Mel gets strong-armed into baking break-up cupcakes on behalf of her college roommate, Diane, in Caramel Crush, the ninth book in Jenn McKinlay’s cupcake series. Diane wants to break off her engagement to Mike in a particularly vindictive way by making Mel bake cupcakes that announce the end of their engagement and deliver them to Mike at his company, Party On. Mel will then stay on the phone with Diane, so Diane can get the blow by blow report. But things don’t go as planned when Mel finds the party supply warehouse empty until she spots a hand. Investigating further, Mel finds Mike with his head bashed in. With Diane as the chief suspect, Mel feels obligated to try to help her former roommate, feeling instinctively that Diane’s actions don’t add up to murder.
In the meantime, Angie’s wedding is fast approaching, and she has turned into bridezilla. At her final dress fitting, Angie really freaks out, trying to make the seamstress entirely redo the dress. The seamstress reveals to Mel that Angie has surpassed even Diane as her highest maintenance client. Upon the mention of Diane, Mel perks up and learns that Diane’s bridesmaid has been having an affair with the groom. Hoping to find evidence to clear Diane’s name, Mel goes out to investigate for herself, getting tangled in a crazy web of motives to kill Mike.
This book joins the previous book, Vanilla Beaned, in returning to the delight of the first few books. The series got bogged down for a little while, but the plot of this book contains many twists that make the book interesting. The unique characters continue to make the series all the more fun. Each of the characters has a strong personality that to me is the highlight of the book.
My one complaint is McKinlay’s tendency to conclude her books with major cliffhangers. The purpose of using such cliffhangers is to manipulate the reader to feel obligated to purchase the next book in the series. And the cliffhangers in this series, especially in this book, particularly manipulate. I especially did not appreciate the cliffhanger in this book because it indicates that the next book will turn into a whole different focus from the direction the series has taken. Further, this is the latest book in this series, with the next one, Wedding Cake Crumble, not due out in print until April 3, 2018. Almost always the audio edition takes several months later before it gets released. So I now have a year before learning the denouement of the cliffhanger and being given a new one. I hope McKinlay gets rid of this manipulative trick because she should rely on the high quality of her writing to get readers to return to her, not gimmicks.
Susan Boyce does an amazing job of narrating the audio edition of this book. She uses highly distinct voices for all the characters, with such clear voices that she doesn’t need to indicate who is speaking for me to be able to identify the character. Boyce really adds joy and fun to the books.
I had a good time listening to Caramel Crush. This book gives the readers a lot of fun, with a creative mystery. I really was unhappy with the cliffhanger. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and give it five stars!
To purchase this book for yourself, click here on Amazon.