Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book Review: Vanilla Beaned by Jenn McKinlay (Cupcake Bakery Mysteries #8)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fast moving story with delightful characters
Cons: Any cons lost in the sugar rush of cupcakes
The Bottom Line:
Danger in Vegas
Road trip with fun characters
Pages turn too fast




Bet on Enjoying this Book

Last year, I decided I needed to catch up on Jenn McKinlay’s Cupcake Bakery Mystery series.  I had originally figured I’d spread them out over two years, but I quickly got addicted and read them quicker than that, which meant I was ready for Vanilla Beaned, the latest in the series, when it came out this month.

If you’ve missed the series, it focuses on Mel Cooper and her two best friends, Angie DeLaura and Tate Harper.  The three own Fairytale Cupcakes in Scottsdale, Arizona, but it’s turning out to be a bit more deadly than they planned on.  We are up to the eighth mystery in the series, after all.

This book finds the trio headed to Las Vegas on business.  Tate has been trying to get Mel to franchise the bakery, and the three friends are heading there to meet their first potential franchise owner.  Mel’s first impression of Holly isn’t good, and the meeting goes further downhill when the location for the bakery blows up when they open the door.

Through the crisis, Mel begins to see another side of Holly, a side she likes.  However, it is quickly obvious that someone is out to destroy the franchise before it even gets off the ground.  Is it someone from Holly’s life who doesn’t want her to try something new?  Or is someone out to get Mel, Angie, and Tate?

As you can imagine, I have fallen in love with these characters, and it was wonderful to spend more time with them.  As any fan of the series knows, there are quite a few supporting characters, and almost all of them manage to show up in Vegas before the book is over.  The arcs we’ve been following over the last few books continue to advance as well.  About the only thing I didn’t like about the characters in this book is that I don’t see how Holly can be in future books as easily.  I absolutely loved her, and she’d make a fantastic addition to the series.

The mystery in this book is more about the why of the attacks in order to figure out the who.  That sets up a different type of plot, but I enjoyed that for a change of pace.  The mystery does slow down a bit at times for the character arcs, but fans of the series won’t care at all.

If you aren’t already a fan of the series, you might not fully appreciate all that happens with the characters here.  There’s a fun solution for that, however.  Head back to the beginning and get that history.  The books themselves are fast reads, and you’ll be so hooked you’ll be on this one before you know it.  I’m speaking from experience here, so trust me.

We’ve got four new cupcake recipes here, including the title recipe, Snickerdoodle, Cherry Cola, and the Elvis.  Hey, it was set in Vegas after all.  Just the titles make my mouth water.

I fully expect to go into withdrawals now that I’m up to date on this delightful series.  Fans will love this latest visit with Mel, Angie, Tate and the crew.  And if you haven’t met them yet, what are you waiting for?  Trust me, you’ll rush to find out what happens to them in Vanilla Beaned.

Need more sugary goodness?  Here are the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Tuesday, April 19th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 4/19.  You will have until midnight on 4/24 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 4/25.

59 comments:

  1. I've missed a few and need to catch up! Love the recipes, too!

    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  2. It is on my list and would love to win a copy!
    afarage (at) earthlink.net

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  3. Added to my TBR list. brichardson0056@yahoo.com

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  4. Vanilla Beaned by Jenn McKinlay sounds great. Thank you for this chance.
    peggyhyndman(at)att(dot)net

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  5. This sounds like a great cozy and would just love to read and review also it is on my list to buy but would love to win it. Thank you so much for the chance ptclayton2@aol.com

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  6. Love Jenn and all her books. I always look forward to reading them. Thanks for the opportunity to read her newest release. skatzed@aol.com

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  7. One of my favorite authors and one of my favorite series! I've been looking forward to reading this since I finished Dark Chocolate Demise back in May. Thank you for the chance to win.

    robbfan141729@yahoo.com

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  8. This is one of my favorite series. I can't wait to read "Vanilla Beaned". Can't wait to see what Mel,Angie and Tate are up to.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. This is one of my favorite series. I can't wait to read "Vanilla Beaned". Can't wait to see what Mel,Angie and Tate are up to.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. This sounds like a great book. I definitely need to catch up on the previous books in this series. Thank you for having this contest! pfistersk@yahoo.com

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  11. Thanks for a chance to win!!
    claudia@pixtolife.com

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  12. My best friend gave me the first six books in the series and I am hooked. Read them straight through and have a serious withdrawal problem. spider12344@yahoo.com

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  13. Great review! Thanks for the chance to win.
    Penney
    penneyw(AT)sbcglobal(DOT)net

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  14. This is on my TBR list. Can't wait to read it.
    brichardson0056@yahoo.com

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  15. Love this series and can't wait to read this one. Interesting and well done review that really caught my attention. Thanks for the chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

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  16. Thank you Mark for the chance to win! Great blog today...Jenn McKinlay's cozies are ALWAYS a wonderful topic!
    sxygrndma48{at}yahoo{dot}com

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  17. Thanks for the chance to win. Lois Rotella
    email rainonlois@aol.com

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  18. I am just starting this series and loving it! Can't wait to get to this one!
    Awilcox1182@gmail.com

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  19. This series has helped me alot in life with two best friends just like mine. I hope I win.
    Breannas219@yahoo.com

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  20. This book sounds delicious! On my wish list! Thanks for the chance!
    angelhwk68@yahoo.com

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  21. I can't wait to read Vanilla Beaned. Hope I win the book. janiceprice13@gmail.con

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  22. I just bought this one yesterday so I don't need to win. I haven't read any of the series yet but I love Jenn's books so I have been purchasing the whole series so I can read it all once I get started. Thanks for the review!

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  23. This author is new to me, but the book sounds good! Thanks for the chance! Dianne
    jademoss17@gmail.com

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  24. Reading about sugar/cupcakes will probably go be me a sugar rush. What fun! BobbiPad@gmail.com

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  25. I am such a fan of Jenn McKinlay! I've been looking forward to reading this one... I'm an 'anything vanilla' girl...even in my reading adventures!
    kat8762@aol.com

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  26. I luv this series, the recipes are great as well, this book kept me on my toes and it was very hard to put down!
    Great giveaway idea
    kyla.mcnamara@gmail.com

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  27. I am current on thus series too.and ready for vanilla beaned. Thanks for the chance to win
    Sherhort36@yahoo.com.

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  28. Looking forward to reading this book. This is one of my favorite series to read. Mary
    ladylotion@msn.com

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  29. Would love to read a "special" copy of this book! Thanks for the chance. pinklfnt@comcast.net

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  30. I would love to win this!
    smurphee at yahoo dot com

    Teresa

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  31. Love this series so much. Would love to win. Thanks for the chance. poohwine1217@gmail.com

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  32. I haven't read this series but would love to. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book.

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  33. I borrowed it from my library and loved it - just as I have with all of them in the series! I'd love to win the copy to have for my own. :)

    valeriedlong(at)gmail.com

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  34. This sounds like a delightful read! Thanks for the opportunity!
    sharonbabyme@yahoo.com

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  35. Love this series mama2bulls@gmail.com

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  36. I'm so behind on this series it makes me sad. This one looks great and I love the sound of those cupcake recipes! katherine.e.pitts(at)gmail(dot)com

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  37. I really enjoy this series. Stoeser1@pie.midco.net

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  38. I've not read this series, but based on your review, I think I'd like to. Thanks for the giveaway. Pattie.tierneyy@gmail.com

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  39. Would love to add this book to my read pile,thanks for the chance rosep@bayland.net

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  40. I love this series too and the cupcakes are good too. Thanks for the review

    gibsonbk ay hiwaay dot net

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  41. Love this series. Thanks for the great post and review. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    lhxp73@yahoo.com

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  42. Love this series. Thanks for the great post and review. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    lhxp73@yahoo.com

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  43. I've been waiting patiently for this book. I really love this series. So glad you liked it. Her other series are just as awesome. "Library Lovers", "London Hat Shop Mysteries" and the ones she discontinued.

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  44. I am reading Jenn McKinlay's other series -- I have not started the cupcake series yet, but I think it's about time that I do! Thanks for the giveaway! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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  45. I haven't started the cupcake series yet, but I'm about to right now! Thank you for the list! I really hope to win Vanilla Bean ed. The cover is gorgeous.

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  46. I haven't started the cupcake series yet, but I'm about to right now! Thank you for the list! I really hope to win Vanilla Bean ed. The cover is gorgeous.

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  47. Great review. Love cozy mystery.

    xzjh04@gmail.com

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  48. DancerChild42@hotmail.com

    Jenn McKinlay is awesome I love this series!

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  49. Thanks for the opportunity! Cheers@MarjimManor.com

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  50. Just finished it too, Mark, so don't enter me in the contest. I wanted to echo what a great series this is and no one would be disappointed in picking up a cupcake book!

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  51. Thank you for a chance to win!!!
    Cozynky@gmail.com

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  52. wow...this was on my list to read. Love the cover and I know I will love the book..
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  53. What a great review! Would love to win the book. bella_ringer@hotmail.com

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  54. I love this series. I can't wait to read this one. I am getting ready to read Red Velvet Revenge. The characters are great. Thank you for the chance! moonbay7399@gmail.com

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  55. I enjoy this series. Thanks for a chance to win a copy of the newest title. joosborne nc at yahoo dot com

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  56. Jenn is an amazing author and person. She so much fun to follow in Facebook. Email is billielav88 at gmail. Thanks for the giveaway!!

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  57. Sounds like fun. Of course if I win that means I'm going to have to read the other 7 books first because I am anal like that LOL. wendyklik1517@gmail.com

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  58. I love the covers to this series, but have yet to read one. I think I need to fix that.

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