Happy Friday! We’ve made it through another week and I don’t know about you but I’m so ready for the weekend. We are short-staffed at work yet again and it’s kicking my butt. I also don’t know about you, but I have so many books to review that are coming out on May 25th. I’ve been reading as fast as I can but still have 4 to get through between now and then so I can review them. There are definitely worse problems to have so I won’t complain. I just hope I can get them all read in time! Anyway, today I’m sharing my thoughts on two fun and fabulous rom-coms that come out on May 18th, The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall.
The Soulmate Equation Goodreads
Author: Christina Lauren
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
Publisher: Gallery Books
Before I started reading Christina Lauren’s novels, I was not the biggest fan of romance books. With their lovable characters, often hilarious banter, and addictive storylines, they won me over and now I can’t get enough of their books. Their latest, The Soulmate Equation, is the tenth book I’ve read from them and I’m happy to say it’s one of my favorites yet.
The story follows Jess Davis, who is a freelance statistician. Her passion is crunching numbers all day. Abandoned by her mother at a young age and raised by her grandparents, Jess is now a single mom raising a 7-year-old daughter. Between her career and her daughter, Jess has no time or interest in dating. I really liked Jess right away. She’s a STEM girl, which I loved, and I also loved both her devotion to her adorable daughter, Juno, and her fierce sense of independence. All of that said, I also loved that her curiosity about the data and the science behind a new DNA-based dating app called GeneticAlly leads her to actually submit a sample of her DNA to see if it actually works. Even though she’s all about science and numbers, when she is found to be 98% compatible with another subject in the database, she is skeptical, especially because she has actually met the guy and can’t stand him!
The guy is Dr. River Pena, the sexy scientist who is the brains behind the GeneticAlly app. Jess makes a snap judgment about River because she sees him at the local coffee shop every day and he doesn’t speak to anyone. She thinks he’s arrogant, rude, and obnoxious, but as she starts to get to know him, she realizes she may have been a bit hasty and overly harsh in her initial assessment. I loved watching Jess get to know River. It becomes clear that what she deemed arrogant and rude was actually just him being shy and awkward. The more they talk and interact, the more Jess starts to wonder if there’s any merit to that 98% compatibility score. As much as I liked Jess, I have to say that I flat out adored everything about River, especially the way he interacts with Jess’ daughter, Juno, when he meets her. They are adorable together, which made it impossible not to root for a happy ending for River and Jess since it would mean a father figure for Juno as well.
The actual DNA science and how that worked was a little over my head at times, but I didn’t care. I was so into Jess and River and their journey that I flew through the pages, smiling all the way. With The Soulmate Equation, I think it’s safe to say Christina Lauren have another hit on their hands for romance fans. 4 STARS
Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake Goodreads
Author: Alexis Hall
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
I just finished reading Alexis Hall’s last novel, Boyfriend Material, a couple of months ago and loved it, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of her latest, Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, the first book in a new queer romcom series called Winner Bakes All. The lure of a reality TV baking competition and its potential for hilarious antics was just impossible to resist!
The story follows Rosaline Palmer, a single mom who has found herself in a dead end job after choosing to drop out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Rosaline does not in any way regret her decision to do this but she really wishes she could do something to give her daughter a better life than she currently has. When she hears about a reality TV baking competition, she thinks this could be exactly what she needs to turn things around, and so she applies and is selected to be a contestant. The competition is fierce, and the judges can be harsh in their criticism, but Rosaline is convinced she has what it takes to go all the way.
Rosaline is such a great protagonist. I loved pretty much everything about her. She’s bisexual and very open about her sexuality, even to the point that her young daughter has been raised to know what it means to be bisexual and that it’s absolutely normal. Rosaline is like this in every aspect of life with Amelie and is raising a very precocious, open-minded young lady. Watching Amelie in action throughout the book made me feel lots of proud mom vibes on Rosaline’s behalf. She might be on her own but she is doing a splendid job raising her daughter.
As much as I adored the mother-daughter moments with Rosaline and Amelie, the fun and most of the action takes place at the competition and I thought every aspect of the competition was fabulous and very well executed. The descriptions of the glorious food items being prepared practically had me drooling while I was reading, and I loved the cast of characters, from Rosaline’s fellow competitors, most of whom become like a little family by the end of the competition, to the quirky judges and the borderline insane producer.
There’s a bit of a love triangle between Rosaline and two of her fellow competitors that at first I wasn’t sure about until it became clear that it wasn’t really much of a triangle. Rosaline meets Alain Pope while traveling to the competition and at first he seems quite charming. He’s well educated, smooth, and he certainly knows his way around a kitchen. The more Rosaline gets to know him, however, the less appealing he seems. In fact, she finds herself way more attracted to another competitor, a less educated, super awkward and shy electrician named Harry. You guys, I just have to say that Harry is the most adorable cinnamon roll of a leading man. I adored everything about him, from his cute banter with Rosaline, to his delightful creations that he bakes for the competition, including a mermaid cake, and most especially the way he treats Rosaline’s daughter. As soon as I watched Harry in action with Rosaline and her daughter, I was rooting hard for Rosaline to tell Alain to kiss off so she could be with Harry.
I don’t want to give away anything about the competition or how things turn out for Rosaline, but I will say I came away very satisfied and with a smile on my face and can’t wait to see what Alexis Hall has in store for us with the next book in this fun series. 4 STARS.