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. Ã¢ËÂº
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, LucyÃ¢â¬âas in "I Love Lucy"Ã¢â¬âand 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.
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.***