Sunday 23 November 2014

Book ~ "Merry Ex-Mas" (2013) Sheila Roberts

From Goodreads ~ Cass Wilkes, owner of the Gingerbread Haus bakery, was looking forward to her daughter Danielle's wedding - until Dani announced that she wants her father, Cass's ex, to walk her down the aisle. Seriously? Even worse, it appears that he, his trophy wife and their yappy little dog will be staying with Cass.

Her friend Charlene Albach arrives at their weekly chick-flick night in shock. She's just seen the ghost of Christmas past: her ex-husband, Richard, who left a year ago when he ran off with the hostess from her restaurant, Zelda's. Now the hostess is history and he wants to kiss and make up. Hide the mistletoe!

And bring out the hot buttered rum, because the holidays aren't easy for Ella O'Brien, either. Ella, newly divorced, is still sharing the house with her ex while they wait for the place to sell. The love is gone. Isn't it?

But watch as Christmas brings all kinds of surprises.

Merry Ex-mas, ladies!

'Tis the Christmas season and Cass, Charley and Ella are having issues with their exes.  Cass's daughter, Dani, is announces her engagement and their plans to get married right away.  That means Cass has to help pull the wedding together within weeks.  Icicle Falls is a small town and there's just so many places to stay ... so Cass begrudgingly will have to find room for Dani's father (Cass' ex-husband), Mason, his new young wife, Babette and their yappy dog at her house.

Charley owned a restaurant with her now ex-husband, Richard.  Richard and the restaurant's hostess ran off together and Charley was forced to buy him out.  Now he's back, acknowledging he made a mistake and is begging Charley to take him back.  He's wining and dining her and she's having a hard time resisting.

Ella and Jake hadn't been married long.  Jake is a musician and she suspected that he was cheating on her so divorced him.  Ella's mother, Lily, never liked Jake and did all she could to break them up.  He had maintained his innocence but Ella didn't believe him.  They are both living in their house while they try to sell it.  Jake has one last chance to win Ella back.

This is the eighth I've read by this author (and the sixth in the Icicle Falls series that I've read) and I liked it.  Written in third person perspective, the focus shifts among the characters and you get to know what they are thinking.  I liked the writing style and found it was easy to read.  As a head's up, there is some mild swearing.

I liked most of the characters and their interactions with each other.  The women showed they were true friends and showed up when they were needed.  I found Dani to be ungrateful.  She's an adult and working (as is her fiancé) and sprung this wedding on everyone yet would become a brat when she didn't get her own way ... like she wanted cupcakes instead of a wedding cake, she didn't see a problem with having her father, his wife and their dog staying at her mother's house, etc.  She knew her mother couldn't afford a lot of what she wanted yet she forced her mother to give in.  But Cass let her get away with it.  One of the few times Cass stood up to her, Dani left in a huff and Cass felt obliged to apologize.   Plus Cass was bitching to herself that she couldn't afford this or that yet she never called Mason to demand he contribute to the costs and she got mad when he did.  That didn't seem realistic to me.

I found the brief side story with Cecily between torn between good guy, Luke, and bad boy, Todd, strange.  I know the author was setting these characters up for The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane but I found it awkwardly placed in this story.

As a bonus, Cass shares some of her recipes at the end (she owns a bakery).

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