September 17, 2013

Review: Cake by Lauren Dane

Close-up of a man and a woman kissing. We only see their mouths touching and their noses. They are both white.
Source: a review copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley

Cake is Lauren Dane’s contribution to the Cosmo Red-Hot Reads collection. These books are a partnership between Cosmopolitan magazine and Harlequin, so that’s where the “Cosmo” part comes from. Unfortunately, this one didn’t include ridiculous sex advice.

Wren is an art student who works as a messenger in order to pay the bills. She often delivers packages to tormented artist, Gregori Ivanov, and they have developed an easy friendship. She also has a massive crush on him because he has tattoos, a Mohawk, an accent and lots of attitude (and now you know what made me read the book). But his evil ex-wife left him traumatized and afraid of commitment, which means that it’s up to Wren to get what she wants because this dude is too busy being predictable to do much else.

This is my first Lauren Dane book and I didn’t know what to expect, but I found it quite enjoyable. It’s a quick read --only 100 pages of so-- and the heroine has enough freshness to balance the whiny hero and the cartoonish ex. In fact, she pretty much keeps the book from being an unremarkable collection of clichés.

As I said before, Wren is the one who relentlessly pursues Gregori. Once she decides she wants him, she goes for it. Next to such a reluctant guy, she comes across as a bit too pushy, but it fits the story well and it’s always a joy to get a heroine who isn’t a blushing virgin.

I was not a fan of Gregori, mostly because there wasn’t much to be a fan of. His character is underdeveloped and reads like the stereotype of a Romance hero: hot, talented, cocky, afraid of commitment, and has an evil ex to top it all off. It’s hard to believe someone so confident would be so insecure, which is not surprising because his insecurity is a gimmick to create conflict and to force the most awkward grand gesture.

Would I recommend the book? No, but not because I didn’t like it, but because it’s expensive. $3.99* for a 100-page novella seems excessive considering the product you would be getting. I mean, for the same price you could get any Blaze book, which are more than twice longer and very similar in tone. But I guess we’re also paying for the Cosmo brand. I liked the book and maybe the partnership will work as a getaway to introduce new readers to the genre, but I’m not impressed enough to invest time and money in the other stories.

*$3.99 is the digital list price, but it’s a bit cheaper on Kindle and Books-A-Million.

Review by Brie
Grade: 3
Sensuality: McSteamy
Purchase: Amazon

She won’t be satisfied with just one bite...
Art student-slash-bike messenger Wren Davis pursues what she wants. And what she wants now is Gregori Ivanov, rock star of the Seattle art scene. With his tattoos, piercings and sensual sneer, Gregori is the ultimate bad boy. Wren’s gotten to know the man beneath the body art, too—and it only makes her crave him more.
But Gregori loves women like he loves cake and champagne—intensely, but only for the moment. And after Wren experiences just how scorching sex with Gregori is, she’s determined to show him that just one taste won’t be enough...
Cake by Lauren Dane
Harlequin. September 16, 2013.


  1. Wren sounds like an interesting character, but you're right, $3.99 for a novella is more than I would look to pay for an e-book.

    Hey, I just sent you an email. Wanted to let you know with a comment because I'm worried it'll go to spam!

  2. I liked this much more than you did. This is mainly due to Wren. I loved her kick-ass attitude about her work and her relationship with Gregori.
    I agree. $3.99 is a ridiculous price to pay for a novella. We are paying for the Cosmo brand stamped on the cover. As much as I loved the book, I've been reluctant to pimp this book out to friends.

    1. Yep. We're paying for the brand, which sucks, because the novella was good, just not *that* good.

  3. I have yet to read a Cosmo read - not sure why. Maybe because I fear for what you say - we are paying for the brand.

  4. Emma Rose gives away free romance books all the time and they are SOOO good. Her site is


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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.