Saturday, March 11, 2017
REVIEW: All's Fair In Love And Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant
Author: Betsy St. Amant
Publication Date: August, 2014
Genre: Inspirational Romance
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Description: She's written a recipe for her future, but does it include love?
Katherine 'Kat' Varland is a small town girl, born and raised---and every day, her dreams of owning her own bakery get further away. She has no money, and the cupcake shop she bakes for, Sweetie Pies, seems to get smaller and smaller. Kat might be the sweetheart of Bayou Bend, Louisiana, but she longs to make a name for herself where she can flourish as Kat---not as the girl baking someone else's recipes.
As head coach for the Bayou Bend championship high school football team, Lucas Brannen is used to winning---everything except his best friend's heart. He finally gathers the courage to make a gesture and show Kat his feelings by signing her up for the popular reality TV show Cupcake Combat. But his plan backfires after he realizes the cash prize for the winner also includes a one-year baking contract at one of New York City's most famous pastry houses.
The situation grows sticky when Kat enlists Lucas's help as her baking assistant for the show. Lucas is torn between helping Kat live her dream and selfishly wanting to keep her in town. His plan has always been a dozen acres of land and a farmhouse in Bayou Bend---but Kat is blinded by the stars in her eyes.
Will Lucas and Kat risk their chance at love in order to achieve their individual dreams? Or will they find that sometimes the most delicious happily-ever-afters begin and end in the same place?
My Thoughts: Kat Varland and Lucas Brannen are best friends and have secretly been in love with each other for a long time. Kat works in her Aunt’s bakery, but longs to branch out on her own. Lucas is the high-school football coach who wants to plant roots in Bayou Bend with Kat at his side. Lucas signs Kat up for a televised cupcake competition as a gesture of his feelings for her, not realizing that an opportunity for Kat to realize her dream may mean the destruction of his.
Unlike most romance novels where the protagonists meet, get to know one another and then fall in love, Kat and Lucas have known each other for most of their lives and are already in love with each other, but have not shared their feelings with the other. On many levels, I found this to be very frustrating because the lack of communication creates the “big misunderstanding” plot that I completely loathe. Fortunately, the author uses this plot device to build on the frustration Kat and Lucas are feeling, drawing their uncertainties and insecurities into the light, which really worked for me. I enjoy meeting characters that I can bond with and feel a deep connection to. Kat and Lucas come across as regular people trying to live good Christian lives while pursuing their dreams. They are both stubborn, trying to control the direction of their lives instead of putting it in God’s hands from the beginning.
I thought Lucas signing Kat up for the cupcake competition was a little controlling at first, but enjoyed seeing his frustration when his plan didn’t play out the way he anticipated. It was a sweet gesture and he is full of sweet gestures throughout the entire story, but struggles with his feelings and his reluctance to tell Kat how he feels.
Kat is very insecure about her ability to make her dream of running a cupcake business a reality. She feels trapped in her tiny hometown and without any support from her family feels isolated. Lucas is her best friend and the only person who believes in her. She is reluctant to tell Lucas how she really feels about him because she is afraid he will reject her and she will lose her best friend. Though she is initially angry and terrified of competing on the reality TV show, I enjoyed seeing Kat transform into someone who begins to believe in herself and her abilities.
My Final Verdict: An enjoyable story of two people struggling to maintain control of their lives and their struggle to make their dreams a reality. I recommend All’s Fair In Love And Cupcakes for fans of the chick-lit, contemporary romance and inspirational romance genres as well as anyone who enjoys a sweet story that will make you smile and cheer on these characters to their happy ending.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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