Focused on different aspects of the wedding industry on Galveston Island, the Weddings by Design series follows Hannah McDermott, Scarlet Lindsey, Gabi Delgado, and Cassia Pappas in their own respective novels as they discover friends, love, and plenty of professional opportunities thanks to their connection with Bella Neeley and the rest of the Rossi family (from the Weddings by Bella series). Surrounded by unique families, quirky brides, and plenty of connections to the world of Janice Thompson's other characters, these women become well-respected professionals and advocates of their respective vocations.
These light-hearted novels are reminiscent of Sandra Bricker's Emma Rae Creation series (including Always the Baker, Never the Bride; Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride; Always the Designer, Never the Bride; and Always the Baker, Finally the Bride), filled with laugh-out-loud moments and excellent character development. Ms. Thompson's focus on wedding photography and flowers, in addition to cake and wedding dress design, set her apart from Ms. Bricker's works. Additionally, Ms. Thompson's personal experience in wedding planning becomes exceptionally evident in the level of detail that she brings to her novels.
Overall, I found these books to be exceptionally fun to read. Out of all the books, I most enjoyed the first two novels (Picture Perfect and The Icing on the Cake), as they seemed to be the most well-developed out of all the stories and had more mature characters than the final two.
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!