ALL THE AMAZING CHRISTMAS THINGS: Christmas at the Cupcake Café Review

Summary: In the standalone sequel to Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me at the Cupcake Café, Issy Randall couldn’t be happier and more in love. Business at the Cupcake Café is thriving, close friends surround her, and her relationship with Austin is in the perfect place–except that he’s in New York City for work right before Christmas. When Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to consider a long-distance romance and the fate of her bakery.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Craving Adult Contemporary?? Wedding Night and The Bookshop on the Corner Reviews

New week, new type of post.

Since my thoughts on Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner and Sophie Kinsella’s Wedding Night are a bit short and non-spoilery, I decided to change up my usual review format to include 2 reviews in one post (rebel I know). Plus, both books fall under the same genre: British, adult contemporary!

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The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Summary: Nina is a literary matchmaker, having plenty of practice as a librarian. But when the job she loves disappears, Nina is left with a lot of books and trying to figure out her next step. Taking her love for books and plenty of them in tow, Nina moves to a quiet village in Scotland, where the community is in dire need of reading. There, Nina buys a van and transforms it into a bookshop on wheels. Between sharing her passion for storytelling with the village and dealing with her grumpy, but caring landlord, Nina begins to feel more at home than she ever has before.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

28372019.jpgMy Thoughts:

Jenny Colgan captured my heart in 2017 with Meet Me at the Cupcake Café and The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, so kicking off my 2018 reading with another one of her books was a great start to my year.  

Obviously being a reader myself, I adored Nina’s appreciation for books and literature, and I found myself trying to figure how I could hypothetically open my own bookshop out of a van. After I finish writing this review, I’ll be off to Internet, looking for any fan art of Nina’s van/bookshop. I wish there was somehow a picture of it included in the book because I struggled to visualize it a bit (I know, minorish detail, use your imagination, Haley, but still!).

My favorite aspect of reading The Bookshop on the Corner was how cozy it made me feel. The majority of the novel takes place in Scotland, which I wasn’t expecting, but I loved this setting! I haven’t read any novels with Scotland as the main setting, and seeing Nina live on Lennox’s farm and participate in village life makes me want to move to the Highlands for a bit! Speaking of Lennox, I loved his role in the story, and it was really fun to see a whole new side of Nina come out when she talked to him. I also loved Surinder, Nina’s best friend, from pushing Nina to do something with her life to her comic relief.

Overall, if you’re looking for a book about books  or a cozy contemporary, The Bookshop on the Corner is the one for you. Personally, I love reading books about books, like Words in Deep Blue, so I would love to see a sequel to Nina’s story (even if it’s a just a small check-in).

 Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Summary: When Lottie’s boyfriend said that he had a big question for her, she thought it’d be finally be a marriage proposal, not a question about a trip abroad. Heartbroken, Lottie randomly receives a call from her first boyfriend and decides that it must be fate—a trip down the aisle seems like the right way to go! While Lottie is excited for this stage of her life, her sister Fliss feels the exact opposite. Going through her own divorce, Fliss is determined to end Lottie and Ben’s marriage with a ruinous wedding night.

My Rating: 3.75/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I’ve been working my way through Sophie Kinsella’s books (I think my local library has ALL of them!), and next up on my TBR was Wedding Night. I didn’t know too much about the book going in, but I figured I would enjoy the wedding aspects of the novel.17406464.jpg

Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much about weddings itself in Wedding Night, as the novel primarily focuses on Lottie’s rashness in her marriage with Ben and Fliss doing her best to sabotage their marriage for her sister’s sake. There is a considerable amount of wedding talk in the beginning of the novel, with Lottie overcoming her failed engagement to Richard and trying to “plan” a wedding with Ben. Additionally, I really liked the first half of the novel for its introduction to Lottie and Fliss, before the wedding night shenanigans begin. My favorite aspect of the novel was the dual POV from Fliss and Lottie. I liked learning about their backgrounds, like Lottie’s first trip to Greece and her mentoring college students to Fliss serving as head editor at the travel magazine. While reading about Lottie’s honeymoon mishaps from her perspective were quite funny, I liked Fliss’s POV a bit better, with her growing connection with Lorcan.

Wedding Night was a really fun and light read for me, between Fliss and Lorcan’s blooming romance and Lottie’s honeymoon from hell, but it was a little predictable and often dragged towards the end of the book. I figured that Fliss’s sabotaging Lottie’s honeymoon and wedding night would eventually lose control, and I saw some of the cracks in Lottie’s past history with Ben before she discovered them herself. The plot did become a bit ridiculous and far-fetched at times, but overall I think it added to the book’s romantic-comedy vibe.

In conclusion, I recommend Wedding Night if you’re looking for a light-hearted, rom-com-y read. I have two of Sophie Kinsella’s standalones left, and I’m highly anticipating Surprise Me, coming out in February 2018!

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Have you read Wedding Night or The Bookshop on the Corner? Share in the comments!

Review: The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

Summary: After a horrific accident while working as a supervisor in a chocolate factory, Annie is left feeling confused about her next step. But when she’s offered an opportunity to live in Paris and work in an elite chocolate shop, she leaves her small English town, fearful that she won’t fit in Paris either. Plus the fact that the factory-made chocolate she’s always worked around is nothing like the gourmet treats her boss creates. Anna soon finds herself growing to love Paris, chocolate, and life more than she could have ever expected.

 My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

My British contemporary kick continues with The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, and I seem to also be starting a trend with books about Paris—my previous read, Last Christmas in Paris, also had an emphasis on the city. Maybe this Paris kick is hinting at what my 2018 travel plans could have in store! And after reading The Loveliest Chocolate Shop, my wanderlust for France has grown even more.

I really enjoyed The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris for a multitude of reasons—Paris, Annie’s relationship with Claire, our cast of characters, and of course, the chocolate. I found it so interesting to learn about chocolate-making, and I loved flipping through Jenny Colgan’s chocolate recipes in the back of the book. I’ve luckily had plenty of chocolate in my house for the Christmas season that all of my chocolate cravings caused by this book were quite satisfied. I really love books about baking and food, so it was fun to see Annie not only embrace life in Paris, but also life working in the chocolate shop.

The beginning of the novel flips between Annie and Claire’s perspective, with Claire’s POV flashing back to her own time in Paris with Thierry. I don’t want to spoil anyone too much, but it was really cool to see how Claire, Annie’s schoolteacher and newly found friend, and Thierry, Annie’s boss at the shop, interact and how their story interwove with Annie’s life. I really enjoyed reading about Thierry and Claire’s romance, and I of course found myself rooting for Annie’s own romantic endeavors along with Sami. Referencing back to our cast of characters, I loved our main characters and side characters. Benoit, Alice, and Frederic provided the perfect cast in the shop, Sami is the best possible roommate to have in Paris, and I especially loved Claire’s relationship with Madame LeGuarde.

As much as I loved The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, there are few reasons why I didn’t gave the book a full 5 stars. I sometimes couldn’t tell what the characters were talking about, especially in the scenes where Claire and Thierry reveal their past to Annie and Laurent. I don’t know if Jenny Colgan did this on purpose to have readers glue pieces of the puzzle on their own. However, I found myself having to reread and backtrack through conversations. AND THE ENDING!! I SUPPOSE IT WAS MEANT TO BEAUTIFUL, BUT TO ME IT WAS JUST SAD AND HEART-BREAKING. Yes, Jenny Colgan made up for it a bit with the epilogue, but unfortunately I am the type of reader who does not want to use her imagination, JUST GIVE ME THE ANSWERS NOW JENNY!

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is my second Jenny Colgan book and I feel that now I can officially say that I love her books—frankly, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café was enough for me to say so!

Do you like books that feature food? Have you read The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris? Share in the comments!