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Cupcake Bakery Mystery #1

Sprinkle with Murder

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Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are finally living out their dream as the proud owners of the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery. But their first big client is a nightmare. She's a bridezilla who wants 500 custom cupcakes for her wedding.

When Mel stumbles upon the bride-to-be dead-by-cupcake, she becomes the prime suspect. To save themselves and their business, the ladies need to find the real murderer, before the cupcake killer ices someone else.

222 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published March 2, 2010

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About the author

Jenn McKinlay

60 books4,074 followers
Jenn is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher's Weekly bestselling author of several mystery and romance series. She is also the winner of the RT Reviewer's Choice Award for romantic comedy and the Fresh Fiction award for best cozy mystery. Her work has been translated into multiple languages in countries all over the world. A TEDx speaker, she is always happy to talk books, writing, reading, and the creative process to anyone who cares to listen. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets, and her husband's guitars. (Please note: Jenn is not active on Goodreads).

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5 stars
2,783 (28%)
4 stars
3,640 (37%)
3 stars
2,701 (27%)
2 stars
441 (4%)
1 star
136 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,005 reviews
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,572 followers
June 28, 2017
3+ stars to Jenn McKinlay's Sprinkle with Murder, the first book in the "Cupcake Bakery" cozy mystery series. I'm a fan of Ms. McKinlay, as I enjoy both her "Hat Shop" and "Library Lovers" mystery series, which pushed me to try this one. It was a fun read that took me about two hours on a train to/from Long Island to see family for the day, and I will continue to read the series.

Mel and Angie have been best friends since an incident with a chocolate bar and a bully in the sixth grade. Almost 25 years later, they co-own a cupcake bakery together in their Scottsdale, Arizona hometown. When their third best friend Tate ask them to design his wedding cake for the upcoming nuptials, they are a little leery (give he is their silent partner in the business) and they aren't very keen on his bridezilla. Christie Stevens was a famous designer who seemed to make it big by stealing from others and being a general nasty businesswoman. When she ends up dead after taste-testing one of the cupcakes Mel made, the press suspects foul play, claiming Mel had long-buried feelings for Tate. In order to save her reputation, and the bakery, Mel investigates Christie's life and comes up with a few suspects. While trying to save themselves from the murder, someone else falls prey to the killer, and a rival bakeshop owner takes advantage of the situation. In the end, the stories collide for a bit and Mel almost bites the dust. Luckily, her new crush, Angie's brother, comes to her rescue.

1. McKinlay's writing is direct, funny and charming. She's consistent in her tone and story, finds good red herrings and creates strong interest in the cast and story.

2. The characters are likable, and they have some longevity. The rivalry will turn out to be a fun one to follow, as will the different love interests.

1. In the beginning, McKinlay is clear to call out that Tate isn't gay although he was teased about it as a child. What's wrong with making a supporting character gay? Perhaps because in this case it was his bride-to-be who was murdered, him being gay wouldn't have turned out too well... especially when there are already strong hints that he has feelings for either Mel or Angie, and Angie has secret feelings for him. I think it would have been a better and stronger story if he was gay and there weren't any romantic feelings between the 3 friends.

2. The book is over 7 years old, so it may have been one of the first, but there are at least 10 of these types of series where the protagonist gives up a day job to own a bakery and then solves murder mysteries. Love the concept. Perhaps it was the trend setter. But... something needs to stand out to make it different than the rest. I've only read a few series, and just the first one of this series... so I'll hold judgment until I get through a few more. Make it stand out, Jenn... I know you can do it!

Final Thoughts
A fun read, definitely worth giving it a chance. But challenge yourself. Find 5 or 6 of these series where they revolve around bakeries and decide which has the best chance to survive! McKinlay's definitely at the top of the list in my book and if the series pushes a bit more in the next book, I'm sure it'll get a 4 of 5 stars from me.
Profile Image for Luffy.
867 reviews718 followers
March 5, 2020
I wish I was an avid moviegoer. Then I would have a quote apt for the occasion. That's one of the things that the three friends in the book, Tate, Angie and Mel do.

It's the first time I've read a Kill Bill quote in a book. It has been a long time since I figured the culprit in a mystery novel, but then I had a tip - not a real spoiler - from another reader.

I liked the pacing in the book. I can't get enough of these culinary mysteries for the moment and though it might not last forever, it will be later rather than sooner before I'm ready to move on.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,719 reviews462 followers
July 27, 2017
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this fun cozy mystery. I recently read Jenn McKinlay's contemporary romance, About a Dog, and loved it so I started looking at some of her other works. When I saw this series set in a cupcake shop, I knew I wanted to give it a try. Who doesn't like a little mystery with their cupcakes? This audiobook ended up being a really quick listen for me because I found myself wanting to listen to it for hours at a time.

Mel and Angie have been best friends for a very long time and are now working together at the cupcake shop. They are also best friends with Tate who is soon to be married. Tate's fiance is rather difficult and when she shows up to the shop to decide on cupcakes for the wedding, she proves how difficult she can really be. They also have a rival bakery owner hanging outside of their store at all hours. It was obvious early on that Mel and Angie would have a few challenges.

When I read a cozy mystery, I like to try to figure out who is going to be the one to die before it is revealed so I didn't really read the summary before jumping in to the book. Once Mel discovers the body, I had a guess about who the murderer was right away but I really had no idea how things would play out. This story did take a few turns that I never expected and did me guessing and entertained to the end.

This was the first time that I have ever listed to a book narrated by Susan Boyce but I thought she did a fantastic job. She handled a large number of characters very well in this story and used a very distinct voice for each one. I always knew who was speaking during conversations. I thought she also did a great job of portraying the character's emotions. I always felts like I knew how the character was feeling.

I would recommend this book to cozy mystery fans. It was a really entertaining story filled with wonderful characters. I look forward to continuing with this series very soon.

I received a review copy of this audiobook from Dreamscape Media, LLC via Audiobook Jukebox.

Initial Thoughts
This was a really quick listen for me. The characters were great and I loved the little cupcake shop. I had a pretty good idea who the culprit would be as soon as the character was introduced but I had a lot of fun seeing how everything would play out.
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews214 followers
January 17, 2015

Melanie Cooper and Angela DeLaura own a cupcake bakery, Fairy Tale Cupcakes. Their third best friend, Tate, is a partner there and he is getting married soon.
His fiancée is a caricature of bridezilla. She is not just obsessed with the wedding. She wants to own everything connected to it: photographs, special flavour of cupcakes and probably many other things as well. And she ends up dead. The prime suspect is Mel.
The rest follows the well known cozy mystery pattern. Mel investigates Christie and finds the murderer.

There is an attempt to hide the culprit behind many red herrings. Everyone, and I mean everyone had a reason to hate Christie and want her dead. Her character goes beyond over the top ruthless fashion designer. There was something seriously wrong with her. In the end, there was no great surprise.
As for Mel being the prime suspect, that was really annoying. Not because you know she didn't do it, but because of her behaviour. She overreacts to everything. The second thing is that you aren't given any real believable reason why she would be. Christie's father wanting a murderer caught is hardly a reason.
And almost everyone around her believe her capable of it.

Characters are not deep. They were given one of two character traits and that seems to be it. For example, Angie has seven brothers and they are overbearing and overprotective. Mel has a crush on one of Angie's brothers, Joe. He gets a bit more space in the book since he is an assistant DA and with him you get that romantic touch every cozy mystery I've read so far has. He gets to be handsome too.
In the end, the more I think about it, the more I am annoyed by some of the unresolved or at least unmentioned issues. Christie's father does something he should be punished for and it is not mentioned.
Unless it gets more attention in later books and gets resolved, Angie's secret was unnecessary and a bit depressing.

If you are looking for depth, you won't find it here. What you are going to find, though, is a cute light story that will probably make you hungry in the end (if you like cupcakes). There is a lot of dialogue, so it makes it a very fast read.

Considering the way most people rate the books, I always feel I have to explain my rating even though it follows the Goodreads rating system. That makes this one an ok story that didn't have any surprises. I would recommend it after some depressing or dark book and if you want something light and fast.
Profile Image for Christy.
652 reviews
March 8, 2021
I'm very new to Cozy Mysteries, so I was super excited to read this one about a Cupcake Bakery. Love the cover and the title as always, they are just the best! I thought this one was really good! I figured out who the killer was pretty easily, but it didn't take away from the story at all to me. It does include all the delicious cupcake recipes at the end. I will definitely continue on with this series!
Profile Image for Kate.
465 reviews12 followers
August 24, 2012
I picked up this book because I liked the theme (yummy cupcakes!), the cover (so fun looking!) and the idea that the book revolves around the death of a bridezilla to be. Sadly, reading the book wasn't as fun as looking at its cover.

The book definitely has its moments, and there is some good writing in here. But, with that being said, I could have filled most pages with red ink correcting editing mistakes and ridiculously awkward and confusing sentences (ex: "If everyone was looking at her, then they weren't looking at whoever really did it. And if they weren't going to, then someone had to, and since it was her neck in the noose, it looked like it was going to be her.")

I've never really read a book before where I was constantly distracted by the writing, and wanting so badly to change it, and it was very annoying to say the least. The story is only 215 pages so it should have been a very quick read, but it felt much longer than that.

To sum it up: fun idea, good theme, and a good general story line and mystery are bogged down with errors and a NUMBER of awkwardly worded sentences, making the book difficult to get through. Hopefully the next book in the series, "Buttercream Bump Off," will be much, much better, since the whole theme of this series and the characters presented have so much promise.
Profile Image for Tari.
2,227 reviews71 followers
April 18, 2018
Melanie, Angie and Tate have been best friends for years and now Tate was getting married to fashion designer, Christie Stevens. The 3 friends co-own Fairy Tale Cupcakes who of course got the order for the reception. Christie was such a bridezilla though that she wanted to own the flavors. When Mel took over the samples, she found Christie dead in her studio and soon became the prime suspect. Of course with half the town thinking she did it as well as the police and the press, Mel was determined to clear her name and Tate's, who somehow got dragged in and depicted as Mel's old boyfriend by the press. Mel's arch nemesis Olivia, who owns a rival bakery in another part of town would probably be thrilled if Fairy Tale Cupcakes went poof! Mel had to get answers fast before she ended up in jail.

This was such an awesome group of main characters! I loved the idea of three childhood friends meeting every week and watching old movies like these three did. Uncle Stan who was a detective seemed like a teddy bear and just the best person to have around. I could really relate to what Mel said about seeing her father's face every time she looked at Stan. I have two uncles left that make me think of my sweet dad every time I see them. I loved how protective of Angie all her brothers were. I never had a big brother so even though to her it was a pain, I thought it was kind of sweet how they looked out for her, well maybe a little extreme at times! ;)

The only character I didn't like one little bit was the rival baker, Olivia. She was just plain mean spirited and awful! Am I bad person for wishing she was out of the way or becomes out of the way in a future book?

I sure thought I had the killer picked out but what a cool twist at the end. The take down was exciting and actually kind of funny because I could picture it happening in a movie. Things got wrapped up and the killer was hauled off to jail. The story ending after the killer was dealt with was very sweet but I won't give any of it away. I can't wait to read the next book!
Profile Image for Jackie.
764 reviews23 followers
April 17, 2023
Although I figured out who did it very easily this was a fun book to read!
Profile Image for Gaetagrl13.
73 reviews2 followers
May 23, 2020
Did I figure out the murder by the 4th chapter? Yes. Did it make me want a cupcake? Also, yes. Was I entertained enough to want to read the next book the series? Maybe. Probably. We’ll see.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,019 reviews15.7k followers
October 1, 2017
I was seriously craving a cupcake throughout this entire book....
This was a fun start to the series, that I will definitely be continuing....Mel and Angie were both very likable, girls you would love to hang out and have a cupcake with... I like both of their love interests, and I’m looking forward to those relationships developing..... The mystery was interesting and it took me a while to figure it out.... wondering if Olivia will continue to be a nemesis???
*** narrator:Susan Boyce did a very good job, I think she voiced all the characters very well...
September 1, 2016
Huh, surprised I finished this already. I like that while a quick read, it was kind of enjoyable in a way. Maybe it had to do with the number of pages or the writing style. Either way, this was a good start. Didn't love it but still like it. Near the end couldn't help but smile.

Throughout, I been thinking, hmm, suddenly I want a cupcake. Anyway, this was good, the characters I kind of like, at first anyway. Then as the story went along and you get to know them, I like them a little bit more. Especially Angie, Tate and Mel's friendship. Joe included.

Been wanting to read more cozy mysteries and the different themes, either a bookish or food theme. Plus I like the covers for these. Already want to read the next one.
Profile Image for Lesa Divine.
966 reviews192 followers
September 12, 2018
Book 1 of my own 24 hour cozy mystery readathon is complete.
Best friends partner up to open a bakery cupcakes. But once bridezilla the bride to Tate is murdered Mel is the prime suspect which puts her new business in jeopardy.
Mel and her friend Angie determined to find out who killed Tate's bride by all means.

Enjoyable quick cozy mystery read.
Profile Image for Fallon.
120 reviews47 followers
April 11, 2020
3.75 stars! This was a really cute start to a new cozy series! I enjoyed the main characters and am excited to continue on with the series 😊
Profile Image for Diane ~Firefly~.
1,918 reviews69 followers
July 7, 2010
A fun, quick read. I liked the characters and see lots of room for growth. There doesn't seem to be a love triangle which makes me very happy. The cupcakes sound amazing during the story, I was a bit disappointed not all the ones mentioned had a recipe, but maybe they will show up in future books. I'm looking forward to the sequel.
Profile Image for Meg.
600 reviews
May 18, 2018
A couple of inconsistencies/confusing entries but otherwise quite a good mystery. Plan to try next in series to see how things go.
Profile Image for Heidi Prockish.
443 reviews12 followers
April 25, 2020
Awesome book! I get so drawn in, it is like watching a movie. Can't wait to read the next one.

** Just read it for a second time, I think I love it even more now!! **
Profile Image for Peggy R.
1,012 reviews67 followers
January 2, 2019
This series has been on my TBR pile for way to long and I can't believe I waited so long to get around to reading it. This is a good start to the series. The characters are all fun, engaging, and relatable. I love the friendship dynamics between Mel, Angie and Tate. The each have something different they bring to the friendship and it works. I also love the old movie lines peppered throughout the book and how they try to stump one another. These are characters that I really enjoyed and I can't wait to get more books in this series.

This was an easy, entertaining read. I was able to finish it in one day. The mystery was solid and the author did a good job of setting up the story so there there were several suspects each with good motives which made them great candidates to be the murder. There is a nice twist that I did not see coming and so I was surprised by the identity of the killer when revealed.

This is fun series that is well written and has terrific characters. I will definitely be picking up the next few books in the series.
April 13, 2019
I haven't read many cozy mysteries, but this one would be a great intro for anyone new to the genre and I plan on reading the next one and maybe the one after that. This has great characters, a fast paced story, and just enough twists to keep me interested. Cupcakes and mystery. What’s not to love. I would definitely recommend this terrific cozy.
Profile Image for Jammin Jenny.
1,378 reviews187 followers
November 24, 2020
I really enjoyed this cute cozy mystery where a group of three friends are dealing with the marriage of one of them to someone no-one really seems to like. She's a bridezilla, and is demanding that her cupcakes become her property and that the owner can no longer make those types of cupcakes for anyone else. After sending the cupcakes over with her two assistants, the next morning the woman is found dead in her fashion boutique. Mel (the cupcake owner) is one of the prime suspects...can her friends and family help her figure out who the real killer is before it's too late? Read and see...
Profile Image for Annu.
211 reviews31 followers
December 19, 2020
A real quick read. I had a little bit of starting trouble with this book but once the story started, I didn't realise the time pass by. The chemistry between Mel, Angie and Tate is great and their backstory of how they met and became friends was good. The mystery was okay, figured out the whodunnit pretty quick. But I'll definitely be reading the second book because I want to know how a certain relationship pans out 😃
Profile Image for QNPoohBear.
2,997 reviews1,480 followers
January 30, 2016
Mel Cooper and Anglie DeLaura have been best friends since middle school. They recently left their traditional jobs to open Fairy Tale Cupcakes, the cupcake bakery of their dreams with their best friend Tate Harper as an investor. The trio have been happy as friends sharing a passion for old movies and junk food. Now things are about to change because Tate is marrying star fashion designer Stevens and Christie wants Mel and Angie to make the cupcakes. Christie turns out to be a bridezilla but Mel realizes this could be a golden opportunity to bring in more business for the shop. Fairy Tale Cupcake's biggest rival, Olivia Puckett is none too pleased and would do anything to put Fairy Tale Cupcakes out of business. Would she stoop to murder? When Christie is found dead with one of Mel's exclusive cupcakes in her hand, the police suspect Mel murdered Christie in a fit of passion because Mel loves Tate. Mel knows nothing could be farther from the truth but no one seems to believe her, not even Angie's hunky older brother, Joe DeLaura, an assistant at the DA's office. Only Angie and Tate believe in Mel and the ladies set out to clear Mel's name and find out who the real killer is.

This is a cute, fluffy mystery. It is similar in tone to Jenn McKinlay's Hat Shop mysteries but the characters have a little more depth. The plot was pretty typical of a cozy mystery. I didn't find it super engaging that I HAD to stay up all night. I thought I knew who the murderer was anyway but I was surprised by the direction the story took. I found it hard to believe the police would zero in on Mel and not look at other suspects. I also thought Mel and Angie were kind of stupid to confront suspected murderers. Mel also makes a stupid mistake that almost leads to another murder.

I especially liked the relationship between Mel, Angie and Tate. It was nice to read about friends who are just friends and a guy who isn't gay being friends with a woman. I strongly identify with Mel and what she went through in Junior High. I wish I had had an Angie in my life. I really felt a lot more sympathetic towards Mel because of it. Mel is kind of stupid at times, which is typical for a cozy mystery heroine but I admire her and Angie for having the guts to live their dream. I also love the characters because I love old movies. I really liked Tate. He seems very genuine and kind. I don't know how intelligent he is to want to marry Christie!

The secondary characters are all crazy, except for Joe. Joe is tall, dark, handsome and a very good prosecutor but like Tate, he lacks common sense where women are concerned. I'm not sure I really like him. Scottsdale, Arizona must be breeding crazy people because Angie's whole family and Mel's mom are too outrageous to be believed and the villain/s is/are also totally insane. I found those characters hard to take because they didn't seem realistic.

There are four cupcake recipes in the back of the book. They sound wonderful and I was so happy to see so many different cupcakes. I'd like to read more of the series as a fun diversion in the next few weeks.
Profile Image for Mark Baker.
2,057 reviews152 followers
August 20, 2013
When Mel is accused of murdering her best friend's fiancee, she has to set down her cupcake tins and start sleuthing to find the killer.

I've heard such praise for this series, and I didn't feel the debut quite lived up to the promise. However, I did find the plot good and the characters real. I enjoyed the book enough that I will continue on with the second in the series.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
Profile Image for Amy.
171 reviews11 followers
April 7, 2021
This is one of the series I've had in my TBR stack forever. Always a bit daunting to start a series that has so many titles to catch up on before I'm current so I tend to leave them in the TBR pile longer than I mean to. One of my reading goals this year is to finally get to some of these series, and I'm so glad I started with this one! I really enjoyed the characters and the mystery itself and will be continuing with my catch-up reading on this series!
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,102 reviews56 followers
April 8, 2018
Excellent book! I couldn't put it down!
Profile Image for Karen.
1,817 reviews35 followers
November 25, 2021
I read this for a challenge. I think I need to stop reading these culinary cozies, I keep wanting to bake a cake or a batch of cookies.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,005 reviews

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