April Hayman sat across from me at Denny’s, planning her next novella in The Christmas Lights Collection: Making Spirits Bright.
“I think I’m going to make this year’s novella about Trip going on a cruise— a honeymoon cruise.”
The words got my attention. I mean who doesn’t love the idea of a Christmas cruise? Who doesn’t love the idea of a Christmas honeymoon cruise? And after her debut novella, Trip the Light Fantastic, introducing Trip Devereaux, I have been waiting for more about Trip, Landry, and the twins, Sissy and Sassy.
Now I’d actually get it.
We brainstormed titles. Do you know how hard it is to come up with “dancing” themed titles? For the record, some of the idioms we have for dancing are not edifying. Just sayin’. But when we stumbled over—pun intended, of course— “lead a merry dance,” I knew we had it. Then I just had to convince April of it. Fortunately, she was rather easy to convince.
Did I expect to like it? Of course. April is a solid writer with fun ideas and interesting characters. Did I expect to love it as much as I did? *blush* Nope. I just thought I’d really like it. Yeah. Way undershot that one. Sorry, April!
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3 Reasons Why You’ll Love Lead a Merry Dance
Trip: Workaholic extraordinaire, Trip makes you want to laugh, shake your head, and shake him sometimes! His adoration of Libby keeps you from quite going that far, but… hee hee. Add to that him being a bit out of his element not having his gun, his badge, and the FBI resources behind him, and you’ve got a guy you can’t help but love.
Libby: Seriously? Is there a woman alive who hasn’t read Proverbs 31 and not felt herself come up wanting? And if there is, may I suggest she do a word study on pride? Just sayin’… Add to that her ability to keep from throttling a rather clueless husband, and you’ve got quite a lot going for her! Not to mention, who knew she was so clever?
Ms. Hayman did a wonderful job of keeping her from being too perfect or too ditzy. So often the wives of clever crime fighters are a bit bimbo-ish. Yeah. Not Libby Devereaux!
Sissy & Sassy: WAAAHOOO! The twins are back. Yes, they stole the show now and then, but really, with such awesome characters, they really should! I seriously got some odd looks from Denny’s patrons as I cracked up aloud during editing sessions with April. She nailed these gals, folks. You’ve got to read them!
Darrens: This guy is a brilliant example of how to make a character that you love to hate to love. That’s all I’m sayin’, folks.
C’mon. A cruise ship. How awesome is that? Hayman’s research of the ins and outs of cruising is a perfect indicator of the author’s research abilities. I felt like I was on the ship—from “drinks packages” to the “safety briefing,” she covered it all without a lot of annoying info-dumping like you often find in books. In fact, with the massive amount of research that I read she did, I’m amazed that there really isn’t any info-dumping in here at all. Instead, you have … well, that’s point three.
The plot was fun, engaging, and intriguing. The best part is that she takes you through how people figured out whodunnit and why instead of laying out clues and then informing you of it. So, for those who are good at guessing these things, the book is still a fun read. Add to that excellent pacing which keeps the story from ever lagging, and you have one of my top five books of 2017.
Yep, I went there.
I read a lot of books this year, and Lead a Merry Dance was one of my absolute favorites. Oh, man, I laughed so hard. Seriously, I should have made this 4 reasons you’ll love it. Because even if you hate the plot (can’t imagine how), and even if you aren’t big on boats or mysteries that don’t involve murder, you’ll laugh your way from Proverbs 31 woes to disappointment with “Christmas cheer.”
I recommend Lead a Merry Dance to anyone who loves a good cozy mystery with lots of humor and a varied cast of characters who will keep your interest. There’s even a drop or three of romance… just enough between Trip and Libby to keep pittering hearts pattering without the need for cooling freezers… unlike other “Spicy” authors I won’t mention.
To connect with April online, visit her:
*Stay tuned for my top books of 2017 and my most anticipated 2018 reads on New Year’s Eve.