Thursday, 30 October 2014

Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe – by Rebecca Raisin + Character Interview

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Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb:

You are invited to the wedding of the year!

Snow is falling thick and fast outside the Gingerbread Café and inside, its owner Lily is planning the wedding of the year. Her wedding! She never dreamt it would happen, but this Christmas, she’ll be marrying the man of her dreams - in a Christmas-card-perfect ceremony!

The gingerbread is baking, the dress is fitted and the mistletoe’s in place – for once, everything’s going to plan. That is until her mother-in-law arrives... Suddenly, Lily’s famous cool is being tested like never before and her dream wedding is crumbling before her eyes.

In the blink of a fairylight, the Gingerbread Café has been thrown into chaos! Lily thought she had this wedding wrapped up, but with so much to do before she says ‘I do’, can Lily get to the church on time – and make this Christmas sparkle after all?

My Opinion:

Book provided by author in exchange for an honest review

What a stunning and absolutely beautiful cover!!! 

Yay, we are back in Ashford, home of the Gingerbread Café. Reading this book made me fall in love with the place, the café and the characters all over again, especially with Damon. He’s just so wonderful, caring, sweet and a great dad .

Then, of course there is Lil, our main character. Lil has such a big heart, she is so sweet, caring and full of passion for her café.

Damon and Lil are such an adorable couple, they really belong to each other. I loved all their scenes together, just so magical.
They are in the middle of the Christmas preparations when Damon’s parents arrive early.
Lil sees herself struggling with Damon’s mother Olivia. That woman shows her that she doesn’t want Lily as Damon’s wife and Lil starts to question and overthink everything, so a little drama was part of the story as well.

Lily’s friends are great: CeeCee, Missy and Sarah. They are a great combination, helping each other where they can. Sarah is still happy with Ridge, which makes me so happy.

Each chapter was dedicated to one day before the wedding, so we had 10 days, the wedding and the epilogue. Aww, this epilogue, the perfect ending to this wonderful series, does it really have to be over?!

I loved being in this little world, I felt like being there myself and I would definitely want to live there. Rebecca’s writing makes this world seem so vivid and real.

Oh and of course there was Damon’s little girl Charlie as well, she’s such a cutie and added some sweet sparks into this story.

The wedding day was the highlight of this novella, full of emotions and some touching moments.

Thank you for writing this story Rebecca. It’s the perfect festive feel-good book to snuggle up to in bed. Brilliantly written .


My possible cast:

Lily: Mackenzie Mauzy

Damon: Oliver Tompsett

Charlie: Jackie Evancho

Character Interview with Lily from the Gingerbread Cafe series by Rebecca Raisin

  1. Hi Lily, I’m happy to welcome you on my blog. Can you tell us a little about
Hi Simona! Thanks so much for having me here! I own the Gingerbread Café in Ashford, Connecticut. I work alongside my best friend, CeeCee, who’s this no-nonsense, fast-talking southern women who tells it like it is. We have a lot of fun baking, and teasing each other every day! My fiancé Damon works across the road, and it’s fair to say, I do spend a bit of time leaning against the window trying to catch a glimpse of him!

  1. What’s it like being the owner of a café?  
I absolutely love it, but there’s also times when I worry… Ashford is a small place, so sometimes we struggle to make ends meet. We have times that we’re frantically busy, like Christmas, but then it slows down over the rest of winter. The perfect remedy for all that worry is baking! Everything seems to make sense when I’m rolling out pastry or decorating a cake…

  1. I heard you’re getting married soon, that’s so exciting. Tell us more about your future husband, what do you love about him?
Thank you! Oh it’s hard not to get all mushy over him because he’s just so lovely! I love everything about him, the way he laughs so hard he gets dimples, the way he cooks for me, the way he adores his daughter, and that he always thinks of others first…I could go on and on, but he’s the whole package!

  1. Why is it going to be a Christmas wedding?
It’s exactly a year to the day we first kissed! We thought it would be special to say our vows on Christmas Eve, and planned a winter wonderland wedding! Christmas is my favourite time of year, so why not celebrate with a wedding too! We’ll be busy in the lead-up to the wedding with the café, but I’m sure I can handle it all…

  1. Do you plan it by yourself? What can we expect?
Damon’s been very involved, which is great. And CeeCee and I have the most amazing wedding cake planned! The girls, Missy and Sarah, have been helping out with the design for my dress, which is being made by Bessie the local dressmaker. And of course, Missy is pushing me to step out of my comfort zone with lots of hair and make-up ideas. We’re getting married in the one-hundred year old chapel which has a lot of meaning for the folks of Ashford. So…hopefully it’ll all come together in the end.

  1. You live in Ashford. What makes this place special in your eyes?
It’s a small town, and most folk have lived here forever. We help each other, and everyone knows everyone’s business, so it’s impossible to keep secrets in this town, but if you’re ever struggling, you’ll have bucket loads of help. It’s one of those towns where, especially at Christmas, people come together, to be thankful for what they’ve got, and the year that was. I love it here, and I’d never leave.

  1. Who are the most important people in your life (next to Damon of course)?
CeeCee is my best friend, and also like a mother figure, and confidante, all rolled into one. She’s my sounding board, and doles out advice when I most need it. My folks are back from their travels, and even though my mother is a disaster in the kitchen, we’re very close. My best friends are also Missy, who has a heart the size of Texas, and Sarah, who’s as whimsical and sweet as you can get.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d like to think the Gingerbread Café was flourishing! That CeeCee and I still bake alongside each other, and I hope by then, Damon and I have a couple of children of our own, sitting at the table near the fire munching on gingerbread men cookies, while I work. If that happened, I’d be the happiest girl in the world.

  1. How important are friends and family in your life?
Hugely important. Without them, my life would be empty. We treasure relationships in Ashford, and we cherish our friends and family because without them we’d have nothing.

  1. How would you describe yourself in three words?
Blubberer, Baker, Best-friend.

  1. What’s your favourite Christmas memory?
It would have to be last year, when Damon kissed me for the first time. I wasn’t looking for love, so it crept up and tapped me on the shoulder, and now look, we’re about to get married!

  1. Do you have a special Christmas tradition?
So many! We bake so many traditional cakes for the café, including southern cakes, because CeCee loves them. But usually it’s just being surrounded by family and friends. We set up our Christmas window display and month before Christmas and the rule is any kids that happen along can take a marshmallow snowman from there, and come in for a cup of hot cocoa. They love the window, and we love watching their faces when they bite into something we’ve made.

  1. What’s your favourite Christmas song?
It’s Amazing Grace, but unfortunately it makes me blubber like a fool every single time I hear it!

  1. What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
Oh there’s so many! I LOVE “Love Actually” again, another movie that brings out the sob-fests, but now that Charlie visits, I love snuggling with her and watching “Home Alone” she giggles her way through it, and it always makes me laugh.

  1. Your favourite Christmas books?
Well last year I must have read “How the Grinch stole Christmas” a hundred times to Charlie, so that’s a favourite. This year I have some new books all wrapped up for her, and I look forward to watching her open the gifts I have for her!

Buy Links

Author Bio
Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She's been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.

Author Links
Book Trailer link

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Maybe This Christmas – by Sarah Morgan

My own copy
Original Cover (UK)

The blurb:

"Uplifting, sexy and warm, Sarah Morgan's O'Neil Brothers series is perfection."—Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author

This winter, ex-skiing champion, reformed heartbreaker and single dad Tyler O'Neil has only one mission—making sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. The fact that his best friend, Brenna, is also temporarily moving into his chalet at the overbooked Snow Crystal resort is a delicious distraction he's simply going to have to ignore. Theirs is the one relationship he's never ruined, and he's not about to start now.

Ski pro Brenna Daniels knows all about the perils of unrequited love—she's been in love with Tyler for years. But living with him is absolute torture…how can she concentrate on being his friend when he's sleeping in the room next door? Then when Tyler kisses Brenna, suddenly the relationship she's always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true?

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this book and now I finally had the time to read it!!!
I’ve been in love with the O’Neil brothers since reading Sleigh Bells in the Snow last year. I fell in love with Jackson and was so happy that there were more books coming. Suddenly Last Summer was Sean’s story (I still prefer Jackson) and now I final had the chance to dive into Tyler’s story.

Having heard so much about Tyler before, I was really curious. Tyler has been a professional skier, in the world cup, competing for the US and he won three all around crystals and two in the downhill race discipline. It was great reading about skiing, because it’s a big thing here in Switzerland and I always love watching the races on TV. But yes, you heard right “has been”, he had an accident during a race and he had to quit. Now he’s just teaching others, especially his daughter Jess. All we know is that it has been really hard on him dealing with this and being reminded of what could have been.
His best friend Jenna is there by his side. She knows him better than anyone, the problem: She’s in love with him…

And what about him? Well, he doesn’t do relationship or commitment, so there is no chance in hell he’s interested in her in that way. Well, that’s where Brenna is mistaken. It was clear from both sides that they feel way more for each other than they admitted.

Kayla (glad to have her back and Elisé talked to Brenna a lot and they both know about this whole situation and that’s why I loved Kayla’s plan to bring them together, genius!! Brenna has to move in with Tyler which makes everything really awkward and weird, but it’s finally a step in the right direction. When Brenna finds Tyler watching the race where the accident happen, they talk… about everything… I was over the moon about that, finally!!! Some passion between them, something happening, I’ve been waiting for so long à a reason, why I couldn’t put this book down.
But… Well we all know that Tyler has commitment problems, so what happens when the word LOVE comes into the picture?! Find out for yourselves, let me just tell you this: This book is worth every page, word and letter!!! And Tyler?! He definitely has two different sides ;)
Oh how I loved the ending, something unexpected, but oh so sweet and romantic…

Now, let me quickly come back to Jess, Tyler’s 13 year-old daughter. She has been living with her mother for 12 years and then her mother sent her away. It’s clear that Jess and her mother don’t have a close relationship, so it was important for jess to have a good relationship with her dad. I loved these two together: The same interests and much more. Tyler loves his Jess and she’s the best thing that ever happened to him, I could see his eyes smile whenever he was teaching her something on the skis. Jess’ mother has a connection to Brenna as well and when Janet turns up at Snow Crystal everything is revealed. So there is a lot of drama!!! A very enjoyable and brilliantly written drama.

I loved reading from Brenna’s as well as Tyler’s point of view. A great mixture. Another thing I absolutely adored in this book was having the other characters back: Sean, Elisé and especially Jackson and Kayla. Their story was so special to me and seeing them together again was just pure joy. I feel like this series can’t be finished yet, I need to know more about their futures…

This book is Sarah at her best!!! I felt like being part of the book and these beautiful Christmassy and snowy surroundings were included in the perfect way. Thank you Sarah for writing another breath taking and wonderful story, I can’t wait to read more of your work.


My possible cast:

Tyler: Tom Welling

Brenna: Sophia Bush

Jess: Emma Fuhrmann

Sarah on Twitter: @SarahMorgan_