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Author: Jenny B. Jones
Published By: Thomas Nelson (2010)
Synopsis: Newly single, stalked by a killer, and in desperate need of some chic clown shoes–Bella is one skinny mocha frapp away from total meltdown. When the Fritz Family Carnival makes its annual appearance in Truman, Bella’s keen reporter instincts tell her the bright lights hide more than they reveal. Her suspicions are confirmed when one of the stars is murdered. Though the police make an immediate arrest, Bella doubts this case is quite that simple. She needs her crime-solving boyfriend, Luke, more than ever. Problem is, his ex-girlfriend has moved back to town, giving Bella some murderous thoughts of her own. Then again, there’s no time for a relationship crisis when Bella’s doing her best to derail her father’s wedding and stay one step ahead of a killer. Is God sending her a message in all of this madness? With a murderer on the loose and her boyfriend’s ex on the prowl, this undercover clown has never had more to juggle–or more to risk. (Taken from Goodreads)
This book was SO good! It was full of amazing characters, laugh-out-loud moments, a good Christian theme, and to top it off, crazy adventures involving solving a murder mystery (all while staying clean)! I’d highly, highly recommend it; one of the best books I’ve read this year and another great gem from Jenny B. Jones!
I didn’t notice this when I first started A Charmed Life series, but now, finishing the 3rd, I can definitely say that there are many obvious similarities between the characters in A Katie Parker Production and A Charmed Life. First of all, and I haven’t finished Katie Parker yet so I can’t say this for certain, but Luke was a total Charlie Benson character. Of course Luke wasn’t totally the same person; he did have his own character and personality, but there was a lot that reminded me of Charlie.
Second of all, and on the same note: this took me a while to notice, but Ruthie was a teenage version of Maxine. I mean, if Jenny B. Jones writes another book that is a combined series and it reveals Ruthie actually is Maxine as a child, I would not be surprised in the least. Sure, Ruthie’s actions are more teenage-ish, and she’s a whole lot more likeable than Maxine. But as a whole, she is a mini Maxine, in my opinion anyways. Not that this is wrong—I loved Ruthie! It’s just something funny to note.
Okay, notes over. 🙂 This series began more mellow, with less mystery going on and more just character building, but now we’ve arrived here at the 3rd book and it’s gone completely crazy. Upon the arrival of a carnival and the murder of one of the members, Bella sets out to solve the mystery of who is the real murder.
Then come the threats on Bella’s life. And then more near-death experiences; for Bella, they just don’t cease to come.And brave Luke rescues her, too. I don’t know how he always is there right at the right time, but honestly, it doesn’t really matter to me. He showed up, he rescued her, I’m breathing again because the main character isn’t going to die. (I mean, it’s written from first person, but with Bella, you never really know…) With a story like this and amazing characters like Bella, you don’t really notice or care about any little details.
<< SPOILER OVER
Like all of Jenny B. Jones’ other books, this book was written so realistically that it felt that Bella was a real person. She is that well written—and I even hesitate to say written; I began to think of her as a person, not a fictional character. Her and Katie Parker—they could come to life. In fact, I’m seriously doubting the fact they’re only fictional. People this developed can’t only live on a page!
I really liked Bella’s interaction with her dad; it was done very realistically. Everything you want her to do, she does; she’s not one of those characters that you have to yell at because she’s being super dumb. No, Bella is smart and relatable, not to mention easy to love. In the first book, I didn’t like the one-dimensionalness of her father, but it didn’t really matter in the long run, because her father turned out to be a really well done character.
Overall, incredible, incredible book. You will not waste your time reading this amazing series by Jenny B. Jones. My only regret is not reading it slower…I want to go back and read it again for the first time, to meet Bella again. I need more books on Bella, Jenny B. Jones!!!!
Not anything negative, just a note: I started my first Jenny B Jones book (In Between) when I was 12, and even though I loved it and understood it, I love her books a TON more now being older; I can appreciate her themes and plotlines a lot more.
Recommended: All fans of Jenny B. Jones; anyone looking to find their next favorite book series; especially girls 13 and older!