Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Howl Deadly and Never Say Sty by Linda O. Johnston

Book: Howl Deadly and Never Say Sty by Linda O. Johnston

Series: Book 7 and 8 in the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries

Published: Both in 2009

Plot of "Never Say Sty" (Goodreads):

Already an L.A. attorney and pet-sitter, Kendra’s taken on a third job, masterminding a new reality show called “Animal Auditions.” But things get messier than the show’s pot-bellied pigs when her hot new producer is suspected of murder.

My four-sentence or less take on the plot: Kendra, both a pet-sitter and a lawyer specializing in animal cases, is involved in the new potbellied pigs-based reality show "Animal Auditions". When a judge is killed and a couple of Kendra's friends are implicated, she is pulled back in to detective work. Additionally, a wealthy animal-lover, Dante DeFrancisco, is introduced as both a suspect and a love interest.

Rating: 7

Plot of "Howl Deadly" (Goodreads):

Kendra's weekend getaway with gorgeous millionaire Dante DeFrancisco turns chilling when a mother she-wolf goes missing from Dante's pet sanctuary. Now Kendra must find her-along with a killer hiding right before her eyes.

My four-sentence or less take on the plot: Kendra and Dante are heading out for vacation when they get word that a wolf is missing from Dante's rescue society. Kendra suspects everyone of the crime, including the HotRescue workers, Dante's best friend Brody, and Dante himself. Even though I only read this a couple of weeks ago, I'm having trouble remembering details (not a good sign).

Rating: 6

What worked: I'm a big fan of the Kendra Ballantyne mysteries. I like Kendra. She is a smart go-getter who makes realistic decisions. She gets drawn into mysteries in a realistic way (as realistic as cozy mysteries get) and I like all of her pet-sitting charges, along with all of the recurring characters (and there are a lot of recurring characters--two law firms worth of lawyers, all of her pet sitting and law clients, police officers, etc.). The books are interesting and have a great pace, plus I like the details about the animals.

What didn't: I actually like these two books the least of the series. I think it's partially because I don't like the character of Dante DeFrancisco and I think Kendra dramatically overreacted in ending her last relationship with Shiba Inu-owning private detective Jeff. I know the whole "HotRescue" "HotPets" "HotWildlife" thing was started partially to tie-in to Johnston's other series about a HotRescue worker but I just found it bland. I hope Kendra kicks Dante to the curb and gets back to her roots of pet sitting soon.

Keep reading? Absolutely and hope to try the new series soon.

Question for you: Who do you like better--Dante or Jeff? Any opinion?

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