Caroline Fardig is the USA Today bestselling author of the Lizzie Hart Mystery series, the Java Jive series, and the Ellie Matthews novels. Murder Over Mochas is her newest novel, the fifth and final story in the Java Jive series.
Juliet Langley finally has her life all sorted out. Sort of. In addition to working at Java Jive, she’s also a private investigator, and is happy with that choice. She just needs to figure out how she feels about Ryder, her sexy ex who is now dating her friend. Her best friend Pete is acting like he wants to be more than friends…maybe. And her cheating, stealing ex-fiancé, Scott, is back and wants to talk to her. So maybe Juliet’s life isn’t quite so sorted out.
But when Scott begs for her help because he’s afraid for his life, then drops dead in front of Juliet, she’ll have to drop everything else to keep herself—and Pete—from becoming murder suspects. Again. Because Juliet’s history with Scott is anything but friendly, and it looks like she’s not the only one with hard feelings against him. She’ll need Ryder’s help to solve this case, and to keep herself and Pete out of jail.
I’ve been fortunate enough to review all the Java Jive series, and I’m sad to see it end. Juliet is a fantastic character: smart, resourceful, and with a temper and a lack of impulse control that frequently gets her in trouble (I feel her pain). Her friendship with Pete is great; they’ve been through so many ups and downs and have always been there for each other. All the characters add so many layers to this series, and if Java Jive existed, I’d be there every day to hang out. If you want a funny, light read with shades of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, definitely give these a read!
(Galley provided by Random House/Alibi via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
(I do no own this image. Image belongs to Random House/Alibi.)
Running a successful bakery takes time. Lots of time. So much time that Kat is astonished to realize it’s been almost two years since she’s had sex with her boyfriend. It isn’t that she doesn’t want to, but last time they tried, it proved physically painful and impossible. And Kat’s been so busy, she forgot to follow up with her physical therapy. Oops.
With their anniversary looming, Kat gives Ryan a break from the relationship, while she works on her physical therapy, with a little—okay, a lot—of advice from her best friends/business partners. Their best customer is Ben, who just happens to be a physical therapist, so Kat enlists his help in her crusade. But Ben isn’t interested in just being a means to an end, and Kat has to figure out what is really important to her (besides cupcakes).
The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky is a hilarious romp of a novel, filled with awkward—of course—moments, lots of friendly banter, and cupcakes. So. Many. Cupcakes. I laughed so hard at Kat’s escapades with her friends: she has a knack for open-mouth-insert-foot, usually loudly and when Ben can overhear. If you need a laugh, a dose of friendship, or an appetite stimulant, this is the book for you.
Summer Heacock writes contemporary women’s fiction. Her newest novel is The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky.
(Galley provided by Harlequin/MIRA via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Well-known comic Paula Poundstone set out on a seven-year search for happiness, determined to try all the “in” ways to find happiness…like losing weight, getting organized, medication, dance lessons, and renting a Lamborghini. She also raised her three kids, her too-many-to-count cats, her dogs, and juggled her travel and work in comedy.
What she found was there isn’t any one answer to the search for happiness. She found no happiness in some of her efforts, and unexpected amounts of happiness in others, but she eventually learned how to be happy in her life.
I didn’t find this book laugh-out-loud funny, although there was lots of things to laugh about. Instead, I found Ms. Poundstone’s brutal honesty and her unflinching way of looking at life to be refreshing and enlightening. This is an enjoyable and though-provoking read.
Juliet Langley has turned over a new leaf. She’s been dating a new guy, John, a detective, and she’s much calmer these days, with no trace of the Angry She-Devil in sight. She just received her P.I. license, and now she gets to work a few cases with her friend Maya, trying to expose liars, cheaters, and other run-of-the-mill criminals. Her best friend Pete encourages her new pursuits, especially when their friend Shane comes to Juliet with his suspicions about his fiancé’s drug-related death.
Sound Juliet finds herself investigating the party planning company where Shane’s fiancé worked, and some suspicious goings-on at a local business. When she runs into her ex, Ryder, on one case, her calmer demeanor vanishes, as she’s still angry at his abandonment when she was attacked by a killer. But Ryder is a new man: calm, collected, and in therapy for his issues. Most surprising of all: he actually apologizes for his behavior, and tries to make amends, so Juliet finds herself working with him as they try to get to the bottom of one of the cases. Soon Juliet realizes that someone close to her is far more involved than she imagined, and the cops need her help to break the case…a far cry from her past role as murder suspect/super sleuth extraordinaire.
The Java Jive Series is light-hearted and funny, with Juliet always getting into one mess or another, (like Stephanie Plum). This time, Juliet’s moving on with her life when her past shows up with a vengeance in the form of the reformed Ryder. Between wedding gowns, wigs, and the wild side of Nashville, Juliet’s got more than she can handle without questions about her ex. Besides, she’s got a new boyfriend that she prefers…right? I love this series, and Brew or Die is a great addition to it that will make you laugh at Juliet’s adventures as she bumbles her way through life.
Ana Spoke is a writer/middle manager who promised herself she’d finish a novel, and started a blog to keep her motivated and follow through on her goal. Her first novel, Shizzle, Inc. is a comedy that just hit shelves.
Isa Maxwell is a (sort-of) typical young adult: she managed to graduate community college by some miracle, she’s broke, and her boyfriend just dumped her because his dreams of a NFL career require someone more than Isa at his side. Isa is determined to be discovered, be able to pay off her bills, and show Brad just what he’s missing so he realizes he still loves her. Despite a nasty hangover and having no idea what she’s doing, Isa manages to win a contest and land a job as the personal assistant of the Mr. Hue of Shizzle, Inc. Finally, her plans are falling into place!
Being a billionaire’s go-to girl is nothing like Isa imagined. Soon she has a handful of new love interests, a bitter enemy who thinks Isa is out to steal her spotlight, and even less idea what she’s doing as Mr. Hue piles insurmountable job expectations on her plate. Between the corporate espionage, someone out to get her, and her own ineptitude, Isa wonders if getting discovered was really worth it. Between her own disasters and her family’s drama, being a grownup really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Shizzle, Inc. is a comedy of errors, with Isa stumbling from one disaster to the next with no idea what’s going on. Her cluelessness is an accurate portrayal of the entrance to adulthood, and readers will relate to her fumbling and frustration. Perfect for readers looking for a laugh, wanting to feel better about themselves, or just escape from reality a bit, Shizzle, Inc. is a great comedy choice.
Janet Evanovich is the best-selling author of the Stephanie Plum series, as well as several other series, including the Lizzy and Diesel series. Her newest book is Wicked Charms, the third book in the Lizzy and Diesel series. It hits shelves today.
Lizzy Tucker just wants to enjoy her nice, normal life: make cupcakes at the bakery, hang out with Glo, and make sure Cat has everything he needs. What Lizzy gets is something else entirely. A behind-the-scenes tour of the pirate museum leads to the discovery that the fake dead pirate in a cage on display at the museum isn’t really a fake at all, but the remains of “Peg Leg” Dazzle, a notorious pirate, and one with a link to one of the missing SALIGIA stones that Lizzy has the ability to sense. Soon Lizzy and her mysterious partner, Diesel, are on the trail of the missing stone.
But Lizzy and Diesel aren’t the only ones looking for the stone. Billionaire Martin Ammon is also after the stone, and for reasons far creepier: he believes he is the god Mammon, and needs the stone to complete his transformation. With the help of Glo, Broom, Carl, and Glo’s Buccaneer American boyfriend, Lizzy sets out to find the stone before the billionaire can. And Wulf, Diesel’s enigmatic cousin is after it as well. Lizzy will have to come up with some magic of her own if she wants to win this race.
Wicked Charms delivers what Evanovich’s readers have come to expect: laughs, oddball situations, quirky supporting characters, and a dash or two of romance. The developing emotions between Lizzy and Diesel grow even hotter in this installment, with a bit of competition from Wulf thrown in for good measure. The supporting characters truly make this novel sing, and the Buccaneer American is one of Evanovich’s best creations.
Carla Caruso is a writer from Australia who writes romance with a touch of humor. Her current novel, Pretty Famous, is the third book in the Astonvale series, which stars Celeste Pretty, a professional organizer with a knack for finding trouble.
Celeste Pretty’s life has changed for the better. Her fledgling business is off to a good start. Her father has found happiness with a new relationship. And Celeste and contractor Lenny are getting married! Things are good, except for Celeste’s new job: prestigious Astonvale College is celebrating 100 years, and they need Celeste to make sure the festivities happen as planned. And they’d like Imogen Karmel to assist her.
Between planning her own engagement party and making the sure the school celebration shines, Celeste doesn’t have time for theatrics, but she finds herself drawn into the 60-year-old murder mystery of a screen star anyway. Between her sleuthing and Imogen’s determination to find the missing prince—who doesn’t want to be a princess?—it will take a miracle to get the project completed on time.
Pretty Famous continues the quirky adventures of Celeste Pretty, with Imogen in a co-starring role that gives the reader glimpses at the depth she hides so well. Lenny is back as well, and the romance that started in A Pretty Mess comes full circle for the couple. With Celeste’s way of landing in precarious situations, the reader will laugh their way through the newest book in the Astonvale series.