Thursday, December 18, 2014

Emmy's Christmas Book Review... Sweet Inspirations

It’s that time of year again, when innocent pine trees break out in ornaments and rednecks all over the south plug in the lights that they never took down last December.  One of my favorite guilty pleasure this time of year (besides sugar cookies) is silly holiday romance movies.  There are just some movies you have to watch each year - it’s just not Christmas without them.  Around my house it’s the Santa Clause movies, and a Hallmark movie called the Christmas Card.  And Die Hard, of course.  What, you don’t think Bruce Willis running around a skyscraper killing terrorists is festive?  I beg to differ……(lol)

I was surprised by how much I liked this little book.  And a little book it is, only 164 pages.  It’s just the right size for a quick afternoon read.  The story moves quickly, and is laugh - out - loud funny in many places.  As I told Barb, it reads like a sweet little Hallmark movie, but with sex.  

Here’s the plot:  As you may have guessed by the series title, Santa Claus (Klaus) has sons.  Five of them, to be exact.  Nicholas is the eldest and the focus of this first book.  He is a master baker, and chef, and all cookie and pastry and other goodie production out of his shop in Glasdorf, the North Pole.  At some point the knowledge reached him that someone out there in the real world (Eston, New York, in this case) had a better sugar cookie recipe than his.   Nick is just  a little bit OCD about having the best tasting cookies, so he took two weeks off from the daily grind to visit the town and check out this bakery, Sweet Inspiration, and its owner, Lucy Ann Brewster.  When we meet up with him, he is on the last day of his vacation.  He has visited the bakery every day, and tried almost everything on her menu.  He prides himself on being able to figure out ingredients from the taste of things, but he just can’t figure this girl, or her cookies, out.  He’s a little type A, so he cannot believe the lackadaisical way that Lucy runs her shop.  She’s friends with all of her customers to the point that she stands around the shop chatting with them, she bends over backwards to accommodate their wishes, her assistant is a character, to say the least - it’s a classic case of the big shot patisserie getting bested by a small town cook.  He’s not thrilled about it.  

Lucy, on the other hand, is living her dream, even though her dream is the hardest work she’s ever done.  She has a hard time saying no to people, and is so genuinely warm and friendly that people flock to her, and her shop, in droves.  She doesn’t know quite what to make of this tall, built, bearded (yes, bearded, like a lumberjack) dude who showed up in her shop and acts like some kind of a food critic.  When her assistant flakes out on her on the night before a gigantic order is due, Nick offers his assistance.  Well, he smelled cookies getting browner than he thought they should and just strutted back to the kitchen and took them out.  Then her assistant quit, THEN,  he offered his assistance, smugly.  Lucy had half a mind to tell him where he could shove it, but reconsidered.  The order she was going to have to cook all alone was HUGE; and they were already attracted to each other at this point.  After spending more than a few hours that night in the kitchen cooking together sparks started flying between them.  This is the only part of the book where I really had to suspend my disbelief - at this point they may have been watching each other for the past two weeks, but it seemed to me like they were moving at record speed in the physicality department.   Not that I’m complaining, mind you!  This author can write the hell out of a love scene!  You won’t see THAT on a Hallmark movie!

The next morning they are both crashed out on the lumpy couch in her office.  She wakes up before him, and goes to the loading dock to start receiving the daily deliveries.  The roads had iced overnight, and when her delivery man makes the turn into her driveway the truck starts sliding and BANG!  Lucy is hit, injured very badly.  Nick had only just awakened when he heard the crash, and panics.  He calls up his right hand man - right hand elf - and whisks Lucy away to the North Pole, leaving the delivery man pointing at the sky and making vowel sounds.  

This is where this story really starts to rock and roll.  Nick takes Lucy to one of the elves, a master healer.  It takes massive amounts of magic to save her, as she is knocking on death’s door.  After a few very tense scenes, she is out of the woods, and only needs time to sleep off the worst of her injuries.  He takes her to his house, and prepares to face the consequences of his actions.  The council of the elves ( the governing body of Glasdorf) calls him on the carpet for bringing a Sudlander (southerner, everyone south of the pole is a Suddie) to Glasdorf.  It is supposed to be a secret, after all.  Nick is never been one to break the rules, but as he is the eldest of the Klaus sons, he is destined to take up his father’s job one day.  He is conflicted about this, as he has worked for years to perfect his talents in the kitchen.  ** cue the dramatic music**

I really enjoyed this whole story, and I am going to leave you with the mystery of what happened to Nicholas and Lucy.  I’m sure you can guess the outcome, but let me assure you it was a happy ending for all.  The story was both engaging and easily read, humorous and sexy.  The author has created a wonderful cast of characters here.  Each of the brothers are unique, they interact well, Santa is not at all what you would have expected. (Loved that, that was a nice surprise.)  The world is described well, enough so that I could picture Glasdorf and the elves and Nick’s bakery very well in my head.  All in all it made for a sweet little Christmas romance.  

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