Hi there! And welcome to my stop on the LOVE AND CUPCAKES blog tour sponsored by AToMR Book Tours. For other stops on the tour click here. Today’s book is a contemporary romance with some light paranormal elements (aka magical realism) by debut novelist Susan Bishop Crispell.
For Jaclyn “Jack” Pace, sensing what sweets people crave is as easy as breathing. But it’s not enough to keep her cupcake bakery in the black.
So, when her estranged sister Harper comes back to town with an affinity for making art out of icing—and a past full of secrets—she reluctantly gives Harper a job and a place to crash.
As their sisterly relationship begins to thaw, the one with her business partner Graham starts to heat up. Given the legend that says Hollingsworth men will recognize their soul mates at first touch, Jack’s always been resigned to the fact that she’s not his.
But when she starts sensing desires that are decidedly not dessert-related, it’ll take all of her magic to set things right with customers and make her own desires come true.
This paranormal-ish romance is a charmer. Jack’s always had the ability to sense desire from the people around her–and this is a handy skill when working in a cupcakery. It’s cute how she smells her customer’s jonesing for a peanut butter or a red velvet cupcakes, but it’s not easy on poor Jack. If those desires are too great she gets overwhelmed with headaches.
Her partner–master baker Graham Hollingsworth–is a bit of alright. He’s been BFF to Jack’s older brother Hutton forever. And, he’s got a secret power, too. One he’s not so thrilled with. All the Hollingsworth men can know their soulmate the instant they meet. This caused considerable difficulty when his dad found his soulmate twelve years into his first marriage, and abandoned him and his mother. Graham will never do that to a woman. He’s been in love with Jack since high school, but never acted on it–mostly out of fear that he would hurt Jack, but also because Hutton threatened him. In fact, they’d come to blows over it. No way Hutton wanted to see Jack hurt if Graham later found his soulmate…
Still, Graham can’t stay away. He’s totally smitten with Jack, and her resolve to not get heartbroken over Graham, along with the crushing knowledge that she’s not his soulmate, adds to the dilemma. Then, as the bakery flounders, Jack’s younger sister–the talented, beautiful, artistic Harper–slides back into town. Only her Holly-GoLightly attitude is dimmed. Harper’s secret is a Double Whopper with Cheese, folks. And it puts the whole family on edge. While Jack and Graham work to fix Harper’s mess, the ties that bind seem to loosen. Suddenly Hutton’s opinion over Jack and Graham’s pseudo-relationship isn’t so strongly considered and the chemistry between them is…delicious.
Folks, it’s a romance. Small conflicts aside, the meat of the story is the risk both Jack and Graham must take with their hearts. Knowing Jack’s super desire-sensing power, Graham has thwarted it for years it by desiring something innocuous in her presence. And when he can’t take not having Jack in his life anymore and finally confronts his father over the whole super-soulmate-finding power, Graham realizes that his perfect match had been waiting for him all along.
I liked the little magical elements. I thought Graham was D-lish, and Jack was a strong female lead. I kinda hated Hutton. He felt like such a huge, overbearing dude–and I couldn’t respect the power both Harper and Jack gave him in their love lives, but I cheered when they put him in his place and he apologized wholeheartedly. In terms of the book, I sometimes struggled with the pacing–wishing it would move just a bit faster. In all it’s a good read. Nothing too smexytimes going on; even when our new buddies get their freak on it’s a fade-to-black scenario.
About the Author
Susan Bishop Crispell is not one of those writers who’s been scribbling down stories since she could hold a pencil. She didn’t read constantly growing up (blasphemy!), and she can still be found in public without a book tucked into her purse (again with the blasphemy!).
She is, however, the kind of writer who lives for the imaginative spark that introduces her to a new character or story idea that pushes her to turn everyday life into something magical.
If you have the chance to pick up LOVE AND CUPCAKES be sure to come back and let me know what you thought of it.
And, as always, keep reading my friends!