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review 2017-11-06 17:48
This Book Should Be Renamed Bah Humbug
Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe: A feel good cosy romance perfect for fans of Bake Off - Debbie Johnson

Apparently I am 0 for 2 for Christmas romance reads this year. Geez. 

Well this was disappointing. I found book #1 a solid romance so I bought book #2. The second book in the series focuses on Laura's younger sister Becca. We have heard from Laura that Becca drinks, does drugs, and has all kinds of sex with totally wrong men, but loves her life. Becca goes and visits her sister and her family for the Christmas break to see how they are settling in and to meet her sister's new boyfriend. The big problem is that Becca hates Christmas. She also hates too much togetherness as well. We find out why Becca is this way, but honestly I wanted to tell her to grow the hell up so many times while reading I am not even getting into her backstory (which I totally called by the way).


Becca is not that interesting to follow in this book. We find out that she has been on a diet that does not include men, drinking, drugs, etc. since her sister fell apart two years ago after her husband died. That apparently means that Becca is not much fun at all these days. Though her sister still tries to set her up with someone, Becca is resistant, until she's not. Honestly, there was no real tension in this book. Reading about Becca constantly turning down the character of Sam was boring. Heck it gets even worse when they finally get together. I wish that we had Becca talking to her sister and even her mother in this one. She shares all of her secrets with Sam and another resident and it didn't feel real at all after what Johnson shows us of this character. 


The writing was eh. Due to Becca not being a central part to the story, she feels removed from other characters we heard about in book #1. I would have expected more of Becca playing and hanging out with her niece and nephew, or staying up all night talking to her sister. They all barely interact in this one. 

 

The flow wasn't great. The story felt rushed (it was only 209 pages) so the get together of the hero/heroine came way too early and didn't feel earned. 

 

The setting could have been perfect if the Christmas aspect had been played up more I think. Instead I found myself rushing to finish this thing.

 

The ending made me roll my eyes. No spoiler, but come on. It was totally obvious where this was going to go. Going to skip reading any more books in this series. I think I would just end up irritated. 

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review 2017-11-06 17:39
Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe
Summer at The Comfort Food Cafe - Debbie Johnson

Keeping this fairly short since I liked this book and did not care for the sequel at all. I liked the main character (Laura) taking her children away for the summer in order for the family to do some real healing two years after the death of her husband. Laura had been in love with her husband since they were children, and after a freak accident doesn't know how she and their family will survive without him. She takes a job at a place called the "Comfort Food Cafe". She meets some new people and happily starts to find a place for herself and her children.


So, I know a lot of romance readers do not like romance novels that have a widowed husband/wife. I don't mind this one probably because the dead husband sounded great and felt real to me as I was reading. I didn't get the idea that Laura was trying to replace him at all. And her kids still thought of him as well, but did want their mom to start to move on and be how she used to be before their dad died. 

 

Laura felt like a very developed character and I got a great sense of her daughter, not that much of her son though. I also like Laura's love interest, though I wish we had gotten some more details about him than we get. 

 

The food that Laura makes for certain customers had cute backstories to them. I do wish that we would have gotten recipes for certain things though. I don't know why when a romance novel revolves around food or baking they don't include recipes. That's my favorite thing to do is to read a recipe from a book and try it out. 

 

The writing was okay and I thought this was a very solid romance novel. 

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review 2017-11-06 17:20
Awful...
The Cosy Christmas Teashop - Caroline Roberts

Squints real hard.

 

So this is not going to be pretty.

 

Look away, look away.


This book was awful. Let's ignore the typos galore, the freaking continuity errors, the lack of dialogue that was happening. This was barely a Christmas book. At this time of the year, I freaking crave Christmas romance books. I can't help it. It gets me in the holiday mood. I love to decorate, put on some carols, drink some alcoholic eggnog and just relax. Reading this book at 11 p.m. and finishing it up around 3 a.m. just made me angry. Angry because this could have been a nice slam dunk and a great second book. Instead I wonder if this was even edited by someone based on the typos I saw and highlighted on my Kindle. That was the only thing keeping me awake at that point.

 

"The Cosy Christmas Teashop" takes place three years after the events in book #1. Ellie and Joe are happily married and running the castle and teashop respectively. 

 

Now that Ellie and Joe are settled, they are dealing with having the castle open up to host weddings as well as there regular tours/teashop hours. Ellie and Joe are also now trying to have a baby now that they are bit older. 


Unlike with the first book, there is no back and forth between Ellie and Joe. The main character is Ellie. And at times though she is only 31, she sounds like a woman twice her age. We barely get any dialogue in this one, and when we do, Ellie sounds like a stereotypical character from a British soap. She calls another woman her same age "pet" one time. She sounds matronly and old though is near times most of the story.

 

And I hope you like reading about Joe's penis. Cause it's referenced a lot. There are no hot sex scenes like we had in book #1, we just read a lot about how much Joe/Ellie like to have sex or really Joe likes to have sex. Wait, there may have been a sex scene, but I have blocked it out. Yes, I think I remember one. The other one was just terrible with the author talking about how they danced on each other's bodies and I don't know. What the hell does that even mean?

 

Ellie barely speaks to anyone and vice versa. It drove me up the wall in the end. I don't even get why she and Joe are even together since they seem to have zero things in common. I love romance series cause you get to see the same couples over and over again and you get why they are together. In this one I was perplexed since they seemed like two strangers who enjoyed having sex with each other. 

 

There is no development with any other characters either. I think it's weird that Ellie's best friend from back home is referenced, but never talked to. We do get a scene with Ellie talking to her dead grandmother though. So there's that. 

 

Image result for stares real hard gif

 

There are continuity errors galore in this which drove me up the wall. Ellie's brother was only 17 in book 1, it's been three years since they got married or five years since the first book, which would make him 21 or 22 depending. Roberts has him at 26. I wanted to scream about that. Especially since in book #1 it is mentioned that Ellie is 9 years older than her brother. 

 

There are also typos all over. I hope you like reading "Jo-oe" "o-kay" and "Mr and Mrs" with no periods anywhere. There was also I think a couple of times extra "s" in certain words and I refuse to go look that mess up. The funniest/saddest one was Ellie saying Lord H when referencing Lord Henry that is never used again. I assume they forgot to spell out the rest of his name. 

 

The book is also repetitive to the point that I think that it could have easily lost 20-30 pages if things had been cut out. We get that things are okay between Joe's mother and Lord Henry even though there was initial awkwardness. I get that Ellie is going to make some lemon drizzle cake. I know that the rooms that Ellie and Joe live in need to be overhauled. Repeating it more than once was not necessary.


If Roberts wanted to make more an impression there should have been more of a Christmas element to the book. At the end of the book we get some of that (it snows), but other than that, there is no description of the decorations or people in any great detail. You would think that most of the book is just the same 8 or 9 characters mentioned over and over again. And honestly, I was expecting some recipes to appear in this one. It would have made the book better if we had some of Ellie's grandmother's recipes. 

 

 Task 9- Tasks for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night: Read a book in one night - in the S. Hemisphere, read a book in a day. –OR–Grab one of your thickest books off the shelf.  Ask a question and then turn to page 40 and read the 9th line of text on that page.  Post your results.  –OR–Eat a watermelon or pomegranate for good luck and health in the coming year, but post a pic first!

 

Bonus task:  Read a book in one night.

 

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review 2017-11-06 16:57
Strong Romantic Element, Flow Hampers Story-line
The Cosy Teashop in the Castle: The Bestselling Feel-Good ROM Com of the Year - Caroline Roberts

Hmm I did like the first book in this series better than the second book (more on that in another review). Roberts decides to tell her story through two characters POVs (Ellie and Joe). Ellie is a 20 something working a job she doesn't love. Still at home with her parents and wishing to make her dream of opening a bakery a reality, Ellie interviews for a job at a castle running a tea shop. Though she has no real world experience besides baking for family and friends, Ellie thinks she can make the tea shop a success. When she gets the job she finds herself pulled more to the general manager of the castle, Joe.

 

I did like the central plot. Young woman decides to move away from home (just an hour) in order to follow her dream of owning her own bakery. Ellie loves to bake and has her grandmother's old recipe book in hand. When she moves into the castle though you see that she has not thought everything through. It would have been great if Roberts had included more missteps by Ellie such as ordering too much or not enough for visitors. Learning how to make other recipes. Dealing with difficult customers, something. Instead we have Ellie having some minor difficulties with one of the older waitresses and having to go and ask Joe for help and almost crying because he was harsh with her for not knowing how to run a bakery. Did I mention that Ellie lied during her interview? Yeah. I would have been harsh too.

 

Joe's story was much more interesting. I don't want to spoil for potential readers though. I found him less interesting as the story went on since Roberts just focuses on how sexy Joe is finding Ellie and when the sex scenes start that is just the rest of the book really until the end. 

 

The writing was okay. I think it just got way too repetitive for me towards the end. We know that Ellie is worried about making the tea shop a success, we get that she's worried about what to order and bake. I just really wanted something more. We know she had a broken engagement, but it's given no real depth in the book. I wish we had gotten a prologue or something with the ex fiancee or something. He was just some faceless character.


The flow was wonky between segues of Ellie and Joe's POV. 

 

The setting of the castle should have been played up more than it was I think. I love the idea of a castle with a tea shop attached to it. We also know that Lord Henry (the owner) is dealing with the costs to keep up the place and I loved the reality of owning something like that and the taxes and other things you need to worry about. 

 

The ending was okay but felt flat. Things felt very rushed to me and I wish we had more time with the main character with them interacting and talking more. Seriously, towards the end there was just a lot of boom chick a wow wow. I love that in a romance, but I didn't see a connection between Ellie and Joe. This book made me long for the Escape to New Zealand series (the first few books). That's the way to give you some red hot romance with plot/tension mixed in. 

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text 2017-11-05 00:13
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe: A feel good cosy romance perfect for fans of Bake Off - Debbie Johnson

A fairly short not typical Christmas romance book. I was a bit disappointed with this one. The main character in this one is Laura's younger sister Becca. Becca hates Christmas and is going along to visit her sister and her family during the holiday cause she knows how important it is to them. We get some insight into why Becca feels the way she does, but honestly I felt over her about halfway through the book and just didn't gel with her or the hero on this book. Also this book didn't read as a Christmas book and it drove me up the wall. 

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