Kiss My Cupcake
Do you like hate-to-love romances, even when they come off as a little juvenile and a lot goofy? Kiss My Cupcake is a fine example of Hunting’s romantic banter, but while it’s a fun treat, it’s not quite a sinless delight and won’t be your bag if you dislike immature behavior in romance novels.
Blaire Calloway is a dreamer, and she’s set her dreams in frosting. After having her heart broken in college by a philandering professor, she’s saved for and planned for the opening of her own cupcake bakery and cocktail café – called Buttercream and Booze. The shop’s opening day involves a log of fake dog poo outside the door, a long night up and obnoxiousness taking place next door from another business having its opening day, led by an equally obnoxious man with tattoos wearing a plaid shirt that causes her to dub him ‘the lumberjack’. Original.
The lumberjack’s real name is Ronan Knight, and he runs The Knight Cap, the rugged and medieval-themed sports bar next door. His establishment is loud enough to shake the floor beneath Blaire, he’s conducting expansion work that impedes her business, and he offers coupons to her customers to divert their business to him. Poking Blaire – whom he keeps erroneously calling ‘Alice’ as in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ because of her fondness for fifties-style pinafores and headbands and fluffy unicorns and cupcakes – soon becomes a hobby for him, and she gives back as good as she gets.
When a reality show production company descends upon the locale of their shops, Ronan and Blaire promptly engage in an all-stops-pulled out war of attrition to gain their attention. Ronan starts offering axe-throwing contests at his bar; Blaire begins offering baking classes. He knocks down her unicorn glasses; she annoys him with her ability to effortlessly get under her skin with her twee-ness. But soon they’re rocketing toward love. Might this endless competition have a happy ending?
Kiss My Cupcake follows Hunting’s usual enemies-to-lovers formula. The gender lines here are heavily drawn, and if you don’t like Girly-Girl-Fights-Manly-Man-in-Battle-of-The-Sexes style romances, this won’t be your cuppa. If you do, you’ll find a lot that amuses you.
Honestly, my favorite part of the book was Ronan’s relationship with his grandfather, an old salt who likes his beer and is no-nonsense. He’s a terrible lot of fun, and their connection feels properly ‘real.’ I was a little less enthralled with Blaire’s overly-goofy dad with his horrible ideas for improving her cupcake shop. Hunting’s penchant for over-the-top family drama continues here, and to reveal much about it will spoil the book, but it does not work as a plot point.
Ronan and Blaire’s romance…well, whether it works for you or not will depend, again, on how much you like hate-to-love tension. Blaire is a little ditzy but ambitious. Ronan is a growly ‘manly man’. They slap and kiss and embarrass themselves and one another. They’re a decent couple and once they understand each other, there’s no stopping them.
I liked the day to day details that went into running each of their establishments, and their concerns about staying afloat financially made perfect sense.
Hunting’s style still reads as very young, poppy and juvenile, sometimes not in a bad way. If you didn’t like her hockey romances, you probably won’t like this one either, as the tone matches those books.
Kiss My Cupcake will, however, satisfy those who like a sweet, fluffy, ridiculous romcom with a filling of family sentiment. It’s not my favorite book of the year, but for others it’ll be a piece of cake.