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Cake Time

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Winner of the 2015 Red Hen Press Fiction Award.

A new Novel-in-Stories that New York Times bestselling author Jillian Lauren calls -a delicious indulgence.-

Daring yet aimless, smart but slightly strange, Cake Time's young female protagonist keeps making slippery choices, sliding into the dangerous space where curiosity melds with fear and desires turn into dirty messes. In
Published April 6th 2017 by Red Hen Press
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Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really strong debut collection of stories dealing with relationships and one woman's evolution from a teen in trouble to a woman taking her own lead in life and love. Siel's wit reminded me of Michelle Tea and her blunt treatment of sexuality was refreshingly candid and fun. Can't wait to read more books by her.
Siel Ju
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This is my book so I'm biased! I hope you enjoy reading it -- Feel free to drop me a note via my website:
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Siel Ju's linked collection of stories follow the misadventures of a young woman coming to terms with her sexuality. Most of the stories are set in L.A., a place that encourages people to put off coming to terms with pretty much anything for as long as possible. With language that is seductive and sharp Cake Time serves up a portraits of heartbreak with biting humor.
Michelle Ross
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Siel Ju's Cake Time is an encyclopedia of modern dating. The novel-in-stories follows the protagonist from relationship, or hook-up (as her friend Erin says in the book, "Dated? Or slept with?"), to relationship over the course of close to two decades. Ju's writing is refreshingly honest, the characters' situations at once familiar and made new. Her writing about sex is often both painful and hilarious. In the title story, "Cake Time," for instance, the protagonist and her college roommate taunt ...more
Anja Calabrese
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
So sad and good at the same time,took me a while to get into it,but really worth it.
Stacy D.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What is so impressive about Siel Ju's Cake Time is not only the wit, craft, insight, and sheer entertainment infused into each individual story, but also how effortlessly these qualities build and ripple through the collective, like how each chorus and verse combines to make your favorite song. Indeed, all collected the effect is skilled and symphonic, greater than the sum of each part, greater still in subsequent readings, and building in us a terrific anticipation for what Ju has planned next, ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I feel sorry for this author. I hope she finds men who treat her better in the future or finds more respect for herself.
Jean Moore
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Siel Ju's novel Cake Time, winner of the Red Hen Press Fiction Award, 2015, is called a novel in stories. In the first story, "How Not to Have An Abortion," the narrator, a teenager, has apparently learned enough to warrant the story's title. And by story’s end has a notion that she is following a script, acting out “a long-ingrained habit” she did not know she had. This truth will follow her throughout the book’s pages. By the second story, the one giving the book its title, the main character ...more
Lauren Johnson
Apr 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
I always tell my students that "not relating" to a character does not mean the book is bad, but I don't know that I've ever come across a protagonist I felt so distant from.

It wasn't the promiscuity that bothered me, or even the unapologetic cheating. It was the fact that there was absolutely no character growth whatsoever. I start out disliking her, then I hated her, than I hated her more for not changing. Basically, my thoughts towards her could be summed by asking, "Why are you like this and
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full Disclosure: the author and I have met a couple of times.

That said, this was a powerful debut full of flawed characters that you can't help but root for. It's a novel-in-stories and at first I didn't pick up on the interconnectedness of the individual stories, but as I got further into it they subtle ties become more prominent. Rather than a traditional novel structure, the novel-in-stories approach allows the reader to get a glimpse into the main character's life at different times. Each mo
Celeste Wilson
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cake Time is a funny, honest, contemporary look at romantic and sexual relationships from the point of view of a female protagonist. For me personally, I could really relate to her; the way she is both depressed and excited, the way she almost boldly makes mad decisions, the way she seems both critical and cynical but also full of hope for herself and her future. She is real and Ju presents her sexuality and various relationships without judgement towards her. It is refreshing to see "non-normat ...more
Jenny C.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. I love the idea of having short stories make up a larger novel. The prose is precise, and at times, wanders into beautiful nuances.

I think Ju does a great job of creating a character that's real and authentic. The unfiltered emotions of the narrator really feel true. Specific details of the Los Angeles setting bring a unique urban flavor to the novel. Also, I think it's an excellent look at the tumultuous roller coaster that is dating and navigating the single world in LA.

However, I
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Cake Time is smart, witty, and breezy, with poignant insights about human behavior that sneak up on you. Siel Ju is at once merciless and tender towards her intuitive, flawed narrator in stories that provide a delightfully fresh take on what, in another author's hands, could be considered the tired trope of youth and dating in a glamorous metropolis. The subject matter never feels cliche because the author subverts all of the reader's expectations and serves up a collection of very intelligent a ...more
Liz Rizzo
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
“Cake Time” is often sexy, at times wryly humorous, and always keenly observational. As you read each piece, you travel forward in time with the same protagonist, learning with her, man by man, friend by friend, experience by experience. The title is apt, these delicious literary confections go down quickly. “Cake Time” will be an excellent summer read for those who desire a touch less fluff and a little more meat in their beach bag.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: relationships
A worthwhile afternoon coffeeshop read. Cake Time is a compelling, slice of life page turner following the mis/adventures of a maturing, young female protagonist who deals with a steady stream of less than optimal dating and hook up partners, and detours past pregnancy scares and swingers mixers. An equally present characters is Los Angeles itself, as Siel peppers her tales with a steady mix of recognizable venues to any local.
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well-written, engaging, connected stories on one woman's dating life in LA during her twenties and thirties. Easily relatable to my own dating struggles. And as a still recent transplant to LA, I had fun following the character around town. There is a lot of graphic sex throughout the stories, which LA writers love to write about I've noticed. I don't particularly need graphic sex in my books, but I nonetheless enjoyed the stories.
Tisha Marie
Siel Ju's collection of linked stories illuminates all the dysfunction people are afraid to see in their relationships: roommate, romantic, and casual flirty interactions. She recalls those awkward moments at jobs and in social situations that no one wants to admit, including the sexual fumbles of firsts. And she does all of this with quirky characters, elegant prose, and details that ground you in time and place. Within the whimsy, she addresses social issues like abortion and environmental res ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It is short stories that are connected, and I couldn't put it down. I wish this woman would write more. I'd gobble up everything she writes. My only criticism is maybe I would have wished for a little more character development. I felt like I didn't know the protagonist as well as I wanted to. But the stories are great.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love how the author weaves these stories in her strong, honest, funny, insightful voice. It's a coming-of-age story for someone already pretty much of age; a Bildungsroman Sex in the City set in LA. (And why doesn't spellcheck in Goodreads recognize "Bildungsroman"?)
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who has dated in LA can relate to many of these thoughtful, unabashed takes on relationships. Siel Ju's approach takes on the narrative of a close confidant sharing some of the most scintillating, complicated, and disappointing ways people find themselves in partnerships and the decisions involved in continuing or ending trysts. Her storytelling is founded in unraveling threads of complex, character-driven stories.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great summer or anytime read. Siel Ju's original approach to both short story and narrative are amplified by her narrator's ability to expose how we keep emotional distance even in our pursuit of intimacy (and how they often put us at odds with ourselves). Also a poet, Siel Ju's ability to combine lyrical imagery and language within her narratives brings delight even when exploring the darker sides of humanity.
Erin Mcfadden
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got this book from a goodreads giveaway it was free and also signed by the author Siel Ju. It was a good book it was about relasionships. I like that it had short stories. i would read the book again and also buy her books in the future.
Laura Pritchett
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic collection/novel . . . fresh voice, beautiful language, real stuff. Loved it.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book where each chapter is its own story. Quite deep & even a bit dark yet enjoyable....
Excellent writing Siel Ju keeps one interested with this very interested read....
Peter Hsu
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Liked this book a lot. Unsentimental and not nostalgic even as it moved through time. The protagonist was specific even as she was anonymous.
This is an ideal summer read: sexy and entertaining, without compromising depth or emotional range. I breezed through it and wished I could follow the unnamed narrator through a couple more decades of relationships. I related immensely to her: she is reserved yet bold, and aware of her mistakes even as she makes them.

Disclaimer: I know the author and received the book for free. Thanks, Siel!
Kelly Banchak Grady
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great storytelling that I haven’t seen in a while. I usually don’t read a lot of short stories, I prefer novels or memoirs but this read more like a novel to me. Each story had a way of making me feel as if I was personally there to witness them. There were definitely parts that I could relate to and this made me want to keep reading. If I start to lose interest in the main character or if the story development seems to go nowhere..that’s where my brain shuts off and I have a hard time finishing ...more
May 14, 2017 added it
A story told in relationships and sexual encounters that parallels the idle desperation we have to connect, and the idle fear we have of recurring connection.
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Hi! I’m Siel, a writer and reader. My first book, a novel-in-stories called Cake Time, was the winner of the Red Hen Press Fiction Manuscript Award. I've also written two poetry chapbooks -- though I'm focused on writing fiction these days --

Each month on my blog, I interview an author who inspires me about the pleasures, perils, and practical hows of writing — to help you forge your own creative
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“Carrie was a girl from my music appreciation class. She had beautiful, dark brown eyes, though it was hard to notice them; she hid behind a scrim of mousy hair and soft chub, which gave her the sodden air of someone who'd found a tenuous contentment on Paxil” 0 likes
“As we talked we shared the food gingerly, careful not to clash opinions or forks.” 0 likes
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