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  • Can Fashion Break a Convict Out of Prison?

    This is the 11th book in a cozy mystery series that would be rated PG. Fashion is the main backdrop to the books including mid-century styles. There is humor as well as real mystery solving. The author releases clues to the reader at the same that the characters see them. The final denouement is always a surprise, but not because of clues we didn't know about. This book is equal parts of crime-solving and our heroine learning even more about herself. I have binge-read the entire series and enjoyed every bit of it. I could easily read another dozen books in this series! I think that I am going to go read a different series from this author.

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  • Samantha's Back

    Tough Luxe by Diane Vallere, book eleven in her Samantha Kidd Mystery series, is a departure from her usual humorous style, but she still put Samantha into some compromising situations. This time Samantha not only has to determine who the real killer is, but she reflects upon her own life, and her need to help others; whether they want it or not. Samantha’s new role as style columnist for the local paper allows her to attend events and uncover the new trends. When she receives an unexpected invitation to visit an old high school acquaintance, she knows she must dress to blend in. The acquaintance was the heiress to a pretzel; fortune who is currently serving a double life sentence for killing her media mogul husband. When new evidence is found, the heiress is ready to tell her story; but only to Samantha. As she hears the story, Samantha suspects the wrong person was convicted. If she’s correct, a killer is loose and might stop at nothing to keep Samantha too. While looking over the heiress’ belongings, and collecting clues, Samantha reflects on her life during high school, her feelings toward the heiress, and her life at the moment. All of this helped her focus on figuring out who the killer was and what changes she needed to make to improve her life. I genuinely enjoyed reading this book and had trouble putting this book down. The story line was riveting and kept my attention to the very end. Ms. Vallere does an excellent job keeping her readers on their toes as they read her stories. She had me mis-guessing who the killer was and boy was I surprised when I found out. I highly recommend Tough Luxe to other readers. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

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  • Yay! Samantha Kidd is back and I love it.

    Author Diane Vallere says Tough Luxe, the 11th book in the Samantha Kidd Mystery series, is about the 4 P’s: prison, pretzels, problem solving, and personal growth. There are also a couple more P’s: practically and perfect. If you’ve been hanging with Samantha from the start, sit back and enjoy another fast-paced, exciting mystery. If this is your first adventure with her, you are in for a wild ride! Things have changed a lot for Samantha in the last couple of years: her exit from Tradava came with an anonymous gift of $250,000, so day-to-day money worries are a thing of the past, she and shoe designer Nick (of the root beer barrel brown sexy eyes) are now married and contemplating if there will be a Little Samantha or a Little Nick one of these days, and during the Christmas holidays she spent a couple of weeks as a temporary social media influencer which of course involved solving a crime and rescuing a co-worker. Every time we meet Samantha again, she’s settled down a bit, grown a bit, learned a little more about herself, become a more complex person, but some things haven’t changed. She’s still loyal and fearless, resourceful and clever and determined, but she’s also impulsive, a tad immature at times, and a bit of a hero-worshipper who prides herself on always taking care of herself and others, figuring things out, solving the crime. And when an old high school classmate contacts her from prison and asks for help Samantha begins to wonder if this pride thing might have gotten out of hand. Does she like it better when she decides who and how to help? Does she help people because it makes HER feel good? It’s harder to give help only when asked, and only give the help that is requested rather than thinking you know better what they need. All the gang is back and it’s great. Nick – I admit it, I loved him the minute Samantha met him - gets her, is always there for her and lets her do her thing. Maybe it’s time she returned the favor. There’s Eddie, her BFF who doesn’t pull any punches and keeps her centered. And there’s good old Detective Loncar, now retired and a private detective. Their relationship is still a little spiky, or keeping with the P theme maybe I should say prickly. But they are on the same track, except when the pride thing shows up again – “I can figure everything out better and quicker than you, and I know just what help you need.” Tough Luxe is a great story. Samantha still has her fashion sense, terrific if at times quirky wardrobe, and wonderful adventurous nature. Her job at the newspaper is new and interesting. And as always we’ve got an action-packed plot with lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing and guessing and guessing. I didn’t know if Suzy was sincere, innocent or guilty, and where Samantha’s digging would lead. I did know, however, that she would keep digging until she got answers, no matter the danger or secrets that might be revealed. Totally enjoyable mystery, well-written, full of fashion, intrigue, obscure references to things we can relate to – like Kolchak the Night Stalker – and a totally, absolutely, completely stupid idea about how she can make Nick’s sneaker company a household name. So will Samantha solve the crime, figure out why she’s such a helper, make any personality changes stick? Read Tough Luxe to find out. You’ll love it like I did and be ready to go on Samantha’s next adventure with her, wherever it takes her. Thanks to author Diane Vallere for providing an advance copy of this book for my reading pleasure and honest review I recommend it without hesitation. All opinions are my own.

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