Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book review: “A Heartbeat Away” by Michael Palmer

heartbeat

Synopsis (from bn.com):  On the night of the State of the Union address, President James Allaire expects to give the speech of his career. But no one anticipates the terrifying turn of events that forces him to quarantine everyone in the Capitol building. A terrorist group calling itself “Genesis” has unleashed WRX3883, a deadly, highly contagious virus, into the building. No one fully knows the deadly effect of the germ except for the team responsible for its development—a team headed by Allaire, himself. The only one who might be able to help is virologist Griffin Rhodes, currently in solitary confinement in a maximum security federal prison for alleged terrorist acts, including the attempted theft of WRX3883 from the lab where he worked. Rhodes has no idea why he has been arrested, but when Allaire offers to free him in exchange for his help combating the virus, he reluctantly agrees to do what he can to support the government that has imprisoned him without apparent cause.

Meanwhile, every single person in line for presidential succession is trapped inside the Capitol—every person except one: the Director of Homeland Security, who is safely at home in Minnesota, having been selected as the “Designated Survivor” for this event. With enemies both named and unnamed closing in, and the security of the nation at stake, Griff must unravel the mysteries of WRX3883 without violating his pledge as a scientist to use no animal testing in his experiments…and time is running out.

Tense, thrilling, and entirely plausible, A Heartbeat Away will make you reflect, wonder, and be truly afraid.

 

My thoughts:   Loved, loved, loved this book!   A terrorist group releases a deadly virus directly into the chamber during the President’s State of the Union address . . . could there be a more exciting start to a book.

What ensues is chaos, political agendas, struggles for power, medical mysteries, and a hunt for the cure.

An absolute thrill ride of a book that I literally did not want to put down.

If you love a good virus book and a mix of a medical and political mystery do youself a favor a get this book now!!!

And remember

Books Are life,

Heather

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Filed under Book Reviews, Medical Drama, Michael Palmer, Mystery

Book Review: “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

crawdads

Synopsis (from BN.com):  For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life—until the unthinkable happens.

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

 

My thoughts:  Oh man . . . I really, really wanted to love this book . . . and have to be completely honest – I didn’t!   I almost feel dirty writing that out here in public as the publishing world, Reese Witherspoon’s book club, and the public were just raving about how good it was . . . it’s beautiful, lyrical writing . . . and on and on.

Yes the book was beautifully written, passages were lyrical . . . and I did enjoy learning about the nature of the marshes of North Carolina.

However, from the very first few chapters I simply couldn’t get past the absolute ridiculous unrealistic premise of the story.   Spoiler alert if you haven’t read the book.  Come on people, yes I know its a work of fiction . . . but a 6 year old child raises herself in the marshland of North Carolina, goes to the store in town with $ she’s made, goes to school one time . . . it’s set in the 1960’s and no social service agencies check on this child, . . . you get my drift.   This uneducated girl then grows up to write a number of scientific type nature books based on her life in the marsh.

Nope, I just couldn’t get past it.

And the chapters involving the murder investigation felt odd, forced, out of place . . . it was as if the two storylines didn’t fit together.

I should have known. . . books that are overhyped, all over the media and the public falls in love with – I typically will hate.

Oh well, simply not for me . . . for those that loved it I’m glad you are reading and enjoyed your journey!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction

Book review: “Scones & Bones” by Laura Childs (Tea Shop Mystery #12)

9780425246641_p0_v2_s550x406

Title:  Scones & Bones

Author:  Laura Childs

Series:  Tea Shop Mystery #12

Synopsis (from bn.com):  Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is attending the Heritage Society’s Pirates and Plunder show when a histroy intern is murdered amidst the gold earrings and doubloons. Even with that on her plate, Theodosia still has to attend Charleston’s Food and Wine Festival, where she’s hosting a tea and cheese tasting. But as her thoughts keep drifting to the victim, Theodosia knows she’ll have to whet her investigative skills to find the killer among a schooner of suspects.

My thoughts:   This is a very popular, well known cozy series indeed.   I’m working my way through the series oh so slowly, with stops at other books along the way.   This wasn’t my favorite in the series by any means . . . mostly because I just wasn’t a fan of the whole Pirate theme, but that is just me.   This one seemed to move really slowly . . .

Overall, a charming cozy mystery series . . . likable characters, warm cozy locations, one can learn quite a bit about the culture of Charleston . . . a win for me.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Filed under Book Reviews, Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Fiction, Laura Childs

Book Review: “By Cook or by Crook” by Maya Corrigan (Five-Ingredient Mystery #1)

9781617731389_p0_v2_s550x406Title:  By Cook or by Crook

Author:  Maya Corrigan

Series:  Five-Ingredient Mystery #1

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Take one burned-out city girl. Add a crusty codger, a pinch of gossip, and a dash of romance. Stir in a generous helping of murder and you’ve got the ingredients for one truly delicious mystery. . .

Haunted by the car accident that ended her career as a cookbook publicist, Val Deniston has traded in the chaos of New York City for a quieter life near the Chesapeake Bay. Living with her curmudgeonly grandfather in the tourist town of Bayport is hardly glamorous, but she enjoys working at the Cool Down Café at the local fitness club, and she finally has time to work on her long-planned cookbook. But when one of the club’s patrons is found dead, she’ll have to cook up a scheme to find the killer. As the number of suspects rises like crabs in a bucket, it’s out of the pan and into the fire for Val. If she can’t find the culprit soon, she might as well be chum in the water. . .

My thoughts:  Well . . . I was doing some shelving in my personal library the other day and was looking for a new series to read . . . alas I found this long lost book on my shelf and it fit the bill.

I want to say I loved this cozy mystery, but I just didn’t love it.  Yes, it has all the hallmarks of a cozy mystery – a cozy, beach location, a heroine who is trying to get over some devastating past, a murder that everyone gets involved in . . . but I just didn’t love or feel connected to the characters right away.   I particularly don’t enjoy the curmudgeon grandfather character – it is fine, he just strikes me the wrong way and I get irritated.

And it sounds odd, since this book is really only from 2014 but it is amazing in the last 6 years – how aged the book really seems – it struck me a couple times talking about a landline in the house and such.   Didn’t make or break the book for me, but I definitely noticed it.

I believe I have the second book in this series on my shelf already so I may go back for one more to see if I can connect with the characters . . . but that may have to be it.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

 

 

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Book Review “19th Christmas” by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #19)

bookTitle:  19th Christmas

Author: James Patterson

Series:  Women’s Murder Club #19

Synopsis (from bn.com):

As the holidays approach, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends in the Women’s Murder Club have much to celebrate. Crime is down. The medical examiner’s office is quiet. Even the courts are showing some Christmas spirit. And the news cycle is so slow that journalist Cindy Thomas is on assignment to tell a story about the true meaning of the season for San Francisco.

Then a fearsome criminal known only as “Loman” seizes control of the headlines. Solving crimes never happens on schedule, but as this criminal mastermind unleashes credible threats by the hour, the month of December is upended for the Women’s Murder Club. Avoiding tragedy is the only holiday miracle they seek.

 

My thoughts:  I’d love to say this series is getting better and better, but it is just not the case.  In fact, this series seems to be getting weaker and weaker to me.  When it takes me a week to get through a James Patterson book, I know there is trouble.

The last couple books in this series have just been losing their steam.  19th Christmas seemed very disjointed and basically just boring.   I understand the author has books in the series that really focus on just one character of the Women’s Murder Club – in this case mostly Lindsey Boxer, but they are much better when all the women are featured and what they are working on fits together on the same case in some way.

In this book, the main story of Lindsey Boxer solving the big case was boring in and of itself, and then the story of Cindy the journalist writing some random story was completely disjointed from everything else and just seemed to go away instantly having no purpose to the story or the book.

Yuki – the DA – and Claire – the ME – were hardly featured at all.  And don’t get me started on the odd epilogue that had absolutely no place – random, random, random.

Overall, boring, seemingly forced, and disappointing!   Ugh!  I hate to even suggest that perhaps its time for this series to fade away!!!

Well, happy reading!

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Mystery, New Releases

Book Review: “Poisoned Pages” by Lorna Barrett (Booktown Mystery #12)

poisonedpageTitle:  Poisoned Pages

Author:  Lorna Barrett

Series:  Booktown Mystery #12

 

Synopsis (Amazon.com):  Mystery bookstore owner Tricia Miles learns that nothing kills a good party like a murder in the latest entry in the New York Times bestselling Booktown Mysteries.

Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, throws a housewarming cocktail party in her new apartment and has cooked all the food by herself—quite a feat for someone who previously couldn’t boil water. Then one of her guests is poisoned and dies. Tricia’s left to wonder if her cooking is to blame or if there’s something much more sinister at play. Either way, Tricia’s once again in hot water with her ex-lover, Chief Baker.

Meanwhile the charming town of Stoneham is being disrupted by a vandalism crime wave. It’s the hot topic in the race for Chamber of Commerce president which sees Tricia pitted against two bitter rivals. With all that’s going on can she find the killer before she’s the next item on the menu?

 

My thoughts:   First of all, I can’t believe it has been over 6 months since I wrote on this blog.   Man that stinks!   Well I have been reading in that time and hopefully I’m back for a little more sharing.

I absolutely love this Booktown Mystery cozy series.  What cozy lover wouldn’t really?   I mean, a town in New Hampshire completely dedicated to bookshops and book themed cafes, coffee shops, and other dining establishments.

This 12th book in the series certainly did not disappoint.  Tricia, owner of mystery bookshop Haven’t Got a Clue, finds herself in yet another predicament when she finds yet another dead body in her midst.   Is she cursed as everyone starts believing or is she just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

As I was about 3/4 of the way through this book, I realized that the book wasn’t focusing as much on solving the mystery as it was on digging deeper into the relationship between Tricia and her sister Angelica and some of their life stories.   I found I really liked this deep dive further into the characters.

I feel the book ended on a very positive note and set up some wonderful places for the next book in the series to take us . . . please Lorna keep on writing this series and take us there.

Speaking of the next book in the series . . . Killer Edition Booktown Mystery #13 comes out August 13, 2019!!!

Happy Reading,

And remember,

Books are Life,

Heather

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Fiction

Book Review: “Books of a Feather” by Kate Carlisle (Bibliophile Mystery #10)

birds

Title:  Birds of a Feather

Author:  Kate Carlisle

Series:  Bibliophile Mystery #10

Synopsis (from bn.com):  Brooklyn’s friend runs the Covington Library, which is hosting an exhibit featuring John James Audubon’s massive masterpiece, Birds of America. During the gala celebrating the book, she is approached by Jared Mulrooney, the president of the Bay Area Birdwatchers Society, to repair a lesser known book of Audubon drawings.

At the same party, Brooklyn is flying high after she’s asked to refurbish a rare copy of Poor Richard’s Almanack when Mulrooney’s body is discovered in the library. Soon more troubles ruffle Brooklyn’s feathers. Her parents pop in for a visit with an unsavory friend in tow, and there’s a strange man on her tail. With danger beginning to circle Brooklyn’s every move, it’s clear she must find answers before things really go south. . . .

 

My thoughts:   Man oh man I am so off of my reading game this year I can’t believe it . . . I am going to have to turn in my avid reader card.   Anyway, there is absolutely nothing better to get one out of a reading slump than to pick up a great cozy series you know and start engaging with beloved characters.

This was another strong book in this lovely cozy mystery series.   I can’t believe there are 10 books in this series already . . . time to pick up #11 from my to be read stack 🙂

I love this series for any number of reasons, one being the characters are strong, loveable, and I want to know more.   Another reason I love this series is frankly how much knowledge the author has about the intricacies of bookbinding and man, do I learn a lot from even reading these simple books.

People can make fun of my love of cozy mysteries all day if they choose to .  . . but I won’t be deterred.   Picking up a cozy is like going home again!!

another great read in a wonderful cozy series!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Fiction