I am a fan of books by authors like Sarah Addison Allen, so when this series has decided to plant itself firmly in magical realism territory, I am there. Ella Mae's Charmed Pie Shoppe continues to do brisk business. After meeting a soon to be married young couple on a budget, she agrees to make some desserts for their wedding. The murders in this story dovetail into the larger picture of Ella Mae's awakening to her powers and how it turns out there are many surprise members of her kind in Havenwood.
I wasn't sure this would live up to how much I enjoyed Larkin's first book, Stay. Once I suspended some disbelief, I was immersed in Jenny Shaw's world, both real and imagined. From the pop culture references to all the friends believable compatibility, I was drawn into the story and wanted to know what happened to everyone.
Cat is dragged to spend the summer in London while her (s)mother researches a little known Regency era woman. The woman has a daughter with a diary, which her mom thinks Cat would benefit by reading. The back and forth between the two times, and similarities between them, grew more interesting as the story went on.
Maggie Hope's training with the Special Operation Executive organization has finally paid off, and she has been picked for a mission overseas. Being dropped into Germany to deliver radio crystals and plant a bug in the office of a high ranking Nazi, who also happens to be her mother. While in Berlin, many storylines mesh together, including those of nurses at a hospital that is participating in a children's extermination program, a mixed marriage, hidden Jews and the like. There is a lot going on in the story and while it's not my favorite of the three so far, I am looking forward to continuing Maggie's adventures.
Violet Epps has lost a sister and brother-in-law in an accident and is battling for custody of her niece with the paternal grandparents. Violet, a movie reviewer, can write up a storm, but in person, is such the introvert that she can barely summon the words for most occasions. After a luncheon at the Algonquin, she finds herself in possession of one of their historical guest books, and suddenly, the spirit of Dorothy Parker (and all her whimsical quips) are present for Violet's use. They both have agendas, but Dorothy, of course, is more dependent upon Violet and needing her to leave the guest book open as a doorway between two worlds. The idea that Violet was such an introvert and named Violet (as in shrinking) of all things really intruded on part of my enjoyement of the story. But, Meister kind of handled that by naming the deceased sister Ivy, so it's was obviously some kind of floral family thing.
Staying close to home in this mystery. Walt has a 'find' to delve into at the junkyard, made all the more mysterious by an incoming housing development's bad feelings about the Municipal Solid Waste Facility (what Geo Stewart would prefer the junkyard be known as). Walt's whole office, his best friend Henry, Ruby's granddaughter at the hospital--all the characters play such important roles, even if they are small roles in this particular tale. I didn't realize when I started this series how much this contemporary western series would capture my mind. There is truly something for everyone with the richly drawn characters and solid sleuthing.
Lazebnik takes on another re-telling of sorts of a Jane Austen novel. I had to read the blurb about Mansfield Park, the only one I don't think I've read. Franny Pearson gets the opportunity to spend the summer working with her aunt at a theater arts program on a college campus in Oregon. Abbreviated Shakespeare plays abound and right away, Franny meets a couple of kids from her own hometown, (including her first crush) as well as the handsome Harry Cartwright from Los Angeles. Aiming at the older teen market, this summer camp, even with separate dorms and lights out rules,shows there is plenty of opportunity for hook ups, longing glances and swift changes of heart. Franny, even with some indecisiveness, was a good character and seemed to eventually learn her own way.
I enjoyed this long awaited read, but boy, was it long and I felt it ended a bit abruptly after all the meandering between Indian spirit stories. At times, I thought they were almost intrusive to the flow of the story, albeit, interesting. In particular, the Windigo plays an important role as it is a portent of death, and Krueger seems to be pulling from Ojibwe stories, which is indicative of the setting of the novel. Cork O'Connor is the ex-sheriff of Aurora, MN. When a judge is found dead of an apparent suicide and a young boy is missing, Cork takes it upon himself to poke around crime scenes and questions witnesses. I half expected current sheriff Wally Schanno to deputize Cork, but that never happened. The boy's disappearance takes a back seat to the political machinations of this small town and its' nearby (and new) Indian Casino. I'm not quite sure if I've found Minnesota's answer to Walt Longmire, but with a dozen or so more already written, I'm sure I'll pick up another one eventually.
Maggie (short for Margaret, thereby having lots of options for aliases) has grown up in a world of spies. Finally, a job in New York City will feature her skills as a teen, getting friendly with the son of a man who may spell the end of their secret group, the Collective. Going to high school, of course, turns out to be harder than she thinks. The boy in question is hot, the first friend she makes is a former mean girl, dethroned by gossip and bad decision making. Fans of the Gallagher Girl series will get a kick out of Maggie's life and the escapades that ensue as the real bad guy emerges.
I enjoyed this story more than the first title in this slightly paranormal trilogy by Nora Roberts. Avery and Owen's long history seemed to help speed the story along, plus the Inn is in its' final stages.