The Little Café in Copenhagen & The Little Brooklyn Bakery by Julie Caplin

The Little Café in Copenhagen & The Little Brooklyn Bakery by Julie CaplinThe Little Café in Copenhagen by Julie Caplin
Series: Romantic Escapes #1
Published by HarperImpulse on February 1, 2018
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 416
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Welcome to the little cafe in Copenhagen where the smell of cinnamon fills the air and the hot chocolate is as smooth as silk.

Publicist Kate Sinclair’s life in London is everything she thought she wanted: success, glamour and a charming boyfriend. Until that boyfriend goes behind her back and snatches a much sought-after promotion from her.Heartbroken and questioning everything, Kate needs to escape.

Leaving behind rush hour and late nights in the office for a city break in beautiful Copenhagen, Kate discovers how to live life ‘the Danish way’. From candles and cosy nights in to the easy smiles of tall, gorgeous Vikings and eating your body weight in pastries (ok, that’s just her), the city offers her a new perspective.

Can the secrets of hygge and happiness lead her to her own happily-ever-after?

Though I try so hard not to request egalleys that are later books in a series, sometimes I fuck up. I requested the third book in this series thinking it was a standalone. Whoops. Book research fail. Often when I make this mistake, I end up disliking the first book when I try to read it and just whomp whomping off, so I was annoyed that none of the libraries I can access had it and I had to buy the ebook. But hey Mikey, she liked it.

The Little Café in Copenhagen hits some great high notes though it does run a mite predictably for me in the bad way rather than the good way. As I like to say, a good romance IS predictable in terms of plot, but here the relationship beats between the main couple often felt forced. The banter too sometimes worked but sometimes felt a bit stilted and unnatural. Though I did like the ship, I would have preferred hate to love rather than hate to love to hate to love to hate to love. It’s not uncommon for romance novels to follow that roller coaster of an arc, but it’s rarely my favorite, and the drama here was so obvious and manufactured.

That’s the worst aspect though, aside from the book needing another edit, which I’m going to blame on HarperImpulse, and not on Julie Caplin.

On the plus side, I was impressed by how well characterized all the secondary characters were. Often romances fall short because only the hero and heroine are truly dynamic and don’t seem to care about those around them. Here, four of the five supporting characters all have plot arcs of their own. Small ones, yes, but they begin with a problem and flow through to a resolution. Lars’ mom is a total heart stealer, and there’s such charm to the group banding together to support Kate against her agency. The whole thing is thoroughly adorable, and I loved that the epilogue was a gay wedding rather than focusing on the main couple getting married.

Though I can’t speak to the accuracy of the travel at all, I will say that it gave me a mighty need to go to Denmark. I want to eat ALL of the pastries and sandwiches, except, no matter how delicious Caplin made it sound, I’m not touching herring. Not gonna happen. The book really sells the idea of Denmark as the happiest place, and it does make you want to focus on the good things in life and surround yourself with what you love.

The Little Café in Copenhagen runs a bit long but it entertained me and made me smile pretty much the whole way through, so I can’t complain (too much).

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

The Little Café in Copenhagen & The Little Brooklyn Bakery by Julie CaplinThe Little Brooklyn Bakery by Julie Caplin
Series: Romantic Escapes #2
Published by HarperImpulse on May 25, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 448
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Take a trip to New York and the best little bakery in Brooklyn for bagels, bakes, and more than a sprinkle of romance!

When Sophie Bennings arrives in New York, love is the last thing on her mind. Still reeling from a painful break up, she throws herself into her work as a food editor on a top-notch magazine.

Columnist Todd McLennan is everything that Sophie wishes she didn’t want. Like the gorgeous bakery below her Brooklyn apartment, he’s as tempting as the sugary cupcakes on daily display. Surely a little of something you fancy can do you good?

As Sophie and Todd get to know one another, a love of food isn’t the only passion they share. In the city that never sleeps, has Sophie finally met the man of her dreams…?

As with the first in this series, I couldn’t put The Little Brooklyn Bakery down. The flaws are the same (running too long and lacking in editing), but the joys are too.

Our heroine Sophie was one of the journalists on the hygge trip to Cophenhagen, the only one not to have a real arc of her own in that book, which now makes perfect sense. In The Little Café in Copenhagen, Sophie talks about her happy relationship, but there’s clearly something off about it. Sophie thought the problem was that her boyfriend of two years was a bit too attached to his mother, spending half his time with her in Cornwall, but it turns out he’s actually married with a child.

This revelation convinces Sophie to take the temporary food editor job for a magazine in New York City, because she really can’t face talking to James. Or thinking about him, really. She’s not excited to be in NYC to say the least, but she’s quickly charmed by the denizens of the little bakery downstairs from her apartment. The owner becomes a friend, as does her hot cousin, Todd.

The ship is adorable with a nice slow burn, and you know it’s good if it can make me get past the douche-factor of a name like Todd. He has serious commitment-phobia, which isn’t my favorite romance trope, but I love how Caplin handles it. Todd’s open and honest all the way through, and they end up working through everything pretty maturely. Yay for romances that feature healthy communication!

In this case, though, I do have the knowledge to say that there are issues with the travel element. The Brooklynites sometimes talk like they’re British. Frankly, I didn’t really mind and just laughed a lot, but be prepared for some inaccuracies.

What can I say? This series is utterly charming, despite desperately wanting a good editing team to give it that final polish.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya MenonThere's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse on May 14, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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The irresistible companion novel to the New York Times bestseller When Dimple Met Rishi, which follows Rishi’s brother, Ashish, and a confident fat athlete named Sweetie as they both discover what love means to them.

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my favorite reads of 2017, so I was crushed when From Twinkle, with Love was less my thing, but I’m thrilled to report that I’m back on track with There’s Something About Sweetie. Menon once again captures real life in the most flufftastic way, though I do admit I miss the snarkiness of Dimple, girl of my heart. Seriously, though, There’s Something About Sweetie is one of the fluffiest books I’ve ever read, full of confidence-boosts and validation, and I finished it off with happy tears.

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January 2019: Month in Review

So far 2019 has been full of books, which is me living my best life. I’ve done some writing, but I’ll admit that I’ve fallen down on that a bit. It starts to feel like work if I write everyday, which I hate, but I also feel like my writing is better if I’m consistent. Argh. Also, I should work out which feels like more work and super sigh life is hard.

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Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. DingmanCancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman
Published by Harper Paperbacks on August 5, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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A heartfelt fiction debut that will appeal to fans of Emily Giffin’s Southern charm and Jennifer Weiner’s compelling, emotionally resonant novels about the frustrations of blood ties, Cancel the Wedding follows one woman’s journey to discover the secrets of her mother’s hidden past—and confront her own uncertain future.

On the surface, Olivia has it all: a high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiancé. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane’s premature death from cancer. But when Jane’s final wish is revealed, Olivia and her elder sister Georgia are mystified. Their mother rarely spoke of her rural Southern hometown, and never went back to visit—so why does she want them to return to Huntley, Georgia, to scatter her ashes?

Jane’s request offers Olivia a temporary escape from the reality she’s long been denying: she hates her “dream” job, and she’s not really sure she wants to marry her groom-to-be. With her 14-year-old niece, Logan, riding shotgun, she heads South on a summer road trip looking for answers about her mother.

As Olivia gets to know the town’s inhabitants, she begins to peel back the secrets of her mother’s early life—truths that force her to finally question her own future. But when Olivia is confronted with a tragedy and finds an opportunity to right a terrible wrong, will it give her the courage to accept her mother’s past—and say yes to her own desire to start over?

Though I’m off to a grand start in terms of the amount I’m reading this year, I haven’t read too many books I’ve loved that weren’t rereads (obviously it’s great to love a reread, but it’s different). I’ve had Cancel the Wedding on my mental shelf of shame for several years now, because (confession time), I got a review copy of this book from the publisher. Presumably when it came out. In 2014. Yes, I know, I’m garbage, but I think we can all agree that I read as much as I can; sometimes it feels like I read more than that tbh. On the plus side, I was super late getting to it, but I loved Cancel the Wedding, so at least they get a super positive review of it now.

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I’ve Got You Covered (5)

In case you missed the news, I’ve Got You Covered has replaced my prior Cover Snark feature. The format’s pretty similar, but this post features a round up of all the new covers I’ve fallen in love with recently. There may occasionally be some snark anyway. 😉

Middle Grade

1. Heroism Begins with Her: Inspiring Stories of Bold, Brave, and Gutsy Women in the U.S. Military – Winifred Conkling

Obviously I love both the feminism and the wordplay of this cover, but it’s also included for being super beautiful even without those elements. Doing these women proud.

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