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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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I really loved the character of Issy (Isabel) straight away. She is one that we can all warm to, and Colgan has written her a very realistic and believable woman. She's stuck in a relationship that doesn't seem to be going anywhere, she turns at work because she has to, not because she loves her job but secretly she enjoys her passion of baking beautiful cakes at home with her flatmate Helena. Everytime one of those delicious cakes is written about in the book, which is fairly frequently, I can't help but imagine in my head and it did make my mouth water! Colgan has a way with words that manages to make you imagine every bit of the cake and I really loved that, it brings the book to life for me and made me want to try out the cakes for myself! In fact, there are recipes at the start of some of the chapters so you can give it a go if you're feeling adventurous!

The idea of the Cupcake Café is on readers can see coming, obviously from the book title, but it was still exciting to read about the lead up to it. Things seem to happen very quickly for Issy, very much unlike how they would be in real life, but still it had to go that way or the book would have been very long indeed. I could imagine the inside of the beautiful cafe and I wish it was somewhere that really did exist rather than the Starbucks and Costa's you see everywhere these days. Readers will love the idea of the Cupcake Cafe and Issy's passion behind it and that is what makes the book so enjoyable overall.

The characters were all well done and complement the story inside perfectly. Issy is our leading lady, a thirty-something woman struggling with the direction of her life and looking after her ailing grandfather too. The scenes between these two in particular were very touching and well written, and I enjoyed them very much. I really could warm to the character of Pearl as well, the young mother who works in the Cupcake Cafe after a chance meeting with Issy when they meet at a redundancy course. She is quite a down-trodden character but we see her grow throughout the book which I really liked. Finally, Helena was my other favourite character, she's Issy's flatmate and a no-nonsense nurse, she tells it like it is and is quite refreshing for the book! But overall, there wasn't any characters I hated (aside from slimey Graeme and we're meant to hate him!) so I think Colgan has produced a great cast of characters for this book.

If you enjoy fun stories and in particular, ones about cakes, then this is going to be a must read for you. As well as the dreams of Issy starting a Cupcake Cafe, there are more serious issues within such as her Grandfather's illness but they are well done, and I think Colgan covered them very well, and very sensitively. The book moves at a good pace, there is always something going on to entertain the reader, and I really liked the inclusion of recipes throughout the book which were written by Issy's grandfather. It was one of these books that I didn't want to put down as I was hoping for a happy ending for Issy in all senses, and Meet Me At The Cupcake Café is certainly a feel good novel that will cheer you up, and is perfect reading for foodies! Definitely recommended by me, and I'll be looking to try more of Colgan's books in the future after my success with this!
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on 8 March 2015
Loved this book, lovely easy to read, and with plenty of warmth and lots of characters who came to life brilliantly for me. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because I found the characters were a bit stereotypical, but stereotypes are there in life, so felt the book was still worth a good 4 stars plus, especially as to tie in so many storylines is just amazing! Looking forward to reading the Christmas one now; yes, even though we're in Spring! ;)
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Issy, the main character finds herself doing a job she doesn't particularly enjoy with a boyfriend (boss) who doesn't value her for the wonderfully warm, loving and funny person that she is. After being unexpectedly made redundant by her boyfriend (what a cad) she despairs of ever finding another job.

Issy comes from a long line of traditional family bakers and throughout the book there are some wonderful descriptions of what the bakery was like many decades ago. Unsurprisingly Issy has an inherited her grandfather's talent and light fingers for baking and she can easily make the most delicious, light, fluffy cakes that are to die for. It isn't long before she takes the plunge, rents a shop and opens her own cupcake cafe. However, as you would expect, things are by no means plain sailing and this wonderful book takes you on a journey with Issy as she battles to keep her shop open and to find true love.

The characters in the story are well developed and you can't help but admire the support and friendship they offer to Issy. Her relationship with her grandfather brings a huge amount of warmth to the story and you can empathise with her distress as he slowly deteriorates.

I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. I couldn't stop myself from speed reading through the pages as I so wanted to find out what was going to happen next.

As well as a great story the book contains a host of fabulous recipes to try out for yourself.

If you like a well written chick lit with a proper story behind it then you will love this book.
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on 23 May 2011
I love fictional novels about food & this was no exception. Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe was a very enjoyable read & i have since bought 2 more copies to pass onto friends. I did feel that at the beginning the story moved quite fast & the end came very suddenly rather than naturally. However, i would read more of Ms Colgan's work.
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on 21 May 2011
I took this book away with me on holiday and finished it within 3 days. I enjoyed it so much, I found it really difficult to put down!

The whole book makes me want to open my own little cupcake café! Loved the recipe cards in the book (don't know if this is in every book or just where I bought it from) and also the recipe's throughout the chapters of the book.

Never read a Jenny Colgan book before, it just caught my eye and not just because of the word cupcake!

Highly recommended!
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on 5 June 2011
I have read a few of Jenny Colgan books before and this one did not dissapoint me! Firstly a books cover always draws me to buy a book (i no it shouldn't!) but this one with the bright baby pink colour and beauitful cupcake cartoons is great. The story is quite fast paced and follows Issy who just lost her job, pursue her dream and the family tradition of opening a bakery. I found myself really feeling every emotion for Issy and her friends in this book. It was beautifuly written, and very senstive when talking about Granpa Joe who was alert at the start of the book but sadly got more ill as the book went on. An added bonus was the lovely recipes included in the book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a sweet and exciting girly read, ideal for a holiday or a book to read on the bus or train, but be beware its very hard to put down!!!!!
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on 19 August 2011
I normally love Jenny Colgan's books but this one was a bit disappointing. While the character of Issy was very sweet, the storyline was quite insipid - heorine and wrong man vs nice man. The apparently 10 yr old Darny is written more like a 5 yr old - I don't know any 10 yr olds who act like a preschool child, but it seems Colgan must. Perhaps if he'd been written as a younger child, the story might not have grated so much. Another reviewer has mentioned the glaring mistakes with the BMW which goes from a non-model to a 4x4 to a low slung car again. Overall had Colgan done just a little bit of research, this book could have been really quite good but as it stands the book is a let down from a usually good author.
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on 11 October 2011
The Cupcake Cafe has a really pretty girly cover and inside there are cute little drawings of cupcakes and cups of coffee throughout, but what really made this book different for me were the recipes at the beginning of each chapter for different cupcakes and cookies. They sound so mouthwatering that I really must make some of them. There's also a section at the end of the book with recipes and a guide to baking the perfect cupcake! Reading this book whilst on a diet (like me!) is really not a good idea ;-)

The main character is Issy who is a really sweet natured young woman and an extremely gifted baker. At the start of the book Issy works in an office until she is suddenly, without warning made redundant. It was at this point in the story that I really connected with Issy. Maybe it's because of my work situation at the moment, but I really felt her anger and despondency.

Apart from Issy, my favourite characters in the book were Austin and Gramps. Austin was Issy's Banker and he was just such a nice guy and I instantly felt an attraction to him. He had a bit of a crush on Issy and I really, desperately wanted them to get together. Gramps, Issy's grandad was in a home as he'd started to suffer with dementia, but he was just so lovely that I really felt Issy's heartache as his condition worsened.

We also had the joy (or not) of meeting Graeme, Issy's ex. Graeme was a slimy, arrogant piece of work and I loved hating him. I could `see' him stood there with the arrogant smirk on his face and I just wanted him to go away and crawl under a rock. I felt very protective towards Issy and I could feel my hackles raising every time Graeme came back into the story.

After the first few chapters I thought I knew where this book was going and I was right in a way, but there were some really good twists and turns which surprised me and made things not quite as predicable as I first thought. I loved Jenny Colgan's writing. It's humorous, intelligent and easy to read. Her descriptions of Issy's cakes where so spot on that I could taste those cakes for real!

It's a long time since I've read a chic-lit and I really enjoyed Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe. I felt nice and relaxed at the change of pace to my usual reads and I really looked forward to picking this book up each evening. At 456 pages, it's not the smallest of books, but it most definitely warmed my heart and chilled me out.
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on 29 May 2011
This was a really fabulous book. It was such an easy, light read, perfect for a holiday book. I read it within two sittings because I just couldn't put it down and, although I could really predict what was going to happen, I still wanted everything to work out at the end and I just had to find out. A really enjoyable read. Haven't tried any of the cupcake recipes yet but I shall because they sound divine too.
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on 3 February 2013
I was expecting more from this Jenny Colgan novel. The plot is predictable and reading it gives the impression that all that young English women think about is getting old and fat. Issy, the main character, spends half the novel obsessing that 32 is really old and that she'd never get married and have children, which I found very depressing.
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