Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Dixie Cash

Dear Author

REVIEW: Don’t Make Me Choose Between You and My Shoes by...

Dear Ms. Cumbie and Ms. McClanahan,

book review Your first book was a delight, second I haven’t read, third was a disappointment and fourth I almost didn’t read. Ha. Let that be a lesson to me. From the blurb, I knew that this would be more comedy and mystery than romance and in the last book I had decried the lack of Buddy Overstreet and Vic Martin. I also realized that I’d probably be in for lots of culture clashes between the good ole girls from west Texas and the people of New York City. Both of these didn’t thrill me. But by gum you pulled it off and had me laughing even as the management of the Anson hotel whimpered at the damage unleashed in the wake of Debbie Sue Overstreet and Edwina Perkins-Martin – hair dressers extraordinaire and PIs still in training.

If “Shoes” had only been an ‘us vs them’ treatment of the differences between small town west Texans and brash Yankees, I’d have gotten tired of it pretty quickly. But I love the way you two have everyone pretty much end up laughing with each other. Sure there are some myths dispelled and some gentle fun poked at common misconceptions but on the whole, Debbie Sue, Edwina and their new friend Celina head towards NYC excited about seeing it and determined to have a great time. And NYC seems to enjoy the Texas women just as much.

The murder mystery isn’t really the main focus of the book and as such I was okay with it simmering on the back burner for most of the book. But when it does move to the forefront of the plot, our two girls use their intuition and street smarts to crack the case and ensure the villain is fingered. Though the way Debbie Sue goes about making sure the evidence remains at the crime scene is probably one that will give the NYC police and fire departments ulcers. I would hope in the future that if Ed is taking off after a criminal, she changes out of her platform shoes before the chase begins. And oh, what she has to do to her Jimmy Choos!

Wow, Celina and Matt fall in love fairly quickly. And I mean quickly. After four days he’s ready to move 2000 miles away to a totally different environment and commit to HEA lurve? Hmmm, falling in love? Yes, fine, that’s sweet as Debbie Sue and Ed agree. Being in love and staying in love takes a bit more time for me to really believe it. Plus Debbie Sue says something about Matt bothers her but it’s never explained what it is that’s setting her off. Nor is there a scene where she changes her mind or is reassured that the thing behind her feeling is taken care of. Or if there was, I missed it.

Jennie talks about books being readable. They might have flaws, they might push your buttons, they might not rate high grades but they’re compulsively readable. I was glued to this book for 4 hours, flipping pages like a revolving door in a hurricane. When a book amuses me, involves me and entertains me without pissing me off, I tend to grade higher and this one gets a B+

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

Dear Author

REVIEW: I Gave You My Heart, but You Sold It...

Ladies,

Book CoverThis is the second book I’ve read in your series set in the minuscule west Texas town of Salt Lick featuring the dynamic duo of hair stylists Debbie Sue Overstreet and Edwina Perkins-Martin. And while I still love all the titles of the books, this one fell far short of book one in the series, “Since You’re Leaving Anyway, Take Out the Trash.” I wish more time had been spent with Debbie Sue and Edwina, that their husbands had had more than cameo appearances and that the humor didn’t seem quite so forced.

There isn’t much to do in Salt Lick, Texas so everyone minds everybody else’s business. And since the setting is Texas, the hair dressing shop of Debbie Sue and Edwina is central to a lot of the town action. These two are still the good ol’ gals I remember but as their love lives are in good shape, you’ve moved the romantic action to a newcomer to town, Allison Barker.

She’s sweet and kind and a good mother and dutiful daughter but she doesn’t have the “kick” that either Debbie Sue or Edwina have. The humor in her scenes mainly come from the disastrous dates she has with Quint Matthews, former rodeo champ and long time friend of DS and E. And thank you for having Allison be as appalled as I was that her 11 year old daughter had signed her up for internet dating, been chatting with a man in his 30s and given out their address (over the internet) to someone she’d never met. Unfortunately, Allison ditches her anger too quickly for me and dives into dating this man she’s never met either.

I know you’re making the dates as bad as possible to push Allison together with Quint’s friend (and also former rodeo bullfighter) Tag Freeman. But after a while, I had to wonder just why either Quint or Allison bothered to keep going out, beyond the fact that they wanted to finally finish at least one date together. I did like the “guy” relationship between Tag and Quint, and liked that Tag tried to do the honorable thing and not move in on a woman he thought his buddy was still dating. I also appreciated the Rodeo for Dummies information you included and thought you did a nice job integrating it into the story.

But back to Quint. I was stunned that, given his past history, Quint decided to try internet dating. I mean, talk about a pig in a poke. The reason he asks for the professional services of DS and E, as the “Domestic Equalizers” makes sense but also reinforces the question of why this man is still willing to date women he’s never even met? Perhaps it’s to again highlight the differences in suitability between Tag and Quint? Though DS and E logically go about discovering who the mystery woman is who loved and left Quint, I was a bit amazed at how quickly they got an answer and how coincidental it is that Allison knew the person. I also think the more serious ending didn’t match well with the humor of the rest of the story. It was just too jarring.

By the end of the book, I had to agree with Quint’s stalker about how much people in west Texas drive, drive, drive….Jaysus I’d hate to see their monthly gasoline card statements. The violation of the Texas penal code was hysterical. However, are all Texas law personnel in small towns such hicks? I know these books are comedies (mainly) but the way you describe them, they couldn’t pick the lint out of their navels if given a month to do it. There’s one final thing that bothered me though others might not care or even notice it: the worshipping at the Temple of the Womb. All mothers are wonderful, all fine and upstanding women want babies or grandbabies and if they can’t have them, they’re desolate, and any woman who doesn’t want babies is an evil tramp. Though I enjoyed seeing DS and E again, this book will not be one I reread and is not one I’d recommend to newbies to the series. C-

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in trade paperback or ebook format.