Author: Helena Hunting
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 12 minutes
As two neighborhood shop owners battle for business, they prove opposites attract in this outrageously funny romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of Meet Cute.
Blaire Calloway has planned every Instagram-worthy moment of her cupcake and cocktails shop launch down to the tiniest detail. What she didn’t plan on? Ronan Knight and his old-school sports bar next door opening on the very same day. He may be super swoony, but Blaire hasn’t spent years obsessing over buttercream and bourbon to have him ruin her chance at success.
From axe throwing (his place) to frosting contests (hers), Blaire and Ronan are constantly trying to one-up each other in a battle to win new customers. But with every clash, there’s also an undeniable chemistry. When an even bigger threat to their business comes to town, they’re forced to call a temporary time-out on their own war and work together. And the more time Blaire spends getting to know the real Ronan, the more she wonders if it’s possible to have her cupcake and eat it too.
I have a few of Helena Hunting’s novel on my TBR and somehow have not gotten to them until now. After the joy that was Kiss My Cupcake, I shall have to make sure I get to the others soon! I did the audiobook for this novel and I am glad I decided to go this route as it was adorable to listen to this novel with Teddy Hamilton and Holly Warren narrating the story. Listening to this story did want me to get a fancy cupcake as there are a lot of good ones described throughout the novel.
Our main character is Blaire Calloway who has just opened up her new bakery/bar called Buttercream and Booze. It has her cute style as she loves the 50’s style aesthetics that she integrates in her clothes and hair. She comes from a family of wealthy restaurateurs, but she chose not to join the family business in favor of having her own business and separating her future success from her family’s legacy. She has a complicated relationship with her family that gets discussed a lot by Ronan once he meets them, but it seems like Blaire brushes them off. It seemed that the family was not a great bunch and I wish that this was explored more to actually work towards a resolution to becoming a closer family. It seemed that it was mentioned when it was convenient to the plot, but it does not seem to be a fully developed storyline.
Ronan Knight is the driving force behind his grandparent’s established pub called The Knight Cap. In addition to being a pub, Ronan has added an axe throwing section (a common business in the US and a very fun time if you have not tried it yet). He is described as a hipster with black-framed glasses and always in a plaid shirt with a lumberjack vibe. As the next door neighbor to Buttercream and Booze, some renovations at Ronan’s pub cause the two characters to meet. As Blaire is upset for the noise and shaking walls, she confronts Ronan and their enemies to lovers’ story begin. Blaire is determined to make her new business a success and wants to ensure that she has a good customer base and is jealous if they go to Ronan’s bar. Initially, this idea of a cupcake/bar and an axe/pub being rivals did not make a lot of sense as, to me, the cupcake place seems more like a day-time type activity and the axe/pub is somewhere to visit later at night, so it does not seem there should have been competition for business if they aren’t catering to the same time of day. It did make for a fun story though, but it was just not that realistic to me.
The two of them decide their rivalry is not worth it once a new business is set to open across the street that might sabotage both of their businesses as it will offer cheaper chain-restaurant pricing. Instead, the two of them join forces to save their respective businesses and in their time together, they begin to bond more and more. Slowly, they open up more to each other and realize they might not be enemies anymore. This book is duel POV so we get some insight into each of their thoughts, but it is skewed toward Blaire as most of the chapters belong to her side of things. It would have been nicer to have more from Ronan’s as he was a balance to Blaire’s more over the top personality.
Blaire was cute and quirky, but went from zero to one hundred in some situations. Her polar opposite was Ronan, who took situations in stride a little more. The two of them had great chemistry and their story was an entertaining slow-burn romance. They were a sweet couple with great banter. Blaire was not my favorite character early on, but she did grow on me overtime. On the other hand, I enjoyed Ronan from start to finish. Ronan’s grandfather was adorable and was an excellent addition to the story. His relationship with Ronan was extremely sweet and heart-warming. Overall, this novel was a very cute read and I enjoyed the audiobook version as it was a nice light-hearted experience. I look forward to trying more novels from this author!