cover image I Heart Bloomberg

I Heart Bloomberg

Melody Carlson. David C. Cook Distribution, $13.99 (292pp) ISBN 978-1-58919-104-4

Carlson, author of more than 100 books, begins her 86 Bloomberg Place series with a novel that functions mostly to set up future storylines. Three women rent rooms at 86 Bloomberg Place: Lelani Porter is a lovely half-Hawaiian with a secret; Megan Abernathy is a Christian flirting with depression; and Hispanic Anna Mendez is anxious to escape a smothering mother. The advertised ""luxurious"" house, owned by Barbie doll clone Kendall Weis, is disappointingly in need of updating, and in exchange for a rent reduction, they redecorate and renovate the run-down home. Kendall turns out to be the landlord from hell, with entitlement issues, an eating disorder, a shopping addiction and a slew of (too many) other problems. It's more than the trio bargained for, but nobly they try to be kind to Kendall. The Christian element is present in the story, but lightly handled. A subplot of young women gone missing seems at odds with the beauty makeovers and HGTV-type activities. Although Carlson is careful to explain the reasons behind Lelani's absence from her home in the islands, readers may find her seemingly unemotional abdication of responsibility difficult to swallow, while Kendall's character is one-dimensional. The novel ends abruptly without resolving enough loose ends-likely picked up in book two-but leaving readers dissatisfied rather than intrigued.