Mad About Mia
Mia DeNero is the younger sister of Angela (The Trials of AngelaMad About Mia. Criswell inhabits her novels with quirky characters, and in this instsance most are related in some way to Mia. While supposedly a romantic comedy, the book instead offers up too much drama and characters too annoying for the romance to work. Past readers may enjoy catching up with the family, but I could have done without so many quirky family members, many of whom were less than funny. In fact, in many instances I could have done without Mia herself, who was supposedly cute and naïve but seemed downright stupid throughout much of the book.
Petite and naïve are not exactly traits that normally characterize a bodyguard. Yet, that is just what Mia DeNero is trying to be. “Trying” being the operative word, for Mia is having a difficult time finding clients and money to keep her business up and running. Then, in walks her first client and her chance for quite a bit of money. Nick Caruso claims to need protection from the mob because of a book he is writing. Because she needs the money so badly or maybe because she is rather naïve, Mia does not check out Nick’s story and immediately takes the job. Moving Nick into her apartment seems like the best way to protect him. Maybe she should be worried about having a strange man in her home, but he seems helpless enough in his tweed, corduroys and thick, nerdy glasses. Yet, as much as she makes fun of him, Mia cannot deny the thrill that she gets at his touch.
In reality, Nick Caruso is anything but a nerdy weakling. In fact, those who know him well know that Nick is actually quite a lady’s man. More than that, Nick is not an author but actually an FBI agent looking to shut down a money-laundering operation in Mia’s neighborhood. It just so happens that the man who might be involved in this scheme is one of Angela’s in-laws, Alfredo, a man Mia knows very well. Living with Mia and using her as his bodyguard is the perfect excuse to get close to Alfredo and produce the evidence that he needs to stop the operation. However, what Nick does not plan on is actually having feelings for Mia, feelings that could put them both in danger.
Mia takes her job very seriously, but part of her begins to wonder if maybe Nick is exaggerating his situation. No one seems to be out to get the man. In fact, there are quite a few things that just don’t seem to add up. For one, why is she so attracted to a man who wears tweed? And why would he want Mia as a bodyguard when he could afford someone with more experience? Yet Mia pushes aside these niggling doubts because she needs the money. And then Mia saves Nick’s life and becomes a hero. Maybe he was telling the truth after all. Then again, maybe not.
There are a lot of things that just don’t make sense in this book. Nick is supposed to be hiding out from the mob, using Mia for protection. Although Mia needs the money, she seems to have no qualms whatsoever about protecting the man from the mob, as if she actually could. Plus, she sees no problem in constantly going out in public with Nick, who is supposed to be lying low. I have seen enough movies on Lifetime to know that if you are wanted by the mob, you don’t prance around in public where anyone can see you and get a clean shot. Apparently, Mia doesn’t watch Lifetime. Mia also tells everyone in sight that Nick is writing a book about the mob, which later leads to a dangerous situation. I know Mia is supposed to be naïve and charming, but these mistakes make her seem more like a careless moron.
Mia’s family is large; every single member has a quirky trait, much like the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But the family irritates rather than amuses the reader, for there seems to be no point in their quirkiness. By the time we are introduced to Mia’s cross-dressing father, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes in exasperation. The story, the characters, the book itself, is all too much. It is not the worst book I have ever read; it is fast-paced, easy to read and there are a few amusing and romantic moments. Yet it is very, very far off from being a book that I would recommend to fellow readers. In fact, a better title for this book could be My Petite Stupid Italian Bodyguard.