“Friends to lovers at its best– a sweet indulgence I couldn’t put down!” – R.S. Grey, USA Today Bestselling Author
Baking Me Crazy, the first in the romantic comedy Donner Bakery Series of standalones, from Karla Sorensen is available now!
I’m Levi Buchanan, and until five years ago, I thought the legend of my family’s curse was a load of crazy, Southern nonsense.
No curse can make you fall in love at first sight. No curse can force a true, deep, passionate, all-consuming love that will haunt you all the days of your life.
Then I met Jocelyn Abernathy and I realized how completely wrong I was.
The problem is, Jocelyn guards her feelings like well-armed soldier. She’s the most beautiful, stubborn, infuriating woman I’ve ever met. Every time she talks, I want to kiss the living daylights out of her. But I can’t.
Because when we met, she didn’t need true love. She needed a best friend. And that’s what I’ve been to her… for five years.
But when Jocelyn meets a handsome stranger her first day working at Donner Bakery and she lets him buy her a dill pickle cupcake, I realize with ominous regret that I may have missed my window with my best friend.
If I can’t get her to see past our friendship, my new curse may be to watch the love of my life move on with someone else.
‘Baking Me Crazy’ is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book#1 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
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“Besides, this is my best friend perk. Shouldn’t I get perks in baked goods?”
She cut me a look. “You’ve been getting those perks for two years, Buchanan. Don’t even pretend you didn’t put on a solid ten pounds that first year I started baking.” Quite pointedly, she looked at my stomach, which we both knew was covered in muscle.
“That’s rude,” I mumbled under my breath. I flexed my bicep. Nero licked my elbow since it was right in front of him. “Yeah, ten pounds in my left arm maybe.”
The noise she made roughly translated to you are ridiculous. She made that sound at me a lot. Of course, the sad truth of the matter was that I was ridiculous.
Not once in the past five years had my feelings lessened for her. I had just learned to live with them. In my junior year of undergrad, I was taking a class on brain pathology in injuries, and a man came to talk to us about how he learned to live without his right arm after it was amputated.
He told us about how, even years after he lost his arm, his brain still triggered sensations to the limb that was no longer there. The adult brain, in particular, struggled to reorganize after the loss of a limb, and given that four out of five amputees suffer from phantom pain symptoms, some of which were incredibly debilitating, it was a lesson that stuck with me.
I wasn’t fool enough to think that me loving Jocelyn was on par with a man who’d lost his arm, but something about the way he talked plucked at a chord inside me. Sometimes my brain struggled to remember that we were just friends.
She’d never dated, never even hinted that she wanted to. She’d never given me a longing glance. Never stared at my mouth like she wondered what it tasted like.
But my hands never, not once, stopped wanting to reach for hers. My fingers always, always itched to dig into her crazy hair and see what the curve of her scalp felt like.
My brain knew what this relationship was, but sometimes, the signals it sent to the rest of my body didn’t always match up with the truth of our situation. We worked out together a lot, Joss and I, and when she got frustrated with the limitations of her body, I always wanted to wrap my arms around her.
I wanted to pull her into the curve of my body, absorb her dissatisfaction into my skin, and carry it for her. That was the irony when she made noises like that.
She had absolutely no clue how ridiculous I really was.
Whitney’s 3 Star Review:
I went into Baking Me Crazy knowing two things: 1. The Smartypants books were going to have their own voice and not try and mimic Penny Reid’s writing style. 2. I had zero expectations since I haven’t read Karla before.
Confused as to why I mention Penny Reid? If you’re unsure about the premise of this book, it’s part of the Smartypants World which means it is set within the fictional worlds created by author Penny Reid. In the case of Baking Me Crazy, we are in Green Valley, TN (aka Winston Brothers series world). Karla’s books feature characters never seen in Penny’s books with a few cameos from the Winston clan.
The book started off promising as I immediately liked Levi and Joss. Levi is your typical dreamboat hero but he’s also super sweet and has a sensitive side. Joss, his BFF, has a lot of spunk and her physical disability (she is wheelchair bound but can walk at times) brings an eye opening view into what it’s like to be ‘different’. This is a pretty typical friends to lovers romance. No surprises and nothing particularly outstanding about it. And that why I only gave this 3 stars. It’s fine but it’s not great, just ok. Part of the book felt boring and while I didn’t skim through anything, I was tempted.
Baking Me Crazy seems to be getting a lot of positive feedback so maybe I’m in the minority by not loving it?? I will say that Levi has an older brother who interests me and I’d be happy to read his story should Karla write it. Overall, if you’re a die hard Penny fan, this will likely interest you. Since I haven’t read Karla before, I can’t speak to how it compares with her norm.
About Karla Sorensen:
Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.
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