Two books, one author, three days. It would probably only take about a day to read these short and cozy mysteries by Terri Reid, but I typically start...moreTwo books, one author, three days. It would probably only take about a day to read these short and cozy mysteries by Terri Reid, but I typically start off my reading day nearing the night (since I'm third shift and that's the time I'm awake) and then finish it sometime after the new day has come around. I must say that these books are quite satisfying -- at the very least, I'm turning pages wanting to know how the mystery is solved.
Of course, these ARE pretty short stories from what I'm used to reading, so I'm not surprised that I've been finishing them up so quickly.
The second book of the Mary O'Reilly paranormal mysteries takes our two main heroes all the way to Mary's home city of Chicago in an investigation of an infant snatching. The deceased six year old big brother of the kidnapped infant is Mary's "client" this time; he is Joey Marcum who was able to remain by his family's side after death as his little brother's guardian angel. In this case then, little Joey makes for a pretty good spy in finding out what's going on around his brother and the infant snatchers and what they're doing.
We also get some insight into Mary's near-death experience as well as learn more about Bradley Alden's past. There's some forwarded romantic development as well as a lot of nice and warm moments among the O'Reilly family.
For starters, the writing style seems to be progressively getting better and better. I'd chance to say that the author could still use some editing as I've caught a lot of consistent grammatical errors and awkward word usage. But overall, just like the first book, it was a fun mystery experience. Good Tidings, however, wasn't as good as the first one despite having a more refined format and I think there was a little too much being slopped together from the kidnapping case and then moving into a drug/murder conspiracy. The transitioning felt a bit awkward, but it still managed to pull through.
What I'm loving about the Mary O'Reilly series so far is really the characters and their developments. I love Stanley and Rosie with a passion -- these two side characters are created as very witty, very loyal, yet brutally honest best friends to our heroine. I also like seeing the few side ghostly story arcs that take place so that we know that Mary doesn't simply attract all the crazy encounters that lead her into murder cases, kidnapping cases, rape cases (can I use the word rape in these reviews?)... the like. We see that there are some ghostly visitors who just have a simple unfinished matter that needs to attend to and then they can move on and be at peace.
While I'm continuing to enjoy the series, I didn't quite care for this second book as much as I had enjoyed the first one. And so here's hoping that the third one is just as gripping.(less)
There's a certain grimness you feel when you realize that this book gets an "It was okay" two star score when you're only half-way through it. I give...moreThere's a certain grimness you feel when you realize that this book gets an "It was okay" two star score when you're only half-way through it. I give it credit, however, for an interesting concept to play off of the popular dystopian trend that has been forming lately. Just as well, it caught my attention and got me interested; but then after that initial curious interest, the only thing keeping from stopping my read altogether would have to be stubborn curiosity at how the story line would play out. I guess after reading several other young adult dystopians, I had been hoping for some sort of twist in the story line outside of the simple base of "West Grayer meets her Alt in a match to the death" scenario. It just feels like the story could have been better. Instead, this death match really just dragged on for ages without really going anywhere except to end up with the conclusion we all knew was coming anyway.
So yea, just a little disappointed.
I didn't completely dislike the book. There were moments that hit some good points. But in comparison to the rest of the moments that just made me sigh in frustration... I'm not sure if it's a good balance.
Of the very few things I DID like, however, one of them was Chord, though he appeared fairly sparingly throughout. He was a good man (good kid?) who cared enough to continuously be there for West, but who understood enough to know that this death match wasn't his fight and that West needed to defend herself. And he stayed by her side despite all the pushing away and the lying and the betrayal (and I'm saying all of this as if they were really that dramatic, which they weren't). Any other guy would have already walked away being told constantly that he wasn't needed and he needed to go away. But Chord stayed and continued to protect West in his own way.
No, I did not care for the blossoming romance nor did I care for those moments of self-revelations that West had. In fact, I didn't even really care of West as a person. I appreciated that she figured she was the kind who could take care of herself and I thought it was right that she DID manage to keep herself alive. But kickass female lead she was not, and it kind of disappoints me how sloppy and how anxious she still appeared despite being led to believe that she was developing and getting better at surviving. She was sloppy and her logic was a bit skewed and so I found it hard to relate with her.
Nonetheless, it was a short read and I managed to get through it.(less)
Immediately after finishing the third book, I curiously jumped into the fourth book. Within four hours, it was finished (yes, I should have been sleep...moreImmediately after finishing the third book, I curiously jumped into the fourth book. Within four hours, it was finished (yes, I should have been sleeping and now I'm running on about four hours of sleep because I got a little greedy). Was this book better than the one previous to it? Well, I have to admit that it was... but not by too much. However, I gave it a four star rating instead of two like I had the previous.
The mystery of Final Call wasn't anything outstanding. A rude, arrogant, bitchy primadonna stage actress gets murdered and there are so many people who would have been her enemy. At the same time, we also see a separate side story where a reverend who appeared in the last book comes to seek Mary's help because he can't figure out why he's not going to heaven despite being so devoted to the church. It got a little fussy at times, switching back and forth from one major plot to a not so major plot that still got a lot of page time. If the reverend's plot had been downsized a little bit, maybe it wouldn't have felt so stuffy. The thing is, in the first few books, (especially the first book) two separate cases usually ended up tying together at some point. In this book, the two separate cases had nothing to do with each other.
But that's fine, somehow it all still worked out because the character developments were astounding in Final Call. Bradley and Mary come to a hitch in their relationship when we finally reveal to Bradley that his wife Jeannine is already dead and Mary has known since the end of Book Two. New characters are introduced and each have their own little quirks. Mike the fireman ghost, at first I didn't like him at all because he seemed really smarmy; afterwards, I totally adore him because he's always there at all the right times AND he's got an excellent wit about him. Jeannine's ghost, at the very least, is a bit more realistic about what's going on than her husband is and not being a vengeful dead wife who wants to keep her husband for herself; I like that she's created as a good woman who had an unfortunate encounter with death. Finally, the newest addition who feels like he'll be another recurring character, Ian MacDougal has the makings for a likable partner.
As for our recurring characters: Stanley and Rosie just keep getting better and better. Sean O'Reilly is an awesome big brother and I bemoan the fact that we don't get to see more of him. I mean, send a good looking Scottish young gentleman who is also a professor my way and you will be my favorite big brother in the world. Really. And while I'm not a big fan of romantic angst, I think our couple needed this separation, which will hopefully finally bring about some closure in the entire thing -- Bradley needs to move on, Jeannine needs to move on. It's just too bad that Mary had to get caught in this family dilemma just because she fell in love with the jerk.
So this time around, even if the story wasn't the best and the two cases seemed a bit messy, the characters of the Mary O'Reilly universe really made up for all of it. I'm a sucker for well-written characters with good development and progression. The story was also okay, so everything just fell into place wonderfully.(less)
A slow start, but an interesting concept. I ended up getting into it a bit more after the story got moving; and it was a fairly fast-paced re...more3.5 Stars
A slow start, but an interesting concept. I ended up getting into it a bit more after the story got moving; and it was a fairly fast-paced read. Typical as a trendy YA dystopian with all the standard elements. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable for a number of good reasons with its fair share of flaws.
This is a series I may continue to follow, though with no absolutes.(less)
The writing style for Terri Reid's Mary O'Reilly mysteries seem to be getting better as each book comes out, which is a plus. However, this third book...moreThe writing style for Terri Reid's Mary O'Reilly mysteries seem to be getting better as each book comes out, which is a plus. However, this third book in the series doesn't seem to be as exciting as the first book (much like the second book wasn't as exciting). We've got a whole slew of mentally disturbed victim/murderers here who are a result of childhood traumas, resulting in innocently dead bystanders. The concept isn't so bad and DOES touch on the awareness of domestic violence, tying in with the mysteries.
I'm not sure what made this book seem mediocre to me compared the first or second one, but it just didn't seem to quite fit. Maybe it was the hanging progression of Bradley's closure on his wife's death and her insistence that Mary remain quiet about it. Maybe it was the too quick development of the love line, knowing very well that Bradley is still hung up on his missing wife. Maybe this particular murder mystery just didn't intrigue me as much as the first one did.
Setting all of those aside, my two star rating doesn't mean that I think this book was terrible (the little hovering descriptions says that a two star rating equals "it was ok", which doesn't mean it was bad, which makes me wonder why the Goodreads ratings are so nice for some other books). I just didn't really like it as much as I thought I would. I still really enjoy the Mary O'Reilly paranormal universe and the I still really love the characters Terri Reid has created in this universe. The two best friends, Stanely and Rosie are the epitome of wonderful. The introduction of Mike the ghost who has self-claimed himself Watson to Mary's Sherlock is also a delight. And a lot of the recurring town's characters are nice to see every so often (I like how this story is set in a small town where everyone knows each other well enough).
But other than that, this particular book in this series didn't interest me very much, and that was about it.(less)
The beginning of the book was a little hard to get into; the entirety of Elena's apprenticeship, while quite interesting, seemed to d...moreShort and simple:
The beginning of the book was a little hard to get into; the entirety of Elena's apprenticeship, while quite interesting, seemed to drag a lot if only because I feel like I'm reading a textbook version of "The Fae World of the Five Hundred Kingdoms" rather than experiencing this strange new world through the protagonist's eyes. Possibly, since Elena is such a book worm and logical thinker, everything that we see through her eyes are described just as technically as she perceives it. Unfortunately, while Elena is a witty and creative individual making use of her logic and knowledge, her technicalities end up causing the narration to be a little more boring that it could have been.
I've never read anything else by Mercedes Lackey, but I know she's a bit of a name in the fantasy genre, which shows in her prose and style. It just seems that nothing quite exciting really ends up happening in the story that makes it so that you "just can't wait" to pick the book back up and keep reading. (For instance: I fell asleep at least twice while reading certain parts near the beginning. I fell asleep once near the end, but that was more on my own exhaustion than due to the book's pacing since I direly wanted to finish those last two chapters just to see the conclusion of the last conflict and the entire Godmother Elena story.)
One thing I DID enjoy about this book was the world's set up as well as the magic system. Very rarely do we see any standard, unique magic systems in a lot of fantasy books anymore (although I really shouldn't make that assumption since I haven't even chipped the block of fantasy novels on my bookshelf, but whatever). I liked the entire deal with The Tradition, even if it really just feels like a fancy, more fairy tale fun way of talking about Fate with it's own twisted logic and predictable paths. I liked that Elena was a competent Godmother from day one as the apprentice, and I truly started becoming more interested in the book when Elena was finally named Godmother after her apprenticeship ended. If I had to pin point it, I'd say that that entire first half of the book detailing the Godmother apprenticeship was "just story board set up material" which would make it an extremely long way to set up the rest of the world and the story. Because for the most part, nothing really effected Elena much until after she finally became the Godmother following Madame Bella's "reign" (if that's what we can call it since Godmother's essentially are like "gods" lording over other people's lives, even IF their meddling helps to propel The Tradition that could lead to happy endings).
I will continue on with the next book in The Five Hundred Kingdoms series, if only because I've grown fond of the world that was established all too well in this first book. The fact that each book seems to begin a new story for a new protagonist is also something I look forward to experiencing. This book wasn't entirely the best, but I would point out that it isn't at all disappointing once you get into it.(less)