Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Down and Out in Bugtussle: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness by Stephanie McAfee

Title: Down and Out in Bugtussle: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness
Author: Stephanie McAfee

Publisher: Penguin NAL

Published Date: July 2, 2013

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

Author Website: http://www.stephanie-mcafee.com/Home.html


New York Times bestselling author Stephanie McAfee delivers another irreverent, laugh-out-loud page-turner about the (mis)adventures of plus-size spitfire Graciela “Ace” Jones.

With her fiancé now her ex-fiancé, Ace has hightailed it back to Bugtussle, Mississippi, and back to her Gramma Jones’s house. Her best friends, Lilly and Chloe, are delighted she’s back, but Ace still has some challenges ahead of her.

For one thing, her replacement as Bugtussle High School’s art teacher, Cameron Becker, refuses to vacate the position. So Ace is stuck working as a substitute teacher while harboring fantasies of running Miss Becker out of town. On top of that, Lilly and Chloe are obsessed with setting her up on less-than-romantic blind dates—even though all she wants is a break from her pitiful love life.

To ease her troubled mind, Ace resolves to restore her grandmother’s gardens to their former glory. But in the well-worn gardening book she’s dug out of her grandmother’s attic there are a series of suspicious notes that indicate her grandmother may have had a special someone in her past. Now, with her faithful chiweenie, Buster Loo, by her side, Ace is determined to get to the bottom of her grandmother’s secret life, all the while hoping her own life isn’t about to implode....
My Thoughts:

Hello, my name is Candace and I am addicted to the Stephanie McAfee series revolving around the loud and crazy Graciela 'Ace' Jones.  I flipping LOVE Ace, the main character of McAfee's Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, Happily Ever Madder, and now Down and Out in Bugtussle.  I truly think McAfee struck literary gold when she first wrote about the adventures of Ace and her friends.  McAfee's latest book involving Ace will be released in the beginning of July.  However, I got lucky enough to receive Down and Out in Bugtussle before its release date and I have to say I LOVED it just as much as I loved the first two books in the series.

In Down and Out in Bugtussle, Ace has returned to Mississippi after her disastrous move to Florida to live with her ex-fiancee.  When she left the small town of Bugtussle, Ace was full of hopes and dreams.  Her perfect life with Mason was unfolding and she had opened her own Art Gallery.  However, after many ups and downs, Ace realizes that she has yet to find true happiness and returns to her hometown and back to the life she was so excited to leave behind.  

Back in Bugtussle, Ace is nursing a wounded heart but surrounded by her best friends Chloe, Lilly, and Jalena.  With her teaching position taken over by a new teacher, Ace finds herself the low woman on the totem pole as she becomes a permanent substitute teacher, a definite step backward.  Ace has big hopes of winning her job back and can't wait to see the new snobby teacher fired.  Ace also makes two new teacher friends.  Stacey is another long term sub and a lover of all 80's rock with the big hair to prove it.  She marches to the beat of her own drum and Ace can't help but like her.  As for the sassy and spectacular Freddie, Ace wants to dislike him since he is BFF's with her rival.  However, as she gets to know him she finds herself drawn to him and his outspoken ways. 

Throughout Down and Out in Bugtussle, Ace finds herself coming to the aid of Chloe and Lilly, both of whom are having difficulties in their personal relationships.  Ace also starts unraveling a mystery involving her deceased grandmother's love life.  By following clues that she discovers in her grandmother's plant book, Ace makes it her goal to find out just her her dear grandma was.

I found myself laughing out loud at the situations Ace and Stacey found themselves in.  Their new friendship is heartwarming and hilarious and I loved every minute of it.  I enjoyed how McAfee had Ace hanging out with various friends, not just her bestie's Lilly, Chloe, and Jalena.  Ace is frequently with Stacey, Freddie, Hatter, Cameron, and her elderly friends including Birdie.

I definitely recommend Stephanie McAfee's Down and Out in Bugtussle: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness.  This book is the PERFECT beach/pool read.  The ending of Down and Out in Bugtussle was left open and didn't have a ton of closure so I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment in the Ace Jones series.  

Stephanie McAfee

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of the book, Down and Out in Bugtussle, for the purpose of review.

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