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Livin' Lahaina Loca by JoAnn Bassett
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Livin' Lahaina Loca (2012)

by JoAnn Bassett

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This second entry in this near cozy-style mystery series finds the reader again following a wedding Pali is planning gone criminal.

Perhaps some would expect every entry in a mystery series about a wedding planner to involve some wedding going haywire. I suppose that’s fair, although personally I would prefer the source of the mystery to be a bit more shaken up. Something like maybe Pali’s neighbor in the business district going missing, and Pali having to still manage to plan a big wedding while investigating the missing neighbor. However, I can see how some readers would enjoy the predictability of “wedding gone awry” as a mystery plot. In fact, it’s probably a mystery niche I was previously unaware of. Potential readers should know, though, to expect the “wedding gone awry” plot from this series.

Even if readers are ok with the “wedding gone awry” idea being brought back in the second entry, how it goes awry could perhaps be executed a bit more uniquely. In the first book, a groom is missing. In the second book, a bridesmaid is missing. The mystery would read quite differently if, for instance, the bridesmaid winds up dead at the bachelorette party, and Pali has to help clear the bride’s name in time for her wedding. That at least wouldn’t be a missing person all over again.

That said, the reason behind the missing bridesmaid, and the plot that goes along with it is quite different from the first book. Once the reader gets past the first 1/3 of the book or so, things definitely do start to develop differently. The plot particularly surprised me at the end, again, in a way that seemed plausible and logical. I just wish the beginning had been more unique.

Pali’s characterization continues along the same way as the first book. If you liked her in the first, you’ll like her here. If you didn’t, you won’t.

The romance plot is also quite similar to the first book. Pali is still waffling between two men and doing a rather bad job of handling it in an adult-like manner. Again, if you enjoyed the romance in the first book, you’ll enjoy it here. If you didn’t, you won’t.

The setting is still as lovely as in the first book. Hawaii and its culture are beautifully depicted. It’s easy to feel swept away to Hawaii when reading this book.

Overall, this mystery has a plot that starts quite similar to the plot in the first book but that is saved by a drastically different ending and reasons behind the missing person. The main character and romance continue to be a bit ho-hum, but if readers enjoyed them in the first book, they will enjoy them here. Recommended primarily to those who greatly liked the first book in the series.

Check out my full review. ( )
  gaialover | Mar 7, 2015 |
Having spent much time in Hawaii recently, I am really enjoying this series. ( )
  KimSmyth | Jun 18, 2014 |
Another priced right e-book for only $2.99 on Amazon/Kindle
http://amzn.to/I8l23l

I first met Pali Moon and her pals in Maui Widow Waltz, liked it so much I eagerly agreed when this second in the series was offered to me for a read-review. Even the author's clever covers make me laugh! (Hint: Every book title is a take-off of song titles and they all relate to Hawaii.)
This time, Pali has lost her business lease at her old location above a local market due to a fire (Maui Widow Waltz) and now she's reduced to a tiny office above a smelly restaurant with a back alley entrance. She's still scraping by in a bad economy as a wedding planner, because weddings, no matter the economy, are still happening in Maui. Adding to the fun, there's Steve, Pali's sensible gay roommate, Hatch her hot fireman boyfriend from the last book , and Farrah, a beautiful plus size Hawaiian woman, and best friend any girl could possibly have.
Enter Keith and Nicole, two California book-ends with money to burn for their upcoming nuptials. Keith hands out cash like party favors and Nicole is true to form as another incredibly bitchy bride. Then one of the bridesmaids goes missing, and Pali, though worried that her reputation as a wedding planner would really take a hit if word got around she "…was on the grim reaper's speed dial," she also can't ignore the possibility that something bad has happened to the young woman.
Someone else obviously doesn't want her ignoring the situation either, because they've left the severed pony-tail of the young woman's hair in the backseat of Pali's car. Then a ransom note shows up on her car window, and oddly, the local police and the wedding couple ignore Pali's assertion that the girl has been kidnapped and may be murdered. They may ignore her, but Pali is determined to find the girl. When the wedding couple decamp Maui without so much as a good-bye, Pali gets an envelope with more than enough cash to pay off her expenses.
I got a kick out of the next scene where she races to meet a potential client at the airport, the envelope of cash in her purse, and a drug-sniffing dog and a zealous agent part her from her hard earned, and (hilariously) drug-infested cash.
With surprising twists, lots of humor, and rich anecdotal asides of the Hawaiian culture, there's a really big surprise ending for Pali.
This is surely another winner for JoAnn Bassett and her Pail Moon series. And, lucky for everyone, I hear there are plenty more to come.

Highly recommended.

RP Dahlke
A Dangerous Harbor: http://amzn.to/uWzIUl ( )
  1vibrantwoman | May 18, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 147507106X, Paperback)

It's Halloween night in Lahaina Town, Maui and the Mardi Gras of the Pacific is in full swing... But wedding planner Pali Moon isn't in costume--she's on a mission. A bridesmaid has vanished and Pali's canvassing Front Street, ducking into every overcrowded watering hole hoping to spot a girl with long red hair and a lingerie model's figure. No luck. Back at her car, Pali opens the door and finds the remnants of a bizarre trick or treat stunt. Turns out, Halloween in Lahaina isn't just a night for island high-jinx, it's also a night for vengeance.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:08 -0400)

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