So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coonts is the third installment in the Lucky O’Toole series. I have read and reviewed both Wanna Get Lucky? and Lucky Stiff, and I’ve been having a fun time with these characters. I love the Vegas setting and all the background information on the city, and I also love reading a good mystery. In this book, Lucky is dealing with a group of magicians that may be intent on murder, her mother drops a bombshell, and her live-in lover is off touring the world with a gorgeous pop star. Lucky is trying to hold down the fort at The Babylon and keep a handle on her personal life. The interest of two other men isn’t helping matters either – former co-worker Paxton Dane is still waiting for his chance, and now the French chef is also trying to wine and dine Lucky. Always the one to fix the problems, Lucky wonders if she will be able to fix her own…
I enjoyed this Lucky book, but I don’t think it was my favorite of the three. That still belongs to Lucky Stiff, but I did like the story. The books are all thick but fast-paced and outrageous. I love a good chick lit mystery novel, and that would be how I classify these books from Coonts. I was a little disappointed to see who Lucky ended up with at the end of the novel. No spoilers, but after reading the previous two books about her, I really didn’t see coming who she had chosen. The supporting cast are all back and being their usual selves, and I think they really add a lot of depth to the plot. I hope there is a fourth Lucky book so I can see her end up with the man who I think she belongs with! I definitely recommend this series.
More Lucky Reviews:
In My Mailbox: Week of December 11
Author: Kay Bratt
Received: Via CLP Blog Tours
Synopsis: After an episode of prejudice rocks her usually secure world, Mia hops a plane back to the country of her birth to search for details about her birth parents, and confront the feelings of abandonment she has kept buried throughout her life. What begins as a simple tour of the Chinese orphanage where she spent her first few years quickly becomes complicated as Mia fights to untangle the web of lies that is her finding details. As she follows the red thread back through her motherland, she is enamored by the history and culture of her heritage—strengthening her resolve to find the truth, even as Chinese officials struggle to keep it buried. With her unwavering spirit of determination, Mia battles the forces stacked against her and faces mystery, danger, a dash of romance, and finally a conclusion that will change her life.
Author: Wendy Chen
Received: From Wendy Chen
Synopsis: Wedding planner Cassandra Hanley is in the business of making other people’s dreams come true. But for some reason, whenever she meets a potential mate of her own, she finds herself telling little (and not so little) white lies. She’s not trying to sabotage her relationships on purpose: as a people pleaser, she just naturally tells men what she thinks they want to hear.
When Cassandra meets Nick, she’s determined to be herself this time—until she learns he abhors weddings. So she recasts herself as an advertising exec, and now she’s scrambling to cover up the lie…with more lies.
Into the tangled web wanders Cassandra’s college sweetheart, Kevin. Kevin, the one man who knows the real Cassandra, and loves her anyway. Could he have been The One all along?
Torn between the past and the present, Cassandra is about to learn that you can’t plan the perfect life the way you can plan the perfect wedding.
Author: Deborah Coonts
Received: From Leyane/FSB Associates
Synopsis: Lucky O’Toole—Head of Customer Relations at The Babylon, premier mega-resort on the Vegas Strip—thinks it’s just another night in Las Vegas. But then a magician pulls a disappearing act, right under Lucky’s nose. Is it a stunt? Or something worse?
While Lucky chases leads, someone is trying to put her off the scent. As if this wasn’t enough to ruin her day, Lucky’s relationship with The Big Boss is coming to a head—past hurts can no longer be denied. Of course, she is already on shaky emotional ground: Teddie, her live-in, has been touring with a young and lovely pop star. Paxton Dane, former coworker and would-be suitor, is still circling, hoping to find a chink in the armor of Lucky’s resolve. And then, there’s this French chef, who is proving to be too hot to handle….
Las Vegas expert Deborah Coonts thrills again with this third installment in her dazzling series focused on casino “fixer” Lucky O’Toole.
By Deborah Coonts,
Author of Lucky Stiff
The words “Las Vegas” conjure thoughts of wild exploits, sexual highjinks, hangovers, and the scantily clad. Not too far from the truth, actually. I’ve lived here over twelve years, give or take, and this city gets under your skin. You just do stuff here you wouldn’t even think about anywhere else. And I’ve done my share.
Take male stripping. Who knew it was a contact sport? I’m not talking Chippendales or Thunder Down Under — great shows, but a bit tame, all things considered. True male stripping involves young men parading around in nothing but muscles with tiny sacks over their bananas. I think they smile too, but frankly, I don’t remember. I must not have been looking at their smiles, but I’m not admitting to anything. Anyway, the strippers paw the patrons, rubbing up against them in very provocative ways. I remember sitting across from a girlfriend of mine as one guy straddled her and ground his member into her lush chest. All I could see were his clenching butt muscles until my friend leaned around him, raised her glass, and gave me a shit-eating grin. It ruined me — I was done. Laughing does not make the strippers happy. Trust me on that one. Who knew that handsome young men in their near-all-together could be so sensitive?
Another fun evening out here in Vegas involves men and dancing, but of a different sort. You know how sometimes you just wanna dance? No fondling, no come-ons, no tired pick-up lines . . . just dance? The best place to do it in Vegas is Krave. They bill themselves as the Number One Gay Nightclub in the Country, and I would agree. Not that I have a great deal of experience, mind you, but boy is this place fun! The guys are great. They love to dance. And they are totally not interested in picking up women. A relief. Of course, if you’re in Vegas to score a bit of action, this might not be the place for you . . . unless you are gay.
And now I here the owners of Krave are opening a bar in downtown Vegas, near Freemont Street, where all the servers are drag queens. Who could resist? I plan on being first in line!
Of course, if you’re into beer and butt-whacking, the Hofbräveuhaus is for you. Yup, you can sing along to what I call oompah bands — I’m sure that’s not the technical term, but you get my drift (a bunch of guys with beer bellies in Lederhosen) and you can order a flagon of beer and get paddled by a pretty girl with a wooden paddle and a major-league swing. Why anybody would want to do this is beyond me, but they do — to the delight of the restaurant patrons. And the whole thing can be memorialized for posterity by a roving photographer. This is not something I’ve experienced personally — I’m not one to pay for physical punishment and pain — but I’ve seen it done.
So, while we’re on the subject of crazy-ass stuff I’ve seen but not participated in, let me tell you about the best party in town. Most folks think New Years is Vegas-Gone-Wild, but I beg to differ. Halloween is the night you want to be here to get your naughty on. There’s this party — The Fetish and Fantasy Ball — and the costumes are . . . creative. Often they involve spray paint and pasties. Or maybe just Saran Wrap. Or a couple of triangles of fur and string. But is it one heck of a party! The people-watching is the best part.
Did you know it is possible to eat a five star meal, served by tux-clad waiters . . . while suspended 180 feet above the ground. The views of the Strip are amazing — as long as you’re not acrophobic. It’s the only meal in town to require a seat belt — and it’s a ton of fun. Champagne toasts, filet mignon, unobstructed views, both panoramic and straight down, where else could you have this experience? It’s Vegas all the way.
Now, there’s one other thing I’m working my courage up to do. There’s this bar called the Double-Down — billed as “The Happiest Place on Earth”. They sell something called Ass Juice — it comes with Puke Insurance. I understand it’s a place you want to go when you’re craving the down and dirty, punk-rock Vegas thing. Sounds too good to pass up. Anybody game?
© 2011 Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff
Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff, says her mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago, though she’s not totally sure — her mother can’t be trusted. But she was definitely raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. She currently resides in Las Vegas, where family and friends tell her she can’t get into too much trouble. Silly people. Coonts has built her own business, practiced law, flown airplanes, written a humor column for a national magazine, and survived a teenager. She is the author of the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas adventure series.
Her first book, Wanna Get Lucky?, was released in 2010.
Tips for Writers, Sort Of
By Deborah Coonts,
Author of Lucky Stiff
Let’s get this out right up front — I have an authority issue. Rules and me, we mix about as well as fire and gasoline. So, if someone tells me how to do something, odds are, I’m not going to follow that path. The results are usually either brilliant or disastrous. I am very familiar with the latter, but not so much with the former. But at least I did it my way (yes, I feel a song coming on). After trying many professions (some had no appreciation for independent thinkers, imagine that), I finally landed on writing — primarily because, as you might have suspected, I am eminently unemployable. Curiously enough, I’ve discovered that writing is what I should have done all along.
You see, I’ve always loved stories. But, I wasn’t born a writer fully formed. I know you find that hard to believe, but it’s the truth — although I make stuff up for a living, I never lie. Anyway, when I started writing I was as clueless as a politician with a camera phone and a Twitter account. So, I did what everyone else would do — I just sat in a chair and typed “Chapter One.” Then . . . nothing. I had no idea how to tackle something as intimidating as a novel.
So, I baled and hit the Internet. Curiously enough, I found some “rules” for writing a novel. The first one was “write what you know.” Well, letsee, I was a single parent, frazzled and over-worked tax lawyer, living in a very conservative and snobbish small city in Colorado. Hmmm, didn’t sound like good fodder for a bestseller.
The next rule was “write what you read.” I loved romantic suspense. Maybe I could be Sandra Brown — or at least have her wardrobe? This at least got me scribbling madly. But, alas, I was not Sandra Brown. I wasn’t even a marginal romantic suspense writer. Darn.
Okay, next “rule:” Write what you can imagine. Much better. So, I imagined an overworked young woman who was Head of Customer Relations at a large Vegas Strip hotel with a former hooker as a mother, an absent father, and Vegas’s foremost Female Impersonator as a best friend. This story I could write! And it became Wanna Get Lucky?, my first published novel.
Along the way, I’ve developed my own set of “rules” for writing a novel — truisms all learned the hard way.
RULE ONE: GET DIVORCED, QUIT YOUR JOB, SELL YOUR KIDS
(I warn you, a slightly used teenager will bring nothing on the open market. Ditto the slightly used husband.) Writing is an all-consuming passion, an exacting taskmaster. If you don’t understand that last sentence, pick another form of self-flagellation other than writing — there are many, or so I’m told.
RULE TWO: LEARN THE BASICS
Writing is an art form. Asking someone to teach you how to write is akin to asking Picasso to teach you how to paint. He can teach you the basics of color, composition, media and whatever, but the expression — the part that makes it art — is up to you. The same goes for writing. Learn the basics of sentence structure, active voice versus passive, showing not telling, and the particular narrative nuances of your chosen genre, then quit taking lessons. Find your uniqueness and let it flow.
RULE THREE: KILL YOUR EDITOR (no, no, not that one! I’m referring to the INTERNAL one!)
Self-editing as you write will kill your story. The goal of the first draft is to get words on the page — as many words as you think might be helpful. Trust me, it is MUCH easier to take words out than it is to add more later. I don’t know why that is, but it is.
And that voice in your head that says you can’t do this, that you can never write a complete novel, much less a good one? Strangle that little SOB right now, BEFORE you begin. You will thank me later. Actually, I prefer donations in lieu of gratitude.
RULE FOUR: NEVER TRUST YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Even if you don’t owe them money, your family and friends will all tell you that your novel is wonderful. Don’t trust them. Find a group of writers — published or not, but make sure they know what they are talking about and their motives are pure — share your pages. You read theirs, they read yours, then you CONSTRUCTIVELY offer and receive unbiased opinions. This can be a goldmine. It can also be a very negative experience, so choose who you listen to wisely.
Put your butt in the chair, power-up the computer and write — everyday. I have written on planes, in casinos, at coffee shops in airports, skanky hotels when I was too tired to remember why I was even there, at family gatherings (a great way to keep out of the fray), in the park, at the gym after being defeated by the Stairmaster . . . in short, my daily word count goal is non-negotiable. I don’t care what your excuse is, you can find the time. I am the Queen of Procrastination, and if I can find a few hours each day to play with words and imaginary friends, so can you. And, some days my imaginary world is much more fun than the real thing. Bet yours is, too.
RULE SIX: ENJOY
Have fun. Play.
© 2011 Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff
Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff, says her mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago, though she’s not totally sure — her mother can’t be trusted. But she was definitely raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. She currently resides in Las Vegas, where family and friends tell her she can’t get into too much trouble. Silly people. Coonts has built her own business, practiced law, flown airplanes, written a humor column for a national magazine, and survived a teenager. She is the author of the Lucky O’Tool Las Vegas adventure series.
The first book in the series, Wanna Get Lucky?, has been nominated by the Romance Writers of America for the 2011 RITA awards in the categories of Best First Novel and Best Novel with a Strong Romantic Element. Her second book, Lucky Stiff, was published in February 2011.
June Challenge Reviews
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Prize for June: One (1) winner will receive signed paperback copies of The Taming of the Bastard and Heart of Glass by LA Dale. One (1) bonus winner will win an ARC paperback copy of Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts. You must post the link to your review in the Mister Linky below. This can be to your blog, GoodReads page, or other sources such as Amazon.
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LA Dale Books- Jill S- An Unnatural Athlete
Wanna Get Lucky? – Ashley- The Book Fetish
Lucky O’Toole, the feisty heroine from Deborah Coonts novel Wanna Get Lucky? is back and better than ever. In the second novel, Lucky Stiff, Lucky is now happily dating female impersonator/singing extraordinaire Teddie, and still working for the luxurious Babylon Resort and Casino on the Vegas strip. On a seemingly normal night, a swarm of bees escapes from an exhibit, and Lucky’s normal streak is over. The domino effect begins, starting with a DA naked and locked hotel closet, a bookie with no conscience found dead in the shark tank, and Lucky’s good friend at the top of the suspect list. Could the DA and bookie be relevant to one another? And can Lucky handle all the Babylon’s problems on top of her love life, which is spinning out of control after Teddie is offered a recording deal?
Lucky Stiff is even better than the first, which is usually pretty rare. I liked that even though this was a sequel, it could easily be a stand alone as well. And Coonts doesn’t fill the pages with information readers would find in the first novel, she gives just the right amount of needed info and moves on with the new plot line. The writing borders on raunchy, with sex being a hot topic amongst all the characters- especially Lucky’s Madame mother- who is auctioning off a young woman’s virginity. Readers will enjoy the fast paced scenes, the picture of a glittery and glamorous Vegas with an underlying of secrets and sin. I heard from Coonts that she is currently working on a third in the series, and I cannot wait to read it!
Wanna Get Lucky? is the first in the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas mystery series by Deborah Coonts, and I loved it! The story follows heroine Lucky, who is in her thirties and works as the head of Customer Relations at a mega casino and resort on the Vegas strip. Lucky has dedicated much of her life to her work, after the Big Boss took a chance on her and gave her a job at only fifteen years old. Since then, Lucky has worked herself up to achieve everything she has. Her tough exterior comes from growing up in the Sin City, and also from her mother, who runs a brothel. Lucky is used to solving problems, from irate guests to drunken fights, and people counting cards in the casino. But when the lovely Lyda Sue drops to her death from the helicopter owned by Lucky’s resort and the pilot goes missing, Lucky has a new task to handle- murder.
Wanna Get Lucky? is a fast-paced, keep you on your toes novel. I love a good mystery, and Coonts adds in so many plot twists and new character developments that I couldn’t figure this one out until the end. The main character is a gem, a tough female not afraid to speak her mind and get her way. I loved reading about her love life as well, and the mom who is a Madame- hilarious! The only part I didn’t love so much was it was a bit stereotypical. The Big Boss was like a mobster, and sometimes the Vegas scene seemed like what people who have never been to Vegas might think it’s like. But I’ve been there, and it wasn’t quite like what is described. Then again, I was a tourist visiting for a few days. But, I also think this is an aspect that makes the book so much fun to read. It’s drama, it’s mystery, it’s fiction. Wanna Get Lucky? is over the top, a novel readers can get lost in. I cannot wait to read book number two- Lucky Stiff.
In My Mailbox: Week of January 30, 2011
Title: Just Friends With Benefits
Received: From Meredith Schorr
Synopsis: When a friend urges Stephanie Cohen not to put all her eggs in one bastard, the advice falls on deaf ears. Stephanie’s college crush on Craig Hille has been awakened 13 years later as if soaked in a can of Red Bull and she is determined not to let the guy who got away once, get away twice.
Stephanie, a 32-year-old paralegal from Washington, D.C., is a 70’s and 80’s television trivia buff who can recite the starting lineup of the New York Yankees and go beer for beer with the guys. And despite her failure to get married and pro-create prior to entering her thirties, she has so far managed to keep her overbearing mother from sticking her head in the oven. Just Friends with Benefits is the humorous story of Stephanie’s pursuit of love, her adventures in friendship, and her journey to discover what really matters.
Author: Nicky Schmidt
Received: From Sam Lown @ Prospera Publishing
Synopsis: Following on from her debut novel, Nicky Schmidt’s “Marrying out of Money” is the story of a coffee shop heiress who is determined not to marry an aristocratic cad in an arranged marriage. In order to extricate herself, she decides to make herself as undesirable as possible, but things go awry when she finds herself falling for a man who repulses her.
Title: Wanna Get Lucky?
Received: From Cassie Ammerman @ Tor/Forge
Synopsis: A young woman plunges from a Las Vegas sightseeing helicopter, landing in the Pirate’s lagoon in front of the Treasure Island Hotel in the middle of the 8:30 Pirate Show. Almost everyone writes her off as another Vegas victim.
But Lucky O’Toole smells a rat. She’s head of Customer Relations at The Babylon, the newest, most opulent mega-casino and resort on the Strip, so she’s got a lot on her plate: the Adult Film industry’s annual awards banquet, a spouse-swapping convention, sex toy purveyors preying on the pocket-protector crowd attending ElectroniCon…. Still, Lucky can’t resist turning over a few stones.
When a former flame is one of the snakes she uncovers, Lucky’s certain she’s no longer dealing with an anonymous Sin City suicide. To top it all off, Lucky’s best friend Teddie—Las Vegas’ finest female impersonator—presses to take their relationship to the next level. Leave it to Lucky to attract a man who looks better in a dress than she does.
Lucky must manage the Babylon’s onslaught of outrageous festivities, solve a murder, and struggle to keep her life and libido from spinning out of control… not to mention keep her balance in six inch heels.