Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reviews: Dead Ex & A Date You Can't Refuse by Harley Jane Kozak

I read Harley Jane Kozak's Dead Ex (Doubleday, 2007; 352 pgs) and A Date You Can't Refuse (Broadway, 2009; 340 pgs) back to back. Wollie had gotten under my skin, and I didn't want to say goodbye until I'd run out of books to read about her. Wollie, in case you missed my two reviews of the first two books in the series, is a greeting card artist, only it seems she rarely gets a chance to do much of that as it doesn't bring in enough money. In past books, Wollie has earned money dating men for research and being on a reality dating television show. Dead Ex follows suit as Wollie finds herself back on the little screen, dating celebrities. Her boyfriend isn't too sure what to make of it, but Wollie has to make money somehow. And it's not like she's sleeping with the guys.

Wollie's best friend Joey seems to be at the brunt of suspicion when Joey's (and Wollie's) ex turns up dead by gunshot. Another murder only adds to the suspicion of her guilt. Wollie doesn't believe it, however. Wollie takes more of a backseat to the actual murder investigation in Dead Ex. She has too much else on her mind. Although, that doesn't stop the trouble from coming her way.

In A Date You Can't Refuse, Wollie reluctantly accepts a job working for a media-training company, instructing the male clientele the intricacies of dating. She would have said no had a rather pushy FBI agent not twisted her arm in spying on her boss for him. She is tasked with getting close to the boss, his family and the other employees. She hadn't anticipated that she would have to move into her boss's compound. It's a minor complication . . .

I took to Dead Ex like there was no tomorrow. I normally don't like the Hollywood scene, but Harley Jane Kozak makes it fun with her eccentric characters and their hijinks. Although I liked A Date You Can't Refuse, it wasn't my favorite in the series. Perhaps because it didn't follow the same familiar formula or featured fewer of her friends. It was a little more over the top than the other novels, although that isn't saying much. It also got a tad political--although not at all in a preachy way. I appreciated the way the book ended though, bringing closure to the series. Not that there isn't room for more if the author decides to write more though! A cozy series worth reading? Absolutely! Give it a try.

You can learn more about Harley Jane Kozak and her books on the
author's website and the blog The Lipstick Chronicles in which she contributes.

Source: I purchased an e-copy of these two books.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I remember your reviews of the other books in this series and I just love your enthusiasm for it. I'm adding it to my wish list.

  2. This series sounds crazy! In the best way. I love it when an author hits upon a different and creative way to keep bringing you back.

  3. Wollie sounds like someone who I would really like to spend some time with, and these books sound great. They seem like the perfect lighter reads for this time of year. Great double review today!

  4. You have me excited about this series big time. Why haven't I heard about this one????!! So glad that I'm friends with you so I can read this one!!

  5. Kathy - It is a fun series. :-) I was in the mood for something lighthearted when I read it and it was just that.

    Sandy - It really is! Wollie is one of those character's I'd like to have at one of those fictional lunch parties.

    Heather - Me too! I was just telling Sandy that I'd like to hang out with her too. :-)

    Staci - I heard the author speak at the book festival one year and am not sure I would have come across her books otherwise. I'm so glad I took time to read them finally!

  6. I'll put this on my list for when I need a fun and cozy read. Sounds like a series worth giving a try!


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