Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Review: The Chocolate Bridal Bash by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #6)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Wonderfully twisty plot
Cons: Lee's tongue tangles
The Bottom Line:
Could not stop reading
Tongue tangles are overused
But great overall

Lee Digs Up a Past Murder

The Chocolate Bridal Bash is the sixth entry in the Chocoholic Series. This mystery series is about Lee McKinney, an account who keeps the books for her aunt's gourmet chocolate shop in the fictional resort town of Warner Pier, Michigan. Through the books, she made many friends in town, including Joe Woodyard. The two are now engaged and just trying to plan their wedding.

As this book opens, the two of them have finally set a date. The only problem is getting Lee's mother, Sally, to come. Sally left town right after high school and has barely been back for family funerals. While trying to understand why her mother doesn't want to come, Lee unearths a family secret. Her mother originally left Warner Pier on what would have been her wedding day.

This is a chapter in her mother's life that Lee knew nothing about. Further investigating turns up that Sally's finacee was found dead in his car on their wedding day. His death was ruled a suicide.

Despite warnings that what happened is in the past and she should leave it alone, Lee's curiosity gets the better of her. She begins to spend time digging in the old newspapers, trying to make sense of events that took place before she was even born. Then Lee and Joe stumble over a very new dead body. Whatever was happening thirty plus years ago, someone still wants it to stay buried. But just what happened on that fateful night? Will Sally be in danger if she comes to the wedding?

This book is easily my favorite in the series. The action starts quickly and the pace never lags. I can often figure out the ending early in this series, but this one had me going until the very end. While I did put the pieces together a little before Lee, it was only by a few pages. And I had the advantage of knowing I was running out of pages.

With the focus on the past, many of the series regulars from previous books are reduced to cameos. I missed them, but giving the recurring characters more page time would have just slowed down the story, something I am glad didn't happen. The cast of new characters is engaging, and they more then made up for the reduced roll the regulars had.

Add to these a very readable writing style. The writing flows fast, and I flew through the book in a matter of days.

About the only problem with the book is Lee's tongue tangles. When Lee gets nervous, she has a tendency to mix up her words, usually with comic effect. While they had been diminishing in the last few installments, here they are back in force. While a few sprinkled throughout the book make me chuckle, here there were so many of them that it began to get annoying.

The books feature "Chocolate Chats" which in the past have included interesting chocolate trivia. Obviously, the author has run out of ideas, but here she includes stories about chocolate from her own life. Also, the first recipe in the series appears in one of them. While these chats aren't bad, I wouldn't mind if they disappeared in the next book.

I couldn't put The Chocolate Bridal Bash down but raced through it to see how the story ended. Any fan of the series will love the latest tasty treat.

You'll get the most from the book if you read the Chocoholic Mysteries in order.

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