“Melanie and Angie are taking a gamble by opening their first franchise of the bakery, and where better to hit the jackpot than Vegas? Holly Hartzmark is a former showgirl who’s looking to bring Mel and Angie’s sweet treats to Sin City, but Mel isn’t so sure she’s ready to hand her recipes over to a complete stranger – especially one as brash as Holly. But after the potential bakery location gets blown up, Mel begins seeing another side to Holly. Determined to help a kindred spirit, Mel sets out to discover who is trying to keep the bakery from cashing in. But with a murderous mischief maker on the loose, the odds are stacking up against a happy ending for Mel and her friends…”
-Synopsis from StoryGraph
Vanilla Beaned is book eight in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series. The previous book ended on a huge cliffhanger, which was addressed at the beginning of this book. Now, Mel, Tate, and Angie are traveling to Las Vegas where they hope to work out the details regarding opening a franchise location of Fairy Tale Cupcakes.
Some of Mel’s personal insecurities arise when she meets Holly, the woman interested in opening the franchise, which sets them off on the wrong foot. As the synopsis mentions, the location they planned to look at is blown up which brings Mel and Holly closer together.
Ultimately, Mel, Tate, Angie, and Holly must work together to figure out if the person trying to stop the opening of the franchise is doing so because they are targeting Mel, or because they are targeting Holly, and most importantly: why.
I loved how the setting came alive in this story, the first in the series to take place outside of Arizona. If you have been to Last Vegas you will truly appreciate the detail that went into describing everything from the famous strip to the surrounding residential areas. I could see it all so perfectly, and loved the inclusion of the Elvis convention corresponding with the timing of Mel’s visit. We also get to see some great appearances by Marty and Oz, and of course Manny and Joe pop in as well!
This was another great installment to the series. I actually think it might be my favorite so far because of the setting. While it did end on another cliffhanger, it wasn’t quite as bad as the last one! I look forward to reading book nine, Caramel Crush, soon.