Every once in awhile a series of books comes along that develop such fantastic characters, usually in a delightful setting with fun plots and ideas, that you just can't help falling in love with the entire series and you wait with bated breath for the next book to be released so you can go back to your favorite spot and reconnect with some of your favorite characters while you are introduced to more fun people. In the past I have seen Mary Connealy accomplish that with some of her Christian Westerns, Julie Lessman definitely did that with her Boston series... so much so that she wrote a second series about the same family! Janice Thompson has definitely accomplished the same thing with her Bella books that she has continued in her Weddings by Design series! The cover is lovely and fun, but it is just the gateway back to Galveston where we get to meet back up with Bella and her crazy friends and family but we really have the opportunity to get to know cake designer, Scarlet and Bella's brother (troublemaker) Armando!
The storyline is fun (love the tv contest and the descriptions of the hot lights and the horror of going through all of that!) but you know the girl will get her happily ever after... with Janice's books it isn't so much the suspense of - whoever will she end up with?!?! but more the witty journey that gets you there. The writing style is hilarious and a mile a minute riot. I absolutely adore her books and Icing On the Cake is just the next in a wonderful series that I encourage you to start from the very beginning with Fools Rush In and then go all the way through (and don't forget the Backstage Pass series that picks up with characters that first appear in the Fools Rush In books...) I can't wait for the next one!!!
If you don't like reading about people problems and personalities, don't read this book.
Otherwise, The Icing on the Cake is quite a fabulous way to spend several hours of enjoyment. â˜º
Scarlet Lindsey is a young woman who lives on Galvaston Island, off the coast of Texas, and has just opened up a new bakery in a popular area of her town.
Her somewhat elderly Aunt Wilhelmina (called "Willy" behind her back) has funded this project and is determined to keep her finger on all aspects of the venture.
Scarlet has many doubts about her own abilities, other than her baking, but has always admired her heroine, Lucyâ€”as in "I Love Lucy"â€”and often thinks back to how Lucy would get herself out of the messes she has created. Scarlet's life is complicated by the fact that she has many friends and admirers and tends to never say no to requests. For instance, she is deeply involved in helping the teens in her church (of which her father is pastor) raise funds for a third-world country trip; being maid-of-honor in her very best friend's upcoming wedding and in fact, will be making the wedding cake for that occasion as well; she is deeply empathetic with the plight of at least one youngster who lives a very rugged life within her city; she is passionate about her bakery and making a success of it.
Scarlet has a very capable helper in her bakery: Kenny, a wonderful problem-solver in her many escapades. However, an accident sidelines him for a while, and in steps Armando, the brother of a special friend. Oh, did I mention, there is just a little bit of romance within this story?
All the characters in this novel have background issues which influence what and how they are living and making decisions. They are "normal" people who have been greatly affected by "little" things that happened in their childhood or by unthinking people saying things that should never have come out of their mouths. Scarlet is quite sensitive to some of her issues and sometimes overcompensates for what she feels are weaknesses in her own life. She is also a great listener and is able to help others overcome their own issues.
Each chapter in this book has a small quote at the beginning; one which this reader appreciated said: "Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie."
It is a challenge to overcome the thought that one must get to the kitchen and whip up a batch of cream cheese frosting after finishing the book. Lots of good laughs throughout, but also great recognition of the grace of God in our lives; He is our Companion, our Healer, our Partner in all we do. I know you'll enjoy The Icing on the Cake!
Before I opened "Icing on the Cake" written by Janice Thompson, I anticipated lots of fun and many surprises. Janice's sense of humor and tongue in cheek quotations at the beginning of each chapter were so entertaining - my favorite being "Families are like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts." (Author unknown) Having read the prequel "Picture Perfect," in this series - Weddings by Design - many of the characters were familiar to me in the beautiful setting on Galveston Island. Janice's stories are written ingeniously around wedding productions created by Bella Neely and Club Wed; and the whole cast of characters from Bella's odd family; Scarlett's family and other familiar characters like Hannah and Drew whose wedding is being planned in this episode. There is not a family on this Island that isn't sweet with a few nuts!
Our main character Scarlett Lindsey had just opened her own bakery, Let Them Eat Cake, on the popular Strand. Her friend Kenny worked in the bakery and had a crush on Scarlett, however she was a bit of two minds where romance with Kenny was concerned. Little did Scarlett know what she was in for when her spinster Aunt Willy, an infamous first-rate chef, financed Scarlett's venture. Not only was Scarlett planning an elaborate wedding cake for her best friend Hannah's wedding, she was in charge of planning the church fund raiser.
We met Armando, Bella's brother, in "Picture Perfect" as the problem child of the Rossi family with a reputation of being a real womanizer. He swept in and out of the first story like a bird on the fly and had a dislike for staying on the Island. Scarlett had issues with her self-image because of being overweight. Many, including "moi" can relate to her inner feelings and insecurities. Let Them Eat Cake was located next door to John's Pizzeria where Armando worked in his family's business. Scarlett and Armando found themselves pushed together at a Rossi family event - not at all to Scarlett's liking. An indefinite relationship sets in motion_and Scarlett begins to perceive Armando differently. He volunteers to help solve the sound problem at the church which meant more time spent in each other's company. When Scarlett fills in for Armando's mother on a Food Network competition with a secret recipe for Italian Wedding Cake, she decides to drop a few pounds so she'll look better on camera. Now the real fun begins, so hold onto your hat!
Ms Thompson has an innate talent at developing a plot that serves the heart in hilarity to sentiment along with beautiful spirituality throughout. What does "sticky buns" and "Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy" have to do with Scarlett's anxiety? It was entertaining as the author allowed the reader into Scarlett's inner thoughts and I laughed loudly at the zany debates she argued with herself. One never knows what to expect in the stories Janice Thompson writes. She is perceptive in creating characters that are well rounded and real. Her characters build as the story moves forward and can be loved in one chapter and disliked in the next. Scarlett reminded me so much of myself that that I wondered who might have been the role model for Janice. Honestly, I've never met Janice Thompson in my life_.although I'd consider it an honor to do so.