Tuesday, September 16, 2014

All's Fair In Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

Betsy St. Amant combines sweets, romance, and cooking wars and ties it all up in her new book, All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes. 

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie's bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat's best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself---her---is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat's senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

Here's my review of this incredibly sweet novel:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Betsy St. Amant and her publisher for sending me a copy of "All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

“All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes” by Betsy St. Amant is truly a sweet read.  The author shows a real understanding of the ebb and flow of insecurities many of us face as her protagonists step forward to meet the challenge of competing in a national baking competition.  These fleshy characters are very lifelike, especially when it comes to making a decision that appears right at the time, but later considering all of the consequences and maybe feeling a little less sure of themselves.

Lucas is crazy about Kat.  Having been stuck in a job that she barely likes baking the same boring flavors of cupcakes every day, with no support from family to really blossom and exercise her creativity, she really seems to come alive in her own kitchen after hours with Lucas as they invent new and exotic flavor combinations that her Aunt will never let her make at the bakery.  So Lucas takes it upon himself to enter Kat in a nationally televised baking competition, hoping to boost her confidence and maybe even open her own bakery.
Kat is crazy about Lucas.  But she’s sure he doesn’t feel the same way – (a common and frustrating romance novel twist).  And after she wins a spot in a baking competition that he entered her in, that “fact” seems to be confirmed since the grand prize is a one-year internship at a bakery in New York City!  Then the neurosis kicks into high gear: nerves over the competition, nerves over dealing with her mom’s less than stellar reaction to the news, nerves over comparing herself to her perfect sister, nerves over what to do about Lucas.  And that’s before she ever sets foot on the sound stage!

These characters are just plain crazy!  They are both super likable from the beginning of this delicious tale.  There are several strategically laid obstacles on the path to “Happily Ever After” that led me to give audible advice to the pages as I frantically turned them while devouring this engaging story.

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