Review: Baker and the Geek – Chelsea Millen

Review: Baker and the Geek – Chelsea MillenBaker & The Geek
by Chelsea Millen
Series: Magnolia Falls #1
Publication Date: January 30, 2021
Genres: Romance
Pages: 245
Source: BookSprout

I received this book for free from BookSprout in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One Star

Jax Austin has savior syndrome. When he crosses paths with down-on-her-luck baker Bekah Murphy, he feels the need to help her out of a hard situation. He should've put two and two together when the gorgeous cake connoisseur smashed a frosted cupcake in his face, but Jax has always had a sweet tooth... especially for an independent and sexy woman like Bekah. Besides, Jax knows he can convince her to trust him over a plate of his family's famous sugar cookies and with the help of his adorable cousin.

Bekah Murphy didn't ask to be the damsel in distress. She owes favors to her ex-boyfriend who just humiliated her during her last catering event, and now a suspiciously friendly stranger is offering to help her ease into her new life in Magnolia Falls, a picturesque Midwestern town in the heart of Illinois. But Bekah didn't move to the small town to find love with admittedly adorable, hunky Jax. She has big plans for her life and her bakery, and no time to waste... not even for the drop dead handsome geek intent on stealing her heart.

What happens when organized mess Bekah is forced to accept Jax's calm and kind offer for help? It's a recipe for disaster... or the perfect equation for love.


1 star icon contemporary icon m/f romance icon

Content warnings: View Spoiler »

Edit February 1: According to this, the author is white, which explains a lot about the rep (there is none). As I’m white myself and already had quite a few other concerns with the book, I didn’t even mention it in my original review (had enough stuff to cover in my own lane). In case you’re wondering what I mean, by the way, the single mom friend is Latina, which you can tell because she calls Bekah “chica.”

Dropping from 3 stars to 1 star.

Isn’t that cover the cutest? Besides some content warnings, this is a light, fluffy and sweet small town romance.

After nearly a decade in an abusive relationship, Bekah is finally ready to get out. With the help of her best friend, she lands in Magnolia Fall with a job at her friend’s aunt’s bakery. She’s busy trying to find herself again, and the last thing she needs is another relationship – at least, until she runs into Jax. Jax is the eldest of the Austin family, one of the founding families of Magnolia Falls, and from the moment he sees Bekah, he’s interested in her. What starts out as just making sure she’s ok after a confrontation with her ex soon turns into wanting to spend more time with her and numerous baking dates. But Bekah’s not sure she’s ready for anything serious again. Can Jax and Bekah overcome both their reservations to find their chance at love?

“She shouldn’t be wishing for things she couldn’t have. She wouldn’t trust another man. She’d been burned too much to fall for their lies. And yet something deep within her urged her to keep talking to Jax, to make him an ally. He was kind, sweet and caring—not to mention irresistibly handsome—and she could’ve used a man like him on her side.”

I liked Bekah and Jax, though I thought their characters were a bit two-dimensional. Most of the character development was on Bekah’s side, learning how to trust herself and take chances again. Even the act of making new friends is something she has to relearn. Luckily, it works out pretty well for her, as she makes friends with a single mom and an introverted book reviewer quite easily. I did like those characters, though they felt like obvious sequel bait. Bekah also spends a lot of time revamping the bakery and trying out new recipes, which frankly all sounded delicious. As the bakery prospers, Bekah slowly regains her confidence in herself as well.

As for Jax, besides a possible move for a job, his big issue is.. he’s adopted. I didn’t understand this one at all. From what we see in the book, his family loves him and doesn’t treat him any differently, but because he doesn’t look like the rest of them (his skin tone is darker) he feels like he doesn’t fit in. At one point, Bekah suggests he should consider adopting himself so he can realize how much it’s possible to love an adopted child and that just added an even more bizarre layer on top. Besides that, his next big problem is that he pretty much falls in insta-love with Bekah, but doesn’t want to scare her by moving too fast. Jax picks up on Bekah’s hesitation to embark on a new relationship, and he’s careful not to push her too much. While I’m not a fan of insta-love, their relationship was very sweet, and I liked how they brought out the best in each other.

“Why couldn’t she just accept that she liked Jax? Why couldn’t she simply move on from her disastrous relationship with Brent and learn how to be happy?”

I liked the small town cuteness. It’s definitely an everybody-knows-everybody type of place, and the book plays on the positives of that. I also loved the closeness of Jax’s large family, even if he didn’t feel like a part of it. The punny chapter titles (“You Bake the World a Better Place” is one example) add another layer of sweetness. What didn’t work for me was, well, most of the plot. After being in an abusive relationship for almost a decade, there’s no mention of her getting therapy, and she jumps right into a new relationship within the course of a few months. Not only that, but within a year, View Spoiler » It was so over the top – any one of those events is life-changing – that I had a hard time accepting their HEA. I would’ve liked more time spent on their relationship and less piled on trauma, and the addition of Jax’s jealous ex was also too much for me.

Overall, this is a quick and fluffy read, even if it didn’t work out so well for me.

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