7 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Keri reviewed Too Big to Miss (Odelia Grey, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 9
This is the first book in a series involving a plus-sized woman who questions the death of her friend. The police say it was suicide, but she has other ideas. I really liked the story, and, at times, it had me laughing out loud. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
The first in a series and I LOVE IT!!! Strong female character who is on the back side of 40 and a proud, plus-size woman! Many of the stereotypes of our society are hit head-on and smashed to bits unapologetically in the debut novel and I will not only look for more by Ms. Jaffarian but also explore the publisher Midnight Ink since they don't seem to be afraid to let real people characterize their books.
These reviews are to help you decide if the book is for you. I include the following for those who are not sure if this fits their idea of a cozy novel.
I loved this book, I am an adult and the subject did not shock or offend me. It is not really a cozy since it deals a lot with porn web can sites. The attitude seems to be that hosting a porn website is a healthy expression for a plus size woman to help others. Kinda in the same vein hey," I am fat but I can still paint my toe nails red/do web porn. I hope I inspire you to do the same thing." A little to nonchalant about web porn being healthy.
But the mystery was very very good, The main character is very likable, the writer is witty not whiny, I will go on to read the other books.
There were a few lines in the 1st few chapters that made me wonder if it was a christian fiction, (which I dont care for) but it is not. So keep reading.
First Line: My weekend was D.O.A. ... dead on arrival.
Odelia Grey is a middle-aged, never married, plus-sized paralegal who has a boss from hell and a family that-- if she had the choice between being beaten up or going to visit her relatives, she just might choose the beating. She's a much-valued employee, and she makes no excuses for her weight, her age, or her lack of husband and children. But she could stand up for herself a little more. In order to do that, she's always looked to her friend Sophie London, a plus-sized activist, to be her inspiration.
But when Sophie sits down in front of a webcam, puts a gun in her mouth, and commits suicide, the bottom drops out of Odelia's life. She's not the only one who will mourn Sophie's death-- many women in Sophie's support group depended on her strength, her common sense, and her humor to help them improve their lives. The more Odelia thinks about it, the more Sophie's suicide just doesn't make sense, and she decides to ask some questions and do a little searching of her own for the truth about Sophie's death. Her quest will take her to some very unlikely places: strip malls, the world of live webcam porn, and some of the wealthier suburbs in southern California.
I immediately liked Odelia Grey. She's sassy and smart and knows when to follow good advice during the riskier parts of her investigation. In summing up herself, she also sums up why cozy mysteries and their sleuths are so popular:
"As usual, Zee was right. I wasn't the police or a detective. I was just me, a middle-aged, overweight, nosy woman. I was no more equipped to interview and cope with a conniving murderer than I was to play basketball with the Los Angeles Lakers. But I was hellbent on finding out the truth about Sophie's final hours, and that single-mindedness alone made me a formidable opponent. At least in my fantasy world."
It's funny how just the right amount of determination can make fantasies come true for all of us "just me's", and I like how Odelia's investigation not only finds a killer, but brings her closer to her old friends while making new ones, and gives her the incentive and the strength to attempt to fill Sophie's shoes in the future.
This character is a breath of fresh air. Normally overweight characters have limited roles in crime fiction. They either serve as background for the author to showcase personal disgust or unkind humor, or they could be considered suspects if only they weren't fat (because being fat means they're too lazy to commit murder), or they actually are killers because they were insanely jealous of the thin victim. Odelia Grey is none of these; she's a normal human being most of us would be fortunate to call friend.
Odelia, I'm definitely coming back to read more of your adventures. Oh... about playing basketball? I think you should go ahead and give it a shot. Looks to me like the Lakers need a little help this year, and you've proven that you know how to get things done!
Overall, a good book with mostly interesting characters. Odelia's character was very well-rounded (pardon the pun), but most of the secondary characters were a bit 2 dimensional. The obnoxious lawyer Odelia is forced to work with comes across way too strong - his behavior is so distasteful that I found it hard to believe. Her best friend, Zee (Zenobia), seems tossed in to provide someone to worry about her. And, her sudden friendship with a man who knew her murdered friend through a porn site just didn't sit right with me. Oh, and don't get me started on her stepfamily...
Probably the thing I disliked the most was the whole porn site/web cam basis for the mystery. It just didn't seem to fit well with the rest of the story. It also made for some fairly candid conversation and comments throughout the book, which, while appropriate given the topic, also seemed to be out of place. It struck me a bit like having your sweet little Granny suddenly drop a four letter word into the middle of conversation about her night at Bingo.
I must also add that the constant references to Odelia's weight and how difficult it made her life became annoying after a while. I wanted to shout, "Enough! I GET IT!"
All that said, Odelia is an interesting and funny person and I will continue to read the series - perhaps not right away, though. I think I may need a break before I can read another 300+ pages about how hard it is to be overweight in today's society.
n2deep2quit - reviewed Too Big to Miss (Odelia Grey, Bk 1) on
I wanted to like this book, but after reading a little less than half, I'm tossing in the towel on it.
The main character is likeable and the right age (and size) for me to identify with but the dead friend had a porn website and abandoned her baby (and husband) for another man. She left her child, her son and asked for him to be told she was dead.
This was one of Odelia's closest friends? It totally lost me there.
I LOVED this book ! The blurb on the back was vague so I wasn't really sure what the mystery/plot would be, but it worked out because there were so many secrets and shocking information revealed throughout the book, that I kept going OMG ! Very original plot and great ending with everything explained!!! Can't wait to get the next one (or more) in this series!