Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review & Giveaway: Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss

Pressed to Death (A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery #2)
by Kirsten Weiss
Release Date: March 8th 2017
2017 Midnight Ink
Kindle Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-0738750316
Genre: Fiction / Cozy / Paranormal
Source: Review copy from Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours

3.5 / 5 Stars

Paranormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski thinks she has the perfect paranormal exhibit for the harvest festival—a haunted grape press. But before she can open the exhibit, she’s accused of stealing the antique press. And when her accuser is found murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie.

Solving the crime is the last thing on Maddie’s mind, but her mother insists she investigate. Does her mother have a secret agenda? And why has the local charity, Ladies Aid, seemingly gone gangster?

In this light, cozy mystery, haunted houses, runaway wine barrels, and murder combine in a perfect storm of chaos. Facing down danger and her own over-active imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum.

My Thoughts
Pressed to Death is the second book in the A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery series and while I don't think it quite lived up to the first book, it was still fun and interesting to read, with a host of quirky characters, and some situations that I thought were rather funny and delightful.  I did think the start of this book was somewhat slow, and even when the 'mystery' did occur, I found myself having difficulty getting invested into it. And once certain characters made an appearance, it was pretty easy to figure out who did what.
The paranormal museum scenes are always my favourite parts of the book, and this one was no different.  I have a particular fondness for GD and wish he was more utilized in the scenes; I actually can't wait for the day when he pounces on Laurel and, sorry for the pun, a real cat fight ensues. It will be bliss!! I do think however, the really subtle hints of paranormal activity work very well for this series as the reader is left continuously guessing as to whether it is haunted or not, without the author giving away too much detail. And in this case, we have the addition of a supposedly haunted grape press which is scaring people and causing them to faint, setting Maddie up for some interesting research into its background and what actually happened.  These scenes are definitely interesting and I enjoyed them quite a bit.

And while I did find the characters to be interesting and just as quirky, I thought the author didn't really spend any time developing them or making them even more interesting.  Which meant the actual mystery also took a back seat to Maddie's day-to-day problems, something I wasn't overly happy over.  Why can't a character just find someone and be happy and content?  I was quite happy with Maddie's relationship as it was different than so many of the cozy mysteries, and Mason was so intriguing on his own, all dark and mysterious, but as Maddie's hand touched someone else's hand, zap went the electricity, so it wasn't too hard to figure out where that would be heading at some point, and this is why I'm disappointed, because it's the cliched relationship of so many other cozy mystery series.  Does every heroine have to fall for a police officer?  I thought the whole relationship issue was a bit much and it seemed totally out of character for Mason and for Maddie.  

The mystery itself was actually okay, but I never felt like there was a big process to her investigations as she just talked to a couple of people, and some of them wouldn't even talk to her because of some silly bet half the town was involved in, and suddenly she knew who it was.  I'm not really crazy about how the police are portrayed in this book though, as they are made to seem stupid and incompetent, especially Laurel, and some of the stuff she does is just downright silly.  

Pressed to Death was, despite everything, a fun read, and I did enjoy it.  There was a lot going on, and while that didn't bother me too much, it just felt like the author was coming up with ways to change ideas and concepts throughout the book, hoping the reader wouldn't notice the change in direction and the confusion, and that does make things frustrating as readers will only accept coincidences and put-offs for so long.  I was definitely not a fan of Laurel and would happily see her gone in the next book, and I thought Maddie's mother's secretive behaviour was rather silly.  I loved the cat and the other subtle paranormal aspects, so I wish the grape press had a more central role and that Maddie had done more of the research herself, and would love to see GD and other characters play more of a central role in the next book.  And the Ouija boards, so cool, any of those for sale? And an interesting prospect for the next book?

Author Information

Kirsten Weiss grew up in San Mateo, California. After getting her MBA, she joined the Peace Corps,
starting an international career that took her around the fringes of the defunct USSR and into the Afghan war zone. Her experiences abroad not only gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

She writes paranormal mystery and suspense, blending her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of magic and mayhem.

Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn't like, and her guilty pleasures are watching ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking good wine.

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  1. Thank you for taking the time to review the book!

  2. I'm really interested in this book! I look forward to reading it.

  3. I really enjoyed the description of the book and and I'm looking forward to reading the book. Like the paranormal aspect and the wine country setting. Can't wait to read.

  4. If you're interested, take a look at the first book in the series as well, The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum. I really enjoyed that one as well.