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on September 3, 2010
In a word, Scrumptious! Sandra Bricker's latest release had me laughing out loud, craving crème brule, and aching for the hero and heroine as their faltering hearts brought them two steps forward and one maddening step away from each other. Always the Baker, Never the Bride is a story that will delight from first bite until the last delicious morsel. This contemporary romance left me cracking up with every chapter and growling when I had to put it down. I love the way the plot wove in unconventional patterns, and the rich complexity of characters had them jumping off the page. A second helping, please!
-Emily Hendrickson
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on January 16, 2011
After the death of his wife, Jackson wants to realise her dream and remodel a hotel into a destination enterprise, based on weddings. Emma, famous for her wedding cakes, is hired by Jackson. Emma falls in love for Jackson but he runs hot and cold, something Emma's friend call after care.

The book if full of wedding advice, recipes and tidbits relating to weddings. It's fun but distracts from the story, not that's much of it to start with. I noted that the french translation at the end was clearly made by a computer. That a pet peeve of mine : if you don't speak french, at least find someone who does to correct your text or avoid it.

A problem with some christian fiction is that the characters never feel real. I think they are just too nice or they just don't react as normal people do. I never felt Emma and Jackson falling in love, their feelings for each other were just too sweet and lukewarm. Emma never gets annoyed when Jackson steps back. The other characters are not better : the Italian chef is a caricature, so are Jackson's three sisters in the role of southern ladies. Jackson lacks substance. He hides from his brother in law, also his pastor, because he does not want to talk about God. Why hide ? Anyone would have told Miguel to back off. Also, an experienced pastor should know better that to force feed God on unwilling ears as it is counterproductive and will probably push someone to the opposite direction.

This is meant as a christian romance and as such, it delivers. For my taste, it lacked substance.
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on January 10, 2011
The book started off interesting, but it never picked up. I kept waiting for the relationship between the main character and her love interest to pick up and it never does!!! If you wants lots of wedding advice...this is great. If you are looking for a love story....look elsewhere!
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on January 14, 2011
It was free, and I still want my money back. I chose this, let's be honest, because it was free and I wanted something very light to read this time around. This is a trite story is about a diabetic baker, (Oh the irony!) who falls in love with her new boss, who, in turn is in love with his late wife and can't escape her memory. There is no point to making the romantic interest diabetic. She is healthy, thin, and beautiful. The men in this book are just like women in their reactions and emotions. I wonder if the writer has ever spoken to a man in her life. Jesus pops up every time a new minor conflict arises, like which outfit to choose. I don't know if this was a romance, spiritual book, or mental health test.
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on January 18, 2011
I was drawn to this because I generally like stories with cooks or bakers as the main character, and Bricker has the basis for some interesting characters. But they are all only outlines, with little real development. I also thought a story about a Type I diabetic would be educational, but this book barely touches on the subject. This is supposedly set in Atlanta, where anyone who has lived there since birth does have a particular accent; Bricker kept emphasizing one character's accent with words in italics, which was annoying. Lastly, I don't mind some religious content in books, but the pastor, Miguel Ramos, was too young and priggish to be giving the sort of advice he was constantly handing out. Jackson spends much of the time avoiding Miguel; I wouldn't have listened to him for more than a minute. The plot was okay, but I found myself skipping whole religious passages toward the end because they did nothing to further the plot, and seemed awkwardly placed. Unless you like your romances with little passion and a heavy sugary dose of religion, I would not recommend this book at any price.
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on May 14, 2012
What originally caught my attention was the title. I love to bake and cook, and I love reading and watching other people do the same. Some of my favorite books and movies involve making food, and I thought this might be a nice addition to my chick-flick shelf. Uh, no. While I knew that there were going to be heavy-handed religious overtones, that really wasn't what bothered me. You want to pray to get your man? Fine, whatever, it's something that's important to the character, and if the character is written well, I can totally get behind it. The problem with this book was that, well, the characters weren't written well. This felt incredibly juvenile- not because of the lack of sex (because I'm kind of prudish, fading to black is something I vastly prefer to graphic detail!), but because of the poor quality of writing.

I struggled to find any actual adjectives to describe the main character, other than "perfect". There was no real personality. Every other character was worse. The scenes from Jackson's point of view were absolutely laughable because I don't know a single person, let alone man, who thought the way he did. It was really stiff and awkward. Whine, whine, whine, I'm torn between living my life and living for my dead wife. Really? Because you haven't shown it. Every other character seemed to be the token placement, and there was no real subplot to keep the relationship going. The cutesy phrases that the author was clearly proud of (the "hens" the "after care") were quite honestly, lame. The sisters weren't individualized people, just one collective annoyance, when the author had so much potential. She could have given them each a personality to help both move along and regress the relationship between the main characters. Instead, they were one giant, cardboard cut-out of older sister.

In terms of formatting, the way the author wrote their accents drove me nuts. She chose a random word in their sentence to italicize, when every character from the book is supposedly from the same place. Either over-enunciate everyone's accent, or don't spell out anything! It was especially irritating because the words that were italicized were rarely ones that would have been especially accented in the first place. The second formatting complaint I have was that Bricker put dialogue from two different people on the same line, without any indication of a new speaker. That's just basic grammar 101. It's confusing for the reader, and poor form to boot.

Finally, the actual topic of food and diabetes was barely even mentioned, which was a real disappointment for me. The creme brulee cake was mentioned over and over again, without any new culinary masterpieces from Emma Rae. She was never actually baking, apart from perhaps one or two scenes. The diabetes was barely ever addressed, and when it was, it was absolutely ridiculous. While Id don't personally have diabetes, not one of the people I've met who has had spent all of their time whining about how they could only have a SINGLE bite of a sweet, or freaked out over having enough protein. Instead, like any other diet, they knew how to get a good balance for their body.

All in all, this book had potential. The author had a good concept, but she did not execute it well. I think this book would have really benefited from a few more edits, and more realism injected into the book. It read as something very amateur, and I left the book feeling quite unsatisfied.
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on January 20, 2011
The characters are boring and two dimensional. There is annoying southern dialect mixed in, like when one sister says, "come he-yar" or some such nonsense. The beginning of the book starts with a fight that doesn't make any sense. And neither does why Emma's parents don't get along or why they are so famous. None of that is explained. All issues are solved in some sort of fairy tale way.

Also, the religious stuff comes out of left field. I don't really mind the guy (I can't even remember his name) dealing with his loss of faith after the death of his wife, but when Emma starts praying FOR him, it just gets obnoxious. I didn't finish it.
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on January 19, 2011
It has been over 50 years since the medical community realized that diabetes isn't caused by eating sugar. Yet the book leads you to believe it does. She should be counting carbs, not sugars! Also - she checks her blood, decides she doesn't need insulin and then eats a meal. That isn't how it works - you take the insulin before eating so your body can process the carbs! No research on diabeties is apparant.

Meanwhile one dimensional charaters pray for the dumbest things. I choked when the omipresent minister indicated the wife's death was a gift from God and all they needed to do was pray to better understand why God took her so early. God knows all and wouldn't kill her if it wasn't his will. ARRGH!

I couldn't tell the trio of sisters apart. Four couples fall in love without any sign of connection between each other - God must have told them it was his will off scene!

I was also put off by the constant negativity for any wedding that wasn't out of Brides magazine. I had a baseball reception - at an actual minor league ball game. Threw out the first pitch, filled 250 seats with guests, everyone got a baseball card and pennant instead of dried out chocolate in tulle! People LOVED our wedding and our catered burgers, dogs and chicken sandwiches. NO ONE forgets our wedding 13 years later. Meanwhile the rubber chicken, bad dj, chicken dance weddings mush into each other and people can't tell one wedding from another. We had 250 people at our wedding and would have an 50 or less if we did a traditional reception no one remembers.
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on November 2, 2012
I hated almost everything about this book. Even though it's a romance, I sort of expected a plot. I kept thinking "ok maybe something will happen in this chapter" but I was disappointed every time. Some authors (for example Nora Roberts) can write a novel where nothing happens and keep it interesting. This author is no Nora Roberts.

I like to get free books for my kindle. I have found new authors this way and so I'm always willing to give something a try especially with it has 79 five stars. This book isn't even worth a single star. Save your money and go on to another book.
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on December 1, 2012
This was a book that just carried you along, the characters were real and the storyline was interesting. I loved the litlle seperate pages that not only gave you cake recipes ( I drooled) but other little hints, such as what to do for elderly guests at at a wedding. I was very taken with the idea of a Wedding cake in the shape of a baseball mitt, I thought this would certainly be an unusual cake. As I am diabetic like our heroine, I was interested in how she handled it. An excellent read all round.
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