Saturday, July 28, 2012

♥♥♥♥: Faerie Cake Dead by J.M. Griffin

Release Date: June 22nd, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace
Page Count: 262
Source: Complimentary review copy provided by author, via Innovative Online Book Tours, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you both!)

Tea, trust, and trouble meet at Fairy Cake Junction!

When divorcee, Luna Devere, owner of Faerie Cake Junction, meets general contractor, Devin Radford, chaos reigns. Devin instantly wreaks romantic havoc in Luna’s life after she finds a corpse sitting in her tea shop as though awaiting tea.

The tea shop is surrounded by faerie folk who have befriended Luna. They know who left the dead man, but aren’t sharing. The sheriff is convinced Luna is daft and that she’s the culprit. Devin wonders just how odd Luna is... even though he’s drawn to her. And Luna’s ex-husband tries to incriminate her for reasons and purposes of his own.
What Stephanie Thinks: A cruel murder, inconsistent ransom notes, and a plot to frame—but life still goes on with Luna, her cat, and her cupcakes! Faerie Cake Dead is an upbeat, all's well ends well cozy mystery that has a touch of romance and an undertone of fantasy. Years after her divorce to the cold, ruthless Thomas Devere, Luna has managed to turn her life around and streamline it into the success of her cupcake boutique, Faerie Cake Junction. Despite the fact that town officials and some of her customers think her balmy for believing in faeries, who are her inspiration, she's never been better without Thomas, and is really starting to appreciate her prosperous business. Until he suddenly reappears in her life, that is, and a few other things turn astray as well.

The murderer who keeps planting dead or near-dead people in her shop obviously is someone who knows her well, someone who is out to assail her in every way—morally, financially, socially. Sexy handyman and widow Devin Radford offers her an emotional hand during Luna's time of desperation, which she reluctantly, but eventually accepts. But then falls in love with...? I don't get their relationship at all. Devin is way too forward with her, admitting he's in love with her off the bat, even though they've never met before these murders and break-ins took place, and though Luna's annoyed by his directness, she soon returns the feelings? Not believable at all. Neither character is grounded very well—they just swoon over themselves a lot and blame each other for each other's bumblings. I can't say I liked either of them, or their 'romance', for that matter. They both try too hard to come off as lovable, witty characters, but I just couldn't feel it. They lack originality as individuals and chemistry as a couple... does it get any more dull than that?

The murder case isn't very convincing, either. The characters act very unprofessionally and the resolution isn't shocking at all. There is tittering suspense along the way—Griffin is great at drawing out scenes to make readers keen on finding out who's behind the chaos—but the end result is devastatingly unsatisfying. This book is slightly more disappointing than the other novel I reviewed by J.M. Griffin, Murder on Spyglass Lane. It drags out a lot more, and has an even absurder romantic premise.

Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the writing much either. There's nothing spectacularly wrong with it, all the grammar's fine and such, but it's just not interesting. Griffin's voice is just very blunt, uninspiring, and stale—the kind of prose that's bound to put me to sleep! There are some details I am fond of, however: Luna's cupcake business is cute, and the faeries are captivating. I do enjoy how the author manages to incorporate some magical elements to her contemporarily-set stories. I think the main idea is spot on—the arrangement of corpses is certainly shocking and Luna's business being sabotaged very realistic. However, Griffin's style's blandness and the story's overall lack of substance make the book a flop.

While there are certain things I did appreciate in Faerie Cake Dead, including the cheery tone, the exposition, and the faeries, it's something I do not recommend because it ultimately fails in both the cozy mystery and romance departments.

Stephanie Loves: "'My cat. Like most males, he's very pushy, tries to take over, and makes a general nuisance of himself."

Radical Rating: 4 hearts: So-so; reading this book may cause wrinkles (from frowning so much). ♥♥♥♥