Ok, so this is my second Ellery James book. Things started out okay. Then they got weird. Well, I mean things were a bit implausible all the way through. Let me give some examples:
We begin with our main character, Ella Mae, going home to Georgia after witnessing her husband’s infidelity. So far, so good. The parts that I don’t get are: she found him boinking the two (reheaded) twins from another apartment in the elevator. Like, she presses the button and the door opens to gyrating ass. DUDE! What if someone else had called the elevator? Like someone with a small child? I mean, it’s bad that she saw it, but it would have kinda been worse if someone else had found them. The other part that doesn’t make sense to me is that she just turned around and left. She walked out of the building a booked a plane ticket. With just what she was wearing and her dog that she had with her. Girl, go upstairs pack up some stuff! That’s your stuff! Take it with you!
So Ella Mae is now home with her mama, her mama’s housekeeper Reba, and her 3 aunts. When Ella Mae feels emotions when she bakes pies, it triggers an emotional response in the consumer of said pie. (Like Simply Irresistible (1999) or Like Water for Chocolate (1992). Or a whole bunch of fanfictions I’ve read in various fandoms.) I don’t know if this only starts when she goes home or what. This seems like something she would have realized in the past. Oh, and their last name is LaFaye. Didn’t I mention that? Her mama has a gift with plants and her aunt Delia creates amazing animal memorial sculptures. Her other aunt is involved in music and the other one married the mayor? I’m a little vague on the details there.
Of course, since Ella Mae has gone home who should still be there but her childhood rival, Loralyn Gaynor (who may or may not have magic as well). Apparently their families have been feuding for centuries. And apparently Loralyn hasn’t moved on from their rivalry any more than Ella Mae has. There are words, and threats, and then some poor sucker gets killed, and Ella Mae is one of the prime suspects. We also have Ella Mae’s childhood crush, Hugh Dylan, who is not only the perfect hottie and single, but he’s a fireman as well!
Wait, wait, we get over halfway through the book, and Ella Mae finally has the thought that maybe her cooking might be magical. And then she dismisses it as impossible. Ella Mae is not the sharpest tool in the shed here. And at one point, Reba gives her some very good advice, and it appears that Ella Mae is going to ignore it. Dumbass. And the ending gets super weird. Like, the murder gets solved and all, and things are pretty good, and then it goes off the wall a bit.
Oh, and the author is super fond of description. Everything is described in detail, sometimes to the point of getting awkward. And she uses the same descriptions way too often. It feels like every time she’s talking about making or smelling pie dough, it’s “buttery dough.” And she has “whiskey-colored hair.” And there are metaphors everywhere! It’s like she has a word count to reach or something…
Peach Pies and Alibis
So, against my good sense I decided to try the second book, just to see where this was going. And the place it was going was not where I wanted to go. What I thought was light murder mystery with magic has turned into magic with some murders thrown in. And, I mean, for some people that’s great. But it wasn’t what I was looking for. There is too much plot. Well, not really. It feels like what was fairly linear has turned into a tumbleweed that’s just rolling along. It’s complicated and tangled and bits go flying about. But it’s getting heavier. Like a tumbleweed made of iron. (I don’t know why I’m going on about tumbleweeds. I saw a video on them a few days ago, I guess.) And there are little things that annoy me. The main character being the main one.
I don’t like Ella Mae. She seems kind of oblivious sometimes, and ignores advice she should not. And she’s obsessed with Hugh Dylan. Come on, girl. Multiple people have told you he’s not the one for you, and he occasionally boinks your childhood rival. Your childhood rival who can sometimes control him. The powers that be gave you a sign that this isn’t going to end well, so let it go! I’m wondering if it’s in the author’s style to go into great detail about what the character imagines the sexytimes will be like without actually getting to the sexytimes.
I don’t know, maybe if we didn’t have Hugh in the mix and the author was a bit less descriptive I would be more on board. And we have hints that another man is going to enter in the mix who is supposed to be better for her. But she’s still going to be hung up on Hugh. I don’t need that in my life. I can see how some people would like this series, but it’s just not for me.