by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of Beach Bags and Burglaries at the end of this review.
For twenty-four year-old Haley Randolph, it seems that every silver lining has a cloud. She recently got the awesome job of event planner for the very cool L.A. Affairs but she has to keep working at the questionable-in-taste mid-range Holt Department store for the medical benefits. She won a promotion to work out of Holt’s corporate offices, away from demanding customers who actually want customer service, but it means Haley will be closer to Ty Cameron, her ex-boyfriend whom she can barely think of without crying. To top it off, Haley just won an upgraded seven-day vacation with her three besties to the exclusive Rowan Island Resort. The downside? The resort is owned by a reclusive and scandal-ridden billionaire who may or not be alive, an indeterminate state shared by a beautiful maid who went missing from the Rowan Hotel a day earlier.
Unfortunately, stalking a must-have designer bag leads Haley to the very dead body of the missing Jaslyn Gordon. Haley needs a reason to investigate and the author provides a hilarious one. When frightened vacationers cancel their stay, Haley and her friends are pity-guilted into being guests for a desperate bride. This is all the incentive Haley needs to solve the murder and bring back the real guests. The last thing she wants to do is attend the wedding for a Bridezilla.
The friends’ No Man Talk Allowed policy falls to the wayside pretty fast when Haley spots FBI agent Luke Warner. They met and shared a moment of zing while he was working in the Garment District. That’s only the first in a downpour of hotties from Haley’s life who descend on the island to provide information, support, and loads of emotional confusion.
Much hilarity comes from Haley’s unapologetic materialism and superficial judgments. Just as entertaining are her interactions with Bella, an ambitious hair stylist who creates not just hairstyles but sculptural art, practical Marcie, and celebrity-obsessed Sandy. The four women may have disastrous love lives but they are anything but clichéd or stereotypical. Haley does have an unhealthy and possibly pathological obsession for the latest designer bag, and loathes the drudgery of a nine-to-five job. Both her broken heart and pageant queen mother (who never abdicated the throne) help to make Haley more sympathetic than flighty. At heart she is loyal to her friends, devoted to those she loves, and willing to seek justice at the risk of her own neck. If the Sea Vixen IT bag should happen to cross her path, well, all the better! As for Haley’s personal life, the author loves ending her books on a cliffhanger. This one is no exception. With the groundwork Howell laid, it looks as though it will be worth the wait.
To enter to win a copy of A Beach Bags and Burglaries, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Bags,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 9, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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