The Fourth of July means cookouts and celebrations. While selling cheesecake tortes at the fireworks–despite the fact that Holly’s nemesis, Millicent Monroe, steals the show with over-the-top gimmicks–Holly rescues a napping lady from the fireworks. Except Agatha Poppleton wasn’t napping–she’s dead. With the help of her friends, and her dog, Muffins, Holly sneaks in some sweet revenge while chasing down clues. She realizes it might have been a mistake to hide her plans from the handsome Officer Trinket when she comes face to face with the killer. (Goodreads)
Judging from the rave reviews on Goodreads, I obviously belong to the minority here, but this second installment of the series fell flat for me.
The writing is strong and solid, and the characters are vibrant with their character arcs being as strong as the previous book. In particular, the rivalry between Holly and Millicent is literally jumping out of the pages and boiled my bones with indignation. I hate Millicent with a burning passion. Despite that, when it comes down to the mystery, I found it a bit lacking this time; a bit weaker and disorganized as far as I’m concerned.
I mean, I felt there were just too many side plots and incidents happening, which is normally okay with me as long as they are done in an organized way, but it felt a bit too much at the time when I was reading it. Bits of romance there, the rivalry between Millicent there, and lastly, Charlene’s mysterious grumpiness, which Holly attributes to Charlene’s missing male companion. The last item on the list kind of bothered me a bit. It came across a bit contrived and unconvincing, I just didn’t get why Holly nails Charlene’s sulkiness down to the absence of a love interest of all things??
Another gripe that I had with this book was actually Holly, the heroine herself.
She is feisty and stubborn. I liked that about her in the previous book, showing gumption to fight back whatever that stands in her way.
But in this installment, I think her stubborness and obstinacy for solving the case weren’t grounded well enough compared to Book one. It felt like she is being stubborn for the sake of the story, it doesn’t necessary have to be HER who solves the mystery, she could have let the police do the job all right.
The romance between Trent was not as enticing and heart-tingling as I would have liked, in a nutshell, almost everything about this book somewhat fell flat for me except for the redeeming ending that depicts the reconcilliation with her competitor, Pierre. That was actually my favorite scene.
Long story short, this is a fast, fun read; not bad really, but not that great.
Although it didn’t work for me as much, given the majority of the readers of this book liked this book, fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy this, I assume!
My Rating: ★★★