12 February 2009

Recent reads

This is the fourth book in the Bewitching Mystery series. Protagonist Maggie O'Neill has been drafted to help out her sister Mel, who is expecting her third child and has been put on strict bed rest by her physician. They've never been the best of friends, but suddenly Maggie finds her younger sister depending on her to help discover the origin of the weird occurrences in Mel's home. A quick, enjoyable read.

This is the first book in the Domestic Diva series. Sophie Winston is an event planner, recently divorced from Max, who is now engaged to Natasha Smith. Not only is Natasha an old high school rival of Sophie's, she's also a current business rival. As the story opens, Sophie's life is hectic: her parents, sister and fiance are visiting for Thanksgiving. Sophie is also preparing for a cooking contest (one of the competitors for which is Natasha), dealing with eccentric neighbors and a new kitten that's been foisted upon her by a PI who ended up dead behind a grocery store.
I'm always awed by people who can cope with houseguests, a job, neighbors constantly dropping by, and dead bodies turning up everywhere not only with a certain degree of calm, but managing to feed everyone and make a centerpiece for the table at the same time. Although Sophie complains about all the stuff going on and how much her mother expects from her, she manages to do all this with aplomb. Despite making me feel inadequate, this is a fun read. There are little hints at the beginning of each chapter; outrageous ones (setting jars of votive candles on the staircase) by Natasha and more practical ones by Sophie (how to serve leftover turkey without drying it out), who somehow manages to be a sympathetic character despite being incredibly capable.

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