chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I finished reading Haunted is Always in Fashion by Rose Pressey. It's part of her "Haunted Vintage" mystery series.

Vintage clothing shop owner Cookie Chanel is on her way to meet a woman who wants to interview her for a book she is writing on vintage fashions. Cookie is thwarted on the way by an accident, and she learns that Julianna, the woman she was to meet, was shot and killed in her car. When Julianna's ghost appears to Cookie, her "resident" ghost, Charlotte, insists that Cookie help solve the mystery of who murdered Julianna.

There is no shortage of suspects, from the odd man who comes into Cookie's shop in search of a vintage hat, to Julianna's eccentric aunt, to her sketchy boyfriend. In addition to speaking to various people who knew Julianna, Cookie also pumps her boyfriend, police officer Dylan, for information. She also gets clues from her cat, Wind Song, who uses a Ouija board to communicate. When Cookie starts getting too close to the truth, her shop is burglarized, and her own life is endangered.

For the second time, I was disappointed by a book in this series. Pressey is a prolific writer, so I don't know if her train of thought jumps the tracks, or if someone else is doing a poor job of editing, or a combination of both. Once again, it seemed as if the author forgot what she wrote earlier in the story. For instance, Julianna is amazed by Wind Song's ability to communicate...twice. As I was reading the second such surprise, I was thinking, 'Wait a minute; didn't Julianna already see the cat doing this?' I flipped back a few chapters, and yes, there was Julianna, being astounded by the cat's prowess with a Ouija board. Also, Cookie had a lunch "date" scheduled with attorney Ken, but we, the readers, never heard anything more about it. Derp. Did you forget to write about it, Ms Pressey, or did it get edited out? Baffling and frustrating. To top it off, I found Charlotte's interference annoying again. She continues to harass Cookie into going here, following that person, talking to this person, etc. She doesn't appear to realize or care that Cookie has a life to live and a business to run, never mind the danger Cookie finds herself in. And, I found it completely confounding that Cookie neither thought to tell the ghosts to follow someone or check up on them, nor that either of them thought of it themselves. It's not as if the ghosts are bound to Cookie; they can go wherever they want, yet they never do anything useful. At all.

Favorite line:"Y'all are busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger."

Not happy with this one...two stars:

**
chez_jae: (Books)
I managed to slog through to the end of Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore this evening. It's the third book in Rose Pressey's "Haunted Vintage" mystery series.

I have read the first two books in the series and enjoyed them. This one, however, featured editing that can best be described as a hot mess. I would have thought editing was non-existent, but the author thanked her editor in her notes.

The plot was that Cookie Chanel is helping out at a fashion show, because the designer wanted to use vintage accessories with her fashions. Cookie is thrilled at the opportunity, but when she goes to look for the designer after the show, she comes across her dead body. One of the models is hovering over her, and that woman is arrested for murder. However, the ghost of a 1940's era gumshoe wants Cookie to investigate the murder, and Cookie's attached, friendly ghost, Charlotte, agrees.

First of all, the writing was very juvenile. It was like reading a high school student's creative writing assignment. Not bad, but I paid for this.

Second, plot holes abounded. Cookie has a psychic cat, Wind Song, who communicates clues via either Tarot cards or a Ouija board. Wind Song spells out FASHION SHOW, using the board, but later, the characters are talking about "the house" that the cat warned about. Excuse me?! When did that happen? Makes me wonder if the author wrote it, but it was cut later.

Third, another designer was introduced as Shandra Jordan. Later, however, she was referred to as Shandra Johnson.

Fourth, Cookie's friend/neighboring shop keep Heather was seen in the morning wearing one outfit, but that afternoon, she was described as wearing something completely different (each time Cookie encountered someone, she made note of what they were wearing). Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but when I dress for work in the morning, I don't change my outfit until I get back home.

There were other problems, but those were the most obvious. I must say, reading this was a chore, rather than a joy. The ghosts, Charlotte and Sam, were constantly badgering Cookie to question this person, or follow that lead, or investigate something, to the point that I wanted to knock their spectral heads together. Their meddling got Cookie into trouble and landed her in danger. Plus, I was left wondering when the hell Cookie was ever at her shop, running her business.

Finally, the culprit was glaringly obvious, so the reveal was a yawning let down.

Favorite line: "You can't expect the cat to remember everything at once."

Disappointing. Two stars:

**
chez_jae: (Books)
Before logging on this evening, I finished reading All Dressed Up and No Place to Haunt, which is the second book in Rose Pressey's "Haunted Vintage" mystery series.

Vintage clothing shop owner Cookie Chanel scores big when she provides period costumes to a movie being filmed in her small Georgia town of Sugar Creek. While visiting the set, Cookie overhears an argument between the lead actor and actress, and she later discovers the actress floating in a nearby pond. After that, Cookie is visited by the ghost of Alice, the woman who originally owned the dress the actress was wearing. Alice wants Cookie to give a message to her first love, and she also insists on helping Cookie solve the murder. Cookie wants no part of another murder investigation, but she can't help but get roped into it.

Assisted by her other ghostly friend, Charlotte, her flesh-and-blood friend Heather, and her psychic cat, Wind Song, Cookie is soon putting puzzle pieces together. However, her involvement has garnered attention, and Cookie finds herself in danger. Will hunky Detective Dylan Valentine be in time to save her? Dun dun DUN!

Favorite line: "This is making me a nervous wreck," Charlotte said. "I can't handle this kind of stress. If I wasn't already dead it would kill me."

Cute, fun story, and now there seems to be another handsome hunk vying for Cookie's attention, too. Ooh la la!

Four of five:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Off to a good start! On New Year's Day, I finished reading If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey. It's the first in her "Haunted Vintage Mystery" series.

Cookie Chanel has a passion for vintage fashion, and she has opened her own vintage clothing store in Sugar Creek, GA. At an estate sale, she encounters the ghost of the recently deceased. Charlotte Meadows claims she was murdered, and because Cookie is the only one who can see her, she insists that Cookie help her discover whodunnit. Cookie is reluctant at first, but Charlotte is annoyingly persuasive.

Cookie begins a subtle investigation, questioning people who may have had a grudge against Charlotte. When she begins to get threatening messages on her blog site, she finally turns to the police. Along the way, the author introduces a colorful cast of characters, and Cookie manages to acquire a cat that she names Wind Song. When Wind Song shows a knack for using a Ouija board and tarot cards, Cookie is convinced she's going crazy.

This was a fun book. There's a potential romance budding between Cookie and Detective Dylan Valentine. The author did a good job of making several people suspects, and it was unclear until the end who the murderer was. I'm giving the story four stars. I might have given it five, but the ending was abrupt, and we never learned what became of Charlotte after her murder was solved. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.

★★★★

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