Welcome back to the Friday edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers...the place that offers a sweet treat every day of the week, just bookishly. ^_^
So, we made it to the end of another week...woo-hoo! In my neck of the woods, that's a feat right now. The job front is still proving a challenge, family wise is its usual roller coater of fun, and relationship side its....hey, wait a second. If I just changed the locale to overseas and added a few colorful yet close friends, I'd be in today's story. Huh. Go figure. ^_^ But seriously...today is National Raspberry Cake Day and it's time to celebrate! How you ask? Good question, considering this IS a book blog and all despite the cook decor. Well my friends, it all plays into my grand scheme of things, I assure you, but first...
Today, we play host to a blog tour via Sourcebooks for a sweet title that looks like cotton candy fluff, reads like Bridget Jones and will fill your reading weekend with smiles, tears and guffaws. Oh, and you'll definitely be jonesing for a cupcake or two. Ready to meet today's guest? Good! The book of choice for today is...
About the book
Issy Randall can bake. No, Issy can create stunning, mouthwateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe's bakery, she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. She's much better at baking than she is a filing so when she's laid off from her desk job, Issy decides to open her own little café. But she soon learns that her piece-of-cake plan will take all of her courage and confectionary talent to avert disaster.
Funny and sharp, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café is about how life might not always taste like you expect, but there's always room for dessert!
Like the "about" says...it's a story about what happens when life is, well...life and reminds us that it;s what we do with the changes, twists and turns in the end that really matters. Well, that and good friends, family, and a satisfyingly delicious piece of cake every now and then. Aww, yes; a recipe for success indeed.
When we meet Issy, she's just like many of us...30+ years old, trying to find the silver lining in a life that's not quite measuring up to all we really want it to be and knowing that despite the possibility of gold at the end of our current rainbow, we really wish for something more. Enter in a business shake up, a relationship wake up and a chance to chase a dream she didn't even know she had and you've got the ground work laid for a story that will keep many on their toes...but that's not even the half of it. You see, it's not simply about the path her life is currently on or that which it turns into, but also about the relationships in her life for better or worse.
There's Graeme, the arse that is more metro than man and can't keep his head out of his bum long enough to see what's in front of him. Yep, I said it....and yet like many a love blinded heart, Issy falls again and again for him. Will this last time stick or will she finally stick it to HIM? You'll have to read it to find out, but expect a few fireworks one way or the other. Then we have Austin...her investment banker/loan officer/big brother extraordinare/potential love interest if they could simply communicate gosh darn it but words seem to fail this determined pair time after time. Don't go looking for a sweet romantic comedy here folks....though there are aspects of it, it's not the point so any love story type angle plays second fiddle to all else....but it's so sweet regardless. ^_^ Since we're on the male character train right now, on the other end of the spectrum is Issy's Gramps. He is a sweet gentleman indeed but alas caught in the clutches of time so he has his good days and his bad, providing for many sweet moments and a few sad. *sigh* Oh life, you are a cruel mistress sometimes. Still on the male spectrum (what? You didn't think there would be yet more male influences in a story pink as cotton candy and filled with cupcake delight? Think again...), we have Ben, sometimes father sometimes "ghost", Doti the interested mailman, the ironmonger next door, the...well, the list continues but I'll sum it up by saying don't discount the lads in this one. Everyone introduced is worth a nod...or a scowl. (hehe) Moving forward....
The ladies are definitely a large group in this read as well and all worth their weight in salt, sugar, flour or eggs. Issy, our leading lady, is a wonderful character and as you get to know her, you appreciate her quirks, ideals, and open heart to boot. Helena, her besty and one hey of a nurse, provides the tough love Issy needs at times as well as the ribbing that only a close friend can truly provide. They made a great pair whether joshing each other about their new love interest or coming to words over who's actually putting in the time for the other with life banging at their door. Let's see, then we've got Pearl (with her sweet lad Louis) who is the spicy addition they needed to kick things into gear, Caroline, whom we never saw coming, even Jane, Austin's assistant, is a person worth notice and someone who plays a role in the story that helps it spin the proper way. Like I said, nary a character to ignore and a point worth celebrating on behalf of the author.
So, if I had to sum things up, which I sorely don't wish to but must for fear of losing everyone to the rapidly growing length of my post (which you actually love, right? *ahem*), this is a great read for fans of Women's Fiction who don't mind taking life by the hand...as long as the other can have a cupcake of choice and good company. A wonderful addition to any weekend reading list and one that will also add to your shopping list because of the fab recipes included along the way. That's right! You can bake along with Issy and make your own batch of 'Best Ever Birthday Cake' or 'Orange Cupcakes with Marmalade Icing for a Grumpy Day'. If the titles alone don't make you smile, the taste of baked good heaven passing your lips should do the trip.
Now, speaking of cakes, sweet treats and surprises, guess what? I had the chance to pose a few questions to our esteemed author and the results are yours to devour....including a recipe! Ready to meet our guest? Here we go. Join me in a BIG SFIR welcome to author Jenny Colgan!
Interview: Author Jenny Colgan
It's National Raspberry Cake Day in the US....exciting right? ^_^ Have you ever had raspberry cake? Think Issy could whip us up one?
Jenny: OOOH I love raspberries! Cor, yes she totally could. Here is a lovely and very easy Scottish (I’m Scottish) recipe called cranachan, which we had at our wedding.
Lightly toast 2 tspns of oatmeal (lightly, it burns really fast)
Mix in with one and a half cups heavy cream
2 cups raspberries
2 tspns honey
2 or 3 teaspoons whisky to taste (cough- I am Scottish).
Mix, and chill for one hour. Serve in shot glasses.
For my readers with a short attention span either by choice or by schedule (hey, life gets busy...I hear you!), DESCRIBE YOUR BOOK IN TEN WORDS....
Jenny: A funny, romantic, cinnamon- scented romp about following your heart.
According to your book, Issy believes any day can be made better by pastry. A shared belief of yours? If so, what's your "go to" baked good of choice and why?
Jenny: I find a pain au chocolat concentrates the mind wonderfully well.
Your biography shares that you're not the most talented in the kitchen. *ahem* No worries, I tend to burn a lot of stuff too. With that in mind though, why choose cooking as a central point for your story?
Jenny: Haha no I was absolutely awful. But then I had children and I really really wanted to cook for them. So I had to learn. I made every mistake you can possibly make, but I promise, I really am getting better all the time! So the books trace my learning curve really, although my heroines are really talented, whereas I am perhaps best described as enthusiastic.
If you could be crowned MASTER BAKER OF ...fill in the blank.... what would you fill in the blank with and why?
Jenny: Oh do you know what I’d love to be able to do? Those insane wedding cakes with the sugar roses. I can make a decent fruit cake, but I’m like a muppet when it comes to making neat icing and artistic designs. So, that.
Quid pro quo....
Jenny: YELLOW. Alas, it does not suit me.
...favorite book of the moment?
Jenny: Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
...favorite past time other than reading or writing?
Jenny: playing the piano really really badly and making stupid jokes on twitter (I’m @jennycolgan)
...if you weren't a writer, what would you be?
Jenny: a Doctor Who companion
...my advice to future writers out there...
Jenny: Get the words down. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t any good or in the wrong order; once you’ve got 80,000 of them down on paper, then the work starts and you can sort ‘em all out. Everything else you learned at primary school. So… what’s stopping you?
About the author...
A former columnist for The Guardian, Jenny Colgan
contributes regularly to national BBC radio and is the bestselling author of more than eleven novels, including Welcome To Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams
, which won the 2013 Romantic Novel of the Year award from the Romantic Novelists Association, and The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris
, both international bestsellers. She is married with three children and lives in London and France. For more information, please visit http://www.jennycolgan.com
/, follow her on Twitter, @JennyColgan
, and Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennycolganbooks
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe now available at these retailers....Amazon
, Barnes & Noble
...and on a bookstore shelf near you.
How's THAT for a tasty treat? Pretty good, right? I thought you might agree. Well, I've got an EXTRA SURPRISE for you, consider it the icing on the cake. ^_^ How would you like a chance to win a copy of this book to call your own? All you have to do is fill out the form below and spread the word and you're in it to win it. Ready? Set? GO!
(Open to US residents only, no PO Boxes please. Entries accepted through midnight 07/26/13.)
ARC for review courtesy of Danielle at Sourcebooks
. (THANKS!) Fore more information about this title as well as their full catalog, be sure to stop by their official site
, like them on Facebook
, or follow along on Twitter
. To discover more of Ms. Colgan's works, check her out online
. She's a slew of works already out in the UK with several planned to debut stateside in the near future. In the mean time, this title is available now so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf near you.
Until next time...GOOD LUCK...and happy reading!