The Toast Bitches
by Sandra Cormier, contemporary (2009)
Ravenous Romance, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-60777-100-5

The Toast Bitches is a pretty intriguing title for a spicy contemporary romance. A part of me wonders whether I will encounter kinky women with fetish for household appliances running wild in the pages. Instead, I get a pretty mundane story.

Hana Shields and her friends Paige, Connie, and Pepper are the Toast Bitches.

Bitches Night Out was a mainstay for the Toast Bitches. At least once a year, the four women got together for the ultimate pajama party, with drinks, DVDs, games and gossip. When Paige hosted, a skinny-dipping session in the lake under the stars often added icing to the weekend cake.

Hana is the Ugly Betty type - not because she's truly ugly, but because she is one of those Women with Glasses, if you know what I mean. Take off those glasses, and she'd be mistaken for any random supermodel. Put on those glasses, and she could quack and swallow a worm and still nobody will care. She has a crush on her boss in the newspaper where she works as an ad person, but she thinks that kind of relationship is probably illegal.

Connie has a husband who is a control freak that constantly accuses her of having an affair. Well, it isn't long because he dumps her and runs off with some floozy who supposedly understands him more than Connie does. As for Paige, her husband is busy writing the next great crime novel, and she wonders what has happened to the loving marriage she once had with him.

Pepper is the Wild and Wacky one. Unfortunately, it's hard to be so wild and wacky when she is married and is also the mother of two kids. When the story opens, she is ending the marriage. An old boyfriend has shown up again in her life, so Pepper is determined to enjoy life the way she used to. Of course, things are never so simple.

The Toast Bitches would have been a better book if it has another 100 or so pages. My problem with this story is that all four women's stories are delivered in a rapid pace, so much so that the whole story seems to be in fast forward mode. There is nothing wrong about the rest of the story, although the story lines are pretty familiar, and I like how Ms Cormier dares to have characters like Pepper and to some extent Hana and Paige to have less than perfect personalities. Unfortunately, the strengths of this story are buried under four rushed story lines that never allow me to get a good hold of the characters' feelings and thoughts or to become emotionally invested in seeing their happy endings.

Rating: 70

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