Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Icing on the Cupcake by Jennifer Ross

Truth be told, I finished this book a week or so ago. You're probably wondering why I didn't jump on my computer and frantically begin reviewing it (ok, so you're probably not) but my reasoning is sound: it was probably one of the worst books I've ever read.

Books like that tend to leave a bad taste in your mouth, and because of that you generally don't want to re-visit it again and again. In fact, I spent a few days considering whether I would just pretend like it never happened and vow to only review the good books from here on out, but I realized that would make for a very lopsided, biased book review blog.

So here I am.

The general story line wasn't too bad, actually. It goes as follows: Ansley (I even had a beef with the character name because how do you pronounce that? Is it a misspelled Ainsley?) is a sorority sister/debutante from Texas who is, for all intents and purposes, the B word, and upon graduating college and letting her true colors show, is dumped by her fiancee. Unsure as to what she will do now that her life goal is shattered (ie: marry a man who will maintain the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed so she never has to work - doesn't sound too bad) she decides to move to New York City and live with the grandmother whom she's never met (and who is estranged from her daughter/Ansley's mother for some secretive reason). But Vivian (grandmother) isn't willing to put up with Ansley moping around and gives her an ultimatum: six weeks to find a job or she's moving back to Texas.

This had the potential to be a cute book.

There are two glaring problems with it, however, that keep it from being so. First, the author has never penned anything in her life prior to this (at least, nothing worth mentioning in her About the Author segment of the book), but is an avid baker, and I'm pleased to say that at least the recipes at the end of each chapter are decent - I tried one out the other day and found it quite tasty. Second, the editor has apparently never edited anything in his/her life prior to this and I found multiple instances in which words or proper punctuation were missing in order to help things make sense. This is a genuine problem.

Spoiler alert (oh wait, the book was rotten from the beginning...but if you really, really don't want to find out the ending because for some reason you will actually attempt this book, then stop here)! I have to share the ending of this book because it's just that bad.

Ansley's archnemesis, Patty, who of course got engaged to the ex-fiancee as soon as Ansley moved to NYC, is apparently very unhappy with the success Ansley finds. Oh right, we don't know about that yet. She decides to open her own cupcake bakery, with the assistance of a newfound friend, Dot, surprises grandma with it, she has a great new life, etc. etc. And in a couple very action-packed chapters, we discover that Patty and Dot are cousins, that Dot was sent to spy and ruin Ansley's life, that Dot decided Ansley wasn't too bad and wants to stay BFFs, that Patty COMES TO NEW YORK AND HITS ANSLEY WITH HER CAR, and that ex-fiancee finds Patty to be crazy out of her mind but is pleased with her commitment and loyalty (although he initially wants Ansley to take him back because clearly she's the woman for him). We discover the big "secret" of Vivian (not interesting at all - she cheated on her husband, the man was wealthy and powerful and made her marry him instead - nice little doormat character - she tried to get in touch with her daughter, to no avail, because her ex-husband wouldn't have any of it), and the book ends with Vivian and Ansley all happy go lucky.

I'll give you a minute to soak all that in.

I'm unsure why I finished the book in the first place, but I suppose I was holding out real hope that it would somehow get better. Instead it continued to spiral downward. The prose was a combination of "One Tree Hill" and extremely technical baking tips, proving that Ross should have tried for a cookbook rather than a novel. I can't give this book any stars whatsoever.

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