December 27, 2013

Fictionella Blog Tour: Heartbreak Cake by Cindy Arora

Cake doesn't lie. It's doesn't cheat on you [sic]. It doesn't have an affair with inappropriate people, and it certainly doesn't leave you. You may leave it, when you have eaten too much of it, but cake will never walk out your front door.
-from Heartbreak Cake by Cindy Arora
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 I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Fictionella in exchange for an honest review.

Indira Aguilar is the type of person who you want to buy baked goods from because her heart, soul and powerful creativity is in her baking. So it's no wonder, that Indira's bakery, Cake Pan Bakeshoppe, is becoming the talk of her southern California beach town when it comes to stunningly creative wedding cakes. But there's trouble in paradise when Indira ends her affair with Josh Oliver, who is not only married but the manager of her fiercest competition, Crystal Cove Resort. When Josh's scorned wife begins attacking Indira's business and the community begins to turn on her, Indira must publicly maneuver through her heartbreak and find her way back to happiness with the help of family, friends, and a lot of butter.

As you read this review, you're probably slowly coming out of a sugar coma from the holidays and the thought of reading a bakery-centered book might not line up with your new years resolutions. But hear me out: I read this book in a day and strongly recommend you indulge in this final week of the holiday season with a book as sweet as its subject matter.

Ordinarily books about extramarital affairs are off limits for me because I have no desire to read them. But somehow Cindy Arora is able to tell the story of "the other woman" in a way that readers can identify. It also helps that Josh Oliver and his wife were separated and living in different countries with implications of divorce when Indira's relationship with him began. But overall, I got the idea that Indira was not a "home wrecker" by definition and this book encourages the reader to look at angles with which you might not ordinarily empathize. There are many layers to Indira's relationship which ultimately translate to her personal issues and I think Arora did an excellent job of painting the picture of a broken woman putting herself back together.

As someone who loves to bake, the integration of baking and cooking into the storyline was really fun. I could only imagine what Indira and her business partner, Pedro's, baked goods tasted like. Reading this book made me crave real homemade treats and made me want to pick up a whisk to whip something up of my own. If you enjoy baking and cooking, I think that aspect will make this book even more enjoyable to you. I really want to know if there's a bakery in Long Beach comparable to Cake Pan, because if there is, I'm going there now!

Speaking of the setting of the story, I was so excited to hear that it takes place in Long Beach, California, the city in which I actually currently reside! I identified with "Retro Row" and really love when authors use a real city as their backdrop (case in point: Lola and the Boy Next Door). However, what shatters this for me is when authors use real cities but don't use them realistically and unfortunately that's what I found with Heartbreak Cake. Those who aren't familiar with Southern California probably don't know this which might be why the author wrote it, but Long Beach and Laguna Beach (where Crystal Cove is supposed to be located), are nowhere near each other. In fact, they're just over 30 miles down Pacific Coast Highway from each other. I can believe that perhaps Crystal Cove would be Cake Pan's biggest competition in the SoCal wedding industry, but that Josh's wife could slander Indira so bad from Laguna to Long Beach, I just couldn't get behind. This annoyed me through the whole story. Call it Local Pride, but it was really hard to suspend my disbelief after being excited at a real location being used and it made me a little less trusting of the author. I know this might be really nit-picky, but what can I say, it affected my read.

Another thing I didn't love about this book was that it had more than its fair share of typos; I attribute a decent amount of those to formatting errors since most of them contained dialogue by two people in a single paragraph. I hope the publisher and/or author are able to repair these problems nonetheless. I felt like some of the dialogue could use some editing also, but overall the dialogue brought the characters to life along with Indira's strong narration.  Despite the typos (formatting or otherwise) and some of my trouble with dialogue, the characters all pop off the page making for a juicy read that, at the end of the day, really does have a lot of heart!

Bottom Line: Full of scandal, baked goods, and a lot of heart, Heartbreak Cake is a great way to indulge (so long as you're not a so Cal native unable to suspend disbelief a little bit). 3.5/5 stars, but I'll round up since my major annoyances most likely won't affect you!

P.S. I wish this book included some of Indira's recipes!! I received so many baking-related items for Christmas that I would love to put them to use with her ideas! ;)


  1. Indira sounds like someone who works with her heart. i love that passion.

  2. ahhh my comment was eaten! I also don't usually like books that deal with cheating, but I like ones that surprise you with development or perspective. I love books that deal with baking, even though I'm not a baker myself! I get nit-picky about things like that (not location based, not many books are set in Oklahoma!) but once something bothers me it's hard to let go of it! I hope they can fix the unpleasant typos! This book sounds enjoyable overall, though!


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