A Contemporary Women’s Fiction #25PagePreview Spotlight | “Cupcakes & Crumbs” (Berry Lake Cupcake Posse, Book One) by Melissa McClone

Posted Thursday, 19 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Cupcakes and Crumbs” direct from the author Melissa McClone in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comOn baking and having an aversion to pink and how the latter
didn’t discourage my interest in reading Cupcakes and Crumbs:

I’ve been attempting to dodge a rather keen secret – PINK has never been my favourite colour and if anything, its my least tolerable colour in the whole spectrum of the colour wheel. And, yet, whilst the colour pink has a disservice to me – as it nearly turns me off anything associated with the colour, this particular cover nearly put me off reading the story because I seriously felt it was overly pink. It was the cupcakes which left me curious and the fact this was a work of Contemporary Women’s Fiction. A topic of interest I not only regularly read and discuss on Jorie Loves A Story but one part of the focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat! (six years strong!)

Being a home baker and one who LOVES binge watching Great British Bake-Off whenever she swings into streaming NetFlix (as I have the tendency of switching up my streaming life by choosing different apps/streaming services to stream tv every odd moon or month; as you get the best variety this way!) and how she’s started to master the learning curve with more challenging bakes like scones, biscuits and sorting out her path into self-rising flour and bread flour; (without actually baking ‘bread’) – she’s focused more on lime cookies and a stellar alternative solution to the ‘best’ peach cobbler – you could say a baking central focus of a novel was right up her street!

There was a strong interest on the ambrosial and baking delights this novel promised to deliver but in regards to the Women’s Fiction side of the ledger – it has been a long spell since I’ve tucked into an ensemble cast within the genre like this one – outside of the fact I’m nearly entering S3 of “Army Wives” – given the fact Mum and I only started it a week ago and we’ve already cried, laughed and ploughed our way through two seasons of this kickin’ rockin’ Military Women’s drama of a tv serial – you could say I was in the mood for this kind of story long before Roku decided to grace us with the full series for *FREE* this November. It was one of those series Mum and I pushed off to watch – thinking, there will be a better time to see it. Reality? Never a good time to start a soul-crushing dearly dramatic and highly realistic military drama surrounding the lives of wives of the currently deployed and their life on (an Army) post! You just have to breathe, exhale and DIVE – trust me, its worth the emotional upheavals because this is wicked good drama!

You have to realise something else – one of  my favourite female vocalists over the last two decades has been PINK. Mind you, her world and mine are so far removed from each other you might blink twice and question that statement – however, despite the fact she’s had a very street and real lifestyle, she has a heart of gold, one powerful voice and writes lyrics which get into your soul. Mind, her name on the other hand made me smirk so much I’ve permanently have burnt my cheeks! Plus, I just love how she’s raising her kids and encouraging them to find their confidence, own their voice and walk their own path in life wherever that might take them. Who wouldn’t want her as a best friend? Which is why I admire her from afar, love her songs and appreciate her interviews as she shares her life with all of us.

Hence – when it came to choosing which blog tours to join and which books I wanted to consider for review, this book cover was a complete turn-off – which I bring up for one fair point – it is not the book covers which get me interested in reading. It’s the synopsis and the potential for the context of the story inside the covers – the topping (ie. cover) is just art – as without a solid story, realistic characters and a plausible reason to feel as invested to sink into the soles and spirits of the lives involved in the plot as any wicked good serial drama on tv can provide; the cover alone isn’t going to sway me to read the book. Or in this instance make me not pick it up as its cotton candied pink.

And, that dear hearts is why I selected *Cupcakes and Crumbs* because you have to take the sweet with the chaos – all our lives give us equal reasons to celebrate life and equal measures of sorrow to grieve the loss of people, companions (ie. animals) and the other bits round us which give measure of grace to our lives. To live is to love and to love is to live in other words. It isn’t always a perfect cupcake but sometimes when your drowning in the crumbs – it is like a flowering plant bursting up through concrete wholly sure of itself and the impossible path it took towards asserting the right to be present for whatever tomorrow might bring along.

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A Contemporary Women’s Fiction #25PagePreview Spotlight | “Cupcakes & Crumbs” (Berry Lake Cupcake Posse, Book One) by Melissa McCloneCupcakes and Crumbs
Subtitle: Berry Lake Cupcake Posse
by Melissa McClone
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

After life takes five women on different paths, a death brings them home. But friendship might not be enough to keep them together.

When Bria Landon and her estranged father each inherit fifty percent of a small-town cupcake shop, her dad hires her worst enemy, and first love, to turn the place into a soulless franchise…or sell it.

To save her aunt’s legacy, Bria needs the help of people who love the bakery as much as she does—her old friends who worked there fifteen years ago. Except each woman is dealing with her own problem:

Juliet, who's trying to prove she’s more than a trophy wife; Missy, a widow who fears losing the job she loves; Nell, who's meddling mother won't stop playing matchmaker; and Selena, a life coach who excels at fixing everyone else's lives...but hasn't a clue what's missing in her own.

Each woman wants to believe their friendship can overcome anything. But as the Berry Lake Cupcake Posse reunite to save their beloved cupcake shop, they soon discover the undertaking will bring more trouble than they expected.

Genres: Baking, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Cookery, Women's Fiction

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1944777555

Also by this author: Book Spotlight: Sweet Yuletide

Published by Cardinal Press

on 10th November, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 237

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Berry Lake Cupcake Posse series:

Cupcakes & Crumbs

Tiaras & Teacups ← forthcoming February, 2021!

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Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #CupcakesAndCrumbs, #WomensFiction and #Contemporary

About Melissa McClone

Melissa McClone

USA TODAY bestselling author Melissa McClone writes heartwarming Women’s Fiction and Sweet Contemporary Romance novels for Cardinal Press, Tule Publishing Group, and Harlequin Books.

When she’s not writing relatable characters and sigh-worthy happy endings, she spends rainy Pacific Northwest reading from her Kindle’s ever-growing TBR, napping, and decorating her Happy Planner. Melissa lives in Washington state with her husband, three children, a Norwegian Elkhound, and three cats who think they rule the house. They do!

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#25PagePreview banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I’ve been returning back to reading this week after fatigue gripped me last weekend & a supernova migraine held me in its chaotic throes the week prior – however, I’m starting to be kinder to myself and recognise when I cannot finish a story. Despite earnestly trying to finish several books this week, a a few of them weren’t able to be read by my blog tour dates as I had previously planned. I’ve decided to be more honest about that – about how my reading life has become a bit slower lately and how I’ve needed to post some spotlights and #25PagePreview posts in lieu of a fuller review. This is the second one I’ve shared (as “The Gentleman and the Thief” yesterday was the first) and this is the second novel I know I will be finishing reading – just in a bit of a time frame off the blog tour.

On a personal note of gratitude to the author – what a wickedly smashing bookmark & note you’ve enclosed for me! I love finding bookmarks which are coordinated in design with books and this one shows off the Berry Lake Cupcake Posse logo which is quite lovely! Bless you – as this is the marker I’m using as I read the story.

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From the moment you first open the pages of Cupcakes and Crumbs, you feel as if you’ve stepped inside a world and small towne similar to the one I adored in the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series Murder, She Baked (based on the Hannah Swenson novels). Where everyone knows your name and habits, which in a small towne is sometimes a bit of a double-bladed sword as Bria is thinking about herself as we arrive inside her life. Something is distracting her this morning – where even the ambiance of an early morning is not enough to take her mind off whatever has consumed her attention. And, when McClone shares what is pressing a firm weight against her soul – you immediately understand and respect what she’s feeling.

Losing a loved one is hard enough – one of the hardest experiences we go through whilst we’re alive but losing someone to Cancer is a mountain greater than Everest due to how intricate and complicated the disease can inflict both pain and sorrow on those left behind. It has no mercy – not to loved ones and not to those who are afflicted. You can tell the weight of her loss is unbearable and yet, Bria wants to do what is right by the bakery staff but is less certain about what to do with the towne. Remember that double-bladed sword? It swings both ways in these instances – too much attention too soon is what is affecting Bria and yet, how can they not feel compelled to intervene after she hinted at how important her Aunt was to this towne? How the bakery seemed to be the centralised meeting space and had an importance of its own in the community?

Again only those who have loved and lost their families will understand Bria’s pain and the harder road to find peace within your own walk of grief and sorrow. Your mind loves to be a minefield of memories – cascading over you in an unrelenting sea of waves which in of itself is harder to muddle through than most would realise because of how much emotion is attached to those memories. Having lost most of my family before I turnt twenty-five save my parents – I knew what Bria was facing and how much kinder you have to be to yourself to give into the process of grief. You can’t shortchange yourself in that process because you don’t just turn off your love for someone the moment they’ve crossed into the next life – you have to allow yourself time to remember the good and the bad moments as much as allowing yourself to find a way to rise through your grief to emerge on the other side of loss.

What pulls me into the writing style of Melissa McClone is her realistic approach to telling Bria’s story – this is why I love reading Women’s Fiction because at the heart of the genre itself is a threading of a woman’s life from all aspects of how she lives it. From the harder and grittier emotions that sometimes women try to tuck under the rug to the realism of knowing that no one woman is an island and sometimes needs either a sisterhood or family to pull her through the tides of life. As McClone draws us closer to Bria, she also paints a larger portrait of this towne and how the connective glue was Aunt Elise, her bakery and the ways in which she pulled people together – as in the opening bridge of the novel you learn about the Berry Lake Cupcake Posse.

These kinds of stories are a refreshing read because within the dramas of life, lessons percolate and emerge which help us move forward whilst the harder moments of our lives continue to define us in ways we cannot even expect possible. One thing is for certain whatever Bria thought about the trajectory of her life would be – I had a sneaking feeling Aunt Elise had a different plan for her altogether and that is one plan I look forward to seeing become further developed and explored as I continue to read Cupcakes and Crumbs!

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On the interior design of Cupcakes & Crumbs – there is something to be said for wicked good design, layout and typography choices when it comes to publishing. What I loved about this lovely book is how it has its own organic personality – from the cupcakes at the footer of the pages which is where the page numbers are ‘housed’ to the banners highlighting the Chapters to top banners where the author’s name and the book title run across the pages. Aesthetically this book has a lot to say for itself and it was wonderfully produced. For an ARC copy – I was quite smitten by how finalised it felt and looked – as generally for ARCs we don’t always get to see such a well-rounded copy and I was grateful I could see this book all decked out as it is quite the treat.

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This blog tour was courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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Cupcakes and Crumbs blog tour banner provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

End of the Blog Tour badged provided by Prism Book Tours

By clicking this badge you can find the tour route when this blog tour was actively travelling through the book blogosphere – for more insights into this story and reader reactions as well as guest posts by the author. The giveaway of course is no longer active however, all book bloggers love whenever you can visit and comment and share the joy of the content they are writing expressing their readerly journey.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comI look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Cupcake and Crumbs”, synopsis and biography of the author Melissa McClone as well as the blog tour banner and The Prism Book Tours badge were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 19 November, 2020 by jorielov in #25PagePreview, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction

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