So there – today we have another Blog Tour for you, ha! I love such busy days 🙂 It is for Lindsey Paley’s festive novella “Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes” which is the first in the Camille Carter series and it is a real heaven for food lovers! There is also a great giveaway (UK only, sorry guys), and you can win an e – copy of the book PLUS an ACTUAL CHRISTMAS CAKE! How great is it???
Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes by Lindsey Paley
Publisher: Purple Heather Publishing
Publishing Date: 15th June 2015
Series: Camille Carter #1
Source: Received, in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 178
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Buy the Book: Kindle
When all-round buttercream princess, Millie Carter, becomes stranded at Craiglea Manor Cookery School, she believes her chance of enjoying a merry festive season is over.
The village of Aisford is Christmas-card perfect, but Millie hates it – she hates the snow, her freezing fingertips, and being forced to look like her Aunt Marjory in a mud-splattered wax jacket and wellies instead of her beloved shorts and sparkly sandals.
She plots her escape but ends up locking spatulas with the estate manager, Fergus McKenzie, who is forced to rescue her before she succumbs to a severe dose of hyperthermia. Things start to improve with the arrival of handsome Sam Morgan, fresh from the beaches and rum shacks of the Caribbean.
Can Millie accept her fate? And will Aisford sprinkle some of its seasonal magic on her troubles?
Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes is a festive story of love and friendship and reaching for the buttercream icing and edible glitter when life gets tough.
“Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes” is the first book in the Camille Carter series and I was very intrigued by the synopsis – I’ve no idea why but I like stories about such Scrooges because usually they end with them changing their mind totally, and it’s brilliant. Moreover, it mentions butter cream icings and something about being stranded because of snow, and so I thought, oh yes, it is for sure a story for me.
Our main character, Camille – or Millie – Carter much more prefers sun to snow, but she’s just landed herself a job running a cookery course in a manor house in England. There is the whole set of circumstances that led to this situation, including a cheating boyfriend, and a sister asking for a favour. But Millie was of course totally unprepared and she arrived in the middle of a snow storm, dressed in a cardigan, without a coat or winter boots. Promising beginning, no? But it is not the end of her troubles yet, oh no, it’s rather a beginning, as when she arrives she learns that because of the weather the course has been cancelled! And because of the weather she is stranded at the manor house for the weekend!
The author introduces us to a whole bunch of characters which, in a novella with 178 pages, could have been confusing, but this time Lindsey Paley has brilliantly managed it. I didn’t have any problems to recognize who is who and to whom they belong, and it’s really a big brownie point for the author. They are all well drawn and they all are so very different, which makes the story this tad more interesting and colourful, and all of them had their own stories, which they of course tell, and some of them are heart – breaking, some of them incredibly uplifting, and actually it requires a real talent to squeeze this all in a novella. Millie seems to be a tough cookie but she also has a softer side to herself. She also seems to be a very prone – accident girl, always ending in the wrong place, usually outside and freezing to death. We have many male characters in this story, some of them more pleasant, some of them less.
Millie is a chef, so there are some very delicious food descriptions and it’s like a real heaven for all the food lovers. But be aware – don’t read it when you’re hungry 🙂 When Millie is in rush she cooks and bakes and the food she creates looks and sounds incredibly mouth – watering. I was waiting for some recipes at the end of the book, as it usually happens when there is so much cooking in the story but, sadly, not this time.
The author has for sure a great imagination and she can write some very descriptive scenes and yes, I like winter, but I do like summer more, but after reading this story I can’t wait for a real, white winter to come.
However, my own, biggest problem with the book was the fact that I had a feeling that the book itself doesn’t know what it wants to be – a romance, a nice story about a girl with delicious food in the background, a drama, crime… Because there was all of the above mentioned and somehow it just didn’t work together in my opinion. It started as a story about Millie, telling her history and showing how she adapts to the new – and very accidental place she found herself in – and it was OK, but then, suddenly, totally out of the blue there was this very unexpected and very too far – fetched ending including guns, shoots, police and drug smugglers. And I thought, WTF? How come? Why? I think it would much better work in a full – length novel, as here it looks like the author just didn’t have time and enough space to develop an idea or two of hers and nonetheless she added it to the story but for me it felt as if there were two different stories. I also had a small problem with the characters, especially with Millie at the beginning, and with Fergus – I just couldn’t understand their approach, as I didn’t see any reason for them, especially Fergus, to be so arrogant, so hot and cold blowing, and I also didn’t understand where this antipathy was coming from and why was he so – I don’t know: jealous? of Millie if he disliked her so obviously? Something just didn’t sit together here and made me feel a little too confused for my liking. The drama was also far too far – fetched for my liking and when Millie – again! – left the house in her rage I just couldn’t help but roll my eyes.
Altogether, it was a twisty and turny story with a great potential and I am very sorry that I didn’t love it as much as I hoped for. But there is a festive feeling to it, it has some funny moments, as well as some poignant ones and personally I am waiting to read the next book in the series.
To win an e – copy of “Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes” AND an actual Christmas cake, enter here (UK only):
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