Sunday, November 4, 2018

Review & Giveaway: Drop Dead Ornaments by Lois Winston

Drop Dead Ornaments (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Book 7)
by Lois Winston
Release Date: October 22nd 2018
2018 Self published
Kindle Edition; 209 Pages
ISBN: 978-1940795447
Genre: Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Source: Review copy from Great Escapes Book Tours

3.5 / 5 Stars

Anastasia Pollack’s son Alex is dating Sophie Lambert, the new kid in town. For their community service project, the high school seniors have chosen to raise money for the county food bank. Anastasia taps her craft industry contacts to donate materials for the students to make Christmas ornaments they’ll sell at the town’s annual Holiday Crafts Fair.

At the fair Anastasia meets Sophie’s father, Shane Lambert, who strikes her as a man with secrets. She also notices a woman eavesdropping on their conversation. Later that evening when the woman turns up dead, Sophie’s father is arrested for her murder.

Alex and Sophie beg Anastasia to find the real killer, but Anastasia has had her fill of dead bodies. She’s also not convinced of Shane’s innocence. Besides, she’s promised younger son Nick she’ll stop risking her life. But how can she say no to Alex? 

My Thoughts
Drop Dead Ornaments is the seventh book in the Anastasia Pollack Mystery Series and while it was a fun read, and I enjoyed it, I don't actually think it was the strongest book in the series.  This one pretty much picks up after the last book as Anastasia heads home from the hospital after her encounter with Virginia Owens and finds a bunch of teenagers in her house decorating tree ornaments.  Anastasia's son is dating Sophie, one of the teens creating ornaments for charity, which is how Anastasia and company meet the central figures involved in this book and the events that occur. Sophie's dad is the one who is arrested for murder and Anastasia wanted to help her son and his new girlfriend so she quietly started investigating despite wanting to stay uninvolved.  While I wasn't crazy about the mystery itself, I do have to agree with Anastasia's reasons for getting involved as I would have felt the same way if it was my son and his girlfriend.

The book is a light-hearted cozy mystery with lots of energy and definitely lots of action and interaction between characters.  Because I have read all the previous books, I was familiar with the backstories, but I am not sure if a reader should actually start with this one as you might be missing quite a bit of the back stories.  The author does a great job of filling you in on Anastasia's current situation and highlighting some of what is going on in her life, but there is important stuff missing.  Anastasia was still struggling with commitment issues, and her sons were finally dealing with their anger issues towards their dad, but if you haven't read the previous books, the full reasons for all of that might not be fully clear.  It also makes it difficult to fully appreciate how far Anastasia has come since the first book and her relationship with Zack is one of the things I enjoy reading about in this series.  I love her inner demons about whether Zack is really a spy or not, and now I am starting to wonder myself.  There is a secret part of me that hopes he is and his story line will make an appearance in future books.  And I am still not crazy about her mother-in-law and would love to see her gone from the books, but in a spectacular way.  I don't even find her character interesting, to say the least.  Ira though, is interesting, and I wonder what the author has in store for him.

In this book we sort of have two mysteries, both of which are rather weak in my opinion, but there you have it.  There is the murder that involved Shane, Sophie's father, and while I understood Sophie's anger, I was not impressed with her behaviour as she sounded like a brat, even after the murder was sort of, kind of, solved.  To be honest, there really wasn't a whole lot of investigating around the murder, and I was somewhat disappointed at how everything turned out, and the result was not really satisfying.  I like my mystery stories to have a bit more meat to them and this one just...didn't.  The other mystery involved Lucille, the mother-in-law, and her disappearance.  Not really interesting in my book.  And I'm not sure how it fit into the story.  Luckily, the engaging characters and the witty dialogue saved the book.  I enjoyed their antics, even if I wasn't crazy about the mystery story line and was looking for more, and I have always enjoyed their interactions. The pacing of the book was quick and I do have to admit the author went out of her way to try to have some twists and turns to engage the reader.  

Drop Dead Ornaments had its usual cast of engaging characters and lively dialogue as well as some interesting moments, but for me, the mystery portion of the book was lacking.  I like it when there is a more active investigation and while I liked the repartee between Anastasia and the cops, there really wasn't much of a mystery with which to work, and it was kind of pushing the edge of believability when Shane didn't even recognize the person who died because they had changed that much.  I am willing to push the boundaries, but only so much.  However, that being said, I loved the other books a lot so I do highly recommend you give this series a try, and even if this book wasn't the strongest book in it, it was still a fun read.  


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  1. Thank you for featuring Drop Dead Ornaments on your blog today.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, even though it didn't knock your socks off.
    sherry @ fundinmental