Showing posts with label CHOP IT UP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CHOP IT UP. Show all posts

Thursday, September 8, 2022

CHOP IT UP: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

"When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.
 
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.
 
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way..."

Oh, MAN! Check this out, I tried to read this book back some almost-decade ago when I was still in my urban fantasy reading bag. Back then, I couldn’t seem to get around the first chapter. Now–as of my writing this–I’ve read the book page for page successfully. And I have to say the delay wasn’t worth it. Though I have to admit it's one of those books I've been curious about since, and am now happy the experience is behind me. Still, the Kate Daniels series is certainly popular with at least ten books released since her story's 2007 debut. However, I don't feel any desire to go further than said debut, Magic Bites.

So what happened to me with Magic Bites?

For starters, the first 100 pages had it going on. There was a crime scene. Murders to investigate. A law enforcing institution of sorts that's geared toward investigating and solving paranormal/preternatural crimes. Then there's Kate, our local mercenary heroine. She steps on stage appearing as clear-headed and competent in bringing justice to a crime that has unfortunately resulted in the murder of her guardian. So, off the bat, she has a closeness and even deeper stakes in solving this case ("story" box checked). Furthermore, she came armed with a directive and motive as a character ("plot" box checked).

In those first 100 pages, Kate was doing the damned thing; researching, interviews, morgue visits, document gathering, deducing, analyzing, and determining her next angle/action. I was all in, thinking to myself how nice it was to see an urban fantasy character doing actual investigative and procedural work that made sense. No illogical and desperate conclusions. Not too much fumbling. But actual steps. Now I held my breathe a bit because I knew soon she would be swayed to have sexy time with a local vampire or pack leader, per urban fantasy tropes (especially given the book's 2007 publication)! Yet, it was undeniable how Kate in motion provided a level of groundedness to the story, as well as character.

Sadly, the bottom fell out somewhere around 100 pages...

That’s when all I can describe as an over-the-top freakshow extravaganza hijacked Kate's investigative journey, and Kate herself. Now you can take my use of the term "freakshow" as either good or bad when you consider how we're talking about urban fantasy books where werecreatures and vampires generally take center stage. Yet, for darn sure, this change in tone seen in Magic Bites made for a disappointing and unpleasant reading affair.

Monday, August 17, 2020

FauxCast ~ CHOP IT UP: Goldenboy by Michael Nava (Henry Rios Mystery #2)

Been a while, huh?  I read this book back in March–as a part of #MarchMysteryMadness–and recorded this soon after.  I guess I just held on to this recording as one proceeds to tackle other areas of one's life amid... well... we know what's going on these days.  With that said, this recording is completely unedited.  Normally I try to clean things up for you guys.  This time I'm trying to get my mojo back first.  LOL.  

Anyway, enjoy!   I also hope you're all well.  Staying safe and motivated.  And refusing to give up on whatever you're reaching to achieve.



Thursday, December 12, 2019

FOLLOW IT UP ~ Shades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs

"Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is finally invited to a social event that she doesn’t have to cater—but there’s more than champagne bubbling… 

Theo is mingling with the cream of Charleston society at the engagement soiree of the season. But as they eagerly await the dazzling young couple’s arrival—the groom meets with a freak accident. The exquisite wedding ring—a family heirloom from the crown of Marie Antoinette—is mysteriously missing.

Theodosia suspects that trouble is brewing. But when she goes to the authorities, they treat her like she’s been reading tea leaves—and that’s the surest way to put Theodosia’s kettle on the boil…"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is a bit of disappointment in writing this post. Why? Well, I found the third book in Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mystery series, Shades of Earl Grey, uneventful and "gray". Earlier this year I did a video describing how I adored the series. I especially adored Childs’ red-headed amateur sleuth and tea shop owner, Theodosia Browning. Theodosia came across as the quiet type of character. She seemed reserved and soft-spoken. While standing as a determined type of character. I could see myself getting attached to her, as well as her murder mystery excursions down the road. You see, I gravitate towards the cozy sleuth who harbors a bold and witty and coy personality. Theodosia was the opposite, but she was cool. I adored my time with her within the first two books of the series.

Then came the third book, Shades of Earl Grey. Afterwards, my enthusiasm for Theodosia “regressed” a bit.

THE NOT-SO MURDER MYSTERY

But first things first–the actual story/murder mystery. So Shades of Earl Grey does contain a murder. And it's no doubt a murder of the wrong-place-wrong-time variety. Yet the book isn't about said death, per se. Instead the story orbits around the jewel-stealing, heist-plotting contrivances of a small-town cat burglar. This left some of the suspecting characters, as well as his or her various failings in connection to the victim, elsewhere. The need to care about the majority of the story seemed removed to me, as the focus wasn't on the victim (as in the dead one and not the victims of burglary, of course). This lacking may or may not be part of my eventual disillusionment with Theodosia from this entry. Either way these events need notice.

So back to my original point about Theodosia herself…

Friday, April 19, 2019

CHOP IT UP: Inner City Blues by Paula L. Woods


What's going onnnnnnnn?  BHAH!  Y'all bare with me.  Y'all know my struggles.  Anyway, this book really did taste like some Inner City Blues.  And one I can't wait to slurp up in the book's follow-up.  Somebody go tell that MOFO to COME ONNNNN!  

:) 

Ohhhh, Sis!  I forgot to mention we get to actually go into the morgue in this book.  TWICE, bihhhhh!  Color me weird, but I love morgue and autopsy scenes in a mystery book.  I guess mystery lovers can relate (as well as those who stay glued to the ID Channel/A&E), but those tantalizing scenes amplify my mood to solve some murders with whatever given protagonist.  It's a rush.  It's a high.  

Now in real life...  Hunniiiiiii, you wouldn't catch my ass NO WHERE NEAR a damn morgue!  Baby, ME-NO play around the dead.  Anyway, major props to Woods for this.  Often times authors only allow the investigator to get the final report–instead of being present with the medical examiner.  So Woods hit the spot with this.  I can't express how her allowing the reader and Charlotte into the bowels of a city morgue raised my confidence in her work.  She was serious about her story.

Inner City Blues (Charlotte Justice #1) by Paula L. Woods (Amazon affiliate link)

"Meet Detective Charlotte Justice, a black woman in the very white, very male, and sometimes very racist Los Angeles Police Department. The time is 48 hours into the epochal L.A. riots and she and her fellow officers are exhausted. She saves the curfew-breaking black doctor Lance Mitchell from a potentially lethal beating from some white officers ― only to discover nearby the body of one-time radical Cinque Lewis, a thug who years before had murdered her husband and young daughter. Was it a random shooting or was Mitchell responsible? And what had brought Lewis back to a city he'd long since fled?"

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