“Fake It Till You Bake It” by Jamie Wesley

It’s difficult to muster up sympathy for a poor little rich girl of twenty-five who’s marking time until her 26th birthday when she has access to a sizeable inheritance. Yet that’s the premise of Jada’s motivation when her grandmother sends her to work for Donovan Dell, San Diego pro-football player and co-owner of a cupcake shop. He and two of his teammates may be tough on the playing field but they’re bakers at heart. Awww, isn’t that cute? Yes, well it could be but Jada is the driving force behind “Fake It Till You Bake It” and she’s not all that likable, mainly because she continually teeters between self-flagellation and faking an image of “I don’t give a damn”.

Jada gets sidelined after nixing a reality dating show proposal and the ensuing social media blowup it causes. But her sparkling personality helps turn Donovan’s Sugar Blitz bakery from a losing position to a profitable one and in the process, the pair agrees to fake a romance to help rebuild Jada’s public image. But love sometimes gets in the way of even the most well-intentioned plans.

The soft-hearted but taciturn Donovan, who’s worried over the red ink on his books, hires Jada as a favor to her grandmother who is the team’s owner. Although his bakery puts out a superior product, his marketing plan isn’t getting the message out and Donovan is looking for ways to stop the bleeding. He’s a more well-rounded character than he initially seems and Jada brings him out of his self-inflicted loner lifestyle. But when an old boyfriend tries to get back in Jada’s good graces, Donovan fears he’s missed his chance with her.

Author Jamie Wesley serves up a slice of sweet and salty romance with a spoiled little rich girl as the protagonist. Jada isn’t “bad” but she’s definitely self-involved and my first inclination was wanting to shake some sense into her. But when no one is looking her true self emerges, right up until she puts on her protective shell as if she’s donning her precious Louboutins. Then her outspoken demeanor and rash behavior take over and her spoiled rich girl personae comes out to play. All of this makes for what at heart is a cute little romantic romp. However as appealing as the storyline is, the writing is marred by stale phrasing, overworked similes and poor grammar that constantly distracted this reader. And then there is the self-talk and voluble dialogue that goes on far too long, regurgitating the same ideas over and over. I toyed with relegating it to the DNF pile but decided to finish it instead because I’m that stubborn. Three stars.

My thanks to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with an ARC (Advance Reader’s Copy) of “Fake It Till You Bake It”, scheduled for publication June 21, 2022. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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