Sunday, March 8, 2015

Aloha to JoAnn Bassett and MAUI WIDOW WALTZ


Even ‘death do us part’ couldn’t halt her march down the aisle…

Cash-strapped Maui wedding planner Pali Moon can’t believe her luck when a prospective bride flashing a five-carat dazzler pops into her shop, “Let’s Get Maui’d,” to request a glitzy beachside wedding. But then Pali learns the lavish wedding must take place on Valentine’s Day—only nine days away. Oh, and one other little hitch—the groom’s been missing at sea for more than a week. But no worries, the bride assures Pali, with or without the groom the wedding will take place. She’s struck a deal with the groom’s best friend to be his proxy, if necessary. Two days before the nuptials, a male corpse floats ashore on a South Maui beach. Looks like the groom’s shown up just in time. But what’s it gonna be—a wedding…or a funeral?

I went to Maui to stay a week and remained five. I never spent so pleasant a month before, or bade any place goodbye so regretfully. - Mark Twain

With the snow piling up in Maryland, I escaped to Hawaii in JoAnn Bassett's MAUI WIDOW WALTZ, the first entry in her six book series, Islands of Aloha.   Bassett lived on Maui, giving me the confidence that she could deliver an authentic experience.  She did not disappoint.  The heroine, Pali Moon, grew up on Maui and understands the island way of life.  In fact, many scenes take place off the beaten track, away from tourist traps, where kamahina (locals) survive the challenges of high cost living in a tropical getaway.  

Although she lives paycheck to paycheck, Pali still maintains the Aloha spirit.  I commend Bassett for creating an "earthy" protagonist whose life is not quite perfect in Paradise.  She also gives readers a handful of colorful characters who reflect the diversity of the islands.  The story itself is humorous but not quite the laugh out loud I prefer in cozy mysteries.  

The mystery is intriguing as Pali uncovers the layers of deception from those involved in the wedding, akin to peeling a Maui onion.   However, I found the mystery dragged during the countdown to the wedding day ... Pali spends much of her time driving up and down the East Maui mountain ... just waiting for something to explode with the bridezilla.  Yet Bassett delivered a satisfactory ending, tempting me to continue with the series.  

Recommended read for fans of cozy mysteries and Hawaiian culture.

I purchased a print copy of MAUI WIDOW WALTZ to feed my appetite for Hawaii.

I am giving away my copy of MAUI WIDOW WALTZ to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Do you have a favorite book, movie, or TV series about weddings?  I enjoyed MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, May 14, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 15.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about JoAnn and her books at

Ka'anapali, Maui 


  1. I guess it would be considered a wedding movie, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS is a favorite. Light and fluffy and a musical. Perfect for days when you want a pick-me-up and nothing serious.

  2. First one off the top of my head is Father of the Bride with Steve Martin.

  3. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING is a lot of fun. A favorite of mine.

  4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the only that comes to mind. It is so funny.

  5. I love the movie 27 dresses :-) Where the girl is a bridesmaid 27 times before finding her own way down the ailse. Such fun to watch!!

  6. I really can't think of any right now.

  7. I enjoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding too. I also loved The Wedding Singer.

  8. My favorite book(s) about weddings - The Bride Quartet series (4 books) by Nora Roberts. One of my favorite re-reads!

  9. The Wedding Singer is so funny!