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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Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy – Book Review

Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin

This is the 3rd book in the White House Chef series. I have previously reviewed the first two books: State of the Onion and Hail to the Chef.

Ollie Paras is back, and she’s just as fabulous as ever. In Eggsecutive Orders, we see much less of the White House and the White House kitchen, because Ollie herself gets kicked out of her kitchen in the first few pages of the book. The night before the book begins, the President hosted a dinner that included the Joseph McCarthy of terrorism, the NSA’s Carl Minkus. Minkus has made plenty of enemies, so when he dies after dinner, the Secret Service suspects foul play – and the food service – immediately.

Julie Hyzy does a fabulous job keeping Ollie’s adventures fresh. I was initially a bit worried about how Ollie not being in the White House much would play out, but Hyzy added two new characters to the mix: Ollie’s mother and grandmother who were on their way to visit her from Chicago when the crisis comes to a head. To spice things up even more, Ollie has once more been prohibited from sticking her nose into the investigation, but this time her Secret Service boyfriend Tom is essentially a hostage to ensure her good behavior. He has been put in charge of keeping her in line, and his job depends on her staying out of trouble.

Although I really like Hyzy’s Manor House series, I had forgotten just how much fun the White House Chef series really is. Ollie is a fabulous protagonist: smart, sassy, and occasionally prone to embarrassing herself (but not too much). Even better, she’s just as engaging three books into the series as she was at the beginning, if not more so.

This series is an absolute joy to read, I highly recommend it. I know I’m looking forward to the next books in the series: Buffalo West Wing and the newly-released Affairs of Steak.

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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Hail to the Chef by Julie Hyzy – Book Review

Hail to the Chef by Julie Hyzy
Published by Berkeley Prime Crime, an imprint of Penguin

My review of the first book in the series: State of the Onion

After a grueling encounter with an old rival and a dangerous encounter with someone who was not who he seemed, Ollie Paras has finally realized her dream of being Executive Chef of the White House. However, if Ollie thought that things – out of the kitchen at least – would calm down once she was in her new role, she was dead wrong. Just in time for the busy holiday season there are mysterious and deadly occurrences everywhere Ollie turns: from mysterious deaths to fake bombs being planted in the White House. Now Ollie has to worry not only about the menus and staffing for some of her biggest events of the year, but she also has to find time to squeeze in mandatory explosives-recognition classes as well as some highly unofficial sleuthing.

I cannot think of much that is more fun than spending time with Ollie and her kitchen. She is smart and relatively confident and not afraid to stick her nose where it doesn’t belong. Hyzy did a good job beginning to grown Ollie into her new role. She is noticeably more comfortable with it than in State of the Onion, but not so much that it seems unreasonable for her given the amount of time in the new position. My only slight problem was with the resolution of the mystery. It was perhaps a bit more complex than I would have guessed and I thought it was perhaps a little much. Other than that, though, Hail to the Chef was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Recommended

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound |Amazon*

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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State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy – Book Review

State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy
Published by Berkeley Prime Crime, an imprint of Penguin

As a White House Assistant Chef, Olivia Paras – Ollie, to her friends – has plenty of stress in her life, particularly as her boss and mentor is retiring and she is up against cooking school rival cum television personality for his job. The last thing she needs is anything distracting her right now, but unfortunately nobody told that to the man who broke into the White House grounds as she returned from a break with a commemorative frying pan for her mentor. Suddenly, Ollie finds herself in hot water, embroiled in a course of events. (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

Although I don’t read them very often, I love a good cozy mystery for a change of pace and, as such, I’m so excited to have found Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef series. In my opinion, a cozy is good if it is engaging, the reveal is not overly obvious, and the plot does not become completely ridiculous. “State of the Onion” was absolutely engaging, I found myself reading a hundred pages at a time easily, and even yelling at Ollie when she was about to do something stupid and dangerous. As to the reveal, I had a definite idea as to who the bad guy might be, but Hyzy kept me vacillating between two possibilities right up until the very end. As for the plot, I’m sure there were things that were not completely accurate, but it was nothing for which I could not suspend disbelief, particularly with Hyzy’s engaging storytelling.

I’m very much looking forward to continuing this series, which is now up to four books, with the publishing of “Buffalo West Wing” on January 4th. Recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*
Amazon.*

The newest book in this series, “Buffalo West Wing,” was just released. Buy it from Powells*|Indiebound*|Amazon* – or check out my giveaway tomorrow

Source: Publisher, via author’s publicist.
* 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.