Caramel Crush
Jenn McKinlay     

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Cupcake Bakery Mystery
Book: 9

When a breakup via cupcake threatens to crumble their friend's life for good, Mel and Angie race to solve the murder as this New York Times bestselling series continues...
Love is in the air at Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Angie prepares for her wedding, but co-owner, Mel, is preparing for a breakup. Her old friend, Diane Earnest, is dumping her fiancé after discovering he’s only marrying her for her money. She wants Mel to personally deliver a batch of caramel breakup cupcakes to the louse and give her a play-by-play of his reaction.
When Mel finally tracks the man down, the look on his face isn’t the reaction she was expecting: he’s dead. After the police arrive and see the incriminating cupcakes, Diane becomes their prime suspect. If she hopes to taste freedom again, Mel and Angie must make sure the real killer gets their just desserts...


Mel’s best friend, Angie, is finally preparing for her wedding to Mel’s close friend, Tate. Angie is becoming a bit of a “bridezilla”, but since she adores her friend, Mel is trying to take things in stride. Mel is given some unusual business to take her mind off Angie’s behavior. Another old friend, Diane Earnest, decides to cancel her wedding when she finds out her fiancé is only after her money. She hires Mel to deliver a batch of caramel “breakup” cupcakes to her ex to break the news and then report back to her how he reacts. Mel agrees to the unusual request since she owes Diane a favor. The delivery is cut short when the man is found dead.  Diane becomes the prime suspect, and Mel agrees to try to find the real killer.

I have read most of the books in this series, which is set predominately in a Scottsdale, Arizona cupcake bakery. I loved everything about the series in the beginning, from the Old Town Scottsdale setting to the cupcake theme and the three good friends as main characters. Then, the books started relying too much on slapstick humor, complete with food fights and cat fights, for my taste. I am happy the last couple of books in the series seem to be back on track and Caramel Crush continues that trend. The book is a good mix of mystery and more subtle humor. Things finally seem to be going well for Mel and Angie and their respective love lives, if one of them doesn’t do something to spoil things! The bakery is going strong, so that allows Mel plenty of time to focus on sleuthing. Mel’s history with Diane was surprising and takes an unexpected twist at the end. I enjoyed reading about the case, seeing Mel and Angie and their great rapport, as well as reading about all the tasty-sounding cupcakes.

Angie’s bridezilla behavior gets old after a while and Diane is an unusual character and it’s often hard to feel sorry for her. The book ends with a cliff-hanger that I assume will be addressed in the next book in the series. I’m not a fan of this technique to create interest in the next book, but some readers may like to get a hint about what’s coming up next. Readers who have been following this series will enjoy this installment, as will readers who enjoy Joanne Pence or Joanne Fluke. New readers will be able to quickly catch up on the important characters related to the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery and join the fun.

~ Christine