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"Stylish...nonstop action...guaranteed to keep chick lit and mystery fans happy!" - Publishers' Weekly, starred review
About the Author
Gemma Halliday is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the High Heels Mysteries, the Hollywood Headlines Mysteries, the Jamie Bond Mysteries, the Tahoe Tessie Mysteries, as well as several other works. Gemma's books have received numerous awards, including a Golden Heart, two National Reader's Choice awards, and three RITA nominations. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her boyfriend, Jackson Stein, who is also a writer, and their three children, who are adorably distracting on a daily basis.
To learn more about Gemma, visit her online at gemmahalliday.com
I love the High Heeled Mysteries!!! If you're into a good comedic thriller, and one that isn't always predictable, this is a great series! It gets a little redundant, at times, but it's also entertaining & a little bit suspenseful. You'd like to smack"Maddie" (the main protagonist... andsometimes antagonist, lol) because she's constantly putting herself in danger, and going against the advice of professionals. I can say, however, that the stories get better and better. I'm on book 4, and have found a new appreciation for Maddie's determination and drive, despite the fact that it often comes with putting herself and others in danger. You also can't help but to fall in love with Ramirez, the sexy cop who seems to have to rescue Maddie from herself. I gave it only 4 stars, however, because of the redundancy (Halladay "re-introduces" the characters & does a short bio about reoccurring characters, in each book. While I get the concept, for those who started the series from book 1, and not somewhere in the middle, it becomes a bit annoying.) The upside to this sort of style, is that you don't necessarily have to read in order to enjoy the books, and her recapping the events in previous books will make new readers back track to read those... Overall, Halladay's books are an easy & enjoyable read!
Here's the thing - there are almost no likeable character in this series, and most are completely one-dimensional. Maddie is spineless, flighty, irresponsible, and shrill. Ramirez is egotistical, controlling, bordering on verbally abusive, and a misogynist. They make no sense together, each of them should have walked away from the other by the time the first book ended, but I guess they're both gluttons for punishment. Dana is halfway decent most of the time, but too shallow for real interest, and she too often teams up with Marco to take advantage of Maddie's utter lack of ability to say no. Mom is manipulative and overbearing, and it's clear that her character is combined with Mrs R to make sure we know that no woman over the age of forty (particularly one who is overweight) can possibly have any fashion sense. (Although Maddie's "shoe designer" fashion sense often comes into question when she designs kitten and 2 inch heels for runway models.) The only two characters who are likeable are Felix, who actually has some depth and story, and Ralph aka Faux Dad. Although Ralph's story time is limited to readers questioning his sexuality and Maddie blatantly using him for free pedicures rather than actually including him in the family, he manages to come across as kind and caring each time he's involved.
Much of the stories center on what Maddie is wearing. We get a full detailed description of every outfit she tries on, whether she decides to wear it or not. Mom and Mrs R get painfully detailed descriptions, including their make-up. We seem to know every item in Marco's wardrobe. We're "treated" to full directions on every freeway and street Maddie takes to reach her destinations, perhaps so there will be enough pages to consider it a novel rather than a novella? The grammar in the books is horrible, although whether that's from converting it to digital or from Halliday's actual writing, we can't be sure. Each book is predictable every step of the way, particularly Undercover in High Heels. If you can't figure out who did it by halfway through each book, you're not actually reading it. The ending in every book is the same, just with a different name on the killer. (How Maddie has any hair left on her head after book four is beyond me, she's had her hair yanked on so many times when she tries to run away.) The timelines from book to book make no sense, and there are several continuity errors.
But somehow, some way, the stories are entertaining enough to hang on and see what happens. Are they worth $4.99 to $9.99 per book? No. But for a couple bucks a piece buying the full set at $9.99, I'd recommend it if you have a weekend to kill with some fluff.
Each of these books are great and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. I can't wait to continue reading the rest in this series. The characters are lively and I find myself laughing out loud at times. These are so happy I'm reading with a smile on my face.
I am a big fan of Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich). I was told that Maddie Springer and Stephanie were alike and that I would enjoy these books. Overall, this set of 5 books was a good read. There are a lot similarities between the two--both have dysfunctional families, both have that very sexy, hot guy, and both gals (Maddie and Stephanie) seem to have trouble follow them.
Maddie Springer is a shoe designer (currently doing children's Strawberry Shortcake etc), who is always dressed in the latest fashion. Maddie best friend is Dana, a stacked blond, who exercies and eats healthy. Also a friend to Maddie is Marco, the receptionist, at her faux dad salon. Maddie mom is a fashion disaster, who gets married to faux dad in book one. Maddie mom has her side kick of Mrs. Rosenblatt or Mrs. R.
In the first book, her boyfriend, Richard, is found murdered and the LAPD question her about it. Maddie, meets detective Jack Ramirez and taboild boy, Felix Dunn in the first story. Maddie and her best friend, Dana, take it upon themselves to try to figure out who killed Richard. Maddie can be a bit of a ditz for lack of better word. As book one continues, Maddie is hot for Jack, the latino detective. Eventually the murder is solved, Maddie is cleared and Jack and Maddie start seeing each other.
In book two, it picks up with the same characters, here we meet Maddie father. Maddie gets a strange, message from her estragned father on her answering machine. Maddie, Dana, and Marco are off to Vegas to find out what exactly is going on. Once in Vegas, Maddie finds a dead body. Next thing she sees is her missing boyfriend, Jack, who has been absent from her life--he working undercover in Vegas. This story had me smiling reading about the things Maddie and her friendsd were doing. Overall, it was an entertaining book and you have to use your imagination as you know there is just no way, this stuff could really be happening.
In book three it starts with Maddie not happy that her boyfriend has broken their date as something had come up. Dana and Maddie decide to hit the town and wouldn't you know it..Maddie runs into him at a club--with another woman! Next thing you know, there is a dead body and Maddie is being questioned. Soon, we find out that this story revolves around a tv series and the main female lead getting threats and people around her dieing. There is another sexy guy introduced--Ricky who is a character on the tv series, and becomes a love interest to Dana. Dana and Maddie, come up with some crazy idea on how they are going to help Ramirez by being able to solve murders that are going on.
In the fourth book, Maddie accidently gets hit by a car driven by Mrs. R. and her foot ends up in a cast. In the meantime, Maddie is set to fly out to Paris to have her shoes shown in one of the famous Paris fashion shows. Because of her cast, Maddie mom, and Mrs. R. vounteer to go to Paris with her, to help her out--carry her luggage and so forth. I do not have to tell you what happens next --Maddie comes across a dead body in Paris. Mom and Mrs. R. help out Maddie with some internet research as maddie does not really seem to be good at that. Meanwhile, Jack, ends up flying out to Paris (to see Maddie). Dana also ends up flying out since one of the models was murdered and they are short one for the show---Maddie suggest to the designer that her friend would be perfect to replace the dead model for the fashion show (I am sure there are a lot more experienced models that could have replaced her--but hey, it is Dana)! Felix already happens to be there, as he goes every year to accompany his aunt to the infamous fashion shows. With everyone in Paris, Maddie is up to the usual--comes up with some pretty crazy ideas as to how she is going to solve a murder that she is a suspect in (again). I will admit that by now, I shake my head and ask myself a lot, can a person like Maddie really exist? Yet, I do enjoy these books, so I continue to read on.
In the last book of the box set, Maddie is planning her wedding and of course, she has found another dead body! As Mrs. R would say, her karma sucks! Maddie makes a bet with Ramirez that she will be able to solve this murder before he can. In the meantime, you read about Maddie and how she goes down her list of suspects to try and figure out who committed the crime. Maddie ends up letting Dana and Marco plan her dream wedding--can you say disaster. Even though I had figured out who had done it--I still read the story as enjoy reading them.
Overall, these books are all humor filled with some murder thrown in and of course romance! A good book to take to the beach or pool. Like other ebooks, yes there were typo and grammer errors. The one thing, that I found a tad annoying was the fact that in every single book, I was getting the same back ground on all the characters--I was introduced to them in the first book, so I know who they are and how they met--but I understand that not everyone reads books in order and some readers may not know the characters. Maddie and Dana are referred to from time to time as Lucy and Ethel as they get themselves into some pretty unusual situations and you just have to laugh--though I wonder at times how Jack can be this smart detective yet, have a girlfriend that can act so goody-to-shoes (not sure of the word I want here).
I like these books, a great way to relax, read about a little mystery and some romance. I know that I will continue reading more of Ms. Halliday's books.