Sweet Cheeks gives a unique spin to a story that romance listeners have no doubt heard before: the second chance at love trope. The interesting twist is that Ms. Bromberg splices and dices this trope with a couple of other contemporary romance tropes (the movie star with a small town girl and the jealousy inspiring “plus one” date to the former fiancée’s wedding to another woman) and adds her own clever touches (grudge cupcakes and Hollywood antics) to make the story sound fresh and new. Further complimenting this fun, romantic tale is the splendid dual narration by Andi Arndt and Sebastian York.
Saylor Rodgers recently broke up with her fiancé whom she dated for a number of years but never felt a close connection to. Now she is single and dealing with a struggling cupcake business that she runs along with her brother. With her ex’s deep roots to the small California town they live in, it seems that post break-up, all her former friends have sided with her ex-fiancé and his country-club mom, and will not dare set a toe in her bakery shop for fear of the social backlash.
Meanwhile, as if this weren’t enough to deal with, Saylor also receives an invitation to her former fiancé’s wedding – a near carbon copy event to the one she and he had been planning (even at the same resort destination), except now it’s to another woman who could be her twin. What’s a girl to do? While contemplating the answer, the response gets inadvertently mailed (with a “plus one” designation) and her brother insists that the solution to the whole mess – including ameliorating their present black list status among their town’s socialites – is for Saylor to attend the wedding with a man who commands even more social/star power than her ex. Now who could that possibly be? Fortunately for Saylor, her brother knows just the man: his best friend, Hayes Whitley, who is now a huge movie star. Only one catch with this agenda – Hayes broke Saylor’s heart a long time ago when he left without a word to pursue his dreams. Can the man who broke her heart so many years ago possibly be the answer to her present calamity, never mind lead to a HEA?
So ensues a series of comical and heat-filled events that include a Hollywood diva who doesn’t take well to Hayes escorting Saylor to the wedding, a small town gossip lover’s dream as wedding guests become privy to the social event of the year, and then a protracted social media battle in which “grudge cupcakes” and their healing powers become the latest and most fashionable trend!
Andi Arndt and Sebastian York narrate in the typical New Adult fashion with Ms. Arndt narrating the chapters from Saylor’s perspective and Mr. York the ones from Hayes’ perspective. This approach works well to highlight the different viewpoints and each narrator does a great job of bringing this story to life.
From Ms. Arndt’s ability to impart the requisite angst in this conflict-filled story, to Mr. York’s sexy baritone which is absolutely perfect for mega movie star Hayes, I thoroughly enjoyed each narrator’s rendition. I also felt that each narrator provided voices differentiated enough for each character that I was able to easily discern the speaker.
Last but definitely not least, since this is an audiobook produced through Audible’s ACX system, I think it’s worth noting that the production value was first rate and on par with those produced by the big audiobook producers.
All in all, Sweet Cheeks was a “sweet treat” delivering so much more flavor than I originally expected. From the laughs to the creative marketing campaign and interesting Hollywood games, Sweet Cheeks provided complex characters and creative solutions to romance situations that are as old as time itself and yet left me feeling refreshed and intriguingly engaged.
Book Content: B+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence Rating: Minimal
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: JKB Publishing, LLC
Sweet Cheeks was provided to AudioGals for a review.