How to Host a Killer Party (Party Planning, #1)
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How to Host a Killer Party (Party Planning Mystery #1)

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  432 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Don't let murder crash your party.

Presley Parker was just happy to get her party planning business off the ground. Now she's gotten the gig of the year, planning Mayor Davin Green's sumptuous "surprise" wedding for his socialite fiancée, to be held on Alcatraz.

But when the bride is found floating in the bay and the original party planner is found murdered, Presley becom...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Signet
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Ok, this will be the weirdest review ever. I really disliked this book and almost quit reading it twice. The heroine is so aggravating and ditsy she should never be allowed to go anywhere alone - and certainly not driving. She would think things like, "oh that girl from that movie who went into the basement with all the lights out is too stupid to live" but then she would do and say whatever popped up in her non-filtered little mind and trust me, it was stupid. Other than the way she treated her...more
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A surprise party, Alcatraz and a murder...

Presley is just starting as a party planner and all of the sudden she's planning one of the most important parties ever, Mayor David Green's surprise wedding. If this party goes as planned, she will be the most famous party planner in the city! But of course, parties never goes as planned.

The bride is dead, and everyone thinks she did it. When the Detective doesn't believe her, she starts her own in...more
What a breath of fresh air for the cozy mystery genre!

It was such a pleasure getting to know Presley Parker, Event Planner and owner of Killer Parties, in San Fransisco.

When the mayor hires Presley to host a suprise wedding for his fiance, Ikea Takeda, things go wrong when the bride to be washes up dead in the bay.

Having had numerous people attending the party, Presley turns into the number one suspect, so she uses her party planning skills to catch the murderer. Things dont always go well for...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
This book was a fine debut to what, hopefully, becomes a long-lived series. The humor, plot, unusual characters, and locations were an instant draw to me. Having lived on Treasure Island during it's Navy/Marine Corps days, I was intrigued by the facts of history that the novel pulled out and thought the Island has become far more interesting than during my 'tour.'

Event Planner, Presley is the type of gal ready to try anything once. She even attempts a Mayoral wedding on Alcatraz...

My attention w...more
I found this book to be annoying. The main character is a psychology professor turned party planner. She psycho-analyzes all the other characters in the book, assigning various mental illnesses. And everything she herself did was because she had ADHD. Maybe it's because I know annoying people who do this in real life, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.
it was a fun read. I don't know if it was me or whether my mind was in tune with the author but from the early part of the book I was sure who was the killer.
-I like Presley, she's likeable for me,
-I like the side characters, all the other people she shares office space
-mystery itself was enjoyable
-like the setting of San Francisco and getting to know more about the history
-like the premise of the story

-too much psychoanalyzing especially in the end
-ADHD is her reason for everything
Mark Baker
Presley Parker's party planning business might finally be entering the big leagues when she is asked to host the mayor's surprise wedding on Alcatraz. But things take a turn for the worse when the bride to be storms off only to turn up dead and the police want to talk to Presley. I found the pacing in the middle a bit uneven, but a great beginning and climax coupled with warm characters make me want to read more.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
Diane ~Firefly~
Since I like cozies, I'm used to reckless heroines, it is almost a prerequisite. However, they are usually just reckless with their own safety, but not in this case. After the first incident I was about ready to give up on the book. After the second, I stuck around just to see how bad it would get.

(view spoiler)...more
When it comes to cozy mystery with 1st person narrative, the key, for me personally, is that I have to at least like the main character so that I want to follow her sleuthing journey. Unfortunately, I find Presley Parker to be ANNOYING AS HELL!!!

Not only she tries to diagnose everyone she meets, she hides evidence from the police, she tries to get the answer by saying "I'm trying to help the police find out who might have had a reason to harm the victim". WTF?! Pretentious and arrogant much?!?

Sarah Sammis
Last January Booking Through Thursday asked for our recommendations of "favorite unknown" authors. I posted about Penny Warner and quickly received a lovely response from her with an offer to review her newest book, How to Host a Killer Party. I was even invited to the launch party which I attended and came home with bookmarks and other fun stuff. So please go into this review knowing that I am a fan who carried my review copy around as if it were glued to my hand for the week I was reading it.

This is the first of a new series.
Presley is getting her business off the ground as a party planner. She was downsized at the university and her mother is in a care center with Alzheimers. She has had to downsize her lifestyle, but things are starting to look up when the Mayor has her throwning a combination fundraiser/surprise wedding for him and his fiance at Alcatraz. Everything seems to be going okay. Her help has it all set up, the guests have all arrived and everyone is just waiting for th...more
Lynn Lerch
Penny Warner sure knows how to make you feel you are there. Does that make sense? Alcatras seems as creepy as it really is. The history she brings in is very interesting. I felt like I was living on Treasure Island. If those of you don't know what TI is it is made a man made island attached to Yurba Buena Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay with the Bay Bridge connecting it to Oakland and SF.
The party planner has a crazy mom with Alzheimers and thinks she is still in high society. Someone...more
Penny Warner writes with life, energy and humor. Tongue set firmly in cheek, she takes us on an adventure around the City by the Bay. From Alcatraz to Treasure Island and throughout San Francisco, our protagonist, party & event planner Presley Parker, valiantly endeavors to catch a killer before she gets arrested as the prime suspect or, worse yet, becomes the next victim!

The book includes vivid characters, humor and enough action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. This is NOT a g...more
What a great cozy read! It was a great afternoon read...

I enjoyed the premise of the story, the setting and the characters. I thought the idea of having a wedding at Alcatraz was a hoot, even though the idea of the bride going along with wedding (there) wasn't believable, especially it being a surprise. I also found the mystery interesting and it kept me guessing on who the guilty party was. Presley having ADHD truly explained certain things but after so many mentions of her hyper-activity got a...more
Review also posted at The Wandering Fangirl.

I figured I could use some light, fun reading among all the ghost/dystopian books I've been reading, but I reeeeally picked wrong this time. I don't take my popcorn books as seriously as the others I read, so I give them a lot of leeway. But I got about halfway through How to Host a Killer Party and realized I didn't care about what was going on. It was cute, sure, and Presley Parker is a fun protagonist, but this is a case of the book just not being f...more
Some of my favorite mystery series are set in San Francisco and I have added a new one now. I have this whole series on the Wanton Wantin' Book List. At first it was because of the cool titles, especially the latest one, HOW TO PARTY WITH A KILLER VAMPIRE. I will read the whole series to get to that title. And enjoy the ride with it.
Presley Parker is an event organizer, party planner, what have you...She is really good at what she does and wants to be a force to be reckoned with...if she can ge...more
I totally relate to the heroine since my masters is in counseling from San Francisco State and I have one of those purple and gold sweatshirts!!!!! I haven't been to Alcatraz but just 50 pages in on the bus ride home and I'm thinking it's time to play tourist and go.

Totally fun reads. If you live in San Francisco you can easily imagine where the scenes are happening; if you haven't been here you'll definitely want to come check it out.

I pretty much figured out who done it but it didn't stop the...more
❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes)
If the author had mentioned the main character had ADHD one more time, honestly I would have set fire to the book. The story itself was good, the plot interesting and the premise intrigued me but at the end, I didn't like the main character. Her habit of diagnosing everyone she met at the beginning of the story with some ab. psyche ailment turned me off and nothing that happened in the later half of the book could compensate. I don't think I'll be reading any of her other books in this series.
I bought the book and then read the reviews on Good Reads and thought, "I hope this will be okay and not a waste of my time...." I can happily say How to Host a Killer Party was a fun read and a great way to spend my afternoon. I thought that party planner, Presley Parker,was an entertaining main character, although I thought she brought up the fact that she had HDHD a few too many times. I loved the San Fran and Treasure Island references. Fun, yet believable.
I don't know what person would think a prison themed surprise wedding is a good idea, but apparently the Mayor thought it was a good idea. This is where the book opens. I like how the party is described, all but the wedding part. Presley seemed like a spaz to me, one who didn't seem to have control of her life at all, which really turned me off. Once the bride disappeared and verbal fights broke out I call it off. This one just wasn't for me.
Better than average mystery with detailed plot and setting...I found the background and descriptions of Treasure Island particularly interesting as I had been there back in 1999 and loved the spectacular views. The only thing that kind of put me off was that two characters were named Delicia and Ikea. I'm sure that the hokiness of this was purely intentional, but it was hard to take either of these characters seriously!
Met her at a conference. Funny woman, funny writer.
So I only got 40 pages into this book, then I gave up. There was just something about it that was annoying me and nothing interesting was happening. I hate how the character kept referring to her ADHD. I really thought I'd enjoy it as the main character also has a degree in psychology. But instead I just found all the facts she was throwing out there and using it to judge other people was really annoying.
Hmm. The story itself was pretty good, for a quick little mystery read, but... I felt like it was totally overwritten. It reminded me of something you'd do for a learn-how-to-write class. It was just adjectives everywhere and I found it hard to get into the story for awhile because of this overwriting. The story though, was fun and I loved the setting of Alcatraz and Treasure Island!
Mar 15, 2011 Suzanne rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Diva Scavenger Hunt - Little Black Dress
Recommended to Suzanne by: Color My Palette Challenge - Purple
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
I'd go 2.5 stars if I could. I liked the premise of the book - the party planner turned sleuth is certainly original. And I love San Francisco. I even liked Parker Presley. But.............after a while, it seemed like this book just went on and on and on..........and on. I'll probably give the second in the series a chance, but then again, if I don't get around to it..............
I guessed the killer right after the murder. The lead character was pretentious with her self-diagnosis and diagnosing of others. The other characters were one-dimensional. There is so much that could have been developed. I thought it was a cool idea though having party-planning as the hook.
It was cute in a kooky way. Presley has become an event coordinator and gets the job of a lifetime, the mayor's wedding. Unfortunately the mayor's fiance turns up dead and Presley is the main suspect. She decides to play detective to find the real murderer before being arrested.
San Francisco party planner Presley Parker is questioned about 2 murders. Fun who dunnit with lots of party advice, interesting facts about San Francisco and references to The Maltese Falcon. In my opinion
everyone was a suspect except Presley, even her wacky party crew.
it had the potential to be great but needed much editing--at least one third of thebook could have been removed and the ending didn't really add up.

at many times the plot seemed to contradict itself. she has ocd but her apt is a mess? she has adhd but she can multi-task?
CJ - Drop Dead Cute
I wanted to like this and get into it and all that jazz but it couldn't hold my attention past page fifty. Also, Presley had all the earmarks of a heroine that would be TSTL and I didn't care enough about the secondary cast to want to read anymore.

It just wasn't my thing.
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Penny Warner is an award-winning author of over sixty books, including DEAD BODY LANGUAGE mystery series (Macavity winner), HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY series, and the upcoming Food Festival series. Her middle-grade mystery, THE CODE BUSTERS CLUB, won the Agatha Award for Best Children's Mystery.

More about Penny Warner...
How to Crash a Killer Bash (Party Planning, #2) How to Survive a Killer Seance (Party Planning, #3) How to Party with a Killer Vampire (Party Planning, #4) How to Dine on Killer Wine (Party Planning, #5) Dead Body Language (Connor Westphal #1)

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