Sugar Rush - Donna Kauffman
Now I definitely wish I had read this series in order. Not that the second book doesn't stand on its own, it does. I just think I would have appreciated Lani and Baxter's scenes in it more having read this. Also, I wouldn't have had expectations of certain occurrences explained in the second book happening in this one.Once again, I loved the characters in this book. With the exception of Alva, which is just an archetypal character I cannot stand, I really liked their interaction and their stories. Even though Baxter and Lani had worked with each other and developed feelings for each other for years, their coming together in the book was slow and rather fulfilling. Even though the decision keeping them apart was rather silly as the solution seemed fairly simple, or at least it's ridiculous to me to be so fatalistic about the prospects of a relationship with someone you love without trying first, the angst between Lani and Baxter was delicious. I don't know what it was but I was really loving that aspect of the story. Which is also maybe why the first love scene was so fantastically sensual to me. The set up was a bit annoying and heavy-handed (because it made a secondary character look like an asshole), but once they got into it I was into it.I think there were probably some info dumps in this book as well, but obviously they were nowhere near as dense and noticeable as they were in the second book since I can't really pinpoint any. I definitely could have used more time on Lani and Baxter's two weeks together and, say, less Alva. I also didn't like the way Kauffman spelled the world "luv" when Baxter said it as an endearment. There's really no difference between the pronunciation of the proper spelling and that spelling. It's like how I detest the word being spelled "cum" instead of "come." There's just no real reason for it to me.I'm going to get on my soapbox here for a moment as this is something I've been noticing more and more and it is irritating the hell out of me to the point it dampens my enjoyment of good books/series like this one. In this book one of the secondary characters is Charlotte, Lani's best friend from culinary school who comes from New Delhi. Charlotte is around the same age as Lani, and she's given a side plot of falling for a man who works for Baxter, named Carlo (I believe it's said in the second book that he's Puerto Rican). In the second book their relationship has advanced and there are some rather interesting hurdles they're working through. The thing is, the second book isn't about them. Instead, in a tacked on Epilogue, Riley Brown the completely random, white, Heroine of the second book is introduced.Do you see where I'm going with this?It is driving me absolutely nuts that romance authors create these dynamic secondary characters of different races then advance the series by creating white characters out of the blue for/in the next book instead of exploring the lives of the character(s) they've already introduced that are primed for their own book. That basically says to me that we're good enough to be the interesting friend/sidekick – and, sure, get an HEA on the side – but not good enough to headline a book. The author of my favorite contemporary romance series did this as well. It's getting to be upsetting and these are good books I really like and I don't want this negative black cloud hanging over them. I hope that authors in this genre will be better about this in the future. Overall, however, I really enjoyed reading this book. And I definitely plan on reading the third in the series (single father who isn't really a father!). Although maybe not for a while as I've been obsessed with cupcakes lately thanks to these books. Now to reward myself with one I bought, actually, from one of the bakeries thanked in the acknowledgements of this book!