Book Review: “Speaking in Bones” by Kathy Reichs (Temperance Brennan #18)

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Title:  Speaking in Bones

Author:  Kathy Reichs

Series:  Temperance Brennan #18

Synopsis (from bn.com): No one speaks the language of suspense more brilliantly than Kathy Reichs, author of the acclaimed Temperance Brennan series. In Speaking in Bones, the forensic anthropologist finds herself drawn into a world of dark secrets and dangerous beliefs, where good and evil blur.

Professionally, Temperance Brennan knows exactly what to do—test, analyze, identify. Her personal life is another story. She’s at a loss, wondering how to answer police detective Andrew Ryan’s marriage proposal. But the matter of matrimony takes a backseat when murder rears its head.

Hazel “Lucky” Strike—a strident amateur detective who mines the Internet for cold cases—comes to Brennan with a tape recording of an unknown girl being held prisoner and terrorized. Strike is convinced the voice is that of eighteen-year-old Cora Teague, who went missing more than three years earlier. Strike is also certain that the teenager’s remains are gathering dust in Temperance Brennan’s lab.

Brennan has doubts about working with a self-styled websleuth. But when the evidence seems to add up, Brennan’s next stop is the treacherous backwoods where the chilling recording (and maybe Cora Teague’s bones) were discovered. Her forensic field trip only turns up more disturbing questions—along with gruesome proof of more untimely deaths.

While local legends of eerie nocturnal phenomena and sinister satanic cults abound, it’s a zealous and secretive religious sect that has Brennan spooked and struggling to separate the saints from the sinners. But there’s nothing, including fire and brimstone, that can distract her from digging up the truth and taking down a killer—even as Brennan finds herself in a place where angels fear to tread, devils demand their due, and she may be damned no matter what.

 

My thoughts:  The latest offering in the Temperance Brennan series!  I must admit that this wasn’t my favorite book in the series, but this series is so good that even a “so so” book is really good!  The overall plot of this novel seemed a bit slower to me than previous books, but oddly I must say one thing I really enjoyed was the setting of the book.  In their search for the answers to the crime they end up searching in a backwoods, mountainous area.  Her writing and description of the scenery, the landscape is so vivid that it truly felt like I was there and added a great deal to the story.

Overall, another good book in the Temperance Brennan series.  Looking forward to the next one!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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NYPD Red 1 & 2 by James Patterson

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Title:  NYPD Red

Author:  James Patterson

Series: (NYPD Red #1)

Synopsis:

It’s the start of Hollywood on Hudson, and New York City is swept up in the glamour. Every night, the red carpet rolls out for movie stars arriving at premieres in limos; the most exclusive restaurants close for private parties for wealthy producers and preeminent directors; and thousands of fans gather with the paparazzi, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous and beautiful faces in the world. With this many celebrities in town, special task force NYPD Red is on high alert-and they can’t afford to make a single mistake.

Then a world-renowned producer fatally collapses at his power breakfast, and top NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan is the first one on the scene. Zach works with his beautiful new partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald-who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend-to discover who the murderer might be. But this is only the beginning: the most brutal, public, and horrifyingly spectacular crimes they’ve ever encountered are about to send all of New York into chaos, putting NYPD Red on the ropes.

Zach and Kylie know there’s no way of telling what a killer this deranged will do next. With the whole world watching, they have to find a way to stop a psychopath who has scripted his finale down to the last explosive detail. With larger-than-life action, relentless speed, and white-knuckle twists, NYPD Red is the next mega-blockbuster from “The Man Who Can’t Miss.” (TIME)

 

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Title:  NYPD Red 2

Author:  James Patterson

Series:  NYPD Red #2

Synopsis (from bn.com):

When NYPD Red arrives at a crime scene, everyone takes notice. Known as the protectors of the rich, famous, and connected, NYPD Red is the elite task force called in only for New York City’s most high-profile crimes. And Detective Zach Jordan is the best of the best, a brilliant and relentless pursuer of justice. He puts professionalism above all, ignoring his feelings for his partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald, the woman who broke his heart when they first met in the academy.

But even with their top-notch training, Zach and Kylie aren’t prepared for what they see when they’re called to a crime scene in the heart of Central Park. They arrive to find a carousel spinning round and round, its painted horses grinning eerily in the early morning dark. There is only one rider: a brutally slaughtered woman, her body tied up and dressed in a Hazmat suit, on display for the world to see.

The victim, a woman of vast wealth and even greater connections, is the fourth in a string of shocking murders that have hit the city. As the public pressure mounts, and political and personal secrets of the highest order hang in the balance, Zach and Kylie must find out what’s really behind the murderer’s rampage. But Kylie has been acting strange recently—and Zach knows whatever she’s hiding could threaten the biggest case of their careers.

NYPD Red 2 is the next outstanding novel in James Patterson’s newest series, a thriller that careens through New York City and deep into the psyche of a depraved killer you’ve never seen before.

 

My thoughts:  I am a huge fan of James Patterson’s Alex Cross series and Women’s Murder club series and I admit I was skeptical about another new series from him for fear it wouldn’t live up to what I love!   Well thankfully, I really love this NYPD Red series.

The series follows Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald, two of the top NYPD Red detectives, as they investigate high profile crimes of the very rich and famous.   I was worried that with the theme of having the main characters all be incredibly rich, high profile individuals that the storylines would come off us incredibly pretentious and annoying, but luckily that is not at all the case.

I find this series incredibly fast-paced with great lead characters!  Working my way through #3 now and of course like any good reader I have #4 on my nightstand!

I highly suggest this series for fans of Patterson!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

 

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Book Review: “14th Deadly Sin” by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #14)

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Title:  14th Deadly Sin

Author:  James Patterson

Series:  Women’s Murder Club #14

Synopsis (from bn.com):

With San Francisco under siege and everyone a suspect, the Women’s Murder Club must risk their lives to save the city-and each other.

With a beautiful baby daughter and a devoted husband, Detective Lindsay Boxer can safely say that her life has never been better. In fact (for a change), things seem to be going well for all the members of the Women’s Murder Club as they gather to celebrate San Francisco Medical Examiner Claire Washburn’s birthday. But the party is cut short when Lindsay is called to a gruesome crime scene, where a woman has been murdered in broad daylight.

As Lindsay investigates, shocking video footage of another crime surfaces. A video so horrific that it shakes the city to its core. Their faces obscured by masks, the cold-blooded criminals on the tape could be anyone-and now all of Lindsay’s co-workers are suspects. As a rash of violence sweeps through San Francisco, and public fear and anger grow, Lindsay and her friends must risk their lives in the name of justice-before it’s too late.

With shocking twists and riveting suspense, 14th DEADLY SIN proves yet again that when it comes to suspense fiction, in the words or Jeffery Deaver: “nobody does it better” than James Patterson.

 

 

My thoughts:  I really enjoy James Patterson and the Women’s Murder Club mystery series – but I must say this wasn’t my favorite in the series.   This one just fell a bit flat for me.

In this series, Patterson always sets up about 3 different storylines throughout the course of the book and then of course ties them up nicely at the end.   The storylines in this particular book didn’t fit together all that nicely, weren’t all that page-turning exciting, and don’t get me started on how they all ended up.  I’m sorry but the ending of this book was horrible. . . I turned the page to continue reading and it was done . . . what . . . that was the ending, no way!  It was supposed to be a cliffhanger, but it didn’t really turn out that way.  The ending of all three storylines was just too abrupt, didn’t work for me.

 

Hmmmmm, knowing my love of Patterson, I will go back for the 15th installment of this series. . . but #14 was not Patterson’s finest hour.

 

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Doing Harm” by Kelly Parsons

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Title:  Doing Harm

Author:  Kelly Parsons

Synopsis (from bn.com):

There are many ways to die in a hospital…being sick is only one of them.

Chief resident Steve Mitchell is the quintessential surgeon: ambitious, intelligent, confident. Charged with molding a group of medical trainees into doctors, and in line for a coveted job, Steve’s future is bright. But then a patient mysteriously dies, and it quickly becomes clear that a killer is on the loose in his hospital. A killer set on playing a deadly game with Steve. A killer holding information that could ruin his career and marriage. Now, alone and under a cloud of suspicion, Steve must discover a way to outsmart his opponent and save the killer’s next victim before the cycle repeats itself again and again…

A chilling and compelling thriller that also takes you into the hospital and details the politics and hierarchy among doctors, as well as the life and death decisions that are made by flawed human beings, Kelly Parsons’ Doing Harm marks the gripping debut of a major fiction career.

 

 

My thoughts:  If you like medical dramas, drop what you are doing and head out and buy this book right NOW!  This book was an absolutely excellent medical drama filled with twists, turns, unbelievable plot surprises and drama, drama, drama!

As one who has spent her entire career in healthcare, I personally found some of the medical explanations rather simplistic and unnecessary to the storyline, but of course not everyone knows the terminology!

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book.  I started it on a plane and literally didn’t want to get off the plane so I could keep on reading!  For me, this one is one not to put down!

Overall, a great medical drama, fast-paced, plot twists, great characters!  I sincerely hope this author continues with his writing and gets us out another book soon!

And remember,

Boos Are Life,

Heather

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Book review: “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

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Title:  The Nightingale

Author:  Kristin Hannah

Synopsis (bn.com):

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

 

My thoughts:  My book club chose this book and my immediate thought was “how am I going to get through this book as it is totally outside out of my normal reading genre”.   I soon realized this wasn’t going to be a problem as the book quickly grabbed my attention and hung on to the very end.

A book set in a very difficult time in World History, namely WW II Nazi  occupied France!   A beautifully written story of two women’s perspective of war – strength, empowerment, family, redemption, passion!

Overall, I am very glad I had the opportunity to read this book as I was taken on an unexpected heart wrenching journey of love, loss, finding one another, renewal, and fighting for what is right!

Definitely worth the read!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “After You” by Jojo Moyes

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Title:  After You

Author:  Jojo Moyes

Series:  Sequel to “Me Before You”

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

When one story ends, another begins. After You is the Charming sequel to Me Before You” (People Magazine).

“We all lose what we love at some point, but in her poignant, funny way, Moyes reminds us that even if it’s not always happy, there is an ever after.” —Miami Herald

“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

 
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

 

My thoughts:  Jojo Moyes returns with a lovely sequel to the wonderful “Me Before You”.  At the end of “Me Before You” Will Traynor passed this amazing advice on to Louisa Clark  “You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

This book is an amazing journey through Louisa’s attempts to find her life and her living after Will’s death!

This book brings us a wonderful story of grief and grieving, its process, its timing, its ups, its downs, its moving forward, its moving backward, its triumphs, . . .

In this review I am not going to retell the story or give a synopsis of the characters and storyline, I am simply going to share how this book made me feel, what it made me think of . . .

I love how this book portrayed deep, profound grief . . . it is a process that every individual person must do in their own way, there is no formula for it, there is no timeline for grief!  It is different for every individual – which was beautifully portrayed by a number of characters in this book including Louisa who struggled mightily in her grieving Will and the different members of the Moving On support group Louisa attends.

This book is about grace, redemption, taking chances, moving on, letting go, love, loss, . . . I could go on all day!

If you allow yourself to really let go into this book you can find lovely metaphors throughout the story that reinforce the themes . . . (of course perhaps the author didn’t intend these at all but I am going to pretend she did) . . . Louisa works in an airport bar watching plans take off and soar into the sky everyday taking people into their lives while she herself is stuck, grounded in one place . . .

I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel . . . beautiful, profound . . . and yes I now have a book hangover where I simply am missing my characters, the story, I want them back, . . .

And remember,

Books are life,

Heather

 

 

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Book Review: “Fatal Chapter” by Lorna Barrett (Booktown Series #9)

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Title:  A Fatal Chapter

Author:  Lorna Barrett

Series:  Booktown Series #9

Synopsis (from bn.com):

New York Times bestselling author Lorna Barrett presents another page-turning chapter in her Booktown Mystery series. This time mystery bookshop owner Tricia Miles is about to find out murder is no walk in the park…

While out walking Sarge, her sister’s bichon frise, Tricia is led by the agitated dog to a man lying in a gazebo. She’s startled when she recognizes Pete Renquist, the president of the Stoneham Historical Society, who appears to be suffering from cardiac arrest. When Pete later dies in the hospital, the discovery of a suspicious bruise and a puncture mark on his arm suggests he may have been murdered.

Haunted by Pete’s enigmatic last words to her, Tricia begins to consider who had a motive to kill her friend. Did Pete take his flirting too far, only to have a jealous husband teach him a lesson? Or did he discover something in the town’s historical records that his killer wanted kept secret? Tricia is determined to get to the bottom of things before someone else becomes history…

 

 

My thoughts:  The latest installment in the Booktown Mystery series.  I must admit that while I enjoy this series a great deal – because let’s be real what reader wouldn’t enjoy a series set in a place called Booktown which is basically filled with cozy book shops, cafes, restaurants, etc – this wasn’t my favorite in the series.

It seemed to drag a bit for me from the very beginning – I’m not sure why.

And I admit that while I generally love all the characters in this series Tricia’s sister Angelica drives me crazy.  In this book particularly since she has become the Chamber President she things she is too good for everyone and she just seems mean, belittling, and demeaning to Tricia and I know it seems silly since these are just book characters – but I hate it.  Treat my Tricia nice!!!

I of course will tune in for the next book in the series as I am hopeful that it will include a Grand Opening Ceremony and opening of Tricia’s newly refurbished store after the fire!

Overall a great series – this one just fell a bit flat for me!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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