Thursday, March 22, 2018

"Sugar and Spice" by Shari L. Tapscott

Over the last few months, I've been reading Shari L. Tapscott's Glitter & Sparkle series. I loved the first book (with a few reservations) and felt ambivalent about the second, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue the series ... but after a good but fairly heavy read, I was looking for something light, so I picked up the third book, Sugar and Spice.

Fueled by love and determination, twenty-one-year-old Harper took a great leap of faith and transferred home from college to finally declare her feelings to Brandon, the boy who's adored her since they were children.

There was only one thing that could derail her perfect plan, and that was Brandon showing up with a new girlfriend the very same weekend.

Now slightly bitter and irked at the world, Harper focuses her time and attention on making her sister's childhood dream come true: she's going to meet Mason Knight, former lead singer of the wildly popular Forever Now band. All Harper has to do is bake her way onto the nationally televised, holiday cookie competition he happens to be judging. Easy. Until she finds herself partnered with Sadie--Brandon's vapid, wide-eyed, hair-of-many-bottle-blond-colors girlfriend.

Just when Harper's ready to throw in the towel, she collides with entitled, pretty-boy, celebrity-judge Mason. Except he's not entitled, and with his sharp eyes and chiseled jaw, there's nothing pretty about him. Suddenly, Harper doesn't just want in the competition--she wants to win. Even if that means she has to play nice with Sadie to accomplish it...

Wow. Just wow! After not enjoying the second book in this series very much, I wasn't sure what I'd find with the third, but I loved it. I'd rather just forget that book two even existed, as Sugar and Spice is a return to the highly romantic, chemistry filled form of Glitter and Sparkle—only without the high schooler dating the college graduate plot that made me slightly uncomfortable!

Harper is finally ready to profess her love to her best friend Brandon ... but then he comes home from college with a new girlfriend, Sadie. Through a series of circumstances, Harper ends up partnering with Sadie to enter a holiday baking contest (think Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship only with partners), and she comes face-to-face with former boy band member Mason Knight, the show's celebrity host/judge. Sparks fly immediately ... but sparks are also flying with Brandon, which leaves Harper more confused than ever.

This is a love triangle done right: both Brandon and Mason seem like viable options for Harper, and both are quality guys. For a moment, I was afraid Brandon was going to begin cheating on Sadie with Harper (I hate cheating plot lines), but that's not what happened at all. I don't want to spoil the love triangle's resolution, but it was highly satisfying.

Besides the romance, the baking competition portion of the novel was so much fun to read. I've watched a lot of baking competitions, and I'm guessing Tapscott has, too. Other than the fact that Harper and Sadie somehow were selected for the competition, everything surrounding the competition felt realistic.

Tapscott ends this novel with an epilogue set in the future. She's done this with all of the books in this series, and this epilogue is the first that didn't make me cringe. It fit so perfectly and was a wonderful conclusion to the series!

So here's my recommendation: read Sugar and Spice. If you love it, then consider reading Glitter and Sparkle. But go ahead and pass on Shine and Shimmer. 5 stars.

Buy the book. (It's also available through Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owner's Lending Library.)
Read my reviews of Glitter and Sparkle (4 stars) and Shine and Shimmer (2-1/2 stars).

Shari L. Tapscott writes young adult fantasy and humorous contemporary fiction. When she's not writing or reading, she enjoys gardening, making soap, and pretending she can sing.

She loves white chocolate mochas, furry animals, spending time with her family, and characters who refuse to behave.

Tapscott lives in western Colorado with her husband, son, daughter, and two very spoiled Saint Bernards.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I borrowed this book and chose to review it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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