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Sprinkled with Kisses (The Cupcake Diaries #5) by Darlene Panzera

Welcome to my stop for the fun and sweet Cupcake Diaries series by Darlene Panzera.  Today I have a review and an excerpt, and you can enter the tour-wide giveaway here to win the Print Copy of The Cupcake Diaries books 1 – 3, or a print copy of Bet You’ll Marry Me, both by Darlene Panzera.  And – believe me – these stories are just the perfect bite – I’ve purchased each of the titles for my own library, or to give as gifts to friends who need a little smiley moment: and you can see just how fun they are by looking at what others think by following this link to the tour stops!

Book Review

It’s hard enough to not gush over this series: each book is the perfect sized bite to leave you with a smile on your face, AND they come with recipes!  This one – a Lemon and Blueberry delight that I felt my mouth watering JUST with the ingredients.  But, I digress. 

The Ladies of Creative Cupcakes are growing and making their mark.  We check back in with Kim who is about to have her wedding, Andi’s baby is arriving any moment now, and Rachel is busy working on the bits and bobs.  Stacey is the newcomer and will be managing the mobile cupcake van at the beach.  She so wants to feel a part of the three girl’s friendship: after a tornado destroyed her Nebraska home and left her grandmother dead, she travelled for years with her mother and father: never setting down roots, never feeling safe.  In fact, Stacey is a bit of a nervous Nellie: her one goal is to have a house of her own, with a storm cellar and plenty of supplies to get her through every conceivable disaster.

Dave Wright is also selling at the beach: handmade icecream that is knock your socks off delicious.  Dave himself nearly knocks Stacey’s socks off: she feels the pressure to find a date for Kim’s wedding, and she has little to no confidence in her looks or ability to have a relationship after some truly bad experiences. What she doesn’t realize is that Dave’s ‘ignoring’ her is solely to focus on his own business: after his sudden divorce his ex-wife took him for everything and he is struggling to make ends meet and nursing his broken heart.

There are several subplots that weave through this story: checking in with the ladies we know, and finding a new competition that will test everyone, Stacey’s money issues, her obsession with doing well for the business, and Gloria, a supposed homeless woman that Stacey can’t help but want to take care of, who pays her in sea glass. Each subplot served to provide more of an insight into Stacey’s personality and thought process, and her desire to make friends is a near palpable ache that readers will completely empathize with, and cheer her on every step of the journey.  She channels a favorite fictional heroine to find her inner strength, and her use of “Kate would” as her mantra when things got tough was endearing.

Then we have the budding romance between Stacey and Dave.  When an unexpected refrigeration failure brought them together to sell to customers as a team, rather than as competitors, their ability to work together and become something more shows the potential for a real love relationship, even though Stacey has trouble seeing it almost until the final pages.

The Cupcake Diaries series is comprised of lovely stories that are sweetly touching and hopeful, with a happy ending for everyone.  Characters are real and easy to relate to, and you’ll find that each story gives a snapshot to check back in on the characters that were featured in the earlier stories.  Darlene Panzera has created a fun, light and enjoyable series that is perfect for a quick moment of escape, or for a day of delightful reading.

 

 

 

Sprinkled with Kisses (The Cupcake Diaries #5) by Darlene Panzera

Title: Sprinkled With Kisses
Author: Darlene Panzera
Published by: Avon
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 100
Rated: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat: One FlameOne Flame

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About the Book:

Stacey McIntyre thinks she’ll pay off her debt in no time when Andi, Rachel, and Kim ask her to manage Creative Cupcakes’ stand on the beach. But selling cupcakes isn’t as easy as it seems. Especially when Dave Wright, the handsome owner of an ice cream truck proves he’s as determined as the dive-bombing seagulls to take away her sales.

Dave’s done with dating and done with beautiful, headstrong women like Stacey. Then the refrigeration on his truck breaks and instead of gloating, Stacey helps him out of a tight spot…and is rewarded with a kiss.

Now Stacey isn’t sure where they stand. Will Dave push her back into the role of rival? Or can she convince Mr. Wright that working together will lead to sweeter rewards?

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Excerpt

The sea glass wasn’t the only thing at Cannon Beach that was broken. Stacey’s pink-and-white Volkswagen bus got a flat tire on the ride home. She’d managed to pull over to the side of the road, but the wheel’s lug nuts were stuck, and she wasn’t strong enough to budge them.
A bright yellow, open-topped Jeep approached, and she waved her arms in the air to signal she needed help. Could her eyes be deceiving her? No, they were not; it was the gorgeous surfer who she’d served a cupcake to earlier that afternoon with what looked to be three of his buddies. Thinking this disaster might turn into a golden opportunity to score a date, she gave them a big smile.
Which they returned, before they laughed and one of the three friends crooned, “Hey, baby, how ’bout you give me a free cupcake?”
More laughter followed as the Jeep sped past her and out of sight. For a moment, Stacey stared down the vacant road, her mouth open, and her heart ready to cry.
Then she heard another vehicle approaching, and when she turned to see who it was, her humiliation deepened tenfold. Dave’s ice cream truck. Would he whiz right on past her, too?
Yup, there he went.
There was no question he saw her. His gaze collided with hers right through the front of his windshield.
Could this day get any worse? Not only did men run away from her at restaurants, but now she had them speeding away and leaving her stranded along the side of the road. Maybe she should stop trying and just accept her fate. Maybe she was meant to be alone, like Gladys, the homeless woman wandering the beach.
Whoops, maybe not. The red brake lights on the back of Dave’s truck lit up, and he slowed to a stop. Then he backed up.
Stacey suppressed the flutter of hope that danced in her chest the moment Dave stepped from his vehicle. Hope had proved to be unreliable time and time again. Instead she tightened her grip on something more solid—the tire iron in her hand. “If you’ve come back to laugh, go ahead, get it over with, and then please leave. It’s been a very long day.”
He drew closer. “I’m not here to insult you, Idaho. I’m here to help.”
“Really?” She didn’t mean to sound so surprised, but, well . . . she was.
He gave her an exasperated look, then grinned. “Just give me the tire iron.”

Giveaway

 

About Darlene Panzera

Darlene Panzera writes sweet, fun-loving romance and is the winner of the "Make Your Dreams Come True Contest" sponsored by Avon Books, which led her novella, THE BET, to be published with Debbie Macomber's FAMILY AFFAIR. The full length novel, re-titled, BET YOU'LL MARRY ME, released December 2012 and her upcoming series, THE CUPCAKE DIARIES, releases May 2013 with subtitles: Sweet on You, Recipe for Love, and Taste of Romance.
"I love writing stories that help inspire people to laugh, value relationships, and pursue their dreams."
Born and raised in New Jersey, Darlene is now a resident of the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her husband and three children. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her family and her two horses, and loves camping, hiking, photography, and lazy days at the lake.
Darlene would love to hear from her readers.


 

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