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My favourite book of 2011 was easily Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan. The storyline left you all warm and fuzzy inside and the characters seemed to play on your mind for weeks after finishing the book so imagine my delight when sorting out our Christmas book when I am told Jenny Colgan is releasing a Christmas book and not just any Christmas book but back with our characters who we know and love!

Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn't be happier. Her new business is thriving and she is surrounded by close friends, even if her cupcake colleagues Pearl and Caroline don't seem quite as upbeat about the upcoming season of snow and merriment. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance. And when the Christmas rush at the cafe - with its increased demand for her delectable creations - begins to take its toll, Issy has to decide what she holds most dear. This December, Issy will have to rely on all her reserves of courage, good nature and cinnamon, to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, one way or another . . .

This is the first sequel Jenny Colgan has released and what a hit this is going to be. Meeting back with all of our favourite characters it doesn't take long to fall into step with their lives a year on. Even if you didn't get to read the authors previous book you will still be able to read this as a standalone book as at the beginning of the book the author gives us a brief summary of the first book so don't hesitate and pick this one up ( and the first one whilst you are at it ;-)

This book is oozing with festivity with decorations, present buying and wrapping and that lovely Christmas dinner for all to enjoy this will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit. The storyline focuses more on the characters lives and relationships now rather than the cafe but don't threat we are still treated to many mouth watering recipes throughout the book! I loved that the book was a mystery right the way through never quite knowing how things will pan out.

I was hoping for a different ending for Pearl but that is just me being a hopeless romantic. I do wonder if this is the last we will see of these characters I personally feel as though there are still a few things not tied up so I am hoping that we may have a book 3 looming!

The cover of this book is beautiful and festive with its wintery blue colour theme which seems to be very popular this year and has an added touch of Christmas objects around the border but yet the book still has the signature Jenny Colgan look to it.

Looking for something warm and cosy to wrap up and read this Christmas then Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe is the book for you.
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on 8 January 2013
After reading meet me at the cupcake cafe, Christmas at the cupcake Cafe was a complete MUST read, and I was not disappointed. I LOVE The Cupcake Cafe, and if Caroline finds herself a new rich man, I'd work there in a stir of a mixer :) Would Love love love a follow up, in 2014 or so .. Valentines at the Cupcake Cafe ... just image the recipies .. x x
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VINE VOICEon 9 December 2012
I love nothing more than a good Christmas book and try to cram as many in as possible! I do own 'Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe' but haven't got round to reading it - I really don't like to read books out of order but decided to start this as it was a Christmassy read. At the start of the book there is a little description of the previous book, which gets you up to speed.

The story follows Issy and her friends as she prepares to celebrate Christmas. She owns the cupcake cafe and is relatively happy with her life, having met Austin and his brother Darney. That is until Austin goes to New York... There is a nice balance between all the characters lives - Pearl and her little boy, Louis, Caroline and her divorce.

This book just really lacked something for me. I found it rushed at times and there wasn't as much of the cupcake cafe as I would have liked. It didn't give me the Christmassy feeling I expect from a Christmas book.

The recipes were of no interest to me as I cannot stand buttercream, but I did read them. Colgan came across as quite bossy in them - do this, don't do this. It just annoyed me. I do agree with another reviewer that these would have been better at the back of the book as they were distracting and they broke up the flow of the story.

All in all, not bad but I have read better Christmas books.
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Just finished and loved this one. It features all the characters we met and loved in Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe, and although it's over two years since I read that one it was wonderful to spend time in their company again. But don't worry if you haven't read the first book - there's an introduction to tell you a bit about the characters, then you can jump straight in.

Issy's Cupcake Cafe - started a year ago - is now a roaring success. Her life is coming together nicely too - she's living very happily with banker Austin and has been accepted totally by his younger brother Darny, one of the most realistically drawn difficult young teens I've come across in some time. Everything's pretty perfect until Austin gets an offer of a job in New York, an offer he really can't refuse and which solves a few problems with Darny and his schooling. But, if he accepts, what will Issy do? She's fought hard to make a success of the cafe, and she's surrounded by the very best of friends and helpers.

The central story is a major "will she, won't she", but the story is really enhanced by the wider cast of characters. Helena now lives in Issy's former flat with her doctor husband and all-consuming child from hell - some of the images from her life are really, really funny. Pearl and lovely little Louis feature heavily - her constant shortage of money, her relationship with Louis' father and her yearning for the constantly present postman. As before, Caroline is an absolute tour-de-force - with her murderous thoughts towards her philandering ex-husband, her fashion mistakes and her discovery that family life can be more rewarding than a spotless showhouse lounge. Issy's mother Marian/Miriam is wonderful too - enjoying her unconventional lifestyle and finding unexpected common ground with Darny.

This is an unashamedly Christmassy book - full of the smells, tastes and sparkle. It's poignant, funny and joyful in turn, an absolute pleasure to read, and sprinkled with recipes that you'll yearn to try. I read it in bursts during a family Christmas, and it really was quite perfect. Heavily recommended to all - do add it to your reading list for next year.
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I love Jenny Colgan's novels, and I especially loved Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe, which is the book before this one. But don't panic if you haven't read it, as Christmas At The Cupcake Cafe can be read as a standalone, and what is even better is that Jenny herself has written an authors note at the beginning which lists the important characters and sums up their current situation/what went on in the last book. So if you haven't yet had the chance to read the first book, or like me, you are always grateful of a little reminder, then have no fear because Jenny brings you right up to speed so that you start the story knowing exactly what is going on with each character. Brilliant!

I thoroughly enjoyed this one from Jenny Colgan - It is Christmassy, it is fun, it is festive, and it makes you fall in love with baking all over again. I loved that throughout the book, there are many recipes provided, such as gingerbread, mince pies, cookies and cupcakes. I'm going to be honest, I did feel very hungry throughout (it might be wise to make sure you perhaps have a chocolate bar to read this with!), and as well as looking forward to re-reading such a fabulous book, I am also very excited about trying out all of these recipes and getting stuck in with some baking!

I really liked the main characters in the book, I easily warmed to them, and I honestly can't fault a single character - they were all very well developed throughout the story and I felt as though I knew them as well as if they were my best friends. I liked that as readers we saw things from the perspectives of each character, and I loved how no character was the same. For example, the three wonderful ladies at the Cupcake Cafe - They were all so different with their own worries and contrasting personalities, but put together in a Cafe, made the best of friends. I LOVED the character of Issy especially, she really stood out for me even more so in this book, and I very much enjoyed my time with her. Louis, Pearl's son, was absolutely adorable and his parts always put a smile on my face.

This is one of my favourite books that I have read recently, and it has been raining here so I've spent my time inside curled up with Christmas At The Cupcake Cafe, and it has definitely brightened my week! It left me with a warm glowing feeling, and since reading it I have not stopped talking about it! Christmas At The Cupcake Cafe is the perfect treat for readers, it is comforting, it is exciting and it is filled with Christmassy goodness!
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on 11 September 2015
This is the sequel to ‘Meet me at the cupcake café’ which I read a few months ago. I had vaguely remembered the people concerned, but was pleased to find a useful overview at the start, reminding me of the key characters and their families.

Issy is the main protagonist; she started a café with some redundancy money in the first book, and used her extensive baking skills to provide delicious treats for passers-by. This book starts a year after the previous one finished. Issy has moved in with her banker boyfriend Austin and his 11-year-old brother Darny. Things seem to be going well… except that Austin has gone to New York where it becomes evident that he’s being head-hunted. But there’s no way Issy would leave her café behind...

The story begins mid-November and takes us through December, culminating in a Christmas celebration, and - eventually - a satisfactory conclusion. I hadn’t seen where the plot was going, and certainly hadn’t expected the final scenes, but it worked very well.

Many of the people in the book are somewhat caricatured, but their problems are real. The people in New York are stereotyped even more; I found this amusing but can imagine that some Americans might not.

Each chapter begins with a recipe, some real and some intended as jokes. My favourite Christmas cake recipe is there, used by permission; I’m not sure I’ll try any of the other recipes, except perhaps the sticky gingerbread, but they make a nice feature. There’s also a basic guide for cake-making beginners.

Overall I thought this an enjoyable read. It didn’t require any deep thought, and it was light enough that I finished it in just a couple of days. It stands alone but I think is better read as a sequel to the first ‘Cupcake cafe’ book, and would probably appeal to anyone who likes this kind of fluffy ‘chick-lit’.
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on 22 July 2014
"Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe" is the first sequel to be writen by Jenny Colgan, it is set about a year after her story called "Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe."
The story follows a young girl named Issy Randall, who is the owner and baker at the cupcake cafe. The cafe is based in London, which Issy runs with her best friends; Pearl and Caroline. Issy also has a boyfriend called Austin who is looking after his younger brother after their parents passed away.
In Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe, Issy is excited about the upcoming season, that is Christmas.
Issy's Gramps is one of the best bakers and she loved to cook with him when she was little, which lead her on to opening Cupcake Cafe. Pearl also works at the cupcake cafe and has a son called Louis, who she raises on her own but Louis father does drop by from time to time to spend time with him. Caroline was married but now is divorcing her husband whilst still working in the cupcake cafe.
Issy's Boyfriend Austin is the local bank manager who has a little brother called Darny. He has had to raise his brother after there parents died.
This Christmas at the cupcake cafe is going to experience a lot of new and exciting things. there will be laughter, happiness, fulliment and most of all cupcakes.
If I had to sum this story up in three words they would be Happiness, Joyful and Magical.
When reading this story I found myself getting into the christmas spirit (even though it is only November) as it is everything you want in a book. It is one of the best christmas books I have read and will definitely read it again.
What made the story even better was the recipes that were included in the book, I will be definitely be making the recipes to enjoy over the christmas season.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 December 2013
This book has been waiting patiently to be read by me for some months, as I couldn't really face to read a book with a title "Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe" sometime in summer. But this time has arrived and I finally found a little time to squeeze it between books that I have for review.

It was really great to say hello to Issy, Pearl, Caroline and the whole Cupcake Cafe company again. Good to see that the Cafe stands firmly on its legs and is doing good and that now it is actually private lives of all the characters that make more troubles.
Austin is being head - hunted to New York and offered a job there, while Issy has her Cafe and Austin's brother, moody Darney to take care of. Pearl is again struggling to make the both end meets Caroline is still in the process of divorcing the bastard, Helena is under her daughter's thumb and all of them are going to learn their lessons: what is really most important in life.

Issy is again a warm and funny character, full of Christmas cheer and her recipes are just great. I am myself a big cupcakes and baking fan and I really plan to try some of the delicious food that she serves. The recipes are really a fantastic bonus. But back to Issy, she's so sweet and cute that one could eat her but there is a way in this sweetness: she's also likeable, normal and she put all others before her and I'd like to have her as a friend, really, and not only because she can fantastically bake and is the owner of one of the most wonderful cafes in the world. It's just an extra.
And while I really liked the story of Issy and Austin, I couldn't be more delighted to find much more Pearl and Caroline in the book, especially Caroline, she is ridiculous, I know, but nevertheless she is also funny in this coldness, actually she is soft like a lamb's fur under the mask of cold, hard - minded woman. Helena, the sparkly and direct wonderful and funny Helena, has turned into baby - bore and mozilla - mother and I must admit, I don't know how Issy could cope with her. I have a little baby of my own but really never have I bored my friends with stories about her developing. Only if they wanted.

I have read many books that take place in New York but I think none of them has made want to go there as much as this one. all is described in a soft, subtle way and I just long to go and see this all with my own eyes. There were not many descriptions of the city but those what we got was enough for me. So next to Portofino - New York, here I come.

The end doesn't belong to my favourite ones, it was too rushed to me, I have expected and hoped for another one but well, perhaps it is time for another Issy and Cupcake Cafe's adventure? It is a perfect sequel but can also be read as a stand - alone novel, so those of you who hasn't read "Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe" should not miss anything, although I must admit that it was much more enjoyable to be able to see how the characters are doing after reading the first book. In my opinion not every book deserves a sequel, as it is trendy lately, especially in writing short stories, but here I was really glad to see the memorable characters.

Altogether, it was a warm, enjoyable Christmas read. It's comforting and it leaves you hungry and wanting a cupcake immediately. It has left me in a festive spirit. It's infused with humour and actually has all that chick - lit fans expect.
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For those who have already read Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, this is a welcome back to a cast of characters who feel like old friends. For new readers, it's a chance to meet them all for the first time, and the story stands alone well as Jenny Colgan has helpfully included a brief introduction to set the scene.

A year ago Issy launched her new venture; The Cupcake Cafe. The cafe is successful and has become a firm favourite in the neighbourhood. Issy has found a guy who she thinks might be the one. Austin works in a bank and looks after his younger brother Darny, it's not the career that he dreamt of but when their parents were killed in a car accident, Austin was determined that he would raise Darny. All seems well until Austin finds himself in New York and overwhelmed by the offer of a possible career move. A move that would see him earn much more money and would allow Darny to attend a school that really understands and develops him.

Issy has a huge decision to make. Her friends and supporters all live in England. Pearl and her young son Louis who struggle on a daily basis to pay the bills. Caroline, the materialistic soon-to-be divorcee and Helena with her new family. How would Issy cope without them? How would the cafe cope without Issy?

Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe is a funny and poignant story that will warm the heart and inject a hefty dose of Christmas spirit into the reader's life. Jenny Colgan's characters bounce from the page as they grow and develop throughout the story. Packed with juicy recipes, decorations and snow, this is the perfect Christmas read.
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on 29 November 2013
I really enjoyed the first book, "Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe" so I was delighted when I found out there was going to be a festive follow up. I could not wait to catch up with the characters and find out what they'd been up and I wasn't disappointed.

This was a nice lighthearted Christmas read with plenty of yummy recipes for you to try. It was very festive which was great and I loved the descriptions of the cafe. I need to find this cafe! Also, New York at Christmas? I wanted to be there! Perhaps it was a bit predictable but I enjoyed it all the same and I would love to see a third book, maybe Issy and Austin's wedding and Issy opening a New York cupcake shop and Pearl actually ditching Ben and getting together with Doti. There is so much potential to carry this on!

If you haven't read "Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe," then I don't think it matters too much because Jenny does remind you of who is who and mentions a bit about their background but I would recommend reading it first because that's just me and I like to do things in order.

I love Christmas and all the magic it brings. I make it my mission to cram in as many festive reads as I can to help get me in the spirit. This was my third Christmas book so far and it's not even December yet! Also on my Christmas TBR list is Jenny's Christmas at Rosie Hopkins Sweet shop. Again I have read the first one so I am looking forward to spending Christmas with them too.

You will be able to find this review on my blog [...]
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