Thursday, November 12, 2015

Why You Should Read Coffee Cake (and Beignets)

Folks, let me tell you about one of my favorite books, Coffee Cake. It's written by the fabulous Michaela Grey and it's pretty damn great.

Coffee Cake is a nifty little romance that started out as a Supernatural fan fiction featuring Sam and Gabriel. Even as a fanfic, it was really, really good. I never got to read it on AO3, but I did read the sequel there before it got taken down for publication.

I'm just going to put the back cover description here:

"Bran Kendrick never expected to fall in love. He’s asexual, after all. What chance does he have of finding someone who’ll see past that? So when Malachi Warren catches his eye, Bran tells himself his crush will pass. Malachi disagrees. He has been attracted to Bran for some time, something he is delighted to find Bran reciprocating. They begin to date and feel their way through an intimate relationship that meets both their needs.
Suddenly Bran finds himself juggling a new boyfriend, a demanding job, and a college degree he’s not sure he wants, but he couldn’t be happier―until a series of seemingly random accidents befall Malachi. When they escalate, Bran realizes someone is trying to take away the best thing that ever happened to him, and he must scramble to keep Malachi safe while they search for the would-be killer."

I think my favorite thing about this book would be the characters. Bran is longsuffering, warm, sweet, and very real. I've started to identify with him more since I began college, actually. And Malachi is wonderful. He's a prankster with some serious self-esteem issues and I love him so damn much.

Coffee Cake does have some flaws. At times it verges on melodramatic, especially in a few particular scenes with Malachi. Personally, I feel that Bran and Malachi fall for each other unrealistically quickly, but I do tend to favor drawn-out romances myself, so there's that. (Besides, it's not like I have enough experience to know what qualifies as realistic.)

Even though Bran is asexual, there are some intense--and very well-written--sex scenes. They're easy to skip if you're not into that, but if you are, well, have fun.

To be honest, though, I actually like the sequel to Coffee Cake better than Coffee Cake itself. It switches to Malachi's point of view and chronicles Bran and Malachi dealing with the events of Coffee Cake and moving to a new location, which offers some interesting narrative opportunities. It deals well with subjects such as trauma, grief and recovery, and it introduces a couple of new characters whom I absolutely adore. Maybe it was because I read Beignets first (there was a time when Beignets was available on AO3 while Coffee Cake was about to be published, which happened to be when I found the author), but the conflict felt more real to me. So if Coffee Cake doesn't quite hit the spot for you, you should definitely still read Beignets, because it's awesome.

I don't really have a particular reason for doing this review, except that I happened to be thinking about it right now. Coffee Cake and Beignets are published by Dreamspinner Press in ebook and print format. I think you can get them on Amazon too.

See you soon.

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