Monday, January 19, 2015

ARC Review: Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell

Title: Mr. Kiss and Tell
Series: Veronica Mars #2
Author: Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Published: January 20, 2015 by Doubleday
(Amazon / Goodreads / Audible)

Synopsis: In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.

The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?

*** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher (thanks Doubleday) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

This was the perfect book for me at the moment. While I haven't hated any of the books I've read so far this year, I haven't loved them either. I refuse to call it a reading slump because I have enjoyed them, I just haven't been blown away. And while this book didn't blow me away either it was the perfect change of pace. It was like a reread in that I felt like I was falling back in love with an old favorite. And that favorite is Neptune, California.

Before I go any further I should be honest with you guys. If you didn't see my review of the first Veronica Mars book, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, then you don't know that I'm a huge Marshmallow. Veronica Mars is arguably my favorite show of all time! I've been watching it since 2004 and I even boycotted the CW when they cancelled it in 2007. I was so excited for the movie prospect that I became a Kickstarter backer. And now that my secret is out you will know about my total bias for this book and this series, I'm a huge fan!

But that's who this book is geared towards, the Marshmallows. I'm not sure how people who have not seen the show or movie will feel about the book but I know fans will love it! (Just so we're clear, I would suggest at least watching the movie if you're planning to read these books). I've talked to a few fellow fans of the series and they all had the same feelings as I did, fangirling. Whether it is the return of favorite characters, the inside jokes, or subtle references to things that happened before, there is a lot of flailing and excited shouting. A hard-boiled mystery like this shouldn't make a person so giddy but that's how us fans feel about Veronica and Neptune. It's like seeing an old friend or your family that you haven't seen in awhile. It's familiar and fresh at the same time.

One of the things that is so familiar and made this book so great for me was the mystery. It was a great slowburn and expertly plotted so that everything built to an interesting conclusion but with twists and turns along the way. This is the kind of mystery where you have to work backwards, you have to search for proof not the truth. At first glance it seems so simple, but this is Neptune, nothing is simple. There are more twists in this mystery than Veronica's hair that year she decided to curl it (remember that? I was not a fan of that hair). I should have remembered that Veronica, who is a great detective, usually gets things wrong before she gets them right. From the snap judgments about a person, to the hiding while breaking and entering, to the getting caught and trying to cover her ass with quick thinking it all reminded me of previous cases.

But that's where Veronica's charm comes from. She's not perfect, she's damn good, but she's not infallible. There is something comforting about one of your favorite characters not changing after ten years. She's developed and matured but she's still the same old Veronica. And that was just another great thing about this book that was both familiar and fantastic, the characters. For a fan of the series, the connection to the characters is already there. We've already learned to love the prickly and plucky heroine, Veronica. We've seen her develop from a jaded and snarky anti-social teenager to a tough and sassy intelligent adult. We've seen her at her best and we've seen her at her worst. We laughed at her jokes and cried with her break-ups. We can dive right back into Veronica's world and already root for her.

And that's not just  with Veronica. We root for Logan and their EPIC love story (LoVe shippers will not be disappointed in the romance of this book). We feel like we're best friends with Mac and Wallace and laugh along with them as they begrudgingly help Veronica solve these mysteries. We love Kieth and his hunt for justice and feud with the Sheriff's department. We especiallywant to attend Daddy-Daughter Dinners so we can have lasagna with Kieth's secret recipe (double the cheese). We root for Weevil and his dubious struggle with the criminal element in town. The majority of characters in this series are those who we already know and love (or love to hate). The introduction of a new character causes more flailing and excitement as we follow the familiar and their continued stories. It of course helps you connect with a story if you have that inherent attachment of the characters.

And this previous connection with the characters of the book helps keep the plot more interesting. The authors don't have to develop the world, we already know all about Neptune and it's seedy underbelly. Whether you're talking about the criminal element, the corruption of those in power, or the class warfare between the 09ers and non-09ers we already know about it. So here we can get a little bit more to the meat of the story. We rely less on exposition and more on plot-development. If you follow me here on the blog you know I hate a lot of exposition, so I loved that we're just able to dive head-first into the world with more of a show style of world-building. Plus the book was intricately plotted. It has two intertwining storylines. The first features an old character that was appeared very briefly and the second resolves something from the movie. And while it wasn't as mysterious as the previous book, it was full of action and intrigue. It was very noir and definitely more on the seedier side of things. But that was just another thing that made this book feel like a return to classic Veronica that we all know and love.

This was an amazing return to Neptune that fans of Veronica Mars will love. It's a return to our favorite town and it's seedy unbelly, a return of the characters we have come to love, and a mystery that is tawdry and engaging expertly plotted from beginning to end.

I give Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham 9.5 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you are a fan of this series than check this book out. You will love the return to Neptune and the seedy romance that Veronica solves. You will love more time with your favorite characters and at all the amazing inside jokes that Rob Thomas included. If you're not a fan of this series go watch the TV show and then come back. You'll thank me later!

Have you read Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Great review! I also loved this next installment in the series -- I feel like it's so Veronica (the language, thinking, etc.) Could not love LoVe more, either!

    My review here

    1. I'm so glad you loved it! I agree on the voice and thinking being so Veronica. That's the great thing about Rob Thomas writing it. It feels real and not like fanfiction which this kind of stuff can tend towards. Either way, all things Veronica are just wonderful!

  2. YAY! Oh my god this was an incredible review! I was grinning throughout! I came wayyyyyyy late into the Veronica Mars scene and kick myself for it, but at least I saved myself the heartache from the series' canceling. I've had wayyy too many shows I adored get canceled and I am sure this one would've killed me! Especially after the way season 3 ended! Too many unanswered questions! Sob!!

    Just read the first book in this series last week and LOVED it! It was amazing and like you said, there was a LOT of fangirling over things! I know I'm a late fan but I decided to put my Amazon Prime to use awhile back last year and started watching the series and it wasn't long before I added the shows and movie to my bday/xmas list! And then I finished binge watching the show and movie and had to run to the library to get the first book because while my bestie ordered it along with several other books for Xmas they haven't arrived because Amazon is out of stock of 1 of the books, so I have to wait a long while for all of them to be available before they get shipped. I didn't want to wait any longer for this one so I went to the library! Besides, I almost always NEED a keeper copy!

    And EEP! LOVED it! So excited for this one! I thought about requesting it, but I am almost caught up with review books and desperately want to read some nonreview ones before more come in! Glad to hear that this one was an awesome read! EEP! So adored Logan too! Of course I first met him in Moonlight! Loved that show and miss that one terribly too! Of course, I Iater realized I met him wayyyyyy back in Roswell season 2 as the food delivery guy who talked to Alex right before he died. So yeah love Logan/Josef/Jason Dohring!

    And if I haven't already said it through all my gushing and VM-loving...GREAT review! Cannot wait to read this one too! Already preordered it! ;)

    1. Oh Jessica, I just love your comment! I won't fault you for not getting into Veronica until after it was cancelled. Better late then never!

      I'm glad you loved the first book. The two books are pretty different both they are both fantastic. I hope you read Mr. Kiss and Tell and love it just as much. This one is definitely less about the mystery and more about the world of Neptune and the characters.

      And as for the VMars gushing... ALWAYS!

  3. Ohmygod exciting!! LOVE this raving review - I know I'm going to adore this one as well because a) I am a Marshmallow too, b) I loved the first book, and c) everything you mention here has me excited!!

    1. YEAH!!!! I'm glad you enjoyed my fangirling! I hope you read and love this Aylee. I was just so giddy because it's more Veronica!