Cupcakes and Crushes by Keri Ford (Turtle Pine #1)

Cupcakes and Crushes by Keri FordAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Samhain

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Michelle

Sometimes there is enough sweet to make up for the bitter.

Years ago, a broken heart sent Annie Cookie running from home, and she’s never looked back—until now. Her grandpa’s broken wrist means the family bakery is at risk of losing two big orders.

Reluctantly, Annie returns to Turtle Pine to help out, only to discover it’s not just seven hundred cupcakes she has to bake, but also a wedding cake for the half-sister who stole her high-school sweetheart. Annie left town to get away from her sister. No way is she getting mixed up with her again. Once the cupcakes are done, she’s outta there.

Back in high school, Cade Revlin hid his crush on his brother’s girl, but when his brother dumped Annie for another Cookie sister, Annie slipped through his fingers and out of town. Now that she’s back, he’s determined to give her a reason to stay.

He’s got one week to change her mind. Or she’ll be gone in a cloud of powdered sugar. Warning: Contains small-town meddling, family drama and all the necessary ingredients for a second chance at love—if they have the guts to turn up the heat.

I confess to being partial to small-town romances, especially those in which the hero is a man in uniform. I love when books have a sense of community, with a “down home” theme and camaraderie between the characters that you can only find in a place like Turtle Pine, Alabama. Where else would you find a heroine named Annie Cookie with two mean half-sisters? Needless to say, I didn’t hesitate in signing up to review this book.

Annie Cookie had a less than ideal childhood. The product of an affair, her mother’s death resulted in her being sent to live with her grandparents, along with her father’s other two daughters. Bitchy Tina disliked Annie on sight, and while Jane & Annie initially got along, their relationship went south when Jane betrayed Annie. As a result, Annie turned to books….and baking. She wasted no time escaping after college, moving away to the city to become a professional baker. It’s not surprising that she is more than a little reluctant to return home, but she can’t find it in herself to say no when her grandparents need her. She’d found solice working alongside her grandfather in his bakery and she doesn’t hesitate in returning to Turtle Pine when he breaks his wrist and needs her help.

Cade Revlin has always had a crush on Annie. He didn’t have a chance to act on his feelings before Annie left town, but now that she’s back he’s not about to let her slip through his grasp a second time. Cade was such a sweet suitor, wanting to do whatever he could to please Annie, supporting her and spending as much time as possible with her in an effort to convince her to stay. He knows her life in the small town wasn’t easy as a teenager, but he’s determined to prove that they can replace those tough times with much more pleasant memories.

Cade and Annie had such a sweet, playful romance. They knew how to flirt like nobody’s business, and I loved them together. He wasn’t the kind of badass alpha hero that I normally like, but he was perfect for Annie. I think the author may have gone a bit far in drawing a line in the sand between good and bad – she made me really like Annie and really, really hate Tina (wonder if we’ll get her story?). I would have liked a little less family drama, given the fact that their animosity stemmed from childhood.

I was a little worried that the book would be a little too “fluffy” for me, based on the title, but it had more depth and emotion than I expected. There was an underlying sweetness to it that wasn’t a surprise, but Cupcakes and Crushes is small-town romance at its finest, filled with humor, heart and heat.

I give Cupcakes and Crushes by Keri Ford 4 stars!

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