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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Yours Truly by K. J. Pierce

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Author: K. J. Pierce
Release Date: March 2017

Her boyfriend may be gorgeous, but he's a bit stuck on himself. Kicking him out may be the best thing Izzie Greene has done. Izzie's a caterer and her latest job involves providing the food for the cast and crew of a hit TV show. It probably helps that the show's star, one hunky Scot named Cardwell Bennett, has her thoughts in overdrive.

On the side, Izzie writes a blog about the show. She keeps that part of her life hidden from all but her best friend. She has to ask Delly for help as one piece of fan mail is a word puzzle that Delly is able to translate. Izzie's policy of never answering mail is being tested once she reads what it says.

Before long, everything in Izzie's life turns upside down. When Cardwell's car goes into the shop, he asks her for a ride to work. She's happy to agree, but it's hard staying in control when your celebrity crush is sitting next to you. When paparazzi catch the two in the car together, Izzie becomes the focus of a gossip rag writer. He won't stop, even when people get hurt. It's clear that someone wants Izzie hurt.

To make matters worse, her ex is now part of the cast. He and the female star seem intent on making Izzie's life hell. Izzie is going to have to keep her head up and avoid the gossip and backstabbing if she's going to do her job and stay out of trouble.

I wasn't sure what to expect of Yours Truly, but it wasn't long before I was hooked. There are a few mysteries at play, and none are overly baffling. The possible romance between Izzie and Cardwell were part of the draw. The lighthearted narrative and dialogue and sass from a few of the characters turned it into a story I loved.

If you like cozy mysteries, you'll have a great time reading Izzie's story. It's a great mix of comedy, mystery, and romance. It fits well into any of those categories and left me feeling warm and cozy, like a really good book should. I hope that's not it for Izzie. I wouldn't mind spending more time with her, Cardwell, and several other characters. They were that enjoyable.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Surprise Me: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: The Dial Press
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Release Date: February 13, 2018

I've read so many Sophie Kinsella books over the years. They never fail to make me laugh. I ended up feeling a little let down with Surprise Me. It was okay, but I didn't laugh as much as usual. I found myself feeling sorry for the main character.

When Sylvie and Dan's are told they can expect more than 60 more years together, both are taken by surprise. Sure they're happy now, but can truly stay happy when you're with the same person day in and day out for decade after decade?

To make sure their marriage stays fresh, they decide to start surprising each other on a regular basis. What Sylvie finds hidden in Dan's locked desk drawer is definitely surprising. It's a secret that could just shatter their marriage.

I liked Sylvie. I liked Dan. I really liked Sylvie's quirky, single friend. What never worked for me was watching what was a really happy marriage start crumbling to secrets. I felt sorry for them. When the big twist is revealed, I really started to dislike many people around Sylvie. It made it hard to finish the novel. That said, I did like seeing Sylvie kick into high gear.

My bottom line is that Surprise Me was good but never great. It didn't have the same humor I've come to expect from a Kinsella novel. Her other books have had laugh-out-loud moments. This one didn't. I liked it, but I never loved it or felt it was a book for my keeper shelf.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Here We Lie by Paula Treick DeBoard

Setting: East Coast
Genre: Women's Fiction/Mystery
Publisher: Park Row
Release Date: January 30, 2018

Megan Mazeros dreams of going to college and getting out of her small Kansas town. Her father's illness keeps her from achieving those dreams. That is until mesothelioma ends his life and she and her mother learn he'd taken out a large life insurance policy when he suspected he was sick. With the money in hand, Megan heads off to Connecticut where she starts her journey in a private women's college.

As the daughter of an esteemed senator, Lauren Mabrey seems unable to do anything right. She's involved in a relationship with a bad boy that goes wrong. After that, her mom has her sent off to a private woman's college in hopes that Lauren will straighten up. It's there that Lauren discovers a passion for photography, something her mom does not approve of.

Surprisingly, Lauren and Megan hit it off and become close friends. On one summer break, Lauren invites Megan to join the family at their remote island home off the coast of Maine. It's there that horrific circumstances tear the young women apart forever. Many years will pass before Megan decides to speak up and reveal the things she never told Lauren or others.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Here We Lie features two girls with very different upbringings. Despite that, both have a certain naivety that made me feel for them. Lauren's been brought up in a prominent family where every action is scrutinized. Later, I found myself really just hating her parents. Read the book and you'll get why.

Megan's situation is completely different. She's been hurt, hurt others, and is haunted by some of her actions. She was hard not to like, even when you knew she was making poor choices for the right reasons.

With such strong heroines leading the story, I did want to get to the point where all of the story comes together. It starts in the present, goes back into the past, and bounces back and forth from there. Don't let the shifts throw you off, keep reading and you'll get how it all ties together.

RTR's Bottom Line

I've read another Paula Treick DeBoard novels and both have grabbed my attention and held me riveted to every page. The secret in Here We Lie wasn't too difficult to guess, though I had one part of it wrong. Even knowing what was going to happen, I was still hooked. If you're looking for a women's fiction that has a touch of mystery, this book is a good choice.