Back to Bluebird Basin: Lips Like Sugar by Jess K. Hardy

A mountain town romance with a romantic ex-rocker and pragmatic(ish) baker, plus legit GenX vibes

Loved Lips Like Sugar! It was so nice seeing characters in their 40s and 50s finding love–people aren’t completely washed up and devoid of feelings and heat at that age.

Other than a few moments, the characters were so likeable and super relatable. Mira has a lot on her plate with owning a bakery (yes, a little bit stereotypical but whatever) that’s just scraping by, parenting her moody 14-year-old son, and worrying about her mom, who’s in the early stages of cognitive decline.

Mira’s a disheveled mess when her ex walks into the bakery with his new wife and tries to play nice. That’s when drummer and famous rocker Cole comes onto the scene, and Mira takes him by surprise by pretending he’s her boyfriend. In town for his friend’s (Book 1’s Madigan) wedding, the scene ends with Cole as Mira’s fake date. But the feelings are real. Only there’s no way she’s ever leaving the small town and her family, and his whole life–including his daughter, granddaughter, and career–is in Seattle.

The moments between them are touching, lovely, and real. You can feel the chemistry and love between them from the beginning; how they’re different and uniquely drawn to each other. Cole’s a romantic and emotional soul, and knows right away he’s falling for Mira. Even though he’s been hurt before, he goes for it. Mira decides in advance that it could never work, and that everyone always leaves her so she doesn’t allow them to get close. But despite that, closer they get. Yet still some walls.

The side characters and issues they’re dealing with are real and relatable too–parents who need care and help, loved ones slipping away, recovery from addiction, being a bi teenager in a small town.

I would give this a 5 if not for the annoying third-act breakup.

Rating: 4.5
Steam: Low to Medium
Themes and Tropes: Gen X, Opposites Attract, Small Town, Addiction/Recovery, Long Distance Love
Pair With: Recovery is a major theme, so consider non-alcoholic wines or other drinks. 

For more reviews, please check out our Reviews page!