Anyone who knows me knows that I am a guilty pleasure fan of girly contemporary romances. I swear by anything Sophie Kinsella/Madeline Wickham-related, and Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, and Helen Fielding all have a fan in me. When offered the chance to read and review the first two books in the new Cupcake Club series from Donna Kauffman, I leaped at the chance. So yes, this is going to be a double review of SUGAR RUSH and SWEET STUFF, books one and two in the series from Kensington.
Book one, SUGAR RUSH, chronicles Lani Trusdale’s life as a baker on a small island off the coast of Georgia. She’s left her life in New York City and her ex-boss, Baxter (aka Chef Hot Cakes), a man she completely drooled over. When Baxter shows up on the island wanting to film a new show in Lani’s cupcake store, is it a recipe for love or a mess? The story is about cupcakes and the path for Lani and Baxter’s relationship to get back off the ground.
I really enjoyed the story. It was a sweet, fluffy tale in the vein of Sophie Kinsella, so of course I was a happy camper. The relationship between Lani and Baxter is tense and makes you question what will happen next, but somehow the story does manage to keep the story as sweet as you would imagine a book about cupcakes could be. Baxter’s drive to woo Lani back was impressive and swoon-worthy, leaving me wanting more of Kauffman’s work – so of course I wanted more Cupcake Club! It’s a mix of romance, recipes, and television shows. It’s like blending the Food Network together with CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC, leaving me quite pleased with this book. I thought it was a touch long, however, but the story was a fun, quick read for those of you who enjoy cute contemporary romances.
In book two, SWEET STUFF, we are introduced to some new lead characters, which of course means new shenanigans! Author Quinn and fresh-of-the-boat Riley meet in a rather happenstance way – she sets up cupcakes in an open house, the same house that Quinn buys that same day. Quinn and Riley both have a lot of things to deal with, from broken careers to a return home after years away. Neither were looking for a relationship, but with cupcakes as a main focus, their relationship slowly unfolds in an intense yet cute manner.
I was quite pleased by SWEET STUFF. Like SUGAR RUSH, it’s a cute, light romance full of fun situations and of course the Cupcake Club. My feelings about SWEET STUFF were much like my feelings for book one – cute, fluffy, a little repetitive, and good for a pick-me-up. These books were both quick reads with fun characters. SWEET STUFF has a great element of what it takes to build a relationship from scratch, which I loved. It’s a good break from the usual dreary books I read – hot and heavy romances based on sex, or depressing books about being depressed.
The Cupcake Club books are great new additions to a market among the Kinsellas and Weiners on the shelves. If you are in the market for a sweet contemporary romance with emphasis on the sweet (in more ways than one), these books are definitely books for you to check out for yourself.
VERDICT: A sweet romance series with a focus on cupcakes, the first two CUPCAKE CLUB books by Donna Kauffman are a sugary treat with a touch of fun, excitement, and love.