By Melissa Amster
**Giveaway is now closed**
What do you get when you combine Elle from "Legally Blonde" with Jenna from "Waitress?" The answer is Ansley, the heroine of "The Icing on the Cupcake" by Jennifer Ross. And why is she like these two women? The story starts with her as a sorority girl who gets dumped by her fiancé (I know Elle doesn't even make it to the level of being engaged, but it all happens early enough in the story) and decides to make a drastic move away from everything and everyone she knows. Her passion is baking cupcakes (Jenna made pies, but still...) and each kind gets its own special name, usually related to love or heartbreak. She decides to open her own cupcake shop in Manhattan and toils for many long days to get everything just right.
There's another story intertwined with Ansley's. Her grandmother, Vivian, is given a voice throughout the book. It starts when her husband dies, leaving her with a financial mess to iron out. She decides to contact the daughter she abandoned 46 years ago, which is how she is put in contact with Ansley. She also bakes cupcakes and writes letters about gardening to an IRS agent. In the meantime, Ansley is trying to figure out the real reason behind her grandmother's abandonment of her mom.
When I first started "The Icing on the Cupcake," I didn't know what to expect. However, I kept reading on and found it humorous, intriguing and easy to follow. The cupcakes made throughout the story sound so tasty that if Ansley's cupcakery were real, it would give Magnolia Bakery a run for its money. Both Ansley and Vivian were enjoyable characters and were able to evoke sympathy from me.
I do have a couple of criticisms, but nothing that kept me from enjoying the story. The first is that the story seemed to end abruptly, as I would have liked to see what else happens for Ansley. It seemed like everyone had closure except for her. The back cover had mentioned New York's dating scene, but not much happens with it throughout the book. Maybe I read into the summary the wrong way. The other concern I had was about the recipes that are peppered throughout the book. They all sound really good, but seem very complicated unless you're an expert baker. Ansley talks about all the little details of baking in order to get things just right (such as making sure the eggs don't get cooked by the carmelized sugar or how the consistency of butter should be for the cake vs. the frosting). While I appreciated the detail and was able to visualize each step of the baking process, I think it would take years of baking school (or a natural baking talent) for someone without the skills to master these tasty treats on their own.
Overall, I enjoyed "The Icing on the Cupcake" and think that any fan of chick lit would appreciate and savor this delicious tale. I would categorize it as a light beach read.
I want to thank Crystal from BookSparks PR for this review copy....and for providing a copy to give away to one lucky reader! (Open to US/Canada residents only.)
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Giveaway ends Sunday July 25th at midnight.