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There's More To Life Than Cupcakes | Poppy Dolan | Joint Review By Laura & Ria

*image via GoodReads

"Ellie Redford has a husband, a job and a home. According to the rest of the world, it’s baby o’clock already. Shame life doesn’t come with a recipe…

Ellie knows that starting a family with lovely husband Pete would be an amazing adventure. Pete would make a brilliant dad and she’d have an excuse to eat shed loads of Cherry Bakewell. But Ellie’s bestie would rather she was up at 3am with a bottle of Malibu, not formula. And with redundancies looming, Ellie’s boss isn’t exactly going to throw her a shower if she disappears for a year, with pay. 

While Ellie juggles her feelings (and everyone else’s) as competently as a drunken clown, she finds herself signing up for a baking class, alongside the young, free and sizzling hot Joe. As they work buns and shape tarts, is there more to their friendship than a shared appreciation of Paul Hollywood? 

Ellie’s soufflés may be rising, but her personal life is one big soggy mess. If she doesn't make a decision soon, she may just lose everything that matters to her. Maybe it's time to take off the pinny and face up to the truth: there’s more to life than cupcakes..." 
- summary via GoodReads

How (if at all) did the plot surprise you, or stand out to you? 

Laura: I wouldn’t say the plot surprised me, I would say that it was a storyline that I hadn’t read about before, it’s not my usual plot – I normally got for the meeting point and start of relationships rather than the already happily married stories. So as I hadn’t read many stories like this before, it was interesting to see how the storyline developed and where it was heading although like all chic-lit it was quite easy to work out the ending.

Ria: I thought the plotline itself and its shift focus towards a woman already in a happy and committed relationship was really refreshing, so much chic-lit is focused on how to get into a relationship with little written on what actually happens after the ‘happily ever after’. The baby storyline was also something I’d never seen from this genre and liked the inclusion of all the different viewpoints on whether Ellie should or shouldn’t become a mum. 

Did you find the characters realistic and, if so, how? 

Laura: I did find the characters realistic and I can imagine for some people they would be quite relatable. As Pete and Ellie let the baby issue erupt within their relationship, their situation and reactions towards each other would be extremely relatable and realistic to many couples in similar situations. I did really think Pete was the sweetest husband therefore I found Ellie somewhat frustrating at times (I couldn’t help taking Pete’s side), along with her flirtatious nature with her new friend.

Ria: I think Ellie, during her mild baby/pregnancy panic stages, did feel fairly realistic and I can imagine there are plenty of people who go through exactly the same thought process as her. I did however, feel she got a bit over-dramatic at points and her rushed judgement left me siding with everyone else except her sometimes – not something you want with a lead protagonist! The supporting characters were certainly a mixed bag, but despite all their eccentricities and problems the majority of them felt like people you could very well meet everyday. 

How did you find the writing style? Do you think it fits well into the Chick-Lit genre and why? 

Laura: I definitely think the writing style fits in, I thought it was really easy to read, flowed really well and I found myself reading 50 pages before I’d even realised it. The reason I head back to the chic-lit genre is because it is so easy to bury yourself in, after a long stressful day, I often want something easy to read, something that isn’t too challenging but yet still creative with vocabulary or style. This books definitely fits in with this genres writing style.

Ria: I think Poppy’s writing style fit perfectly within the genre. I really like the use of contemporary references – particularly the bits about Great British Bake Off! – as well as the more heartfelt moments where Ellie was showing her more logical side. 
The dialogue flow between the characters was great too, especially between Ellie and her close friends. 

Was there any aspect of the story, or characters, that you felt was missing from the story? Why? 

Laura: There is nothing that immediately jumps to mind when answering this question, it had all the usual features that were needed. Maybe a little more humour, I do like a chic-lit book with a touch of humour.

Ria: I’d have liked to have seen Ellie’s rational and reasoning side come out more often – particularly when it came to poor Pete – but I guess when people are firing questions about whether you have a bun in the oven left, right and centre it’s bound to drive you a little insane. 

What was your overall verdict on the book? 

Laura: I did really enjoy this book, it definitely fitted well with the genre that it was aiming for. I enjoyed the different storyline and many of the characters. But as previously mentioned I did find one character frustrating and did put me off when reading.

Ria: I thought the book was a really good, ‘pick me up’ read. The storyline was certainly pretty unique for a typical ‘chic-lit’ book and the characters heart warming. As I said, Ellie can get pretty frustrating at times, but it all adds to the drama of the novel – and the ending will more than make up for it! 

This was reviewed by regular reviewers Laura and Ria. Get to know them here.

*Review copy c/o Novelicious Books. All opinions have not been influenced and are 100% our reviewers own.


  1. I feel like the title of this books is very misleading, since we all know it's not true :p

  2. Great review, will add this to my next to reads!



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