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07 July 2016

Rambling About.. Rebecca Raisin's Gingerbread Cafe Series

I've always had a tendency to stay away from short stories and novellas (which, really, is just a fancy name for a short story, right?). I like my stories to have more substance than most shorts seem to have. I don't even really fancy the mid-series shorts that seem to pop up so often nowadays. If you don't have enough of a story to make a full-length book out of it, wait until you do and insert this morsel into that, you know? Of course, then I read Milkshakes & Heartbreaks at The Sunset Diner and, as soon as I was done, immediately jumped onto Helen Cox's website and downloaded the short story collection that ties in with the book. It's a collection, after all. If I wanted to I could read them all together in one sitting like a potentially disjointed novel.

And then I remembered that the only reason why I haven't plunged into the lovely-sounding world of Rebecca Raisin's Gingerbread Cafe yet is because of the length of the first two out of three installments. If I read them all together (they're even sold all together), well, then, my "I don't do shorts" is kind of voided. Right? Right.

So, taking the page counts from Amazon for each book we get
Yeah. I have no idea where the 110 pages went to since 64+94+304=462. I call it Magic Gingerbread Math. Doesn't matter, though. The reader that I'm using for the three individual books uses percentages instead of pages anyway. I'm even tossing in The Bookshop on the Corner (which sort of stands alone but is also sort of Gingerbread Cafe 2.5).

Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe

The Gingerbread Cafe is located in Ashford, Connecticut, and run by Lily and her assistant CeeCee (who acts more like a mother than an employee). A new "small goods" shop opens across the street owned by the ruggedly handsome Damon and as Lily's customers all seem to be flocking over there she panics and feels as though war has been declared.

For two days Lily and Damon do their best to one-up the other and finally CeeCee suggests that they work together as both shops are similar but with enough differences that a partnership could prove advantageous. Of course, CeeCee is also thinking of another kind of partnership since Lily's ex-husband, Joel, has been gone for almost two years and she's still pining away hoping for him to come back. Of course, a little romance starts to blossom (no real spoiler here ... it's a holiday chick lit ... these things have to happen), but not without some speed bumps.

Even though it's not a long read, it's a great beginning and I can't for what happens next! (And, luckily, I won't have to!)

Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe

The next installment sees Lily, Damon, CeeCee and the rest of Ashford just before Easter preparing for a village-wide chocolate festival. Everything is blissful and happy and Damon's seven-year-old daughter, Charlie, is staying with Lily and Damon for the week. She could have been a speed bump, but she adores Lily and her mom is perfectly okay with her spending time there. Their split and divorce was amicable -- unlike Lily and Joel's.

Speaking of Joel, he suddenly reappears and threatens to ruin Lily's happiness.


When she was first starting to get the Gingerbread Cafe up and running, they were married and his family had given her money for the kitchen upgrades. Now Joel is back and broke and insisting to be paid back... or else. Never mind that she supported him financially throughout their marriage and then lost everything but the shop because of him. He's a horrid wretch and won't be happy until she's as miserable as he has been, apparently.

Luckily, Lily has Ashford.

The entire village is behind her and willing to help out from the retired lawyer to the bookshop owner Sarah and even the town gossip -- but most of all Damon and CeeCee. Joel should have probably second-guessed his decision to try and wreak havoc. I certainly would never want to get on CeeCee's bad side for anything!

Another fast read and another truly delightful one. I keep thinking about how nice it would be to visit Ashford one day -- especially since the real town is only a 4 hour drive from here and about 15 miles away from my friend Sarah! Of course, I would be horribly disappointed if I showed up and there wasn't any delectable chocolate eggs or gingerbread milkshakes to be had. I guess I'll just keep reading, instead.

(Oh, and apparently 18 or so of those Magic Gingerbread Math pages come from a book preview at the end! It's totally starting to make sense now. At least, a little bit.)

The Bookshop on the Corner
This is #2.5 in the series as it falls between Gingerbread Cafe 2 & 3 and is also set in Ashford with some character overlaps ... but it's not "officially" a Gingerbread Cafe story so isn't included in A Gingerbread Cafe Christmas. 


Because I flew through 1 & 2 in under 24 hours, and because of my "must read things in order" fixation, I'm reading it as 2.5 but it gets its own rambley post. Click HERE to read it!

Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe

A year has passed since Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe and wedding plans are underway for Lily and Damon. (Don't dare get on my case over spoilers since you knew it was going to happen as soon as you knew the titles of the books.) All of our favorite Ashford friends and neighbors are here, including CeeCee, Charlie, Sarah and Missy. We also get to meet Guillaume, the French chef with a crush on CeeCee, and the parents of our beloved bride and groom.

Future in-laws can be tricky. (Current in-laws can be tricky, too, of course ... but ... never mind!)

Lily's parents are delightful and beyond enthusiastic over the wedding. Damon's parents? Well, his dad is pleasant but his mom is not exactly Lily's biggest fan. This, of course, causes turmoil after turmoil and more than once you would wonder if the wedding would happen without someone having a total nervous breakdown first!

There's love, laughter, some tears (big tissue alert for the second half) and all of the delectable treats from the Cafe that leave your mouthwatering and your tummy grumbling.

No, I'm not saying a whole lot about this installment because it is, after all, the end and one must not completely give away the end. (I'm trying to convince Rebecca Raisin that it can't be the actual end. She owes me, after all.) Do yourself a favor, though, and read them all -- in order -- including The Bookshop on the Corner. And be prepared to lose yourself in the pages.

I've fallen in love over and over again with Lily and Damon ... and Ashford!

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