As a cozy mystery the plotting and characters aren't bad, although I had trouble relating to the twentysomethings working at the mall. The Piggeldys, ..Show More »a pair of retired circus clowns, and the pet monkey (son substitute), Higgledy, broke that up a bit. The savings "hints" seemed more common sense/general knowledge than anything new to me, becoming a bit annoying breaking into the audio format, but I grew used to them after a while. Where I had real trouble concerned Maddie's husband, Frank -- talk about your classic narcissistic bullies! She spends much of the book in fear of "upsetting" him, especially in keeping the successful Mrs. Frugalicious site a secret. I wasn't too thrilled with his homophobic disapproval of one of the twins being interested in acting more than football, although Maddie expresses her disapproval of his attitude (to the reader) as well. It was really a dreary pain seeing her cater to his obnoxiousness throughout the book. However ... without a specific spoiler, that's resolved at nearly the end of the story, so that Maddie has the upper hand going forward with a series. Tavia Gilbert makes an excellent fit as narrator.
I enjoyed this book almost as much as I enjoed the first book. I felt that the main character wasn't as strong as she was in the first book. However..Show More », the mystery was good. I liked that her children played a bigger part in this book. However, I'm not a fan of the extended family and I'm not sure I will like the direction this book is heading.
If you like reality shows you'll like this. Although reality shows are based on reality they are unrealistic and exists in the realm of fantasy. Now..Show More » that they have made Mrs. Frugalicious into a realty tv program, they have made her life an exaggeration. If you can overlook the over the top story line for the sake of the reality tv show plot, there's a chance you can enjoy the book. The characters are still likable and the plot is fast paced with lots of twist and turns. I enjoyed the story even though I rolled my eyes several times.