Book Review: “Heat Wave” by Richard Castle (Nikki Heat series #1)



Title:  Heat Wave

Author:  Richard Castle

Series:  Nikki Heat #1

Synopsis (from  Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City’s top homicide squads. She’s hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York’s Finest. Pulitzer Prize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren’t her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them.


My thoughts:  As an avid reader, I am definitely from the school of “the movie and/or the TV show is never as good as the book”.  However, in this case, I just can’t agree – ugh, so hard to admit :)

I absolutely love the TV series Castle (hello, who doesn’t love looking at . . . I mean watching Nathan Fillion :) – but I was not too thrilled about this first novel in the Richard Castle series.   The characters of Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook just don’t seem to be characterized like they are in the TV show.  Yes, there is a little bit of spunk in the Jameson Rook character but certainly not as much fun as the Richard Castle character.  The spark between Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook in the novel just isn’t the same as the remarkable, fun, relationship between the characters on TV.

The overall mystery and plotline of the book was alright, but nothing spectacular.

I usually persevere with series even though they aren’t my favorite, but I’m not sure I can with this one.   I will simply sit back and keep enjoying Castle on TV!

And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Book Review: “Not the Killing Type” by Lorna Barrett (Booktown Mystery #7)


Title:  Not the Killing Type

Author:  Lorna Barrett

Series:  Booktown Mystery #7

Synopsis (from

It’s November in Stoneham, New Hampshire, and time for the Chamber of Commerce elections. The long-standing Chamber president is being challenged by a former lover—Tricia’s own sister, Angelica. Also throwing his hat in the ring is small business owner Stan Berry. Unfortunately, Stan isn’t in the race for long.

When Stan is found murdered, his political rivals become suspects. Angelica is going to need more than a vote of confidence from her sister—she needs Tricia to clear her name so she can win the election.

Tricia soon uncovers a ballot box full of lies and betrayals, and a chamber full of people who had grudges against the victim. But were they serious enough to lead to murder? It’s up to Tricia to pull the lever on a killer before it’s curtains for someone else.


My thoughts:  I was so excited to get back to my friends in Stoneham, New Hampshire, known fondly as booktown.  As a cozy lover and an avid reader, the mere concept of a little cozy town that has bookstore after bookstore is super exciting.

I love this cozy series.  The characters are fun, friendly, and make you want to come back for more.

My only small complaint about this particular book in the series is that I felt it didn’t really spend  much time on the actual murder mystery part of the book and focused more on all the other extraneous type goings on.  I felt as if the actual murder and whodunit part was almost treated as an afterthought . . . not cool.  Of course I still will be back for book #8 . . . hahahah.

A fun, cozy series set in a charming place.  perhaps a great book for a summer road trip or the beach :)

And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Book Review: “The Memory Box” by Eva Lesko Natiello


Title:  The Memory Box

Author:  Eva Lesko Natiello

Synopsis (from  What would you do if you searched your own past and uncovered something shocking?

In this gripping domestic thriller, a group of privileged suburban moms amuse themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name-which none of the others know.

The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd. With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia-upending her blissful family life-desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.

The disturbing underpinnings of The Memory Box expose a story of deceit, misconceptions, and an obsession for control. With its twists, taut pacing, and psychological tenor, Natiello’s page-turning suspense cautions:

Be careful what you search for.


My thoughts:  In short . . . I absolutely LOVED this book!  I know out there in the reading world, I have heard either that people loved or hated this book.  I thought it was great.

Imagine a dark, psychological thriller that plays with your mind from the very first page to the last, to the point where you say to yourself “are you kidding me, did that just happen, wow, are you serious?”

Suburban housewife, Caroline, decides to simply Goggle her name to see what she finds . . . and the rest is a non-stop story of deceit, mind games, twists, turns,  secrets, . . .

You don’t want to miss this one . . . a fast, psychological thriller that will keep you on your toes.


And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Thriller

Book Review: “Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

girl on the train

Title:  The Girl on the Train

Author:  Paula Hawkins

Synopsis (from

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.


My thoughts:  Well, well . . . the buzz was going around about this book and it happened to be on sale ebook at Amazon so I decided to give it a shot!  I loaded it on my Kindle, set off for the gym (one of my favorite places to read as it numbs the pain of working out), and embraced on this book!

Ok, I really really wanted to like this book, but I simply did not!  In all honesty I really don’t see how so many people just fell head over heels in love with this book.

I very rarely find a book that I can’t find even one character that I enjoy or even care an iota about – but I found it here.  I know it was a deep, dark psychological thriller, but all of these characters were just plain terrible, I hated every single one of them and as the story continues the reader realizes that each character is more messed up and evil than the one before.

I won’t lie, this book is very fast-paced, grabs the readers attention, and takes the reader on a great ride, but it was just a bit too over the top for me.

I think this book tried to hard to be “Gone Girl” and it just simply wasn’t.

How come I never find the books that are all a buzz as good as everyone else does?  I promise I try :)

Girl on the Train was a definite miss for me.

And remember,

Books Are Life,



Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Mystery, New Releases

Book Review: “Die Again” by Tess Gerittsen (Rizzoli and Isles #11)

die again

Title:  Die Again

Author:  Tess Gerritsen

Series:  Rizzoli and Isles #11


Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles are back—and they’re going into the wild to find a killer. Die Again is the latest heart-pounding thriller in Tess Gerritsen’s bestselling series, the inspiration behind TNT’s hit show Rizzoli & Isles.

When Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles are summoned to a crime scene, they find a killing worthy of the most ferocious beast—right down to the claw marks on the corpse. But only the most sinister human hands could have left renowned big-game hunter and taxidermist Leon Gott gruesomely displayed like the once-proud animals whose heads adorn his walls. Did Gott unwittingly awaken a predator more dangerous than any he’s ever hunted?

Maura fears that this isn’t the killer’s first slaughter, and that it won’t be the last. After linking the crime to a series of unsolved homicides in wilderness areas across the country, she wonders if the answers might actually be found in a remote corner of Africa.

Six years earlier, a group of tourists on safari fell prey to a killer in their midst. Marooned deep in the bush of Botswana, with no means of communication and nothing but a rifle-toting guide for protection, the terrified tourists desperately hoped for rescue before their worst instincts—or the wild animals prowling in the shadows—could tear them apart. But the deadliest predator was already among them, and within a week, he walked away with the blood of all but one of them on his hands.

Now this killer has chosen Boston as his new hunting ground, and Rizzoli and Isles must find a way to lure him out of the shadows and into a cage. Even if it means dangling the bait no hunter can resist: the one victim who got away.


My thoughts:  I absolutely love this series and this latest installment was not different – absolutely fabulous read!  This book takes place is two separate locations – the jungles of Africa and of course Boston!   Let me just say that the scenes that take place in the jungles of Africa are horrifying and the more you read, the more you begin to feel as if you are really there living the event – fabulously terrifying!

As most readers agree books always tend to be much, much better than the movie or TV show that comes from them.  I mostly agree but I will say that I truly, truly enjoy the TNT Rizzoli and Isles TV series . . . and now I can’t read the books without seeing the actresses in the roles . . . which isn’t a bad thing!

If you haven’t picked up Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series, I highly recommend it.   You will not be disappointed.  A great, fast-paced series with great characters and chilling moments that make you feel as if you are in the book.

Great read!

And remember,

Books Are Life,



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Filed under Book Reviews, Detective/Police, Fiction, Mystery, Tess Gerritsen

Book Review: “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn

dark places

Title:  Dark Places

Author:  Gillian Flynn

Synopsis (from  Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

My thoughts:  This book came highly recommended as “excellent” by a number of friends.  After reading Gone Girl and loving it, I was quite excited to get into this.  Unfortunately, I have to say I really disliked this book for a number of reasons.

First of all, the reader gets introduced to this Kill Club that Libby starts to work with to find the truth behind the gruesome murder of her family.  As the reader, I naturally assumed this Kill Club would continue to play a role in the book.  Apparently not, since the Kill Club is like gone until the very end of the novel and plays almost no role in the book.  Stupid!

I wasn’t bothered at all by the very dark nature of the book, in fact I was actually expecting more psychologically dark.  It started out fantastic, fast, and intriguing and then just sputtered to a dead for me.

I found the end of the novel also just flat, a dead end, nothing exciting, a huge disappointment.

Overall, this book was a huge disappointment to me.  I expected a lot more.  It started wonderfully fast and exciting and just generally fizzled out to a disappointing ending.

And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Book Review: “Decoupage Can Be Deadly” by Lois Winston (Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery #4)



Title:  Decoupage Can Be Deadly

Author:  Lois Winston

Series:  Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery #4

Synopsis (from In this fourth installment of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, Anastasia and her fellow American Woman editors are steaming mad when minutes before the opening of a consumer show, they discover half their booth usurped by Bling!, their publisher’s newest magazine. CEO Alfred Gruenwald is sporting new arm candy-rapper-turned-entrepreneur and Bling! executive editor, the first-name-only Philomena. During the consumer show, Gruenwald’s wife serves Philomena with an alienation of affection lawsuit, but Philomena doesn’t live long enough to make an appearance in court. She’s found dead days later, stuffed in the shipping case that held Anastasia’s decoupage crafts. When Gruenwald makes cash-strapped Anastasia an offer she can’t refuse, she wonders, does he really want to find Philomena’s killer or is he harboring a hidden agenda?


My thoughts:  I truly, truly enjoyed this fourth book the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery.  What a great cozy mystery series.  One of the reasons this series stands out for me as a great one is the absolutely great cast of characters.  Every single character in these books are awesomely quirky and downright hilarious.  This series is a true laugh out loud read!  Great!

Now that being said, just a tad of what I didn’t love about this particular book.  I for one felt that the end was really abrupt and just came to a quick conclusion in like a page.  Boom . . . it was all done!  WHAT??!?

There is a nice cliffhanger however that of course will keep me reading . . .

Anxiously awaiting the next one in the series.

A wonderful, light, laugh out loud cozy series that should be on every cozy lover’s list!


And remember,

Books Are Life,



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Filed under Book Reviews, Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Fiction, Lois Winston, Mystery