Let me just start by saying this: I hate my ovaries. I hate my uterus. I hate the curse of Eve. I hate the patriarchy. I hate that the vegan pop tarts have no frosting, and I hate that day drinking is considered so gauche–because my uterus says it’d benefit quite a bit from a dram or two right about now. I don’t hate a marshmallow chai cookie cake, and I definitely don’t hate Penny Reid or L.H. Cosway. They’d probably let me day drink–even if this book has an alcoholic in it. Come to think of it, I shouldn’t day drink given that I am sired by an alcoholic.
Foiled by my own love of control. DAMNIT. Pass the Midol and a vat of iced coffee. And more marshmallow chai cookie cake. I’ll chew the Midol at this point. Snort it. INJECT IT BETWEEN MY TOES I DON’T CARE JUST SOMEONE KILL MY EVIL WOMB GNOME.
A couple of weeks ago I was gifted an ARC by Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway of this little gem:
Isn’t the cover just adorable? The book is even more so.
Keeping a secret this big is going to take lots of balls. Specifically, rugby balls.
Bryan Leech is a cad.
Or, he *was* a cad.
No one is quite certain.
Once the quintessential playboy, Bryan claims he’s done with wild parties and weekend benders. No more one night stands leading to mornings he can’t remember; no more binges and blackouts; no more exploits plastered all over the tabloids and rag sheets. According to Bryan, he’s cleaning up his act.
The only problem is, no one believes him.
Eilish Cassidy never thought she’d be a mother at nineteen or still in college at twenty-four. Cut off from every member of her family except her favorite cousin, she’s finally managed put her life back together. Stronger and wiser, Eilish enters her last semester of university determined to stand on her own. Now she just needs to find an internship.
The only problem is, her best option—by far—places her directly in the path of her son’s father, and he doesn’t remember her at all.
Bryan is determined to prove he’s changed. Eager to settle down with the right woman, he’s got his sights set on the gorgeous redhead who seems terribly familiar.
Eilish is determined to hide her secret. She’ll do anything to keep her child safe, even if that means ignoring her own wishes and desires.
But what happens when Bryan starts to remember? And what will it take for Bryan to convince the girl he forgot that she’s unforgettable?
I thought I was going to be sad penguining it all over the place after reading the premise.
I hate secret babies. I don’t mind books wherein someone finds themselves in the family way, as that is how my own family started. And I know that my grandmother’s (my grandmother–saucy little minx!) love and devotion would’ve led to their marriage anyway, but I still know that it can be a catalyst for a fuckton of kids and many years of love.
But the secret “can’t tell the dad I’m knocked up” books? Typically a nyet for me.
Somehow, I found myself loving it. I guess maybe because I am sired from vodka, I know how hard that is on a kid. (And so does my therapist…) Or maybe it was just written in a way I didn’t hate…I don’t know. I think the fact that she understood he did not remember her at all the morning after might be the clincher. Anyways, it works. And it’s charming. I mean that. Typically, when I review a Penny Reid novel, I find myself focusing on the intelligence of the prose, or the subtle digging themes, or witty bantor. This novel, no doubt, has all of that in spades, but what it has in abundance–is charm. Patrick, their little boy, is such a gracefully written character that you can’t help but want everything to work out so that they could be a perfect little family unit. Yes, you want Eilish and Bryan to have their HEA, but you REALLY want it for the little tie-loving preschooler with a heart full of brightness and wonder.
While reading, I noticed that I wasn’t reading the characters as I typically would, meaning that I didn’t wonder as much how Bryan would fare, or even how Eilish would fare–at least until the climax which I won’t reveal, but instead, what must Patrick be thinking? How is he handling this? What would it be like to gain a Dad at 4?
Obviously, there are bits *cough* where no one is thinking about a kid–unless it’s how to prevent another–but that’s not the overall tone of the book. It’s a rom-com with sex, not sex with a romance.
Three books into this series and the course this series is riding seems fairly mapped, and I would love to see more interactions between established characters as we have in the first three, but I am eager to see what’s next. I hope it’s the hottie roomie of Bryan. *fingers crossed.* Ms Reid and Ms Cosway excel in the arena of set up. They have a great sense of forward motion for a series, and know how to plant future installments in current works, which could be awkward or slippery, but they do it with aplomb. It’s quite brilliant.
The Cand and the Co-Ed is a simply charming and an unexpected joy to read. It is undeniably smart and sweet with just enough steam to keep the reader’s senses alight with anticipation.
Four and a quarter stars.Like rugby? Like cookies? You'll like them better together. #cookies #books #baking Click To Tweet
This book begged for a cookie/biscuit recipe. I mean, there’s a kid AND a rugby player AND a woman who ostensibly is attacked by sweets cravings every month as I am. Also, it seemed wrong to do a recipe for a cocktail when the love interest is a recovering alcoholic. SO!! Biscuits. I made a marshmallow chai cookie cake because I wanted to do something that reminded me of the Irish biscuit, Kimberley’s. They’re a marshmallow cream filled ginger cookie which is sometimes enrobed in milk chocolate, and sometimes is not. I knew I didn’t want to do a marshmallow filling, that would be too much, but I wanted a hint of marshmallow chew. So, by allowing the center to be slightly underdone, you get remnants of marshmallow-y goodness surrounded by all the spicy cookie. The reason I went for chai spices as opposed to strictly ginger is that I fucking love chai spices. Simple as.
Marshmallow Chai Cookie Cake
What Goes In?
- 2 sticks of butter
- 1.5 cups dark brown sugar
- 2 pasteurized eggs
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups marshmallows
- preheat oven to 375F and grease a 10" skillet
- cream butter and sugar on high in mixer until light and fluffy
- add vanilla, mix a few seconds
- add eggs one at a time until once again fluffy
- sift in dry ingredients with mixer on low, save marshmallows
- mix only until combined
- stir in marshmallows by hand
- pour into greased skillet
- bake for 25 minutes or until edges are cooked and center has give. JUST underbaked
- let cool
- serve however you wish.