Cupcake Bakery Mystery

Pumpkin Spice Peril (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #12)

Pumpkin Spice Peril (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #12)

By: Jenn McKinlay


In the twelfth Cupcake Bakery Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay, the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew follows the clever crumb trail of a killer who’s anything but cookie-cutter.

Life is all sugar and spice for the Fairy Tale Cupcake bakers–Melanie Cooper is engaged to the delectable Joe DeLaura, Angie Harper and her husband Tate are savoring married life, and the bakery is bustling with happy customers. Until one of their most valued cupcake connoisseurs ends up dead.

Local glass artist and cupcake lover Rene Fischer-Klein has always suffered from a wide variety of health issues. In an effort to cheer her up, her doting husband, Peter, brings her a four-pack of her favorite cupcakes every week. But when the police discover that Rene has been poisoned, there’s no sugarcoating the fact that the last things she ate were the bakery’s signature pumpkin spice cupcakes! With their lives and bakery at stake, it’s up to Mel and Angie to find out who poisoned their artist friend and why, before their future is frosted for good.


And we’ve got another DNF. I read over half the book, so I feel comfortable leaving a starred review. This is the twelfth book in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, and I’m calling it. I can no longer read this series. I loved the first seven books. They introduced me to cozy mysteries, and for a time, I couldn’t get enough. The last five books, however, have taken a sharp decline. Book ten was okay, but the others have been so disappointing.

The main character Mel has become a giant pushover, except when it comes to murders. Which is a bizarre thing to feel comfortable pushing back on, but it’s a cozy mystery. Her fiancé and almost any male in her life do whatever they want when it comes to her. I’m supposed to think it’s sweet that they’re so protective, but they treat her like a child. It’s infuriating. I swear it didn’t use to be like this, but maybe I’m mistaken.

The side characters, whom I used to love, have also taken a bit of a hit. Mel’s best friend Angie used to be a fiery woman who didn’t put up with most things. She was able to control her brothers as no one else could, and now they walk all over her. Sure they’ve got a reason to be protective, but they bothered me. Of course, she’s barely in the story, so it’s not like I had much to go off of there.

Looking back, I think one of the things that I dislike about the newer books is that the side characters are barely in the series anymore. It’s sad. They were a large part of why I loved the series.

After reading Pumpkin Spice Peril, I’m not sure if I’m going to even bother catching up with McKinlay’s Library Lover’s Mystery series. I seem to be one of the few people who disliked this book, so if you’re a fan of the series, I would probably ignore my review.


Dark Chocolate Demise (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #7) By: Jenn McKinlay

Dark Chocolate Demise

Dark Chocolate Demise (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #7) By: Jenn McKinlay


Scottsdale, Arizona, may not be the liveliest place on earth, but it’s never been as dead as this. Hundreds of fans have gathered together for the first annual Old Town Zombie Walk, and Mel, Angie, and the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew are donning their best undead attire to sell some horror-themed desserts to the hungry hordes. But the fun turns to fright when Mel finds a real dead body in a prop casket outside of the bakery’s truck—and the corpse looks alarmingly like a zombie of their own. Knowing that Joe, Angie’s brother and Mel’s former flame, has been working on a dangerous mob case, Mel worries that the murder is a hit gone wrong and that someone near and dear was the real target. To keep any of her friends from winding up six feet under, Mel will do whatever it takes to find a killer—no matter how scary things get…


Lots of relationship stuff with this one, which I loved. In fact it was most of the book. There was, of course, a mystery but it wasn’t like the others. It had more to do with what’s going on with Joe and his case against a mob boss.

I love the relationships and characters in this series. The side characters bring as much to the story as the main character.

Lots of sugar and I find myself wondering how these people don’t have diabetes the amount of cupcakes they eat. Anytime something happens let’s eat two cupcakes. Ummm… I’d love to do that but I’d be the size of a house and shooting up insulin. Oh to live in a book world.

Anyway, I’m caught up with the series and now must wait like everyone else. Waiting sucks, but at least the cliff hanger on this one isn’t as big a deal to me. I mean it’s a big deal, but I can set it aside and not die a little bit everyday while waiting.


Sugar and Iced (Cupcake Bakery Mysteries #6) By: Jenn McKinlay

Sugar and Iced

Sugar and Iced (Cupcake Bakery Mysteries #6) By: Jenn McKinlay


Normally Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura wouldn’t be caught dead at a beauty pageant, but when Mel’s mom asks them to provide cupcakes for the seventy-fifth annual Sweet Tiara contest as a favor for her best friend, they can’t say no. Plus, between cooking up a daily display for the three-day event and sponsoring a cupcake creation challenge for the participants, Fairy Tale Cupcakes will get great publicity.

But the world of pageants is even hotter than Mel’s kitchen. A high-strung judge and a pushy stage mom target Lupe, a young friend of Mel and Angie’s, at the competition and aim to take her out—by any means necessary. When the same judge shows up dead underneath Mel and Angie’s cupcake display, Lupe is crowned the lead suspect. Now Mel and Angie will have to find the real killer quickly or Lupe may be strutting the catwalk in prison pinstripes…


I started reading this almost immediately after the last one and ended up not being in the right frame of mind. I was mad that in the three months since the last book ended the characters hadn’t learned to straighten up and fly right and I was feeling slightly depressed about life in general. By the end of the book I felt so much better.

Things are not perfect with Mel, Angie, and Tate, but they’ve made significant progress. The ending was another relationship cliffhanger and I don’t know how long I’m going to hold out on reading the next book in the series.

McKinlay certainly let you know what she felt about pageant shows and the picture was not pretty. In the last book pretty much all the characters introduced were nice, not so in this one. Honestly I didn’t care who was the killer because they all deserved to get a dose of bad karma.

Happy with the series and I’m really looking forward to the next one.



Going, Going, Ganache (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #5) By: Jenn McKinlay

Going Going Ganache

Going, Going, Ganache (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #5) By: Jenn McKinlay


After a cupcake-flinging fiasco at a photo shoot for a local magazine, Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura agree to make amends by hosting a weeklong corporate boot camp at Fairy Tale Cupcakes.  The idea is the brainchild of billionaire Ian Hannigan, new owner of SWS (Southwest Style), a lifestyle magazine that chronicles the lives of Scottsdale’s rich and famous. He’s assigned his staff to a team-building week of making cupcakes for charity. It’s clear that the staff would rather be doing just about anything other than frosting baked goods. But when the magazine’s creative director is found murdered outside the bakery, Mel and Angie have a new team-building exercise—find the killer before their business goes AWOL.


So happy to be able to continue this series. By the end of the first chapter I was craving cupcakes and it didn’t get any better. I love Mel, Angie, and Tate, but I think Marty is my favorite. He’s part grouchy old man and wise old sage. He was easily my favorite in this book.

Now, onto what I didn’t like. This was easily the weakest book in the series so far. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad book, just not my favorite. The love triangle I was afraid was happening two books ago reared its ugly head in this book big time. I hate love triangles so freaking much. I feel like it’s an easy way to create drama and it makes the relationship the lead ends up with seem less somehow. Well it makes it feel less when the lead seriously thinks about dropping her original squeeze for the next. Mel’s reasoning for what she ends up doing is weak and makes me doubt her.

Angie and Tate’s relationship is finally making some progress but it’s still going at a snail’s pace.

I’m hoping for more progress in relationships in the next book and a resolution on the love triangle.


Red Velvet Revenge (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #4) By: Jenn McKinlay

Red Velvet Revenge

Red Velvet Revenge (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #4) By: Jenn McKinlay


It may be summertime, but sales at Fairy Tale Cupcakes are below zero–and owners Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are willing to try anything to heat things up. So when local legend Slim Hazard offers them the chance to sell cupcakes at the annual Juniper Pass rodeo, they’re determined to rope in a pretty payday! But not everyone at the Juniper Pass is as sweet for Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Slim–including star bull-rider Ty Stokes. Mel and Angie try to steer clear of the cowboy’s short fuse, but when his dead body is found face down in the hay, it’s a whole different rodeo. With a vengeful murderer on the loose, the ladies are quickly realizing that while they came to save their business, they may have to save themselves–and that’s no bull.


Oh my god!!! Why??? So the book ended on a romantic relationship cliffhanger for Mel and Angie both. Of course my library does not have the next book and neither do any of the used bookstores in the area. I really need to find a way to secure income for buying books.

Anyway, I thought more of the story was dedicated to relationship stuff than mystery stuff,but that could be because that’s becoming my favorite part. The mystery was good, plenty of twists and turns, but even with all it’s drama I didn’t really care about it. I needed Angie to get her head out of her ass or Mel to knock some sense into her. Neither happened.

Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have the next book. Some character traits are starting to grate on my nerves. Mel has some boundary issues and they always seem to be in flux. One minute she’s asking incredibly personal questions like who do you think murdered your husband and the next she won’t push Angie on who she’s in love with. Angie is all temper and was a real bitch in this book. She’s always threatening to kick someone’s ass but never does. Mel really nailed Tate when she called him a wuss, dude just tell her how you feel already.

I’m excited to read the next in the series, but I also think it’s a good thing I’m going to have a little break from the characters.