Blurb: A blue straggler is a star that has an anomalous blue color and appears to be disconnected from those stars that surround it. But this is not a story about astronomy.
Bailey Miller is "disconnected" from the cluster of her rural south Texas family. She has never quite fit in and now in her early 30s, she finds herself struggling with inner turmoil and a series of bad choices in her life.
Bailey's drinking too much (even for a member of her family), has a penchant to eat spoonfuls of Cool Whip, works in a job that bores her beyond description and can't keep a relationship longer than it takes for milk to expire in her fridge.
Even with the help of her two outspoken friends, Texas lass Idamarie and her quirky college pal Rudy, she's having a hard time.
So she packs up her Honda and heads out of Texas in search of herself and answers to secrets from her great- grandmother's past. The novel takes readers on a journey from San Antonio, Texas, to a small mountain town in Colorado and back again, as Bailey uncovers not only the secrets of her great-grandmother's life, but also some painful secrets of her own. All while finding love along the way.
If you have ever wondered why you got stuck with the family you did, what you are doing with your job and your life, or had a sudden desire to run off to the mountains, sit back and join Bailey for this laugh-out-loud, yet poignant ride.
"A party. Bailey, you are supposed to be researching your family, then heading back here."
"I never said exactly what I was supposed to be doing." Or did I?
"Where's all this money coming from that you are spending on tow trucks and barns? You been running drugs from Mexico when I wasn't looking?"
"It's called saving. You ought to try it."
"I'm afraid drug-running would be easier."
Much like listening to blues during lazy afternoons: Cool, soothing, so much warmth, and you never get enough!
Blue Straggler by Kathy Lynn Harris follows Bailey, distraught, trying to quit smoking, worried of herself going bonkers anytime soon and working as a "computer writer"—which doesn't give her the joie de vivre, but who needs that when there are bills to pay? Anyway, with a mum who places so much emphasis on looking drop-dead-gorgeous at every point in time (in Texas!), a dad who hardly cares what happens with her and a brother who drives her nuts without seeking a little parking space, how can she not be worried about her sanity? Worst of all, there's evidence her family would raise glasses and shout a "Touché" whenever an issue about her sanity is brought up.
But with sixty-something Idamarie and geeky Rudolph as best pals, Bailey's life seems to be looking more on the brighter side. The three make a dynafantastic trio sipping coffee and dropping the world's funniest lines before Bailey rushes to work every morning.
It doesn't take long for Bailey to make a discovery of her great grandmother, Annie. A woman who like her, wasn't perfect as all the other women in her family. Asking her mum leads to a dead end since to her Annie was good as dead, really.
When Bailey is let off her position in the company for something that has less to do with writing, she quits, contemplates for awhile then decides to follow Annie's tail all the way to Gold Creek to discover all the locked up secrets, discover herself and love in the process.
First of all, I don't know if it's my own mid-life crisis, but I've made this surprising discovery: I love books about mid-life crisis! I thought for a while to get to the bottom of this, then I realized there's something perfect about imperfect women afraid they might be losing it. Take The Strange Year Of Vanessa M, Just Add Spice, all books I reviewed this year, I stamped them five stars even before five-percent completion. Like I did Blue Straggler :)
OK. Now my review. I loved, loved, loved this novel! The story-line was amazing, it was beautifully-written, what more could you ask for?
I enjoyed reading about Bailey, or Bay Leaf, as Rudy calls her. I really couldn't get enough of her witty, cynical voice. Or maybe I just like older women. She seemed real, hell not two-dimensional and so relatable. I can't think of anyone who would put her down and scrunch their brows shaking their head left-right muttering, "This book is not for me." She's the kind of character who you'd read about no matter what mood you are in—★
The setting of this novel was a major help! All the scenery and the beauty of Gold Creek was captured so well, I felt I was right in this painting. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I fall for books about mid-life crisis. The setting gives the book this slow-paced plot that isn't jarring at all. I can't think of any character flying to a bustling city, let's say, New York to find themselves. The pace, plot was soothing all because of the quiet mountains, the vast lands of forests, the chatty locals and the serene atmosphere—★★
Oh, I laughed the humor in this book, it was terrific. And humor is a very big thing for me! I easily don't laugh-out-loud, so when I do it's simply because something struck me as so funny—★★★. Plus I don't review books that aren't hilarious!
Each and every character, besides our lead girl delivered! From the ostentatious Idamarie who wouldn't step out without here scarlet lipstick and all seven fake rings on seven of her fingers to Rudolph who kept dropping funny lines after funny lines (a character I could relate to) to one cousin who wouldn't quit bringing funny cosmetics for Bailey to try on, Pokey—the adoggable canine, Weasel—the uncaring feline, Stella—whiplash sheriff with a prosthetic ear, Tuck—the truck salesman. I could go on and on!—★★★★
One thing you would want to note down when picking this book is to keep a heart monitor around you—for those of us who can't stand OMG moments because there are lots in this book. I cursed so much I'd be a nightmare to Texan manners—★★★★★
I am a sucker for perfect endings. Nothing can break a book like its ending. Kathy Lynn Harris knows that—★★★★★★
Another blast from the past! Blue Straggler is available on Amazon.
I recommend it to anyone ready for a fantastic read. Anyone who's nuts about self-discovery themes. Anyone who loves the Lone Star state. Anyone who loves Colorado. Anyone who's been through or is going through MLC (or Early-life Crisis like I am).
My work not done. Can't wait to post my review on Goodreads as well as Amazon.