Sari Thomas loves the traditions of Christmas, and she has many expectations of what Christmas should be. This year, however, she’s finding that the Christmas holiday is not meeting her expectations. After all, her sister is moving out of the house they share, she’s struggling in her relationship with her other sister, and worst of all, a new bakery is moving next door.
The new bakery owner, Gabriel, is totally disrupting her concentration. He plays his music too loud. He’s cutting into her baked good sales. Everyone who comes into her shop is buzzing about him and his pastries. So, in irritation, she finds herself starting a prank war with him. As they constantly search to one-up each other, they find themselves starting to feel emotions that they didn’t think they would feel . . .
I noticed . . .
This was a book of big, close-knit families, and the family interactions were very enjoyable. The relationship between Sari and Gabe was also sweet, tender, and at times hot. I would love to see both Sari and Gabe’s siblings get their own stories.
This book was set in Manila, and there was so much I didn’t know about filipino Christmas traditions. I found myself googling how to make decorations as I went along. I also found myself googling are the different bakery treats and coffees that Gabe and Sari were making. I am completely unfamiliar with filipino desserts and found a couple of desserts that I want to try.
I wondered . . .
I wondered about the Christmas church services that they were going to in the book. They seemed to be very traditional in the Philippines. I think they were Catholic, but I’m not positive, and they definitely were not American Catholic. I would love to know more about them.
There were so many customs and things that I wanted to know about, and I look forward to reading more of this author’s books.
It reminded me of . . .
I loved the witty repartee and the prank war that started off this relationship. This is a big-hearted rivals-to-lovers trope book, and I really loved it. I wrote a whole blog post of eight rivals-to-lovers books that I have read in the past year, and that would be a good post to check out for read alikes.
The food descriptions are on par with the descriptions in Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires. Both books will make your mouth water.
Another romance I like that is dessert description heavy is Sandra D. Bricker’s Always the Baker, Never the Bride. Of course, that book is all cake, specifically kinds of wedding cake. It’s still very delicious reading though.
This was a perfect romance. It was sweet and a little spicy. The characters popped off the page, and I could have kept reading more about them and about their families.