Thursday, July 18, 2024

Review: Maid of Dishonor (The Wedding Bell Mysteries #4) by Nancy Robards Thompson

Instead of walking down the aisle, the bride is suspected of murder….

Maddie Bell’s life and career have hit peak stride. She’s sold her cozy mystery series and is contracted for two more books; she’s engaged to Hemlock’s chief of police; and her mother has purchased and restored the beautiful historic mansion, Gracewood Hall, in their hometown of Hemlock, North Carolina. Three generations—Gigi, Maddie, and Jenna–are now happily engaged in the wedding and special event business.

But their highly scrutinized inaugural event—the wedding of an A-List social media influencer—becomes a murder scene before the rehearsal dinner. Kate Archer, the professional bridesmaid Jenna hired, is found bludgeoned by a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, not only threatening their new business, but also sending Jenna into a tailspin of guilt. She knew Kate from college and had begged her to fill in as the maid of honor.

Even as the police warn Maddie not to interfere with the investigation, mother and daughter set out to discover who killed Kate and dispel the growing rumors that Gracewood Hall is cursed.


My Review: 

Gracewood Hall is set for it’s grand opening and the first event is a social media influencer’s wedding.  But when a bride’s maid is murdered, Gracewood Hall becomes a crime scene.  Against police orders, Maddie and Jenna put their sleuthing skills to work to figure out who the killer is.

This is fun and unpredictable story with unforgettable characters and a great plot.  The story takes a lot of twists and turns and I couldn’t wait to find out who the killer was. 


Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Review: Hate to Fake It to You by Amanda Sellet

A waitress masquerading as an influencer and a wildlife photographer are on a collision course with romanceand chaosin Hate to Fake It to You, a zany modern twist on a screwball comedy classic about figuring out what you really wantby pretending to be someone you’re not.

Everyone gets a glow-up on social media, but Libby Lane's online persona is the fakest of fakes. Cooked up as a joke by Libby and her best friends, Lillibet is the affluent, healthier-than-thou opposite of her glam-free life on the side of Oahu most tourists never see. The phony fronting is all in good fun, until a real influencer stumbles onto the
Love, Lillibet Instagram feed and starts making waves.

When Hildy Johnson, the ambitious junior member of a media dynasty, travels to Hawaii to talk to Lillibet about parlaying her lifestyle brand into a job, Libby and her friends scramble to take the make-believe to a new level. Complicating the charade even further is Hildy’s handsome companion, a wildlife photographer named Jefferson Jones, whose keen eye sees more than he lets on.

Between the pretend husband, borrowed goats, a made-up holiday, and Libby’s very real attraction to Jefferson, it’s anyone’s guess which lie will blow their cover first . . . especially since Lillibet isn’t the only one with something to hide.


My Review:

A lighthearted and fun read.

I had so much fun reading this book.  I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.  Libby isn’t your average influencer, she’s a fraud.  Her friends have her back and even help out on her blog, Love, Lillibet.  But how long will the secret stay hidden when Libby comes face to face with someone who is willing to give her a real writing career?   This book was full of humor, witty banter, close friendships, romance and uniquely unpredictable situations.  I had a hard time putting this book down.  


Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Sunday, July 14, 2024

Review: The Beautiful People by Michelle Gable

Set against the glamorous 1960s Jet Set, a novel about a failed debutante whose new job as assistant to society photographer Slim Aarons takes her into Palm Beach’s inner circle, and into a beguiling friendship with the star at its center, fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer

It’s 1961, and for Margo Hightower, everything is about to change. True, her engagement is off, her family has fallen in scandal, and she's completely broke. But she’s just been hired as assistant to photographer Slim Aarons—famous for his vibrant pictures of high society, royalty, and Hollywood stars—and she knows this opportunity is her ticket to something better.

From the bright beaches of Acapulco to glitzy parties in New York, Margo is thrown headfirst into the glamorous jet-set world she so covets, observing its ways from behind the camera as Slim’s sidekick. There’s Jackie Kennedy, Truman Capote and his Swans, a host of Vanderbilts. Beautiful people in beautiful places.

But when they land in Palm Beach, a scene with few rules and many riches, the lines between work and play begin to blur. As Margo becomes swept up in the city’s social circle—and into a friendship with heiress and rising fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer—the golden life seems increasingly in reach. Until she finds herself entangled in a complicated web of loyalties and secrets that could bring it all crashing down…


My Review:

My favorite book this summer.

I need more. I need a sequel. I couldn’t get enough of this book and I certainly didn’t want it to end. It’s a story about self-discovery, secrets and the value of friendships, all set among the social elite of Palm Beach in the 60s.  The main character of this book is Margo Hightower, who becomes an assistant to Slim Aarons, a famous photographer.  As Margo gets to know the beautiful people of Palm Beach, she learns things aren't always as they appear.

This is a story that I won't soon forget. Even though this book is considered fiction, there are some factual events that make the entire story feel real.  I especially enjoyed learning more about Lilly Pulitzer, one of my fashion icons.