Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Reviews - Boar Island and Dying for Devil's Food

I am working to catch up on my reviews. For these two books, they are the latest in the series by Nevada Barr and Jenn McKinlay. Barr's books are more gruesome and set in national parks throughout the US. McKinlay has several series going that I have read and enjoyed and they are all cozy mysteries. I highly recommend both authors! Slight corection - the newest in the Cupcake Bakery series was released yesterday so now I have to read that to catch up again!

Boar Island (Anna Pigeon, #19)Boar Island by Nevada Barr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boar Island is the latest in the Anna Pigeon series. It includes characters from the previous books which is somewhat new for Barr as the only real character from book to book is Anna and Paul, her husband.

Paraplegic Heath has discovered that her daughter Elizabeth is being cyber bullied. She enlists the help of her aunt Gwen and Anna. Heath decides that they should follow Anna to her temp duty as Chief Ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine for the summer and off they go. But the cyber bullying continues and then the threats seem to be happening in real life. Also, Anna seems to have been brought in just before a murder.

As the reader, we are aware of the murder and why it happens through the eyes of the murderer. We do mostly follow Anna around as she investigates, but we also have a view of Heath as she tries to guide Elizabeth through the summer and try to protect her as best she can.

I really enjoy this series and I hope that it continues. I like that Anna is a strong female protagonist who is not without her flaws. I enjoy the settings and learning about the national parks. Also, I have been listening to the audiobooks and the narrator is fantastic with the excitement and pace that she keeps in her reading.

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Melanie and Angie's 15th high school reunion is coming up and Angie wants to show off the Fairy Tale Cupcakes business by catering the reunion. Mel is adamantly against having anything to do with the reunion. Even with her engagement to Joe back on, Mel has no desire to attend, much less cater, the reunion until she is tricked by Angie into agreeing. Mel is then dreading running into Cassidy, the epic mean girl who made it her mission in high school to pick on Mel on the daily.

The night of the reunion, Mel is feeling get but also leery about a run in with Cassidy and when it happens, Joe is there to help her hold her head high and try to brush off the ridiculousness. Until Cassidy winds up dead in the girls' room with Mel finding her body.

This is a very fun series and this installment takes on bullying, in a way. I think that many people would be able to relate to the idea of having been bullied in middle school or high school. I know that I could definitely relate to the intimidation that Mel felt and the trepidation of going to the reunion. While this is a very serious topic, I think that McKinlay brought a bit of lightheartedness to the topic to take the sting out of any personally remembered incidents from my experiences. I'm sure there were many ladies who wished she had a Joe DeLaura on her side when facing a childhood bully!

I am thoroughly enjoying the growth of the characters from the first books in the series. I'm looking forward to when Joe and Mel do end up getting married and seeing how the interaction between Mel and Angie changes once the are both married. I enjoy the predicaments the characters get into and the hijinks that McKinlay creates. This series, 11 books in, has not gotten old for me!

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