I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reading “Vanilla Bean Vampire” by Selina J. Eckert!
I read the prequel, “Pumpkin Spice Pie-Jinks,” last year, and really enjoyed reading it. I thought it would be good to pick up reading the sequel and see how it goes! Here’s a quick summary so we know what it’s about:
“Welcome to Cider Hollow, where the pies are magic and the people are disappearing.
Pie witch Reese is living her dream: running the bakery she’s always wanted, selling magical pies, and landing a date with handsome Prince Forrest of the Autumn Court. But then people around her start vanishing, returning hours or days later with no memory of their missing time.
When her delivery boy is the next victim, Reese sets aside her pies, determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. But her prince is just as determined to keep her out of harm’s way, keeping her in the dark and even pushing her out of his own investigation.
Then the disappearances accelerate, hitting closer to home and leaving her with little choice but to get involved.
Can Reese bake up a plan to save the town? Or will she be the next to disappear?”
Plot Development: 3 out of 5 stars
I thought that the overall mystery was fine, but I actually lost most of my interest about three-quarters in. The reason for this is that finding the cause of the disappearances took too long to happen. This was not helped by Forrest often leaving Reese out of the main action, forcing her to not have a lot to do other than poke around what little information she could get.
I also thought the ending was slightly rushed and could use more pacing out; either that, or the first third of the book could be easily shortened by a chapter or two. However, the plotlines given for persisting into the next book
Worldbuilding Development: 4 out of 5 stars
This book’s worldbuilding did a good job of building on the information given from the previous book. I enjoyed reading more about the worldbuilding involving the fae, their courts, and how they functioned. It was also interesting to read about some of their unique plantlife. One of their plants (I won’t say which one here) actually gives some plot relevance late in the book.
Character Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I really enjoyed reading Reese, as well as her trying to mend her friendship with Maple. I thought that this was a good arc for both to have, given that they used to be close and then lost contact over the years. The bits of worldbuilding such as the humans and fae reconciling their differences and discrimination affecting them added to the tension. I also think this is great development for Reese individually. It’s true that she can get stuck in her world at times, and she needs to work on reaching out to others more as well.
Sadly, the romance in this book is quite lackluster and doesn’t build up well from the previous book. Forrest ends up standing up Reese not once, but three times in this book alone for plot-relevant reasons. The worst part is that Forrest is just so secretive to the point that Reese has to call him out on it by bursting into his court in order to do so. If she did not do that, she would never get the answers she deserves. I related to the other characters being frustrated with Forrest being neglectful of his and Reese’s budding relationship. Even though they did make up at the end, only time will tell if Forrest can get better at communicating with Reese.
Overall, I’m rating this book 3.5 out of 5 stars!
This was an okay sequel to the first book. But the lack of romantic development and character development, as well as too-loong plot pacing, made me lose interest easily. However, if you enjoyed reading the first book, you may enjoy reading this sequel.
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