Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C.Beaton

Completed 1/18/14
Synopsis:  Unlike quite a number of people, Agatha had not given up on Christmas. To have the perfect Christmas had been a childhood dream whilst surviving a rough upbringing in a Birmingham slum. Holly berries glistened, snow fell gently outside, and inside, all was Dickensian jollity. And in her dreams, ex-husband James Lacey kissed her under the mistletoe, and, like a middle-aged sleeping beauty, she would awake to passion once more
This year she is sure that if she invites James to a really splendid, old-fashioned Christmas dinner, their love will rekindle like a warm Yule log.

In the meantime, when a wealthy widow hires Agatha because she is convinced a member of her family is trying to kill her, Agatha is intrigued---especially when the widow drops dead after high tea at the manor house. Who in this rather sterile house, complete with fake family portraits, could have hated the old lady enough to poison her?
Agatha sets out to find the murderer, all the while managing a pretty, teenage trainee who makes her feel old.

My review:  Agatha Raisin can be a bit sharp tongued, opinionated, pushy and whiney all at the same time.  Her heart is in the right place when she hires Toni, a teenager running away from abuse. 
Yet, while she manages to love and care for Toni, she whines about how inadequate, frumpy and old Toni makes her feel and she worries that Toni will steal her friends away.

I liked Toni and hope she stays around.  There were plenty of characters to keep the book moving fast and the story interesting.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Body in the Piazza - Katherine Hall Page

Completed 1/12/14 -
Faith Fairchild and her husband are celebrating a big anniversary with a trip to Italy, filled with exquisite indulgences—the art, the Chianti, the food, the Ferragamos! After a weekend in Rome, they travel to Tuscany, where Faith's former assistant Francesca has opened a cooking school. 

But, along with pecorino, panna cotta, and prosecco, it looks like murder and mayhem are also on the menu! On their fist night in the Eternal City, the Fairchilds stumble upon a dying man in the Piazza Farnese.  Mysterious characters from Rome resurface in Tuscany. And somebody is intent on sabotaging Francesca's new business. It's up to Faith to put everything right—and still whip up a mean Spaghetti a la Foriana, of course!

My review:
This is a fun foodie book with a little mystery on the side. Plenty of Italian food to drool over and the talk about Tuscany towns and scenery made me want to go back again.  

There were pieces that could have been played into more but the story line moved on to something else.
It almost felt like there was more to the story but things were cut out in editing.
Too bad, it's a cute, fast little mystery with a fun romp through Tuscany.
It's worth ready, just for fun.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

Completed 1/4/14 ---  17286781 Synopsis:
The wedding is planned for Christmas eve. Eloise (wezzie) is having her mother, Marion Foley help her with the dress. redoing one that was her grandmothers.
Daniel, the groom, goes to work for a New York restaurant. he's a guest chef, design a menu and run the kitchen for a month. Wezzie had no idea the owner of the place is not a fat old lady and the photo she sees on the bulletin board of the sexy owner and her fiancee throws her off guard.
Wezzie travels around town to set up the food, flowers,  and the wedding.
It was only to be a small family gathering but the others make it sound like a major extravaganza. Weezie goes to yard and estate sales and her concept of buy and sell with a profit is spot on.  Then a week before the wedding she takes off to New York to surprise her fiancee.

In alternating chapters Beebe has her own story-she is 8 months pregnant, and runs a beach motel on Tybee Island with her live in boyfriend who is also the baby daddy. An old woman visits her to discuss her divorce from Richard who then went to jail 6 years earlier.

My thoughts:
This is the 4th book in this series with Bebe Loudermilk and Weezy Foley. I enjoy the 2 friends together and all their misadventures, but this last book had too much starry eyed - bride to be romance for me. I still highly recommend reading it, I felt Weezy was made to look too innocent in the light of her upcoming wedding. Read the book, I'll be interested in seeing how others feel about that.

Back to the misadventures... Christmas Bliss has it's fair share of fun, but could this be the last in the series if Weezy is getting married and Bebe is having a baby?