Big things are happening for the Fairy Tales Cupcake Bakery. Owners Melanie Cooper, Angie DeLaura, and Tate Harper plan on opening their first franchise in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tate, also their business manager, has set up a meeting with Holly Hartzmark who would like buy into the franchise. Las Vegas is only a hop, skip, and a jump by air so the three fly away to Nevada to meet Holly and see where she would like to open her bakery.

Melanie isn’t too sure about this franchise stuff but Tate and Angie persuade to at least meet Holly and see what she’s like. Mel was hoping to find a grandmotherly type of woman but instead she sees that Holly is a stunningly beautiful young woman and also a showgirl at one of the casinos. What could a beautiful showgirl who dresses up in glitzy costumes and huge headsets every night possibly know about cupcakes? Mel is persuaded to at least listen to what Holly has to say and check out the location where the new bakery will be situated.

Holly and her realtor take Mel and her lawyer to the perfect spot to open a cupcake business. But things go very wrong when the storefront suddenly explodes severely hurting the lawyer and realtor. Is someone trying to stop Holly from opening the franchise? Maybe someone is out to hurt Mel because her lawyer boyfriend is prosecuting a very bad man. Or maybe the whole explosion and fire was just a horrible accident. Holly, Mel, Tate, and Angie soon figure out that it was far from an accident when Holly shows them another location for the business and a car narrowly misses the group and rams into the store’s window. The driver, who is wearing a helmet, bolts out of the car and runs away from the destroyed store.

Okay, someone is definitely trying to not only hurt Holly’s dream but possibly hurt Holly. Or maybe Mel is the target or possibly both of them are. But why and who would want to hurt these women? Mel, Tate, and Angie, along with Holly plan to answer these questions and find out what is really going on.

As the four investigates Mel soon sees another side of the glamorous Holly and discovers that not only is Holly a young mother with her own problems but she’s also a really good baker and a nice person as well. So much for telling a book by its cover.

I really enjoyed reading “Vanilla Beaned” by Jenn McKinlay. I’ve been a huge fan of Ms. McKinlay for many years and liked how she’s developed her characters through the previous seven books in this series. This is a fun, easy-reading cozy with lots of action and Elvis impersonators running around all over the place. I’m pleased to say that the female characters don’t start lusting after every good looking male that comes within a mile radius of them like some cozy/chick lit novels tend to have. This is a well-written straight up cupcake mystery that will get readers lusting over cupcakes and not men. Who needs a man when there are cupcakes around anyway?

This not “War and Peace” people so don’t expect “literature” just expect to spend a nice day or two reading and sharing Mel, Angie, and Tate’s Las Vegas adventure. Enjoy and have fun with an exceptional cozy series. Not everything has to be serious.



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