Friday 20 March 2015

Review ~ How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake by Gina Henning.

Title: How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake (Home for the Holidays #2).
Author: Gina Henning.
Publisher: Carina.
Genre: Contemporary Romance.
Publication Date: December 3, 2014.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK


After the best Thanksgiving of her life, Lauren Hauser can’t wait to see Jack-the-pecan-hoarder so they can finally be in the same place at the same time. Long distance really doesn’t work when you’re head over heels! But when Jack doesn’t turn up at the airport Lauren is left wondering if their relationship is really as great as she thought? Sure Jack’s kisses were delicious and when he looked at her, her knees felt weak, but what did they really know about each other?

A big Hauser family Christmas is just what is needed for this situation. Not only will her mom be decking the halls with boughs of monstrous-Christmas-decorations, but Lauren is baking a Christmas cake to once again claim dessert queen of the family! Will Jack fit in with the Hauser clan? Or will Lauren have to face the music…and accept that not every holiday romance was made for a happily ever after…

Back in November, I read and enjoyed the first book in the Home for the Holidays series, How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie. I was looking forward to seeing Lauren and Jack’s story continued in the next book and after seeing all the great reviews come in, I really had to read How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake, even though Christmas had already been and gone. I genuinely expected to like this book more than the first one but I actually found it flat and disappointing. Almost everything I liked about the first book was gone.

How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake starts off quite slowly as it kind of sets the scene for the rest of the book. Lauren recaps how she met Jack and then we learn how he has stood her up at the airport. Of course, that does the job of making the reader want to know why, but I found it all a bit strange to be honest. Lauren witters a lot about strange things at the beginning of the book but thankfully that lessens once Jack is back on the scene. In the first book, I loved the little sparks between Lauren and Jack but I really felt that was missing here. I couldn’t see any attraction or feelings, even though the story is trying to tell us otherwise, and I can’t say I liked either of them myself. The way they spoke to each other made me cringe – the dialogue was so unnatural. It’s too wordy and over-the-top and I just couldn’t take it seriously. Lauren was irritating and Jack was very stand-offish. There were parts of this book that were meant to be romantic but I couldn’t buy into that.

It wasn’t just Lauren and Jack that I no longer liked – it was almost the entire cast. In the first book of the series, I found Lauren’s family to be realistic and though they argued a little, it had this warm vibe to it which put a smile on my face. Seriously, where was the festive spirit here? Lauren’s family just put each other down all the time. The arguing, the bitching… I really got tired of reading it. Aunt Minnie was one character I did quite like but her attitude seemed to change so suddenly, she confused me.

One thing I did love about How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake was the author’s descriptive writing and how she makes everything so easy to envisage. The Hauser family have some pretty funny Christmas traditions and some of their antics made me laugh. I loved the moment with the elf costumes and the vivid writing style made me feel like I was watching it play out in person. Just like in the first book, the food descriptions made me seriously hungry. Be prepared to snack whilst reading it. I loved Lauren’s meaningful idea to bake the Christmas cake and it was fun to see whether or not she could prove her family wrong and make it a success… How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake is not a bad book, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. Book three is set to come out in time for the 4th of July and I am sure I will be tempted to pick it up by Gina’s witty writing style and my need to know what happens next.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


  1. Anonymous21/3/15 13:17

    Hi, I've nominate you for the Leibster award :)


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