Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernst
Goodreads’ Rating: ☀☀☀☀
Maggie Finds Her Muse is a delightful romantic comedy about a romance writer who is struggling to write the third book in her latest trilogy. The remedy – a writing retreat in Paris at her agents’ flat in the city, of course. I love the setting. The beach always inspires me to write, but I could see where a beautiful and romantic city like Paris would do the same for Maggie, the main character. I also loved the in-depth look at the writing process with all its quirkiness and challenges.
The focus is more on the book writing process than on romance, but since Maggie has two love interests – one, her ex-husband, and two, the son of the Paris flat housekeeper – there is still that romantic plotline threaded throughout the novel. In the book, Max convinces Maggie that writing about a more mature romance rather than the young characters she does typically would be an even better story, and that is precisely what the reader gets to experience with this novel. A romance between two older individuals who have the experience of previous marriages and life in general finding that spark and connection that makes the world a better place in which to live. I love that it boldly acknowledged that love and romance are not just for the young but are even more intense and relevant as people grow and mature, learning more about themselves, what makes them happy, and how to open their hearts to another.
Maggie is a well-developed main character who can get rather tedious but overall is relatable and endearing. Her support characters are not as well developed, but they fill their roles superbly.
If you are looking for a light and funny read, Maggie Finds Her Muse is just what you are looking for.
Dead Secret by Noelle Holten
Goodreads’ Rating: ☀☀☀☀
Dead Secret is the perfect thrill-ride from beginning to end, as police race to find one of their own before it’s too late. The pace stays fast throughout the novel, keeping the thrills coming turn after turn. A fellow policeman and his daughter are missing, and two other people they know are found dead. The pages flip as fast as they can go as I wanted to find out where they are, if they are safe, and who murdered two people. I love the attention to small details. Maggie, the main character and a police detective, wants a love interest and doesn’t want one. This conflict plays out in exciting ways throughout the story that enabled me to feel like I know Maggie in a manner that most characters don’t reveal about themselves. She is intricately layered with relatable flaws that breathe life into the character. The support characters become much more developed in this installment of the DC Maggie Jamieson series, particularly DI Rutherford. As with other books in the series, it’s all in the little nuances of the person’s reactions- a forehead massaged to lessen a headache, fingers spontaneously running through that person’s hair – all very real mannerisms that are small but say so much about what’s going on in the characters‘ head. This attention to detail is what makes the series stand out for me. And, the ending is delightful, as it shocked and horrified me. If you love never-ending thrills and a character-driven story, Dead Secret is the novel for you!