A HERO'S SPARK: the final book in the Wicked Women series!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review: Lost in Italy by Stacey Joy Netzel

The best laid plans...

Halli Sanders spent two years planning the trip of a lifetime to Italy. Her itinerary did not include being stranded by her siblings, kidnapped by a sexy American movie star, dodging bullets, or fleeing criminals in a car chase around Lake Como. And that's just in the first three hours.

...often go awry.

Trent Tomlin put his movie career on hold to investigate his brother's murder-ruled-suicide at his Italian villa. He's closing in on the suspects when an American tourist unwittingly films the murder of the retired cop helping him. The killers will stop at nothing to get the evidence--including holding Halli's family as collateral.

Life's a little different unscripted.

Thrust into the role of real-life hero, Trent finds himself falling for the Plain Jane whose beauty blossoms with every challenge they face. But how can he keep the evidence from the murderers to get justice for his brother and friend without betraying Halli and her family?

Good morning all!

If you've been following along, you know I don't review too many books on this blog.  It's not that I don't read, I read all the time.  For the most part, I read books that I enjoy very, very much, but I don't feel need a review from little old me to help them move along in life.  I mean, I could say, "I've just finished the first two 'Hunger Games' books and I feel they are every bit as good, and possibly better, than the first five 'Harry Potter' books.  Discuss."  But neither of those authors needs my opinion, nor does the reading public at large care.

No, I save my reviews for books I think are really, really special, and might not get the notice they deserve.

So, when I do review a book, you should all sit up and take notice. 

Today I'm reviewing a book that caught me off guard with just how excellent it is.   Stacey Joy Netzel caught my eye a few years ago with her first book, Chasin' Mason, a book that will go down in history as having the most hilarious scene ever involving condoms.

I should have seen how brilliant she was going to be.

"Lost in Italy" is a fact paced roller coaster ride of suspense from the first page.  Halli Sanders is bickering with her siblings during a vacation in Italy.  And that's where the peaceful part of the book ends, on page two.  Halli is the kind of heroine I love; an unassuming, quiet, Midwestern girl who just wants to live a simple life and have a nice vacation.  Trent Tomlin is my favorite kind of hero:  Oh, and a reluctant hero who isn't what he seems and is just out to right a wrong.  (Tall, dark, and wounded anyone?)

With the awesome power only an author can wield over her characters, Stacey throws little Halli into an almost unbelievable whirlwind of action and intrigue, all with Trent, and unlikely, and fairly unwilling, partner.

Almost unbelievable...and yet we as readers are caught in the plot web and we don't want to be free. Netzel takes us into situations we don't expect to find logical...and she makes us believe.  And stand up. And cheer.  And bite our  fingernails.  The suspense starts on page two and never lets up.  But it's not all white knuckles: Netzel infuses scenes here and there with the same unexpected, subtle bits of humor that made her one of my favorites at the start.  And oh yes, there is a dash of sweet, sweaty romance.

"Lost in Italy" is the winner of the 2012 Writer's Touch Reader Award, which means those who have already read this book agree:  This is one outstanding read.

"Lost in Italy" is available in print and digitally in all the usual online places.  Want to know more about Stacey Joy Netzel?  Click Here!


  1. Thank you so much for the wonderful review, Sarah! I'm glad you enjoyed it and am tickled that the condom scene in Chasin' Mason still sticks with you. :)

  2. I so agree with you Sarah. Stacey caught my attention with Chasing Mason and she's never lost my interest since. But she gets better with each book. Lost in Italy was a never put down not even to sleep. Now you'll have to try her Mistletoe Rules if you need to get into the winter holiday mood.