Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to have R. L. Syme drop by today!
by R. L. Syme
One of the hotly contested issues in the Vangie Vale Fan Club (we call it Becca Nation, but the VVFC is really what it’s become) is the issue of who will Vangie end up with, romantically. Right now, she is dating a biker and mechanic named Derek, but he does not have the support of the majority in the VVFC. That honor goes to the local sheriff, Malcolm Dean.
My assistant said to me once that when she thinks of Malcolm, she imagines him like Walt Longmire from the show Longmire. Tall, strong and silent, obsessed with justice, and ruggedly handsome. While I tend to see Malcolm as Kevin McKidd (the actor), I would absolutely buy that description of the local sheriff in Saint Agnes, Montana.
Part of the argument about any good love triangle, of course, is about the person who has to choose between the two lovers. In this case, that person is Vangie Vale, the main character of these books. I always maintain that, in a love triangle, each of the choices represents something about the person who has to choose, and they’re really choosing between two sides of themselves when they’re making the choice about who to love.
Choosing between Derek Hobson and Malcolm Dean, for Vangie, is about choosing which version of herself she wants to be. I do think that she will, at some point, choose Malcolm as well, but I’m still not sure that he’s who she will end up with in the end of the series, and here’s why.
In the world of Vangie Vale, Derek represents adoration. He adores her. She is up on his pedestal, and he has no plans to bring her down off that pedestal anytime soon. Sure, he sees her flaws, but he loves her because of them. Not in spite of them. He is the president of her fan club. While still being annoyed when she runs into danger. But he’s not going to prevent her from investigating crimes. That’s one of the things he loves about her.
Malcolm, on the other hand, represents challenge. He respects her. He sees her as an equal, and he knows that she has the tools it takes to help find justice. But he is not giving her the easy way out. He wants to protect her, instead of send her off into danger. He would never say that he’s okay with her putting herself in danger.
Is she the kind of woman who needs to be adored? Or is she the kind of woman who needs a challenge? Does she need complete loyalty? Or does she like to be protected? Does she want to be loved for who she is? Or who she could be?
Or… if I’m being really evil… is there a third option? Maybe a guy we haven’t even met yet?
I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see…
~R. L. Syme
Thank you so much for visiting today!
Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Setting – Montana
Hummingbird Books (January 4, 2018)
Paperback: 336 pages
Kindle ASIN: B077GK124B
You could call it the straw that broke the camel’s back but it was more like a Montana forest timber.
Just when Vangie Vale’s life was getting back to normal after a murder that rocked her little Rocky Mountain tourist town, she found herself in the middle of another murder… as the chief suspect.
Vangie stood shocked on the side of the curb as the sheriff stretched yellow crime scene tape around the front of her new bakery. Wouldn’t this make a lovely headline in next week’s paper: Local Baker Kills Parishioner With Pudding. Vangie’s road back to good graces as a part-time pastor was bumpy enough already. This would be a roadblock. Can’t have that.
Vangie has had a rough time making herself at home in Montana, being part of two police investigations, but she has been offered a contract by her church so some of the pressure is off. That is until a woman dies after eating at her bakery. Crime scene tape marks the spot across the door and that is not going to make the church council happy. She knows she didn’t kill anyone but someone with access to her place apparently did. Now she just needs to figure out who before the investigation puts her out of business and behind bars.
This third installment of this series is packed to the brim. In the last book, Vangie told the church council about what brought her to Montana. In this story, we learn much more as people from back in North Carolina are contacting Vangie. People she is not supposed to have contact with. She is also dealing with the death of a mother who looks to have died after eating at Vangie’s shop. Malcolm knows she isn’t responsible, but he has to find proof and find the person who is and that is not easy. He has to admit, that while he doesn’t want Vangie involved in the investigation, people do open up and talk to her in a way they never do with him. Maybe together they can get to the truth, that is if Vangie can survive long enough.
Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel is a roller coaster ride from start to finish with corkscrew twists and turns. Vangie is absolutely wonderful. She has such a big heart, wanting to help everyone she can and this time puts her in a lot of danger. While figuring out “the how” of the murder early on, “the who” and “the why” was really tough. I was clearly taken aback as they were revealed. I sure didn’t see the “WHY” at all.
This author has a talent for drawing readers in, holding on tight, and then giving us a shocking twist. She gives her characters many layers that are slowly pulled away. For Vangie, that means secrets she has been keeping from her friends in Montana. They are being revealed sparingly on top of trying to solve the murders. She also has two complicated men in her life. One that she is dating and one that she probably should be dating. Both have ways of making her a little nuts, but this triangle is so much fun to read and speculate about which one she will actually choose.
Well written, fast-paced, great characters, intriguing, relevant, fresh, entertaining, all words that can be used to describe this story. I was sad to see it end. I am anxiously awaiting Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake.
Rebecca Syme writes small town romance as Becca Boyd and cozy mystery as R.L. Syme. She is a long-time foodie and loves fancy cheese. Becca calls the mountains of Montana her home and draws inspiration from the beautiful vistas and heartwarming people. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Line of Fire series of sweet romances and part of the Chick Tales series set in Somewhere, TX. You can find her on Twitter talking #fancycheese or #Chopped, and on Facebook with her fans in Becca Nation.
- Facebook page
- Becca Nation Facebook Fan Group
- Twitter @beck_a_tron
- Amazon Author Page:
This is a terrific addition to a great series and I enjoy how Vangie’s compassion helps solve a crime and brings comfort to the town.
~Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder
The book is well-written and the plot line was great. I had no real ideas about who had done the crime until it was revealed at the end.
VANGIE VALE AND THE STRANGLED STRUDEL drew me in with its fast-moving plot and interesting characters.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews
I truly savored The Strangled Strudel! The fast-moving plot is captivating, with never a dull moment.
I found this book to be a very quick read that kept me guessing throughout the entire story and I must say, I was shocked by the whodunit, once the murderer was revealed.
~The Montana Bookaholic
. . . the main character Vangie is firmly established and I am quite hooked on her antics I must say. The combination of her being a part-time pastor and full-time baker makes for some interesting twists to this story. . .
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
This is one cozy that you won’t be able to put down. Heck, the other two books were just as good, so go grab them as well.
~A Chick Who Reads
January 29 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW
January 30 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 30 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 31 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
February 1 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 1 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 1 – Queen of All She Reads – GUEST POST
February 2 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
February 3 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
February 4 –A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
February 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 8 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 9 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”