Tuesday, December 28, 2021

December 28, 2021 - Staff Reviews


Engagement and Espionage
By Penny Reid
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Ebook Available from WV Reads!

1.5 Stars - Penny Reid's branching out like many romance authors into the cozy mystery realm but you have to be a fan of hers I think to enjoy this wacky romp. I couldn't say this checked all the book boxes I was hoping for unfortunately. It wasn't particularly sexy, suspenseful, or mysterious enough to grab my attention.

For a short book, this felt very long. Especially for a cozy mystery. Do not make my mistake of thinking this is a standalone cozy mystery. I was completely lost and quite irritated. This book is pretty highly acclaimed but I feel like those awards and reviews came from people who knew a lot more than I did going in. I was intrigued despite the vague and crazy blurb. This was a cozy that's supposed to both romantic and small town country. I've enjoyed plenty of the "sharper" cozy series like Stephanie Plum and Lexi Graves mysteries. Jennifer's a baker with the Southern twang and overbearing mama I can relate to. She's already with Cletus, which is refreshing in a genre filled with endless love triangles. 

Jennifer and Cletus talk to us like we already know them from the jump. (And apparently, Reid fans did, I admit.) But it didn't make me feel like I got them. The two of them aren't exactly romantic nor are they burning up the pages. I can appreciate some sexual tension, something I've heard Reid usually throws out in spades, but these two weren't always clicking. There was also a rambling quality to Reid's writing that I did not get into but others might. I knew I was getting into a book about chicken murders but even the first scene already had me sick of talking about eggs. And the country-ness didn't feel very authentic. It's like the accents, chickens, moonshine, and banjos were all just throw in to complete all the cozy setting requirements. I think unfortunately this made the mistake many authors trying this genre new to them do. This isn't really a cozy mystery. It's not really an exciting romance. Therefore, it runs the risk of disappointing fans of either or both genres. Not saying I won't circle back to Reid's work in the future but it certainly didn't make me a fan.


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