Cups of You

E’s Year End Post 2021

According to my calendar we are nearing the end of the year, which means lists start popping up. I am continuing the trend by providing my annual list, but I am changing it up a bit. Instead of doing a “Best Of” or “Comfort Rereads”, I am going to highlight “New to Me Authors.” These are authors who I read for the first time this year and enjoyed them enough to add them to my Watch List. Please don’t take this to mean I found a lack in what some of my long time or even more recent favorites have provided this year, I just wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some discoveries.

This list is arranged alphabetically by author’s last name, although for ease of reading I have listed them in first name last name order.

    • Kneaded to DeathWinnie Archer Bread Shop Mysteries starting with Kneaded to Death. This series is set in California and centers around a bakery. Those of you who know me know that I enjoy all things baking so the setting had me intrigued from the moment I read the series title.

      Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .

      Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Linda, California. That is, until the thirty-one-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Dias and her sisters, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .

      But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car, riddled with stab wounds. Even more devastating, the prime suspects are the Dias sisters themselves. Doubting the women could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove their innocence and seize the real killer. As she follows a deadly trail of crumbs around town, Ivy must trust her gut like never before—or someone else could be toast!

    • Make a SceneMimi Grace Make a Scene, I am not sure why I decided to read the blurb of this book because illustrated covers don’t tend to draw my attention BUT I am extremely glad I did. This story full of familial expectations and friends for both the heroine and hero, had me laughing, feeling all the feelings, and again wanting baked goods.

      Faking this relationship should be a piece of cake.

      Retta Majors is having a bad day. But that’s to be expected when your ex gets engaged to your cousin. Instead of (totally) freaking out, Retta decides to attend the wedding with her amazing, faithful, and handsome boyfriend.

      One problem.

      He doesn’t exist.

      Duncan Gilmore is living his dream. His boxing gym is open for business, and he’s focused on success. The last thing on his mind is a relationship. That is until the beautiful baker next door makes him an offer so bizarre, he can’t refuse. One weekend of pretending to be Retta’s boyfriend should be easy.

      However, shared kisses and some flirting start to blur the lines in their fake relationship. When their performance draws to a close, will they go their separate ways or return for an encore?

    • PasticheCelia Lake has several series set in her Albion World. I discovered her through a review whose link appeared in my twitter feed. Intrigued, I visited Lake’s website, Celia Lake FAQ, and decided to take her advice to try out Pastiche, coincidentally both a standalone and at the time the earliest chronologically in this world. After finishing Pastiche, I went on a buying and reading spree.

      Can a chivalrous lord and his clear-sighted wife find love together?

      As a child, Richard dreamed of knighthood and gallant deeds. As a grown man, he is committed to doing his best as an officer of the Guard, as a Lord of the land, and as a father. Living up to his oaths is easy. Being a good husband is much more of a challenge.

      Alysoun has done everything expected of a woman in her position. She has married well and had two clever, healthy children. That’s not enough. Richard is kind, but increasingly distant. Alysoun herself has pain and fatigue magic can’t fix. In truth, she is isolated and more than a little bored.

      When Alysoun visits a new museum exhibit, she sees something odd in one of the stained glass pieces. Investigating could bring her closer to Richard or at least give them something to talk about. But it might threaten his position or even his life.

      Join Richard and Alysoun in 1906 as they explore a mystery, take on new oaths, and discover each other after years of marriage.

    • Cups of YouKarmen Lee currently has 2 books out in her Coffee Shops of Love series. I like coffee, I like coffee shops, and so Cups of You started well. Throw in the lovely cover which evoked the same feelings I thought the blurb promised and I was all in. I enjoyed this so much I now have both the digital copy and won a furious bidding war for a signed print copy of the current two releases.

      Amber Jones is back home…temporarily. In 6 months, she plans to drive away from the town that still holds painful memories and back to her big city life. But a newcomer with a voice like the darkest roast and an ever-present smile unexpectedly makes returning to the hustle and bustle of the city, and the boyfriend she shares it with, seem much less appealing.

      Benjamin Murphy moved to Millensville for his ex-wife, but even after their very public split, he remained in the town that embraced him and his now teenaged daughter as one of their own. When a gorgeous woman from the city walks into his quaint coffee shop, not even her dour expression is enough to keep him from trying to catch one more glimpse of her smile.

      These two seem like total opposites, but when the old adage of opposites attracting seems to hold true, will Amber and Benjamin be able to bridge the gaps between them and find love, or will their common ground crumble beneath the weight of their differences?

    • Winter's OrbitEverina Maxwell wrote umm a space opera with a central romance Winter’s Orbit, hopefully one of many in this particular universe, which still has me thinking about it. There are some CWs associated with this book, so reader be aware and make the choices which are best for you. They are available on the author’s website Content Warnings.

      While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

      But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

    • Dead in DublinCatie Murphy also known as C.E. Murphy along with a few other pseudonyms has an entertaining mystery series called The Dublin Driver Mysteries, Dead in Dublin is book 1. I found the idea of a private car driver stumbling into suspiciously dead people and then figuring out who done it most entertaining. I am eagerly awaiting news about Book 4.

      Ferrying tourists around Dublin for the Leprechaun Limo Service makes quite a change after years in the military. Still, Megan Malone is enjoying her life in Ireland. She likes the scenery, the easy pace, the quirky, quick-witted locals. Everything–except having one of her clients drop dead at the statue of fabled fishmonger, Molly Malone.

      Most restaurant critics notch up their share of enemies. Elizabeth Darr, however, was a well-loved international star. She and her husband, Simon, had just had dinner when Elizabeth collapsed, and spoiled seafood is the first suspect. The restaurant’s owner, worried her business is doomed, begs Megan to look into it. Between her irate boss and a handsome Garda who’s both amused and annoyed by her persistence, Megan has her hands full even before she’s cajoled into taking care of two adorable Jack Russell puppies (which she is almost definitely not keeping). But if cockles and mussels aren’t to blame, can Megan find the real culprit . . .before another fishy death occurs?

    • Cinnamon RollAnna Zabo participated in a multi-author series called Bold Brew. It is, surprise, centered around a coffee shop. While I was aware peripherally of this effort, their contribution Cinnamon Roll was the first to make me give the series a try. While I enjoyed several different contributions, Cinnamon Roll ended up being my favorite.

Maxime Demers has had an eye on Tom Cedric for a while, watching him flit from one awful man to another. So when Tom pins an ad to the community cork board at Bold Brew, Max can’t resist reading it. Tom’s looking for a play partner—someone who’s not a jerk—and Max knows he could give Tom what he needs. But first he’ll have to get the man to talk to him.

Tom Cedric thinks Max is way out of his league. He’s handsome, intelligent, speaks a billion languages, and can make a person kneel with a single look—too damn good for someone like Tom. But he can’t resist the temptation to talk to the man he’s had a crush on since the moment he laid eyes on him.

The connection between them is immediate, hot, and tempting, and when Max needs a replacement helper for an impact demo he’s giving, Tom jumps at the chance. A demo should be safe, right? A few hours. Clothing on. No stakes. Neither man is prepared when that spark ignites, and Tom is absolutely unprepared to discover the sweet man behind those dominating looks.

As I look back over this list, I am noticing a coffee shop/bakery trend. I think this shows how much I missed the casual connection with other people surrounded by the comforting smells of coffee, tea, yeast, and baking listening to the soundtrack of snippets of life.

Here’s to more new discoveries and reliable favorites!

Happy Reading,
~E

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.