I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
The first two books in this series were bad. I thought they actually really sucked. So why, oh why, did I buy the third one you may be asking? Because Josie Belle is a pseudonym for Jenn McKinlay, she of the very entertaining Cupcake Shop series, the even better Library Lovers series, and the spectacular debut this year of the Hat Shop Series. Before Josie Belle I'd have said this woman couldn't write a bad book if she tried. Really really tried.
The MC in the first two books was completely immature and unlikeable on a level that left the whole concept completely unbelievable. Far more tolerant reader-friends found this series' MC to be more than a little unreadable with her silly temper tantrums and inability to think rationally. They gave up after book 2. But, it's Jenn McKinlay! I can't just write the whole thing off! I had to give it one more chance - a three strikes kind of deal.
So, Buried in Bargains, the make-it or break-it book. It's a good news/bad news kind of deal. The good news? Maggie grew up! No stupid, ridiculous, immature, irrational temper tantrums. If this was the first book in the series you'd read, you'd find the MC to be friendly, responsible, well-adjusted and rational. Quite pleasant, really. Her friends have always been likeable and they still are here. Maggie's daughter is lovely. Maggie also stops acting like an idiot around Sam. These characters are MUCH more what one would expect from Jenn McKinlay.
The bad news? Plot holes galore. Most of which I can't actually point out without spoilers, so into the spoiler tags they go. First:
So, the bad news, if you didn't read the spoilers, is that there's at least one plot hole and I thought the killer was screamingly obvious. BUT, not everyone might see the same things I do the same way, and if you like the characters, this book is worth reading.
The bad news for me is that I now have no clear idea if I should read the fourth one or not. I really expected to be donating these three to the library and washing my hands of the series after this book. The improvement in this book has left me wondering... do I stay or do I go?