"Books Fall Open, You Fall In"
I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars
I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Ponderosa Pines was once the safest place on earth. But then Stacey Hawthorne, an attorney on her way to the little town for reasons unknown, is brutally attacked leaving EV and Chloe to launch into a new investigation. One that may expose secrets of several residents and haunt the whole town.
First off, I would not recommend this as a stand-alone. Not to say you can’t read it as one if you choose, but you will get lost initially because there isn’t much backstory into who everyone is. That didn’t detract from the mystery however, so if it doesn’t bother you to not know much about the recurring characters, you will still be able to enjoy the story.
With that said, I did not read the other books in the series. Because of that, I felt like I was the odd man out at a party where everyone knows each other and you are the new girl. I think that may be why I was put off by the two main female characters, Chloe and EV. They came off as nosy to me. I mean really nosy. More so than some of the other cozies I’ve read. Perhaps if I knew more about them it wouldn’t seem that way, but that’s what happens sometimes when you don’t read a series in order. Not my intention. I didn’t realize that this was the fourth book. Not a big deal really as I was able to get an idea of who everyone was eventually. There is one thing that did bother me though that I do have to get off my chest. It was the way they placed a bet with their significant others, who are actually law enforcement, to see who could solve the case first. It just seemed very unprofessional and cold hearted. But it’s a work of fiction, so I can get passed that.
The town, Ponderosa Pines, is small and seems quaint and charming. The residents seem to be one big family. That is until you realize that the most popular publication is a gossip column. One that seems to divulge a lot about the lives of the people who live there. That kind of throws the cuteness of it out the window for me. Plus, it’s even stated that you can’t have secrets there. If you are new to town, the residents will do whatever they can to dig up everything they can find out about you and won’t rest until they do. That just seemed super creepy to me and made the little town lose some of its appeal. Of course I’ve only lived in big cities so maybe I’m reading too much into it.
Anyway, before everyone thinks I hated the book, let me just say I didn’t. I enjoyed it. It was very well written and the descriptions of the characters and the town really brought the whole thing to life. Aside from the nosiness, I actually liked Chloe and EV. They worked well together and were believable. The rest of the townsfolk were quirky and entertaining and I enjoyed the humor that was sprinkled within the pages. I also loved the sound of Ponderosa Pines. Just the name alone is cute and cozy and the description brought that out. The little bit of romance that was thrown into the tale didn’t weigh it down like some others I have read and the mystery was intriguing with enough twists to keep the reader interested. The story actually started off somewhat dark, making you think that perhaps this wasn’t a cozy after all, then it gradually lightened up a bit and ends up fitting nicely into its genre. I do plan on getting the first three books in this series and will eventually read them as I did like the writing style of the authors. I also think by doing that, it will explain the characters better and maybe the town’s residents won’t seem so invasive to me.
Total pages: 166, Kindle edition
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