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on July 31, 2010
It's not very often that a sequel is as good, if not better, than the first book, but Executive Retention definitely fits in this category. Sedona and the Huntington brothers are back for another mystery in the corporate IT world as they try to discover who is stealing company money and how they are doing it undetected. This is a great read with zany characters, mystery, and a little romance. I just adore Sedona and her crazy family provides many laugh out loud moments. The family Thanksgiving dinner scene had me in stitches I was laughing so hard. I hope there are more Sedona books in the future!
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on June 19, 2010
4.5 Stars - Well done sequel!

Executive Retention (A Sedona O'Hala Mystery) is an entertaining sequel to Executive Lunch (A Sedona O'Hala Mystery) and did not disappoint; in fact, I think I liked it better! While both are stand alones, it is always better to read them in order so you have all the background information and a better feel for the characters.

In this installment, I found Sedona has become stronger, sharper, and even spunkier, too. I was happy to see the return of Sedona's family and friends. While not all the characters are heavily developed, they are clearly described and developed enough -- enough that you are likely to recognize some of them from your own real life and work experiences. To me, the IT aspects in this book were more interesting than in the first, and as for the mystery element of this cozy, for awhile I thought I knew who it was, then towards the end, changed my mind and got real close to figuring out the culprit, but... wait... I don't want to give anything away.....

Overall, this is another cute, humorous, light-hearted cozy, and a fast read. Once again, I will look forward to reading more from Maria E. Schneider in the near future.
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on October 31, 2010
I can't wait until the third in the series comes out. I like Sedona and her predicaments. I think we're all a little clueless at times about the companies we work for. Sedona has me laughing out loud.
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Last year I read "Executive Lunch (A Sedona O'Hala Mystery)" by Maria Schneider. The principal character was a perky young IT professional named Sedona O'Hala. It was a marvelous read, and I was hoping that the author would bring Sedona back in another book. She has, and "Executive Retention" is the result. Although "Executive Retention" could be read as a standalone novel, I recommend reading the two books in order.

Having been fired from a large technology company at the end of the first book in the series, the mysterious Steve Huntington hires Sedona to do some more undercover sleuthing, this time at Acetel, a technology company that appears to have plenty of business but is losing tons of money. There is no shortage of possible bad guys, and at least one of them is playing for keeps. With a bit of unexpected inside help, Sedona gradually closes in on the guilty party (or is it parties? - I'm not telling). The climactic scene is another nail-biter, where the good guys as well as the bad ones may not survive.

I enjoyed "Executive Retention" slightly more than the first book in the series. I think it was because the plot was a bit tighter, and there weren't as many characters to follow. Also it appeared that the author was more comfortable with Sedona, creating more romantic tension than in the first book (although not necessarily with the character you might guess!) and further developing Sedona's relationship with her brother and his wife.

There were enough clues dropped that a veteran mystery reader might have figured out who the culprit was, but I missed it.

As a nice bonus, the book includes excerpts from two other books by the author: "Tracking Magic" and "Catch an Honest Thief."

The bottom line: Another very enjoyable Sedona O'Hala cozy mystery. In my opinion, Ms. Schneider is one of the finest and most creative independent authors around, and Sedona O'Hala is a great character who I'm looking forward to seeing again.
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VINE VOICEon December 1, 2011
Sedona O'Hala returns along with those Huntington brothers that seem to always lead her into the line of fire. In this edition she is undercover at Acetel, an IT firm, who seems to have a problem somewhere because their numbers just aren't adding up. Sedona needs to track down not only the who, but the what and why to solve this companies issues.

On the personal front, Sedona's sister-in-law is hosting Thanksgiving and Sedona even brings a guest.

Dollycas's Thoughts
First let me say there are no recipes at the back of this cozy mystery and after you read about the family's Thanksgiving dinner you will understand why. Hilarious!!!

I enjoyed this spunkier version of Sedona. The author is getting more comfortable with her protagonist and her other prime characters as well. The relationships between them are all growing, some even a little unexpected.

The plot was original but at times a bit too tech savvy and in places hard for me to follow but not too distracting to take away from the story. The methods of hacking to find answers were just a little confusing if you are not familiar with the Information Technology jargon. In the end all the answers come together and I had a few "aha moments".

The next book in the series Executive Sick Days is available too and on my wish list. This is really a fun cozy series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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on July 18, 2010
Sedona O'Hala returns for another exciting mystery as she finds herself in danger of losing her job at Strandfrost. When Steve Huntington offers her a chance to assist him in another corporate mystery, she hesitates but agrees to help him by going undercover at Acetel - a company with quite a bit of business but not much money to show for it. Sedona's job is to find out where all the money is going.

In the midst of everything, her sister-in-law is about to have a baby and desperately needs Sedona's advice on how to handle her boss. Not to mention that Sedona finds herself quite attracted to Steve, as well as his brother Mark. Things get pretty dicey as she can't distinguish the good guys from the bad guys.

This story has it all - mystery, twists, and even a dash of romance. This is the second book in the Sedona O'Hala Mysteries. The first was Executive Lunch, which I also enjoyed very much. This book develops the characters even more. Maria E. Schneider is well on her way to becoming a favorite author with her creative, clever and quirky stories and characters.
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on July 19, 2014
I loved the three books in this series, but this one really stood out. The characters were well developed and the humor throughout didn't falter.The Thanksgiving meal preparation, where Sedona is trying to help her sister-in-law Brenda prepare the meal, had me laughing out loud, especially when Sedona left the kitchen to make a phone call (to her brother). When she returned to the kitchen to find the "stuffing?", which was made with bread crumbs and milk oozing out of the bird, I totally lost it. The humor continued with the serving of the meal and was also interspersed through out the story. Sedona is a great character and I enjoyed her (as well as the other characters which were woven through all three books) immensely. I hope there's a fourth book in this series. Marie Schneider is really a master of the light-hearted mystery and a great story teller with believable characters.
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on July 19, 2011
Executive Retention continues the zany Sedona O'Hala adventures begun in Executive Lunch. Ms. Schneider has created a group of original characters led by the feisty Sedona and presented in the context of a cozy mystery. Thanksgiving stuffing will never be the same after reading the laugh out loud version presented in this book. Next up, Executive Sick Days. This series is perfect for summer reading.
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on April 27, 2015
Take a good helping of Kate from Hackers, mix in some Lucy Ricardo, add some Emma Peel and you wind up with Sedona O'Hala. This is a really well written book that holds your attention all the way through. It's light enough to read any time and it's solid enough to satisfy any reader. Well researched and accurate, it's a definitely recommended selection.
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on October 15, 2010
I always enjoy women heroes w/intelligence. Nothing over the top about her...just a good character you'd like to run into at a gathering and have some laughs. Easy reading, quick and entertaining.
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