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.
Janice Thompson never fails to pen a charming romance, full of sweetness, humour, and quirky characters. The second instalment of her Weddings by Design series, readers will love reaquainting themselves with the Rossi clan, the Splendora sisters, and Scarlet and Armando who take centre stage. Identity, purpose, and self worth are themes Janice explores through Scarlet, whose choice of career has not helped her waistline, and Armando, with his bad boy reputation and a penchant for avoiding commitment. While some moments that a little too saccharine for my taste, and an overuse of "sticky buns", readers will delight with Scarlet and Armando as they discover purpose, belonging, and love. Despite my quibbles, I always enjoy Janice's sense of family, faith, and fun, and The Icing on the Cake is no exception.
Janice Thompson is by far one of my favorite Christian authors to read. She has the ability to make you really care about and love her characters. They are so of the wall funny and I love how she incorporate some music or movie icon. In Icing on the Cake it's Lucille Ball! Just ask yourself what would Lucy do?
Scarlet is a baker and she really loves what she does. She has the ability to make the most delicious cakes, brownies and cookies. So when her aunt decided to fun her first bakery shop she is thrilled, that is until her aunt Willy seems to want to take over her baking life. Her aunt is really intimidating and Scarlet is always feeling inadequate when it comes to her aunt. It doesn't help that Scarlet isn't a little tiny supermodel, she is a few pounds overweight. To Scarlet she feels larger than life and doesn't seem to see herself the way others do. Scarlet is one of my favorite characters because I think she is very easy to relate too as she is not a skinny girl.
If you have read the Weddings by Bella or the first Weddings by Design books then you have already met Armando. Armando is Bella's younger brother and he is known for being a troublemaker and a bit of a bad boy. He has never been one of my favorite characters and I wasn't sure how I felt about him being paired with Scarlet. In this book though you get to learn a lot more about Armando and see a side of him that you don't get to see in the other books. He has grown up a lot in this book and he grew on me as the book progressed.
Scarlet has her plate full with not only opening her bakery, but she gets roped into a baking competition, and she is trying to organize a talent competition for a church fundraiser. She is dealing with not having the feelings she thinks she should have for her faithful friend and kitchen help, Kenny. Then in steps Armando to help her with her churches soundboard and he is so hot and sexy that she has a hard time concentrating. She keeps thinking about everything she has heard about him, but learns that she needs to make her own decision about him based on what he is doing now and not his past. Armando comes to her rescue more than once and has proved himself faithful and doesn't see her as being anything but a woman with a hearty appetite! He is the Ricky to her Lucy!
If you haven't read the Weddings by Bella series then I highly recommend you start there first, though any of these could be read alone you just really need the whole feel of the books. Then grab the Wedding by Design series which is where The Icing on the Cake comes in. These books are great fun and wonderful light-hearted romantic reads. If you don't laugh then something is wrong! :o)
I love Janice's wedding books, especially when characters we already love are pulled into the story.
You're going to be a witness to a surprise wedding as well as lots of bakery antics. You'll even be gifted with a "secret" family cake recipe if you're good.
As usual, I'm never disappointed with Ms Thompson's books, but I did miss the songs. You'll know what I mean if you've read all her books. If not, it's time you should be reading them if you want to find out this secret. I won't tell you which books to read, because you should read them all. Every single book is a winner. I can hardly wait until the next one.
Please keep writing, Janice. I'll follow you to Galveston, Splendora or wherever you take us.
***A special thank you to Lanette Haskins for providing a review copy.***
What do you get when you pit an overweight baker who specializes in wedding cakes against her man-hating great aunt and a hunky Italian who mayâ€”or may notâ€”be trying to shake his bad-boy image?
Scarlet Lindsey is determined to do Aunt Willy proud, even if it kills her. And when she's offered a spot in a Food Network showdown and decides to crash diet so she'll look better on camera, it nearly does. Thankfully Armando is there to save the day, not caring a whit about Scarlet's weight or the disaster created onstage.
Armando Rossi's sister Bella is a wedding coordinator on Galveston Island, Texas, and we've met both characters in previous books (Weddings by Bella series and now Weddings by Design). Armando, always shown as a rebel until now, comes into his own as the hero of this book as the author provides insight into what makes him tick.
And tick he does. All the way into Scarlet's life and bakery, in a lightly humorous romp typical of Janice Thompson's tales.
I was given a copy of this book from Graf-Martin Communications and Revell for the purposes of review. Opinions are mine alone.