Audiobook review: Don’t Call Me Cupcake
Author: Tara Sheets
Narrator: Joell A. Jacob
Audio Speed: 1.5x & 2.0x
Series: Holloway Girls #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Magic
Source: Tantor Audio
Don’t Call Me Cupcake is a fun mix of contemporary romance with a surprising hint of magic tossed in. Emma Holloway carries the Holloway magic in her blood. She’s a kitchen witch who puts love and spells into her delicious cupcakes. The problem is, she can’t exploit her gift for huge profit, and the magic doesn’t work on herself. So Emma scapes by, late on her bills and using make-shift solutions to repair the family house.
When Emma gives a handsome stranger three of her potent success cupcakes, she doesn’t know he’s the new competition in town. Hunter is opening a high-end restaurant and bakery on the waterfront, and has plans for renovating the entire wharf area. Right from the start, there is a strong attraction, but from Emma’s point-of-view they are nothing but enemies.
The story moves forward at a steady pace. Spending time in both Emma’s and Hunter’s heads, we learn both have been hurt by love in the past and each is determined to live on their own terms. While Hunter embraces his attraction for Emma and enjoys her quirks, Emma fights the pull, convinced Hunter has to leave in order for her business to remain afloat. Despite the warring feelings, Emma gives in and the pair develop a genuine friendship (and more). However, people can be set in their ways, leaving a rocky road for the couple to travel.
Don’t Call Me Cupcake could have been predictable, but it wasn’t – I mean yes, Emma and Hunter get their HEA, but things that could have caused conflict are dealt with in ways I didn’t predict. I enjoyed being surprised, and add in the fun of magic, the entire tale was entertaining. My biggest issue is how one of the antagonists, Bethany, is portrayed as a stereotypical mean girl, complete with slutty wardrobe, pathetic come-ons, and petty behaviors.
The performance by Joell A. Jacob is solid. She plays Emma perfectly with a light and airy voice – just like Emma. She conveys the sweetness, even when frustrated. It’s a voice you can trust. Her Hunter is deeper and definitely more masculine, but as with most female narrators, not quite perfect. However, after listening to it for a bit, Hunter’s voice becomes familiar. With the supporting characters, the voices are modified enough to make each distinctive from the other. Ms. Jacob is a good fit for the tempo of the story. It worked best at 1.5x, but then I moved it to 2.0x so I could listen faster – and it still worked well.
Overall, Don’t Call Me Cupcake is a delightful, breezy romance with a few unexpected twists.
Review copy provided by Tantor Audio
About the Book:
There’s a very special kind of sweetness to life on Pine Cove Island . . .
Most families have a favorite recipe or two, handed down through generations. The Holloway women are a little different. Emma Holloway, like her grandmother before her, bakes wishes into her delicious cupcakes, granting the recipient comfort, sweet dreams, or any number of good things. It’s a strange gift, but it brings only happiness. Until gorgeous, smooth-talking newcomer Hunter Kane strolls into her shop, Fairy Cakes–and Emma makes the mistake of selling him not one, but three Sweet Success cupcakes.
Hunter, it turns out, is opening a fancy new restaurant and bakery right on the waterfront–Emma’s competition. To make matters worse, the town committee has decided to split the upcoming summer festival contract between the two, forcing Emma to work with her nemesis. But she can’t afford to split her profits. The solution: create a recipe that will make Hunter leave town permanently.
The Holloway charms are powerful. But there are other kinds of magic in the world–like red-hot first kisses, secret glances, and the feeling that comes with falling truly, madly, inconveniently in love . . .