Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Publisher:  Berkley  
Published:   July 3, 2012
ISBN:  978-0425251386
Genre:   Cozy mystery
Format:  Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher - ARC
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina Gina@loveromancesandmorereviews.com


With temperatures soaring into triple digits in Scottsdale Mel and Angie wonder if their cupcake business will make it to cooler weather.  With nary a customer in sight they figure it’s going to be all right if they check out their student intern, Oz’s new wheels.  Well, new to him.  In reality it’s a rather beat up van that when they take it for a spin it pretty much stops in its tracks.  But all is not lost.  In fact, the break down may lead to some really good news.  Maybe.

A charming gentleman and his wife pull over where Mel, Angie, Oz, Tate and Marty are standing by the broken down van.  It turns out their would be rescuer is Slim Hazard, the owner of the Juniper Pass rodeo.  Marty is a huge fan of the rodeo and Slim so when Slim suggests they bring the cupcake business to the rodeo Marty is ready to go.  Given how slow business has been, with Oz’s van done up right, the group heads to the rodeo.

The group is welcomed warmly to Juniper Pass…well mostly.  The barbeque boys give them a bad time and then there’s one of Slim’s daughters who seems bent on stirring up trouble.  And then there’s rodeo star, Ty Stokes who is, to put it mildly, rude and self-centered.  Aside from that, Angie and Tate continue their relationship – or lack thereof – dance and without Joe beside her Mel feels a tad lonely.  All that drama falls by the wayside, however, when Ty turns up dead.  Not only dead, but it looks like Oz may be the main person of interest.

I’ve enjoyed Jenn McKinlay’s Cupcake Bakery series from the first book, SPRINKLE WITH MURDER and have looked forward to each new story. Mel, Angie and Tate have been fun characters and I’ve enjoyed how Ms. McKinlay has had their various relationships grow and change in each new book.  New characters are added at a nice pace without compromising the status of existing characters.  And the stories haven’t stagnated in one continuing cycle of murders occurring in one place.  The move to a rodeo for RED VELVET REVENGE was change of scenery.  McKinlay also threw in some fun curves in terms of the relationships between the main characters.

She did seem to cave into what seems to be a growing trend of having to include certain populations in a story although the way she handled that aspect with Lily was well done. To explain what the relationship with Tate didn’t work though, could have happened in any number of other ways rather than doing the “PC” thing. 

DEATH BY THE DOZEN is my favourite so far because of the balance between the characters, the movement in their relationships and storyline.  In RED VELVET REVENGE it started to feel like Angie needs to take some anger management classes.  If her constant need to lash out is going somewhere, possibly to a future story line it’s definitely workable, but if she’s just going to react with anger and attack it’s going to get old pretty quickly. 

There were times in RED VELVET REVENGE that Angie and Mel seemed more like hormonal teens that mature young adults.  Something definitely shifted between DEATH BY THE DOZEN and this one that left this story less enjoyable. 

The rodeo setting for this one was unique and fun.  The recipes at the end, including the “invention” in the story sound pretty darn good.  I really need to pull out the baking pans and give a few of them a shot.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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