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Nothing says "oops" like your naked ass skidding in the salmon mousse. . .

A year ago, pastry chef Serafina Wilde's seemingly perfect life fell to pieces. So now, when her eccentric Aunt Pauline calls from Santa Fe needing her help, Sera jumps at the chance to start over. Pauline even offers to let her take over the family business, "Pauline's House of Passion," and turn it into a bakery. . . provided she agrees not to ditch the "back room." Cupcakes and sex toys don't exactly mix but Sera is willing to try, and what she finds in the beautiful City Different is the best life has to offer -- if she has the courage to go for it.

352 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

Hilary Fields

3 books70 followers
Born and raised on Manhattan's Upper East Side, I've been escaping those not-so-mean streets by diving into fantasy and romance since earliest memory. I began writing my first novel, a historical romance, at sixteen and was lucky enough to have three romance novels published by the time I was 26. These days, I'm less swashbuckly and more into contemporary women's fiction, writing about quirky, determined heroines who aren't afraid of a little adventure in service to their ultimate growth and happiness. I prefer unusual settings and ballsy characters (in real life as well as fiction).

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5 stars
67 (20%)
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109 (33%)
3 stars
94 (29%)
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42 (13%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews
Profile Image for LibraryDanielle.
726 reviews30 followers
November 22, 2013
OK, despite a rocky start I totally enjoyed Bliss. but let's start at the beginning.

I saw the ad for Bliss in a newsletter and based on those two sentences and the cover had to read it. I sent in a request at Netgalley and waited. Once I got the approval I immediately downloaded it to Fred Jr, my tablet. I (not so patiently) waited until I finished the other non-YA and Middle Grade fiction I was reading and settled in.... and was disappointed.
the beginning of bliss is awkward and slightly painful. Bliss goes more by Sera, a name thanks to Eragon I find incredibly annoying, and is a hot mess. she isn't sympathetic, and really you just want to shake your head in disappointment at her. not that anyone else in the beginning is much of a sympathetic character, like Austin is a grade A jerk face, but this is Bliss's story.
we open up with Bliss screwing up royally (in more ways than one), and wallowing in it. thankfully, this part doesn't last long and we flash forward to Sera, still wallowing, as she travels to Santa Fe to comfort her distraught aunt. there's lots more wallowing, some waffling (not the tasty kind) but Bliss is growing as a character and not so annoying anymore. I even started to like her a bit. it does take some time, and there are some rocky bits, but after maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through (hard to judge on an ebook) the story takes off.
Bliss decides to stay in Santa Feel and open up a bakery, with a catch. her aunt's side business, adult toys, needs to have a presence too. add in a love interest (of course) and some more personal growth and you've got a story. there's also the ultimate confrontation with jerk face, but that's pretty much expected.
after the aforementioned rocky start I really enjoyed Bliss. the story was light, fun, and interesting. I ended up finishing it in two sittings after the story smoothed out. there was just the right amount of romance, thankfully without any smut, and some humor thrown in. Bliss's character got more likeable, or more relatable, actually, both. after she stopped wallowing I found I could like her and enjoy her story. Pauline and the Back Room Babes were great back ups and awesome characters. the weird vinegar drink gave me the willies though.
I did get annoyed by the constant referrals to Asher's Israeli heritage, and to the weird peppering of phrases in Hebrew, Spanish and other languages though. they detracted from the story and totally weren't necessary. it felt like every time Asher came into a chapter we had to be reminded that he was Israeli. just in case we had forgotten from several pages prior. And just so we wouldn't forget this time there'd be another mention in a few pages. it got to the point that I wondered if that was way Bliss thought he was hot, because he was Israeli. the foreign language phrases were just annoying, like trying to force a vibe.
I truly enjoyed the showdown scene at the very end though. I thought it was the perfect end and am so glad a cheesy epilogue wasn't forced on us.
Profile Image for Deborah.
507 reviews20 followers
November 7, 2013
I received this through a Goodreads/Firstreads giveaway.

I knew I had come across a gem when the first paragraph referenced a t-shirt that said, "Orgasms aren't just for the young!" I stopped reading, screaming with laughter, and said to myself, "Oh, I'm going to like this book!" Like it? I loved it! I loved Serafina Bliss Wilde's (cool name, huh?) pluckiness in the face of her troubles and how she came to recognize, wrestle with, and come to grips with her problems which she seemed to do with a heaping helping dose of humor - sometimes self-deprecating but always amusing. I adored her crazy Aunt Pauline, a feminist and proprietor of Pauline's House of Passion(a naughty toy shop) whose goal in life was to see every woman educated about her sexuality and empower them so they too might achieve their...um...bliss often. Talk of Ourgasms, the Pink Panters and PH of P's Back Room Babes had me rolling with laughter. Of course, Asher Wolf had me reacting in a different way. Teehee! He was Mister Sweet and Sexy. You know, the kind of guy that...Ladies probably tucked panties with their phone numbers embroidered on them into his pockets as he strolled down the streets. Whoa, baby! And, what is a good story without a villain? Blake Austin, Sera's boyfriend, chef extraordinaire (just ask him), puts the capital 'A' in Asshole. Once Sera gets on his bad side (I think all his sides are bad), Austin makes it his mission in life to destroy her, destroy her personally, destroy her professionally, grind her into the ground. It takes a woman who is stronger than she realizes and the support of some kick-ass friends to see that he gets his just desserts...pun intended. Bliss was warm, funny and insightful with an important underlying message that...those who were happiest were the ones who were open to life's possibilities, and who challenged themselves to accept new things, however scary they might be. Great words to live by. Kudos, Ms Fields!
Profile Image for Tonya Mathis.
916 reviews22 followers
June 29, 2021
OOOO, my goodness. I loved it! I haven't laughed and smiled so much while reading a book, it was wonderful. Who wouldn't want to bake such wonderfully orgasmic desserts and have a man (or partner) that could make you feel like "that" with just a kiss....I'll be looking for more books by this author and hopefully more written with these characters.
Profile Image for Margreet Asselbergs.
568 reviews44 followers
November 17, 2013

Let me start by saying..... If I could give 10 stars, I would for this book!! It is rare I have felt this strongly about a recommendation!!

My rating: 5 of 5 ⭐️

It's been a year since Serafina Wilde's rather public fall from grace. Or should I say forcible shove off a cliff, since that is more like what happened. 'Clean' as a whistle, eager for a fresh start and called upon by her free-loving aunt Pauline for help, Sera moves herself and her culinary expertise to Santa Fe. Having been raised in part by the very, very liberated Pauline, the somewhat more 'reserved' Sera should have suspected that the family business she is there to help with, consists mostly of dildos and buttplugs and anything else to maximize the female orgasm.......her aunt Pauline's ultimate goal in life.

Despite her initial misgivings, Sera finds herself enamoured with the store's quaint location and promising interior. And when her aunt proposes a combined invasion of the senses, through taste and touch, by turning the front of the store into a bakery, all Sera needed to be convinced was one good look at her delectable hunk of a landlord and neighbour!

Impassioned with the new concept and bolstered by the support of new friends, Sera sets out to bring the bakery/sex shop to life in short order, while at the same time setting out a new and exciting path for herself. That is, until the slimebucket that shoved her off that cliff a year ago, decides to make an appearance.........


Absolutely delightful!!!!! I cannot recommend this story enough!! A MUST read!!

It is creative, outlandish, insightful, succulent and extremely tasty!! ALL of its characters are utterly charming and so well portrayed I can picture them easily. From aunt Pauline's gay lover, Horsey, to gruff pie-baker Malcolm.....each and everyone comes with such a rich personality, they pop off the pages!

Underneath the hilarious dialogues and antics, play some deep emotional stories that are not skipped over, but seriously considered in a less dark manner than we are perhaps used to. There is an overall sense of acceptance in this story, with these characters, that allows for failure and grief and mistakes to be absorbed as a normal part of life's pattern. It allows for healing and change and improvement, without guilt or recrimination. We have humour, food, sex, friends, proverbial beating-of-the-bad-guy, and puppies!! Did I mention sex?? Brilliant!

I laughed hard......and I teared up here and there, but never for long. The positive attitude in this book carries and it is an absolute blast to read!!!

✨Vibrant, scrumptious and stimulating Bliss, where taste and touch collide!✨

**ARC provided by NetGalley and Redhook in return for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Kay.
241 reviews
January 3, 2016
Really enjoyed this book. I won it through a Goodreads giveaway, thank you Goodreads and Hilary Fields. I'm amazed at how many new authors I've met and Hilary is now on my follow list.

Bliss, aka Serafina Bliss Wilde, is a pastry chef and alcoholic living in New York when the story starts. She's just had the day from hell, having discovered her live in boyfriend and boss Blake Austin being pleasured by another woman, and she decides to get even by getting even more drunk and seducing the busboy Lorenzo in the cooler at The Maidstone Club while catering one of the biggest weddings of the year. Don't let anyone tell you that drinking, seduction and pastry creating mix well, they DON'T, and Sera found that out first-hand. Although being the girlfriend of a first rate cad certainly doesn't set the stage for Happily Ever After.

Fast forward approximately a year, and Sera found herself in the Albuquerque, NM airport meeting her aunt Pauline. Aunt Paulie raised her after the death of her parents when when she was 13, and when she had called Bliss (as she called Sera) for help after the loss of her partner Hortencia, Sera flew to her rescue. Since she was still trying to recover from the alcoholism and the meltdown at The Maidstone Club, the break was appreciated.

Once in Santa Fe, her aunt asked if she would be interested in possible relocation and opening a bakery, named Bliss, in the space that aunt Paulie currently used for her shop 'Pauline's House of Passion". Yes, just what it sounds like, a sex emporium, with a LOT of advice from a very well versed, experienced lesbian lady, Pauline herself. Bliss could have the major, front portion of the shop as long as Pauline could keep her shop in the back room. Now, considering Bliss was rather a prude, possibly from overexposure to Pauline and her very progressive thinking in Bliss' early years, this arrangement made for all sorts of interesting adventures.

Add in a totally hot landlord, Asher Wolf, puppies, fireworks of every conceivable kind, new female friends of the empowering persuasion, well, then you have a really great story. When it includes the comeupance of a totally nasty ex-boyfriend, you even had the icing on a cake of superhero proportions.

I'd love to know people like Bliss, Paulie and the entire entourage. There would never be a dull moment.
Profile Image for Beth.
1,015 reviews9 followers
July 29, 2016
Truly delicious contemporary romance that's just a bit off the beaten path of chick-lit. Serafina is a brilliant pastry chef, but a rather messed-up human being at the the start of the book--or at least that's the way she feels after a major social and professional disaster. She's pulling pieces back together when her aunt, a warm and very open shopkeeper and women's-orgasm advocate, needs her desperately--so Sera flies out to Santa Fe.

The story has just the right mix of baking and pastry descriptions, sexuality, humor, challenges, and loads of warmth and sensuality of every kind. Not too spicy but just enough to delight in and get your own imagination going. Also cute puppies, awesome fully-fleshed-out secondary characters, celebration of the beauty of all women's beauty regardless of 'body type,' and a same-sex relationship handled the same as heterosexual relationships. I especially loved about it is the pacing--no waiting impatiently for the romance to move forward, the crisis to resolve, etc.

Bliss made me want to dress more flamboyantly, enjoy life more, and take a nice long vacation to New Mexico featuring Santa Fe.

Ideal summer reading, to recommend to a friend who is breaking out (or trying to) of a bad situation, and of course to read yourself.
Profile Image for Donna Riegel.
199 reviews3 followers
August 10, 2015
I loved this book talking about Mexico and the Zozobra. Very interesting. The story about Sera not having the big "O" was a little strange but it was cute the way it was told with her aunt and the back room in here bakery. Enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for Sara.
551 reviews6 followers
April 17, 2015
Cute, funny, and frequently mouthwatering!
Profile Image for Lav And.
2 reviews2 followers
November 7, 2015
I thought it was entertaining and very colorful. I like it when a book is written so well that I feel as if I am watching a story as opposed to reading it.
Profile Image for Polly.
1,550 reviews4 followers
July 17, 2016
Oh I loved this book! Not only was it warm, and funny, with a host of very loveable characters, it also
dealt with some serious life situations. Great read.
Profile Image for Stacy Stosich.
284 reviews10 followers
February 17, 2019
Three stars might be a little unfair. Maybe I'm unwilling to admit I liked it, hah. This one is a bit like the other one of hers I read in that the first 50 pages or so I was thinking, "Wait, why am I reading this?" It's pretty darn cheesy in parts and has some rather gag inducing romantic lusting at the beginning. I mean her landlord walks in and the excessive passages describing her lust and attraction are pretty annoying. However. The characters are just so funny and bizarre--the Backroom Babes. I mean her main character and the love interest aren't that interesting, but her side characters really shine. And it's nice to read something light and fluffy but that can still throw out words like soupcon and gauchely. Also, I really love her descriptions of the setting. I really want to go to Santa Fe now. There is some salaciousness and quite a bit of F bombs, but there are no actual play by play descriptions of sex. Just all the lusting and kissing and smelling of man smells and so forth. Frankly, Time Traveler's Wife was far worse in the play-by-play department.
Profile Image for Abby.
251 reviews13 followers
October 17, 2017
I can't stop smiling! I LOVED this book. It wasn't a literary masterpiece, but it made me smile, laugh, have fuzzy feelings... and sometimes those are the best books.
So sweet (in every sense!) :)
Absolutely delicious and a little bit naughty and I adored every second of it.
(Also I kinda want to be Pauline when I'm her age)
Profile Image for Mary Ellen.
505 reviews1 follower
May 29, 2018
I, at first, thought this would morph into a sex toys thing, but it didn't thankfully.
It was really fun and showed how you can help use the good energy and support of people close to you to overcome your insecurities and triumph.
Profile Image for Alice Yong.
128 reviews10 followers
April 19, 2021
Perfect reading for foodies and fiction lovers. The story offers a potent mixture of familial relationship, friendship, romance and bitter rivalry. Served with titillating dessert descriptions to sweeten the tale. Irresistible!
Profile Image for Aurelie.
34 reviews
July 24, 2017
It was a cute, easy read. Both hilarious and real life. About broken dreams and how you build new ones.
Profile Image for Vivian.
Author 2 books137 followers
December 15, 2013
Serafina (Sera) Bliss Wilde was orphaned at the age of thirteen and was then raised by a very eccentric aunt. Serafina's love of baking helped her to maintain an even keel after her parent's death, and her passion for baking grew into a career as a pastry chef. Sera was fortunate enough to be hired by one of New York's top chefs straight out of culinary school. She was unfortunate enough to accept being that chef's girlfriend. After four years of his cheating and constant belittling she crashed. Again she was unfortunate to crash during one of the biggest weddings of the season and was subsequently fired. Realizing she had a serious alcohol problem on top of her ego problem, Sera turned to her Aunt Pauline for support, successfully went through rehabilitation, and attempted to start her life over in New York as a caterer. One year later Sera receives a frantic phone call from her aunt and rushes off to Santa Fe to help out. Little does she know that this one trip would result in her biggest challenge to date.

Sera is no novice at starting over, but her move to Santa Fe may be the biggest step she's taken in quite some time. With the assistance of her Aunt Pauline and the support of the Back Room Babes or BRBs, Sera agrees to stay in Santa Fe and start her own bakery, Bliss. She also meets a gorgeous hunk that just happens to be her landlord and business neighbor. It's hard enough being a recovering alcoholic, but add to that the challenge of starting a new business and a steamy romance and the tension builds. The last thing Sera needs is to be confronted by her ex-boyfriend and former boss, but that's exactly what happens. Will Sera be able to deal with all of these stressors and make a success at her new venture and romance?

Bliss was an interesting read for me as it pulled out my inner prude due to the frank sexual discussions (often lead by Aunt Pauline and the BRBs). It was interesting reading about the relationship between the conservative twenty-something and her widely-liberal sixty-something aunt. I also enjoyed reading about Sera's self-discovery, not to mention her romance with Asher. Parts of the story brought a smile to my face and others made me laugh out loud. I think I may have enjoyed the story a lot more if I had been able to quell my inner prude. Bliss was a read that was a little bit coming-of-age, second chances, and romance with a lot of minor themes including alcoholic recovery, sexual awareness and acceptance, and the issue of bullying in relationships. If you enjoy reading about second chances and self-empowerment then you definitely want to add Bliss to your TBR list.
Profile Image for Tanja ~ KT Book Reviews .
1,371 reviews179 followers
October 14, 2013
After reading the cover write up of Bliss how could I not want to read this? Crazy Aunt, drunken naked @$$ skidding, and a back room filled with naughty items. What a combo!

This is definitely a book for us older gals. As these are people in their mid to late thirties beginning a second chapter, so to speak. I found the story to be loveable and quirky. Serafina was a wild mess, and seeing her character grow and realize that one day at a time is a good thing.

Sexy Asher was everything a leading man should be: strong, and suave with a sense of purpose and stability.

The Back Room Bitches had me laughing out loud. Wild antics and a sisterhood of love and understanding is always a joy to read.

Okay…now the thorn in my side. The inner dialogue was sooooo darn loooooonnnnnng! I hate it when this happens. I really loved this book. But the over the top inner dialogue had me skim reading to get to the conversation. Whenever I have to back up to remind myself what the question or what the response was for it means you took too long! UGH. Due to this Bliss moves from a 4 star review down to a three.

All in all a great story of friends, family, new beginnings and letting the past go.

*Given via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Tonya.
1,122 reviews
July 21, 2015
Nothing says "oops" like your naked ass skidding in the salmon mousse...

A year ago, pastry chef Serafina Wilde's seemingly perfect life fell to pieces. So now, when her eccentric Aunt Pauline calls from Santa Fe needing her help, Sera jumps at the chance to start over. Pauline even offers to let her take over the family business, "Pauline's House of Passion," and turn it into a bakery... provided she agrees not to ditch the "back room." Cupcakes and sex toys don't exactly mix but Sera is willing to try, and what she finds in the beautiful City Different is the best life has to offer --- if she has the courage to go for it.

--My thoughts. This book was fun. I enjoyed it. Perfect for the beach or when you are looking for something light and different. But I was looking for something with a little punch, which never happened. Her ex was a real jerk. Sometimes a bit redundant. I love books about food so that was a plus and I really enjoyed the whole woman thing and her support with the shop.

I think lots of people will enjoy how she started over and came back, but somehow Asher bothered me too. I didn't care for him really either. Other than those points, I enjoyed the book! I received this book from Goodreads first read in exchange for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Darkand.
314 reviews25 followers
September 30, 2013
This was my first taste of this new-to-me author and while at first I was a little put off by the heroine's inconsistent personality, eventually I came to truly enjoy the inspiring confluence of robust flavors this book had to offer. The small town feel, the supporting cast of quirky yet endearing characters, the broken hearts winding their way through various obstacles on the journey to healing and happily-ever-afters - all romantic tropes that I enjoy. This author combined those elements with a dash of vulnerable self-awareness and a huge dollop of honest to goodness laugh out loud moments that made my initial uneasiness with Sera's unexplainable potty mouth (considering how she constantly described herself as sheltered & shy) seem inconsequential compared to the savory deliciousness that is Bliss. Also, I have to say that wandering through the verbal forest of ten dollar words was such a joy for me - I love getting to stretch my vocabulary muscles! I look forward to this author's next endeavor with great relish!

FTC Advisory: I won a copy of this book through the GoodReads First Reads program. No compensation for my review was given.
December 28, 2013
I picked this book because it was in the comedy genre. I was not disappointed. I was a little caught napping at the content, but that was okay. I grew up in Aunt Pauline's era, and I wish I could have been and still wish could be more like her. I love the intro to the book on the author's site - "Start with one seriously disgraced pastry whisperer, a squashed salmon mousse, and a vengeful celebrity chef ex-boyfriend. Add one kooky, permanently braless feminist aunt, a cry for help, and an unexpected trip to the Land of Enchantment – sunny Santa Fe. The result is a recipe… for BLISS!

The storyline unfolded nicely though ended a bit too abruptly. I would've liked a bit more revenge, but that's me. Some of the descriptions of the confection ingredients were a bit too long though they did leave my mouth watering. YAY for the pastry whisperer.

The characters were fun and gave me the escape I needed to pass away the hours traveling to and from a foreign country.

I thoroughly enjoyed the impulsive, unpredictable, fun and naughty nature of this book.
Profile Image for Barb.
1,203 reviews
April 30, 2014
A year ago, pastry chef Serafina Wilde's seemingly perfect life fell to pieces. So now, when her eccentric Aunt Pauline calls from Santa Fe needing her help, Sera jumps at the chance to start over. Pauline even offers to let her take over the family business, "Pauline's House of Passion," and turn it into a bakery... provided she agrees not to ditch the "back room." Cupcakes and sex toys don't exactly mix but Sera is willing to try, and what she finds in the beautiful City Different is the best life has to offer --- if she has the courage to go for it.
This is a story about a woman taking over her life. When you are down and out, the only place you have to go is up. This is the story of how one woman, over came all her obstacles and became her own
woman, her way, and finds love in the process. 5 stars.
I WON this book a few months back, and just got around to finishing it. Thank you to Goodreads, to
Hilary Fields and to the luck of the draw!
Profile Image for Tina.
727 reviews18 followers
September 18, 2013
This was a cute, pretty standard, romance novel. Troubled but earnest main characters, quirky and outspoken side characters, and a cute dog or two, and you have the equation for most of the romance I read. The equation was used here to entertaining effect. The character of Pauline seemed like a combination of Debbie from Queer as Folk with Sue Johansen. I'm still not sure if that is a compliment or insult to the character and the author. I did enjoy this story, though, and would recommend it to a romance fan looking for a new author, or to someone who was looking for a fun book to take on a vacation.

Thanks to the publisher for advanced access through Netgalley.
Profile Image for Jenn.
340 reviews3 followers
November 2, 2013
I won this book through Goodreads, thank you. This is an absolutely, hilarious, embarrassing story! I laughed throughout the book, the characters are strong and endearing. I even have an aunt "Pauline", French version. Totally out there but still loveable. Hilary Fields is definitely in line with other chic-lit authors like Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, et al. I believe Webster's will need to revamp the meaning of "analogy", lol. That was too funny. A definite must-read and I truly hope to see more by Hilary Fields in the near future.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews

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