Review: Cinnamon Roll – Anna Zabo

Review: Cinnamon Roll – Anna ZaboCinnamon Roll
by Anna Zabo
Series: Bold Brew #9
Also in this series: Cup of Joe, Puppuccino
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Genres: Romance
Pages: 330
Source: the author

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

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

This cinnamon roll has plenty of bite!

Maxime Demers has had an eye on Tom Cedric for a while, watching him flit from one awful man to another. So when Tom pins an ad to the community cork board at Bold Brew, Max can’t resist reading it. Tom’s looking for a play partner—someone who’s not a jerk—and Max knows he could give Tom what he needs. But first he’ll have to get the man to talk to him.

Tom Cedric thinks Max is way out of his league. He’s handsome, intelligent, speaks a billion languages, and can make a person kneel with a single look—too damn good for someone like Tom. But he can’t resist the temptation to talk to the man he’s had a crush on since the moment he laid eyes on him.

The connection between them is immediate, hot, and tempting, and when Max needs a replacement helper for an impact demo he’s giving, Tom jumps at the chance. A demo should be safe, right? A few hours. Clothing on. No stakes. Neither man is prepared when that spark ignites, and Tom is absolutely unprepared to discover the sweet man behind those dominating looks.

Cinnamon Roll is a stand-alone novel in the Bold Brew shared universe, centered around an inclusive coffee shop in a fictional small city. Each steaming hot coffee shop romance can be enjoyed alone, but collect all ten for the most fun!

This twist on a second-chance romance is 90,000-word cup of steaming hot scenes, a dusting of angst, plenty of fluff, and a guaranteed happy ending!


4 stars icon contemporary icon hockey categories_m_m romance icon

Content warnings: View Spoiler »

While I’ve read a few of the other books in this series, I’m not quite caught up, but I’m skipping ahead to this one because I’ve loved the author’s previous work. And look! There’s hockey, ice skating, lots of good food, and a very sweet cinnamon roll Dom.

Tom seems to attract all the wrong guys – Doms who don’t treat him right, who equate submission with humiliation. In frustration, he posts an ad at Bold Brew looking for a new Dom, but even with screening the applicants, it’s still a bag of, well, ugh. Max has seen Tom around town, and after seeing the ad (and the applicants) orders him a cappuccino. They start chatting and find out that a lot of their kinks overlap, and, oh, it just so happens that Max is doing a demo tomorrow and his sub had to call out. It’s a perfect opportunity to figure out if there’s anything between them. But as their relationship progress and Tom realizes what he’s been missing, will he make a run for it, or will Max convince him to give them a chance?

“Aaron often teased that Tom acted as if Max was a cinnamon roll of a man, too good, too pure for Tom’s world. He was, though. Max was entirely too good. Plus, he left Tom sticky.”

Tom isn’t sure if he’s demiromantic, aromantic or that he just has really bad taste in men. After all, all the relationships he’s had before have been strictly sexual, and they’ve all been jerks. When they weren’t doing a scene, they had no interest in him. Being friends with Max is surreal to him, let alone any other sort of attachment. Max seems too good to be real – or at least too good for Tom. For his part, Max knows he’s falling in love with Tom, but worries that he’s moving too fast in their relationship. Max recognizes that Tom’s the perfect sub for him, but that he’s been badly mistreated, so he has to walk a fine line between giving Tom what he craves and demonstrating how a relationship between two adults is supposed to work. Basically, the whole book is a mixture of fluffy “this is how you relationship” mixed in with “I’m going to tie you up and whip you” sex scenes.

“An honest-to-goodness cinnamon roll.”
Max knew that meme. “Too good, too pure for this world?” Couldn’t keep the incredulousness out of his tone. He lowered his voice. “You know for a fact that I am not at all pure.”

There’s quite a lot of steamy sex scenes. A lot of it was not my cup of tea, but I think they were well done. The only thing I wish is that there was a more overt example of Tom hitting his limits and using his safe word. There’s one bit where he kind of does that, but it wasn’t quite that. I know part of it was that it was showing how perfectly matched the two of them were kink-wise, and how Tom trusted Max to push his boundaries a little, but given Tom’s past relationships, I think I would’ve liked to see him asserting himself that way. That’s not to say that the consent isn’t excellent! Max is literally a complete cinnamon roll Dom and he takes Tom’s trust very seriously. Their relationship turns into a good mix of kink and lovemaking.

And yes, Max does bake cinnamon rolls in this book. There’s a sweet backstory for why Max is so good at baking, so there’s lots of delicious bread, chocolate croissants, rolls… just lots of extremely delicious food. The hockey was a fun touch as well. I follow the author on Twitter, so I know they’re a huge Pens fan, so I got a good laugh out of Max being one as well, even though he’s French-Canadian.

Overall, this was a lot of fluffy fun, and I’m very glad to see something new from this author. I’ll definitely be going back and catching up with the series.

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