Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway: The Icing on the Cupcake


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.)

How to win this book.
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted.)

For additional entries (each as a separate comment including your e-mail address, as well):
1. Please tell us: If you could create a new cupcake, what would the flavor be and what would you name it?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Giveaway ends Sunday July 25th at midnight.

59 comments:

Kritter said...

I would love to read this book!

kdurham2@gmail.com

Kritter said...

I am a follower!

kdurham2@gmail.com

Kritter said...

If I could invent a new cupcake it would be named KD - it would taste like french toast with bananas.

kdurham2@gmail.com

Susan said...

Enter me! susan_gloss at yahoo.com

Susan said...

Also, I am a follower of this blog

Susan said...

My cupcake flavor would be called Lemon Raspberry Lusciousness and it would be lemon cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and fresh summer raspberries on top.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i would love a raspberry cupcake...named 'raspberry richness'

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i'm a follower :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Brittany Roshelle said...

This book sounds perfect for summer reading! I especially like the cupcake theme throughout the book!

askbrittanyroshelle at gmail dot com

P.S. That's so awesome you were able to meet Jennifer Weiner, she's one of my favorite authors!

Colleen Turner said...

This book sounds great, please enter me in your contest!
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I would invent a chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake and name it cookie cake!
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I am a GFC follower and facebook fan!
candc320@gmail.com

Meg said...

I've had my eye on this one for a while -- the cupcakes alone are intriguing! I'm such a sucker for dessert. And books featuring dessert? Sold!

writing.meg [at] gmail.com

Meg said...

My new cupcake flavor would definitely combine all of my favorite things: chocolate, strawberry and almond. I'd probably call it Meg's Little Piece of Heaven! (In fact, I should get on that...)

writing.meg [at] gmail.com

Meg said...

And last but not least, I'm a new follower. :)

writing.meg [at] gmail.com

Mary (BookHounds) said...

No need to enter me -- I just posted this on win a book.

http://winabook.westofmars.com/2010/07/22/the-icing-on-the-cupcake-by-jennifer-ross/

Lisa said...

This looks like a great book. rhisomers(at)gmail(dot)com

Janel said...

This sounds like a fun book. I might even try some of the recipes!

jgbeads(at)gmail(dot)com

Janel said...

I would make a coconut cupcake with chocolate and caramel swirl frosting: The German Chocolate Redo!

jgbeads(at)gmail(dot)com

Janel said...

I am a new Follower :)

jgbeads(at)gmail(dot)com

Karen said...

Sounds like a yummy read!
kzupancic[at]yahoo[dot]com

Karen said...

I follow via GFC
kzupancic[at]yahoo[dot]com

Karen said...

Twitter:
http://twitter.com/KarenZupancic/status/19291171543
kzupancic[at]yahoo[dot]com

AmandaSue said...

Sounds like a good book, and now it makes me hungry for a cupcake haha! Thanks for entering me into this giveaway!

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

AmandaSue said...

I'd make a Peanut Butter and Banana Flavored Cupcake with Coconut Frosting with Shaved Coconut Flakes on Top and I'd call it CocoNanaLicious Cupcake!

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

Heather said...

I am a follower.
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I posted to facebook.
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I would want a cupcake with a chocolate mint flavor. I don't know what to call it...maybe Choco mint madness. Thanks for the giveaway!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

hotfudgesunday said...

Good Morning! I am a follower :o) This sounds like a great summer read. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

hotfudgesunday@yahoo.com

hotfudgesunday said...

If I could create a cupcake it would be chocolate & banana. I would call it Anna Banana's Chocolate Banana Explosion.


hotfudgesunday@yahoo.com

hotfudgesunday said...

I have shared the link on Facebook.

hotfudgesunday@yahoo.com

blahblahbloggirl said...

This sounds like a fun read!
blahblahbloggirl@yahoo.com

Karie said...

I am a follower!
karieprice@gmail.com

blahblahbloggirl said...

I reTweeted this giveaway via @BlogGirlTweets

Esme said...

sign me up please

chocolate and croissants at yahoo. com

Esme said...

my flavor-for the summer would be pineapple coconut with rum

and for the winter something warm-chestnuts with cranberries. and bourbon

chocolate and croissants at yahoo .com

JHS. said...

I'm in!!

Check out the giveaways at my site, too.

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail@comcast.net

JHS. said...

New cupcake: Peanut butter and chocolate.

Name: So Worth It (referring to the upset stomach it would give me) :-)

JHS
Colloquium

jhsmail at comcast dot net

BRN2SHOP9 said...

Mint chocolate Chip Cupcake, or Girl Scout Thin Mint Cupcake would be amazing!!!!

brn2shop9@gmail.com

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I am a follower!!!

brn2shop9@gmail.com

BRN2SHOP9 said...

3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.


Twittered it: http://twitter.com/HearieCanal

brn2shop9@gmail.com

Sarah said...

I would love to read this book! Thanks for the chance to.

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

I'm a follower:)

foxchick0323@live.com

Sarah said...

I would love a bacon and maple bar cupcake!

foxchick0323@live.com

ChristyJan said...

Please enter me

hawkes(at)citlink.net

ChristyJan said...

I just made freezer jam today with nectarines and kiwi. It is yummy. So . . . I'd make a kiwi flavored cupcake with nectarine frosting and call it SURPISE

hawkes(at)citlink.net

ChristyJan said...

I'm a follower

hawkes(at)citlink.net

Marnie said...

I just finished reading this book on my kindle (after only 3 days with it) and loved every last page! I think I would try a vanilla bean/coconut cupcake with a simple vanilla bean buttercream sprinkled with an infused sugar (maybe lemon) sprinkled on top. I would call it a Lemon Coconut Bean. Yummy!

MarnieLaClere@cox.net

patebooks said...

mmmm. A follower who links to your blog and twitters and would like a lemon chocolate, The Particular Happiness of Chick-Lit Cupcake

Sunny said...

Please count me in! :-)

sunny_418@hotmail.com

Sunny said...

My cupcake would either be something with lemon (and maybe strawberries) or cookies and cream and lots of chocolate.

sunny_418@hotmail.com

BRN2SHOP9 said...

Also facebooked it!

brn2shop9@gmail.com

Susan Rae Paulson said...

I can soooo relate!!!!!!!!!! Kinda jaded and being a spinster I am wanting to start a side business of baking because when I am creating a cake or cupcakes or making bread or baking up other such things, I am in a happy place that allows me to feel that I am being somewhat useful to the world!

My cupcake of choise would be a bannana cupcake with a rum sauce frosting! And, of course, chocolate sprinkles!!!!!!!!

Susan Rae Paulson said...

defenderchick69@gmail.com

would love to read!

patebooks said...

I put on FB, too. Nancy G. Pate.
And now I'm thinking of peaches and cupcakes and how best to comine them...

Danie B. said...

Hi! I came across your post on Twitter today and was excited to read your review since we also wrote our opinions at Sist3rs.Net. Each of us made one of the cupcake recipes and they weren't so complicated. They were yum, though! Video and photos of that on Sist3rs.
Oh, and we share your thoughts on the ending.