Author Pippa Grant
This is the spoiler full review of Master Baker by Pippa Grant. If you would like to stay spoiler free but still want to read about why I regret doing a Valentine’s Day special romance post please visit here.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
So this year I thought I’d give myself a fun little assignment for V-day. I told my boyfriend to pick a sexy novel for us to read together and he found Master Baker by Pippa Grant.
My boyfriend loves to bake, and is quite good at it, so I can definitely see why he was attracted to this one. We figured it have some good food porn in addition to some steamy sex scenes. We were wrong.
I’m probably gonna complain about this issue a few times, the “master baker” doesn’t know shit about baking in real life. This book is a sham.
But anyway, let’s dive in to that whole plot thing. Which has more than a few flaws.
Grady Rock is the aforementioned “master baker.” He has a weird quirk of talking dirty to his baked goods while he makes them. It makes me uncomfortable, more so since he has no shame in doing it in front of his little sister.
His high school crush/former best friend moves back home after a career with the military and opens up a competing bakery in the next town. Grady takes this as a personal afront.
Annika, the crush, is back home to help her mother who suddenly went blind right before she was to fulfill her dream of opening her own bakery. Annika also has a little sister who helps out in the bakery.
It will be a major plot point throughout the book that Annika cannot bake and is apparently even incapable of learning or improving that skill in any way.
She is described as an awfully fastidious girl. Horribly organized, anal, good at following instructions. All of these things would add up to a phenomenal baker but the author doesn’t know that, she thinks it’s all about saying “ooo I’m gonna fill you up with my hot cream.”
She also loved Grady back in high school but did not want to end up pregnant in high school like her mother did. A lot of this book relies on not understanding that birth control is an option.
Annika and Grady come from rival towns. Towns that take this rivalry so seriously they would lynch them in the streets were they to be caught fornicating. Well, not that, but they sure act as if the consequences might be that dire.
They both participate in a rival softball game. Grady is pitching and keeps getting an erection behind his cup because Annika is, present.
Drinking game #1: drink every time Grady gets an inappropriate erection.
Annika hits the ball right into Grady’s erection and that was actually kind of funny.
They end up talking soon after and it gets heated with a lot of “why didn’t you call?!” “why didn’t you?!” and he forcefully kisses her in the heat of the moment. It’s written that’s she’s into it but still gross. I have a huge problem with this trope, that someone is allowed to force affection during a fight cause passion.
She pushes him off after a moment’s hesitation and he runs away embarrassed. He gets back to his bakery determined to out bake Annika and comes up with an impossibility. Creme brulee macaron donuts. That just doesn’t work, you can’t just shove dessert words together. Those would be awful! You can’t fry meringue Grady!
During this time Annika has a whole inner monologue about how she does have feelings for him but can’t cause she’s not ready to be pregnant but feelings cause “he was my best friend!”
Drinking game #2: drink every time Annika mentions that Grady was her best friend
They bump into each other, apologize, and agree to start fresh. They have a bit of a sensual tension moment but don’t give in to have sex. Grady heads home and we get a pretty graphic scene of him masturbating in the shower.
The first sex scene of the book really lives up to the title.
So now they get along but can’t let anyone know because the rivalry seems to be good for both of their businesses. It quickly makes it to the news of their rival small towns and digs them deeper into not being able to tell anyone that they’re thinking about boning.
Somehow we end up at Annika sneaking into Grady’s house for some reason.
Drinking game #3: drink every time someone trespasses.
He catches her and they make out pretty heavily, he gets as far as hand stuff when his Grandfather shows up with a reporter and Annika has to sneak out the window.
On the way to another softball game we get a conversation between Grady and someone named Sloane who has never been mentioned before and will only once and very briefly be mentioned again but apparently they’re really good friends.
Apparently, Grant has made a sort of connected universe of these books and if you haven’t read the others to know who these characters are she will not tell you in the other books.
After the game Grady sneaks into Annika’s place (drink!) to help bake for her while she’s asleep. She wakes up, they make out and get closer to sex and are again interrupted by someone just walking into her home.
Later on they finally find some uninterrupted time together to have sex in a shower which is of course the safest place for someone compulsively worried about getting pregnant (it’s not).
The escalation of the bakery rivalry comes to a head as they face off against each other on TV for a local morning show. This is the most bizarre chapter in the whole book.
One problem is that the pacing is ridiculously confusing and you don’t even know the competition is over until they spontaneously announce that Annika won.
But the biggest problem is that Annika notices that her long lost father who abandoned her and her mother is part of the camera crew and absolutely nothing comes of that!
She doesn’t go talk to him. He doesn’t talk to her. They don’t find each other in any way later in the book. Nobody explains why he was there or why it mattered or why that huge deal should be included in the book at all! I’m still not over it. Why was he there?!
But it does cause Annika to spontaneously decide that she deserves better than Grady because he should have read her mind and made a potentially humiliating and business ending grand gesture and declare his love for her on television.
After she wins she storms out and doesn’t return Grady’s calls.
Grady eventually snaps and shouts about his love for her at his family. So he makes the big gesture but she’s not there to see it. He goes and finds her and tells her he was dumb for not reading her mind and they should be together.
In an epilogue he proposes on the softball field and later they have some kids or whatever. Happy ending.
If you couldn’t tell from all my sarcasm, I did not care for this book. It’s full of cliches that don’t work and doesn’t have nearly enough sex to make up for it.
It has several occasions of characters showing up with no prior mentions just to muddle the story as well as an instance of going out of the way to tell me that Annika’s sister was fighting with a girl just to have the girl show up and be totally cool with her a couple chapters later. Why bring it up just to negate it?!
The characters are obnoxious and immature. Grady is worthless, he has no personality and stops everything in his life to be a white knight for Annika who stresses herself out over nothing.
There is no logical reason they cannot be together. Town rivalries don’t really exist. Especially to that level. That’s a dumb conflict that I just don’t buy into. If they were adults they could’ve hashed things out over one conversation and gotten together to run a bakery sans rivalry.
The book is way too long for this level of incompetence and I would’ve stopped reading way earlier if I wasn’t reading it with someone.
If you want to buddy read it with someone and get some frustrated conversations out of the deal, go for it, it was kind of fun for that.
I’m sorry I just can’t get past bad writing on these romance books. Please somebody recommend a sexy book that is also well written! It certainly isn’t this one.
2/5 cupcakes 🧁🧁
in order to keep me up to my ears in books please consider using the following amazon affiliate link to purchase this product. it’s at no extra cost to you and would really help me out, thank you and happy reading!
Buy it here: Master Baker