Thursday, 22 October 2015

Bella's Christmas Bake Off - Sue Watson

About the book...
Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials. 

But this year things are going to be different. 

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever. 

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off… 

After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember… 

A hilarious, heart-breaking and feel good read about best friends, baking and the magic of Christmas. 

About the author...
Sue Watson was a TV Producer with the BBC who combined motherhood and family life with a busy career. However, one day it dawned on Sue that Cosmo magazine may have been telling porkies about 'having it all,' and her life had become a slightly crazed juggling act. 

So after much soul searching (and comfort eating) Sue abandoned her TV career, bought a pink laptop and wrote a novel. 'Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,' tells the story of Stella Weston, whose life is a constant struggle with a nasty boss at work, the weighing scales and being a mum, wife and daughter. 

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire. When she's not toiling over her latest novel, Sue bakes (and eats) cake and enjoys very large tubs of Caramel Chew Chew ice cream all to herself while watching 'The Biggest Loser USA.' 

Sue's second book, 'Younger, Thinner, Blonder' was released in October (2013) and her third book 'Love, Lies and Lemon Cake' was released on June 27th 2014. Followed by Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams in July of this year.

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by Kim at Bookouture in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.  If you've never read any of Sue Watson's books you are seriously missing out.  Her books are delicious, usually including some cake or in the case of Bella's Christmas Bake Off, a lot of cake and other delicious goodies. After reading Sue's last book Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams I got fit and lost weight - well..... I thought about it and now wish I had because this book is filled with so many delicious goodies, I gained pounds just reading it.

This is my perfect kind of book, good food, glitter, spangles and christmas.  Two main  characters that evoke genuine feelings - on more than one occasion I could have shook Amy and slapped Bella. If I wasn't laughing at their antics I was internally shouting at them. Within the first few pages all the christmas happiness is shattered when Neil, Amy's husband drops a bombshell.  It's three weeks until christmas, the tree's up and Amy is just icing the christmas cake when she finds out he's trading her in for a new model, who is not just younger, but also happens to have a pole at the end of her bed - purely for exercise of course, yeah right ;D

Adding to her misery is Bella Bradley, tv cook, life guru and all round superstar.  Amy is obsessed with her, comparing her dull life to that of Bella's - the girl who seems to have everything.  They were childhood friends growing up together, the bestest of friends, Bella and she like sisters.  That is until Amy did something that Bella thought to be unforgivable.  This book sees the tables turned.  Amy can't believe that Bella has done something so totally unforgivable and so publicly too!  She sees her chance through a TV competition to confront Bella.

This was a beautiful story about friendship and discovering what is important in life, with a little bit of love and flirting thrown in for good measure.  Two characters on the surface opposites. One larger than life, brash and hard faced.  The other sickeningly sweet and malleable.  There's tears and laughter by the bucket load, sarcasm and cutting remarks all sweetened by delicious food that will make you drool.

As the book progresses the masks are lowered and the real characters come to life - how many times do we all pretend to be something we're not, hiding behind a persona like a protective shield - presenting a facade we think people want to see. Bella and Amy are no exception, time spent together strips the layers away as secrets are revealed and truths are spoken.

She's only gone and done it again. Sue Watson has got the recipe just right, an uplifting read, with all the glitz and glamour of christmas with tantalising temptations you'll feel you can lift straight off the pages.  She's an author who I'll never tire of reading, each and every book delivers exactly what it says on the tin - escapism, laced with pure indulgence - just perfect.

Now where are the 'Rudolf Brownies?' Just one more please...... :)

If you don't buy any other christmas book this year make sure you buy this one, you won't be disappointed!

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