Technically, Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is a sequel to Cake Shop in the Garden but it stands quite well on its own. I actually only realised that it’s a sequel due to the summarised info dump during the first couple of chapters — think throwback highlight reel at the start of new seasons of TV shows. Once that’s done and dusted, it’s back to regular writing and storytelling.
MY ITALIAN BULLDOZER by Alexander McCall Smith
Food writer travels through Tuscany on a bulldozer — such a bizarre and hilarious image this premise painted. It sounded so ludicrous and I have to admit, it made me think of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. That set the bar of absurd humour unfairly high but I couldn’t help it. Perhaps it’s a good thing then, that My Italian Bulldozer wasn’t filled with tall tales, even if that slightly disappointed me.
THE SUMMER SEASIDE KITCHEN by Jenny Colgan
The atmosphere of The Summer Seaside Kitchen was incredible. Even though Mure isn’t a real island but an amalgam of various islands of the Northern Isles, it completely came to life. I could picture the scenic views, the landmarks and houses so perfectly, I very nearly felt as though I had been transported to Mure myself. The more I read, the more I fell in love with the island. That’s how well Jenny Colgan detailed everything!
THE HOUSE OF NEW BEGINNINGS by Lucy Diamond
The House of New Beginnings to me, was a comforting book to read. Following the lives of three women at crossroads, this is a book that speaks about hope amidst uncertainty. Naturally, what first caught my eye in the synopsis was Rosa, the sous chef. Now, I found out she’s more of a line cook but ultimately, that deviating detail doesn’t matter all too much. She lives and breathes food and that’s where she finds solace.
SECONDS by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Life choices, second chances and changing the past are major themes in Seconds. That’s why I think it’s a graphic novel that appeals to a wide audience, even if the medium isn’t something one usually reads. It’s natural to wish things had gone differently, lamenting that everything could’ve turned out better, dwelling on the perpetual if only…