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Cookies & Candlelight: Baxter Family Bakery Book Two (Arcadia Valley Romance 9) Kindle Edition
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Serena is a character that I immediately connected to. She is sweet and is looking for a place to belong without all the glamour and star treatment she once had. I thought the author did an exceptional job describing the inner workings of pottery making. I could see Serena working with the clay as she molds it into a work of art. It was a great stress reliever for Serena and God gifted her with a talent to make works of art. After suffering a tragic accident I can understand why she would want to get away from the gossip and grieve in her own way. She walked away from fame and never looked back.
Micah is every woman's dream. He is good looking, helps with the family business and can cook. Oh I know as people walked into the bakery they could smell fresh bread, muffins hot out of the oven and cookies that melt in your mouth. I loved the first encounter that Serena and Micah had. Im sure Micah thought Serena was a bit pushy. I love Serena's take charge attitude and the way she handles herself around others.
The story is easy to read with characters that share their faith without hesitation. Serena does have a past that will soon catch up with her. How will Micah react when he finds out who she is? Will Serena be able to let go of the past and allow Micah into her heart? They are so different from each other, but there is no denying the attraction between them. I wanted the story to go on forever because I fell in love with the people in this quaint little town.
The author has written a story that made me realize that our past doesn't have to define who we are today. How hard would it be to ignore rumors about someone you love? Could you forgive them of their past?
I received a copy of this book from the author. The review is my own opinion.
(Though reviews are inherently subjective, I prefer to provide some organization to my opinions through the use of a personal rubric. The following notes may contain spoilers.)
Plot and Setting: 4.5 -- Plot is engaging. Has many unique elements, no major holes, and a sense of focus. Plot points in sub-plots are dropped or not resolved. Setting is clear and believable. Timeline is clear and consistent. This was a fun romance. It's a dating-a-celebrity story, but an atypical one -- things I expected to be major conflicts (paparazzi, being gone to film a movie) weren't big issues, and instead the biggest bit of drama was over a much more broadly relatable issue (she feels somehow less worthy because she can't have children). Refreshing. The ending is quite abrupt, though, and while it does resolve all the crucial points, I was left wanting more. Which I suppose is not necessarily a bad thing.
Characters: 4.7 -- Relatable, realistic, interesting, dynamic characters. Many minor characters have depth, as do the relationships between characters. I liked Serena and Micah, both individually and together. They complement each other well, and I was amused by how her boldness leaves Micah flustered more than once. I also loved Serena's friendship with Gloria, and Micah's interactions with his siblings. Lots of support and wisdom from those who love them, which is great. Serena's parents were as supportive as they know how to be, too, though their mindset is different.
Mechanics and Writing: 5 -- Few, if any, typos, punctuation issues, or word errors. Intelligent use of POV. Skillful writing that adds to the story. I read a version before the final proofreading, and all of the (very mild) errors I saw are likely to be corrected in the final version. POV alternates between Micah and Serena.
Redeeming Value: 5 -- Well-developed, central, uplifting themes. Drugs, alcohol, violence, etc, are not glorified at all. No explicit sex scenes. Clear moral guidelines for behavior. Not only no sexual content, but also several mentions of dating or engaged couples making deliberate choices to avoid sexual temptation. Serena used to participate in all of the vices that seem to be expected in Hollywood, but is much happier since she found faith in Jesus and left her former lifestyle behind. One especially clear theme is the idea that while going back to Hollywood is going to be a spiritual and moral challenge for her, her different way of life -- even how she admits her mistakes when they happen -- can be a great witness.
Personal Enjoyment: 5 -- I loved it. It made me feel in all the best ways, and leaves me content and satisfied. One I'll definitely read again.