“Normally Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura wouldn’t be caught dead at a beauty pageant, but when Mel’s mom asks them to provide cupcakes for the seventy-fifth annual Sweet Tiara contest as a favor for her best friend, they can’t say no. Plus, between cooking up a daily display for the three-day event and sponsoring a cupcake creation challenge for the participants, Fairy Tale Cupcakes will get great publicity. But the world of pageants is even hotter than Mel’s kitchen. A high-strung judge and a pushy stage mom target Lupe, a young friend of Mel and Angie’s, at the competition and aim to take her out–by any means necessary. When the same judge shows up dead underneath Mel and Angie’s cupcake display, Lupe is crowned the lead suspect. Now Mel and Angie will have to find the real killer quickly or Lupe may be strutting the catwalk in prison pinstripes…”
-Synopsis from StoryGraph
Edit: I did not commit the cardinal sin of reading a series out of order! I simply forgot to post this review back when I originally read the book, so I am sharing it now. Enjoy!
Sugar and Iced is book six in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series. It picks up a few months after where the last book left off, which had a major cliffhanger ending. The main character, Melanie Cooper, has found herself in a love triangle with her childhood crush, Joe DeLaura, and a new love interest, Detective Manny Martinez.
While the larger plot of Lupe competing in the Sweet Tiara pageant was interesting, I was most riveted by Mel’s love triangle. At first I could not understand why she would continually turn Joe down – he’s perfect for her and she has always wanted to be with him. However, we get to learn a little more of why Mel is hesitant to commit to him. I do think it somewhat makes sense that her fears of losing him at some point later on outweighs even being with him now, as convoluted as those feelings may be.
I have seen other readers comment about not liking this love triangle, and I will admit that even though I dislike that it’s happening, it did keep my interest throughout this story. I just had to know who she was going to pick and how things would come together. Some of the loose ends were tied up at the end but there is still some animosity between Mel and Joe. I really hope she doesn’t end up with Martinez!