Friday, December 14, 2018

(PART 2) Short Days/Cold Nights Cozy Reading TBR


I have been nailing these cozy mystery reads to “close out” 2018–having read 8 books since the 19th of November. And the weather has definitely been instrumental in my success. It has kept me closed off and anti-social (just the way I like it). And the house is warm and too cozy to get out and brave the elements for no good reason other than food and work. Nonetheless, to keep matters going, I'm continuing ONLY to pick the cozies I already own. Pulling them off the shelf to extend my Short Days/Cold Nights Cozy Reading TBR. And here remains the last three I have in mind.

1. The ever-popular Rhys Bowen is finally getting a fair turn. I picked up Her Royal Spyness–book one in her Lady Georgiana series–a few years back. It never got a proper turn until now. I spent a few hours reading Her Royal Spyness by candlelight and reading light alone. Oh, while dealing with a nasty electric meter and switchboard replacement problem. Anyway, fifty pages in and I found myself hooked. When I first bought the book, I didn’t want to go into all the Swing music, banjo sleeves, Grapes of Wrath décor of the 1930s. I knew the series was popular and knew I would get there one day. That has recently changed. I’m loving the voice of this book.
Forget Sleeping.  Let's READ!

2. Gunpowder Green, by Laura Childs, is the second book in her Teashop Mystery. The series features a cozy mystery favorite amateur sleuth, Theodosia Browning. I read the first book (Death by Darjeeling) this past summer. I was looking for a Susan Wittig Albert China Bayle fix at the time. It more or less provided, but was promising enough to come back for more.

3. 1966’s The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman will close this TBR out. And I’m going to keep this list short because I have coffee brewing, while I’m ready to read!


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SNARKY DNF: Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett

"Actress Dayna Anderson's Deadly New Role: Homicide DetectiveDayna Anderson doesn't set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke actress wants is to help her parents keep their house.

So after witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she pursues the fifteen grand reward. But Dayna soon finds herself doing a full-on investigation, wanting more than just money―she wants justice for the victim.

She chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes, and movie premieres, loving every second of it―until someone tries to kill her. And there are no second takes in real life."
Granted I had hesitations to begin with, considering the book's Hollywood setting.  You know, all the superficial and stereotypical stuff I would have to get through as a reader.  Still, I wanted to trust this would be different.  That, alongside the mystery, the leading character would be levels above the Hollywood hype.  I got 60 pages before I bailed.  Here's the list as to why...

1.  Opening Topic of Breast Implants?

Now I get it. Dayna is an actress working in Hollywood, where her image is her livelihood. Looks often take precedence to talent. Looks put food on the table. Aesthetics and specific enhancements lead to acting jobs–to receiving gigs. Yet, I would be lying if it didn't cause me to question the author’s course, introducing a lead sporting bazooka breast implants. What it signaled to me was how Dayna was a character willing to follow instead of lead. A character who was comfortable falling right into the pressures of her Hollywood profession, instead of resisting leftward to rely on her brain/talent. I needed a confidence vibe straight out the gate. A self-acceptance and reassuring leader in control feel.

So, from the jump, I couldn't take Dayna seriously. She came across as another shallow, Hollywood sheep. Stereotypical actress fluff who was–sadly in my mind–about to play detective for a day for quirks, shits and giggles.

No, for real. Her exposition delivery on her breast implants in the opening chapter made me cringe. Nothing against it. But as a mystery lover who loves and adores having more black writers filling the genre, I felt disappointed with a realization that this book wasn't going to attempt to soar above the Stephanie Plum-level tone type flouncy silliness. And this topic–stigma or not–set its tone. No disrespect.

2.  Half-Naked Barista? Cute?

Sooooo.  Y'all thought this scene was "cute"?
To make up for her lack of acting-related gigs, Dayna enters the novel applying for a job at a café. A cafe where the baristas are semi-nude women serving lattes and such. Now I know this is an actual, real thing. Yet, once again, I couldn’t help but flinch at the author’s course with Dayna. I kept asking myself, “couldn’t she think of anything better than this to–I suppose–humble the character? Why cheapen her to this degree?” And if the author intended to make her character despondent and relatable; it only caused me to question the character’s skills, judgment, and resourcefulness. Dayna seriously contemplated the job and dressed down to "audition" for a position. And I wasn’t feeling the objectivity of this character. It was disappointing how the author could write her in such a situation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Some In Death J. D. Robb Eve Dallas STUFF

I must’ve put my name, email address, and home address down somewhere recently. I got this neat-o supreme-o In Death/Eve Dallas/J. D. Robb t-shirt in the mail the other day. Along with the cute Connections in Death Pop Out Christmas Tree ornaments. I kept trying to wrack my brain on any recent activities I’ve participated in about my fave, J. D. Robb. Anyway, super surprised and super gleeful. And, most of all, I’m ready for Connections in Death. Though I rather live in the present and not press the future, February 5th seems too far away for its release. UGHHHHHHHHHHHH! Waiting is a BITCH! Equally stressful now that I know the following book is titled Vendetta in Death. And we won't see that one until September 2019!

By the way. The books featured in the image DID NOT COME WITH THE SHIRT. LOL. Wanted to make that clear. I ordered the hardbacks from Turn the Page Bookstore earlier this year. I placed them here for decorative... or... festive... purposes...?

So thanks to the publishers St. Martin's Press. J. D. Robb. And my girl, Eve Dallas.
"Homicide cop Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband, Roarke, are building a brand-new school and youth shelter. They know that the hard life can lead kids toward dangerous crossroads―and with this new project, they hope to nudge a few more of them onto the right path. For expert help, they hire child psychologist Dr. Rochelle Pickering―whose own brother pulled himself out of a spiral of addiction and crime with Rochelle’s support. 
Lyle is living with Rochelle while he gets his life together, and he’s thrilled to hear about his sister’s new job offer. But within hours, triumph is followed by tragedy. Returning from a celebratory dinner with her boyfriend, she finds Lyle dead with a syringe in his lap, and Eve’s investigation confirms that this wasn’t just another OD. After all his work to get clean, Lyle’s been pumped full of poison―and a neighbor with a peephole reports seeing a scruffy, pink-haired girl fleeing the scene. 
Now Eve and Roarke must venture into the gang territory where Lyle used to run, and the ugly underground world of tattoo parlors and strip joints where everyone has taken a wrong turn somewhere. They both believe in giving people a second chance. Maybe even a third or fourth. But as far as they’re concerned, whoever gave the order on Lyle Pickering’s murder has run out of chances…"

Thought for the Day

Monday, December 10, 2018

CHOP IT UP: Stealing Shadows by Kay Hooper

"What if you can enter a madman's cruel mind as he plans his vicious crimes? 
What if you can see the terrified face of his prey as he moves in for the kill -- but you can't stop his frenzy once he strikes? 
Psychic Cassie Neill helps the L.A. police catch killers -- until she makes a terrible mistake and an innocent child dies. Cassie flees to a small North Carolina town, hoping that a quiet life will silence the voices that invade her unwilling mind. But Cassie's abilities know few boundaries. And she's become certain -- as no one else can be -- that a murderer is stalking Ryan's Bluff. 
It's his fury that Cassie senses first, then his foul thoughts and perverse excitement. Yet she doesn't know who he is or where he will strike. The sheriff won't even listen to her -- until the first body is found exactly where and how she predicted. Now a suspect herself, she races desperately to unmask the killer in the only way she knows: by entering his twisted mind. Her every step is loaded with fear and uncertainty... because if he senses her within him, he'll trap her there, so deep she'll never find her way out."
Stealing Shadows is the first book in Kay Hooper's Noah Bishop series. And the hook to her Bishop series is he’s a psychic detective. Specifically, one who runs a division of psychic detectives thriving as FBI agents. Interesting and exciting stuff, right? Well, in Bishop's 2000 debut, he played a secondary role to a pretty stringent romance.

Which almost stuck an ice pick in my poor balloon of new series hope.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

SNARKY DNF: An Uneasy Death by Charlaine Harris

"The beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, the inspiration for HBO’s True Blood, and the Midnight Crossroad trilogy adapted for NBC’s Midnight, Texas, has written a taut new thriller—the first in the Gunnie Rose series—centered on a young gunslinging mercenary, Lizbeth Rose.  
Set in a fractured United States, in the southwestern country now known as Texoma. A world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted, especially by a young gunslinger named Lizbeth Rose. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards to be their local guide and gunnie. For the wizards, Gunnie Rose has already acquired a fearsome reputation and they’re at a desperate crossroad, even if they won’t admit it. They’re searching through the small border towns near Mexico, trying to locate a low-level magic practitioner, Oleg Karkarov. The wizards believe Oleg is a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin, and that Oleg’s blood can save the young tsar’s life. 
As the trio journey through an altered America, shattered into several countries by the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, they’re set on by enemies. It’s clear that a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive."
(Originally posted on Goodreads)

I. Could. Not. Love. Nor. Appreciate. The. Voice. And. Tone. Of. This. Book.

Dry. Static. No flavor. No personality. No salt. No cinnamon. Not even a little gun-toting gristle and marrow–despite its promise of such. Unnecessary rape to heighten an already inert story. And each "gunnie" bullet fired may as well been a sponge cake thrown. I DNF'ed at page 22. Grateful I had the forethought to check it out from the library. You see, I learned from my last investment in a Harris series post Sookie.


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