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Book Review: “Hide Away” by Iris Johansen (Eve Duncan #20)

hideaway

Title:  Hide Away

Author:  Iris Johansen

Series:  Eve Duncan #20

Synopsis (from bn.com): 

DARK SECRETS

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan lies in a well-guarded hospital room in Carmel, California. But she and Joe Quinn have sworn to protect an innocent young girl, Cara Delaney, whose enemies are getting closer by the hour. Weighing her own health against Cara’s safety, Eve decides they must disappear—and so she turns to her daughter, Jane MacGuire, for an unexpected solution.

DESPERATE MEASURES

After years of resistance, Jane has finally succumbed to the inevitable: John MacDuff’s insistent plea to track down a treasure presumed buried in Scotland. The remote mountains should be a perfect hiding place for Eve and Cara, but they soon realize there is nowhere distant enough from the ruthless predators who are on their trail. Greed and power war with honor and justice in this thrill-ride from the incomparable Iris Johansen.

 

My thoughts:

Oh man, what can I say about this book.  Again a book in a series that I have loved in the past, but in my opinion is really slipping and changing in ways I at least am not enjoying.

This Eve Duncan series started with really intriguing storylines of Eve’s work as a forensic sculptor, focusing on her work and just really good mysteries.   Now that we have moved beyond the incessant Bonnie storyline, somehow the series has moved lately into not focusing on Eve’s work or cases at all but rather having Eve/Joe/Jane chasing around various places trying to save different people.  This storyline (which by the way takes place over 3 different books. . . hmmmmm) felt to me to be a bit disjointed and repetitive, didn’t make me want to turn the next page.

I am also personally not enjoying how the author is weaving in the seemingly odd supernatural aspects to some of her characters – such as the character who can change bloodflow in a human to the point of healing someone and saving someone’s life.  I know these supernatural characters and storylines are all the rage recently, but don’t interweave them in what is normally a great mystery and psychological thriller.

Overall, clearly this wasn’t my favorite book in the series which really disappoints me since this really was one of my favorite series.  Ugh, oh well . . .you win some and you lose some.

And remember,

Books Are life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Dead Cold Brew” by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Mystery #16)

deadcoldbrew

Title:  Dead Cold Brew

Author:  Cleo Coyle

Series:  Coffeehouse Mystery #16

Synopsis (from bn.com):  Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi sheds tears of joy when her NYPD detective boyfriend surprises her with an engagement ring. But her bridal bliss is put on hold when a chilling mystery brings a wave of deadly danger to those she holds dear…
 
After everything Clare and Mike have been through, they deserve a little bit of happily ever after. So when Mike decides to put a ring on Clare’s finger, Clare’s eccentric octogenarian employer is there to help. She donates the perfect coffee-colored diamonds to include in the setting and the name of a world-famous jeweler who happens to be an old family friend. But while the engagement is steeped in perfection, the celebration is not long lived.

First, a grim-faced attorney interrupts their party with a mysterious letter bequeathing a strange, hidden treasure to Clare’s daughter. Next, the renowned jeweler who designed Clare’s ring is found poisoned in his shop. Both events appear to be connected to a cold case murder involving a sunken ship, an Italian curse, a suspiciously charming jewel thief, and a shocking family secret. With deadly trouble brewing, Clare must track down clues in some of New York’s most secret places before an old vendetta starts producing fresh corpses.

My thoughts:  I absolutely LOVE this series, in fact it is one of my favorite cozy mystery series – since I am an avid coffee drinker.  However, I can’t believe I’m typing this and admitting this, but this book in the series feel quite a bit short for me.  Not my favorite, by any means.

I felt like the whole storyline was just a bit disjointed for me.  It seemed to go all over the place for me.  Not to mention, I personally just didn’t enjoy the whole family history storyline so that didn’t help matters much.

And what bothered me most about this one is that Claire and the coffeehouse gang really never hung around the coffeehouse in this book, they were out and about in the city, etc.  I know this seems incredibly odd and petty perhaps, but one of my favorite parts about reading cozy mysteries is that they are set in their cozy places whether it be a bakery, a tea shop or in this case a coffeehouse.

Please take us back to the Coffeehouse!

All in all, just a so so book in this series for me! Not my favorite!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult

smallgreatthings

Title:  Small Great Things

Author:  Jodi Picoult

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

 

My thoughts:  My ladies book club wanted to start getting more back to books (I know that sounds odd doesn’t it, but we all know how those ladies book clubs turn more into dinner and wonderful conversation and not about books . . .but anyway I digress), so this is what they chose.

I had mixed feelings at first as I have a love/hate relationship with Jodi Picoult’s books but I jumped right in with excitement.

I would love to say I absolutely loved the book as most reviews I have written say, however all I can say is that my love/hate relationship with this author continues.

First off, I think reading this particular book right now in the current political climate was just bad timing for me.  I’m burned out on social media posts, negativity, fighting, and all such things and this book about racial tensions didn’t help.

Overall the book was a very fast read, the story was intriguing and of course made you think and stretch your mind throughout which is of course paramount for a Picoult book.

On the more negative side, I must say being a healthcare worker I found much of the premise of the story a bit unbelievable and kept saying to myself – “first off this wouldn’t happen”.

One of my major issues with Picoult’s writing is that in my humble opinion she always attempts to touch on every single hot social issue in one book and it always seems quite a bit biased and stereotypical to me.  This book was very much the same – the characters were overly stereotyped I thought.

To top things off I found the ending absolutely ridiculous!  Talk about typing things up in one chapter in a nice, pretty, unbelievable bow.  Not good for me!

Overall a fast read that of course makes you think – but overly stereotyped characters and an ending that just made me scratch my head.

And remember,

Books are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Fireproof” by Alex Kava (Maggie O’Dell Series #10)

fireproof

Title:  Fireproof

Author:  Alex Kava

Series:  Maggie O’Dell series #10

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

New York Times bestselling author Alex Kava returns in a blaze of glory with a gripping, action-packed thriller featuring special agent Maggie O’Dell,who is leading the search for a serial arsonist whose crimes threaten Maggie dangerously close to home.

When a building bursts into flames on a cold winter night in D.C., investigators see a resemblance to a string of recent fires in the area. There is one difference, however: This one has a human casualty. The local team insists they’re looking for a young white male, suffering from an uncontrollable impulse to act out his anger or sexual aggression. But when special agent Maggie O’Dell is called in, everything she sees leads her to believe that this is the work of a calculating and controlled criminal.

 

My thoughts:  Well it seems as if I am working my way through the Alex Kava series and now new Ryder Creed series  . . .

This is another great novel in the wonderful Maggie O’Dell series.  Main character Maggie O’Dell is of course fabulous . . . fast-paced storyline . . .

I do have one significant complaint about this book – the killer was so entirely obvious I had the book figured out by about a quarter of the way through it, which I never, ever am able to do.  I am in no way the type who ever figures out the mystery before the end, but this one was obvious.  It really was just too obvious and of course took quite a bit away from the book as there were huge holes in the storyline that just made the killer entirely too obvious.

Overall, another great Kava book . .. and I’m off to start Ryder Creed series #2.

And remember,

Books Are Life

Heather

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Book Review: “Breaking Creed” by Alex Kava (Ryder Creed series #1)

breakingcreed

Title:  Breaking Creed

Author:  Alex Kava

Series:  Ryder Creed series #1

Synopsis (from bn.com):  From the New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie O’Dell novels comes a thrilling new series featuring an ex-marine turned K9 rescue dog trainer…

Ryder Creed and his dogs have been making national headlines. They’ve intercepted several major drug stashes smuggled through Atlanta’s airport. But their newfound celebrity has also garnered some unwanted attention.

When Creed and one of his dogs are called in to search a commercial fishing vessel off the coast of Pensacola Beach, they discover a secret compartment. But the Colombian cartel’s latest shipment isn’t drugs. It’s human…

Meanwhile, FBI agent Maggie O’Dell is investigating a series of murders she suspects to be the work of a brutal assassin. By the time she uncovers a hit list with Creed’s name on it, it might be too late to help him. For someone is already on the way…

 

My thoughts:  I have been an Alex Kava fan for years – I absolutely love the Maggie O’Dell series.  I was a bit disappointed to see that she stopped writing the Maggie O’Dell series exclusively and had moved to a new Ryder Creed Series.  I was extremely reticent about the new series and honestly had no intention on starting the series as a story about a rescue dog and his trainer just didn’t fit me . . . but . . . WOW!  I was SO WRONG!

I absolutely loved this book and look forward to starting the next one already.  I really love that this series continues bringing us Maggie O’Dell and now Ryder working together on cases.

This new series has a great new main character in Ryder Creed – sexy, young, tough K9 trainer.

The story line is intriguing, fast paced, and gives the reader a super fast read.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Stranded” by Alex Kava (Maggie O’Dell #11)

stranded

Title:  Stranded

Author:  Alex Kava

Series:  Maggie O’Dell #11

Synopsis (from bn.com): 

ONE MAN’S REST STOP IS ANOTHER MAN’S HUNTING GROUND

When FBI special agent Maggie O’Dell and her partner, Tully, discover the remains of a young woman in a highway ditch, the only clue is a map leading them to spot where they’ll find madman’s next victim.

As the body count rises, Maggie must race against the clock to unmask the monster terrorizing America’s highways, even if it means turning to a former foe for help. But as she gets closer to finding the killer, it becomes eerily clear that Maggie may be the ultimate target. . .

My thoughts:  Love, love, loved this book!  I read this Maggie O’Dell series years ago and realized recently that I hadn’t finished it – duh!  And Stranded reminded me how very good this series truly is.

The characters are great, the plot is exciting, fast-paced, sit on the edge of your seat.

In this novel the author introduces us to her latest character, Ryder Creed, who is ex-Marine turned dog trainer who is brought onto the scene in this plot to help with body recovery.   Ryder is the main character in the author’s next series of books – The Ryder Creed Series.  I was a bit skeptical about liking this new character – but I LOVE HIM and yes have already started reading the first book in that series . . . “Breaking Creed”.  Stay tuned for that review coming soon.

Overall a great, fast-paced psychological thriller for those that love fast action.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Beach Bags and Burglaries” by Dorothy Howell (Haley Randolph Mystery #7)

 

beachbagsandburglaryTitle:  Beach Bags and Burglaries

Author:  Dorothy Howell

Series:  Haley Randolph Mystery #7

Synopsis (from bn.com):  Part-time sleuth and full-time fashionista Haley Randolph just won an all-expenses-paid vacay at the Rowan Resort. The island has everything Haley imagined: pristine beaches, posh accommodations, and possibly Brad Pitt. But trouble soon looms on the horizon when Jaslyn Gordon, a maid at the island resort, goes missing. And while practically looting the resort for a Sea Vixen beach bag, Haley of course finds the maid—on the beach. . .and clearly dead.

Everyone at the resort says Jaslyn’s death was just an accident, but Haley thinks there’s a lot going unsaid. Haley’s faced down clever criminals before and always come out on top, but this malicious murderer might be too crafty. And though she’s dying to get her hands on a Sea Vixen, she also wants to live long enough to be seen with it. . .

My thougths:  Ok, I’ve mentioned before that this isn’t my favorite cozy mystery series and I hate, hate giving badish reviews to books . . . but I have to admit openly that parts of this book just bugged me.  It’s not the writing, nor the story, nor the supporting characters . . . it is the main character herself, Haley Randolph that is just over the top to me, particularly in this book.  Wow – there were times I simply wanted to smack her across the face.  I know she is to be characterized as a young, 25 year old fashionista that is finding her way in life, but this book really brought out the selfish person this girl is.  And this time it really got to me.  I just got sick of the selfish statements from this character like god it’s good to be me, I’m great, etc etc.  Gag!

On a positive note however I enjoyed the setting of this book. The main characters were on a vacation at a luxury resort which overall was a fun location for a book.

I don’t like giving up on series . . . and I haven’t fully committed to letting this one go, but let’s just say I’m not rushing out to get the new releast.

Onward and upward,

And remember,

Books are Life

Heather

 

 

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