Monday, July 8, 2019

[Mrs Y Reviews] Death and the Harlot by Georgina Clarke

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Thanks to a recommendation by a good friend on Goodreads, I picked up “Death and the Harlot” by Georgina Clarke, and I am so grateful for the suggestion. It’s one of the most fun kind of books to read, and it is very much not a children’s book. Don’t get me wrong, my friends, I do read a lot of Children’s literature, and I am not saying there is anything wrong with it. But sometimes momma needs some fun adult reading, and this book is perfect for it.

What I love right off of the bat with the story, was that even though the subject matter is very intense, the book never was raunchy. My first impression of the story was that it was taking the things that make the infamous tales of London of old so dark, and turning it into something that fits a modern sensibility without betraying the past.

Later in the novel toward the end, Georgina left a note and said that the people of that time cursed a blue streak. I thought the way she handled it was fantastic. It wasn’t sanitized filth, but it was made for a modern pallet toward the older style.

Let’s talk about some scoring here, and we are going to look into the “Cliche Much” part of my scoring.  I found the character of Lizzy to be both compelling, realistic, and vulnerable in her circumstances, but at times, there is a cliche issue that crops up. And yet, there are things about her that could tend toward the cliche “Mary Sue.” If you are unfamiliar with this cliche, it usually comes with characters that are overly strong or have “chosen one” principals, or they miraculously manage to figure all the4 things out because of some ‘plot armor’ that isn’t well laid out. Lizzy at times suffers from this. For some reason, she’s always there miraculously when needed. She’s the one who knew about the McGuffin, she’s the one who was the last scene with the victim, she’s the one who had a secure connection to the antagonist and never considered them until the right moment. Let me state that though the cliche is there, it’s brilliantly used. It’s okay to use cliche’s in your novels if you balance them and use a new take. Lizzy makes up for the situations she encounters because of how well she is balanced. She’s not overly strong or overly brave, or able to withstand things that are above her mentally or physically. She’s just lucky, or maybe very unlucky, to find herself in the center of chaos.

The next piece I wanted to talk about was the “Whole Story” portion of my scoring. This is a small nitpick, but I felt it was a tad of an issue for me. 99.5% of the book is solidly well done, and all plot lines and threads make sense, and end well. However, there is an Uncle character that is mentioned to be part of an origin story, who is brought up by even a mentor type of character. This Uncle character appears to be the main antagonist of the world, and yet, he’s barely mentioned. The end of the book does not settle his storyline with the character. That tiny bit made the story unfinished for me. I, however, feel that the idea behind the not solidifying the way the character feels about the uncle, or finalizing it, is because it will be addressed in books coming later. This isn’t bad at all, and it is what will likely make for a better story later. I just found that it wasn’t tied up as well as other plot-lines in the same story were.

With all of that in mind, the thing about “Death and the Harlot” that is so important to remember is that it is nearly perfect for a mystery novel of its type, but I am a reviewer, and I need to point out what little I can find in it that might have been done better. Let me go into what I truly enjoyed about “Death and the Harlot.”

Under the “Story Structure, Foundation and Presentation” portion of my scoring, this book looks, reads and is a wonderful novel. I found no grammatical or spelling errors. I found no issues with the Kindle version on default settings. Everything is margined perfectly, the font looks lovely, the lines are crisp and clean, the book is well p[lotted and loads of wonderful tension bits, and more importantly, the mystery was written with perfect pacing. That is a tall order, my friends. This category tends to be the one that I hit most other books on the hardest, and Georgina’s team helped her achieve a nearly perfect book on all fronts. I do hope they all went out to dinner to celebrate, because this is quite an achievement, in my opinion.

In critiquing the pacing of the mystery, clues and using my mystery journal, “Death and the Harlot” has fun with the mystery tropes that make mysteries exciting. There are clues everywhere, and they fall in both fast-paced, but well-placed sections. There are some slower burning ones, the red herrings are well done, and my favorite parts have to do with buttons.

Focusing on the next part, the character structure and people in this world are all written well. From the Ma character to Sallie, to even the Tavern owners, this book has a lot of realism in the figures. They all fit in this world, and also the vendors and non-important background characters add color to the scenario. I truly enjoyed reading all of this, and I loved picking up the clues. I will say that of all the mysteries I’ve read in the last year, this one for me was the best type. It felt like it was written for me and my humor and my preferences so that I could feel like I was there in days long forgotten in circumstances no one wanted to endure.


Score

With everything in mind, I’m scoring “Death and the Harlot” by Georgina Clarke a 98/100 which is a nearly perfect score, and five stars on Amazon and Goodreads. If you like mysteries with adult themes, pick this up, and if you like merry old London, this is worth reading as well. See you next week, my friends.

Monday, July 1, 2019

[Mrs. Y Reviews] Deadly Passion by Joe Congel

Book cover via Amazon
Welcome back everyone, Today, for our review back, is a book that I found a pleasure to read. Joe Congel asked me to read this, and I appreciate his patience as well. Honestly and with all warmth in my heart, this is the perfect book to start back with, because the themes were familiar and comforting to me. Mystery novels are books that I happen to enjoy so very much.

Let's go into my first impressions. I started this book before my break and then had it shelved for a bit. I picked it back up fresh and started over so that I could have a more accurate read for the review. As I mentioned earlier, I am reviewing a mystery novel, the second in the series for our main character, Tony Razzolito. No spoilers here, I did not read the first novel, but I was happy to find that I didn’t have to read it to understand what was going on in the book. The setup read very well, the hook was gripping, and I truly enjoyed how well the story fell into place. So for my first impression, I was very impressed.

Let's go into some critiques here. My only real critique is in my "Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation" category. Specifically, there is a bit of a pacing issue. The tension is terrific, and I will get into that more in a minute with my positives; however, there are parts of the story that tend to drag a tad. For me, I find that most mysteries pace depending on the clues. As the reader gathers the clues in exposition, it helps form a momentum that drives the desire to and figure out "who done it." Sometimes during “Deadly Passion,” I found that the pacing slowed during the parts of exposition when setting up those clues, and immediately after because some vital things happen during more mundane sequences. That isn’t to say every clue has this pacing issue; it is to say that it occurs in the more mundane parts. The issue is that when they come in the normal character exposition parts, it can be a tad distracting. The development and dialogue sequences are outstanding, but some of the food scenes had me hungry and nostalgic, and I ended up missing the clues for those parts, and I had to go back to pick them up again.

That said, let's go into the parts of “Deadly Passion” that I truly loved. First, this is a "Whole Story" as per my category, and I appreciate it. Sometimes with mysteries, especially in series, we have some weird cliffhangers that do not finalize all of the plot lines. For “Deadly Passion,” the narrative has a complete beginning, middle, and ending. The mystery plotline moves correctly for a mystery story. This isn't a sub-genre mystery in my opinions such as a Romance Mystery, or a Horror Mystery either, and thus the whole story aspects were met entirely.

Second under "Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation," there are many positives. Tension, as I mentioned, is beautiful. There are many pieces where someone might think something is wrong, and it turns the plot, which is perfect for a mystery. As far as presentation goes, this was easy to read, it had good margins on default with kindle, and it had excellent grammar and spelling. Next, the foundation work of the mystery and the real clues themselves were done very well. This is the kind of story where you think you know what might be going on, but you find out later that was a red herring, and I wasn't upset with those sorts of situations at all. Overall the structure, foundation, and presentation was in fantastic shape and gave the story much depth.

Now into the "Cliche Much" and "Lost in Translation" categories, I'm happy to say I found nothing negative. I neither had to stop to research the subject matter to verify if it was accurate nor did I feel there were cliche and "of course this happened" lack of unique ideas to use in a story, or tired and dried concept in the narrative. I found the characters, story ideas, clue ideas, and story to be unique. Additionally, I found the accents that were used were lovely, and I especially found the overall story and subplots to be fun.

My final thoughts on "Deadly Passion" comes in a bit of a spoiler, so if you don't want that sort of thing, skip this paragraph and go to scoring. I found the plot line to be a cautionary tale. Whenever you are trying to do better for yourself, remember that there are people around you. People do not like to be stepped on; people do not want to have their feelings hurt, and sometimes those that you think you are 'letting go because it's better for them' may have other thoughts on the subject. So my final thoughts here, be excellent to one another. Don't do something that will hurt later, emotionally, or physically. It's not right for you, and it is not suitable for that person either. I truly felt that the whole crux of the story would never have transpired if the first victim had just taken that advice on their way to pursue their dreams.

And that's it for the review! Now for scoring.


Score
With my math taken into consideration, "Deadly Passion: A Tony Razzolito PI Story" Has earned a beautiful 92/100 and is a five-star review on Goodreads and Amazon.com.


Thank you again so much for reading this, and if you like what you read, feel free to comment and let me know! Until next time!