Dani’s on a mission to get her life back on track by the end of the summer. Running, rowing, aerobics and more, but perhaps all she needs are sweet treats and a second chance?
Twenty years ago, Dani fled Appledore with a broken heart and a suitcase full of shattered dreams. Only now is she brave enough to put her past behind her and return for a summer selling homemade ice cream and getting fit by doing sit-ups by the sea.
But the new-look cafe is filled with old memories of Jude, her teenage sweetheart-turned-sour. She thinks of him every time she swirls warm sauce onto a 'chocolate-bockaglory' and even with the help of Chris, her gorgeous personal trainer, the urge to break her diet is everywhere she turns.
When Jude makes an appearance at the cafe on the eve of Dani’s birthday party, history threatens to repeat itself. Is Dani strong enough to say no? And is the love she’s been longing for much closer than she thinks?
A truly delicious, laugh-out-loud beach read that’s guaranteed to melt your heart. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Jenny Colgan and Debbie Johnson.
What people are saying about Sue Watson:
‘At one point I choked on my coffee I was laughing so much! With characters you really care about Sue Watson has written a book that will keep you captivated until the very last page.' The Book Review Café
‘Oh guys, this book wowed me totally! It’s going to warm your heart, break your heart as well, and make you laugh. It’s a perfect mix of every feeling possible. It’s a compelling, captivating, optimistic read and I highly recommend it!’ On My Bookshelf
‘The story is just wonderful. It truly is heart-warming and hilarious, but also connected with serious issues.’ Liina Reads
‘This book is a delight, perfect for curling up with a glass of wine and a bar of chocolate or cupcake in hand. This was a fabulous, humorous, easy read which I devoured in two sittings.’ Shaz’s Book Blog
‘Sue Watson did it again! Every single word in her stories is sweetened with chocolate, vanilla and cupcakes and there is no way you'll feel down after reading them…Totally recommended!’ Chick Library Cat
‘Heartfelt and warm, and perfect for the holiday season. Highly recommended.’ Any Good Book
‘I never thought I'd laugh and cry as much as I did while reading this book. I wish I could give it 10 stars! I loved this story and hope others do too.’ The Final Chapter
‘I genuinely laughed out loud reading Bella's Christmas Bake Off. It was a lovely, relaxing read, and one that really cheered me up. It has the perfect recipe of laughter, happiness and a little romance thrown in…I absolutely loved this book, it is a fab Christmas read and I highly recommend it. I give Bella’s Christmas Bake Off 5 Stars.’ Tea Lady Mumbles
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved visiting in Appledore with Ella as she found a new purpose and direction and breathed new life into her aunt’s café on the seashore. Now the call to come home has reached Dani, and as the new manager of the café, she’s searching for somewhere familiar and comfortable while she decides on her next moves. For me, Dani was a bit of a difficult character at first: she’s guarded and appears to be easy-going, not taking anything too seriously except food. But that approach hides some very deep-rooted issues: issues that she pushes away with humor and then uses to beat herself up. Not only is she presenting a face that isn’t honest to the world, she’s incorporated that dishonesty to her own self: preferring to ignore emotions or stuff them down with food, rather than allow herself to feel anything past the textures and endorphin rush of the next mouthful. But Watson has other ideas for the heroine: giving her a safe space with supportive characters around her (yes, all of the people from the first book are very well represented here) and a best friend who alternates between supportive and take no prisoners. Dani needs to make changes in her life: deal with her own lingering issues from childhood and her weight: and with a crush on the handsome man who runs the gym, she has that option. Throughout her ups and downs, her discovering just how much better she feels after exercising and getting fitter, and a dream of a dress for her 40th birthday, Dani struggles through the process and slowly (perhaps a bit too slowly for her own good) starts to wrestle down the demons from her past. It isn’t until Dani starts to mesh (to me) that I couldn’t help but enjoy her. Blessed with a marvelous sense of humor, the early self-deprecating comments were a “say it first to save everyone else the trouble” defense: as she learns and finds little successes in fitness, those comments start to feel less defensive, and her actual embracing of emotions, finding the strength to stand up for herself as a viable and lovely being, and her finding a place that feels like the home she longed for as a child, she’s making huge progress. What emerges is a story that is hard to put down, even with the moments I had with her: insets from Gina and Elle, Elle’s mum and her social media immersion, Sue and her malapropisms and even the fashionista dog and a surly, if protective baker, all form a support system for her, full of laughs, emotions and missteps. Watson had me feeling every one of Dani’s issues:: a true highlight of this book. If you read and loved the first – you’ll enjoy this one. And if you haven’t – I suggest you give this series a try: easy to read in any order, Sue Watson is an author you’ll want to experience. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a fun book that had me laughing out loud in some places, but the laughs are definitely balanced with the struggles of the main character, Dani, as she struggles to lose some weight, and A LOT of emotional baggage in the process. The main struggle is that Dani has been comforting herself with food for almost her entire life. There are a lot of loose ends - the loss of her father at a young age, then the loss of her mother, and she still has not gotten over the heartbreak of her first love. There were a few things that really didn't sit well with me - at one point Dani tries to go to the gym, but can't actually reach her feet to tie her shoes. She also says she is around "three stone" overweight, which you could take to be roughly 40-50 lbs overweight. I don't think that is really overweight enough that you would struggle with being able to reach your feet to tie your shoes (especially as she is doing so sitting down). The other thing is that at the beginning, Dani really seemed whiny about her weight, and I wasn't sure how much more I was going to be able to take of it, but I am glad I pushed through and kept reading, because she does change her outlook (and the woe-is-me attitude goes away with it). Dani manages to pull herself and her life together, and stops blaming her past on her situation. All in all, a fun read. I had not read the first book in the series, but I don't think you really need to in order to enjoy this book.
A little while ago I read Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer (Review Here ) so I was on tenterhooks waiting for Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice Cream. The title alone conjures up such a delectable story, add in the cover image and it’s full steam ahead for a summer delight. If I thought the last book was funny this one probably quadruples the pleasure. I adore the descriptions of the food (always have snacks available when reading Sue!) the characters are hilarious and it’s such a heart-warming story. Dani is a bit on the large side so working in an ice-cream shop is far from ideal. Personal issues have caused a binge eating habit and her attempts to diet should come with a health warning! As you can imagine the gym or any form of activity is not her favourite pastime until a rather tasty (in the non-food sense) personal trainer takes her eye and she vows to get fit and lose weight before hitting forty. Of course life is never that simple and previous traumas have resulted in some of Dani’s eating habits, broken heart = comfort eating, bullying, body shaming etc .. all things that a lot of readers can probably relate too. Sue writes about all of this with sensitivity and humour, in no way is it ridiculed or belittled it just makes us all believe we can be gorgeous as we are. There are characters from the previous book so it’s nice to catch up with them and return to the idyllic setting of Appledore but it can easily be read as a stand alone. Overall this is just perfect for a summer’s day, a book to make you laugh and cry so be prepared for tears of all kinds! It also serves up some positive mental attitude .. you are who you want to be … oh and did I mention the food .. just read it you won’t be disappointed. Thanks to Sue, Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily.
Dani left Appledore after a traumatic experience. Her boyfriend at the time, Jude, shattered her dreams and broke her heart. She wanted to escape the aftermath and went to London to become successful. Ten years later she's back in her hometown where she works as the assistant manager of Caprioni's, the ice cream café she used to have a job at when she was a teenager. She knows Jude is still living in Appledore and that sooner or later she runs into him. Her biggest wish is to impress him with her achievements, so she can show him what he's missing. However, is she ready to meet him again? Dani isn't happy with herself. She's overweight and doesn't like the way she looks at all. That's why she tries the local gym, where Chris, the owner, offers to train her. Her aim is to lose as much weight as she can before her fortieth birthday. Will Dani be able to resist the temptation of delicious ice cream whenever she wants while she's at work and will she indeed feel better when she trains more and eats less? Does she actually need someone else's approval or does it only matter how she feels about herself? Will she learn to enjoy life and be proud of who she is both on the inside and the outside? Dani is training with Chris and this gives her the chance to get back in shape, but Dani has some other issues to work on as well. Her past keeps influencing her decisions and behavior. She has a lot of pain and self loathing to deal with and exercising is just one of the ways she can start feeling better about herself. I liked that she has so much support from people who love her because of who she is and not because of what she weighs. I liked her cheerful personality and impulsiveness and often had to laugh while reading Sue Watson's fantastic dialogue. I kept my fingers crossed that Dani would eventually see what a wonderful person she is and couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if she'd find the happiness she deserves. Sue Watson writes about a sensitive topic, dieting, in a beautiful honest and sympathetic way. Due to her detailed descriptions of feelings and doubts she managed to make me understand what Dani is going through very well. The emotions she focuses on are realistic and I liked the way she addresses the subject of not being comfortable in your own body and having to lose weight. She writes about the struggles with food, the reasons behind Dani's eating patterns, the shame, the insecurity, the cravings and the happy memories in a fantastic believable way and I was greatly impressed by the many amazing layers of her story. Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice Cream has a lot of depth and the many unexpected twists and turns kept surprising me. Sue Watson writes about women with plenty of insecurities. When they look critically at their existence they find a certain emptiness and with a little help from their friends they decide to change their lives and feel empowered when they start achieving their goals. I absolutely love that about all of Sue Watson's books. Her vivid writing style, knowledge of her subjects, sense of humor and creative themes stand out and they always make me want to read more. She combines this with mouthwatering descriptions of food, gorgeous men and sparkling romance. I absolutely loved Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice Cream and highly recommend this terrific humoristic story.