Grace Takes Off by Julie Hyzy – Book Review

Grace Takes Off by Julie Hyzy
Published by Berkley Prime Crime, an imprint of Penguin

This is the fourth book in the Manor House Mystery series, please see my review of the previous books in the series, Grace Under Pressure, Grace Interrupted, and Grace Among Thieves.

For a Manor House Mystery, Julie Hyzy doesn’t put her main character, Grace, into the manor house very much. At the opening of Grace Takes Off, Grace and her boss Bennett are finishing a two week European vacation (for those of you who haven’t read the book, it isn’t like that, Grace and Bennett are not lovers, her mother may have been his illegitimate half sister) by visiting Bennett’s good friend in Italy. When Bennett has the chance to examine a treasure that has much sentimental value for him and his good friend, he reacts oddly. What happens on the flight home proves that Marshfield Manor isn’t the only place that Grace can find herself in mortal danger.

Julie Hyzy does a great job knowing when to remove her characters from their normal surroundings. I certainly wouldn’t recommend that Grace Takes Off be the first book that anyone picks up in the Manor House Mystery series, not least because it assumes that people have read at least some of what comes before, but putting Grace on a plane and giving her conflict there keeps the series fresh – even if the finale does find Grace back in a very familiar position.

Recommended.

For more information, see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.

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Fonduing Fathers by Julie Hyzy – Mini Book Review

Fonduing Fathers by Julie Hyzy
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

This is the fifth book in the White House Chef series. I have previously reviewed the first four books: State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef,Eggsecutive Orders, Buffalo West Wing, and Affairs of Steak.

From the publisher:

Olivia has always believed that her father was an honorable man—until a trip to visit her mother reveals that he was dishonorably discharged from the army. Olivia is even more shocked to learn that he was brutally murdered because someone at his company suspected him of selling corporate secrets. Refusing to believe that her father was a scoundrel, Olivia won’t rest until she proves his innocence.

Enlisting the help of her boyfriend, Gav, Olivia must reach out to her father’s colleagues to discover the truth behind his murder. What she’s about to discover may not only put her at risk, but threaten national security as well…

One thing that continues to impress me about Hyzy’s White House Chef series is her ability to keep things fresh. In Fonduing Fathers she does it by taking Ollie, as Olivia prefers to be called, mostly out of the White House. At this point we have enough background built up on Ollie and her family among Hyzy’s five previous books that she can change the setting up drastically like this without compromising the integrity of the whole premise. And it works, it really does. In fact, it works better than if another White House-based situation had been conjured up, because it keeps Ollie from becoming a flat, lifeless character by giving her something in her family life to be passionate about.

Because it relies on some background built up in the previous books, Fonduing Fathers is not the best place to start if you are new to the series, but you can know that if you start now, you will have six great books ahead of you.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Grace Among Thieves by Julie Hyzy – Book Review

Grace Among Thieves by Julie Hyzy
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

The third book in the Manor House Mystery series, please see my review of the previous books in the series, Grace Under Pressure and Grace Interrupted.

Life at Marshfield Manor is always eventful – at least since Grace has been there. The latest thing she must contend with is a series of small thefts, which coincide with the film crew which is shooting Marshfield for a promotional video. Grace has been warned by a former professor who also works at a private museum that they had similar small thefts, followed by a devastatingly large one, but as of now nobody at Marshfield has any real concrete clues as to who might be responsible. That something is very wrong can no longer be ignored, though, when two guests are shot during a tour, after being lured into a stairwell by someone dressed as a museum employee. The female guest is killed, but the man, Mark, is only injured, and something of a romance sparks between him and Grace as she attempts to rectify the situation and solve the mystery – a mystery that seems to have placed her directly in danger.

In Grace Among Thieves, Grace has just the perfect amount of romantic drama in her life, to balance the work drama she has at Marshfield. Jake is still out of the picture, after the drama at the end of Grace Interrupted, and the town rumor mill suggests that he is dating an ex-girlfriend. Of course, Grace now has Mark, but he’s from Colorado, and only in town temporarily, however attracted to her he seems to be.

The mystery of who is behind the thefts and shootings at Marshfield is also perhaps the best of the Manor House Mystery series. For the first time in this series, I was fairly certain of at least one culprit well before the end of the book, but in this case that was actually instrumental to the thrill of the book. Grace and her inability to see the danger around her put me on the edge of my seat more than once, and caused me to read the last 1/3 of Grace Among Thieves in a giant gulp.

This series continues to be strong, as well as fun. Recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy

Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

This is the fifth book in the White House Chef series. I have previously reviewed the first four books: State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, Eggsecutive Orders, and Buffalo West Wing.

Having to scope out party locations with White House Sensitivity Director Peter Everett Sargeant doesn’t rank particularly high on Olivia’s list of best ways to spend a day. Actually, it is more likely to fit in as one of her personal circles of hell. Sargeant has, after all, had it in for Olivia ever since he began work at the White House. Olivia’s bad day only gets worse when she and Sargeant arrive at the First Lady’s preferred location for the party and find two fellow White House staffers already there – dead. Not only is Olivia back in the middle of another White House mystery, this time she’s stuck investigating with Peter Everett Sargeant.

Another fun book from Julie Hyzy! I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as Eggsecutive Orders and Buffalo West Wing, but that seems to have more to do with the fact that I read those three in quick succession and just needed to space them out a bit more. I love that Hyzy is continuing to keep this series fresh by changing up how and where Olivia investigates the various crimes that come across her path. Teaming up with Sargeant is certainly not a plot point I ever imagined seeing.

Okay, everyone, I’ve spent the last year recommending Julie Hyzy, and this series in particular, to you. If you haven’t read it yet, why not?

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Personal copy.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy – Book Review

Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

This is the 4th book in the White House Chef series. I have previously reviewed the first three books: State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, and Eggsecutive Orders.

Ollie had a good run in the White House kitchen under President Campbell. Mrs. Campbell, in particular, was a big fan of hers, which helped to shield Ollie during some of the more outrageous happenings. President Campbell decided not to run for a second term, however, which means that Ollie’s job situation is currently a bit tenuous, as she serves at the pleasure of the President and First Lady. When a mysterious box of buffalo wings shows up in the kitchen, addressed to the President’s children, Ollie makes the decision not to serve them, a decision that proves unpopular with the children and their mother. It turns out that Ollie may have saved the children’s lives, but as she has been forbidden to share this information with the First Lady, her job as Executive Chef remains in jeopardy.

Buffalo West Wing has an interesting flow, compared with the other books in this series. Most of the dangerous mystery happens away from Ollie and the White House, other than the relatively benign appearance of the poisoned buffalo wings – although inevitably Ollie does get caught up in the drama eventually. Instead, the majority of the plot has more to do with the internal politics of the White House staff, as a potential rival is introduced for Ollie just when she is at her most vulnerable with a new First Lady. Perhaps the brightest spot is a returning character who becomes a possible new love interest for Ollie, something that was much needed after her breakup with Tom in Eggsecutive Orders.

A slightly different entry in the White House Chef series, but still a strong one.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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