CBR13Bingo: Free – I got this as an ARC
Yes, the book is just as sweet and adorable as the cover suggests. At one point, Titus feels like he’s “stumbled into a mystic portal where everything was weirder and more interesting and infinitely better” which honestly is a pretty good description of how I felt reading this book.
Danica and her cousin Clem manage a repair shop called Fix-It Witches in a small midwestern town. Their secret? They are actually mechanically-inclined witches who use their magic to repair malfunctioning appliances. Her life’s pretty great, except that the elderly neighbor’s cat won’t stop popping up on her porch (Danica’s allergic to cats) and, oh, the fact that her ex of several years is happily planning to marry his new girlfriend. And then in walks Titus, the local bakery owner, with an issue with one of his ovens. Her book club – aka coven – calls him the CinnaMan, partially for his delicious cinnamon rolls and partially because he’s ridiculously handsome. But, also true to that name, he’s very sweet, and Danica can’t seem to resist him, even if he is a mundane. She intends to have a simple no-emotions-involved fling to get him out of her system, but then all of a sudden she’s meeting up with him at a park bench everyday for lunch, bringing him juice concoctions and sampling his attempts at updating old-fashioned treats to be healthier. That’s what people do with hookups, right?
“Are you all right?” she asked instead of a more conventional greeting.
“You don’t sound sure.”
“It’s because I never realized beauty could be a blunt object before.”
“Are you saying that you’ve been assaulted by my attractiveness?”
From their meet-cute, Danica and Titus are ridiculously adorable together (and horny, very horny). Their banter starts out very silly – Titus has a quirky sense of humor, which Danica gets completely – but gets hotter as their relationship progresses. Titus is literally the CinnaMan cinnamon roll. He’s sweet and kinda, and he even has a dog named Doris whom he loves dearly (and lets take up most of his bed). He works and lives with his younger sister and they have a great relationship (the relationship with the rest of his family… well, I’ll get to that later). Like Danica’s aforementioned ex woes, he’s also been unlucky in love, and frankly considers himself cursed. Things with Danica feel different, though, and he’s terrified of somehow ruining this relationship as well.
“Why do you have to be both absurdly hot and wickedly smart?”
On Danica’s end, she’s got her own expectations causing issues. Witches can’t tell mundanes they exist; they’re ensorcelled at birth to alert the witch council if they do, and offending parties are mind-wiped/turned into animals. Danica thinks that there’s a curse on her family where if she marries a mundane, she’ll lose her magic, like her mother. Nothing, she imagines, could be worth sacrificing the bonds of friendship she has with her coven. So no matter how much of a connection she feels to Titus, any sort of relationship with him has no future… but she can’t quite keep away from him, even when her nearest and dearest are dead-set against the relationship.
One of the things I liked in this book was its exploration of family. Danica’s grandmother claims she only wants the best for her, and that’s why she keeps pushing her to make a match with a witch from an old, established family. Problem is, they’re all jerks who are only interested in her for her pedigree. Titus’s dad remarried shortly after his mother died and moved away from the town they grew up in, leaving Titus and his younger sister Maya in order to play step-dad to his newest wife’s kids. To say his actions are hurtful, well, that would be downplaying Titus and Maya’s feelings, and they don’t really want anything to do with his new family. But as each character gets various bombshells dropped on them by their families, they’re each forced to reckon with their own definitions of families and needed boundaries. Each character makes different choices in how they deal with them, and they felt true to the character.
There’s definite sequel bait with Danica’s cousin, Clem, and the witch hunter who comes into town, and several plot threads involving him are left hanging. To be honest, I had mixed feelings about Clem. She seemed very harsh to Danica when it was obvious to everyone else how much she was hurting and I’m curious how much overlap there will be between her book and this one.
Overall, this was an adorable and hot read. Definitely recommend reading this one with at least one gooey cinnamon roll handy!
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.