Friday, June 30, 2017

High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides by Mary McHugh (with spoilers)

High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides (A Happy Hoofers Mystery #5) by Mary McHuugh
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington (September 27, 2016)
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Uh. I don't even know where to start. Well, first off if I had realized this was the 5th book in the series I wouldn't have requested it from NetGalley. I think I'll try and finish the rest of the cozy mysteries I've been approved for on NetGalley, but I won't request any more, because the ones I've gotten, including this one, have been horrible.
I know most authors will claim that a book in their series can be read as a stand alone, but I have found that claim to not be true, you always miss a lot of development between characters and events that have happened in previous books can still effect the characters, that being said this book is no exception.

To start off, I hate the main character, Mary Louise "Weezie", of this story. For a woman who is supposed to be in her 50s she's a whiny baby of a character who doesn't know her own mind. She spends 90% of the book flipping back and forth if she should leave her husband, George, of 30 years (and you can't forget that it's been 30 years because you are told every time she thinks of divorce), for Mike. Now, why does she want to leave George? Because he would like her to be at home so they can spend more time together and he can decompress at night by talking to her after a long day of being a lawyer, he doesn't listen to her, but that's another story. She doesn't take into consideration that with her dance troupe traveling to so many countries that George has spent weeks, possibly months alone. Mary never talks to George about the problems they are having, neither does she suggest that they consider marriage counseling, or just spending time together.

Now, Mike is "perfect." Mike does everything right, always pays attention, always leaves work to help Mary, even though he is supposed to be the head of the OB/GYN department at the hospital he works at. Mike and Mary met on one of the previous trips the Happy Hoofers took for a dancing job. I don't know if in that previous book they had a physical relationship, they don't in this book. Mike likes Mary because of how much she resembles his dead wife, Jenny. That is mentioned a couple of times.

This lady also has image problems, she's constantly commenting how she herself, and her friends, are slim and in good shape for being 50 year-olds, when the main part of the story begins she comments on each of the Rockettes they meet. "Because of the hours we spend dancing, we're slim and in good shape. If it weren't for that, I'd probably sit home and eat chocolate peanut butter Häagen-Dazs ice cream until I weighed a hundred and fifty pounds." I wish I weighed 150lbs.

Then there's the rest of the dance troupe that make up the Happy Hoofers. Honestly they blend together. They are four other white ladies in their 50s who like dancing, and they've all previously had trouble in the romance/love/relationship department. But apparently they either have good alimonies, or part-time jobs, or maybe trust funds, because they have no problem going from New Jersey to New York City for months to train with the Rockettes.

I'm not sure how much research the author did, but at times the book reads as a tourist advert for New York City, but then the Happy Hoofers exercise for an hour and take three hour lunches. Mary raves about a croque madame (which is just a grilled cheese with a fried egg on top) and every place she has lunch with Mike they have to ask for a recipe from the restaurant and they get the recipe! In the book Rockettes aren't allowed to be pregnant and dance, but simple Google search of "can you be pregnant and be a Rockette" brings up this news article from Working Mother about Cassady Chiarelli, given it's from 2006, so rules could have changed, but below that on the search brings up Nicole Baker who was also pregnant and dancing as a Rockette, that article is from Dec. 2015. I think the author could have picked up the phone and at least tried to reach a PR manager, a retired Rockette, somebody? At least a dancer. I mean, even on the Rockettes' own page, Feb. 2016, they have an article about New York City Ballet's Prima ballerina, Ashley Bouder, still dancing at six and a half months pregnant, and I don't mean practice, she was in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker‘s Sugar Plum Fairy, and Waltz of the Flowers.

I hate that all the POC in the book are described by their skin color, there's the tall, black detective, one dancer is described as brown-skinned and doesn't even get a name until the next chapter, and then there's "An Asian man". Yet, not one of the Happy Hoofers, husbands, partners, or boyfriends are ever described by their skin color. Why? Because it's supposed to be understood that they are white. You should know that the characters are white until they are described to not be white.

And, at least in this book, the Happy Hoofers don't solve the murder, Mary is told who did the killing, and then she's held at gun point a ridiculous amount of times. By chapter 16 the murder is solved, the culprit arrested, but there's three more chapters to go, I could understand one chapter to tie up the loose ends, but three? Well, yeah, because there's nine pages (I'm on kindle for this book,) describing the dinner setup and no dialogue.

And then if you didn't have enough of this book being an advert for New York City there's 12 more pages!

I'm just glad I managed to get through the book without throwing my phone against a wall.

Currently watching:Robotech - First Contact (Vol. 1)
Watching this with Jasmine.

Currently reading: The Countess (The Madison Sisters #1) by Lynsay Sands
Cheesy romance.

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