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Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe - Jenny Colgan

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Jenny Colgan / 496 pages / Book published 2011-04-14 by Sphere

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    12 Reviews
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      30.10.2013 11:56
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      A Jenny Colgan book

      I have recently finished reading this book and it was one I had ended up buying and just not getting around to reading until quite some time later. This author has always been one of my favourites and I have enjoyed every single one of her books so I was looking forward to sitting down and getting stuck into this one.


      The author:
      Jenny Colgan is an English author who lives in both London and France. She has now written 14 books including this one and her latest one is due to come out in November of 2013, which is a follow up book to one of her other books. All her books fall into the chick lit genre.



      The plot:
      Issy Randall is an amazing baker. She was brought up by her Grampa Joe and he taught her everything she knows. So, when Issy is made redundant from her well paid but, dull city job, she doesn't initially know what to do with herself until suddenly the idea for the cupcake café is born and she decides to take the plunge and use her redundancy money to open a café doing what she loves most. Will it really work though as Issy has no idea how difficult it will really be running her own business and is she actually making a big mistake turning a hobby into her job?



      Characters:
      I was instantly taken with the character of Issy because she was such a nice person who always tried to be nice to others and in particular she is so good towards her Grampa Joe. I felt a connection with her in the way she felt that she was in a job that she wasn't sure was right for her but, she wasn't quite sure what else to do with herself! Overall, it was easy to like Issy and want her to do well so this was obviously important for the story and it made sense that as the reader, you would take to the main character.
      What I found was there were then lots of other characters who played a major part in the book so were all important people to the story but, would take me forever to talk about them all properly. There were people like Issy's bank manager who is very involved in the cafe, her Ex-boyfriend who we meet quite often, her best friend and flat mate Helena who is very much part of Issy's life, her Grampa Joe who is her only main family who she sees and also her first member staff Pearl, who of course we read quite a lot about considering she is involved in the cafe in a big way. Overall, it was very easy to read about all these people and have an interest because they were all so different and brought something to the story. I liked that the author had a good mixture of people to make the story more than just about the café.



      Price:
      I bought my copy in Tesco back when they had increased their prices slightly on books and it was two books for £8. Of course this means that for £4 each, (I never buy one on its own!) it was still good value for a brand new book especially as this is quite a thick book compared to some of her earlier ones.




      Overall opinion:
      I really enjoyed this book because I felt the story was really interesting. It wasn't just about a girl meeting a guy and falling in love like the usual chick lit and instead was focused on the café and somebody who is starting over. Of course, there was a bit of romance and that was great but, overall the main story of the café was a great storyline in itself.
      Also, the author had included a lot of recipes in the book and these were written in as if her Grampa Joe had sent her the recipe along with instructions based on how he knows Issy. It made it seem more realistic somehow and to be honest, when you read the intro from Jenny Colgan, she does give an insight into how the book came about and how she does enjoy baking herself. Plus at the back of the book are a few recipes and another little story about the royal wedding of Diana and Charles as this book was brought out in the lead up to William and Kate's wedding of April 2011.
      Overall, the book was very enjoyable and even reading it, not only was the story well written and made me want to carry on going back to my book every time I had to put it down but, it had delicious sounding recipes listed throughout it that made me want to go and back straight after finishing it! I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Jenny Colgan even though it is slightly different to her other books and to those who haven't read one of her books before, I would definitely say to give this one a try.

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        06.02.2013 22:51
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        Recommended!

        When we had all that snow the other week, I was rather bored. So, I decided to make a start on the rather large stash of books that my sister had donated to me on clearing out her book shelf! I went straight for this one because it was the prettiest looking and most interesting looking! If I'm going to be completely honest, I judged the book by its cover! I didn't want to have to concentrate on anything, so this one really appealed!

        The story revolves around Issy Randall following being made redundant from her regular office job. After the shock of it, she becomes resolved to start up her own cafe using her redundancy payment. Issy is a talented baker, which she gets from her grandfather, who ran his own bakery. However, her grandfather is now resident at a nursing home and unfortunately, is going down hill. He writes down his recipes, along with other bits of helpful advice, and posts them to Issy. Issy gets a lot of support from her friend and flatmate, Helena. Along with the pressures of setting up a bakery, she has ongoing man issues.

        One thing I really liked throughout this book, was how Issy went from knowing nothing about setting up her own business, to being a determined, successful business woman. I find it gutting that anyone would tend to be trodden down by a man or ever feel like they aren't capable of running a successful business! Issy's determination to succeed really shone through and I think that's why I took to the character so much. Eventually, she realises that her man isn't worth her bother, which is where I think her life really turns around!

        She's surrounded by many supportive people in her life, Helena is a strong, opinionated female who helps Issy out at the most trying times, Her grandfather, who has heart-warming, unswerving trust in her and her abilities; and Pearl, who is one of the biggest helps on her way to being a successful cafe owner.

        I really enjoyed this book. I liked how Issy's character developed through the story and she became a more confident, successful person. Also, I thought that the subplots throughout really keep you interested in areas other than the business. It's easy to follow because there aren't so many that you become overwhelmed. One of the great things about this book are the recipes spaced throughout. I do a bit of baking and they really took my interest and made me want to have a go!

        I was given this book by my sister during one of her clear outs, so I thought it was excellent value! She purchased it in Tesco as part of their 2 for £7 offer, which I think is equally good value! Having read it, I'd say it's worth it!

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          16.12.2012 09:09
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          Not for me!

          I know that I am very much in the minority for not being a fan of Jenny Colgan or Meet Me at the Cupcake Café, but this book was a huge disappointment to me. It was lent to me by a friend when I suddenly found myself with nothing to read one weekend. It was presented as a light, fun piece of chick lit that would make me chuckle - but unfortunately all it did was irritate. I think you have to be a certain type of person to really enjoy this book, and I quickly discovered that I definitely wasn't that person.

          The story is a rather predictable romance centred around an idyllic café in north London. The main protagonist is Issy; a slightly plump, downtrodden secretary who suddenly discovers a small spark of rebellion when she is made redundant, investing all of her redundancy money to renovate and open a café in a small square in Stoke Newington. The unique selling point of this book is a loveable old granddad called Grampa Joe. Ex baker Joe brought Issy up after she was abandoned and taught her to love his profession. As a result cakes have paid a large part in Issy's life and she uses them to attract random friends at bus stops, the workplace and pretty much anywhere she goes. The plot centres around the struggle she has to open and make a success of the café, and her relationship with the unique and lovable characters that she meets along the way. Naturally there is romance and the reader is encouraged to page turn frantically to find out if Issy gets her man and makes a success of her café.

          Every chapter starts with a cake recipe - something that I found intensely irritating as I have never had the desire to bake a cake in my life. I think there was a motivational message in each recipe, but it was one that I missed as I felt compelled to skip over every one. The love story was totally without artifice; I could absolutely predict the outcome of the book from the beginning - would Issy end up with handsome, self centred, cheating, uncaring boyfriend Graeme, or with the lovable banker Austin; a kind and sensitive man who cares for his 10 year old brother and often shakes his floppy hair out of his gorgeous eyes?

          Although the character of Issy was well drawn she really is not a personality that appeals to me. She flaps and fumbles her way through life without any clue or sensible decision making, relying on a wide variety of charitable friends to tell her the basics such as how to negotiate a price with builders, how to apply for a loan, and how to cope when encountering an accident. Her contribution to proceedings is to bake and offer cakes to everybody with innocent and engaging candour. This really is not the sort of heroine I am drawn to - I prefer feisty feminist types, but Issy is the antithesis of this.

          Other characters are mere caricatures; Issy's only employee in the café is Pearl. Yes, Pearl is a black woman... and yes, she is a very large lady, she lives on a council estate and of course she is a single parent. White women tend to be portrayed as skinny yummy mummies with large houses and four by fours - unless they are Eastern European, which makes them enigmatic and with mystical abilities to calm crying babies through the use of strange technique learnt from their grandmothers.
          One theme is dominant - all plump or overweight women are the good guys; slender women are portrayed as skinny, ugly and neurotic money grabbers.

          Although I understand that realism has no place in chick lit, it did also irritate me that the twee descriptions of Stoke Newington and the undiscovered café were so far from the truth. I have lived in Stoke Newington and know that a middle class café would probably be covered with graffiti, surrounded with rubbish and urine and perhaps would be vandalised.

          I have no wish to be snobbish about this book. I enjoy relaxing with a good romance as much as the next person - but this book was just too twee, too sugary and too biased for me. Most of all the heroine Issy was just not my type of girl - dependant on men, dependent on Grandpa Joe, dependant on the guidance of sensible friends ... in the real world her café would never have got off the ground.

          Jenny Colgan is British novelist, having written about ten very successful Chick Lit books, she also writes family style articles for The Daily Mail and women's magazines.
          I remember reading and enjoying her analysis of her life in France, and bringing up her children in French society - and from these articles, aimed at the middle class domestic goddess, I can see exactly where her fan base comes from.

          Meet Me at the Cupcake Café was published by Sphere in 2011. My paperback copy has 456 pages.

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            18.09.2012 11:26
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            Fabulous book, can't wait for the sequel!

            I knew I wanted to read this book after reading several glowing reviews about it. As a big fan of baking, Jenny Colgan, and a good book, this ticked all the boxes for me. Jenny Colgan is an author who tends to be categorised as "chick lit", although personally I think she is much better than most chick lit authors. This is her thirteenth novel.

            ==The Plot==

            The book revolves around the main character Issy Randall, who is made redundant from her boring 9 to 5 office job, and decides to use her payout to start a cupcake café. She is a natural baker, having inherited her grandfather's flair for making delightful cakes and pastries, and she is spurred on by her grandfather, who is now in a retirement home, posting her recipes before he forgets them all. This is the basic premise of the book, although there are a lot of sub-plots such as Issy's love interest, her best friend and flatmate Helena, her relationship with her unreliable flighty mother, and the support and encouragement she receives from her grandfather, who ran several successful bakeries before he retired.

            ==Characters==

            The main character, Issy, is a real delight in this book. Although I did fear she may turn into a Bridget Jones style spinster who became obsessed with "needing" a man in her life, I can honestly say she had a lot more substance than that, and it was nice to see her character develop throughout the book. At the beginning, she reminded me a little of myself, big on dreams but low on self belief. As she sets about starting her own business, it's quite painful to see how clueless she is. She has no idea of the financial or legal aspects, and as for marketing, well at one point I just wanted to take her by the shoulders and give her a good shake! She decides to go for a "soft launch", which, coupled with the fact she keeps giving cakes away, seems to set the business up to fail. But as things turn round it's nice to see her toughening up and becoming more confident in her ability. She starts doing things for herself rather than to impress anyone or prove a point to the men in her life.

            Although the main character is very strong, I really enjoyed many of the additional characters in this book. Issy's flatmate (and long suffering best friend) Helena is a strong, opinionated, tell it like it is kind of person, which is just what Issy needs in her life when she's being indecisive or self pitying. Issy's grandfather is weakening with age, and this constantly runs as a background story. Her boyfriend Graeme is a bit of a prat, and it's a classic situation of waiting for her to realise he's not worth her tears.

            There are many other characters who play a part in this book, including the café employees, her bank manager, and the estate agent. However insignificant a character appears, Jenny Colgan has a way of presenting them so vividly, you get a real feel for the character and it all helps to bring this story to life. For example, the estate agent, Des, doesn't feature hugely in the book, but each time we meet him we're told a bit about his background, and his disillusion with life after being kept awake all night by his crying newborn.

            ==My Thoughts==

            I was very impressed with this book, and would rate it much higher than bog-standard chick lit. The characters, as I have touched on already, were really strong and helped me really get a feel for this novel. I cared about the characters, and wanted a happy ending for Issy and her flatmate. The atmosphere of the book is lovely, it just makes you want to curl up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and covered with a cosy blanket!

            I think the plot really helped me to relate to this book and the main character, as I work a 9 to 5 job I care little about, and dream of running my own business doing cake decorating or crafting or one of my other creative hobbies. So I completely understood the frustration Issy felt, and how satisfying it must have been to be given an opportunity to live her dream and make a living from something she enjoys. There are enough sub-plots to make you want to keep turning the page, but not too many that you get confused or overwhelmed.

            The layout of the chapters was unusual, and added a little something extra to the book in my opinion. Each chapter begins with a recipe which has been sent to Issy by her grandfather. He is posting her recipes to help her run her business, and wants to get them all down on paper before he starts forgetting them all. There is a little bit of humour dropped into the recipes, and they are all viable recipes which Jenny Colgan says at the beginning have been tried and tested. I haven't tried any myself, but I thought this was a nice addition, as it's likely that anyone who enjoys baking will have their enthusiasm reignited after reading this book.

            The ending of this book left me slightly confused, until I realised that it was done in such a way that leaves it open to have a sequel. It could be read as a standalone novel, but anyone interested in knowing what happens next will be pleased to know that the follow up to this book, "Christmas at the Cupcake Café" is due to be released on 25 October 2012. I can't wait!

            (This review also appears on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)

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              07.03.2012 07:53
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              A really good book.

              Due to my birthday not being too long after Christmas, I had barely had the time to get through the pile of news books before I was receiving another mammoth pile, with this book being one of the latter!

              The book in question is "Meet me at the cupcake café" by Jenny Colgan.

              Issy Randall has always been a product of her environment, being born to her hippy mother whom wasn't really ready or even interested in a stationary motherly position, she soon left the parenting duties to her baker father, and disappeared off the scene for large periods of time.

              This being the case Issy sound finds that much of her childhood is spent within one of the three bakeries that her Grandfather owns and runs, with the discovery that she has a natural talent for baking coming soon after.......

              Issy (now grownup and employed safely, but boringly within the city) soon finds herself facing redundancy, and faces the dilemma of investing her redundancy money for the future and finding an equally boring job, or finally use her god given talents for baking, and opening her own establishment.

              Thus the "cupcake café" is born, but as a baker and not a business woman the future of the café is uncertain, but with a little help from your friends.........

              I loved this book from the first page! Mixing chick lit with cake is always going to appeal to me, but the fact the characters are so endearing too I found it an easy and thoroughly enjoyable read.

              I liked Issy, but found as she grew stronger throughout the book, I started to love her, at first she is portrayed as a slightly weak and insipid character, with her house mate Helen being more my sort of gal, fiesty, strong minded, and very curvaceous (well you would be living with a master baker!).

              The main draw character for me though was Issy's grandfather, who at this point has Alzheimer's disease and lives in a care home, with every chapter of the book starting with a recipe of his (the recipes are being documented and saved for when the inevitable complete loss of memory Issy's grandfather fears), each recipe is written as you would expect, but with humour and small comments that would show how Issy reacted to them when she was little, like adding extra quantities of everything to account for the eating of said mixture before baking, (a thing that I have to do with my children!).

              There is of course a love interest, well two actually and you never quite know who she will end up with, the snake or the hottie, and you will be left hanging right until the end for the answer too!

              This book was just simply a joy to read, there are a few poignant moments, especially with Issy's grandfather and his deteriorating health, but all in all was a fun light read, recommended!

              The RRP for this book is £7.99, but can be found cheaper via www.amazon.co.uk

              Thanks for reading x

              ISBN 978-0-7515-4449-7

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                06.01.2012 17:51
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                Great characters. Yummy cakes. What's not to love?

                **Author**
                Jenny Colgan

                **The Characters**
                The books main character is Issy Randall. She is working at an office, but her true passion is baking. She learnt this trade watching her grandpa in his bakeries. He Grandpa is also featured in the book and he is the creator of many of the recipes that are featured in the book. Then there is Issy boss Graeme. He is a jumped up guy, who uses people so he can succeed. Helena is Issy's' flatmate and also a nurse. She always loves sampling the selection of cupcakes. Pearl becomes an employee at the Cupcake Café and is also a singlish mother to her young son. Then there is Austin the bank manager that Issy has to see. He is also a single dad to his little brother.

                *The Plot**
                Issy is left heartbroken and confused after being made redundant by her boss, who also doubles as her boyfriend. The thought of working in an office again does not thrill Issy so she decides to make the plunge and becomes her own boss. She opens up the Cupcake Café. We read about her ups and downs with the shop, her friends and the bank manager. But will the café succeed? And will Issy ever find Mr Right?

                **My Opinion**
                This book was brilliant. I adore cupcakes and actually all sweet things so reading about them is a great way to enjoy them but without putting on the pounds. I loved the character of Issy and was delighted at how head strong she was when starting up her business. Even when the going got tough she stuck it out and made it succeed. I think this book wouldn't have worked without the supporting character such as Helena, Pearl and Austin. We were also let into their lives and not just Issy's. It gave us the readers a chance to judge whether we liked them using our own knowledge and not just through Issy's eyes. I became attached to the café when reading this book and really wanted it to do well. I just wish there was a place like that near me.

                I would recommend this book to anyone. 5 stars from me.

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                  24.08.2011 15:44

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                  About a woman Issie who wants to open a cupcake cafe and leave parts of her old life behind.

                  Last month I had a look on amazon to find a good summer read that I would not be able to put down. The book "Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe" by Jenny Colgan did not dissapoint.
                  I had never read anything from Colgan before so didn't know what to expect. From reading the synopsis of the novel I was instantly drawn to it- A woman who decides to quit her job to start a cupcake cafe from scratch and along the way deals with obstacles and achivements.
                  I got so engrossed in the book and managed to finish it in a few days. I wish that I had bought another novel of Colgan's to read on holiday!
                  The recipes in the book makes the start of each chapter more interesting than other books- and are delicious too!
                  I found it interesting in the way the author switches the characters point of view in each different chapter. This gives more of an insight into the thoughts and feelings of each character.
                  I found the ending pleasing and felt excited for the future of the main character Issie.

                  Would definately recommend this book to any women who wants a light read with a feel good ending!

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                  15.07.2011 11:07
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                  Brilliant read

                  As soon as I saw this book I knew it was one I definitely wanted to read. After reading the back of the book I discovered that it had a lot of similarities to my favourite books so therefore ordered it quickly.


                  Plot
                  -----

                  Issy is in her thirties. She has a fairly good job with a company that is clearly going places and in addition to this shes also seeing her boss. Not that he allows her to tell anyone else in the office that. Although he wont show any commitment to her she genuinely believes things are going ok.

                  However, one day she is called to a meeting and discovers she is being made redundant. She is absolutely livid that Graeme didn't give her any warning of this and packs her things and leaves, going to the nearest pub to drown her sorrows.
                  Issy mopes about for weeks, losing her boyfriend and her job in the same day has hit her hard. However, she soon realises this could be the push she needed to do something she really loves. Issy does some research and decides to open her very own Cupcake Café...


                  Opinion
                  ----------

                  I loved this book from the start. I had very high expectations of this book because I had seen a couple of 5 star reviews about it and therefore I was keen to read it and I am pleased to say I was not disappointed.

                  The character of Issy is very loveable and I thought she was very down to earth and realistic. I think most people can see a bit of themselves in Issy which really helps the reader relate to her. In addition to this, as in the opening of the book Issy is made redundant and loses her boyfriend I think readers are likely to feel very sorry for her and feel protective over her.
                  I thought the plot of the book was interesting. I have read books with a similar plot before but I am pleased to say that I found this one quite fresh and new. There are plenty of sub-plots in the book which allow the reader to be kept entertained throughout and there is always something going on. I thought the plot flowed well throughout the book and everytime I read a chapter I felt as though I had made some progress.

                  I liked the other characters in the book aswell as Issy and especially enjoyed reading about their lives away from Issy aswell as their lives with her. A favourite character of mine was Pearl, a lady who Issy employs to work at her new café.
                  I thought the writing style used for this book was perfect. It was laid back and informal and I found it easy to read. It also made me feel that I actually knew Issy myself rather than just reading about her.

                  The ending of the book was very good and although some parts were predictable there were many twists and turns which made me wonder if the ending would be different than I had initially believed.


                  Would I recommend it?
                  -----------------------------

                  Absolutely. I adored this book and really enjoyed reading it. I hope there will be a sequel so we can see what Issy did next!


                  Additional Information
                  ----------------------------

                  The author of this book is Jenny Colgan.
                  The book was published in April 2011 by Sphere.
                  It has 496 pages (including a number of recipes throughout the story).
                  It costs £3.86 from the Amazon website.


                  Summary
                  ------------

                  A brilliant book which I couldn't put down, recommended for any fans of chick lit or even baking!

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                    11.06.2011 13:46
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                    I really loved this book!

                    Today I will present you a book I finished recently - "Meet Me At The Cupcake Café" by Jenny Colgan.


                    Reader's appeal
                    I know Jenny Colgan is quite a famous chic-lit author - but I had only once read a book by her. It was "Do you remember the first time?" and I got it for free with a magazine. I liked the book but it didn't really make me look out for Colgan. Then I saw read a review on "Meet Me At The Cupcake Café". I just skipped through it as I didn't want to know too much about the plot yet, but the title stuck to my mind - so when I got an Amazon voucher I knew what to order!


                    The plot
                    Issy is thirtyone and has an office job. While she doesn't love it, she does get along alright and everbody loves Issy for her special ability - her skills at baking the finest cupcakes! Her boss Graeme likes a bit more than her cupcakes - but obviously not enough to be open about their romance. Issy suffers because of the secret relationship but hopes for better days. Then, suddenly, the company has to let some employees go because of the financial trouble and Issy is among them.
                    She is devastated as she has not only lost her job but her lover as well. Her flatmate Helena tries to help her as much as she can and after a while, Issy finally knows what to do - she wants to open up a cupcake café! She gets the vacant shop she has always eyed from the bus stop and sets up her business. In the process she does not only get to know Pearl, a troubled mother living in an estate flat, but she also finds a great help in Austin, the banker who has given her the loan for the shop.
                    Powered by her strong spirit and her grandfather's fabulous recipes, Issy tries to make the dream of her cupcake café work. But of course, life is never easy and setting up a business is one of the hugest risks you can take!


                    How I liked it
                    I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end. It never got boring and the characters really stuck to me. I got so excited for Issy and I could imagine everything so well. The Cupcake Café came alive in my head as I read the novel! What also really made the whole thing come alive are the recipes included in the book. The recipes that Issy gets from her grandfather often open up a chapter and explain the relationship between them further.
                    What I also found outstanding was how Jenny Colgan gives you background information on all the characters so you can connect to them without being overwhelmed by detail. You get to know about Des, the estate agent, Pearl's difficult situation and how Austin the banker has to get on with his life. Many of the characters aren't what you expected them to be in the beginning.
                    While the end may seem predictable, there are many twists and turns that keep you reading - I found the book to be a real page-turner and I finished it in under a week!
                    I would recommend this to pretty much everything, but I am sure woman above the age of 18 or 20 would appreciate it most. But basicly, it's suitable for all ages!


                    The price
                    Currently you can get it for just £3.86 on Amazon.co.uk, which is a real bargain for such a fun book!


                    Conclusion
                    I really enjoyed this book and recommend it! I eve tried out on of the recipes (the basic cpcake one on the last pages) and everybody loved them! I didn't have a single one left after my little party. ;)
                    The book made me laugh, worry and think - the perfect combination i'd say. If you're up for a somewhat more intelligent piece of chiclit, go ahead and get it!

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                    07.06.2011 00:22
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                    Will not disappoint

                    I knew this would appeal as soon as I read a couple of reviews of this book and was sure my sister had a copy. So I went to my personal library (my sister) and borrowed the book to devour. I say devour because Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan (published this year) sounds like an ideal, very modern idea of a book to curl up with a hot chocolate. Indeed cupcakes are very trendy right now making this an ideal theme of the book. The content and the pink cover that suits the book perfectly mean this book is difficult to resist.

                    It is a chick-lit with a difference. Issy is made redundant from her comfy job at a property firm and her hotshot, loves himself boyfriend leaves her feeling very disappointed. What Issy does have though, is a generous redundancy payment that she could use to realise her dreams of baking. Issy makes the most delicious cupcakes and running a cafe like this suits her to the ground. There are problems though, with customers, with competitors and with of course men.

                    The book is written in the third person which means that it is not all about the main character. Sometimes the story will deviate slightly and talk about a different character for a page or so. I like this as it makes their character more dimensional. Issy is a likeable character, brought up by her Grandfather, with bakery in the blood and I certainly empathise when she is unsure whether she can do it. Other characters include her on-off boyfriend Graeme. He was a bit of a plank to be honest, more interested in his career than Issy. Also there is Helena, the reliable best friend, Pearl, the assistant Issy could not have done this without, Caroline, her upper class competitor for the shop who turns out to have a bigger role than I expected and Austin her banker. They all add different prospectives as they really couldn't be much more different in their lifestyles.

                    I was really willing Issy to succeed in the bakery, the picture painted of the cafe is so cosy and I wish it was real. There must be a place like this somewhere! The romance was probably not the main story here and I did not guess the romantic interest straight away and even then was unsure how it would end. Chapters start with a recipe, many from her Grandfather. The book also comes with a few proper recipe cards which is a nice addition.

                    A few things did annoy me though. Although the frequent chapter breaks were good in that I could put the book down when I wanted without having to wait to get to the end of the chapter but the breaks but just too frequent, often one on one page and then one on the next! The next little complaint is that sometimes Issy would mention something that happened last week. It would then go into that and I was unsure of when that ended and the present continued again. The last little thing is that I found the ending of the book a little sudden. It could be that it was setting it up for another book but I don't think that is it.

                    However these were the only things I could fault the book, everything else was perfect and I dare you to read this and not attempt to bake afterwards! It inspired me to make some delicious chocolate cupcakes.

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                      22.05.2011 15:42
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                      A great read which I highly recommend

                      Meet Me at The Cupcake Cafe is the first book I have read by Jenny Colgan. I have found the last few weeks when I have gone in to Whsmiths to find a new release book which I haven't read I am stuck as there seems to be a bit of down time in the kind of books I like to read. What pulled me to this book was firstly there is a statement about the book from an author I enjoy ( Sophie Kinsella ) secondly the style of the front cover which is pink and cream which is very fitting considering the book is about cakes!!


                      Plot
                      Issy finds herself at a loose end when she is made redundant by her boss Graeme who is also her boyfriend. Heartbroken and jobless Issy needed to find a way to get her life on track and quick as she is not getting any younger. With a large redundancy package and the help of her Gramps who sends her the recipes for cakes he used to use when he was a baker she decides to take the plunge and open up her own Cupcake cafe. Issy has full support from her Gramps and from her bestfriend /flatmate Helena and also her new employee Pearl who faces her own troubles in life. With the cafe up and running and word of the cafe getting around will Issy be able to find time for romance. Will she pleased when Graeme arrives with an offer up his sleeve!!


                      My Opinion
                      Issy our main character is an absolutely joy to read about. She is very soft natured and seems to know what she wants in life but may just need a little push to get what it is she so desperately wants. As the reader we can only hope that things improve for her as the book goes along but this book just shows she is in for a bumpy ride! I felt like the character of Issy was very believable she could easily be the girl next door.
                      After reading the title to the book and reading the first few chapters I thought it was going to be a very basic and predictable storyline but I was wrong! There were a few twists and turns and some of the characters such as Graeme the ex and Austin the bank manager were hard to work out until the end of the book you wasn't sure if they were hiding something.

                      Jenny Colgan had a way of describing the cafe which made you feel as though you were really sitting in this cafe with a coffee and cake in hand!

                      One of the things which has really stood out for me in this book and makes it different to all the other books out there is that at the beginning of each chapter there is a recipe for a variety of different cupcakes, I have never seem this in a book before so this is new to me and in my opinion was a nice touch although I have to say having these recipes to hand and reading this enjoyable book about this welcoming cafe did make you want to follow in Issy's footsteps! The way Cohen talks about her cakes makes it seem as if she has a great passion for cakes either baking or eating!

                      I did find at a point in this book that I felt rather moved with the relationship between Issy and her Gramps and it was at this point I realised how real this book felt.

                      In my opinion this is a definite must read, a real page turner. There is a real mix in this book with a little humour, a lot of touching emotional parts with a little romance but not too much. After reading this book I will defiantly be on the lookout for more Jenny Colgan books in future.

                      Book review also on my new book blog http://reabookreview.blogspot.com
                      And on my website http://www.reabookreviewcorner.webs.com

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                      26.04.2011 10:12
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                      A really great read

                      Issy was strolling along in her life, she had a secure job, a pretty okay relationship, a gorgeous flat and an even better flatmate in nurse Helena. However, Issy's life is turned upside down when she suddenly loses her job and her boyfriend in one fell swoop. She has to quickly find another job, and when the quaint little shop near her home becomes free, Issy decides she wants to become a baker just like her beloved grand-father. With the help of his recipes, her new friend and business partner Pearl and a lot of cakes, the Cupcake Cafe is open for business and Issy is loving her life. But when her slimey ex-boyfriend comes back on the scene, is it going to mean problems for Issy and her wonderful cafe?

                      I have tried to read some of Jenny Colgan's novels previously, but I've never been able to get into them. Mind you,this was a few years ago before I started reviewing for the site and I didn't have the perseverance I do now so I gave up far too easily if I wasn't gripped within a few pages! When a gorgeous copy of this very pink and girly book landed on my doorstep, I have to admit it did catch my eye and make me want to read it, so I was quite pleased that I was down on our schedule to review this one. The cover was originally blue but I think the pink suits it far more and I'm really pleased the publishers changed it to the more girly and cute looking pink version we see today.

                      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!

                      ISBN: 978-0751544497. Published by Sphere on 14th April 2011. Pages: 496. RRP: £6.99.

                      Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com where this review first appeared.

                      Thank you for reading.

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