"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Blog Tour (Review): MURDER AMONG THE STARS (Lulu Kelly Mystery #2) by Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan (YA)

Lulu Kelly Mystery #2
by Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan
Release date: June 13th, 2017
Published by: Antheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster)
Genre: Young Adult Mystery (12yo+)
Format available: Hardcover, eBook
Format read: Hardcover from the publisher 


After being framed for attempted murder, Lulu Kelly has earned a rest.
Unfortunately, there is no rest in Hollywood for a rising starlet.
Lulu and her boyfriend Freddie are invited to post Hearst Castle, where Lulu will be competing against other young actresses for the role of a lifetime. But what's a house party without a little murder? 

After a rival actress is found dead under the dining room table, Lulu makes it her mission to solve the mystery. But the illusion is this town's number one export, and it's hard to tell the ambitious from the truly evil. As the clues pile up, Lulu and Freddie race to find the killer, even as Lulu becomes the next target. 


First, I was not aware that this was/is the second book in a series - I failed to be thorough in investing time in what I agreed to read and review... Second, I've learned a valuable lesson in being more aware and thoughtful when accepting books to read, review, etc. And to be more forward in asking for more details, questions, etc... And lastly, though I strongly feel that by not reading the first book and getting the main character's backstory I may not have understood the story completely which may have affected my reading experience, opinion, and rating of this book. However, with patience and pacing, it does/did seem that the book can be read as a standalone... so, here are my thoughts based on it being thought of as a standalone story:

All the up-and-coming starlets have been invited by the owner of the biggest film studio to come to his mansion and participate in a contest of sorts for the opportunity to win the lead in the next box-office-hit... as soon as the guests start settling in for their first dinner together, our main character Lulu discovers that one of the young actresses has been murdered. From there we get to see the true colors of every single guest, how materialistic and odd Hollywood can be, and many secrets start to unravel and controversial truths are revealed, ones that can easily destroy many reputations and lives. 

Although we aren't told, I believe that the story seems to take place in the 1930's or 1940's with the mention of Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, and Joan Crawford, and most definitely by the way they speak using words like 'skedaddle' and 'abso-tutely'... also, the unfairness of women being weak and single-minded, and also many having to hide their true lineage and heritage because of segregation and bigotry.  

Lulu's character was quite interesting - she played her role perfectly! She was able to stay in character and be professional and try her best to stay in the game while showing genuine concern over everything that was happening around her. While others were busy with their own worries and problems, Lulu took it upon herself to care and try to help solve the mystery before more people were hurt. She was an equal to her boyfriend Freddie, also a security guard for the mansion, who in turn, treated her as an equal as well and often sought her out and consulted with her on the mystery while other men would just brush her off as just a curious women who should mind her business. I find that this era must be quite difficult to write about since times have changed so much, it was sometimes surprising to see how much women have modernized and changed. 
The one character that I found extremely intriguing but very confusing was Sal. He and Lulu have a history together where he tried to control her and quite possibly may have attempted to kill her (in the first book). Meanwhile, now, it seemed as if none of that mattered anymore and that Lulu may have even misread him...? That didn't quite make sense to me, I feel that she would have still harbored bad feelings toward him and should have been more guarded... which brings me back to the fact that I really need to read the first book to answer these questions!

Although I did guess as to who the murderer is/was, it did have me doubting my choice a few times - Lulu was quite convincing in a few of the clues she found that pointed the finger to others. But in the end, I really enjoyed everyone's quirky "who cares" Hollywood attitudes and how these cliches still show up in today's modern world.

*I've been told that the first book in this series, GIRL ABOUT TOWN, is "original, savvy, fun and a page-turner" where you'll fall in love with Lulu and Freddie as you get to see the two meet, join forces and get to know each other... fall in love! And that you too will fall in love with them throughout it all! Knowing their story is a huge plus and would more likely make you enjoy MURDER AMONG THE STARS even more!!!

I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves Old Hollywood style stories and movies and for those who really enjoy murder mysteries with lots of twists and a touch of old-school 'whodunnit' glamour! 

*A copy was sent to me by the publisher for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts here are my own. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Adam Shankman


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Laura L. Sullivan


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