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Baked Fresh by Annabeth Albert

Baked Fresh This was cute. It didn’t exactly tug at my heartstrings, but I definitely enjoyed it.

I had a bit of a hard time getting into at first. Within the first couple pages, the main character, Vic, pretty much tells us readers how unattractive and definitely not boyfriend material he is. While I like the idea that Vic isn’t classically handsome or attractive‐ this is refreshing, actually‐ he was so disparaging and so gruff that I had a hard time finding him attractive in any way, personality‐ or appearance‐wise.

But one of the things that the author does very well is create characters that are deep and interesting and unique. Gradually, I came to like Vic’s rough public personality and the soft, sweet side of him, too‐ much as Robin, the love interest, does. I liked Robin quite a bit as well. He’s a complex person, with a troubled past and some very real, believable issues that you don’t often encounter in male/male romances. It was really great to read something a little different for a change, to explore the issues with intimacy that Robin has. And I loved how Robin sees Vic for how he is, inside and out, and eventually comes to love him for it. I like that he finds Vic attractive and strong and kind, because it’s true, no matter how imperfect his body or his life are.

But for all that I liked Vic and Robin, I never really fell in love with them myself. And I never really felt like they were people I knew. I love it in a book where I come out of it feeling like the characters are friends, or at least people I know, who I could have a conversation with. I didn’t really get there here, though. And that distance kept me a bit apart from the building relationship‐ which was believable and sweet, but… ‐ and apart from the more dramatic parts. I was there, I just wasn’t there all the way.

I think I was looking for a little more depth from the book and the plot, and even from the emotions of the characters. They were deep people, and they were well thought out. But when Vic talks about his cousin who’s passed away, or when Robin talks about his drug problems, I just wanted… I don’t know. More. More feeling. More something. Some way in which I could better connect with what they were feeling. I don’t know what was missing, exactly. It just was. It was especially apparent for me when it came to Robin‐ as someone who’s lived with and dealt with addicts, that subject usually punches me pretty hard, good or bad. But here I felt kind of ambiguous towards whatever Robin was going through.

So there was something lacking for me here and I just didn’t fully connect. But, despite that, I still really did like the book. It was short and light and sweet. And I adored the very end. It’s definitely worth a read. If I saw this author again, I would probably pick up her books. I just don’t know if I’d go out searching for them.   -SEL





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