Saturday, June 26, 2021

ARC Review: Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake (Winner Bakes All, #1)From the blurb:

Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.

Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory. Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.

Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.

My rating: 

I had very high expectations going into Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake. First off all, Boyfriend Material was my favorite book of 2020, and I thought it was hilarious so the promise of another funny book with a bisexual female MC and a take on the Great British Baking Show and, man, I was hoping for the moon.

But... when I started reading this book I felt... irritated.

Do yourself a favor and rearrange your expectations (this is what I had to do in order to fully appreciate the story, by the way). Repeat after me: this is women's fiction, not romance. I think that's what tripped me up and annoyed me for so long. The story is all about Rosaline and her own personal journey to figuring out more about herself and her needs. The romance aspect is very underdone and felt half-baked (*ehem*), so if you are impatiently waiting for the relationship to start cooking (okay, I'll stop now), you will be waiting a very, very long time. Sure, there are some sweet elements that happen towards the end of the story, but that's just a bare hint of a true romance and is more in line with what you'd find in a women's fiction story. That's fine, just not what I was anticipating.

Also, Rosaline often annoyed me, I'm not going to lie. I found her personality to be a bit bland and wishy-washy, while also being too pointed at times. I really enjoyed the side characters a whole lot more, and I adored all of them. I even enjoyed the ones I ended up hating, just because they had unique personalities (some of those personalities were simply: wanker). I really liked Rosaline's ex, Lauren, and all of the competitors on the show (and the judges!). The only true laughs I got from the book were from the producer, who is hilariously, aggressively aggravated at all times.
Of course, I loved how Rosaline was bisexual and proud and her child was also proud and aware of that fact. I have a similar parenting style, so it resonated with me. Of course, I loved Harry (he is the best of all), and wish he didn't have to be shoved aside for so long until his kindness and worth was realized.

The story took me on a journey because I started off not really liking it at all, but once I shifted my mindset, I truly got into the groove with the story and didn't want to put it down. Hard to rate for me, but I think rounding up to 4-stars is the right call.

Another well-written effort from the talented Alexis Hall. I really hope to see more funny and interesting books from him in the future.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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Happy reading!

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