Reviewed by Jennifer J.

After embarrassingly bombing an interview, down-on-her-luck Nikki Lanier spontaneously agrees to pose as a handsome stranger’s wife in her Canadian hotel’s lobby. Nikki isn’t quite ready to face her mother after her recent humiliation, so she turns what was supposed to be a short introduction into a lunch date with her pretend husband “Jim” and his prospective business partner, Jirair Sarkassian.

Selling cosmetics for the Carrie Mae Foundation isn’t exactly the brilliant career move that Nikki had in mind, but she’s desperate for some income and all too eager to please her overbearing mother. Her first attempt to sell the Carrie Mae products ends in disaster, leaving Nikki in need of a lawyer. Mrs. Merrivel, the founder of the Carrie Mae Foundation, bails Nikki out of the slammer and reveals to her that Carrie Mae is about more than just makeup: it’s really a top secret spy organization designed to fight and preserve the rights of all womankind. When a mission to find a do-gooder’s kidnapped daughter brings her to Thailand, Nikki unexpectedly runs into “Jim” (whose real name is Z’el) and Sarkassian. Thinking their presence in Thailand is more than just a coincidence, Nikki begins to suspect that Z’el is not the lawyer that he pretends to be, and that both of these men are somehow connected to the missing girl.

Bulletproof Mascara by Bethany Maines is a mix of James Bond, Charlie’s Angels, and a lot of girl power. This fluffy chick-lit spy novel is the perfect companion for the beach or on an airplane. Maines has come up with an adorable idea for a series, but I found the main character to be just a little too ditzy for my tastes. Though she is constantly mucking up her career ambitions and her romantic life, she somehow makes for a brilliant top secret agent. In future books in this series, I hope that Maines will do a little more [amazonify]0743292774[/amazonify]research into spies, their technology, training, and even their income; an offer of $75,000 a year for Nikki’s position seemed to be too little compensation for the tasks her job would entail.

Though her writing style is easy to read, the chapter structure of the novel is hard to follow and a bit sloppy. The chapters are not chronological, and might cause some readers to pause and backtrack to find out where they are at in the story. Each chapter is labeled with the city or country where the action is currently taking place, but sometimes even that was unhelpful. In some chapters, flashbacks were revealed in past tense, further adding to my confusion and frustration. This wasn’t my typical preferred read, but with minor gripes aside, it’s a promising first in series.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Atria. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.