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Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe

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Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture. Little Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture. Little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill, it’s a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, new love can blossom and where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it…


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Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture. Little Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture. Little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill, it’s a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, new love can blossom and where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it…

30 review for Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Yet another overdue book review. I read this one as soon as this happened . . . . So, you know . . . . Okay, not really, but next year? It’s on like bing bong starting November 1. I’m like 99.99999% sure it was Bonnie who mentioned this title, but old lady brain sometimes tells me things that aren’t actually true. I do know the discussion had been regarding Lifetime Christmas Movies and my affinity for them and that this was pr Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Yet another overdue book review. I read this one as soon as this happened . . . . So, you know . . . . Okay, not really, but next year? It’s on like bing bong starting November 1. I’m like 99.99999% sure it was Bonnie who mentioned this title, but old lady brain sometimes tells me things that aren’t actually true. I do know the discussion had been regarding Lifetime Christmas Movies and my affinity for them and that this was promised as one of those films in book format. And it totally was! This was the second in a series about the Comfort Food Café, but it worked just fine as a standalone. The story here is about Becca who avoids . . . well pretty much any human interaction that she possibly can . . . but ESPECIALLY at Christmastime because she’s a real . . . . There’s a good chance you’ll want to kick her in the babymaker until her reasoning is finally explained since she comes off as quite the . . . . . But at the end of it all it is oh-so-very-Lifetimey-yummy as Becca realizes . . . “All you have to do is give it a chance, and I’m sure something magical will happen.” If you’re already compiling your to-read list for December, this might be a winner. Heck, add it for that cover alone. And . . . .

  2. 5 out of 5

    enqi ☁️✨

    REVIEW NOTE: I believe these books can be read as standalones, even though they are part of a series. This is one of those books you read when your brain is dead, or when you're in a particularly tolerant mood. I didn't click with Becca, the main character from the start. She was way too bratty for me. Later on, she was portrayed as an emo teenager with many vices, but it felt more forced than natural. I thought the story got a little better when her adult perspective was finally introduced. But a REVIEW NOTE: I believe these books can be read as standalones, even though they are part of a series. This is one of those books you read when your brain is dead, or when you're in a particularly tolerant mood. I didn't click with Becca, the main character from the start. She was way too bratty for me. Later on, she was portrayed as an emo teenager with many vices, but it felt more forced than natural. I thought the story got a little better when her adult perspective was finally introduced. But after a while, I also got tired of the 8348725 times she said she hated Christmas and its traditions/culture. It wasn't long before the book began to drag for me, and it happened within the first 5 chapters. The love story in this book is severely lacking too. I don't even think Becca and Sam are introduced until about 40% in the story. The development arc wasn't very well written either; it was like one moment Becca was worried about her vices and the next they were in bed. These two quite plainly didn't have much chemistry (to me at least). To complicate things, there was (view spoiler)[ pregnancy drama (hide spoiler)] thrown in at the end of the book that lasted like a chapter and which was clearly meant to throw them together. Only, Becca did have some character development and that's the reason why I'm not giving it one star. But honestly, I was in a sort of daze after a while when I started this book - just going through mechanical motions of sounding the words in my head, comprehending them, and then flipping the pages. At the end all I can say is: at least it counts for my reading challenge.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Claire Robinson

    4.5 - It's definitely beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Stars! Christmas at the Comfort Food Café is the second successful seasonal read for me from Debbie Johnson, after absolutely loving Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper last year, I was quick to request this title when I saw it on Netgalley. Becca and Sam’s story wasn’t massively new or unusual in the tropes used, but it was well written, bolstered up by a host of likeable secondary characters, and hit just the right note in dram 4.5 - It's definitely beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Stars! Christmas at the Comfort Food Café is the second successful seasonal read for me from Debbie Johnson, after absolutely loving Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper last year, I was quick to request this title when I saw it on Netgalley. Becca and Sam’s story wasn’t massively new or unusual in the tropes used, but it was well written, bolstered up by a host of likeable secondary characters, and hit just the right note in drama levels for a book set around the Christmas period. I am used to solitude and it is used to me. I think Becca is definitely a character you will either empathize with or struggle to understand, for me it was a bit of both, but the more of her that was revealed as the book progressed, the more I sort of understood her as well. Dislikeable as she was a points due to reactions and behavior, I actually saw a little of myself in her, which kind of made it difficult to out and out be put off by her personality. He’s a bit of a clown, a quality I find highly attractive in a human being. I loved Sam, in that he tried to be what Becca needed him to be, even if you as the reader can tell that he had fallen hopelessly in love with her during the time they spend together, nice guy that he was, he knew that any pressure would send her running, and adjusted his actions accordingly. "When I do kiss you… it’ll be because we both want it, and we’re both ready. And it will be an absolute cracker of a kiss, I promise." Another great, easy to read Christmas treat from this author, I look forward to reading more from her in the future. ARC generously provided via Netgalley, in exchange for the above honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Irena BookDustMagic

    This summer I read Debbie Johnson's Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe and, even though I had a hard time connecting with the main character Lauren, I ended up liking it. When I heard about festive novella Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe, I knew I wanted to read it because: a) I liked Johnson's full time novel, the setting and characters she created so I was glad I had a chance to revisit that imaginary cafe full of positive vibes; b) Festive stories are my favorite reads so, of course, the curiosi This summer I read Debbie Johnson's Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe and, even though I had a hard time connecting with the main character Lauren, I ended up liking it. When I heard about festive novella Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe, I knew I wanted to read it because: a) I liked Johnson's full time novel, the setting and characters she created so I was glad I had a chance to revisit that imaginary cafe full of positive vibes; b) Festive stories are my favorite reads so, of course, the curiosity won me over; c) The novella follows a different narrator. This time we have a chance to read about Laura's sister Becca, who we didn't get a chance to meet properly in the book one; d) The cover is just plain gorgeous and I am weak when it comes to beautiful covers, especially christmassy ones. Revisiting Dorset and „exploring“ it during winter was a pure pleasure. It was so nice to see how Laura's life is going after the Summer is over and how her relationship, but also the lives of all the side characters I already knew improved. This novella has 187 pages, so it is on a longer side. Honestly, it felt like a novel to me. Nevertheless, I think it is just about perfect leight because it reads like a complete standalone story that left me satisfied. I wouldn't want it to be longer or shorter. Becca was a narrator I found to be easy to connect with. Because of that, I enjoyed Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe so much more then it's predecessor. This is a standalone novella and you can it read even if you haven't read Summer at the Comort Food Caffe. The writer explained everything that happened before and the story is easy to follow. However, you should be warned that going into this novella you will be spoiled for the book one, so if you plan to read both stories, I suggest you to read them in order they were published. The writing style is simple and easy to read. The story is written in first person from Becca's POV. Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe consists of three parts: Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. The first part is written in third person. Some parts of the story were little rushed (ex. the wedding), some were a bit predictable (ex. a big thing that happend to Becca closer to the end), but overall it was a good festive read that I would suggest if you're in the mood for something quick that will put you into Christmas Spirit. Note: I got this book for free via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. Thank you HarperImpulse. Read this and more reviews on my blog: http://bookdustmagic.wordpress.com

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Carter

    I loved the Comfort Food Cafe and getting to know Laura, her family and the numerous characters of Bunbury. Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe is the follow up and makes a lovely Christmas time read. It's only a short story and you could read it as a stand alone book, with the author giving back stories on what happened in the first book to either refresh your memory, or to bring new readers up to date. The first book was centred around Laura and her move down to the Jurassic coast. This time we I loved the Comfort Food Cafe and getting to know Laura, her family and the numerous characters of Bunbury. Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe is the follow up and makes a lovely Christmas time read. It's only a short story and you could read it as a stand alone book, with the author giving back stories on what happened in the first book to either refresh your memory, or to bring new readers up to date. The first book was centred around Laura and her move down to the Jurassic coast. This time we discover more about Laura's sister, Becca, who is visiting Dorset from Manchester for Christmas and the wedding of two of the characters we first met in the first book - i won't say who! The descriptions of the cafe during the winter, with the snow on the beach and of the yummy sounding cups of hot chocolate with marshmallows, really conjured up wonderful images and the wedding storyline has plenty of moving moments. Laura has a bit of a Bah humbug attitude towards Christmas, and in flashbacks to previous Christmases in the Fletcher household, we get to understand why Laura isn't keen on Christmas and why she's the way she is. It was fantastic getting to catch up with what felt like old friends again at the Comfort Food Cafe. It's one of those books that make you feel all warm and safe, perfect as a pick me up at this time of year. Books such as this one make me want to move down to the West Country when I move home to the U.K from Australia this year. They really paint an idyllic picture of places filled with loveable characters and jaw dropping stunningly beautiful scenery.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Obsidian

    Apparently I am 0 for 2 for Christmas romance reads this year. Geez. Well this was disappointing. I found book #1 a solid romance so I bought book #2. The second book in the series focuses on Laura's younger sister Becca. We have heard from Laura that Becca drinks, does drugs, and has all kinds of sex with totally wrong men, but loves her life. Becca goes and visits her sister and her family for the Christmas break to see how they are settling in and to meet her sister's new boyfriend. The big p Apparently I am 0 for 2 for Christmas romance reads this year. Geez. Well this was disappointing. I found book #1 a solid romance so I bought book #2. The second book in the series focuses on Laura's younger sister Becca. We have heard from Laura that Becca drinks, does drugs, and has all kinds of sex with totally wrong men, but loves her life. Becca goes and visits her sister and her family for the Christmas break to see how they are settling in and to meet her sister's new boyfriend. The big problem is that Becca hates Christmas. She also hates too much togetherness as well. We find out why Becca is this way, but honestly I wanted to tell her to grow the hell up so many times while reading I am not even getting into her backstory (which I totally called by the way). Becca is not that interesting to follow in this book. We find out that she has been on a diet that does not include men, drinking, drugs, etc. since her sister fell apart two years ago after her husband died. That apparently means that Becca is not much fun at all these days. Though her sister still tries to set her up with someone, Becca is resistant, until she's not. Honestly, there was no real tension in this book. Reading about Becca constantly turning down the character of Sam was boring. Heck it gets even worse when they finally get together. I wish that we had Becca talking to her sister and even her mother in this one. She shares all of her secrets with Sam and another resident and it didn't feel real at all after what Johnson shows us of this character. The writing was eh. Due to Becca not being a central part to the story, she feels removed from other characters we heard about in book #1. I would have expected more of Becca playing and hanging out with her niece and nephew, or staying up all night talking to her sister. They all barely interact in this one. The flow wasn't great. The story felt rushed (it was only 209 pages) so the get together of the hero/heroine came way too early and didn't feel earned. The setting could have been perfect if the Christmas aspect had been played up more I think. Instead I found myself rushing to finish this thing. The ending made me roll my eyes. No spoiler, but come on. It was totally obvious where this was going to go. Going to skip reading any more books in this series. I think I would just end up irritated.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This was a lovely Christmas story (although I would recommend reading Comfort Food Cafe #1 first - it was really good and most of the characters are introduced there). Becca, who hates Christmas, is nevertheless spending it with her family at the Comfort Food Cafe. The location and the great people work their magic on her. I liked Becca - she had a good sense of humor and some real issues, and I loved reading her story!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe sort of follows on from the first book in the Comfort Food Cafe series, Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe. Don’t worry though as it really does read as a stand alone, though probably will have you racing back to read book one. Where as we get to meet Laura in book one, we now get to know her sister Becca better. I loved Becca. She reminded me of myself when I was younger. Probably not a good thing when you read the book and see what she was like growing up but I r Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe sort of follows on from the first book in the Comfort Food Cafe series, Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe. Don’t worry though as it really does read as a stand alone, though probably will have you racing back to read book one. Where as we get to meet Laura in book one, we now get to know her sister Becca better. I loved Becca. She reminded me of myself when I was younger. Probably not a good thing when you read the book and see what she was like growing up but I remember the childish strops and the door slamming as well as the many drunken nights in my teens. Oh, okay so there may have been a few since then also lol. Whilst she was a bit of a handful she is still a decent person who more than anything is trying to find herself. The trip to the small Dorset village is just what she needs, whether she knows it or not. Seeing the village in the full swing of Christmas was great. My head was full of wonderful visions of the cafe, the area and he homely house that Laura and her family live in. I so wanted to be part of it all. Whilst this may have a wonderful romance story that has you full on routing for Becca, it is essentially Becca learning some home truths about herself and leaving the past behind and getting on with the future. A fabulous read that I raced through as couldn’t put it down.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    This was FABULOUS. I HATE (with a passion) most books written in 1st person/present tense because more often than not they are little more than a vapid 'look at MEEEE - aren't I wonderful/clever/amazing/gorgeous etc. It wasn't until Chapter 5 that I realised that this book is just that- 1st person, present tense - and up until that moment I had not noticed! In fact I had to skim back over the preceding chapters just to check. I wont go into the story, but this is the second in the series. I haven't This was FABULOUS. I HATE (with a passion) most books written in 1st person/present tense because more often than not they are little more than a vapid 'look at MEEEE - aren't I wonderful/clever/amazing/gorgeous etc. It wasn't until Chapter 5 that I realised that this book is just that- 1st person, present tense - and up until that moment I had not noticed! In fact I had to skim back over the preceding chapters just to check. I wont go into the story, but this is the second in the series. I haven't read the first and yet the author managed to achieve what a lot of other writers fail to do - to sum up the events of the previous book without resorting to tedious info-dumps or horrendously faked 'conversations' that sound like a ten year old wrote them. The writing was beautiful. Poignant, funny, charming and yet honest. By the time she left Manchester in July, Lizzie had been seventy er cent sullen teen, thirty per cent little-girl-lost. Not just your normal sullen teen, but Sullen Teen With Dead Dad, which takes the potential for disaster to a whole new level. I really 'got' that. I thought I'd scored a blinder with my Aussie accent, until a girl waiting on us in a cafe on the seafront turned out to be from Sydney and I was rumbled. Loved the brevity of that - It made me imagine the whole scene and what had gone on before. Enough details to give some depth to the scene, but not so many that I ended up bored. This book is heavy on dialogue and yet the conversations are believable and sound 'right' - this is how people DO talk to each other. As for the characters, I loved Becca but I adored Sam. Who could resist a man who says - in response to Becca's - 'I won't respect myself, though, you see.' 'Ah,' he says. 'Well, that's different, then. That actually matters.' Five stars and my thanks to the author for such a wonderful story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    ‘They are perfect together, and it’s only their pasts holding them back. Which, I suppose, is a sentence that could be applied to all of us, in some way or another.’ Becca Fletcher has always been known as the wild child of the family: drugs, alcohol, one night stands, you name it. She’s turned over a new leaf after a tragedy strikes her sister’s family and she realizes that it’s time she became someone that can be depended on. And now that same sister is asking her to come visit her for Chris ‘They are perfect together, and it’s only their pasts holding them back. Which, I suppose, is a sentence that could be applied to all of us, in some way or another.’ Becca Fletcher has always been known as the wild child of the family: drugs, alcohol, one night stands, you name it. She’s turned over a new leaf after a tragedy strikes her sister’s family and she realizes that it’s time she became someone that can be depended on. And now that same sister is asking her to come visit her for Christmas. She hates Christmas, but she just can’t say no to her sister. The little town of Budbury is a charming little seaside village where everyone is friendly and looks out for one another. It’s the kind of quaint place that is only found within the pages of a story, but it doesn’t stop you from wishing such a place really existed. This is a fun Christmas time read but admittedly the Christmas theme took a backseat to the romance. Becca’s sister has been trying to set her up with the cute Irish boy named Sam since this past summer and when she visits, they finally meet in person for the first time. I appreciated Becca’s honesty with her past problems and not wanting to jump into anything (like a bed) too quickly and was up front and honest with him about this. She didn’t beat around the bush and gloss over her problems or make any sort of excuses, so for him to continue to doggedly pursue her despite her insistence they take things slow was a bit problematic for me. Granted, this all works out like your typical storybook romance is supposed to and was undeniably cute once I got past my awkward feels about the whole thing. Christmas + cutesy romance = two peas in a pod.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    Now, I just need some snow to make the Christmas reading a little cozier.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Hmm, you know when you really get into a series and then the dreaded book comes where you dislike one of the characters? This is the one for me. Becca Fletcher is the younger sister of Laura, the subject of the first book Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe. Always the rock-n roll chick, the wild child, the girl most likely to [insert doomsday scenario]. We saw her as Lizzie's confidant in the first book, always joking about wild parties, drugs and booze. The reality is somewhat different. Unbeknown Hmm, you know when you really get into a series and then the dreaded book comes where you dislike one of the characters? This is the one for me. Becca Fletcher is the younger sister of Laura, the subject of the first book Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe. Always the rock-n roll chick, the wild child, the girl most likely to [insert doomsday scenario]. We saw her as Lizzie's confidant in the first book, always joking about wild parties, drugs and booze. The reality is somewhat different. Unbeknown to the rest of the world Becca gave up all of that the night her brother-in-law David died. Now it's almost Christmas, Becca's least favourite time of the year, and she is finally coming to Dorset to spend Christmas with Laura and her children and her new man, Matt and the rest of the villagers as they prepare for Cherie Moon and Farmer Frank's Christmas Eve wedding at the cafe. Almost from the first chapter I found Becca a difficult to like character and frankly I never warmed to her. Her entire life, one way or another, appeared to be one of secrecy and self-absorption - funnily enough she came across as more likeable in the first book where she supported Laura and helped her to understand what Lizzie was doing and feeling! Indeed, Laura sees Becca as this feisty, sarcastic, funny free-spirit, down with the kids and rocking her life whereas what we see in this book is a miserable woman afraid to embrace life and love. Laura had already sent photos of hunky Sam to Becca as a possible boyfriend in the first book, but that didn't explain to me why Sam found Becca so attractive. As I recall the book my over-riding impression is of Becca sitting in a corner, drinking diet coke and not participating in ANYTHING. You know, like that one 'friend' you have who just sucks all the fun out of an evening? And dare I say it, I found Becca's reason for hating Christmas to be predictable and signalled from a long way off. Anyway, just my opinion, others may love Becca and Sam.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Agi

    Christmas is coming earlier and earlier each year, at least bookish Christmas - "Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe" is already one of the few festive reads that I read in September. Not that I'm complaining - I love Christmas and I probably could read Noel - centred books all over the year. And especially if they are written by Debbie Johnson - she has really ricocheted herself to the top of my favourite authors list and I'm sure she's going to stay there for a very long time, if not for ever. I Christmas is coming earlier and earlier each year, at least bookish Christmas - "Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe" is already one of the few festive reads that I read in September. Not that I'm complaining - I love Christmas and I probably could read Noel - centred books all over the year. And especially if they are written by Debbie Johnson - she has really ricocheted herself to the top of my favourite authors list and I'm sure she's going to stay there for a very long time, if not for ever. I think I don't have to emphasize that "Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe" is a return to our beloved Comfort Food Cafe, as the title says it all. However, this time, even though it is also return of some of the characters that I've learnt to love in the previous novel, this story is told by Becca, Laura's sister. Becca seems much more disturbed and complicated than Laura but she has her reasons! She also hates Christmas, literally hates it, and we quickly learn why as the story begins with showing us a few of Becca and Laura's Christmases, and those scenes were brilliant, they were like watching a kaleidoscope, and no matter what there was always a Christmas disaster with Becca.. I think she would be a great best friend of Scrooge. But now the biggest nightmare of Becca is coming true - she is going to spend family Christmas, together with Laura, her children and Matt, and the whole team from Comfort Food Cafe! Oh boy... Why is Becca such a Christmas grouch? What has happened? Is she going to open to her family? Start to enjoy life more? Is the Comfort Food Cafe going to do its magic again? This all, and much, much more is waiting for you in this brilliant, warm, cosy and already festive story. What I like so much in Debbie Johnson's books is that they so effortlessly combine fun and humour with more poignant, serious issues and I love the way she always deals with those issues, with a lot of understanding and without judging, letting the reader know all the circumstances and judge for themselves. Yes, there were moments that I felt desperate with Becca, she was not too easy - going, she was always kicking herself, and it seemed as if she didn't want to change, at all, that she's happy in her shell and I wanted her to stop being like this. She wasn't moaning or wanted to burden us with her problems, she wanted to deal with them alone, but her being so miserable inside and only showing the world a different face was not good for her and I wanted her to go out of this dark and cold corner, and to fully live. Becca is this kind of person who's initially not so easy to like but as the story went along she really grew on me, she got under my skin and at the end I was a putty in her hands. Debbie Johnson has made her character really complex and complicated and she brilliantly showed how difficult it is to break off with your old habits, how easy it is to stay like you are just because it's more comfortable, and how much it costs - and I mean here emotions and feelings - to try to go out of your comfort zone, and this all made Becca only even more realistic and believable. The story brings us back all the characters from the summer novel, introduces new of them, and focuses more on the characters that we got to know in summer and now have a chance to get to know much better, such like some sexy surfer Sam, mmmm. Sam was so, so funny, so laid - back and easy going, you know, he was the yin to Becca's yang or whatever it is - I loved their banter and the way they were so honest with each other, they didn't fake anything, they were genuine with their feelings. It seems that Comfort Food Cafe is really a magic, perfect place to be when you have problems and I want to go and live there, and eat Laura's brilliant food. When reading the story I just wanted to be a part of it, to join the gang and to forget about all my worries and sorrows. I think this story can be read as a stand - alone novel but I also think you'd miss out too much on the summer book, and on the whole Comfort Food Cafe charm. Immediately after starting reading this sequel I've felt at home, as if I was meeting with good, old friends. Yes, I'd love to hear much, much more from Laura and the gorgeous vet, as well as from her brilliant children, but I do appreciate the turn this story took, the depth and - shortly - I just get what the author wanted to do this time. The story brilliantly mixes fun and seriousness, and Debbie Johnson is truly a champion of writing catching one - liners and hilarious scenes, and you need to read the wedding or the visit at the shopping centre for yourself. Each character mentioned in this book, even so very background one, like for example Willow and her mum, had their place in this story and their presence adds tons of warmth. "Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe" is like a mug of Laura's hot chocolate with marshmallows - warm, melting your heart and cheering. Highly recommended! Copy provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alison Winter

    Totally awesome story of Becca, sister of Laura and how she finds happiness at the comfort food cafe. Very lovely story about sisters and overcoming personal demons.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Gilbey

    What a wonderful return to the Comfort Food Cafe, and this time from Becca's perspective, instead of sister Laura's. Becca is a bit of a scrooge sort of person, she really hates Christmas, and the start of the book, shows various of their childhood Christmases as to why she is that way. I loved those Childhood memories as they are the sorts of incidents that happen up and down the world in families every year, without fail, and they are as amusing as they are recognisable. We then fast forward t What a wonderful return to the Comfort Food Cafe, and this time from Becca's perspective, instead of sister Laura's. Becca is a bit of a scrooge sort of person, she really hates Christmas, and the start of the book, shows various of their childhood Christmases as to why she is that way. I loved those Childhood memories as they are the sorts of incidents that happen up and down the world in families every year, without fail, and they are as amusing as they are recognisable. We then fast forward to the present day and Becca is to join Laura at the Comfort Food Cafe for December. Becca soon can see all the reasons that Laura loves her new home, and there is a certain surfer who catches her eyes. The cafe is a sort of magical place, so whether it can weave its comfort around Becca is to be discovered. If you haven't read the first book don't worry this could easily be read as a standalone, but you would be missing out on a wonderful story in the original. As a sequel this feels quite different and although all the regular guests to the cafe are back the focus of the book isn't so much on them, but partially on Cherie's wedding. Despite being a book featuring a Grinch like person, and you obviously wanting to see her heart melt, it really is the sort of story that will greet you like an old friend, and envelop you in a big warm hug, and of course a cup of hot chocolate, like in the cover for the book. I loved the Christmassy elements of this story, but also the greater depth, as Becca touches upon the hidden reasons as to why she has acted in certain ways over parts of her life. Not only the Christmas bits, but the Christmas wedding which needs to be read to be believed. That whole event had me smiling from start to finish, as it was so perfect for Cherie. In fact I really did love the whole of Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe, its definitely another winning book from the talented Debbie Johnson. Thank you so much to Harper Impulse and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leona

    This is wonderful feel good sparkly story that you will want to read curled up with a cup of hot chocolate. It’s a follow on from Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe but can also be read as a stand-alone . This time the story revolves around Laura’s sister Becca but we also are reintroduced to the characters we met previously . I absolutely adored this book and highly recommend .

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Keeper Bookshelf

    Reviewed at Heart Full of Christmas Becca is a difficult person, character, to really understand or like, for that matter, at the beginning of Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe. The story itself sets her up that way, and her early actions will reinforce that puzzle of who is she really. In the end, Becca is simply her own unique person – like all of us. Nope, she’s far from perfect but so am I. She’s definitely moody, and often times mean. Yet, there underneath the surface stuff is a woman who h Reviewed at Heart Full of Christmas Becca is a difficult person, character, to really understand or like, for that matter, at the beginning of Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe. The story itself sets her up that way, and her early actions will reinforce that puzzle of who is she really. In the end, Becca is simply her own unique person – like all of us. Nope, she’s far from perfect but so am I. She’s definitely moody, and often times mean. Yet, there underneath the surface stuff is a woman who has been hurt, not seen or valued for herself and who has learned her own defense movements to keep her own sanity intact. We all cope with life differently, this was Becca’s way. Much like the earlier book in this series, this story tells us of one woman’s journey to discover herself within the comfort of family, good people and an atmosphere of acceptance from those around her… something Becca is not used to. As she slowly comes back to life, opens up her heart about the terrible hurts she’s experienced that shaped her future we will see a slightly different Becca. Oh, she’s always going to be that unique personality but she’s more human, more easy to sit back with and simply relax. Her romance with Sam is a slow burn and it moves along at the right pace for them. Sam is exactly what Becca needs in her life, she might just have to be convinced of that small fact for a bit. I enjoyed Sam and Becca’s journey in Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe. I’ll tell you frankly that Becca will not be my favorite character from this story or this series… but I did grow to understand her and like her. And the ending she and Sam found was perfect for them and that’s really all that matters. While I wouldn’t call this a traditional Christmas story – it is one that will touch your emotions and give you a tear or a smile along the way. I enjoyed my time in their world and I believe you would as well. I own a Kindle copy of this story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Clough

    So wonderful to go back to the lovely small seaside village of Budbury in Dorset and the comfort food cafe it's simply brilliant I didn't think it could improve on the first book but it did so well written and has you in tears plenty but also happy. Shows how you need to let the past go before you can move forward. Plenty of romance and of course plenty about families and friendship. Plenty of healing takes place and so heartwarming. Laura and her children have settled in really well now and get So wonderful to go back to the lovely small seaside village of Budbury in Dorset and the comfort food cafe it's simply brilliant I didn't think it could improve on the first book but it did so well written and has you in tears plenty but also happy. Shows how you need to let the past go before you can move forward. Plenty of romance and of course plenty about families and friendship. Plenty of healing takes place and so heartwarming. Laura and her children have settled in really well now and getting close to Christmas and Laura's sister Becca hates Christmas and has done for years but how will she escape it this year with heading to her sisters and being in the small seaside village. Once she arrives her sister is putting decorations up and the children want Becca to help but she really wants to be somewhere further away but they then surprise her and say she can stay in her own place above the cafe as the owner has moved in with her husband to be. She loves the place and enjoys the peace and quite but she soon spots a man on the beach and her heart turns but she doesn't want to be tempted. She has kept from her sister that she has stopped everything from her past and not drinking or anything but she doesn't want to let any one down. She soon gets friendly with everyone who comes to the cafe but when she opens up to one person what happened in her past little dos she realise she would then sleep and be able to feel relaxed more. She starts getting friendly with Sam but says she doesn't want a relationship but they do get friendly. It comes towards Christmas and her parents have come down and there is a big wedding in the town but Sam then has to head home and is sorry to say goodbye to Becca. Christmas Day comes and Becca is being sick and says she has a bug but her sister thinks she could be pregnant. Becca leaves to go home but stops at the service station and soon learns her life is gong to change in a big way but will she stay back in Manchester where she is from away from Sam or move back to Dorset and how will she tell Sam her news and how will he react will it be what he wants or not. Worth far more than five stars as simply brilliant.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maddie butler

    A Christmas story like none other. Becca hates Christmas always has always will. Until she travels to the comfort food cafe to spend Christmas with her sister and her two kids. Becca wasn’t always the best daughter or sister growing up but when her sisters husband dies she makes it her goal to straighten up and to be there for her sister. Little does Becca know that the comfort food cafe is full of miracles.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen Mace

    I received a copy of this via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review. I was so excited to see that there was to be a Christmas story from the folk at the Comfort Food Cafe, as I adored the first book so much........... and this is every bit as good as I'd hoped it would be!!! The first in the series is based on Laura and her families perspective on life as they up sticks and try to move on, with the help of a new start at the Comfort Food Cafe in Dorset. This Festive edition still featur I received a copy of this via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review. I was so excited to see that there was to be a Christmas story from the folk at the Comfort Food Cafe, as I adored the first book so much........... and this is every bit as good as I'd hoped it would be!!! The first in the series is based on Laura and her families perspective on life as they up sticks and try to move on, with the help of a new start at the Comfort Food Cafe in Dorset. This Festive edition still features Laura and her family, but the story mainly concentrates on her younger sister Becca. We only get to hear of her via phone in the first book, but she is the main focus of this tale... and what a tale it is! The book starts with flash backs to Christmas pasts for Laura and Becca and how their family Xmas time has gone, and goes someway to explain why Becca seems to hate Christmas so much!! Really loved the nostalgic mentions of times gone by with all the old favourite xmas toys getting a mention! Fast forward to the present day, and life for Becca has never been simple and she's really lived on her own since she was 18 and that's always been the way she has liked it. She has often turned to booze and drugs to numb her pain no matter the suffering it caused to those around her. Add to that she also suffers terribly with insomnia, i understand her pain!, and she always seems reluctant to let anyone in and know exactly what she is going through and she would rather happily shut herself away and try and conquer her demons on her own. So Laura invites her to stay in Dorset with them for a month around Christmas as she thinks this is a great way for them all to be together and for Becca to get away from things for a while and maybe some of the Dorset air will make her lighten up a bit and see another side to life - and Christmas! Loved how all the old characters really fitted in with this new story and it all felt like such a lovely community and this book is littered with so many laugh out loud moments that it was just a pure delight to read! And as Becca lightened up and let go, it was great to see a different side to her personality emerge, and the flirting and banter between her and surfer Sam was just perfect! I think I need a surfer Sam in my life!! ;) A treat to read at anytime of the year, but even more perfect with Christmas approaching! And I hope we'll get to revisit the Comfort Food Cafe again soon!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela Newby

    Loved this one as much as Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe. It was lovely to read Becca's story and to return to all the characters from the first book. Can't wait to read the rest of the series.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Dazzlepants

    This was everything I could’ve wanted from a Christmas romance! It had snow, baked goods, a reformed rebel, a small seaside town, adorable quirky residents, and personal redemption. I empathised with Becca as a character - hell, I relate to anybody who hates people - and really enjoyed following her arc. She’s unlikeable and difficult but manages to find herself in this quaint little town, taking a journey that’s as cute and fluffy as it is awkward and realistic. I went into this expecting some This was everything I could’ve wanted from a Christmas romance! It had snow, baked goods, a reformed rebel, a small seaside town, adorable quirky residents, and personal redemption. I empathised with Becca as a character - hell, I relate to anybody who hates people - and really enjoyed following her arc. She’s unlikeable and difficult but manages to find herself in this quaint little town, taking a journey that’s as cute and fluffy as it is awkward and realistic. I went into this expecting some cute fluff with baked goods galore, but was surprised at the complexity of Becca’s story and how much I empathised with her. Definitely a great introduction to Christmas romance!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I absolutely adored the first book in this series review here. This book was the perfect follow up leaving me with exactly the same warm feeling with the added advantage of that magical Christmas bubble. I love Christmas books and the magic that they leave you with. This one follows Laura's sister Becca who has agreed to come over to Dorset for a few weeks leading up to Christmas. She is more of a party girl than her sister, who settled with her childhood sweetheart. Becca hates Christmas but lov I absolutely adored the first book in this series review here. This book was the perfect follow up leaving me with exactly the same warm feeling with the added advantage of that magical Christmas bubble. I love Christmas books and the magic that they leave you with. This one follows Laura's sister Becca who has agreed to come over to Dorset for a few weeks leading up to Christmas. She is more of a party girl than her sister, who settled with her childhood sweetheart. Becca hates Christmas but loves her family enough to try to overcome that for the festive season. She seems to be hiding troubles of her own and we get to learn more about her throughout the book. The Comfort Cafe may have its work cut out to weave its magic around her- but Surfer Sam may be able to get through that tough exterior! The great quirky characters are back in force and the setting just has the imagery enhanced with the falling snow! Becca is sent out on a trip to her idea of a nightmare and brings back the cafe's kitsch essential inflatables. You can just imagine her 'Bah humbug' face throughout! Becca is nursing her personal heartbreak but trying to hide that from everyone- she finds Sam helps her get over a certain degree of pain- but where will their futures lead? He's 'surfer Sam' and she leads the busy, city life! Will love find a way? Becca reaches out to the unlikely allie- Edie and that is such a heartwarming friendship. This book is full of friendship and village community spirit, beautiful scenery, romance and fun. With many thanks to Harper Impulse and Net Galley for the chance to read this one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I thought I was going to be generous and give it 2 stars but then (view spoiler)['Happy' played instead of 'Here Comes the Bride', and the following pages made me hate the word happy. My cynicism piqued and therefore my reading experience got worse from there. (hide spoiler)] . The pop culture references were excessive, and not very relevant. Likening Matt to Han Solo, for example, I liked - it served a purpose. Placing bets on what song is going to play? Shut up. I found the writing repetitive o I thought I was going to be generous and give it 2 stars but then (view spoiler)['Happy' played instead of 'Here Comes the Bride', and the following pages made me hate the word happy. My cynicism piqued and therefore my reading experience got worse from there. (hide spoiler)] . The pop culture references were excessive, and not very relevant. Likening Matt to Han Solo, for example, I liked - it served a purpose. Placing bets on what song is going to play? Shut up. I found the writing repetitive overall, even when it wasn't desperately trying to include more song names and italicised titles. I expected a cute family story coupled with a cute romance, and I think that was the intention but?? There wasn't any chemistry between the characters, we're just told there is. As for the ending, while I didn't like it, I can see why the story went there, and it could have been interesting and made for character development and drama, but it just fell flat, like it didn't matter. (view spoiler)[Sam didn't even react to finding out he would be a dad? That seemed like lazy writing to me. He can be supportive and loving without immediately (a) predicting it (b) being able to keep a neutral expression (c) having no reservations or concerns whatsoever. Yeah, it didn't make sense. (hide spoiler)]

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jane Linfoot

    After reading the first Comfort Food Cafe book earlier this summer, I've been looking forward to returning to the Comfort Food Cafe for what seems like forever, so it was fabulous to finally get my hands on this Christmas story. Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe is everything I'd hoped for, and every bit as satisfying and delicious as the double whipped cream topping on the cover promises it will be. The length means it's possible to wolf it down in a fabulous single-sitting read. But Johnson's After reading the first Comfort Food Cafe book earlier this summer, I've been looking forward to returning to the Comfort Food Cafe for what seems like forever, so it was fabulous to finally get my hands on this Christmas story. Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe is everything I'd hoped for, and every bit as satisfying and delicious as the double whipped cream topping on the cover promises it will be. The length means it's possible to wolf it down in a fabulous single-sitting read. But Johnson's books are so full and well rounded, she delivers a lot more satisfaction in these 190 pages than many other authors give in much longer books. Her writing is deft and fabulous, her characters are real and gritty, and their journeys lead to a wonderfully bitter sweet read. There are "fall off the sofa laughing" moments alongside "reach for the tissue" moments too. Add in the wonderful setting of the cafe, the food, and the Dorset beachside location, and you have a wonderfully evocative story, which you'll want to go back to again and again. Even if you haven't read the first book, I think you'd get on fine reading this one. as a stand alone. A cracker of a read at any time of year.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    I'll be honest, I was so excited to read this book after reading Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe that I had built up my expectations and was let down. I think what I didn't like the most was that it was about Becca and not about Laura again. I found Becca to be cynical and quite annoying and found it wasn't the heartwarming Christmas tale that I really envisioned. I know the story had to be different from the last book but I think it could have been more about Christmas. All I read was a story wa I'll be honest, I was so excited to read this book after reading Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe that I had built up my expectations and was let down. I think what I didn't like the most was that it was about Becca and not about Laura again. I found Becca to be cynical and quite annoying and found it wasn't the heartwarming Christmas tale that I really envisioned. I know the story had to be different from the last book but I think it could have been more about Christmas. All I read was a story was a girl who actually hated Christmas. Which if I knew that that was what it was about, I probably wouldn't have read it. I do love Debbie Johnson's books, but was left quite disappointed unfortunately. I felt like this book was literally a repeat of the first book but with different characters. Even some of the lines in the book were the same.. Overall, I would recommend it if you're into reading a similar story twice (I know most chick lits are similar but this is OTT), but some parts had me smiling and other parts had me cringing so quite disappointed overall.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    3.5 CHRISTMASSY STARS! “I feel the words rising, and they are words I’ve never, ever spoken out loud before. Words that belong to stories I’ve never told. Words that describe the hurt I’ve never expressed. Words that probably won’t capture the guilt I’ve never properly climbed over. I feel them there, these words, powerful, bubbling under the surface like lava, scalding hot and searingly painful.” *** This book was cute, really cute. I loved the storyline and the characters were amazing! What d 3.5 CHRISTMASSY STARS! “I feel the words rising, and they are words I’ve never, ever spoken out loud before. Words that belong to stories I’ve never told. Words that describe the hurt I’ve never expressed. Words that probably won’t capture the guilt I’ve never properly climbed over. I feel them there, these words, powerful, bubbling under the surface like lava, scalding hot and searingly painful.” *** This book was cute, really cute. I loved the storyline and the characters were amazing! What did bother me was the rushed love between Becca and Sam though, it goes WAY too quickly between them. But literally WAY TOO quickly. And although I liked this book, it did take me a good week to get through a 198 pages long book. That normally would take up a day, two at most! That's why I'm not giving it more than 3.5 stars. It's a good book for when you want a quick light read though, something else for when you need a break from a certain genre or just something in general!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shaz Goodwin

    http://www.jerasjamboree.co.uk/2016/1... Christmas in October? If you’re on social media you will have noticed many gorgeous Christmas novels being published. I must admit to loving seasonal reads. Always guaranteed plenty of feels and this is just what we get with Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe. Christmas past for Becca hasn’t been a time of year that is magical and full of wonder. Aged 4 and 8 she hates it. As a teen it’s a time of year that marks something a lot darker and deeper. In the pr http://www.jerasjamboree.co.uk/2016/1... Christmas in October? If you’re on social media you will have noticed many gorgeous Christmas novels being published. I must admit to loving seasonal reads. Always guaranteed plenty of feels and this is just what we get with Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe. Christmas past for Becca hasn’t been a time of year that is magical and full of wonder. Aged 4 and 8 she hates it. As a teen it’s a time of year that marks something a lot darker and deeper. In the present, as Becca is on her way to Budbury she shares some backstory to Laura’s life (important if you haven’t read SatCFC). Once there, Comfort Food Cafe once again works its magic

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Wow! How amazing to get back to the Comfort Food Cafe! After reading the first book I was super excited go see there was another book and to make it even better its Christmas! The book is from Becca Lauras sisters side, we only just met her on the phone last time round so it's lovely to get to know her better and find out more about her. It is fabulous to catch up with our favourite characters from the first instalment I think Debbie is absolutely fabulous at creating big characters that you jus Wow! How amazing to get back to the Comfort Food Cafe! After reading the first book I was super excited go see there was another book and to make it even better its Christmas! The book is from Becca Lauras sisters side, we only just met her on the phone last time round so it's lovely to get to know her better and find out more about her. It is fabulous to catch up with our favourite characters from the first instalment I think Debbie is absolutely fabulous at creating big characters that you just love instantly and you feel like you've known them all your life. A few pages into the book and its like you've never been away. The comfort food cafe will always hold a piece in my heart I adored it! Its one I wont ever forget.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Houston

    Lovely festive book. Hadn't read the 1st one in the series, so was worried I may not keep up, but i need not have worried the author kept us up to date. Could totally relate to Becca. Im not a christmas person myself, so enjoyed listening to her being humbug. Not many festive books, are honest in this way. Its normally all oh i love christmas characters. Had a lot of giggles with the book. One in particular "At the age of ten, Laura isnt quite sure what constitutes sexy but hopes her Dad isnt it Lovely festive book. Hadn't read the 1st one in the series, so was worried I may not keep up, but i need not have worried the author kept us up to date. Could totally relate to Becca. Im not a christmas person myself, so enjoyed listening to her being humbug. Not many festive books, are honest in this way. Its normally all oh i love christmas characters. Had a lot of giggles with the book. One in particular "At the age of ten, Laura isnt quite sure what constitutes sexy but hopes her Dad isnt it. Its great when you get one liners like this in a good book. Would recommend this book to others, and will be off to read the 1st in the series now

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