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The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice by Donna…

The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice

by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell (Author), Allyson Charles (Author)

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1331,154,679 (4)3
Witches, goblins, the occasional ghost-they're all sure to be spotted at the annual Halloween parade, where adults and children alike dress in costume to celebrate Moonbright's favorite holiday. And no place has more seasonal spirit than Bellaluna's Bakeshop, a family business steeped in traditional recipes, welcoming warmth-and, legend has it, truly spellbinding, heart-melting treats ... Between good-natured Halloween tricks, frothy pumpkin lattes, and some very special baked goods, for three Moonbright residents looking for love-whether they know it or not-the spookiest thing will be how magical romance can suddenly be ... PRAISE FOR THE COTTAGE ON PUMPKIN AND VINE "This wonderful, well-written collection calls to mind brisk autumn nights cuddled with a loved one." -Publishers Weekly "This diverse trio of stories bring three couples to love with a charming, slightly sexy Halloween flair ... Sassy, funny, and dusted with magic." -Library Journal "Delightful and spicy. . . . With humor and a little mysticism thrown in, each story winds its way to a happy ever after. Every pairing comes to fruition in a unique way." -RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars Includes cookie recipes!… (more)



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“The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice” contains three novellas about love that are set in Moonbright, Maine, and all are touched with a bit of magic at Halloween. I thought the main (magic) premise of the stories was cute, and the emphasis on family ties in the first story added depth to the plot. I also appreciated that the female main characters were curvy women and highly admired by their men. No skinny little girls here, just mature women! Another plus (no pun intended) is the respect accorded to elderly folks in the stories. Too often they are portrayed as curmudgeons, cranky, feeble or ill. Although the cranky and curmudgeon characteristics are present, they are not the main features of these senior folks. More emphasis is placed on the good they do for others and their community contributions. The setting is delightful and the time of year adds interest to the plot. The stories contain a common thread with the town, Halloween celebration, and characters.

My main objection was the inclusion of so much sexual detail. This definitely demonstrated the passion between the lovers, but I did not really want to know whose body parts were where. The plot and humor of each story was enough to carry the character and relationship development without it. A little mystery and lack of detail is a lot more spicy than all the particulars. I prefer that the writer leave something to the imagination of the reader. And I guess marriage is just incidental and comes after the consummation of the relationship any more. I guess my morals are different. Readers should be warned about the spicy hot scenes in these stories.

I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. ( )
  LadyoftheLodge | Sep 19, 2019 |
Sweet Magic - Donna Kauffman

Good story. Bree is the latest in her family to work at the family bakery. Within the family, it is an accepted fact that some members have a magic touch when it comes to baking. Bree hasn't yet experienced that phenomenon and is beginning to despair that she ever will. That is until Caleb comes into the shop. Suddenly those Italian cookies have a little extra zing to them.

Caleb is in Moonbright to help his Uncle George with his restaurant while George and his wife are on vacation. Caleb does not expect to become fascinated with the baker down the street. He has enough on his plate, trying to figure out what is going on with the restaurant.

Neither Bree nor Caleb can explain why they are drawn together so strongly. It makes no sense because Bree is planted firmly in Moonbright and Caleb is only in town for six weeks or so before he goes back to Philadelphia. But as Caleb gets deeper into the problems at the restaurant, Bree is there to help him. There is no doubt about the attraction between them, but both try hard to resist it. Neither one wants to hurt the other or suffer a broken heart. I ached for them both, as it was clear that their hearts were already deeply involved, but neither could see a way to make it happen. I liked how honest they were about the pros and cons of being together. When the truth behind his uncle's troubles comes to light, Bree and Caleb have to work together to find a solution. It takes the help of family, especially Bree's grandmother, for them to get their happy ending.

I liked seeing Caleb come into his own as he worked through the restaurant's troubles. Though an excellent chef, he avoided the front of the house like the plague in his family's restaurant. In Moonbright, he had to do it all and discovered that he was better at it than he expected. I liked seeing him work with his sister, Cassie, to find the problem and fix it in a way that preserved his uncle's pride. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Cassie. I also liked seeing Bree find her groove at the bakery. Her grandmother's support was critical, and I liked how Sofia helped Bree through her doubts. I loved the scene in the epilogue with Clark Kent and Wonder Woman.

Love Spells Disaster - Allyson Charles

Cassie is a recent arrival in Moonbright. She chose the town because of their focus on Halloween, which is her favorite holiday. Now that she has settled in, she is ready to look for a man in her life. Due to a rough childhood, Cassie has particular requirements for a potential mate. Having had her fill of bad boys, she sets her sights on her boss, an uptight, strait-laced man who has the security she craves. Unfortunately for her, he is oblivious to her interest, so she looks to the tried and true "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach." She stops at the Bellaluna Bakery where Sophia gives her two special cookies along with the instructions to be open to whatever comes her way.

Disaster ensues when her boss turns down the cookie because he's in training for a marathon. When she munches a cookie herself, she chokes and is rescued by a visitor to the office. Chip helps himself to the other cookie, but Cassie wants no part of a man who doesn't check her boxes. Chip, on the other hand, is immediately attracted to Cassie. I had a bit a trouble with Cassie here, as she was quite rude and judgmental toward him. She redeemed herself somewhat by feeling guilty and did eventually apologize.

Chip and Cassie are thrown together when she needs a handyman to build her haunted house for Halloween. I liked seeing them together here as their efforts gave them the chance to get to know each other. Chip comes to understand what drives Cassie and has the patience to overcome her fears. Though Cassie tries to resist Chip's appeal, it isn't too long before she realizes that they have more in common than she thought. There were some pretty funny scenes as Cassie experiences one disaster after another in her pursuit of the wrong man. I liked the ending as Cassie finally realized the treasure she had. I also loved how Chip loves all of Cassie's Halloween quirkiness.

Sweet on You - Kate Angell

My favorite of the three stories. The story opens with Lara in the bakeshop where she is cruelly and publicly dumped by her boyfriend. To add insult to injury, she also runs into her landlord who informs her that the rent on her apartment is going up, and her employer can't guarantee she'll have a job past Christmas. Enter the mayor and his coworkers for their daily coffee break. The shop is crowded, and Jack ends up sitting with Lara. Sophia brings them some of her cookies and Jack and Lara chat for a while. A caring man with a big heart, it doesn't take long for Jack to get Lara to tell him of her troubles. He invites her to stop by his office if her job hunt isn't successful.

I loved both Jack and Lara. Lara is a sweet woman, a bit short and curvy, and a little insecure because of it. She is also smart, organized, and determined. Jack is a great mayor. He has the love and respect of the townspeople, and he loves them right back.

I loved the development of the relationship between Lara and Jack. They knew each other in school, where each had a crush on the other but never did anything about it. I loved hearing about how Lara attended all of Jack's hockey games, and that he knew she was there. Jack is currently swamped with the details for the Halloween parade, which leaves him little time for doing actual mayor work. After getting a chance to talk to Lara, he realizes that she would be perfect as the town's event planner and hires her on the spot. There is also the added bonus of being able to see her every day. Jack is well and truly smitten. Lara is surprised by Jack's attention but is equally attracted to him. Over the next couple of weeks they spend a lot of time together, both for work and personal time. I loved how easy it was for them to talk to each other and share their lives. There were some great scenes of them together. One of my favorites was their day of pumpkin and apple picking, and the heat that built between them all day. There was a brief resurgence of Lara's insecurity at one point, but Jack handled it perfectly. The ending was great.

I loved the setting of the story as Lara and Jack plan the Halloween parade. There are so many moving parts that it takes a truly organized person to make it all work. I adored seeing Lara make the job her own, being flexible when necessary for and firm when she needed to be. It was satisfying to see her stand up to her ex when it came to his demands. I liked Jack's assistant, Donna, and her little nudges of pushing Lara and Jack together. My favorite secondary character was Edna. Though she comes across as quite the grouch at the beginning, both Jack and Lara soon see that there is a side of her that few people know about. I laughed at her nicknames for people and cheered when Lara gave her one of her own. I loved her part in the twist at the end. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Sep 3, 2019 |
I knew I would be reading The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice after reading The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine, and really enjoying it. The two books, and I’m hoping they continue to write one every year, take place in the same town of Moonbright, Maine and have characters and locations in the town that interweave between the three stories in each book and between the two books. This is such a fun idea, and it’s interesting to see the different writing styles between all the different authors.

Both books have Kate Angell writing a story in it, but the other two authors, Donna Kauffman and Allyson Charles, are new to the series.

Kauffman has the first story, Sweet Magic, in The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice and I was a bit concerned. Out of the three stories in this book and the three in The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine, hers was my least favorite. It was well edited and it flowed nicely, but there was too much repetition in regards to one of the main character’s uncle’s restaurant.

Romance novels are known for their repetition when it comes to the main characters continually wondering if they should be together or talking themselves out of getting together. So I’ve come to accept this, and if an author doesn’t use that storyline in their book I am super happy. Unfortunately, I found myself skimming a lot of Kauffman’s contribution to the story collection.

Allyson Charles’ story, Love Spells Disaster, was a fun nod back to one of the stories in The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine with handymen being hired to get the cottage ready for the huge annual Halloween party. This time it was just one handyman, Chip, and he was building a maze in Cassie’s driveway.

Charles had a nice amount of nods to the town, its people, and to the previous book. And the sexual tension and sex scenes in this book were turned up a notch from Kauffman’s story.

The last story, Sweet on You, by Kate Angell was the star of the book. She weaved together characters and locations expertly from the other stories in The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice, as well as from, The Cottage on Pumpkin and Vine. You can really see her love and dedication to this series.

Out of all the stories this is the one with the synopsis I enjoyed the most. Lara is curvy and a bit unsure of herself. Jack is the mayor who use to be a hockey player in high school. And although Lara and Jack rarely talked back then, he noticed her, and wished they had. So. Darn. Sweet.
Throw in some sizzling sexual tension and hot sex scenes and it was a wonderful story that had me tear up a time or two.

With cooler weather coming to where I live this was the perfect time to read it. Although with all the magical realism in the book, you may want to wait until it’s closer to Autumn or Halloween. Just make sure to go and buy the book now! ( )
  KimHeniadis | Aug 27, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kauffman, DonnaAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Angell, KateAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Charles, AllysonAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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