Book Review: “Live to See Tomorrow” by Iris Johansen (Catherine Ling #3)


Title:  Live to See Tomorrow

Author:  Iris Johansen

Series:  Catherine Ling #3

Synopsis (from  Catherine Ling is one of the CIA’s most prized operatives. Raised on the unforgiving streets of Hong Kong, she was pulled into the agency at the age of fourteen, already having accumulated more insight and secrets than the most seasoned professionals in her world. If life has taught her anything, it is not to get attached, but there are two exceptions to that rule: her son Luke and her mentor Hu Chang. When Luke was kidnapped at the age of two, it nearly broke her. Now, nine years later, her son has astonishingly been returned to her and Catherine vows never to fail him again. But when her job pulls her away from home, she relies on the brilliant and deadly Hu Chang to safeguard Luke in her absence. Now Erin Sullivan, an American journalist with mysterious ties to Hu Chang, has been kidnapped in Tibet. If Catherine doesn’t agree to spearhead the CIA rescue mission, she knows that Hu Chang himself will go, a possibility she can’t risk. But she will be facing a monster whose crimes stretch back forty years, always eluding the CIA. And the job grows even more complicated when Catherine meets Richard Cameron, a supposed ally who’s clearly not telling all he knows. Their attraction is immediate, but Catherine isn’t at all sure that he can be trusted. If she’s going to rescue this journalist with a story worth killing for, she’ll need to keep Cameron very close. From the treacherous landscape of the Himalayas to the twisting back alleys of San Francisco, the clock is ticking for Catherine and those she loves most. At every turn she faces a ruthless enemy who is determined to keep the truth buried, even if it means that none of them live to see tomorrow, in this novel from bestseller Iris Johansen.

My thoughts:  This book was a mixed bag for me.  Yes – I love this newer Catherine Ling series which is spin off from Iris Johansen’s highly successful Eve Duncan series.

I truly love the character of Catherine Ling who is a bad ass CIA operative, basically a strong, empowered, no nonsense, take no prisoners character who is in a word – AWESOME!

That being said no – I didn’t love this particular book in the series.  It fell a bit flat for me in its action and particularly when the author insisted on bringing in an odd supernatural component where Catherine could hear and feel when one of the other main characters was communicating with her despite him not actually being there with her.  Ugh  . . . why do authors feel the undying need to add this supernatural stuff to their books.

The overall storyline and action felt a bit repetitive to me as well . . . a theme I’m starting to notice in many of Johansen’s books.

Thank goodness I decided to read this on my iPad at the gym while working out . . . even a so so read is tolerable when you are trying to forget the pain and annoyance of the treadmill!

And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Book Review: “12th of Never” by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #12)


Title:  12th of Never

Author:  James Patterson

Series:  Women’s Murder Club #12

Synopsis (from

It’s finally time! Detective Lindsay Boxer is in labor—while two killers are on the loose.

Lindsay Boxer’s beautiful baby daughter is born! While Lindsay and Joe are at home in bliss, San Francisco gets hit with multiple killings. An eccentric English professor has been having vivid nightmares about a murder that he claims is real. No one believes him-until a vicious shooting fits the man’s description to the last detail.

Then the girlfriend of a star player for the San Francisco 49ers is found dead in her car, making the athlete the prime suspect. This seems like an open-and-shut case-until the body inexplicably vanishes from the morgue. When the desperate chief of police calls for help, Lindsay is forced to return to work after only one week at home with her newborn.

But all the crimes in the world will seem like nothing when she suddenly faces the most devastating loss of her life. With heart-pounding emotion and suspense, 12TH OF NEVER is James Patterson’s most shocking and sensational Women’s Murder Club novel yet.


My thoughts:  I decided to jump back into this series after some time away (after I lost my mojo with it after a disappointing #10) and I’m certainly glad I did.  I really enjoyed this book and of course flew through it like I do most Patterson books.

I love jumping back into a storyline with a cast of characters that I know . . . its like returning home!

I also truly enjoyed the overall plot lines of this book.  There were two or more simultaneous storylines that flowed well together and played off one another beautifully.


I know Patterson takes quite a bit of flack for publishing so many books, and basically having other authors write them while is name is on them . . . but let’s face it, if you love them you love them.  Read on!


Very much looking forward to #13 which happens to come out days before I get on a plane for Hawaii!  Can’t wait to read it.


And remember,

Books Are Life,



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Book review: “11th Hour” by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #11)


Title:  11th Hour

Author:  James Patterson

Series:  Women’s Murder Club #11

Synopsis (from

Your best friend

Lindsay Boxer is pregnant at last! But her work doesn’t slow for a second. When millionaire Chaz Smith is mercilessly gunned down, she discovers that the murder weapon is linked to the deaths of four of San Francisco’s most untouchable criminals. And it was taken from her own department’s evidence locker. Anyone could be the killer—even her closest friends.

Or a vicious killer?

Lindsay is called next to the most bizarre crime scene she’s ever seen: two bodiless heads elaborately displayed in the garden of a world-famous actor. Another head is unearthed in the garden, and Lindsay realizes that the ground could hide hundreds of victims.

You won’t know until the 11th hour

A reporter launches a series of vicious articles about the cases and Lindsay’s personal life is laid bare. But this time she has no one to turn to—especially not Joe. 11TH HOUR is the most shocking, most emotional, and most thrilling Women’s Murder Club novel ever.


My thoughts:  I am so very glad I got back into this series . . . I really, truly enjoyed this installment in James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club Series.  Frankly, after the 10th book in the serious which fell a bit flat for me I was hesitant to get back in and finish up the series.  I am glad I did!

I love James Patterson, particularly the Alex Cross series, . . . and this series is a close second for me.

I love coming back to good, comfortable, familiar characters in these novels.

I love how the 2 or 3 seemingly separate storylines play off one another, work well together, and keep the plot moving quickly ahead.

I flew through this book, which is exactly what I needed for this little reading slump that I am in.

On to number 12 in the series . . . full speed ahead!

And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Book Review: “Book Clubbed” by Lorna Barrett (Booktown Mystery #8)


Title:  Book Clubbed

Author:  Lorna Barrett

Series:  Booktown Mystery #8

Synopsis (from

The New York Times bestselling author of Not the Killing Type is back in Booktown with another page-turning mystery. Bookstore owner Tricia Miles and her sister, Angelica, must put their problems on the shelf to catch a killer who turns a bookcase into a murder weapon…

After cranky Chamber of Commerce receptionist Betsy Dittmeyer is crushed by a fallen bookcase, the next item to be read is her will, which is packed with surprises. It seems Betsy was hiding volumes of secrets behind her perpetual frown—one of which might have been a motive for murder.

While Tricia tries to help Angelica—the newly elected Chamber of Commerce president—solve the mystery, she discovers a hidden chapter in her own family history. And with her ex-husband and the chief of police vying for her affections, it’s doubly hard to focus on who buried Betsy in a tomb of tomes.

But Tricia and Angelica will need to watch their step carefully to make sure the killer doesn’t catch them between the stacks.


My thoughts:  Well I can’t beat about the bush here . . . I love this cozy series, but I fear that it is getting a bit stale and old.  The last couple books I have read in this series have just not felt the same and I feel like I’m trudging through waiting for the action to happen.

One of the problems I’m noticing is that the books are starting to focus on the events of the city and the shopkeepers rather than any murder mystery . . . in amongst all of fluff in the story I realize that the actual murder mystery is completely lost.

I love the premise of the cozy series . . . I mean what on earth is better that a cozy surrounding a mystery book store in a town called Booktown.

I am hopeful that the author freshens up this series in the next installment coming out soon, The Final Chapter!

And remember,

Books Are Life,


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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