Friday, January 11, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway - Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

Book Synopsis
From the RITA Award–winning author of Five Days in Skye comes a sweet, romantic treat that will leave you hungry for more.

Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country?an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-cafĂ© in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.


Purchase Links

TyndaleAmazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


My Review

Breakfast at Bittersweet Cafe tells the story of Melody Johansson and Justin Keller.  Melody is a pastry chef working late at night when a stranded motorist comes to the door of the restaurant.  He is Justin Keller, a handsome pilot, and there is an immediate connection between the two.  As they get to know each other they both also plan to pursue their dreams.  Melody wants to own a restaurant in her hometown in Colorado, while Justin wants to work as a pilot in Florida.  Is it possible for them to make a relationship work?


This is the second book in the Supper Club Series.  I have not read the first book, but this novel worked well as a standalone read.  (Of course, having enjoyed this book, I want to go back and read the first as well!)


I really liked both Melody and Justin.  Justin was one of my favorite romantic protagonists in recent reads.  I loved the description in the book:  "He was funny, intelligent, perceptive.  Surprisingly humble, which was not a trait she'd have associated with a guy who was practically the template for a romance novel hero" (p. 97).   I loved the scene where Melody and Justin met at the restaurant after hours, and enjoyed their repartee and combination friendship-attraction.


I am a foodie and one of my not-so-secret dream jobs would be owning a little bakery.  I loved the baking details in this book!  They were just perfect (even though they sometimes made me hungry  -- i.e. for Butterscotch Bars!).


This was such a satisfying read about likable, decent people that I really cared about.  It just flew for me as a read, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys contemporary romance and Christian fiction ... and especially for other foodie readers!


Author Bio

Carla Laureano is the RITA Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.


Connect with Carla

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



One lucky reader will win a copy of this book!  Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.   Giveaway ends midnight on Friday, November 18.  Winner will be notified by email and needs to respond within 48 hours or another name will be drawn.  Good luck!

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Book Spotlight and Giveaway - A Murder by Any Name by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Book Synopsis
When a brutal murder threatens the sanctity of the Elizabethan court, it’s up to a hot-tempered spy to save the day.

The court of Elizabeth I is no stranger to plotting and intrigue, but the royal retinue is thrown into chaos when the Queen’s youngest and sweetest lady-in-waiting is murdered, her body left on the high altar of the Chapel Royal in Whitehall Palace. Solving the murder will require the cunning and savvy possessed by only one man. Enter Nicholas Holt, younger brother of the Earl of Blackwell—spy, rake, and owner of the infamous Black Sheep tavern in the seedy district of Bankside. Nick quickly learns that working for the Queen is a mixed blessing. Elizabeth—salty-tongued, vain, and fiercely intelligent—can, with a glance, either reward Nick with a purse of gold or have his head forcibly removed.

When a second lady-in-waiting is slain at Whitehall, the court once again reels with shock and dismay. On the trail of a diabolical killer, Nick and his faithful sidekick—an enormous Irish Wolfhound named Hector—are treading on treacherous ground, and only the killer’s head on a platter can keep them in the Queen’s good graces.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo

Author Bio

Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She served as Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and taught literature and creative writing there for nearly two decades. Wolfe is the author of three novels: A Murder by Any Name, The Confessions of X, and Unveiling.

Thirty years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories, and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families. Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington.

For more information, please visit Suzanne M. Wolfe’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 3 hardcover copies of A Murder By Any Name! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.  

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
A Murder By Any Name