Wednesday, April 02, 2014

State of the Onion

State of the Onion Julie Hyzy

Last month, the library had an edible books contest. For prizes, I gave away books about food and asked Twitter what were the best food-based cozies out there. A lot of people voted by Hyzy's "White House Chef Mystery" series, so I picked up the first one as a prize. I was intrigued enough by the title that I couldn't resist reading it, too.

Olivia Paras is an assistant White House chef. The Executive Chef is about to retire, and Olivia is one of the final candidates for his job. Her main competition is a TV celebrity chef that Olivia's worked with before-- and does not want to work with again. If she gets the job, Olivia knows she'll be leaving the White House. But the drama and pressure is soon pushed to the side when Olivia is walking back to work and sees a guy fleeing from the Secret Service and clocks him with her frying pan. Suddenly, she's trying to figure out a massive conspiracy that may end up in someone assassinating the President. Before she can solve it, she gets a glimpse of the world's most feared assassin and then she's no longer trying to save the President's life, but her own.

This was a fun one. I liked the behind-the-scenes look at the White House staff and the kitchen-- the differences in preparing a simple lunch for the first family versus a major state dinner and all the planning that happens. I liked the tension between Olivia and the new head of Culture-and-Faith-based Etiquette Affairs (he's such a jerk!!!)

I also liked her secret Secret Service boyfriend and the tension between them as Olivia got herself more involved with the case that he kept trying to push her off of. Overall it was very enjoyable and I didn't guess the ending. The bad guy was on my list of possible bad guys, but there was enough in there that I kept guessing on my choices. It was also often funny-- I especially liked when we finally meet the celebrity chef that Olivia is competing with. I think this is a series I'll continue reading.

Also-- do you have any good cozy recs? Mysteries, especially cozies are HUGE with the adults at my library, and now that I'm the adult librarian, I need to up my reader's advisory game. Leave 'em in the comments if you've got 'em.

Book Provided by... my local library

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