Saint Vandal’s Day: Death by Cupcake Book 7

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3 Stars

This started off well. Like really well. It was all sorts of funny. I laughed out loud more times than I can count. I went into this a bit sceptical. I honestly passed this book by for weeks but decided I’d give it a go and was more than pleasantly surprised, then it all started to fizzle away once I got halfway through up to the point where the awesome feeling was replaced with ‘well it’s still okay but not great.’

Firstly Callie is all sorts of hilarious. There isn’t much not to love about her. Especially her addiction to cupcakes. She’s the only person in this story that makes sense. She thinks about the problem the right way, assesses the situation with a clear head, and still manages to keep the laughs coming while she’s doing it. There’s always a way to get things done, and over-the-top in a cosy mystery and she proves this. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Anna.

Anna comes off as insensitive, bossy and extremely dismissive. It’s supposed to be funny that all she cares about is her cupcakes but instead it reads like she doesn’t care about anything else besides her cupcakes. Leaving her job sporadically to force feed them to someone who wrote a bad review. Overhearing someone complain about a cupcake and then, again, suddenly stalking him after he’s left the shop. That’s customer harassment of the biggest kind. And then, she does the most unethical thing which is supposed to be for laughs but it doesn’t sell well, she posses as a college professor and tells the students they’re going to get extra credit.

There’s a lot wrong here. One could argue that Callie asks someone to see if they can track the bad review person. This has questionable morals but it’s not beyond what I’d expect an everyday citizen to do if they could. All of us are mini stalkers/information hunters under the right circumstances even if it’s something as tiny as over-searching someone who adds you on social media before you commit to adding them back. But pretending to be a teacher, offering up free extra credit and doing it just so you can scheme to find out who your bad yelp reviewer is wasn’t funny. Especially after Callie told her she could not do this. She could’ve got Callie fired. The levels at which she ignored or didn’t care about Callie’s opinion and chose to shove cupcakes in peoples faces during the book instead of dealing with the problem at hand with more, I dunno, tact was frustrating. Mostly because as a reader it was obvious it was supposed to be funny and not angry and dismissive which is how it read. But, in all honesty, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there’s precedent for this being funny as this is the seventh instalment so what do I know. Maybe it’s just triggering to me.

The substitute swear words, considering how many there were, either go for it or don’t use them at all. Maybe I’m weird but if I read substitutes in the same volume I would see regular swear words in other books, that’s a lot of substitutes. If they are swearing that much go for it. But if not, just don’t have them swear at all. They were all sweets related but after a while it seemed forced instead of just a one-off funny.

Plot Spoiler

Lastly, the ending was all sorts of odd. The entire cast just shows up and I’m here like, what are they all here for? That and for a hot minute, I actually thought the guy caught could’ve just been a passer-by. Like other things in the area might still be open. Maybe he was out for a walk. Callie lives above the shop so why wouldn’t other people live in town? Once my brain got over the fact it was that easy to catch him the ending got even more weird.

Besides a room full of too many people, we have a guy who didn’t even know he had an aunt till after she died, that thinks he should’ve got the bakery he didn’t know existed. Firstly how did he even find out? If the aunt didn’t know her nephew got someone pregnant the likelihood of this guy being notified about it when he didn’t even know who his father was apparently, is slim. Was his mom just randomly checking the paper or information on the town after not having contact with his aunt for decades just to see if she died? How did she even know? Even Callie saw how impossible this was so readers definitely would. It was a hard sell that someone would expect a person who didn’t even know of their existence to give them something. It’s hard enough to give things to people you know exist let alone some phantom relative. It was a really weak reason for sabotage and underwhelming.

For a book with such awesome wit, and an easy flowing plot I had really high hopes for this. But Anna came of insensitive, pushy and all about her. Then the ending was, even for a cosy mystery, hard to believe, probably the easiest tie-up I’ve ever read and a bit of a letdown.

Since Callie was all sorts of awesome, the humour is on point and even the pacing of the story was well executed up until the end, it gets 3 stars. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a light fun quick hilarious read. Unfortunately, Anna’s character and a way too fast and hardly believable ending took some of the spark out of this book for me.

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