Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book Review: Red Velvet Revenge by Jenn McKinlay (Cupcake Bakery Mysteries #4)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and lots of fun
Cons: Too much set up slows down the start
The Bottom Line:
Once story begins
This out of town book is fun
Characters carry

Slow Start Baked into this Entry

I intended to get back to Jenn McKinley’s Cupcake Bakery mysteries a couple of months ago, but I have just had too many books calling my name.  I finally made the time to read Red Velvet Revenge.  I found the mystery a little slow to get off the ground, but I enjoyed it overall.

The heat in Scottsdale, Arizona, in the summer has killed business for Fairy Tale Cupcakes since everyone is looking for cool treats.  So when Mel and Angie are offered a chance to provide cupcakes for a rodeo up in the mountains, they figure this is their chance to earn some money and escape the heat themselves.  They’ve got just the platform to do it, too, since their employee Oz has just inherited a van he wants them to use in the business.

With their employees tagging along for the ride, Mel and Angie show up just in time for the parade that starts the rodeo.  However, before the parade is over, someone is shot.  Have they escaped the heat only to land in hot water?

The book takes too much time setting up the new van and how the characters get this job, so we are over a quarter into the story before anything really begins to get started.  I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the set up, but it really could have been handled with a few paragraphs of exposition and not hurt the book.  Even if we do want to get into the van problems, that portion could have been cut down significantly.

However, once the mystery starts, things definitely pick up.  There are plenty of reasons for our characters to get involved, and the clues and plot points come very quickly.

I’ve really gotten to love these characters, so that helped with the early part of the book since I enjoyed the updates we got on them.  Since the book takes place away from the normal setting, a few of the supporting characters aren’t around as much, and I did miss them.  However, I was thrilled to see the return of Marty, who was introduced in the second book.  It appears that an ongoing sub-plot between a couple of the characters took a huge step toward being resolved, but I’ll have to read the next book to find out for sure.

Now that’s not to take away from the new characters we meet here.  They are all strong and very charming as well.

In fact, that lead me to dread the climax.  I just knew that when the killer was unmasked, I was going to be very upset by whoever it was.  And sure enough, I found myself tearing up for these new characters as I read the final scenes – that’s just how strong they were.

There’s a healthy dash of humor as well, mostly coming from the regular characters.  I laughed several times as I read, and I was grinning most of the time.

Of course, there are four delicious sounding recipes in the back, including some vegan cupcake options, cake pops, and a French toast cupcake.

Despite the slow start, I really did enjoy Red Velvet Revenge.  I’m definitely hoping I can get in for a return visit very soon.

You'll enjoy this book most if you back up and read the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries in order.


  1. I love McKinlay's books though I think the library series is my favorite. I'm woefully behind on this one. I know I own this one but like you said so many other books keep calling my name. I'm looking forward to getting back to this series and this sounds like a great read! I'm glad to hear this series is still going strong.

    1. I got caught up on the Hat Shop series, not I'm focusing on this one. Once I finish it, however, I hope to get to the Library Lovers series since I've heard great things about it, too.


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