

I know that I am the minority (and probably the only one giving this 2.5*) but the last book of the Cupcake Lovers series just didn't work for me on so many levels.

First, while the idea reminded me of the movie I quite enjoyed, The Proposal, I just didn't get why Harper was fired in the first place. Never once from the first book that I felt she was incompetent.

Which brought me to the reason why she was fired. The spa shooting. Which rattled Harper because of her background. That was the second issue. It was over-the-top drama for me. The whole PTSD ex-lover, a revengeful father who hacked Harper's email and made her life hell, and pushed Harper to be slightly agoraphobic. It was just too much for me to enjoy in a romance book.

In addition, I wish the story also spent time of Harper being with Sam's kids. So at least I knew that despite being totally the opposite of Sam's first wife, Harper clicked with the kids. I just didn't get that vibe because there weren't enough interaction between Harper and the kids. I just didn't get why the kids simply thought that Harper was the right person for Sam.

This book just failed to entertain me. And my rating always reflects my like/dislike and reading experience, which result on this being 2.5* read. Since I'm the only one feeling this, I'm going to chalk it up as " Me-Not-The-Book " kind of situation.

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review 2014-07-26 07:57
Fool For Love (Beth Ciotta)
Fool for Love: A Cupcake Lovers Novel - Beth Ciotta

I never read Beth Ciotta's stories before -- but for the past couple of months I have been on M/F contemporary romance mood, and this one appeared on my "Readers Also Enjoyed" GR page several time, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Well, I guess I have to add another small-town romance series on my list!!

After her fiancé dumped her for a Parisian tart right on what supposed to be her happiest day, being graduated from Culinary Arts Institute with honors, Chloe Madison decides to accept her best friend's offer to come to Sugar Creek, Vermont, and become a cook and companion for 75 years old Daisy Monroe.

Meanwhile, Devlin Monroe, Daisy's oldest grandson is not feeling so happy with the decision, especially since he is excluded from interview process. Devlin is careful and very fierce when it comes to protect his family, so he doesn't want this city girl to take advantage. Especially when Chloe's past -- courtesy of some personal investigation, done by Devlin's best friend, Jayce -- shows a free spirit and impulsive woman, who seems to get by with other people financing her.

Small-town romance is one of my favorite tropes when it comes to M/F CR and this one has all the right recipes. I love how sparks fly immediately during Chloe and Devlin's first meeting, even though they don't know each other back then. The whole conversation at fruit section at the only grocery store at Sugar Creek is entertaining (it involves a very good advice on picking melon *grin*). Of course after they know each other's, it's not an easy route. Devlin is too much of a protective and controlling guy -- a first-born syndrome, most definitely. While Chloe is determined to get back on her feet again, and being attracted to a guy with same traits like her father and her ex-fiancé is totally a bad idea.

I love their chemistry, and I love how they romance built slowly. Chloe starts to fall in love with the small town, gaining friends, and finding that 'click' moment of what she wants to do with life. While Devlin is learning to give leeway to his family, knowing that his good intention is not always seen as something 'helpful' or being respectful for her family members. I love romance story where the characters develop and grown with one another.

And then, there's the whole bunch of secondary characters! At first I have a hard time keeping up with who is who, but quickly I get the hang of it and I love each and every one of them. From Daisy, then Devlin's siblings: Luke and Rocky, Devlin's cousins: Sam and Nash, and Chloe's best friend, Monica. They all round up the story with their own meddling and secrets and gossips and wit and FUN. Also note that there's a huge teaser about follow-up romance being part of this story, with the whole thick tension between Rocky (Devlin's sister) and Jayce (Devlin's best friend). I think their story will be delicious.

So as a start of a new-to-me series, this is definitely promising. I'm looking forward to reading the next book (with Rocky and Jayce) and spend more time with these characters.

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review 2014-07-07 00:00
In the Mood for Love: A Cupcake Lovers Novel
In the Mood for Love: A Cupcake Lovers Novel - Beth Ciotta Review: Five stars for Beth Ciotta’s In the Mood for Love, the new addictive, joyful, sensual, and calorie-free Cupcake Lovers novel

There are certain authors that I treasure like gold. When their books are released, I do a happy dance, because I know that their words will sparkle with a lightness and sincerity, even when they deal with difficult topics. One author who embodies this is Beth Ciotta. The inhabitants of Sugar Creek, Vermont, where her Cupcake Lovers novels are based, have become some of my BBFFs (for those in the know, that’s best book friends forever). So it was with great pleasure that I found myself purchasing the fourth book in that series, In the Mood for Love when it was released last week.

Today, I cracked the first page of In the Mood for Love: A Cupcake Lovers Novel by Beth Ciotta in my Kindle and didn’t stop reading till the entire story was told. No breaks, no discussion. All tech in the house was disabled (well, there was an electrical storm going on as well). I just curled up and read for a little over three hours, becoming totally enamored of the story of the protagonists, Harper and Sam. (You may recall their unexpected and steamy hookups from the previous book, Anything But Love).

At the opening of In the Mood for Love, it’s apparent that widower Sam is still trying to find the woman who’ll be the second Mrs. Right for him, but it seems that all candidates should echo the calm personality of his late wife. However he’s not having much luck. It couldn’t be because he misses Harper, right? Where is she anyway? It seems like this B- and C-list Hollywood publicist pulled up stakes in Sugar Creek and headed back to LA. But we discover she’s actually back, however laying low, very low - under the radar low - in her semi-haunted, restored farmhouse.

When she and Sam reencounter one another, actually when he rushes to her aid after receiving a desperate text, it quickly becomes apparent that it wasn’t just the thought of his deceased wife that kept him from moving on. He and Harper together generate enough electricity to power not only the farmhouse, but Sugar Creek. But is it only the physical side of things or could actual emotions be involved?

In my opinion, every woman should meet a man like Sam McCloud. Former military, furniture designer, craftsman, devoted husband, now single father of two - just someone who radiates kindness as well as hot sexuality. Yes, this is one man that no woman would want to say goodbye to. Why would you when Harper describes him favorably to Dylan McDermott, who she sees interviewed on a morning talk show. Yep, Sam is that hot!

I fell more than a little in love with both of Harper and Sam when Sam shows Harper his children’s rooms, including in the passage below Harper's experience of seeing the painting he's created for his daughter. Is it possible that under the brittle celebrity focused publicist exterior that Harper may be disguising the heart of a romantic? Does Sam see this or just the hot babe who started his engine again? Well, Ciotta explains it much better in this passage, one of my favorites:

Just now, surrounded by castles and tiaras, Harper wanted something in between, something romantic. Instead of Rambo, she wanted a knight in shining armor. Her vision clouded and she swore she saw Sam in full body armor. Richard Gere as Sir Lancelot. No. Clive Owen as King Arthur. Wait. Worse. Sam McCloud as Harper Day’s champion. (p. 135)

Wow, Dylan McDermott, Richard Gere, and Clive Owen! Anyone else want to hop in the car to travel to Sugar Creek and hang out in Moose-a-lotta, the happening coffee shop run by Chloe and Daisy?

Seriously, Ciotta has a true gift of how to convey who her characters are until they practically take physical form in front of you. The gentle evolution of perpetually-in-motion, uber-connected, non-relationship driven Harper and gentle, quiet, patient, and strong Sam is just beautiful to read. Once you add in all the subplots (Adam & Peppy, Daisy & Vince) as well as childbirth, a cyber-stalker, and just loads of humor - well you have a book that I dare anyone to put down.

While I would highly recommend reading ALL the Cupcake Lovers novels in sequence, In the Mood for Love could definitely be read as a stand-alone story. Yes, you might have questions about who these people are, but this story is fairly self-contained. But I’ll guarantee you that once that final page is turned, you’ll be looking for the rest of the series to devour. Yes, Beth Ciotta’s The Cupcake Lovers are as addictive as their namesake baked goods. Readers truly connect with Ciotta and you’ll find some cupcake recipes that they’ve submitted at the conclusion of each novel. Speaking of which, I think I’ll be trying out Mary Stella’s Key Lime Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting. Don’t those sound delicious?

So I urge you, if you want to read a book that is heartwarming and sensual, hilarious and moving, and really well written, pick up In the Mood for Love today. I’m awarding it five stars (or five cupcakes) and hoping that there will be more tales emanating from Sugar Creek soon.
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quote 2014-04-01 17:31
“A szavak mintha ógörögül hangzottak volna, mert – a pokolba is – nem ezt akarta hallani. Kellett egy pillanat, hogy lereagálja a dolgot.”
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review 2013-10-30 16:54
Some Kind of Wonderful Review
Some Kind of Wonderful: A Holiday Novella - Beth Ciotta

Growing up in Sugar Creek, Maya Templeton and Zachary Cole were best friends. After high school, each went out into the world in search of adventure. Maya moved to Florida to explore her passion for baking and pastry-making, eventually establishing her own business: Cupcakes & Dreamscapes. Zach joined the military and became a Marine Scout Sniper. Now, after years apart, they’re both going home for the holidays. They don’t seem to have much in common anymore. In fact, Zach seems to have the hots for Maya’s business partner. But when the two get stranded together during a blizzard, they are forced to reexamine their connection. Are Maya and Zach better off “just friends”—just as they were when they were young? Or could it be that true love was there all along?

 

 

Review

 


This is very sweet friends to lovers contemporary Christmas romance from an ongoing series. I hadn't read the other books in the series and found that no problem. The characters are charming and real. The best part of the love story to me is the detailing of startling heat that happens when you are suddenly attracted to someone you have known and liked for a long time. I loved those sexy parts.

This romance has a few fun fairy tales weaved into a small space. We have Cynano de Bergerac to open and then a sprinkling of Dicken's Christmas Carol to close. 

I really enjoyed this novella but I was a tad disappointed in the steam level. I don't need steam to like a romance in any way but this story promised a sensuous delivery with its hints at naughty emails written to a solider on the battlefield (which we never saw or got much detail about) and then when sexy times happened, Wham! The door closed. The writing was abrupt here. This is especially true after a build up scene in a snowy barn. We get the next morning and then a fade to black which is much better done than the first.

Again, I am happy with low res sexy times but it did seems out of context and story development for this love story. It didn't do too much damage to a lovely romance though. 

So, if you are looking of a cozy holiday snuggle. Pick this one up and enjoy.

I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it
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