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The Cake Therapist

September 8, 2016 on 10:42 am | In Dream Types | 3 Comments

A fiction debut that will leave you wanting seconds, from an award-winning cookbook author.

Claire “Neely” O’Neil is a pastry chef of extraordinary talent. Every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, but Neely can “taste” feelings—cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.

Maybe that’s why she feels the need to go home to Millcreek Valley at a time when her life seems about to fall apart. The bakery she opens in her hometown is perfect, intimate, just what she’s always dreamed of—and yet, as she meets her new customers, Neely has a sense of secrets, some dark, some perhaps with tempting possibilities. A recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals to her perfect palate a long-ago story that must be told.

Neely has always been able to help everyone else. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.

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  1. It Tastes Just Right

    Comment by prisrob — September 8, 2016 #

  2. More serious than frothy

    Comment by Jaylia — September 8, 2016 #

  3. Four stars: A lovely book that blends the past and present with delicious cake. Claire is anxious to see her new bakery. After years in New York City working as a pastry chef, Claire returns home after the demise of her marriage. She is putting everything into her Rainbow Cake Bakery, hoping that her gift for tasting feelings can translate into success. Things are off to a good start, until Claire starts getting an unpleasant taste in her mouth. Something isn’t right in Millcreek. When she interacts with her clients and neighbors, Claire is able to uncover bit by bit the history of some of the people and their secrets. Will Claire learn the truth about the long ago story that haunts her?What I Liked:*I personally adore a magical realism book that is all about comfort and coziness. The Cake Therapist combines several things that I love from a small town, cozy bakery, delicious and decadent sweet treats, a small town mystery and a sprinkle of magic. This book had me craving cake and cupcakes. If you want a sweet read that is perfect for when you crave something on the light and fluffy side, grab a copy of Cake Therapist. My best advice, don’t read this while you are hungry.*I was surprised at first by the way the book came together. It starts out in the modern day following Claire as she establishes her new bakery. Then you get these flashbacks, the first going back to 1908 and then the subsequent ones are around the WWII era. At first, I found the visits to the past jarring, as I wasn’t sure how they related to the story. *However, as the book progressed with each flashback, more details were uncovered, and I soon found myself invested in the story of Olive and Edie. It wasn’t exactly clear how these events tied into the story, but patience pays off, and by the end, everything fit, and I was satisfied with the way it all played out. I ended up enjoying the blending of the past with the present. Just be patient while reading this, it will all become clear.*This book has two plots, one that follows the mystery of the ring and the sisters in the past, and then Claire’s story in the future. Claire’s journey is one of transformation as she comes home, establishes a bakery and sets out to use her talent of taste and uncovering secrets. I liked watching Claire work her magic, especially when she does wedding cake tastings. By the end, Claire has come a long way, and I liked the new path she set herself on. I am interested to follow up on her journey in the second book.*I adored Rainbow Cake Bakery. There is something so relaxing and pleasant when reading a book that takes you into the cozy confines of a bakery. I loved reading about all the different cakes, cupcakes and treats that were baked in the bakery. There is lots of detail and description, you can almost taste the treats. Don’t read this one while you are hungry or you will find yourself with a huge hankering for something sweet.*This book has a rather large cast of characters, and I found myself engaged and interested in the different personalities and stories. There are so many interesting side stories from Jett, the young goth baker, to the budding romance between the Professor and Maggie, as well as the interesting romance between Roberta and Thomas. If you like books with lots of small sideline storylines and a big, eclectic cast, immerse yourself into the lives of the folks in Millcreek.*I am a big fan of magical realism. In this book, Claire has a unique gift for being able to taste flavors when coming into contact with others, and once she opens herself up to the flavors someone is putting off, she can sees glimpses into their past and learns some of their secrets. I thought the whole idea with the magical flavors was fun and unique.*The ending is a bit fast and abrupt, it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but I was a bit perplexed that the book concluded, there were many stories that weren’t played out. I was relieved to learn that there is a second book coming, and hopefully there are more in the works. I am anxious to read The Memory of Lemon.And The Not So Much:*One thing that I felt held this book back was that it lacked focus. It was as if the story took on too much. While I liked the various characters and their stories, I was a bit disappointed that more of the side stories didn’t come to fruition. I felt this book bit off more than it could chew. I think it would have benefitted by not having so many secondary plots and characters, and by bringing more story lines to a close before adding new ones.*The ending was fast paced in comparison to the rest of the book. It ended a abruptly, and I was left with a few nagging questions. I didn’t realize going in that this was the first book in a series. I am relieved that more story is coming as I am anxious to follow up on Maggie, Jett, Ben, Claire’s father and more.*Claire returns home after her marriage falls apart. I was a bit frustrated that there wasn’t a bit more depth and detail on her marriage. There…

    Comment by Heidi — September 8, 2016 #

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