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VINE VOICEon 5 December 2016
Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe written by the very talented Jenny Colgan once again was a marvellous read which I enjoyed from page one. We are once again brought back to my favourite Cupcake Cafe where Issy Randal has a wonderful way of creating beautiful cakes out of the finest ingredients. We first met her in the previous book which is Meet Me At The Cupcake Café. Issy is head over heels in love with the gorgeous bank manager Austin and enjoying life sharing his home with his very smart but full of mischief brother.
I simply loved this book mainly because of the excellent writing, as the author filled the book with everything we love about Christmas, which is family and friends food and everything else that sparkles. Her descriptions of the food which was lovingly created by Issy and her staff was so real I was nearly drooling throughout.
Issy has the life she always wanted and with Austin in her life she believes she will eventually get her happy-ever-after. But when Austin has to go to America she soon realises that life can be cruel in the most unexpecting way.
The main characters we first met in the earlier book have been brought back to see us readers again and I loved it all especially Pearl, her little boy Lewis and of course Caroline and her weird and wonderful diets.
This is one book which will have you craving everything to do with Christmas, but for me, as a reader, it entertained me throughout and one I am happy to recommend to all readers of Chick lit with a heart and of course wonderful recipes throughout.
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 December 2013
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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on 22 March 2017
I love Jenny's books, having started with Rosie's sweet shop I went on a binge and bought loads more. I fell in love with the cupcake cafe as who doesn't love cupcakes right so to have another book in the series was great.

Issy is back and it's Christmas, not everyone is in the Christmas spirit but the cupcake cafe is busier than ever when Issy's boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible job in New York. Issy has to decide what is more important to her the cafe or her boyfriend.

With a plethora of Christmas bakes making you smell the cinnamon and feel completely festive this is the perfect book to curl up with at Christmas.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 February 2013
I hate to admit this but only picked up my very first Jenny Colgan book towards the end of last year (yes I know it's ridiculous) but that book was The Cupcake Café. I devoured it and was thrilled when I realised there was a follow up book that had just been released. I eagerly picked up this one, Christmas at The Cupcake Café, and couldn't wait to see where Issy was in her world.

For those that maybe haven't read the first one, fear not this can still be read as a stand-alone. However, it was so much more enjoyable being able to go back and see how all the characters were getting on. Issy took the plunge in book one and started up her very own Cupcake Café. We now go back to the café to find Issy, along with her two workers Pearl and Caroline running the café in their usual no-nonsense way. Issy is in love with her boyfriend Austin who works at a local bank, and things seem to be going smoothly for her. That is until Austin is called away on business to New York.

The distance between them is the start of things going very wrong for Issy and pretty soon it seems that nothing is the same as before and she has no control over things. The one major difference between this book and the last although I still wanted to know about Issy, I was also really keen to see more of Pearl and Caroline. Although Issy is the main character, Jenny Colgan has done a stellar job of making the reader really engage with all the characters. Austin's younger brother Darney, Issy's mother, Doti the Postman, they all caught on with me and I just wanted to keep reading about all of them.

This book didn't have nearly as much impact with me as the first (not sure why), but this certainly isn't to say I didn't enjoy it. I really enjoyed it and as usual it took me only two days to read it. The one thing I love is that these characters are memorable; I would really love to see the return of not just Issy but the other characters too. The story itself was good, but like I said just didn't have as much impact as the first. There is the addition of recipes all the way through the book which is a really nice touch, although it did make me quite hungry more often than not. Having finished it I am eagerly planning on getting stuck to other Jenny Colgan books. Another really good book!
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VINE VOICEon 19 December 2012
Jenny Colgan has gone and done it again: written a book which kept me up late into the night reading because I wanted to know what was going to happen.

She is the mistress of popular fiction which is full of humour and sentiment.

Revisiting Issy a year after she opened the café, we find her contentedly living with Austin and Darny and life couldn't be better. Cue another set of hurdles to be got over. Austin is over in New York on a course for the bank, but it looks like they want him to move their permanently. Darny is finding his feet, or rather his mouth, at secondary school and the headmistress isn't too pleased about it.

Pearl and Caroline are having a truce at the café and both of them are re-examining their lives and families. The tangle of relationships and romances never gets completely unwoven.

Kelly-Lee the American cupcake waitress threatens Issy's security, but can she be brought to heel? Can the girls at home manage without her? Is Christmas going to be the disaster it promises to be?

All the ingredients of a good Colgan are here and it is fun to read, but there is just a little missing. The novel seems to have been put together a little too quickly for the Christmas market. Kelly-Lee is less rounded a character than you would expect. Pearl's story seems lacking in some detail, as does Caroline's which seems to finish too soon. It is all just feeling, but this isn't quite complete as a story.

The recipes, as good an idea as previously, do seem to mask a lack of wordage. However, the whole book has the feel (I hope it is true) like the second part of a trilogy.
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on 2 November 2012
I liked this book, but for me there wasn't enough of a focus on the Cupcake Cafe as in the first book. The scenes set in the cafe with Pearl, Louis and Caroline gave me a warm cosy feeling inside- the haven of the Christmassy cafe contrasting with the snow and blizzards outside. When the action headed to New York, I felt the same as Izzy, lost, alienated and desperate to get back to the warmth and familiarity of the Cupcake Cafe. The separated lovers angle seemed a tad cliched at times... particularly at Christmas. It was obvious that this long distance relationship would be resolved and tied up with a pretty bow on top, just a question of how and when.

There are some wonderful descriptions in this book, both of London and of New York. It is worth reading this book alone for the images evoked of the Cupcake Cafe at Christmas and the strong festivity within the book, present wrapping, decorating etc, you really do get a true sense of a countdown to Christmas.Just for me too much of the action was told from Austin's point of view in New York,I just wanted less of this and more of the Cupcake Cafe. The separated lovers angle seems to have been hugely overdone, plus I didn't feel the ending was in keeping with Izzy's character and her principles.

A heartwarming read and looking forward to more action from the Cupcake Cafe. Perfect for the festive period, just for me a few small niggles.
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2012
Having read and loved Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe, I was really looking forward to this, the sequel. It can be read as a stand-alone book, but it was nice to meet up with the characters from the first book again.

This time, Austin finds himself in New York, being headhunted for a new job. Issy has a dilemma: does she go with the only man she's ever loved, or does she stay behind at her beloved Cupcake Cafe? Darny, Austin's younger brother, is being his usual awkward self, Pearl and Caroline are still rubbing each other up the wrong way at the cafe and there are cakes galore again.

This book is a lovely read, just right for the time of year. I'm really enjoying Jenny Colgan's 'foodie' books and I think she gets them just right.
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on 14 November 2012
A beautiful book written by one of my favourite author's. I was eagerly awaiting this sequel and had it on pre-order for ages! I have not been left disappointed, I could not put it down. A fantastic sequel to 'Meet me at the Cupckae Cafe', I literally just jumped straight back into the story. Sometimes sequels can leave you a little bit cold and let down but this did neither. It was another heartwarming and festive tale and brilliantly written as all of Colgan's books are. I love the festive inspired cover which is stylish at the same time. I really hope this isn't the last we hear about Issy and her adventures in New York, please don't leave us hanging Jenny and write another Cupcake novel. In the meantime i'll just have to pre-order her next sweet delight novel to keep me going.

All in all a must buy for any Colgan fan!
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on 29 December 2016
It was so lovely to get back to the cupcake cafe especially with it being christmas time everything gets so festive and the characters are all happy.

I would of however loved to have spent more time in the cupcake cafe as this book was a lot in New York.
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on 20 February 2014
I have just finished this book - it was recommended to me by my daughter who has been trying out the recipes in it, and can thoroughly recommend the chocolate and coke cupcake one! I enjoyed this book so much that I can't wait to read "Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe". All the characters are so true to life, and Issy had this seemingly insurmountable problem, so you were kept wondering right to the end what she would do - go to New York or stay here where she was so happy. Altogether an absorbing story.
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