Saturday, June 25, 2022

Review: Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley

Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Fake It Till You Bake It cover
ISBN: 9781250801852
Release Date: June 21, 2022
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Jada Townsend-Matthews is the most reviled woman in America after turning down a proposal on a reality dating show. When she comes home to lick her wounds, Jada finds herself working at San Diego's newest cupcake bakery, Sugar Blitz, alongside the uptight owner and professional football player Donovan Dell.

When a reporter mistakenly believes Jada and Donovan are an item, they realize they can use the misunderstanding to their advantage to help the struggling bakery and rehabilitate Jada's image. Faking a relationship should be simple, but sometimes love is the most unexpected ingredient.

A fake romance between a football player/cupcake shop owner and a woman at a crossroads in her life turns real in Fake It Till You Bake It. It’s a romance with a lot of potential, but I struggled with rating this book because I wanted to like it a lot more than I did.

Donovan likes order and Jada’s arrival upends his carefully structured life. She’s the most reviled woman on social media after turning down a marriage proposal on a reality dating show. When she comes into his shop and insults his cupcakes, Donovan is irritated – but also incredibly attracted. Then her grandmother – the owner of the football team Donovan plays for – asks Donovan to give Jada a job and things only get more confusing. Cue a mixture of kitchen mishaps, fake dating, image rehabilitation, and finding love where you least expect it and you have a recipe for a delightful book. Jada is prickly at first, but a lot of that is armor against the censure of the world and those who should love her but have beaten down her self-esteem. Jada intrigued me because her attitude masks vulnerability and a fear of messing up and being judged. She comes into her own over the course of the story and I liked seeing her find her way planning events and becoming a part of Sugar Blitz. Her personal journey was the strongest plotline of this book and I was cheering for her to believe in herself and her abilities, to carve her own path and be able to overcome the haters and the parents who criticize her for being dyslexic and not following in their prestigious footsteps.

Where I struggled with Fake It Till You Bake It was the writing. Jamie Wesley had all the elements of an engaging story but as much as I wanted to fall into it I never did. Jada and Donovan are characters ripe with potential and though there’s a lot I enjoyed about Jada’s personal journey, Donovan’s kind of fell flat (also, he and his partners are professional football players and none of the work or training that goes into that is ever shown). The romance was also flat, lacking any zip or zing that would have kept me from putting down the book as often as I did. That being said, I really liked that Donovan supported and believed in Jada. They fit well; I just wanted some more sparks. The book isn’t bad, but it's slow-paced and never came alive. Add in a last-minute series of obstacles that felt more manufactured than organic and I finished the story feeling just OK about the read overall.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.