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review 2014-02-23 07:17
Home of the Braised (White House Chef Mysteries, #7)
Home of the Braised - Julie Hyzy

This series is the perfect example of a good-but-slow-to-start series.  I read the first three and always thought they were good enough to pick up the next one, but I was never really invested in the characters.  


Then the protagonist, Ollie, got a new love interest.  I don't know why this made such a HUGE difference, but I could not put down the last four books; in fact, I read 4, 5 and 6 back-to-back last year.  You might be thinking "well, the sex scenes must have been better", but there are zero sex scenes.  In the last four books I think the author only mentions them kissing twice.  In passing.  But Ms. Hyzy does an outstanding job, IMO, of creating sexual tension without the sexual descriptions.  Maybe it's just me.


Home of the Braised is a great entry in this fabulous series - the action and mystery start right away and Ollie is fighting battles on enough fronts to keep things busy without being overwhelming to the reader (if I were Ollie I'd be drinking heavily).  There's a lot of detail about being a White House chef, but it flows nicely in the story and it's obvious the author has done her homework.  The writing is smooth, fluid and without any oddities that jarred me out of the moment.  Very little (if any) page filler disguised as internal speculation.


I don't really want to include much of a synopsis here because it all feels spoiler-y.  Suffice it to say that there are threats to the presidency, the White House, national security and Ollie finds herself in the thick of it.  If I had to complain about anything, I'd prefer the author didn't turn Ollie into a pariah;  I know any real person involved in at least 7 "adventures" (and counting, I hope) would start to garner questions, if not a 48 hour psych eval, but it got to be repetitive enough to notice in the last couple of books.  Luckily, not so repetitive that it annoyed me.  Everything was excellently plotted though and I thoroughly enjoyed the book from start to finish.  I saw the very end coming, but that's ok - it wasn't anything plot related and it was a great way to leave the reader smiling at the end.


I count the months until the next book is out.

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quote 2013-10-10 11:00
Maybe he wants to put us in charge of the budget deficit.

 -- Peter (speaking to Ollie, the White House chef), Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy

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review 2013-06-09 00:00
Affairs of Steak - Julie Hyzy It had been a while since I read this series, so I was quite thrilled when I picked up book 5 in this series. I enjoyed this book just as much as the others. The author has created such a great character with Olivia that is makes all the stories fun and exciting. I also enjoyed getting to know character Sargeant quite a bit better as well. A few of his edges do seem to soften a bit.The crime was intriguing and it took awhile for me to figure out who did it. As Ollie goes to help, it seems that many of the security are secretly glad for her help. I also have to say that the ending does leave you hanging.If you haven’t read a fun cozy mystery series in while, you should definitely try this one. All of the characters and crimes are very enjoyable. This series is highly recommended.
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review 2013-05-04 00:00
State of the Onion (White House Chef Mystery Series #1)
State of the Onion - Julie Hyzy State of the Onion is unlike any cozy I have read before and I enjoyed it very much. The plot is of a political nature and more involved than many cozy mysteries. My only complaint here, and it is a small one, is that there was one particular character who had my vote as number one suspect and was quite facsinating who I would have liked a conclussion for. He just disappeared. I look forward to reading more in the series!
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review 2013-01-23 00:00
Affairs of Steak (A White House Chef Mystery #5)
Affairs of Steak - Julie Hyzy

Another excellent mystery in a series that gets better and better.


Who knew just finding the bodies could end up being so dangerous? Ms Hyzy wrote an excellent plot that led me right where she wanted me to go and didn't give anything away until it was meant to. The action at the end even got my heart rate up just a tad - not something one expects from their cozy mysteries!


I absolutely loved the interaction between Ollie and Gav - this is a couple I care very much about seeing succeed. Once again Ms. Hyzy nailed it. I don't normally like to see my main characters start with one person and end up with another - start as you mean to go on, I say. But in this case, it was a welcome change and I can't wait to read more about these two and where they end up.


Still need to make Virgil the next victim though....

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