Baking love!

‘My Cup of Tea’ – Kat Leiu

5-star-rating

My Cup of Tea - Kat Lieu

My Cup of Tea – Kat Lieu

It’s another suck-tastic summer for book nerd and baker, Sara Lee-Affen. She’s broke, she’s single, and she’ll probably die a virgin. At her beautiful cousin’s wedding, Sara meets a sexy and delicious stud muffin, Ian Forrests. He’s totally her cup of tea, that is until he laughs at her misery when a bee burrows into her ear. Yes, a dang bee. She’s dying (well not really) as he’s dying from laughter.

What a jerk. A smoking hot, Adonis of a jerk with strikingly green eyes, dark hair, and drool-worthy pecs and eight-pack abs. As luck and fate would have it, Sara keeps bumping into Ian all summer long and ends up working for him as a pastry chef at his failing bakery. Despite her better judgement, Sara falls for the sexy, bad-ass rich boy. She discovers the truth about Ian: he’s a tortured soul who’s still pining for his deceased girlfriend, Sarah. One look at Sarah’s picture and poor Sara knows that she could never compete. She could never be Ian’s cup of tea. 

Or could she? 

Goodreads

About the author:

Kat Lieu

Kat Lieu

Kat read her first book (a picture book) while potty training at the age of one and half. Reading became an addiction and a must during subsequent potty sessions. Writing as a passion soon followed when Kat was in the fifth grade. She drew a picture storybook, hand-stitched the pages together, and presented it to a class of second graders. The children loved hearing Kat’s story and that cemented Kat’s love for writing.

Kat wrote ‘My Cup of Tea, Summer of Love’ during maternity leave. While caring for her newborn, Kat sacrificed nap time and much needed rest in order to write. When her baby slept, she quickly typed away, ignoring carpal tunnel. Now Kat works full-time by day. By night, she’s a dedicated mommy and a writer. She hopes to be able to spend more time with her son, Philly Cheese Steak, and write for a living in the near future.

Dreams do come true, when you believe in them and work hard. Many of Kat’s dreams have come true and she wishes the same for all her fans and readers.

Kat is also a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. She also runs a tween/teen empire, Nummyz Productions. Nummyz Productions creates original Flash games for girls and provides them with a safe community, love advice, free stories, and support. Nummyz Productions publishes books and e-books. Kat’s company has also created websites for celebrities of The Young and the Restless (Kate Linder) and Flash games for multi-million dollar company LittleMissMatched.

Author links:

Facebook / Twitter / Web / Goodreads / Amazon

‘Maid for Me’ book trailer

Review:

So… this review might be slightly biased because this novella by Kat Lieu has two of my favourite things: an innocent ‘girl meets boy’ love story and baking/running a bakery. This is my own personal dream and I loved how this featured in the story.

‘My Cup of Tea’ is an easy-going romance with the added sweetness of desserts. The love story between Sara and Ian is a little predictable but I think this just added to my enjoyment of the story.  However,  Lieu does do something different to her contemporaries by switching the first person narrative between Sara and Ian each chapter. It was sweet to see how their feelings towards one another develop and even more so the fact that they had such similar opinions without realising it.

What did surprise me was how young Sara is. At 18, I guess I was expecting to read a romance about a girl who is slightly older,  but then I guess Lieu here is trying to appeal to a younger audience. Another surprise for me was how much I enjoyed this novella. I have not had much luck with novellas in the past and whilst this was a quick read, it felt “just right”. What I mean by that is the characters or plot didn’t need more development,  so it didn’t come across as rushed.  I didn’t feel bored reading it and actually felt quite sad when I got to the end! That being said, I am reluctant to consider this as a ‘comedy’ because I didn’t find any of the plot funny but more of a piece of young romance fiction.

The tension that exists between Sara and Ian were unusual. With Ian’s dead ex-girlfriend also called Sarah (note the added “h”) and whom the bakery was started by, his difficulty in moving on made me feel quite sorry for Sara, particularly with the closing scene. It is as if there are three people in the relationship and readers are left wondering how Ian can move on. Whilst Sara does try her best to remain detached from Ian, circumstances throw them together and despite his hang-ups, left me wanting to see them have a happy ending. However, as this is the first part of the story, we are left not knowing what happens with their relationship.

As an avid baker,  I really enjoyed the glimpses Lieu provided to the desserts made at the bakery. Whether intentional or not,  I felt really inspired to whip up Sara’s cakes in the kitchen and I think it is a shame Lieu did not provide the recipes at the end of the story. Still,  even I know you can’t have it all!

I really enjoyed this novella and am keen to read the follow-up story.  It is a sweet love story and I was left hoping Sara would not be taken for a ride. I really hope I get the opportunity to review ‘My Cup of Tea,  too’.

This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway:

The writer, Kat Lieu, is giving away four eBook copies of ‘Maid for Me’ and one print copy at each stop of her blog tour. This give-away is open to USA residents only. Make sure to follow the tour and enter at every stop by leaving a comment with a valid email address. Winners will be randomly selected by the author after the tour is over!

Excerpt from the novel:

A minute ago, when I noticed someone approaching me, I couldn’t help but ogle at perfectly-formed man pecs and a tapered waist sporting well-defined washboard abs. Droplets of water glisten on his tan skin. Said tan skin belongs to a guy, a hot guy walking toward me. Water from the pool drips off his dark hair. His lean and muscular legs are made for running. His blue swim trunks, wet and plastered to his skin, leaves little to my imagination. I gulped. I felt his eyes on me, all hot and smoldering. Having a feeling that a handsome face goes along with his hot bod, my eyes traveled upward to confirm my theory.

Sharp features. Chiseled jawline. Straight nose with two nostrils that are perfectly shaped and sized. Cellophane forest-green eyes filled with intelligence. Hot…

But too bad it’s him, that jerk from Millie’s wedding.

Click the link to get yourself a copy of the novel.

my cup of tea banner (1)To follow the tour of ‘My Cup of Tea’ by Kat Lieu, please click here.

Nature versus nurture

‘Nature and Art’ – Elizabeth Inchbald

1-star-rating (1)

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Nature and Art – Elizabeth Inchbald

Commands a central place in the history of the English Jacobean novel. Published in 1796, the story explores the opposition between the upbringing and actions of Henry Norwynne, an unspoiled ‘child of nature’ who has been reared without books on an African island, and the corrupt conduct of his aristocratic older cousin, William.

This novel explores the principal of nature versus nurture. Brothers, William and Henry, who go to London to seek their fortune. Whilst William stays in London and pursues his religious studies, Henry travels. Years pass and readers follow the central protagonists, young William and young Henry. Young William has been strictly educated in London and is considered showing proper and impeccable behaviours. On the other hand, young Henry has grown up in Africa, away from books and education.

When young Henry is first introduced to his uncle, (Henry being imprisoned abroad), Henry’s responses to London life and general language use are quite amusing and it reflects Inchbald’s social perceptions of the time. As the novel progresses, the reader sees the difference between young William and young Henry’s natures: the manner in which they treat others around them and how they react to events is to encourage readers what is of more value: education from books and tutors, or education from worldly experiences?

As the novel progresses, I found myself hoping that all wronged characters were redeemed. The fact that this does not happen shows Inchbald’s pessimism and I think this would only be more resounding if readers do a close study of this novel. By this I mean exploring the text’s commentaries and appendices. I had the opportunity of studying this novel at university so feel quite grounded in the context of this story, but certainly feel that this should be taken into consideration if deciding to read this short novel.

I rated this novel so low because I found myself drifting. Despite it being quite short, I did not find myself dwelling on the messages that Inchbald was trying to convey. There is a lot of depth with this story, beyond the short plot, and I think to truly appreciate Inchbald’s work, this should be considered as part of the novel’s offering.

Christmas feel-good factor

‘The Christmas Star’ – Diane Darcy

3-star-rating

Image courtesy of smashwords.com

The Christmas Star – Diane Darcy

When an old woman makes a wish upon a Christmas star, miracles start to happen. A manipulative angel and a zany Christmas season are exactly what it takes to get Jason and Elise in the same vicinity again. But can they forgive each other and forget old resentments and hurts? Well, Christmas is a perfect time for miracles. Throw in the hunt for the perfect tree, a sledding competition and a desperate-for-grandchildren mother, and you have the perfect recipe for…love? 

This is a perfect festive novella that gets you in the mood for Christmas and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That’s what this has going for it. Otherwise,  well,  it’s just a bit too short so I guess that novellas are not the way forwards in terms of reading material for me.

So, probably because it is a short novel,  it is easy to predict which direction the plot is heading in. And the whilst that does make it a little cheesy,  the story is told in such an inoffensive way,  that you cannot help but feel charmed by it. With the magic of Christmas comes the welcome happy ending and by this time I yearned for this for the main character,  Elise.

Definitely give this your attention if by the middle of December you just aren’t feeling Christmassy or need a solid “pick me up”, because this charming little story will certainly deliver. Plus, I think this novella is best consumed with a large mug of steaming hot chocolate.  Well, why not?