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Pretty, Hip & Dead: An Agnes Barton/Kimberly Steele Cozy Mystery (Agnes Barton and Kimberly Steele Mystery) Paperback – February 4, 2014
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Flat, uncompelling characters. I wanted to off Kimberly the neurotic blonde bimbo and her weiner dog. I mean who TOSSES small dogs into cars? Shoes, maybe. At least shoes don't have fragile spines. Is that the best verb the author could think of? Toss? Poor dog.
I like my heroines to have an IQ above room temperature. I never did meet the senior citizens Agnes and Eleanor (who sound delightful) as the writing was so doddering, I gave up, Not cozy, not funny, and not light reading. More like amateur writing. Author Madison Johns needs to employ a good proofreader, a copy editor and a writing coach if she's planning on writing more books. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone--free, or otherwise. Awful. Oh wait, she had EbookEditing Pro (Editor), and Cindy Tahse (Editor). Suggest that she fire them.
If this were a paperback, then maybe the parrot would like it to line the bottom of his cage with it.
I could never have imagined if the author actually wanted the reader to hate her or not, but the more I read the more I wanted her to be guilty just to shut her up and get rid of her.
The whole romance thing was a drag as well.
The constant referencing to the character Kimberly Steeles insecurity and sky high heels was, at times, a bit much.
Do these books get proof read? There are several words spelled wrong. I do not think I would recommend this book to anyone, nor do I plan on reading another "Kimberly Steele" book.
The dialogue is so poor, with not a breath of believability, the characters have no character and scenarios are improbable, to say the least. Usually, readers have internal imagery that swirls around in the brain as they read. In this case, the only images I see are middle school drama class actors mumbling bad dialogue as they clomp around a stage.
I don't need a story to be Pulitzer material to be enjoyable, but this is undeniably one of the poorest novels I've encountered.
I don't know how I accidentally read a second book by this author but it's probably because a) it was free and b) it got good reviews so I thought maybe I was mistaken in remembering that this author is awful. According to the blurb online Madison Johns has been on the New York Times best seller list repeatedly with this series. I can't even begin to imagine how that happened.
First of all... get a dictionary. Words are frequently used, repeatedly, incorrectly. For instance, in this particular book every clamors everywhere. The pregnant woman, Kimberly, clamors over to the counter to get a muffin. Everyone clamors out of the wrecked car. I believe she uses the word incorrectly five or six times JUST in this one short book... um...
Here is the definition of clamor: a loud and confused noise, especially that of people shouting vehemently.
"the questions rose to a clamor" synonyms: din, racket, rumpus, loud noise, uproar, tumult, shouting, yelling, screaming, roaring;
I think she thinks she means clamber which is defined this way: climb, move, or get in or out of something in an awkward and laborious way, typically using both hands and feet.
I'm having visions of Kimberly in her high heels and pregnant belly clawing her way across the floor and up onto the counter to get a muffin. Don't think that's the visual she was going for. I have NO idea what visual she was going for in any part of this book.
Either way, 99% of the time she's using the word, she's using it incorrectly. It drove me mad. That's just the worst of it. It happens with other words as well. If you don't know what the word means, don't use it! If you think you know what the word means, double check! PLEASE GET AN EDITOR WHO HAS A VOCABULARY ABOVE THE 3RD GRADE!!
This story is just incredibly stupid. Apparently in the previous book the pregnant Kimberly's on again, off again boyfriend who didn't know she was pregnant dies and now, six month's later she is marrying someone from work that she barely knows so that she won't lose her modeling job. Um... right because in this day and age anyone cares about if a pregnant model is married... that she also is supposedly deeply in love with which she discovered when he proposed to another woman, then immediately proposed to Kimberly.
The entire book takes place in about 3-4 days with everyone talking about the murdered woman trying to interfere in their marriage as if it had been going on for some time... um... yep because she died the day AFTER THE WEDDING.
There are bizarre twists and turns that make no sense at all, characters who JUST met the pregnant woman who are convinced she's innocent while people who have known her for long periods of time think she's guilty.
Kimberly finds out her new husband spent at least the evening before the wedding with the dead woman/rival model/ex girlfriend and immediately goes ballistic. I'm sorry, were you or were you not, just asking him where he grew up because you know nothing about this man. And then accepts his incredibly lame excuse without checking into whether anyone saw them together or not, then turns around and goes ballistic about it again, then once again accepts the lame excuse then on and on and on.
Really, a perfume line called Pretty & Hip? Do you know know this isn't the 70s and people don't say "Hip" anymore? Or that every woman's group in the country would be protesting "Pretty and Pregnant" lotion?
Why would you hire two women you know hate each other and then expect them to work together when you know they are at war? Especially one day after the wedding that was crashed by the evil one who's name I can't remember.
The evil one gets pushed off the dock while there is a photographer taking pictures of them and nobody thinks to look at the film from the camera? Really? Nobody even interviews the photographer or asks if there were any photos... just do a half-assed interview of wardrobe assistant who I don't believe was even outside at the time.
Kimberly runs around in super high heels at 6 months pregnant and refuses to wear flats yet magically has no swelling in her feet and legs and is never uncomfortable and never has balance problems. She's also described as being huge... at 6 months? If she's a slim model, she probably hardly really looks pregnant at 6 months. There's also the fact that she's tells her husband she's really NOT sure how far along she is because she has not had any prenatal care in 2 months (what the heck... the doctor couldn't tell 2 months ago how far along she is? Who did she go to, Dr. Seuss?) When her new husband insists she get to a doctor immediately, not only does she get ticked that he's ordering her around, there's no mention of her seeing or making an appointment with the doctor for the rest of the book and while she claims to love the baby, she puts herself repeatedly in dangerous situations and refuses to have prenatal care? More than once, she appears to be cramping and nobody suggests she speak to the doctor about that. What planet do these people live on?
On the wedding night, she and her new husband decide it's not possible for a woman who is 6 month's pregnant to have sex... um.. really? Because I had 3 kids and never had a problem with that.
The question of why the dead girl's father paid off the women suing Clive for sexual harassment is never answered other than speculation that he could get some young woman into bed which makes NO sense as he's a movie mogul. Someone mentions that because he's older it would be harder to get younger women... um... have you BEEN to Hollywood or seen a tabloid? Not so at all. Besides, nobody knows he's broke.
Also, the life insurance policy is 1 million dollars. This would NEVER set up a Hollywood producer to a place where he was on his feet again. According to the description of his life style, it wouldn't even get him out of debt.
The author's attitude toward relationships is bizarre. Apparently all the women must be engaged, married or widowed. Sometimes widowed and engaged. Women can't be happy w/o a man. Even with all the evidence to the contrary, Husband spends evening before wedding with ex fiance and does not kick her out when she crashes the wedding then invites her father to stay in his home with his brand new bride who is the prime suspect... and everyone goes on and on about how clear it is he loves her and only her... WHAT?? Everyone keeps going on about how much in love they are and what a perfect couple when they literally know NOTHING about each other and only got married quickly for the sake of a contract and yet they are "deeply in love."
The two "detectives" couldn't be any less talented at their job. They ask a few unimportant questions, accuse every witness of the crime, then wander off with no further information. They find all the information the police don't... because apparently the police are not actually investigating tho they keep saying they are. They don't actually FIND the info, random people just happily tell them everything even when they don't ask questions about it. Weird side characters abound in this story including two "models" who are supposedly doing a photo shoot in a hotel but apparently are doing a high wire act above a pool dressed in leather underwear... I have NO Idea what that was all about.
I only read this book to the end because it was like looking at a train wreck... you know you shouldn't keep watching but you can't turn away. It was appalling, awful, dreadful, horrifying, bad, and every other negative adjective you can think of in the same vein.
NY Times best seller? I do NOT understand that. Thank goodness it was free for my kindle. Even tho it was, I feel like Amazon should pay me for the time wasted reading it because the reviews were deceptive!
Really, this is the kind of book that gives cozy mysteries a really bad name and makes me fearful of downloading them.
Basically, if you want an entertaining cozy spend the money and try a Scumble River or Dead End Job Mystery.
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