Dying for Devil's Food by Jenn McKinlay

Dying for Devil's Food

Jenn McKinlay

At Melanie's high school reunion, the resident mean girl is found dead in the bathroom. Now, Melanie must follow the clues to find the real killer and keep her reputation from being frosted for a crime she didn’t commit.

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As the New York Times bestselling series continues, it's going to take every recipe the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew has to whip up a quick defense for Mel Cooper when her high school reunion goes from a cake walk to a car wreck...

Melanie Cooper has zero interest in catering her fifteen-year high school reunion, but Angie insists it's only right that they bask in the success of Fairy Tale Cupcakes--and Mel's engagement to the delicious Joe DeLaura is the cherry on top!

Everything is going better than expected until Cassidy Havers, resident mean girl and Mel's high school nemesis, picks a fight. No longer willing to put up with Cassidy's bullying, Mel is ready to tell the former homecoming queen to shut her piehole and call it a night. But as Mel and Joe prepare to depart, Cassidy is found dead in the girl's bathroom, next to a note written in lipstick that points right to Mel--making her the prime suspect.

Now, Mel must follow the clues to find the real killer and keep her reputation from being frosted for a crime she didn't commit.


Advance Galley Reviews

I received a copy of Dying for Devil's Food from First to read in exchange for an honest review. I thought that the book was a cute cozy mystery read. I didn't really care for the main character, Mel, as she seemed a little dense, but she did grow on me towards the end. I probably won't read any more of the series, but if you already know and like these characters and the series it would be a good read.

Thank you to the author and Penguin’s First to Read program for an advance copy of this book! This cozy mystery was cute and sassy. I loved the character development of the protagonists and a hint at the backstories of the antagonists before the big scene/start of the mystery. The fun pop culture references really resonated, so I really was drawn into the plot and felt immersed in the storyline. Aside from a few teensy procedural errors, this was a very cute, clever, and cozy mystery. You should get a copy to read today!

All in all, this was cute and ridiculous. The murderer wasn’t that big of a surprise, but that’s okay. The big reveal was super over the top, but like, whatever. Clearly, this book was leaning more towards humor and ridiculousness, so it’s fine. It was clearly trying to do its own thing, so it can’t be judged by what it wasn't trying to be. Plus, for a murder mystery, it was a pretty light and fun read. I liked it. It could have been better, but it could have been way worse. It kinda felt like watching a Hallmark movie, but with more murder. Eh. It was okay.

DYING FOR DEVIL’S FOOD may very well be the most mis worded title ever. Just to put that fact out there. Not once did Mel or Oz create a devil’s food cupcake...and it is definitely not a recipe included with the book. As for the book itself, DYING FOR DEVIL’S FOOD has Mel, Angie and Tate headed to their 15 year class reunion, where Mel has to face down all the bullies who tortured her for years. At the reunion, though, Mel’s ultimate bully is found dead in the women’s room by Mel, who also becomes suspect number one. People ask me how I feel about these...do you need to be familiar with the series to enjoy it. My opinion is that you can absolutely pick up at any point of the series, but I really think reading them out of order is a bad idea because of how much backstory you will know already. Other than the title, the only other issue is had with this book was that a few people were dropped in because we expect them to be there, but they don’t really serve a purpose. Mainly Olivia...she definitely served her purpose but she either could have been seen a little more after the fact or could have been left out. If someone is new to the series, the relationship there really isn’t explained and it seems sort of like a forced scene. Same with Manny and even Tara as a whole. I am assuming some of that was foreshadowing for when Mel and Joe finally get married, but Tara was definitely weaved in and out a little weakly. I didn’t realize how tense I had gotten towards the end until the worst was over and I suddenly burst into tears of relief. It definitely felt like a closer call than we’ve seen Mel in in the past.

Mel's life is good. A success business with her besties, engaged to her life long crush turned fiance, surrounded by family and friends she adores. What could go wrong? How about finding her high school nemesis sprawled out in the ladies room, dead, making you the prime suspect. Can't help that a cop on the case is gunning for you, or one of your high school tormentors is telling anyone who'll listen that you're guilty. Can Mel find out who killed the high school bully before the killer finds her and makes her the next victim? I really enjoyed this cozy mystery. Although you don't need to read the previous books in this series, it does help with depth of characters and background. But regardless of that, you'll find this a nice way to spend a few hours.

Possibly Jumping into Dying for Devil's Food (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #11) by Jenn McKinlay , book 11 and reading it as a standalone gave me a disadvantage in not knowing the characters back stories. The story was ok but lacked any bite, edge, tension or excitement in my opinion. The story was excellent in reminding me of the pettiness of high school days, the cliques, the mean girls and the romantic scene. I found the book repetitive and shallow on character development. It was hard for me to like any of the characters. I did think the book would make a good Hallmark movie where seeing the characters and how they interface with each other could be expanded with literary license. The pace of the book was slow and probably could have been reduced by about 100 pages. With the exception of the murder, the story seemed like a typical high school reunion. I need to add that I enjoy cozy mysteries, especially food related, and am a Hallmark channel junkie, but this story just didn’t excite me in any way. I wished that there had been a bit more edge, suspense, and unpredictability in the story. I wish to thank the Author and the Penguin First to Read Program for an advanced readers copy for an honest review. The expected publication date is May 7, 2019. For me this was a two star read out of 5 possible stars.

Thanks to Penguin's First to Read for a digital ARC of this book. I consider this a cozy mystery and usually I am not fond of those; however, I now stand corrected on that genre. Dying for Devil’s Food is labeled A Cupcake Bakery Mystery #11 which made me think, a series?! “Dear Lord, I do not enjoy jumping into the middle of a series, and number 11, please. no. just. no! This novel does read very well as a stand alone, so maybe not really part of a connected series? Diabetics, sugaraholics, and dieters beware: your taste buds will be assaulted; the lusciously named cupcakes will distract you while visions of cupcakes dance in your heads. Another plus, recipes for said cupcakes appear at the end. I’m singing, “Heaven, I’m in heaven!” Okay, back to the review. Characterization, plot and structure are well done. The action moves at a great pace and there are no gory details (as in my usual mystery reads), Mel the baker, her friends(?), and family are pulled into a murder at Mel’s high school class reunion, which Mel didn’t want to attend since she was bullied in school. The reunion organizers order Mel’s cupcakes for the big event and she eventually agrees to attend. Poisoning is the cause of death, so you know who’s implicated, right? Murder victim was also the beautiful homecoming queen who initiated Mel’s bullying in high school. Poor Mel can’t catch a break here! Jenn McKinlay spins this tale of murder and mayhem , with ,GASP, a sprinkling of humor, sarcasm, and a little romance. I did not figure out “who dun it”thus, the end clearly meets my criteria for an awesome mystery and 5 ?? ????????rating. This is a page turner.

**3.5 Stars** I've had my ups and down with this cozy mystery series and I'm happy to say with the latest book that the series seems to getting back on track. The book was well-paced and entertaining to read. The characters are well-developed so if you haven't read any of the previous books, you will be able to get a good sense of their history and the relationships. My only qualm is that I really dislike Tara as she is a very one-dimensional character. Her reasons for disliking Mel to the point that she wants to consistently arrest is ridiculous and shallow and it's not enjoyable to read scenes with her in them. Hopefully, if the author feels like the character needs to be included in future books, she gives her some depth and better characterization. In terms of the mystery, it was intriguing although I do feel like it was solved very abruptly. All in all, this was a pleasant read for me.

I don’t usually read mystery novels, however I decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed this mystery story and I’m so glad I gave it a chance. Easy to read and follow, and really a reminder on how sick minds commit crimes and sometimes innocent people are caught in the middle!

Dying for Devil's food is a typical cozy mystery. The characters are engaging and are fun to visit with. The plot is pretty predictable but it works . If you are a fan of cozy mysteries this is for you

Cozy mysteries aren't my first choice of reading material, but they come in a close second. The stories are very charming and a lovely way to pass the time. Jenn McKinlay's main characters are intelligent and strappy while many of her secondary characters are quirky and probably seem very similar to people from our own past (with a slight exaggeration or two). She does a great job of having her characters unearth the clues without giving away the person "who dunit". I loved it! By the way, she writes contemporary romances that are wonderful, too! I was gifted a copy of this book through First to Reaed. All thoughts are my own!

Light mystery with engaging main characters. I liked the continued character development but found the plot a little farfetched and thin. A mystery involving mean girl baggage from high school really only works with a younger reading audience.

Thank you First To Read for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Dying For Devil's Food by Jenn Mckinlay. I absolutely love these books and can't wait for more. This was a quick read, with great characters and the story kept you wanting to read more. What I loved about this book was it showed that no matter where you are in life and how you were treated in the past, everyone has a story to tell.

I thoroughly enjoyed this newest Cupcake Bakery mystery. Once again Mel finds herself as a person of interest in a murder, this time the victim is the “mean girl” from her days in high school. Mel ends up finding that when she is able to like herself she can let go of her perceptions of those who treated her badly. She and Tate and Angie make a unexpected alliance in this book and as it turns out he saves her life. I never get tired of these characters.

Once again Jenn McKinlay got me hooked. I really enjoyed this novel. I couldn't put it down and read it in two days. The story was fast moving, the characters well developed, and the mystery not easy to solve. I will definitely be reading the next one as well.

I really enjoyed this murder mystery. I didn't start to expect until the end who had actually done the deed. The writing style was superb and it was a beautiful, quick read. The characters were well-developed and the dialogue was so believable. I was excited to get to the end and see that some of the cupcake recipes were included! I will definitely be trying to make the pineapple upside down cupcake!

The Cupcake Bakery Mystery series returns for its 11th installment. Angie and Mel have their 15th high school reunion fast approaching and while Angie is excited to go Mel is not interested in facing her past demons and high school bullies. Reluctantly, Mel agrees to attend since her bakery will be catering the event and her handsome fiance will be on her arm. When Mel finds her arch nemesis dead in the bathroom she quickly becomes prime suspect number one. She along with her friends and a few enemies must work together to clear her name. This is a fun and sugary murder mystery. I was new to the series and it is an easy stand alone read. I recommend this book, and the series, for anyone looking for a sweet who dun-it.

Thanks to Penguin's First to Read for a digital ARC of this book. This was my first book in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series. I don't like to start a series anywhere but the beginning, but because I read Jenn McKinlay's Library Lovers Mystery Series--and really enjoy it--I thought I'd take a chance on this when it came up through Penguin's First to Read. Overall, I found it quite good. I had no trouble following along even though this is the 11th in the series. However, I imagine had I the benefit of the previous 10 (!) books in the series, the characters' development and overall narrative arc would have been even more enjoyable. The mystery itself was a bit light; even having never read this series before, I identified the guilty culprit immediately upon meeting him/her. But this isn't usually a deal breaker with me; the setting and the characters is what makes a good cozy work. I did enjoy the characters' relationships and how they evolved even in this one book. I won't hesitate to start this series from the beginning now to get caught up. If you're looking for a light cozy series--especially if you like baking--this might be a good series for you to try.

The Cupcake gals do it again! I have read every book in the series and each one makes me love them even more. Mel always struggled with her confidence and I feel like by confronting her past, even if she got blamed for a murder, she finally realizes how amazing she is. The only thing missing was her mom’s antics. :)

This 11th Cupcake Bakery book is among the best in this long-running, delectable series. Mel and Angie attend their 15th high school reunion and, when Mel finds the body of the girl who bullied Mel back in school, Mel finds herself in the spotlight, once again. Besides interesting plots, one great feature of this terrific series is the secondary characters, including the friends at the cupcake store. When I read a McKinlay cupcake book, I feel like I'm visiting old friends. Highly recommended!! Long may this series run.

High school is troublesome enough without the mean girls. In Dying for Devil's Food by Jenn McKinlay, Melanie Cooper was an easy target, but now 15 years later she is mature and confident, and absolutely refusing to attend a reunion. Her partner convinces her to attend despite her better judgment, but things seem to be the same - mean girl Cassidy Havers-Griffin and her posse go right for the jugular when Mel arrives. But before long murder intrudes. It's up to Mel, Angie and Tate to first clear Mel, then clear Cassidy's husband Dan. Thanks to First to Read for the copy.

This was my first time reading anything by this author, and it definitely won't be my last! I absolutely loved it. I actually read the whole book in one day. The characters are quirky and entertaining. The mystery aspect of the story was well-written, and I didn't suspect the murderer to be who it turned out to be. I always enjoy a mystery more when I can't figure out the culprit right away. I liked that the author also includes the recipes of some of the cupcakes Mel makes at the bakery. I thought it was a nice addition to an already enjoyable story. I'm looking forward to reading more books by this author.

I was given the chance to read an advance copy from First to Read of this delightful cozy mystery. It was entertaining and I liked all the characters. While parts of the storyline were predictable, I would recommend it to someone wanting a quick, easy read. Can't wait to try some of the recipes at the end. Cupcakes are the best!

Great story and quick read. I enjoyed the storyline. The mystery is engaging and I loved the main character Melanie. She is funny and sarcastic along with being a bit insecure which made her more endearing. Really enjoyed this book!

Was unable to get the book to work on my kindles or my Pc.

A full five stars! Well this was really enjoyable! It's the first in this series that I have read and I think only the second I have read of this author. But, let me tell you, I will be seeking out more of both. I found this book to actually be funny, I mean I actually chuckled out loud a couple of times. For some reason I never find books to be funny, but this author absolutely nailed the casual and comfortable relationship between the main characters that, in real life, creates that natural humor from shared histories. So enjoyable. And as an added bonus the mystery was a really good one! I will be seeking out more from this author.

This is the 11th book in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series. Mel and Angie are back and bringing cupcakes to their 15th high school reunion which unfortunately ends in a murder. The trip down memory lane results in uncovering many secrets. Fun characters and a simple entertaining story. Thanks to First to Read- Penguin Books USA for the free copy of this book.

I hadn't realized this was part of a series until I went to write the review on Goodreads. I thought it was a stand alone. That says a lot about how well the author was able to weave the back story into the narrative without it being clunky. This book is a fast, easy read, and best of all, I didn't figure out the killer until the reveal.

Another excellent read in this series. I loved the plot, the character development, and the action. The author adroitly captures the angst of a high school reunion for Mel, especially after the horrid experiences she had. I love who the author chose to ax at the reunion. The escape scene on the motorcycle is great. There are several candidates for who the murderer is and after awhile it's evident who it is. Angie and Tate may have exciting news at the end of the book, but of course readers are left hanging. I felt like cracking open a can of icing every time a cupcake was mentioned.

I loved it! This is a top notch cozy mystery series. As soon as I finish one book I'm looking for news on the release date for the next in the series. I enjoy getting together with these wise-cracking characters who've been loyal pals since they were kids. I always reliably get a few good laughs and some soft moments and delicious sounding cupcakes mixed up in a mystery. This is a terrific author.

Even though this is part of series, I feel like this book can be read as a stand alone without any confusion. I have read every book in this series, and I think this one is my favorite! I loved every thing about this book — the characters were well-developed and relatable, and the plot was engaging and unpredictable. I especially liked how McKinlay used the bullying theme in this book to show us (hopefully) how ridiculous we look when we prejudge people based on our assumptions. Highly recommend for anyone wanting a light read with a mystery and still surprisingly thought-provoking,

I truely enjoyed this book. It was realistic and the characters were likeable. The author did a great job at showing how the people we think we know and could never like had redeeming qualities or a story we may not know. I enjoyed how the story ended.

I haven't read this series before and only caught a glimpse of these characters as a cameo in the library series. Enjoyed seeing them even if some of the nuance was lost on me. Had a lovely cozy vibe and setup. Did not see the ending coming with the multilayered twists. Fun time and will check out the rest of the series.

3.5 stars! Mel and Angie have a 15 year high-school reunion coming up and while Angie can't wait to show off their success, Mel would much rather stay home. Mel, nicknamed Melephant by her old classmate, was tormented by the homecoming queen, Cassidy, all through high school and the reunion was no different. The big shocker of the reunion came when Cassidy was found dead in the bathroom by Mel and Cassidy appeared to be writing "M E L" in red lipstick on the wall. Determined to clear her name, Mel must follow the clues to find out who is actually responsible for Cassidy's murder. This book was written much younger than the characters are made out to be (they're supposed to be in their 30's and it seems like they're still in high school when it's written), but it was a fast-paced murder mystery and I was guessing until the end!

High school was not the best time of my life. I was taken back to those agonizing days through the pages of Dying For Devil's Food, Jenn McKinley's latest cozy mystery. The folks of Fairy Tale Cupcakes become involved in the memory trip to those days when they are asked to cater their 15 th high school reunion. Of course there is a resident mean girl to make Melanie regret attending. And then Melanie finds the mean girl murdered ! Worse yet, Mel is framed for the murder as she is the one who discovers the body. You just know as you read that there will be twists and turns, and other unexpected revelations . The mystery is all you would expect from a cozy mystery. This is part of a series involving the folks at Fairy Tale Cupcakes, but it reads well as a stand alone ( this is the first of this series I have read). Recipes for delicious sounding Cupcakes are a delightful bonus at the end of the book.

Not my first book by this author, but my first in this series. It was easy to read as a stand-alone, it wasn’t necessary to have read the prior books to get interested in the characters and the story. I enjoyed reading this light, cozy mystery and loved the addition of cupcake recipes at the end of the book. But, and this is a big problem for me, the character interaction was too juvenile. Who acts like that in their thirties? The mean girl and the bullies just seemed unnaturally stunted in growth. I enjoyed the book overall. Thank you to First To Read for the opportunity to read and review this book.

I haven’t read any previous book from this author. It seems to be a serie but It can be read as independent book. It is a fun easy read (recommend it as a summer read). It is a page-turner and I couldn’t put it down. I was very intrigued with the plot and trying to follow the clues in the long list of suspects. The characters seemed to talk and behave (sometimes) more like adolescents than adults in their thirties.

This was a loveable mystery especially if you love cupcakes. It was a fun read. I read other books in this series. It portrayed mean kids in the high school class. No one expected the class bully to be murdered during the reunion. Melanie was the object of the bullying so she became a suspect. The murder investigation uncovered very interesting backgrounds of the characters. It was. A fun easy read.

I really enjoy this author and all of her books! I accidentally looked ahead and saw who the killer was (was trying to find the last chapter number). It did not take away from the story at all to know who did it and I was trying to figure out the clues to see how they could be the killer. I still wasn't able to figure it out! :) I really like it when the author puts in references to her other series' characters. It's like an Easter egg in a movie. I look forward to the next book. These go by way too fast!

This is a simple, fun mystery filled with cupcakes and friendship. Having not read any of the previous books in the series, I found it easy to pick up all the relationships and backstory. I think Angie is supposed to be comic relief, but her always wanting to punch someone was a little juvenile. I think people who were outcast or bullied in high school will be able to relate to Mel's fears about the high school reunion. I definitely want to read the earlier books.

Class reunions make almost everyone groan, and this author depicted that feeling perfectly from the start. Throw in mean girls, friends and foes, and a murder, and you have the recipe for a deliciously engaging mystery. When starting a book in this series, it is like visiting old friends. Mel and Angie play perfectly off of each other, the humor and drama is executed perfectly. Full of twists and turns, the author really captured the full " whodunit" experience. A wonderful series and this book was a spectacular addition to it.

I enjoyed the story on a fundamental level, but that is about it. To be honest, the mystery just wasn’t very compelling to me, but I also was intrigued to find out what happened in the end - so that’s something. Perhaps I would have given this book a three, but I didn’t think it was very well written. The dialogue was stilted and, quite frankly, awkward. The characters hugged so much it made me a bit uncomfortable, and although the characters are supposedly in their thirties they spoke as though they were about 12 years old. As a whole, the book just seemed rushed and unedited.

I am a big fan of this author although this is not my favorite series of hers. It was cute but a bit too easy to figure out whodunnit. Also I felt a definite sugar overload.

Dying for Devil's Food is such a fun, loveable cozy mystery! Mel and Angie are lovely characters that make you want to be best friends with them. The high school reunion and mean girl aspect of the book was completely satisfying!

A light, breezy easy read cozy mystery. Likeable characters, but still a little too high schoolish. Mel and Angie were a little quick to want to punch someone, but in all, it had humor and was fun. I love the recipes, too. The mystery killer I had figured out, but there were some surprises, too. Enjoyable.

When Mel reluctantly attends her high school reunion, she ends up finding the body of her high school nemesis Cassidy. Time to find out who hated Cassidy enough to kill her. A delightful addition to the series.

What a delight to reunite with characters Mel, Angie and Tate for another of Jenn McKinlay's delicious cupcake mysteries! In Dying for Devil's Food, the Fairytale Cupcake crew takes us back to high school and the oh-so-dredded 15 year reunion. Mel must face the bullies of her past and solve the murder of her nemasis before the murder is pinned in her! Just like all of McKinlay's Cupcake Bakery Mysteries, you will enjoy the quirky teamwork of Mel and her friends as they follow the clues to solve this murder. Storylines into the personal lives of Mel and friends top off the mystery solving delight. This one will only leave you wanting more.....stories and cupcakes that is!

Dying for Devil's Food by Jenn McKinlay 5 stars or 5 cupcakes It is time to visit Fairy Tale Cupcakes and the crew of Mel, Angie and Tate. Things have been happening at the bakery, Tate and Angie got married in the last book and Joe and Mel are engaged. It is the 15th high school reunion for Mel, Angie and Tate and Mel is reluctant to go. Through some nagging and deception Mel is persuaded to go - after all with Joe by her side what could go wrong! Since this is a mystery you know there will be a dead body at the reunion. Mean Girl Cassidy Havers, bully and tormenter of many is found dead in the bathroom. Mel finding the body makes her a prime suspect;i it doesn't help when "MEL" is drawn in lipstick on the bathroom mirror. Mel investigates to find the real killer and get herself off the suspect list. As always it is an enjoyable romp to read about the adventures of the Cupcake Mysteries crew. I love the interaction between the characters - the quips and the movie quotes make it seem like visiting a comforting place. I can't wait for the next book in the series - maybe another wedding is in order. Thank you First To Read for the ARC of this book.

I won't lie - I devoured this book. As a teen, I used to love reading Joanne Fluke's novels that incorporated murder and delicious baked goods (including recipes). So I was pleasantly surprised to find that McKinlay's newest book was the same type of read. It was easy and pleasant to read, and while I correctly guessed who the killer was by the end of the book, there were definitely twists that I did not see coming! It had suspense, but for me, it was more about the drama, comedy and cute romances.

Not having been one of the popular kids in high school I could relate to Mel’s reluctance to go to her reunion. I liked that Mel was able to move past her high school trauma and put the past to rest. As usual Jenn McKinlay has written a story with quirky but likable characters and a cast of possible murder suspects. This was one of the rare books that I didn’t want to put down. I finished it in an afternoon.

 


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