Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe ~ Review with Interview and Giveaway

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe
A Supper Club Novel #2
By Carla Laureano

When a snowstorm leaves Justin Keller stranded he has to make an early morning stop at the only place he can find which just happens to be the bakery where Melody Johansson is working a twelve-hour shift through the early morning hours. Melody is more than a little leery of this stranger who needs to use her phone but she never expected to be so attracted to him, well maybe a little, but she so doesn't want to be especially with her history.

Justin doesn't mind a little flirtation but a long-term relationship not a possibility with his schedule and he's not about to give up his first love flying just to make his work schedule more compatible. And he's seen first hand that a pilot's life does not a good marriage make - his parents are proof positive in his opinion. But for some reason Melody makes a place for herself in his thoughts. But he knows nothing will come of it as other than her place of employment he has no way to contact her.

But when he gets a request of help for the favor he owes her Justin agrees, after all, he is all but certain he will soon be calling someplace other than Colorado home. But he needs to let Melody know before any feelings develop between them and with a built-in time of expiration they will both be sure to keep this a friendship and nothing more.

With their respective pasts, Justin and Melody want to keep the heartbreak that always looms on the horizon away. But one can't keep the heart from caring no matter what the head says. And for two people who don't want to commit to one another Justin and Melody do a fair amount of kissing, which if you want to avoid commitment and complications should be avoided.

While Melody is dealing with her non-relationship with Justin she and her BFF Rachel are about to open a Cafe/Bakery of their own. A task that seems daunting but they have the support and help of their friend Ana and Rachel's boyfriend Alex. So just a word of warning if you are on a diet trying to avoid sweets, fat, carbs, and almost anything else you should be aware that there is a whole lot of baking going on. Melody bakes when she needs to relax, when she needs to forget her troubles, and to create the perfect menu for her soon-to-be-dream-come-true bakery.

This is the second book in the Supper Club series (the first has just been longlisted for the 2019 INSPYs). I haven't read the first book and for the most part, I believe this book can be read on its own - there are a few references to the previous book (which I believe may focus on Rachel and Alex). Overall this is a book that will appeal to those who are fans of Women's Fiction and Contemporary Romance Fiction. The characters are dealing with real day-to-day issues of the heart, work, and family in a way that is believable and not over the top. Book Clubs will want to give this one a look as a future possibility.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:
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

Tyndale | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes and Noble 

Author Q and A:

1) Who is your favorite comfort read author?

This is a tricky one because I read widely and have a lot of favorites! If I’m just looking for a book that I know will hit the spot and leave me with a good feeling at the end, I’d pick Charles Martin. That said, Tamara Leigh’s Stealing Adda is a book that I reach for whenever I’m sick in bed. There’s just something about this fun, chick-lit romance that makes me feel better.

2) What one author past or present would you like to mentor you?

Without question, Francine Rivers. Which is probably a good thing, because I recently got to meet her! In fact, I was able to ask her many of my burning career questions onstage at the Christy Awards ceremony, in front of an audience of authors. Because who wouldn’t want Francine Rivers as a mentor?

3) How do develop your setting (a photo, a trip, a random comment)?

I set my latest book series in my hometown of Denver, partly because I’ve seen a lot of Colorado mountain settings but very little of the city, and partly because it was an excuse to do in-person research. And when you’re writing a series that has to do with food, you can guess what kind of research that turned out to be… Yum!

5) Who is your favorite character in your book?

That would be like choosing a favorite child. I loved Melody because she’s fun and optimistic and surprisingly deep—she’s partially based on a real-life friend of mine. However, I relate much more to Justin’s steady nature and single-mindedness.

6) Coffee, tea, or cocoa ~ Which is your favorite?

Another hard choice! I normally drink a cup of coffee in the morning in the car, either coffee or tea at my desk during the day, and a cup of vanilla rooibos tea before bedtime. So I suppose I’m evenly split between the two. I would sooner give up coffee than I would tea, however. I do like cocoa, but that’s just an occasional treat. Too much sugar for me!

7) What one question do you wish you would be asked and how would you answer it?

“If you could write like any one author, who would it be?”

When I started out, I had a lot of writing heroes whom I wished I could emulate. The further I get in my career, the more I realize that what makes their writing so unique is what makes them unique as people… and the same with me. So I’ve gotten to the point where I’m very satisfied to be myself. I think it’s important that we celebrate other people’s successes and talent, while still appreciating what we have to offer as individuals. In anything we do, not just writing. Just because someone is awesome doesn’t mean that you can’t also be awesome in your own way.

About Carla:

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

Carla Laureano’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 7th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, January 8th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, January 9th: @createexploreread
Thursday, January 10th: Book Fidelity
Friday, January 11th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, January 14th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, January 15th: Amy’s Book-et List
Wednesday, January 16th: Faery Tales Are Real
Thursday, January 17th: Girl Who Reads
Friday, January 18th: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Tuesday, January 22nd: Read Eat Repeat
Tuesday, January 22nd: @_ebl_inc_
Wednesday, January 23rd: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, January 24th: Midwest Ladies Who Lit and @mwladieswholit
Friday, January 25th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, January 28th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, January 29th: Running Through the Storms
Wednesday, January 30th: Books a la Mode
Thursday, January 31st: The Sketchy Reader
Friday, February 1st: @thecaffeinated_bibliophile
Friday, February 1st: Blooming with Books
Monday, February 4th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, February 6th: What is That Book About

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