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 source for book: Review CopyMy Thoughts:
The synopsis for this one sounded like a lot of fun, but unfortunately it fell short of my hopeful expectations. I gotta say, it struck me as being quite repetitive. Kat and Lucas both have feelings for each other, but their near debilitating fear of the feelings not being mutual causes them both to keep quiet, despite often having moments that seem to go beyond "just friends". The point of view switches back and forth between Kat and Lucas, and their inner thoughts often feel extremely repetitive as they analyze every experience and continually examine the reasons why a romantic relationship may or may not work between them.
Towards the beginning I was able to see the potential for a romance between Kat and Lucas, but as the book progressed it seemed that they bickered and got in arguments more often than not. Their squabbles were mostly the result of a complete lack of communication about their feelings, but it seemed there was a dash of cluelessness that contributed as well, especially on Kat's part. For me, the bickering got rather old and the amount of times it happened again brings up my previous statement about it feeling repetitive.
The cupcake reality show was somewhat interesting, though it was basically what we've all come to expect from these types of shows: challenges and eliminations, and of course a couple of contestants who attempt to sabotage everyone else. In all fairness though, it did have a unique twist by including a look at some troubling politics that went on behind-the-scenes. This was an interesting touch, and it makes me wonder if that sort of manipulation is common in reality or not. I have to believe that it does happen at least on occasion, which makes the twist in the story all the more provoking.
The story idea is really cute in theory, and at different times (especially during the cupcake challenges) I often thought it had potential to make a fun Hallmark movie. But in all honesty, I feel the book would be much stronger in a shorter form--such as a novella--which would ideally cut out the majority of the repetitive back and forth stuff between Kat and Lucas. Though I was involved enough to want to see how things would turn out, I was ultimately glad when the end came so I could move on to something else. I don't doubt that the story will appeal to some, but unfortunately I just couldn't click with it.
My Rating: 3 stars
Thanks to the publisher (Zondervan) for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.