Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cooking the Books: Corinna Chapman # 6 by Kerry Greenwood

Corinna Chapman, talented baker and reluctant investigator, is trying very hard to do nothing at all on her holidays. Her gorgeous Daniel is only intermittently at her side (he's roaming the streets tracking down a multi-thousand dollar corporate theft). Jason, her baking offsider, has gone off to learn how to surf. And Kylie and Goss are fulfilling their lives' ambition auditioning for a soapie. It should be a time of quiet reflection for Corinna but quiet reflection doesn't seem to suit her - she's bored.
Scenting a whiff of danger, Corinna accepts an offer from a caterer friend to do the baking for the film set of a new soap called 'Kiss the Bride'. The soapie in which Kylie and Goss have parts. Twists and turns and complications that could only happen to Corinna ensue involving, bizarrely, nursery rhymes and a tiger called Tabitha.
While on the other side of town, a young woman is being unmercifully bullied by her corporate employers - employers who spend a lot of time cooking the books.

Poisoned Pen Press, Hardcover, 250 pages

Corinna Chapman is on holiday and looking forward to spending time with her lover, Daniel. Her assistant Jason is off surfing and her sometimes helpers have gotten bit parts in a film/soap opera called Kiss the Bride.  Corinna’s holiday is interrupted when she gets guilted into helping an old school mate do catering for the film production and Daniel gets offered a case to work on.  Lena, an overweight accountant, has lost bearer bonds that her company wanted her to register and they are threatening her job if the bonds aren’t found. Daniel agrees to take the case and tracks down one bond to a homeless man named Pockets.  In the meantime, Corinna is dealing with an interesting cast of characters (pardon the pun) on the movie set.  The film’s star is a major diva and there have been a rash of pranks directed at her. There is a serial womanizer who is making up to the baker who is working with Corinna, a handsome but vain leading man, a harassed assistant to the star, and other assorted people who could be the culprits. Soon Corinna finds herself in the middle of the drama and pulls Daniel in.  He gets asked by the diva to find her long lost son who she put up for adoption.
Corinna and Daniel are getting nowhere with Pockets and he starts them on a merry chase looking for clues that he leaves all over the city.  The clues are based on popular nursery rhymes and Daniel has little to no experience with them so Corinna finds herself involved in his case.  Added to the stress is the fact that her empty headed helpers have told Jason she has replaced him and Corinna is worried he will go back to drugs. A restful holiday it is not!
I really love this series (and the Phryne Fisher series) written by Ms. Greenwood. Corinna is an interesting character, an overweight ex- accountant who became a successful baker. She and Daniel have a wonderful relationship and they work together well.  The secondary characters always fit just right into the story and we learn a little more about them in each book.  This mystery is totally believable and even the missing baby story has a very plausible resolution with an added twist.  I enjoy the little tidbits about the culture of Australia in the books.  This book is a great addition to the series!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr

Katie Malone and her twin boys' trip along the beautiful mountain roads to Virgin River is stopped short by a tire as flat as her failed romance. To make matters worse, the rain has set in, the boys are hungry and Katie is having trouble putting on a spare. As she stands at the side of the road pondering her next move, she hears a distinct rumble. The sight of the sexy, leather-clad bikers who pull up beside her puts her imagination into overdrive.
Dylan Childress and his buddies are on the motorcycle trip of a lifetime. But the sight of a woman in distress stops them in their tracks. And while the guys are checking out her car, she and Dylan are checking out one another.
In one brief moment, the world tilts on its axis and any previous plans Katie and Dylan might have had for their futures are left at the side of the road. ( synopsis from B&

Mira, Paperback, 384 pages

Katie Malone has moved to Virgin River to be near her big brother Connor. Katie and her twin boys were forced to move from their home when Connor became the sole witness to a murder and was threatened by the killer. Katie was widowed when her husband was killed overseas in the Army and she wants to settle down and rebuild her family life.  On her way to VR, she gets a flat on her SUV and is rescued by a group of bikers, one of whom she recognizes as a former child star she had a crush on.
Dylan Childress left Hollywood when his grandmother Adele swept in and took him to live with her. Dylan was a big TV star whose best friend had just died at the age of 15 from a drug overdose/suicide attempt. Living with his grandmother taught Dylan how to have a normal life away from his fame obsessed mother and step siblings.  Dylan owns an air transport business in Montana and is in VR for a holiday.  Neither he nor Katie want to start a relationship that will go nowhere because of their different goals in life, but they can’t keep away from each other. It seems to be a romance that is doomed to cause unhappiness and misery but who listens to their head when the attraction is so strong….
One of the things I like about Ms. Carr’s Virgin River books is the slice of life aspect they have.  As in the real world, life goes on for all of the secondary characters while the hero and heroine are going through whatever angst they are into.  The community plays a part in the story and many times is instrumental in having the couples work out their issues. Dylan and Katie found normalcy and continuity in Virgin River which made it possible for them to come together when their own insecurities would have kept them apart.  This book has a satisfying and realistic ending that fits in with the rest of the series.