Book Review | “Sugar and Spice” by Angela Britnell #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 30 June, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#ChocLitSaturdays banner created in Canva by Jorie.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and I feature Romance & Women’s Fiction authors during @SatBookChat:

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how to promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “Sugar and Spice” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Why I was excited about reading more stories by Ms Britnell:

The best way to describe my thoughts about wanting to read another story by Ms Britnell is simply to re-share my thoughts on behalf of her novella You’re the One that I Want – as I had such a wicked blast reading it as it was the first #PocketChocLit I read whilst kicking off a mini-series of novella reviews featuring the first batch of ChocLit novellas which went into print a few years ago during Christmastime!

The stories were such a balm to my worried soul back then, as it was only a handful of weeks prior to Christmas that year when my Dad had had his stroke. ChocLit stories were the stories which pulled me through that December and even into the New Year of 2017. Sometimes focusing on stories helps our spirits when life turns especially adverse to where we need an outlet to redirect our thoughts off our worries and fears. One lovely thing though – each month Dad recovered more of himself and each new month thereafter the stroke felt farther away from having happened. Being able to care for my Dad all those months and still watching over him today, is one reason I am thankful I had the chance to remain close to home.

reflecting on my forethought’s

& afterthoughts:

Being in a position to reflect upon a story ahead of reading it has become a newfound joy of mine – where I get to suspend myself in the wonderful vortex of ‘could be or might be’ whilst never really knowing until I get the proper chance to read the story if I were hitting the target on the story’s heart or failing to pick up the threads of it’s narrative core.  In respect to You’re the One that I Want, I had an initial strong motivation to read the text as I simply find myself attracted to these kinds of stories quite often!

Remember when I said this:

The premise reminds me of “Under the Tuscan Sun” but with a built-in boyfriend and potential husband. The bit that reminded me the most is the touring bus & the holiday elsewhere from home, whilst life unexpectedly takes you by a surprise and gives you a new route to entertain experiencing. Love those types of stories!

There is something about being swept away on a holiday, never thinking your going to randomly meet-up with someone who could be your equal, your partner and your match. I love the folly behind the match, too! How they are playing that ‘should they or shouldn’t they’ stay together gambit, whilst sorting through their emotions. The funny thing is that for every Rom-Com (esp in movies on television) that sets up a couple in this fashion – where they are faking a relationship, inevitably they realise their error and remain together.

And, how do I feel now after reading this lovely novella twice (once for the live tweeting & re-reading for this review) about what I expressed within this paragraph:

The best bit for me is seeing how they come to this realisation – what was the impetus of changing their minds!? How did they realise that this ‘random something’ was worth taking a risk of a chance on and turning it into a romantic forevermore? I love seeing how they put it all together – weigh the odds and somehow realise that life affords us a lot choices, but sometimes the hardest thing to influence your choice is the one thing that ‘feels right’ in the moment where your life surprises you with something you hadn’t expected to find. At least not in the timing it’s being presented. There is an allure of that beautiful reverie of romance inching itself forward into your life when your focus is on everything *except!* falling in love! Laughs. Of course, that’s *exactly!* when love walks in through the door you never realised you left open!

I must say, Ms Britnell managed to woo me into her comedic Contemporary, where humour plays a big role in alleviating some rather adverse life moments (or rather side-stepping a few!) whilst honing in on the realities of dating before marriage and after divorce. She found a way to fine tune the realities of a workaholic businessman who hadn’t quite considered himself doing anything more than what he projected himself to accomplish in the business world whilst finding a singleton from England who was a bit jaded more then he was on the whole dating situation!

My initial musings were quite bang-on to what I found inside the novella – it surprised me a bit because I hadn’t realised I had tapped into the heart of the story-line as well as I had until I was reading how it all unfolded. The best part truly though was getting the joy of meeting a #newtomeauthor and reading a small slice out of her ongoing series set in Nashville! I loved the charm of the story but also the unexpected ways in which Ms Britnell surprised you – you might think you understand all the ins/outs of what could happen between Sarah and Matt, but that’s where you get a curveball of something wickedly unexpected!

-quoted from my review of You’re the One that I Want (Pocket ChocLit)

The only thing I’m unsure about though is if Sugar and Spice is the first novel in the Nashville series or simply a one-off non-connected to the series at hand, as Lily is from Nashville. The author’s website infers its not connected and thereby, I didn’t mention a connection on this review. The novella I read during December 2016 truly was the best way to become ‘introduced’ to Ms Britnell’s style as she put a lot of her comedy inside the story but also, showed the heart of what you can find inside Sugar and Spice as well.

Ms Britnell happily commented below this review & announced ‘Sugar and Spice’ does begin the #NashvilleConnections series! Isn’t that rather grand!?

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Book Review | “Sugar and Spice” by Angela Britnell #ChocLitSaturdaysSugar and Spice
Subtitle: The Way to a Hero's Heart
by Angela Britnell
Source: Direct from Publisher

The Way to a Hero’s Heart…

Fiery, workaholic Lily Redman is sure of two things: that she knows good food and that she always gets what she wants. And what she wants more than anything is to make a success of her new American TV show, Celebrity Chef Swap – without the help of her cheating ex-fiancé and producer, Patrick O’Brien. So when she arrives in Cornwall, she’s determined to do just that.

Kenan Rowse is definitely not looking for love. Back from a military stint in Afghanistan and recovering from a messy divorce and an even messier past, the last thing he needs is another complication. So when he lands a temporary job as Luscious Lily’s driver, he’s none too pleased to find that they can’t keep their hands off each other!

But trudging around Cornish farms, knee deep in mud, and meetings with egotistical chefs was never going to be the perfect recipe for love – was it? And Lily could never fall for a man so disinterested in food – could she?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

Book Page on World Weaver Press

ISBN: 978-1781890837

Also by this author: , You're the One that I Want

Genres: Baking, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance


Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th May, 2014

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 304

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Ebook, Audiobook (CD & Digital) and Large Print

Nashville Connections series:

Sugar and Spice | Book One

What Happens in Nashville | Book Two (Synopsis)

The Wedding Reject Table | Book Three (Synopsis)

Love Me For A Reason* | Book Four (Synopsis)

You’re the One that I Want* | Book Five (← this is one of the #PocketChocLit editions!)

Here Comes the Best Man | Book Six (Synopsis)

(*) only two of these are not currently released into audiobooks!

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance + #ChocLit

About Angela Britnell

Angela Britnell

Angela was born in St. Stephen, Cornwall, England. After completing her A-Levels she worked as a Naval Secretary. She met her husband, a US Naval Flight Officer while being based at a small NATO Headquarters on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark. They lived together in Denmark, Sicily, California, southern Maryland and London before settling in Franklin, Tennessee.

Angela took a creative writing course in 2000 and loved it so much that she has barely put her pen down since. She has had short stories and novels published in the US. Her novel Sugar & Spice, won Choc Lit’s Search for an American Star competition and is her UK debut.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

My review of Sugar and spice:

I immediately felt connected to Lily, (sans her pinkish admiration for luggage) as a fellow traveller – of going elsewhere rather unexpected and hoping what you’d find upon arrival would be better than your best hopes of what the place would yield! This is something all travellers can relate to be true for them, as whenever you go someplace new, there is this inertia of hopeful joy bursting inside your bones, of new experiences and the joyfulness of creating memories of a place you hope will linger inside your heart for awhile afterwards.

I also knew what it was like to find a cab to take me to where I was staying, as half the time, the beauty of travelling are the lovely random convos you engage inside with those you meet along the way! They can offer local flavour, insight and just give you a nudge of re-settling where you’ve planted yourself if the flight or road treks were dearly long and exhausting! Therefore, I truly loved how this started off on Lily’s arrival, peering into her world as she drove up to Cliff House as it is such a relatable moment!

Talk about a firecracker meeting of the minds! When Lily first meets Kenan, sparks fly (in the wrong direction!) as these two decidedly independent people find themselves locking heads rather than finding common ground! The irony of course, is how Kenan felt protective of Lily, shortly after meeting her and how adverse Lily was to the kind gesture which had taken a bit of the resolve Kenan had for handling her requests as her new driver. On his end of things, he’s a Vet returnt from war, trying to sort out his civilian life and not finding it easy to gain traction back home. She, on the other hand is a no-nonsense business woman who knows what she wants, when she wants it and doesn’t suffer fools.

Hmm. Sometimes I do wonder about women – why go after a potential client for a project your working on if the person is a notorious womanizer? Much less, why exactly ‘dress the part’ to entice him to listen to you? To me, it’s illogical to even consider it a viable option for any project but what gulled me a bit is that a woman would think she needs to dress a certain way in order to book the person she wants for a televised series. On the flip of this, why not go after the blokes who respect women and see them as equals? There are loads of men in the cooking field who appreciate women colleagues and treat them with the kindness they deserve? Why not highlight those blokes rather than the slime? I mean, seriously!

Apparently, it was part of his persona moreso than his trademark reputation but evenso, I couldn’t quite say I warmed to Chef Pascal. The second chef she was interviewing for a chance at the swap was much more appealing but then again, I love independent farms and ranches. Love finding people who love living off the land or finding ways to have the land become a beneficial component of their lives – as more restaurants are using ingredients sourced out of their own gardens nowadays, as well as giving foragers a chance to drop their wares at their back-doors for seasonal surprises for their customers. Farm to fork and the slow food movement has it’s keen benefits for everyone but one thing I have noticed I have a penchant for are the people involved in the movement itself. Their typically open-minded about sharing their experiences and of generating a conversation to those who are considering adding to the culture either on a small or large scale which helps enforce the work communities are making towards a greener future.

This farm in the story was definitely the kind I love reading about IRL – where the truer difference is not just where you source your food but how it is being maintained by those who grow it. CSAs are lovely and all, but my favourite finds are where you can find a market attached to a farm or a local co-op farmer’s market where you can find a lot of local farmers all selling together vs having a subscription box which is limiting in regards to how to feed a larger family solely based on what is in the box. I understand the costs involved in the CSAs but sometimes, I do wish we could find a better way to support the farmer and have more food for larger families without need to supplement the box with more produce.

In small scenes, we start to see how unravelled Kenan is around people – of how he’s not handling his current state of mind well and how he tries to avoid talking about it full-stop by either walking away or finding excuses to disappear. He’s either struggling through PTSD or there is something else going on which is hurting his spirits right now – where just to do the job at hand is almost too much for him. You feel for him in a lot of regards, as anyone whose struggling just to get by is someone you have sympathy for even if the details of what is bothering them is withheld. Not everyone can share what is wrong and sometimes, it’s not a particular ‘thing’ over another; sometimes it’s quite complicated to even find a way to explain what is affecting someone.

Full stop. My bakery heart had to rush over into a new tab as I was writing this review in order to best source out a wicked awesome photo and recipe of the ‘butterfly buns’ Lily was gushing over being baked by her British landlady! They sound divine – sponge rather than the traditional cupcake consistency of the ‘bake’ itself sounds lovely but combining it with jam and creame is even more sinful! Love how you create the ‘wings’ to glisten on top of the mini-cakes, too! Hmm. Another new bakery project I need to tackle in the future! Unsure which I prefer: butterfly bun cakes or fairy cakes? I will have to experiment as I bake as I’d love to sort this out to be both gluten-free and vegan! This is a personal preference now that I’m baking more in my thirties (even though I’ve been a baker for most of my life!) to switch-out traditional bakes for GF and V options, as I find the batters are not just healthier but the consistency is better too once you fix the ingredients and re-create the ‘balance’ of how they all work together.

Observing Kenan with the unexpected arrival of his young daughter, Mandy was an interesting twist in the narrative as up to this point, he was spiraling a bit from finding the traction he needed to carry forward. Having his daughter re-enter his life gave him something to hold onto which inspired him to do better rather than to feel inadequate which I think was partially the problem; he lost his will to find the joy in living because he was missing how he could contribute to the world. As a father, he had purpose and a renewal of the unexpected; even if surprises weren’t his favourite, with Mandy around, he was growing more accustomed to things which would regularly upset him but in her company, gave him a reason to smile. In essence, having his daughter back was opening up his heart and softening his hardened resolve.

Oy, my vie, aye! Why is Lily drawn to interviewing every cad and prat in the UK for her series? She’s attached to them like glue on a postage stamp! Honestly! The interesting bit is that her guide in the field was exchanged from a brooding Kenan to a brooding Jane (their related, gasp!) and it’s hard to tell which of the two has the fastest angered reaction to their personality? They both spit fire faster than a dragon ought to and neither of them likes to give an inch if they feel their right by a mile, too! Aye. It does make for wicked fodder and added drama, as Jane is one of those blunt speaking gals in her early twenties who knows her mind, says her thoughts and does as she pleases to the tune of her own beat; consequences notwithstanding.

One thing I share in common with Lily is I do find a pleasant respite from the stresses of life if I’m mucking about in the kitchen with either a new recipe to experiment over or if I’ve decided to tackle all the ingredients on hand, creating something out of the ‘nothingness’ and finding it wicked delish! Lily cooks to refuell herself and to re-balance herself when she’s feeling slightly out of orbit as whenever she’s focusing on the food she’s preparing, she’s gone elsewhere mentally. To a calmer place than her current ‘moment’ and it allows her to ‘soothe’ the rise of fire about to consume her once and for all.

What Lily wasn’t expecting is the bloke she could entrust her heart wasn’t going to to be the person she envisioned herself walking through life with as it was rather a happenstance discovery to learn she was drawn to someone who felt as lost as she did but in a different way. What keeps you on the pins of your seat though is how both her and Kenan have jaded pasts where people are working against both of them, upping the ante on the dangers which could evoke fight or flight responses and give you a jolly good jolt of a pulse to see how it’s all meant to be turnt out in the end!

Ms Britnell definitely understands how to keep you riveted to the pages and allows for an ending your not even sure is coming – this is how well she’s timed the dramatic bits with the emotional angst. Your simply never quite sure, really until you’ve reached the conclusion where Lily and Kenan will find themselves!

on the contemporary rom styling of ms britnell:

I had a feeling I knew why this was called “Sugar and Spice” before even reaching the first quarter of the novel, as Kenan is definitely pulling weight in the spiced category and Lily is definitely the ‘sugar’ as their personalities are aptly represented by food! The irony of course, is Kenan isn’t a foodie (he’s truly missing out!) nor is he someone who takes pleasure in ‘food’. You don’t have to be an outright foodie to appreciate what your eating but what you observe is that Kenan is really shut-down inside. He doesn’t take a lot of joy out of his everyday experiences, even as something as rudimentary as ‘eating’ – he seems to be more regimented in the beginning of the story, where he does what is needed or expected (by others or himself) but he can’t ‘ease into’ the art of living.

There are delish moments of turns of phrase in this novel, such as this one:

If he wasn’t careful she’d winkle his life story out of Pete

before the tea had a chance to get cold in the cup.

-quoted from Sugar and Spice by Angela Britnell, with permission from the publisher

I love when writers like Ms Britnell have a fabulous way of spinning a phrase round an emotional reaction of their characters! I find these kinds of moments wonderfully inspiring – not only as a reader who loves finding how other wordsmiths fuse their creative voices into their stories but as a writer who loves creative phrases! These are the kinds of quotes which make reading pleasurable because they are small crafty ways of peering into a character through the lens the writer provides which immediately tosses in a reaction out of the reader to know exactly what the writer might have thought or felt when they first wrote the words down.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This book review is courtesy of:

ChocLitUK Reviewer Badge by ChocLitUK.Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

In case you’ve missed my ChocLit readings:

Please follow the threads through #ChocLitSaturdays!

And, visit my ChocLit Next Reads List on Riffle (recently upated!)

to see which stories I fancy to devour next!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

For my readers who are curious about what I’ve been reading this Spring & early Summer for #ChocLitSaturdays – here is a lovely recap of the stories I selected:

If you’ve missed my previous ChocLit reviews this Spring, kindly visit:

Hubble Bubble by Jane Lovering (Yorkshire Romances)

Follow A Star by Christine Stovell (Little Spitmarsh)

Please Don’t Stop the Music by Jane Lovering (Yorkshire Romances)

♥ Sugar & Spice by Angela Britnell

Follow @SatBookChat for updates!

Tag us #SatBookChat to participate!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who picked up the same story to read.

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Sugar & Spice” as well as the book synopsis, author photograph of Angela Britnell, author biography and Choc Lit Reviewer Badge were provided by ChocLitUK and used with permission. Quote from “Sugar & Spice” selected by Jorie and is used with permission of the publisher ChocLitUK. Post dividers from the Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: ChocLitSaturdays Banner and the comment box banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

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Posted Saturday, 30 June, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Divorce & Martial Strife, England, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Small Towne Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature




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2 responses to “Book Review | “Sugar and Spice” by Angela Britnell #ChocLitSaturdays

  1. Thanks, Jorie for the kind and thoughtful review and I’m pleased you enjoyed ‘Sugar and Spice’. The name ‘Nashville Connections’ series was coined for the fact all the books have a main character from Nashville and some of them are set there too. Apart from ‘Here Comes the Best Man’ which releases next week as a sequel to ‘The Wedding Reject Table’ none of the other books have connecting characters or settings.

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Britnell!

      Ooh, so my original observation about ‘Sugar and Spice’ being inclusive to ‘Nashville Connections’ was correct! I’ve found out about series like these – where the settings and characters do not connect but there is a small thread which unites the stories together all the same. I recently had a peek at audiobooks listed on Audible.com and noticed this series of yours is happily shining a bright light on Audible! I was amazed as I hadn’t realised so many had gone into #AudioReads! I’m already planning how I can approach listening to them as I found it delightful their all available!

      You totally surprised me finding this review – I hadn’t had the proper chance to talk about it on Twitter when I saw you had added this note for me! I was thankful as I was having trouble coordinating tweets earlier in the month due to our seasonal cyclic storms which wreck havoc on a girl’s online life!

      *I’ve happily updated this review to reflect the order of the series!

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