Saturday, September 04, 2010

ARC: The Icing on the Cake by Alison Kent

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match . . . dot com! An on-line dating service is not Michelle Snow’s idea of how to find love but when the Big 3-0 hits, Michelle decides she has nothing to lose since she hasn’t brought a date home in ten years, she’s professionally burned out, and her climb up the corporate ladder has come at the expense of abandoning her sweet dream: to own a boutique cupcakery.

Todd Bracken, early 30s and a successful technology consultant, isn’t exactly a player after being off the market for ten years, and pours himself into his dual passions of martial arts and home-sweet-home renovations. Only there’s no one to come home to so he decides to give a try. Todd isn’t so sure the Internet dating scene is his thing—until a message pops up in the wee hours on a weekend night: "I like your smile." Todd likes—a lot—the whole package that glides into a French bistro in Washington, D.C.

It’s serious mojo-at-first-sight but there’s a glitch: Todd and Michelle live in different cities. Will love find its way in the digital age with a You’ve Got Mail courtship when video cam kisses just aren’t enough? And when Todd challenges Michelle to not only go for her dream but let him share it, will they be able to make it happen together despite obstacles more plentiful than a shower of rainbow sprinkles?


This is one of the first three reality based romances from HCI. The blurb from the HCI site is a little misleading because Todd and Michelle only live an hour away from each other. The blurb gives the impression that they are super far apart and have to deal with a long distance romance. Not the case.

When her friends force her to sign up for a month on, Michelle is skeptical, but agrees. Her first match is with Todd. They exchange a few texts, and meet up almost immediately. They both feel the click right away.

It’s interesting to read a book about a true-life romance for a number of reasons. I felt a little voyeuristic. OK, I felt a lot voyeuristic. And plus, this romance just happened, is still happening – it’s not far in the past. I wondered how this couple felt having their love lives splashed all over. But even so, I really enjoyed this book.

I admit to feeling a little bit on the outside looking in at first. That voyeuristic thing. But once I got past that, I really liked it. For those of you who like conflict in their romances, you won’t find it here. There’s only two people meeting, falling in love, and dealing with real-life issues: the loss of a job, the loss of a parent, But it’s also a story about living out your dreams and supporting one another. And all the giddiness of falling in love with that special someone who just “gets” you.

This is definitely a 21st century romance, with much of the initial contact and wooing happening via text messaging. Which is such a foreign concept to me. Yes, I’m that old – there were no cell phones when hubby and I were dating and getting married. But the texting between Todd and Michelle takes the place of the love letters that we used to write. They flirted and felt deeply in those texts. Had the phone been a piece of paper, I could envision Michelle clasping that letter to her chest and sighing after reading a text from Todd.

The biggest conflict is Michelle’s indecision about starting her own business after she gets laid off from her job. She is understandably wishy-washy about starting up a small business in this economy, potentially losing everyting and reluctant to ask her parents to invest at such a risky time. But Todd supports her all the way, pushes her even, because he knows it will make her happy.

I adored Todd. Which creeps me out a little to say, since he’s a real person, LOL. He’s funny, self-deprecating, smart, cute, and he has a dimple. And he supports and loves Michelle with everything he is and everything he has. What’s not to love? In turn, she’s self-sufficient, smart, beautiful, and funny. The just get each other right from the start. How lovely for them.

Alison Kent writes wonderful contemporaries. This had a different feel to it than her other books. Had I not known it was a Kent book, I likely wouldn't have guessed it. There are no graphic sex scenes (which I actually found myself grateful for), there’s no suspense, there’s no dark, mysterious hero. But it does have the wonderfully descriptive writing that I associate with Kent. And she’s a fabulous storyteller. Once I got past the “peeping Tom” feeling, I was drawn into the story, wanting it all to work out for Todd and Michelle without all the drama. Because there’s nothing that feels as good as being totally comfortable with the one you love, and enjoying fun times but also enjoying being quiet with them.

If you like low-conflict love stories written about two really nice, mature people who know what they want, falling in love then this is for you. It’s well written and engaging. If you need lots of conflict, then I suggest you look elsewhere.


  1. I know the couple and they are as amazing in person as they are portrayed in the book - the story is real, it's Michelle and Todd, the book gives us hope to follow our dreams in love and life! Check out their cupcakery too,

  2. Hi anonymous. Thanks for stopping by. t truly was a wonderful love story, and I'm very happy for them.

    As for the cupcakery... *whines* I felt the pounds coming on just from looking. But when I hit DC this summer, I'll be sure to stop in. There a lots of flavors calling my name. Loudly.

  3. OH good to know. I've just read the first and frankly didn't love it. I'm looking forward to reading the other 2!

  4. They definitely read differently somehow, huh? I'm bummed to hear that you didn't care for the other two.

    I'm not certain I'd want to read them frequently; it felt just a little creepy to be looking into this couple's lives like that. But then, I'm not someone who approves of that when it happens on the news, either.

    But I do think that they have a lovely story, and although it took me a while to feel comfortable, I enjoyed it.

  5. I've only read book 1 so far, actually. I'm hoping the other 2 are better for me. The first one was good but not great.

    It did feel a bit creepy, didn't it? I kept thinking, as I do with fiction, I would have done this or that - but I can't say that because that was how it really happened! lol

  6. It's great to know that it can happen in real life :) At the same time, I'm not sure I'd like to know it's real. I don't know, it might be too personal?


Have you read it? What do you think?

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