Sunday, September 12, 2010

REVIEW: "The PMS Murder" by Laura Levine

At the library, I picked a few books whose covers intrigued me, and this was one of my picks. I haven't read the first four in the series, instead choosing to start at number five. Pretty much because that was the book my library had. 

My first thought was that Laura Levine's writing style was reminiscent of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, in a good way. Levine's main character, Jaine Austen (no, not that one!), had the quirkiness of Stephanie along with her bad luck and hilarious mishaps, but Jaine finds herself in situations that aren't quite as wild and wacky as Stephanie's. In other words, Jaine Austen's life seems slightly more subdued, but no less entertaining.  
In another case where the main character's life mimics the author's to some extent, Jaine is a freelance writer who has written a few jingles and has a myriad of interesting writing jobs in her resume. On the side, she solves mysteries, on an as-needed basis. In this installment, a chance meeting with an interesting woman lands Jaine acceptance into a small, elite women's group, where she finds friends in another (higher) social class. When one of those women is murdered right in front of the others, Jaine finds herself tainted by association and must delve in to help solve the murder so she can get her life back. 
Jaine is a very likable character. I can definitely relate to her love of good food (and lots of it!) and the misfortune that falls upon her as she struggles to find a good job. The writing is fluid and fun, the plot engaging and entertaining. Jaine is spunky and witty, and I feel like we'd get along just fine in real life. Jaine is the kind of character you'd like to know, if only to make yourself look more put together and "with it." I'm looking forward to reading more books in this series!

4/5 stars

(updated 9/13)   
I read the next book in the series as well- "Death by Pantyhose." I didn't want to make a separate post review, as the styling and plot are so similar, so suffice to say I enjoyed this one as well. A very quick read, equally entertaining and fun, with yet another murder to solve. Jaine manages to stumble her way through her investigation to finally hit upon the murderer and solve the case. Her continued struggle with the opposite sex makes you root for her to get the boy, and the ending leaves us wondering what's next for the couple.  

One thing I didn't note before that became a bit more of a distraction during the second book I read was the cat, Prozac. Jaine "reads" Prozac's mind and we as readers are privy to what Prozac is thinking. Perhaps I'm just not really a cat person, but that did get a little annoying after a while. In the first story, I found them somewhat amusing, but now I am not such a fan. The emails coming from Jaine's parents, however, are truly amusing that add to the story, if only to give you an idea of how Jaine may have become the way she is today. The apple may not fall far from the tree, in this case!

All in all, another fun read! 
4/5 stars

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