ARC Reviews,  Reviews

Claire Hastings’ Cakewalk ARC Review

Thank you to Claire Hastings, Sarina Bowen, Jenn Gaffney and the rest of the World of True North team for the advance reader copy of Cakewalk, the third story in the Busy Bean series.

I am so excited to be returning to the Busy Bean series. Busy Bean was my introduction to the World of True North and I absolutely love getting to be in Colebury with Zara and Audrey. Read all my World of True North reviews here.

Check out the Goodreads synopsis…

Love isn’t always a cakewalk . . .

Gigi Hawthorne is starting from scratch. She just didn’t realize until her crappy car broke down that she was going to be doing it in a small town in Vermont. With an eye for design and some serious decorating skills, she’s managed to land a job making delectable treats for the patrons of the Busy Bean. Now she’s up to her elbows in sugar and flour, but her thoughts are never far from her gorgeous, brooding landlord.

Holden St. James swears he isn’t a recluse. He goes to the local coffee shop three times a week, doesn’t he? Yeah, maybe he never actually talks to anyone, but with a backstory of loss, pain, and regret like his, he’s pretty sure he wouldn’t be very good company anyway. Yet something about his new tenant makes him wonder if maybe it’s time to let someone open the oven door and release a little heat into his closed-off world.

But both are hiding secrets as dark as an espresso mocha cupcake and they’re not sure if they can trust each other. Will the truth break their delicate relationship into sad, sweet crumbs–or will it turn out to be the key ingredient in the recipe for a new life?”

Check out my more detailed thoughts below…

  • Characters: Gigi and Holden are the main characters. Gigi is incredibly kind and sweet. But I also loved her resilience and fighting spirit as despite everything life has thrown at her she has not become jaded. Holden in contrast is a bit more stuck in his ways and resistant to change. Yet he is very thoughtful, caring, and sentimental. I admired Gigi’s character so much as she found the strength to leave an unhappy marriage and make the best of it as the Busy Bean’s newest barista.
  • Setting: The story is set in Colebury, Vermont. Gigi never meant to settle in Vermont but she stumbles into a new found-family of sorts. I loved her making friends with her coworkers at the Busy Bean. I loved it even more when Holden’s family basically adopted Gigi right away.
  • Pacing: The pacing was slightly off for me in this installment. The secrets referenced in the synopsis above were revealed at an off-pace, maybe even too late into the story to make a big impact. This caused the ending to be too rushed.
  • Romance: This romance was just me saying awwwww over and over again. There were so many touching scenes with Holden and Gigi in this story. He could be so sentimental with her and it did wonders for helping them fall deeply in love. This kind of love is one between two people who never thought they could have a love like this. That they never thought they would deserve to love someone like this ever again. This is a much more sweet story, rather than steamy but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Cakewalk receives four out of five stars.

You can pick up the story below…


Thank you again to Claire, Sarina, Jenn and the rest of the team for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!

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