This book is the perfect example of an issue I have with my TBR list. I remember this book perfectly as it was the first book I placed on my list on GR when I first discovered book sites. I am only now finally getting around it actually reading it. *sigh*
I've never read Bailey Cates (or Cricket McRae) before but I'm very impressed with the writing in this one. Introductory books are always tricky as you must balance the regular plot and mystery with settings up back story, characters, and more for an entire series. This book did that very well, giving you plenty of back story and set up while getting the plot and mystery off to an earlier start then many other first in a series books I've seen. The characters, particularly Katie - our MC - and the "book club," were interesting and I couldn't wait to see what was going to come next. My absolute favorite though was Mungo the Magnificent.
I love the setting in Savannah Georgia, another book to go on my Southern Charm shelf and the whole bakery aspect kept me hungry. I'm going to have to copy the recipe for Cheddar-Sage Scones. Yum!
The mystery was...interesting. I couldn't guess who but I knew why they did it the moment it was first offhandedly mentioned.(show spoiler)
The magical element was okay, though I'm kind of ambivalent about the whole thing. Also, the author does a great job of setting up that whole aspect as a mini-mystery and the cover and summary of the book completely spoil that. I loved the clues and how Katie was trying to figure out what was going on and personally would have liked to have had to try and do the same. The main reason for such a low rating when the writing was so good was the obvious love triangle. Good grief, the two guys fought normally, much less over Katie. Add to the fact that though she'd sworn off men after her engagement, Steve Dawes - the man the book was clearly pushing - kept pushing his presence on her above what she wished and wouldn't take no for an answer, and I was less then pleased. I vastly preferred Declan McCarthy but she kept bouncing from one guy to the next and sending the craziest signals. Frankly, I found basically all their actions annoying or wrong at one point or the other, though Declan I think came out about the best in the end. All in all, i was not pleased with the romance part of this book.
Despite my issues and somewhat overall bland feelings for the book, I like the characters and the writing enough to read the rest of the series. My library has them and I'm off to request number two right now.