Marc reviews the audiobook version of “Cupcakes” by Sean Michael. This book was published by Dreamspinner Press on January 8th, 2014 and is 188 pages long. The audiobook was released by Dreamspinner Press on February 17th, 2015, is narrated by Jeff Gelder and is 4 hrs and 52 mins long.
Why I read this book: I had to do some housework and wanted to buy an audiobook to listen to while working. This audiobook had been recently released and I wanted something happy and sweet and it seemed perfect.
Allen Jameson had it all—the perfect house, the perfect partner, the perfect life—until his partner, Gary, died suddenly, leaving him alone in the real world, where life isn’t so pretty and people make mistakes. Now Allen is the owner of Sweet ‘n’ Sassy Cupcake Shop, a cute boutique downtown, where he invents delicious flavors like strawberry and French meringue. Between working long hours and making special orders, Allen barely has time to think.
Then a hunky contractor walks into his shop looking for a treat. Allen and Byron Bannigan are total opposites, but they’re perfect together—salty and sweet like Allen’s signature peanut butter and chocolate ganache cupcakes. But as Allen struggles to juggle his business and his boyfriend, he learns he can only handle so much. He may have to choose between the cupcakes in his store and the cupcake in his bed.
Cupcakes are small, sweet and delicious. The title made me think this book might be similar and I was in the mood for that.
I like the cover. The cupcakes reinforce the sweetness promised by the title and the cover models look very much in love. I really think it was this cover that sold me 😉
It amazes me again and again how differently readers can experience the same book. I needed an audiobook and a happy story and ‘Cupcakes’ looked like a sweet, short read and seemed to be just what I needed.
Before starting it, I actually looked on GR and was a bit shocked to see the rating was rather low. Reading through my friend reviews, a lot of people seemed to think it was sugar-shock sweet, too perfect and devoid of conflict.
Though some of my other friends gave it a perfect score, I almost didn’t start it. I was afraid that I would be disappointed in the book, but I had it all ready to go, it wasalready purchased and I needed to work and just went with it. And I’m glad I did.
First thing to know before reading this is that this is not one of Sean Michael’S kinky, BDSM type reads. He has a few very sweet and romantic books and this does fall into the group, though there is still a lot of sex. Just more sweet than dangerous and kinky. Still hot, though.
BUT – and this felt very ironic to me, I actually thought this book was filled with conflict and angst. It was just written in a very subtle way and the conflict was not about the relationship that develops between the two main characters, but it is still there.
The main protagonist of this story is Allen, a very sweet and likable guy who lost his significantly older partner and just opened a cupcake bakery.
Allen met his deceased partner when he was 21 and he fell in love with the much older guy. One of the most beautiful things about this book is that it doesn’t judge this relationship. I am a gay man myself and had just come out, when I fell in love with a guy who isn’t much into sex and our relationship is more that of an old married couple. But I am lucky to have found a guy who I am so in love with and who is so in love with me and to spend every night in his arms. I can see that Allen and his former partner had a loving relationship and he was left well taken care of with money and a house, after the partner had a heart-attack.
Now, when he meet B, a guy who buys some cupcakes in the store, there is an instant connection. Sizzling chemistry. It has been almost two years since Gary, Allen’s partner of ten years died and he never dated another guy. But B is charming, flirty and very sexual. He is very different from Allen’s former partner, but they still really click and start dating.
Gary was very cultured, had friends everywhere and took care of and sheltered Allen. Allen in turn spend all his energy on being a great homemaker and was happy, made Gary happy and they had a wonderful life.
Allen is very open to explore things with B, though. He might be different than Gary, but B awakes a sensual side in himself that has been dormant. I think that the erotic scenes in this book are really important for the plot, thus. Allen is learning more about his body and this passionate romance he shares with B is very different, but not more or less important than what he shared with Gary.
Allen kind of inherited a lot of Gary’s friends – well connected men in high positions who shelter him and seem to protect him from the world, now that Gary can’t do that anymore. They seem to be disapproving of B, because he is gruff and rustic and not as cultured as Gary was.
However, B is a successful small business owner (construction) and he is one of the few people who really take Allen’s new cupcake venture serious. Here’s the thing – to like this book, you will need to take his venture serious as well. He has a lot of money, but the cupcake business is something he has built on his own and is proud of. It is also at the heart of the conflict in this book.
Allen lives in Gary’s house – but he has put his own stamp on it. He ‘inherited’ Gary’s friends, but they seem to take care of him. Still, nothing in his life is just his own, except this business. He might be using the money he inherited, but it is now his money and he starts up this business all on his own. When B steps into the store, he doesn’t just appreciate the delicious cupcakes; without knowing about Allen’s money and his history, he takes the store serious and sees Allen as another, equal small business owner. He is exactly what Allen needs. Someone who respects him and takes him serious.
I admit – the two seem very perfect, but this book doesn’t show their entire life. I don’t think that it is impossible for the two men to be so sweet and loving in their honeymoon stage of dating and to create a united front against the external problems that arise. I think a sequel to this story would be wonderful and there is much left to explore like B’s family and friends and business and their new live together as they adjust to each other and living together.
However, even while Allen acts naively and stupidly by blindly trusting the wrong people (and not involving B, who would have helped him), being angry about it would have been out of place and without any benefit. And I loved that the mistakes actually have consequences and everything doesn’t resolve in rainbows.
So, this is a low-angst story if you only look at the relationship, but I thought there was a lot of tension and conflict where Allen’s new life is concerned. He has to fight for it, has to figure out who to trust and what he wants. I really loved how the author dealt with Allen loving two very different men in very different ways, but showing that both were valid and the subtle, complicated ways that prevent him from moving on. There is a lot of character growth and a lot of things going on between the lines.
Personally, and a bit unexpectedly after reading a few very negative reviews, I really loved it. And I quite enjoyed the narrator, too. So, I can really recommend it, but it seems to be a book readers either love or hate.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) or 4.5/5 Stars
Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and persuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago.”
A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.
Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.
Sean’s available for interviews, by the way. He can always be talked into, well talking about himself. Just drop him an email here.