Blue Bonet, widowed and in mourning, returns to Magnolia Bluff in her home state of Texas. Her grandmother had bequeathed an old lake house to her, and she cherishes childhood memories there. She arrives at the lake and finds the house she remembers as being grand, is now in disrepair.
She tackles the repairs, and is determined to make a new life for herself,
It seems like an uphill battle.
A rollercoaster of ups and down conspire to destroy her dream, and she begins to wonder if you really can’t go home again.
I was notified, as I am occasionally, by Amazon telling me one of my favorite authors is releasing a new book, this one by Jinx Schwartz. Oh my stars! Well, it’s been ages since I read and reviewed the last Hetta Coffey book, so of course I jumped on it. Even (gasp) paid for it and I don’t do a lot of those. I loved those Hetta Coffey books. I had so much fun with those short and sweet novels, most read prior to this blog, but I did review Just the Pits as a #ThrowbackThursday post back in 2017.
So, somehow I was thinking a new book, new series, I’d get in on the first of the series. Nope. It’s Book 9. Boy, I hate when that happens.
Now, I’m wondering, if this seemed like the intro to a new series, what have I missed? Blue Bonet is widowed and in mourning returns to Magnolia Bluff in Texas. Her grandmother has bequeathed an old lake house to her and she remembers the home with fond memories as a child. Now, maybe not so much. It’s sadly outdated, in need of some serious repair and remodeling.
Well, mercy! The old place has good bones and she finds the perfect handyman (Handy) to fix it up—apparently a general contractor, carpenter, electrician, and plumber rolled into one. This guy is super and I loved his character, could easily picture him. Of course, there is a dog, Toto, seeking a new owner after hers’ is found deceased on the back forty, which introduces (at least to me) Sheriff Leslie.
Having gone to school locally, Blue has a network of old school chums that make for some interesting support characters (Gloria or Glory), as well as family not too far from Grams’s old place.
“…my neighbor raises chickens and the damned things live in Clucker Taj Majal.”
“I take a drug to help with depression, and then feel depressed that I need a drug?”
“…I need immoral support…”
As always with Schwartz’s books, there is that snarky sense of humor, although Blue dials back on the boozing, she’s up for hijinks and doesn’t balk at getting to the bottom of the mystery of the bodies on her property. I enjoyed the description of the area, the property, the lake, and the surrounding environs—including the wildlife. The work on the house sounded amazing and I would have loved a tour of the home and her separate studio.
I felt the pace of the book was a bit slow as I waited for something to happen and then it stayed low-key anyway while life went on. Maybe I was used to the pacing set by the Hetta Coffey books, but this seemed to veer a bit off the mystery several times as it delved into unrelated matters. And by the way, cousin Hetta does manage to make an appearance—loved it—with her dog Po Thang and SO Jenks.
The conclusion was likewise rather low key, already suspected. Fast and furious mop-up in the epilogue. You might appreciate a more domestic type of undercurrent mystery, interesting characters, and the Texas setting. You may not appreciate the edit misses or the insta-love.
These are my honest thoughts. I may try one more book in this series, but definitely prefer the pace and setting of the Hetta Coffey mysteries.
Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars
Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Animal Mystery
Print Length: 258 pages
Publication Date: December 20, 2022
Source: Verified Purchase
Title Link: Born and Bred in Texas [Amazon]
The Author: [Goodreads] Jinx Schwartz is the USA TODAY Best-selling author of the award-winning Hetta Coffey series.
JUST ADD WATER, first in the series, introduces Hetta, a sassy Texan with a snazzy yacht, and she’s not afraid to use it. JUST ADD SALT, JUST ADD TROUBLE, JUST DESERTS, JUST THE PITS, JUST NEEDS KILLIN’, AND JUST DIFFERENT DEVILS get her into hot Mexican Waters. JUST PARDON MY FRENCH, BOOK 8, FINDS HETTA IN FRANCE and Book 9: JUST FOLLOW THE MONEY, takes a wild ride on two continents, and JUST FOR THE BIRDS, Book 10, gets her afowl of exotic bird smugglers. Book 11 finds her in Texas, and living in an RV until her boat goes missing back in Mexico, and in Just On Porpoise (12 ) her attention is drawn to the almost extinct Vaquita, and JUST SO WRONG (13) finds Hetta taking on the dogfighting trade. Her other books: The Texicans (Texas 1806-1836 Historical Western), Land of Mountains, a YA/TWEEN set in Haiti in the 1950’s, Troubled Sea, a thriller in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, and BAJA GET AWAY, suspensful romance in Mexico.
Jinx spends equal time in Arizona and Mexico.
Website – http://jinxschwartz.com
Twitter – @jinxschwartz
©2023 V Williams