A Bad Day for Pretty Review
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While recovering from her riotous (and death-defying) debut in A Bad Day for Sorry, middle-aged Missouri bad-ass Stella Hardesty has had to put her little “side business” of rehabilitating abusive husbands and boyfriends on hold for a few months. With her aches and pains abating and her scars fading, though, she’s eager to get back to work—even if it’s not her usual kind of work.

So when Donna Donavan calls one morning in a panic, Stella jumps on the case. Donna’s husband, Neb, has been detained by the police—and she doesn’t know why. It’s probably nothing, she reasons, but she’d like Stella to look into it—just in case. But when Stella gets to the fairgrounds, where Neb works as the maintenance man, she finds that it’s definitely something: the police found the body of a woman buried beneath the snack shack, and Neb’s a suspect.

Meanwhile, just as Stella’s finally getting close to handsome Sherriff Goat Jones, his estranged wife shows up in town, fighting to win him back. And now Stella finds herself in an unusual position: defending a man and battling a woman.

Like its fiercely entertaining predecessor, A Bad Day for Pretty is another wild-and-crazy adventure in small-town Missouri. Forget about the dreaded Sophomore Slump—this follow-up novel is even better than the first. It’s written in the same delightfully distinctive voice—with an irreverent sense of humor—but the story is sharper and more fast-paced, with a handful of unexpected twists and turns to keep readers guessing.

Author Sophie Littlefield continues to develop her cast of lovably quirky characters—from fierce and folksy Stella to her client-turned-partner Chrissy, a busty blonde single mom who’s becoming a valuable asset to both of Stella’s businesses. Littlefield carefully develops the characters’ relationships, too—like Stella’s budding relationship with Goat. It gives the story an interesting dynamic—pairing the handsome cop with the heroine who rarely does things by the book—but the will-they-or-won’t-they tension adds even more appeal to an already engaging read.

It’s surprising, though, that Littlefield chose to stray from Stella’s usual “business” for her second novel. While the story is still entertaining—and even thoughtful at times—I look forward to seeing a fully-recovered Stella getting back to business in future installments.

If you’re looking for something a little feistier than the usual fluffy chick lit to pack in your beach bag this summer, be sure to pick up a copy of A Bad Day for Pretty. While you’re at it, you might as well pick up A Bad Day for Sorry, too—because you won’t want to miss a single page of Stella Hardesty’s irreverently entertaining adventures.

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