Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What I Read in February 2015 Part II

What I Read in February 2015 Part II . . .

The Secret Admirer by Annette Mahon-- Contemporary romance
The Secret Admirer

Emma Lindsay is a hopeless romantic, dreaming of her fairy tale happily ever after. It's all she has to keep her from growing bored in the small Hawaiian town where she grew up. Emma moved back home after the death of her father and though she doesn't regret it, she does find the lack of available men a downside. Emma's neighbor and best friend Matt Correa also moved back home after the deaths of his parents and since then he and Emma have had an easy friendship but lately Matt has had feelings that are decidedly NOT platonic. How can he show Emma they're perfect for each other when she put him firmly in the friend zone? When Emma receives gifts from a secret admirer, she's thrilled. The whole town is gossiping about the identity of her secret admirer and everyone guesses Matt except Emma. Will she ever figure it out?

This is a very bland, almost squeaky clean love story. I really liked Matt. He's smart, caring, kind and a loyal friend, plus he's a dog lover. He's too good for Emma. She's a little selfish and completely blind to her best friend's sterling qualities. She has a good heart but she's stuck in a fantasy world. I wasn't crazy about her. Her inability to see what was right under her nose made her less likable.

The plot moves quickly towards the inevitable conclusion. The characters ogle each other a bit and try not to imagine each other in bed but otherwise the novel is super clean. There's not much else in the novel besides the love story. It's dated enough to be historical fiction though it's supposed to be contemporary. (Emma waits by the phone for her secret admirer to call). I found all the Hawaiian references a bit too much. I have no idea who any of the pop culture references are about, nor do I know what certain flowers look like or where their town is located. I don't even know what a mumu is and what's an aloha shirt? Clearly I need an illustrated glossary to go with this book.

Some Enchanted Éclair (A Magical Bakery Mystery, #4)
Some Enchanted Eclair by Bailey Cates-- Contemporary fiction/paranormal mystery

Katie Lightfoot is back for another mystery. She's still conflicted about being a white witch and what that means but when she tries to contact Detective Taite for some answers, she comes up short. When a Hollywod production assistant turns up at the bakery needing a catered lunch for the movie cast and crew currently shooting blocks away, Lucy and Katie see a good business opportunity, even if they are short staffed. When Katie arrives with the lunch, her boyfriend Declan and Uncle Ben (working security) greet her warmly but a scream from the leading lady changes everything. Katie once again stumbles upon a dead body. This time the victim is known. He was Simon Knapp, the PA who hired the Honeybee. A psychic tells Katie she was meant to bring the murderer to justice and her magical senses tell her the psychic is correct. Detective Peter Quinn is fine with her snooping around this time but it's the last thing she wants to do. There seems to be a simple solution: hold a seance and contact Simon to find out who killed him. Of course nothing is ever simple when it comes to Katie's life. There are more magical surprises in store and lots of clues to uncover before she can solve the mystery.

I liked this installment in the series but I felt there was a bit too much unnecessary descriptive detail. The identity of the murderer was glaringly obvious and the motive was a bit obvious but it wasn't until Katie meets Patti and Iris that it all falls into place. I found the ending kind of anti-climatic. The following chapter must set up for a future book but I felt it didn't belong. Katie's relationship drama has finally been resolved and I still feel she chose the wrong man. At least I did until a huge surprise is revealed and the perfectly neat ending resolves any lingering doubt. Still, the story kept me reading well past my usual late late cut off so I skimmed ahead to see what happened.

I liked Katie more in this book than any other because she's sensible this time. She doesn't want to get involved but people are relying on her. She stays safe and doesn't do anything stupid. I think Katie is a poor pet owner though. Cairns have a lot of energy and they need to run around but they can't go on a run with a human. Their legs are too short to go at that pace. I know Mungo isn't a real dog in more ways than one, but she should treat him better. I also cringed every time the costumes for the movie were mentioned. The author, or the film costume department, knows nothing about Revolutionary War fashions. Bustles and crinolines are Victorian not colonial and to really look the part, the lady needs a good pair of stays under her dress and over her shift. It's not all that relevant to the story but the author's attention to detail about the magical stuff bores me and it bothered me that she didn't give the same attention to the details of movie costumes and Cairn Terriers.

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