Battle Royal: The first Lucy Parker book I’ve read, but I will be back for more. It has one of my favorite tropes, grumpy meets sunshine, and is done quite well. Sylvie is our sunshine with the pink-streaked hair, a former contestant on Operation Cake, and her time on the show was a unicorn-exploding failure. But she used her fame to start her own bakery, which happens to be directly across the street from grumpy Dominic, one of the show’s judges. When Sylvie is asked to come back and be a judge on the show alongside him, well, it’s a romance so you know how things will go from there. Sylvie & Dominic also find themselves going head-to-head in a battle to be the official baker of the upcoming royal wedding of Princess Rose. I really enjoyed Rose’s story and the mystery of her family. It gave a nice addition to the traditional romance story arc.
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake: Alexis Hall is brilliant and I love everything of his I’ve ever read. This book continues his habit of bringing us beautiful stories with complex characters. While in Battle Royal the baking show is mostly a background element, the Bake Expectations show is the setting for a large part of this book. Rosaline is a bisexual single mom to a young daughter and is struggling to support her little family without relying financially on her judgmental parents, who view her as a disappointment for getting pregnant and dropping out of college to raise Amelie. Rosaline’s biggest support comes from ex-girlfriend Lauren, & I love the fact that the two have remained such good friends despite their history. The love story in this book revolves around a romantic triangle, but we know pretty early on which one Rosaline will end up with.
Although I gave both books the same rating, I’m giving Rosaline Palmer the edge because it’s less a traditional romance and more the story of woman on a journey of self-love & self-discovery. I found myself cheering for her every step of the way, and occasionally wanted to wring her neck for making bad decisions, but isn’t that real life? We don’t always make the decisions we should at the time, but hopefully we learn and grow enough that we end up OK at the end.