Baked Fresh (Portland Heat #2) by Annabeth Albert ~ Book Review by Brandilyn

Baked-Fresh Title: Baked Fresh (Portland Heat #2)

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher: Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press

Cover Artist: unknown

Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars

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…

Brandilyn’s View:

If you have read my review of Served Hot, you know that it was a fairly straight-forward, formula contemporary romance. I wasn’t expecting anything more from Baked Fresh, book two in Annabeth Albert’s Portland Heat series.

In the end, I got more than I was expecting and exactly what I was expecting. Okay, that is probably clear as mud. Overall, Baked Fresh is another low-angst formula romance. However, where I found a little more depth was in the backstories of the main characters.

Vic is about a year out from bariatric surgery. He is still dealing with the low self-esteem and body issues that have plagued him all his life, despite his lighter weight. He is a regular guy with regular issues. Robin’s issues are a little more serious. Well, his former issues. He spent time on the streets after being kicked out for being gay and having a drug problem. The timeline for those issues was never completely clear.

Despite the story being entirely from Vic’s point of view, I had a hard time connecting with him as a character. I think his constant body issues and “I’m not good enough” and “no one would want me” refrains turned me off after a while, and I started tuning out his inner monologues.

The other aspect of this book that niggled me and lessened my enjoyment was the over-the-top dirty talk during sex. Let’s face it, Robin is working on his issues surrounding sex, and Vic is talking as if he was a porn star, even for a simple hand job. It just didn’t fit either of their personalities well.

Overall, I was able to get through the book and be happy for the boys finding their happily-ever-after together. I will be reading book three when it comes out in May.

Note: Baked Fresh is book 2 in a series but completely stands on its own. There is a brief appearance by the main characters from book one, but the Portland setting is the main link.

Buy Links

Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
iTunes / iBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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