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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 4 star ratings
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    Political Dissertation is Not a Cozy Mystery

    This author captured the California mindset perfectly. I grew weary of the continual Grandstanding about the environment, traditional vs organic farming methods and the problems of immigrant farmworkers. I don't read political dissertations for entertainment. Which is too bad. The plot of the story was very good and so was the rest of the book. But, I had to put it down because half of every chapter was political. I read half of the book. I won't read any more off this author's work. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
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    A Working Vacation Goes Wrong, A Fun Cozy Mystery

    Cliff Hanger by Mary Feliz is the fifth book in A Maggie McDonald Mystery series. Maggie and her boys are heading to Monterey Bay for a job. Maggie is helping to organize a resort and in exchanged they get a three bedroom unit on the beach along with a small salary. This is a working vacation that started off badly, then went from bad to worse. With the boys assisting a young man who crashed his Ultra-Light, and calling 911, they are temporary heroes. When the young man dies, they are being questioned and possibly sued by the family for causing his death. Everyday of this job brings another disaster. Cliff Hanger was a well-written story that moves at a good pace. It is the fifth book in the series, but can easily be read as a standalone. I have read all the books in this series and have enjoyed the development of the characters as well as the fact that the boys have grown up with the stories. They are older and actively involved in the investigations. Because this book was not in their hometown, some of the characters that I have enjoyed in previous books were not in this one, but others did make a guest appearance. This story has a complicated storyline with multiple suspects, many red herrings and lots of questions. I love all the scenarios that the boys come up with while trying to figure out what is happening. Although there appear to be many smaller crimes, the main one is the death of Jake, the ultra-light pilot. The action kept the story moving forward to a satisfactory conclusion that ties up all the loose ends. I enjoy Mary Feliz’s descriptive writing. I could almost visualize the animals and sea life that were seeing from the beach. I like Maggie’s handy tips at the beginning of each chapter. Being a professional organizer, you would expect these to be organizing tips, but they are more than that. Based on the setting and situation in each book they vary, with these ones all about preparing for a beach vacation. Overall, this was a fun cozy mystery with a bit more adventure and complications. It took the whole family to solve this one and I look forward to seeing what is next for Maggie and her family. I definitely recommend this book and series to those who enjoy a good, clean, yet intriguing mystery. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
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    Working vacation overload

    Maggie McDonald has scored job that will allow her family to enjoy summer at the beach. Her teenage sons are looking forward to learning to surf and having fun while Mom helps the property manager organize the office and business. But things don’t quite work out as planned when they arrive and are not permitted on the property until the boss, who can’t be reached, approves their dog being on the grounds. While waiting for an update, Maggie and the boys head to the local state park beach to kill some time. While Maggie goes to check out the property, the boys find a local man who has crashed is motorized hang glider. The boys call 911 but lose the connection and call Maggie. The rescue team arrives and praise the buys for their actions and take the man to the hospital. When the man dies, his family accuses the boys of causing his death, so Maggie calls in her friends from home to help find out what happened and who truly caused the accident. This is the first book in the series I have read and, while there were references to working with their friends on past issues, the story works well as a stand-alone. I truly enjoyed the solid whodunnit and the well developed characters. I will be adding the previous books to my reading list.
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    Fifth book in series!

    Cliff Hanger by Mary Feliz is the fifth A Maggie McDonald Mystery. Maggie McDonald along with her two boys, Brian and David are heading to Monterey Bay for the summer. Maggie has been hired by the management of the Heron Beach Resort to help the new complex manager, Renee Alvarez organize the office and the payment includes a condo for the summer. David and Brian notice a downed ultralight aircraft pilot and quickly contact emergency services. The distraught family lashes out by filing a lawsuit against the boys and has them the target of an investigation by local law enforcement. The family rallies their resources and begins a deep dive into the victim’s life. After noticing some suspicious activity at night, Maggie believes there is some foul play afoot. I thought Cliff Hanger was nicely written, moves along at a steady rate and is just the right length. While Cliff Hanger is the fifth book in the series, it can easily be read alone. The characters are established, and I find them relatable. Maggie has a good relationship with her two kids, and they have gotten the sleuthing bug from her. The complex crime was not what you typically find in a cozy mystery (I do not want to share too much and spoil it for you). It is multifaceted with a handful suspects and misdirection. The family certainly came up with some unique theories regarding the crime. The action kept the story moving forward toward the conclusion. There is a good wrap-up that ties up the loose threads. I enjoyed the authors vivid descriptions especially those of Monterey Bay and the sea life (a blue whale and dolphins). It was interesting to learn about ultralight aircraft and the regulations for them. I enjoyed Maggie’s handy tips at the beginning of reach chapter to help people prepare for trips. I thought they were clever, helpful and easy to implement. Cliff Hanger has an uplifting adventure with two teenage sleuths, stunning sea life, a malodorous condo, disorganized records, and one weary and worried woman.
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