Thursday, May 20, 2021

Book Review: "Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake" by Alexis Hall

In Alexis Hall's new book, Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, a young mother hopes participating in a TV baking competition might be the key to a new path for her future.

Rosaline is a single mother of a precocious young girl. She wants to give her the perfect life, but that’s not easy—she has a low-paying job, and her parents don’t approve of that, nor are they comfortable with her bisexuality. They do provide her financial assistance and babysit her daughter, but they never let her forget how much they're helping her.

But she has a plan. She’s going to compete on Bake Expectations, a television baking show, and she hopes the exposure—especially if she wins—will change her life and her daughter’s for good.

Of course she’s utterly unprepared for the rigors of a television show, and with baking requiring the utmost focus, she worries she’ll be quickly eliminated. She also finds herself in a relationship with fellow contestant Alain, who is handsome and talented with a definite arrogant streak, while she becomes more curious about Harry, another contestant, a salt-of-the-earth, sexy electrician who’s not quite politically correct.

I loved Alexis Hall’s last book, Boyfriend Material, so my expectations were pretty high for Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake. There were things I really enjoyed—I’m obsessed with cooking/baking shows, so I loved that element, and wanted more, in fact. I love the way Hall treated Rosaline’s bisexuality, as there aren’t many main characters out there who are bi, and I also loved the book's acknowledgement of anxiety-related issues.

I did think, however, the book was way longer than it needed to be. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles when one character is particularly odious, and I felt the parental disapproval seemed a little one-dimensional. And while I thought Rosaline’s daughter’s view on the world was adorable and refreshing, a little goes a long way with precocious children.

Still, I had fun reading this and really enjoyed my buddy read with my friend Phil. (He loved it more than I did.)

NetGalley and Forever provided me with a complimentary advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!!

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