cornerofmadness (cornerofmadness) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Book 83-84

Permed to Death (Bad Hair Day Mystery, #1)Permed to Death by Nancy J. Cohen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had purchased this for my Mom (a hairdresser) years ago from the author at a Florida book fest. I didn't think it was badly written but on the other hand, Marla, the pov character, does particularly dumb things that made me crazy.

It opens with a bang with Bertha dying in Marla's hair cutting chair from a cup of poisoned coffee. Marla immediately freaks because Bertha was blackmailing her from what we assume was her guilt over losing a child she was babysitting as a teen (child drowned). Rather than be upfront with Detective Dalton Vail because she fears she'll be suspect number one (understandable) she hides that and decides to solve the mystery herself with the help of her friend Tally and a few other male friends (she has several friends doing favors for her through this with the hopes of dating her which she has no intentions of doing).

Adding to her troubles, her ex, Stan, is trying to force her to sell some property and is not above doing dirty tricks to do it. Marla digs into the case, often doing foolish things to do so (can't count how many times she confronted dangerous men alone, twice needing saving). I wasn't that impressed with Vail either who seems attracted to her which okay I expect that in cozies.

However, even though he has not cleared Marla as a suspect, he asks her out several times which might be a way to get her to talk but come across as a date. Very unprofessional (at one point he mentions his daughter needs a woman in her life (mom is dead) even Marla is unimpressed with that. His unprofessionalism bothered me. As did Marla's risk taking (like meeting a suspect in public to keep safe then wandering off alone with him).

I liked that Marla was Jewish (that was different from so many overtly Christian cozies) and she wasn't entirely unlikable but when a character doesn't even listen to her friends when they call her on her risk taking, it's obvious it's a plot contrivance.

I might read more or this or not. It didn't make that much of an impact on me.

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Melokai (In the Heart of the Mountains #1)Melokai by Rosalyn Kelly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I won this from GOodreads back in Jan and I'm sorry that it took me so long (I've learned the current political climate has destroyed my desire to read fantasy novels that are heavily political which is a lot of them). The author autographed it nice (thank you).

There were a lot of things I liked in this. Ramya is the titular Melokai and she's a strong female character, almost too much so. Life in Peqkya is very female forward, too much so in a way. They're Amazonian keeping men in sexual slavery. Known as Peens, men are used for sexual pleasure and the dirty dangerous jobs the women don't want. Even talking back can carry a death penalty. I would be far more interested in societies where men and women are equal but that's not this society by a long shot.

Ramya thinks she's to be told by the prophet her time as Melokai, the ruler is up. Which means she'll have her tongue cut out (so she can't foment rebellion) and her male aid castrated. Instead she's told of a danger heading her way.

Enter a number of new characters, sentient wolf men, a strange, blind cave race, the Trogr (who's quick relationship to Ramya bothered me because it made her do foolish things), a reptilian race and there are many different points of view (very well marked so no fears there).

On the plus side there is a complex expansive plot. On the minus, while the characters are compelling, I'm not sure I like them much. There is a lot of violence, sex and people behaving badly. Ramya's people in particular are quick to deal death and violence, almost too casually and indiscriminately.

It's an intriguing entry into a new series.

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Tags: fantasy

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