REVIEW: Baked Fresh (Portland Heat #2) by Annabeth Albert

Baked Fresh (Portland Heat, #2)

My rating: 4 of 5 cakes
Received: Netgalley ARC
Publication Date: April 13, 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Point of View: 1st Person POV (Vic)
Genres & Themes: M/M Romance, Contemporary Romance

BLURB:

From its famous coffee to the mouthwatering fare at its cafés, restaurants, and bakeries, Portland, Oregon, has a lot to whet the appetite, including the hard-working men who serve it all up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…

Vic Degrassi is a baker on the rise, and it’s all thanks to his rare ability to make—and keep—his New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, or graduating from culinary school, Vic goes after what he wants—and gets it. This year? He wants Robin Dawson, the sweet-hearted hottie who volunteers with him at the local homeless shelter. When he learns that Robin is suddenly single after being unceremoniously dumped, Vic is more than happy to offer a shoulder to cry on—or at least a fresh-baked pastry to bite into. But it’s been a long time since Vic’s gone on a date, and he’s nervous about risking his friendship with Robin. So when their flirtation turns into a steamy night together, Vic and Robin have to figure out if they’re friends with benefits or lovers in the making, and if Robin is ready for something more than just a rebound. There’s only one way to find out: turn up the heat…

REVIEW:

If you have yet to finish a book whilst at a bus station I highly recommend it. There’s something satisfying about being so wrapped up in a book that the scorching hot is an afterthought. Well, until you feel it through your jeans and it’s starts burning in that itchy way the Miami sun has.

“He tasted sweet, like soda and everything else I wasn’t supposed to have—including him.”

Baked Fresh is read best served fresh out of the oven(published); that way you can enjoy all its flaky layers to get to the gooey center, and have it leave you full and satisfied. Until the next book that is.

Want to know what I love about books? That they’re always something fresh, new characters, new stories, new ways to relate to characters regardless of how different their lives are to mine.

Vic Degrassi has known loss in his life, and he turns that grief into trying to live better each day, to not have his life taken from him young. He’s recently had a lap-band surgery, lost a lot of weight, but one thing persists—the mindset of who he was before the surgery.

One thing he has confidence in, though, is sticking to his New Year’s resolutions, and this year is no different. Vic has had a crush on Robin Dawson since he first saw him working at the shelter, and with the help of a resolution, and the fact that Robin is newly single and on the rebound things might change.

I can’t begin to tell you how real this characters were for such a short novel. Vic has self-esteem issues, and it doesn’t matter that you lose 100 or 200 pounds, that you get muscles or abs, that doesn’t go away. Like when people hug me around my waist, even knowing that I have a flat stomach, no more “love handles” it still makes me flinch, makes me extremely uncomfortable and I can’t wait for that person to step away. For books to address such topics is amazing, and a perfect representation of those issues, because this might be an m/m read, but guys have anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphia, too. Please, don’t take anyone’s issues lightly.

The way Annabeth Albert handled Robin’s problem was no short of amazing. I remember reading some books when something traumatic and life-scaring happened and it would get brushed off and cured with the power of “love.” Have issues with having sex, no problem have sex with the “love of your life” and you’re cured. WRONG. It doesn’t not work like that, and for authors and readers to expect that is horrible for the real people who have to fight each day to live.

Baked fresh had the perfect balance of two characters who had gone through a lot, and learning that you should never feel ashamed of yourself, to do things for yourself and to fight to keep living because life is beautiful and there are people who love you. People who will wait. It was a cute read, filled with many baked treats, and I liked the metaphors and comparisons to all the desserts, and honestly made me want a cake.

In all, I’d recommend it, but like I said if you have your own self-esteem issues, or with triggers best to not read it, just if it triggers certain feelings.

Do you like to read about heavy issues? (Sometimes reading other people’s reviews are hard)

**An advance reading copy was generously provided to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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