Monday, July 28, 2014

Review of "A Match of Wits"

Rating: 2.5 Stars
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Review: Summer is the ideal time to dive into a lighthearted, carefree novel like Jen Turano's " A Match of Wits."  The novel reads like a romantic comedy, with an emphasis on wit, as the title suggests.  Within the first chapters, the tone is set for an ongoing series of zany antics.  When Matilda, the pig makes, her grand entrance and establishes herself as a character, it becomes obvious that this is not your average book. Agatha Watson is a spunky reporter with a penchant for adventure and disaster, and currently evading would-be murderers with the help of a companion and bodyguard.  Usually a murderous plot against a central character would be a source of tension, but in "A Match of Wits," it is hard to take the danger seriously. Turano keeps the plot light, while still incorporating a small mystery around the plot to kill Agatha. Likewise, the romance between Agatha and Zayne remains fun, with only a small degree of tension.  Agatha and Zayne play off of each other's antics and find themselves in some outlandish situations. The humor is temporarily brushed aside toward the end of the novel when sincere emotions are expressed between Agatha and Zayne. From the novel's beginning, there is no doubt that there will be a happy ending, and the journey is filled with potential laughs for readers.

I was looking for an easy and fun book for vacation when I picked up "A Match of Wits."  It delivered in that respect, but I didn't enjoy the novel overall.  Agatha is extremely hardheaded and opinionated, qualities that can be more irritating than charming, especially when they lead to trouble. There were too many unrealistic elements that kept me from feeling truly engaged in the characters and their lives. For example, how can an entire group of people not only survive a massive explosion, but not sustain any injuries? How can multiple women have a talent for finding themselves in the most unconventional and outrageous circumstances?  I prefer comedy balanced with realism, and "A Match of Wits" didn't strike the right balance to capture my full interest.  If the story was a novella rather than a full-length novel, I think my impression would have been more favorable.  Over the course of 350 pages, the humor became too over-the-top; however some readers will breeze through the pages on notes of laughter.

I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House through Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. 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.

Summary from Bethany House: After his departure from New York two years ago to meet up with his almost-fiancée, Zayne Beckett is the last person Agatha Watson wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Quite pathetically bedraggled, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and sent back East to his family. Although she no longer has feelings for him, Agatha realizes, by hook or by crook, she'll have to be the one to get the obstinate man home.

Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere and is prepared to drag his heels all the way home... until he finds himself slipping back into the familiar banter of his former friendship with Agatha. Once they arrive in New York, Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies, and he hopes to repay her help with some help of his own. When she rebuffs all his attempts to prove himself a knight in shining armor, the lengths to which they'll go to win this battle of wills lead to some memorable antics. 

Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

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