Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Finishing Touches - Hester Browne


Twenty-seven years ago, an infant turned up on the Academy's doorstep, with a note tacked to her blanket by an elegant golden brooch -- Please take care of my baby. I want her to grow up to be a proper lady. Loved by Lady Frances Phillimore and her kindhearted staff, Betsy grew up aspiring to be an Academy girl. But when Franny and her husband, Lord Phillimore, advise Betsy to instead hone her considerable math skills at college, she brokenheartedly leaves behind the only family she's known.

Now, on the sad occasion of Lady Frances's memorial service, Betsy comes back to find the school in disrepair, the enrollment down, and Lord P. desperate to save his legacy. Enter Betsy, the numbers genius, and her business plan -- to replace dusty protocol with the essentials girls need today: cell phone etiquette, eating sushi properly, handling credit cards, choosing the perfect little black dress, negotiating a pre-nup, and other lessons in independent living.

But Betsy may have bitten off more than she can chew. Can she win over the school's snobby headmistress and its handsome but risk-averse treasurer? Returning to London also means facing her own unfinished business, as she crosses paths with her sexy girlhood crush...and blowing the dust off clues to a lifelong mystery: who were her parents, and why did they abandon her? If knowledge is power, Betsy is on the brink of truly becoming her own woman, and embracing the one thing she's wanted all along: a place to call home.

Cole's Review:
When this book's opening pages was a funeral, I didn't hold too much hope for a good book.  Boy, was I wrong!!  This book is epitome of modern British chick-lit.

The beginning of Betsy's life was quite eventful.  Left on the doorstep of a highly popular London finishing school, Betsy is brought up by the owners and taken under the wing of their staff.  When it comes time Betsy to choose a university, her adopted parents push her to pursue that instead of attending the finishing school she was brought up in.

Flashing forward, we see Betsy attending the funeral of her adopted mom.  While she loves her adopted dad, you can palpably feel the love between Betsy and her mom.  Meanwhile, she quickly determines that the finishing school needs some serious updating - both in upkeep of their facility and the courses taught to their students, and that's is finally time to determine her biological origins.

With her best friend Liv and Liv's brother, Jamie - can they save the finishing school?  Will Betsy finally admit to her lifelong crush on Jamie and find love?  Her endearing goofy clumsiness will have you routing for her from start to finish!

Grade: A

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Modern Witch - Debora Geary

Can you live 28 years without discovering you're a witch?

Lauren is downtown Chicago's youngest elite realtor. She's also a witch. She must be - the fetching spell for Witches' Chat isn't supposed to make mistakes. So says the woman who coded the spell, at least.

The tall, dark, and handsome guy sent to assess her is a witch too (and no, that doesn't end the way you might think). What he finds in Lauren will change lives, mess with a perfectly good career, and require lots of ice cream therapy.

Cole's Review:
I admit it.  I am a sucker for all things witchy.  This book sucked me in right away.  Lauren is a successful Chicago real estate agent, has an amazing best friend and a life she's content with. Unfortunately, Lauren is no good at keeping her kitchen stocked and while setting up a grocery delivery online she gets transported into a chatroom for witches.

Lauren has NO IDEA that she's a witch and when Jamie is sent to investigate, the journey really begins.  While Jamie, is quite the hottie - there aren't any sparks between him and Lauren.  No fear, this is chick-lit and Jamie, who has pre-cog abilities does have sparks with Lauren's best friend.

This book is filled with magic, family and a host of joyously fabulous characters.  While this is a book about Lauren, 4 year old Aervyn really stole the show.  I can't wait to read more about Jamie, Lauren, Aervyn, Nell, Moira, Aunt Jennie and everyone else.

Grade: A

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Always the Baker, Never the Bride - Sandra D. Bricker

Thirty-six-year-old Emma Rae Travis has been baking specialty cakes and melt-in-your-mouth pastries at The Backstreet Bakery in historic Roswell, just outside of Atlanta, for the last six years. But here’s the rub about her job as a baker … Emma is diabetic. When she tastes her creations, it can only be in the most minute portions. Emma is considered an artisan for the stunning crème brulee wedding cake that won her the Passionate Palette Award last year, but she’s never even had one full slice of it.

When Jackson Drake hears about this local baker who has won a prestigious award for her wedding cake artistry, he tells his assistant to be sure and include her in the pastry tastings scheduled at his new wedding destination hotel the following week. And for Jackson, that particular day has started out badly with two workmen trapped in a broken elevator and a delivery of several dozen 300-thread-count bed linens in the wrong size abandoned in the lobby. But when the arrogant baker he met a week prior in Roswell stumbles into the dining room with a platter of pastries and a bucketful of orders, he knows for certain: It’s going to be a really rotten day.

Can these two ill-suited players master the high-wire act and make a go of their new business venture? Or will they take each other crashing downward, without a net? And will the surprise wedding at The Tanglewood be theirs?

Cole's Review:
I found this book endearingly sweet (no pun intended). Emma Rae Travis is an award winning baker, who can't taste her own creations because she's diabetic.  How unfair is that?!  Jackson Drake has just bought the Tanglewood Inn for he and his sisters to bring back to its former glory with his eccentric and hysterical sisters decide that the Tanglewood should specialize in weddings.  What does every good wedding need?  A great cake!  With the help of her fabulously unique assistant, Fiona, Emma takes the Tanglewood and Jackson by storm.

The interaction between Emma, Jackson, Fiona, and all of their families to be realistic and fun to read.  It's a quick read for a rainy day.

This is your typical chick-lit.  However, it is a Christian novel as well, so there's more focus on character development and life's plan, but rest assured - the book never feels "preachy",

Grade: B