Monday, 20 June 2016

Love, Reality Style

Author: Judith Natalli McLaughlin
Genre: Light Fiction
Type: e-book
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers
First Published: June 7, 2016
First Line: "Ralph Ichy was certain he would do it this time despite having failed miserably on his last two attempts."

Book Description from GoodReadsWhen cake-loving third-grade teacher Mary Grace Falcone receives a proposition of marriage from her germ-phobic boyfriend Ralph Ichy, her comfortable life is thrown into a tailspin. Should she marry Ralph? The man dubbed "the CEO of Antiseptic Hands"? Reluctantly, and despite the differing opinions of her best friends Jayde and Annie, Mary Grace accepts. Her decision gets her meddling mother off her back, but also lands her on a reality wedding show where handsome host, Nick Charmin, unexpectedly falls for her. 

Will Mary Grace choose hot Nick or faithful Ralph? Is the decision really hers to make? And, is a slice of cake actually the answer to all of life's problems?

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Disclaimer:  My sincere thanks to Blue Moon Publishing for providing me with a complimentary digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  Cake.  Good female friends.  An engagement.  Reality TV.  Did I mention cake? These are the ingredients for a light, easy-going romantic read but the central relationship in this book may surprise you.  It isn't romantic; instead its the bond between three friends - Mary Grace, Annie and Jayde. These women have stood by each other through thick and thin and have a very odd addiction to cake when the going gets tough. Their camaraderie feels authentic and quite similar to what I have with some of my girlfriends.  These three have different romantic relationships going on to varying degrees of success but it's their friendship that is the strongest bond in the book.  

Unfortunately, other than the girlfriend bonding, this book fell flat for me. I get that it's a light read but I still want to care about the characters and that never happened.  Instead we have a main character in Mary Grace who was more than a little frustrating with her lack of ability to make decisions and stand up to her mother. The men, on the other hand, were quite a varied bunch -- from the odd yet sensitive Ralph with OCD to the cheater and finally the creepy TV host -- none of them were good husband/romantic material in my book.  There was an inkling of a love triangle but that never took off and I can't honestly say I was rooting for either man.  While these girlfriends and their male counterparts had a fair degree of development throughout the book the rest of the characters (of which there were few) fell into the one-dimensional category - namely Angela, Mary Grace's mother who was annoyingly over-the-top as the quintessential overbearing mother.

For a book whose title and description feature a reality show theme the show itself was not a focus of the plot but cake lovers will enjoy the plentiful descriptions of the confection that are sprinkled liberally throughout the book.  In the end, I enjoyed reading about strong bonds between girlfriends but even though I'm an avid baker this book just wasn't to my tastes.  But, readers with a sweet tooth who enjoy a lighter, quick read may want to pick it up.

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