Monday, February 4, 2019

Sophia Rose Reviews-Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries by Tonya Kappes, Narrated by Johanna Parker

Today Sophia Rose is reviewing #1 in Tonya Kappes Campers and Criminals Cozy mystery series, Beaches, Bungalows and Burglaries.

Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries by Tonya Kappes, Narrated by Johanna Parker
#1 Camper & Criminals Cozy
Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Tantor Audio
Published: 1.30.19
Time: 5 hours 22 minutes
Rating: 3
Narration Rating: 4
Format: MP3
Source:  Tantor Audio


Welcome to Normal, Kentucky~ where nothing is normal.

Mae West, a far cry from the Hollywood actress, has been thrown for a loop. Her plush lifestyle in the big city of New York comes to a screeching halt after the FBI raids her mansion and arrests her husband, Paul West, for a Ponzi scheme that rips people out of millions of dollars.

Mae finds herself homeless, friendless, and penniless. All hope isn't lost. . .the only thing Mae got to keep that the government didn't seize is a tourist camp ground, Happy Trails, in Normal, Kentucky and an RV to live in. One problem, Mae's idea of camping has room service.

By the look of the brochure, Happy Trails has plush Kentucky Bluegrass, a crystal clear lake, a beach chair with her name on it and thoughts of how much money it could bring her after she sells it. Mae figures she'll take a couple weeks’ vacation with her toes dipped in the lake. Things aren't always as they appear. The Kentucky Bluegrass is nothing but dirt and the crystal clue lake is murky with green slime on top.

Mae quickly find out that Happy Trails and the citizens of Normal were also victims of Paul's schemes, making her lower than the lake scum in the residents' eyes. Mae doesn't think things could get much worse, but as luck would have it, Paul West has escaped from prison and is found dead, murdered, floating in the Happy Trails mucky green lake.

Mae is the number one suspect on Detective Hank Sharp's short list. After all, Mae has the perfect motive as a kept wife who has been scorned to ashes, embarrassed to death, and seeking revenge.

Time is running out for Mae to prove that she's innocent and nothing like her husband. If only she could get someone to believe her and talk Detective Sharp into looking at other residents who've lost all their savings to Paul's Ponzi scheme before the curtain is closed on this Hollywood namesake.

Sophia Rose's Review:

After falling in love with the Kenny Lowry series, I was ready to try another cozy mystery series from the same author.  It didn't hurt that the setting is rural, small town Kentucky with the murder centered at an RV Campground and the amateur detective is the down on her lucky owner.

This was one that I enjoyed several things about while also finding a few that I was not quite so enamored.  It was a fun, quick, easy read/listen that was great when I just wanted something entertaining to engage me.
I felt Mae was woefully naive because of the way she thought she could breeze into town, declare she was innocent and she was there to help.   Why in the world did she think a fundraiser to clean up the lake and the campground was a good idea when these people had just lost their life savings to her ex's 'fundraiser'?  I had to laugh when she soon discovers this.  But, I wasn't laughing when she jumps down people's throats about rent (because poor little Mae needs money) when her manager gave them hardship breaks and then she starts getting in their faces about the murder.  She wants sympathy and trust and shows not an ounce of it herself in her first impressions with people.

Now, things forged ahead with Mae working out that you aren't going to win friends or trust by making it all about herself.  It was fun seeing Mae start to become part of the community, wins some hearts, and begin bringing the campground back to life.  She gets involved in the laundromat book club with the fun gal pals, works at the library, and manages to get in Detective Sharp's way with her own investigations while doing little thoughtful things to slowly endear herself in the community.  The roving campfire potluck and the tight knit community were great. 

The murder mystery solution took me by surprise in the end as did the twist.  It will be interesting to see what comes next.   Once it was well into the story, I enjoyed what I got and saw the signature humor and great characters with a fun mystery solution that I was used to from the author's earlier books. 

The narrator, Johanna Parker, is sensational and I was glad she was matched up with this book.  She voiced this large quirky cast of characters so well.  I particularly enjoyed her southern accents for the local characters.

All in all, it was moderately engaging and a fun setting for a cozy mystery series at the campground. 

My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author’s Bio:
For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been publishing numerous mystery with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plot lines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.

Facebook at Author Tonya Kappes,

Narrator’s Bio:
Johanna Parker is an Audie and Earphones Award–winning actress. Since narrating her first audiobook for Recorded Books in 2002, Johanna has received high praise for her work in all genres, including the YA Mediator series by Meg Cabot, Earlene Fowler’s Bennie Harper Mysteries, and her portrayal of Sookie Stackhouse in Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire books, of which AudioFile has said, “Parker personifies Harris’ perky Southern heroine Sookie Stackhouse. Her splendid pacing allows listeners time to absorb the action and emotions … listeners will be enthralled.”

Sophia’s Bio:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Sophia’s Social Media Links:


  1. I have this one on my wishlist. I might go for the audiobook if I decide to pick it up as I think the subscription service I use has this one and the narration sounds well. Mae doesn't sound too likable at first, but it seems she figures things out as the story goes on. And I like the sound of the mystery having a nice twist. The setting for this one sounds fun. Great review!

    1. It turned out to be rather enjoyable once she got sorted out and got to know the people better. It was a fun setting and funny small town characters.

  2. Does seem like it would be a fun little weekend read. Glad you did like it overall!

    1. Yes, took me a bit to get into it, but then I had a great time. Its not very long either so an easy read/listen.

  3. Great review Sophia Rose. Sometimes book one in a series is a challenge for readers and authors, glad you ended up liking it. I'm putting this on my list!

    1. This is true. Sometimes first books get off to a rocky start. It smoothed out a little and it was pretty fun overall.

  4. This sounds fun, I will be curious to see how the series develops for you. Glad the twist got you.

    1. I do enjoy when an author can get me with an 'aha' moment. Most of what bugged me smoothed out by the midway point so it should go well.

  5. Wow, not a good way to start your new life. SOunds good

    1. No, definitely not. She went from penthouse to a rundown RV in days. It was a huge adjustment.

  6. This looks interesting! I haven't gotten much into cozy mysteries, but this might be a good one to start with. Great review.

    1. I didn't do cozies for years and then started enjoying some paranormal cozies. Now, I enjoy a few of the regular contemporary ones, too.

  7. Hmm probably not my kind of book but it does sound like it would probably be a good read.

    1. I definitely have to be in the right mood or it isn't my thing, either, but slowly they are growing on me. :) It was light and fun.

  8. I really need to try Kappes. I love Parker. I even have book one of another series that I grabbed when it was part of a sale on Audible. I need to just try it. It sounds wonderful. Great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Books of My Heart

    1. She's got a light and easy tone that I enjoy. Hope you have a good time when you try her, Melanie!