Book Review: The Mix-Up by Holly McCulloch

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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley and Transworld Publishers (Random House U.K.) in exchange for an honest review.

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Paige might bake wedding cakes for a living but that doesn’t mean she’s dreaming about her own perfect day. Far from it.

Trusting people is hard after she was badly let down by her family and boyfriend just when she needed them most. And to make things worse, her ex has just walked into her bakery with his new fiancée…

Needing a little no-strings-attached fun, Paige goes to a party where her friend knows just the guy – the guy in the black top.

There’s just one problem. There are two men wearing black tops.

Noah was meant to be her perfect distraction…instead, he wants more than just a bit of fun. But could the wrong guy turn out to be the right choice?

My Thoughts

After reading (and loving) McCulloch’s first book, Just Friends (you can read my Q&A with Holly here), I knew – even before I’d read the blurb – I had to get my hands on this one somehow.

Paige is in a bit of a rut. She’s taken over the wedding cake business from her Gran and, one day, in walks none other than her ex…. asking for a wedding cake. As far as encounters of the ex-kind go, this one is incredibly awkward. Much like the heroine in her debut, Paige is honest, funny but also flawed, sensitive and relatable (not just because she loves cake, which I also definitely do!). At first she irked me a little bit as a character but, towards the end of the novel, we learn a bit more about her that kind of justifies the way she behaves and adds an edge to the book that I wasn’t expecting but I enjoyed reading a more sensitive piece of woman’s fiction than I’m probably used to.

I think pretty much everyone, single or not, has had a moment where you think “I hope the person I’m looking for is that guy/girl over there” and this book is a funny play on this idea as – spoiler alert, but not really – Paige picks the right guy…who happens to be the wrong one. Much like the love interest in her first book, Noah is sweet and funny. I loved his character and the banter between Paige and Noah was gorgeous, though I do wish his character was explored a little bit more (as I think her ex was given a bit too much airtime, that he definitely didn’t deserve!).

I usually gravitate towards books with positive family relationships, perhaps to mirror mine (I guess you read what you know sometimes?), but this isn’t necessarily the case. The family dynamic is tricky but, as you delve deeper, you find that – like every family – there is still love there.

My only (slight) gripe with this one is that some very big revelations took (what felt like) forever to be revealed.

Regardless, there is no denying that this – like its predecessor- is a brilliant example of contemporary romance. You can tell when a writer puts their heart and soul into a book and, in this one, McCulloch certainly has.

The Mix Up is a sensitive, funny book made for the modern person with different outlooks on romance, their bodies and everything in between (though I’m pretty sure everyone is united by a mutual love of cake!).

You can follow Holly on Twitter and Instagram

You can pre-order the book here.

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