Title: How (Not) to Kiss a Toad (Cindy Eller Book One)
Author: Elizabeth A. Reeves
Pages: 315 pp
Price: free to $2.99
The Hook: Cindy Eller has a problem. Every man she has every kissed, starting with her high school prom date, has turned into a toad. Eventually they return to normal, but this has obviously put a damper on her love life. The only place she feels like a success, like her magic is of any use at all, is in the kitchen. She is a genius with cakes and cupcakes and tarts and other goodies, her magic providing just a little bit extra oomph to the recipe. Unfortunately, the Council has caught wind of her out of control magic. If she can’t learn to properly harness her powers within thirty days, they will take her magic away. Forever.
The Analysis: The first book in the Cindy Eller series is a light, fun, breezy read. Cindy is a wonderfully likable heroine: I could totally sympathize with her desire for normalcy, her frustrated relationship with her mother, her quest for a satisfying career. And I admired her deep friendship with her two roommates, and her cautious optimism that she would recognize The One because he would not turn into a toad.
My only complaint centers around the world-building. When we first meet Cindy, she is openly discussing her magic with the reader (as it were) and then performs a spell in front of one of her roommates. As such, I assumed that this was an openly-magical society. Actually, it is not. Supernatural creatures (witches, werewolves, et cetera) hide right out in the open, but operate under a strict set of rules which keep “ordinaries” ignorant of their existence. Once I figured that out and reoriented myself, I settled back down again to enjoy the story.
The Verdict: A quick, fun read, filled with the yummiest cupcakes ever. I need to track down some recipes, or try my hand at crafting my own based on the descriptions. Really, I got hungry reading this book.