Title: Sprinkled With Love
Author: Jennifer Faye
Series: Bachelor Bake-Off #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: 21st Feb
What does one do with a matchmaking cat named Romeo?
Spirited and beautiful, Jillian Parker is one of Marietta’s newest business owners. Still, her mother worries about Jillian’s bare ring finger. So in order to give her mother something else to fuss over, Jillian adopts a cat named Romeo. He turns out to be anything but a docile lap cat.
One snowy night, Romeo makes a break for it. With Jillian right on his heels, they have a near miss with a passing pickup driven by Avery Wainwright, one of Jillian’s closest friends. A rodeo accident has the sexy cowboy returning home to recuperate, and he’s not happy about it.
So when Avery finds himself lassoed into the Bachelor Bake-Off, he turns to the one person who has always helped him out—Jillian. But will teaching him to take chances outside of the show ring have them both discovering that their feelings for each other run much deeper than they ever imagined?
Source: ARC from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
I found this a rather underwhelming read. It starts out quite promising and stars a couple of very cute cats, but Avery and Jillian did nothing to win me over and the lack of bake-off content made the whole thing drag and feel quite tedious at times.
Let’s start with Jillian. She’s a jewellery maker opening her first shop, which could have been so exciting, but her lack of creativity sucked all the joy out of it for me. But it was her immature reactions to Avery that annoyed me most. After the tragic death of Avery’s parents, he employed Avery as a housekeeper/nanny to help bring up his teenage twin siblings while he worked his fingers to the bone and earned extra money at rodeos. So far, so selfless from both of them, but Jillian has always had a crush on Avery, so she tried to ask him out once, but he turned her down. Then, after the twins had left home, she expected… I don’t even know what. When it didn’t materialise this made Avery a terrible villain who broke her heart and destroyed her dreams.
Except he never led her on. He never showed any sign of attraction to her. He was her employer, and yes, they are both young and have been friends for ages, but that doesn’t automatically mean their lives should forever be entwined. Jillian (and others) completely fail to realise that she is responsible for her own feelings and Avery never did anything wrong. I never even felt any kind of friendship between them, so the idea that they were such a cute couple that everyone assumed were dating never quite worked for me.
Not that Avery is perfect, because really he’s a mess. He starts this book injured and sad because now he can’t earn the money he needs to fulfill his dream of owning his own ranch. Yet, somehow, throughout this book it becomes unclear if rodeoing is actually his dream or just a way to earn money, while owning a ranch seems like a second choice option that means he has to finally settle down. He’s massively inconsistent with this and his feelings towards Jillian. I don’t blame him for her feelings when they were younger, but he’s all over the place now when it comes to her and what he does – or doesn’t – want from their relationship. Plus his injury was a something of nothing. Kind of like his rodeo career. He does not make a convincing cowboy.
Throw in the lack of fun baking and this book really didn’t win me over. Jillian needs to grow up and Avery needs to sit down and figure out exactly what it is he wants. The only good thing is Romeo and Marshmallow’s cute little romance. Here’s hoping the next book is more focused on the competition.
Sprinkled With Love is out February 21st.
Visit Jennifer Faye for more details.