Review – Sweetheart Deal by Linda Joffe Hull

sweetheart dealSweetheart Deal
(A Mrs. Frugalicious Shopping Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Mexico
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2015)
Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738734910



Now the star of her own reality show, The Family Frugalicious, Maddie Michaels heads south of the border with her family to cover bargain destination weddings at a swank, but budget friendly, Mexican resort. Things get a little too real when timeshare sales manager Alejandro Espinoza makes a play for Maddie one evening and ends up floating dead in the pool the next. Was it an accident or a preplanned part of the Mrs. Frugalicious storyline?

When the show’s producers extend the trip so she, her all-but-ex Frank, and the kids can investigate—not to mention get enough footage for a two-part, Emmy-worthy episode—Maddie fears she’s in way more agua caliente than she ever bargained for.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a hard review for me to write. I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this story, Eternally 21 and Black Thursday. This one just really missed the mark for me.

Mrs. Frugalicious, Maddie, and her family now have their own reality show. The episode they are filming in Mexico is of the producer’s destination wedding, basically one big commercial for the resort and it’s timeshares. After Maddie meets with the timeshare manager they start to exchange secret messages. They set up a time to meet and when Maddie arrives she finds the man doing the dead man’s float in the pool, but he’s really dead. Maddie and the kids extend their stay to investigate the accident which Maddie thinks may have been set up my the show’s director. Of course the reality show continues to accumulate footage for a special episode. Would they really murder someone for ratings?

Again this story is probably better in print and hopefully fixed digitally. (I read an Advance Reader Copy from NetGalley.) It was a very frustrating read because the shopping hints and tips fell right in the middle of the paragraphs. That and the cue cards Maddie and others have to read while filming really slowed the flow of action throughout the story. It seemed the tips were more important than the mystery.

I really didn’t like the characters this time either. They seemed to be all over the place and didn’t engage me as a reader.  By the time the actual murder took place I was already disconnected and it was hard to stay tuned into the story. I truly didn’t like that Maddie didn’t even seem tuned in herself. Things were happened behind her back that just felt wrong. I found myself almost skimming the text rather than fully reading it. I just wanted it to be over.

I did finish the book but it was a chore. There are some helpful hints throughout the story. I would recommend that maybe in future installments this information be at the end of the book so the author focuses on the story content first and make is easier for the reader to enjoy.

should have stayed home  2 STARFISHDollycas

Links to my reviews from other books in this series:

Eternally 21   Black Thursday

To find out more about Linda and her books visit her webpage here. You can also be her Fan on GoodReads. Follow her on Twitter and Follow her on Facebook.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”