Deadly Heat – Richard Castle

“Deadly Heat” is the fifth book by fictional author Richard Castle from the TV show “Castle”, starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. The events of “Deadly Heat” take place around a month after the previous book “Frozen Heat” and are based loosely on the case of serial killer, Scott Dunn, from Season 2 of the TV show.   

As with the previous books it is very well written and the action is fairly fast paced. I love trying to catch all the little “easter eggs” that can be found if you are a fan of the show and the actors in the show. I especially love that there is a Detective Malcolm and a Detective Reynolds who are partners so nearly always mentioned together, fans of Fillion will recognise these names as the name of his character in the incredible Joss Whedon show, “Firefly”.  

 

There were a few twists and turns and I love trying to solve the case along with the characters and trying to see if I can figure out what the next plot twist will be.  

 

I’m not going to claim that Castle’s books are the height of literary excellence and the most incredible books ever written but they are fun, quick to read and hold my attention right to the end and some times that is all I want from a book. I would recommend them to fans of the show or people who just like crime fiction as the cases are interesting and well thought out enough to work as stand-alone books so it wouldn’t matter if you don’t watch the TV show.

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How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran

I’ve read Caitlin Moran’s non-fiction books so when I saw “How to Build a Girl” on offer in Asda I decided to give it a try and see if it was as good as her non-fiction writing. I wasn’t disappointed. 

Moran confirms at the start of the book that although some parts of the book are familiar to her own early life the events that happen in the book are entirely fictitious. It is easy to see why she has felt the need to put that in, “How to Build a Girl” tells the story of Johanna Morrigan, a young girl from quite a large family in Wolverhampton who goes on to get her first job as a writer for a music magazine. Anyone who has read Moran’s autobiography will know that this is pretty much how Moran started out but, as she has said, that is where the similarity ends and she has created entirely fictional experiences for her characters.

 

After a slightly disastrous TV appearance, 14-year-old Johanna Morrigan decides the only way to get ahead in life will be to reinvent herself. She changes her style of dress and starts to write music reviews under the pseudonym of Dolly Wilde.

 

I really enjoyed this book. I think if people are honest with themselves most of us have thought of reinventing ourselves at one time or another and a lot of us have probably done it. As Dolly Wilde, Johanna gets into a lot of scrapes and adventures whilst learning a lot about herself along the way. It was very funny and I loved the dynamic within Johanna’s family.  

 

It’s a very honest book, which won’t be a surprise to anyone who is a fan of Moran’s work, with Johanna being pretty much obsessed with masturbation and sex and not being afraid to talk about it.  

 

I’d definitely recommend this, I don’t think it matters if you are male or female as there is something for everyone.

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Mr Mercedes – Stephen King

I picked up Stephen King’s “Mr Mercedes” whilst shopping a few weeks ago and have been desperate to read it since. My Dad has also recently read it and recommended it so I was really excited to get started. 

Whilst I would say this is a crime thriller it is different from a lot of other books in that genre in that we know who the criminal is. The story is told via 2 different narrators; Bill Hodges, a former Detective who has recently retired and is struggling to find the point in his life; and Brady Hartsfield, also known as the Mercedes Killer.  

 

I know some people don’t like books that have changes in narrator but I actually don’t mind it and in this case it is always very clear who’s narrating at each point. As always with King’s books, I found the characterisation to be excellent and I liked the way he hinted at some things that were happening rather than coming right out and saying it.

 

The plot was really interesting and I liked the fact that we saw both sides of the story with the 2 narrators, although it did mean that sometimes I almost wanted to shout at Hodges to tell him what was happening!  

 

I liked the twists and turns along the way and was happy with the outcome of the case. I was also interested to read that King has written another book with three of the characters from “Mr Mercedes” so will be looking forward to reading that when it comes out in paperback.  

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Bones Never Lie – Kathy Reichs

Some slight spoilers for a previous Kathy Reichs’ book, “Monday Mourning”. Do not read any further if you haven’t read that book and don’t want to be spoiled. 

 

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I have just finished reading Kathy Reichs’ 17th book in her Temperance Brennan series, “Bones Never Lie”. This is set around a year after the events of “Bones of the Lost” and sees the return of a character from the 7th book in the series, “Monday Mourning”, in the form of “the one that got away”, Anique Pomerleau.  

 

For the most part, the Temperance Brennan series doesn’t have much in the way of a continuing storyline. The interpersonal relationships between the characters obviously change from book to book but each book tends to contain a new case so it is quite easy for a new reader to jump in without being too confused as to what is happening. That has changed slightly in “Bones Never Lie” as the suspect they are looking for is one who managed to escape capture in “Monday Mourning”, Anique Pomerleau. Reichs’ does a good job at getting the reader up to speed with the basics of that case by having Brennan tell her colleagues in Charlotte what happened as the Pomerleau case was one she handled in Canada with Detective Ryan. The return of Pomerleau also calls for a return of Ryan, which is always welcome to me. I don’t think it would be the end of the world if you were to read “Bones Never Lie” without having read “Monday Mourning” but it certainly helps to have read it. I must admit, it has been that long since I read “Monday Mourning” I did find myself a little rusty as to the details of what had gone on in that case anyway. At some point I might read the two back to back.

 

The characterisation, as always, was brilliant. Reichs’ does a good job at getting you to care for the characters. That being said, I did find some of the new characters that were brought in were underused and a little pointless. I’m sure the plot could have been set up in a slightly different way and they wouldn’t have been needed as they didn’t really do an awful lot.    

 

I’m never happy with Brennan being put in danger and needing to be rescued by one of her male colleagues and I’m pleased to say in this case that didn’t happen. It was good to have Ryan in the book as I am definitely a fan of their relationship and partnership and I also liked the secondary plot with Brennan’s Mother. Can’t wait til the next instalment now to see what happens next!

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The Woman Who Stole My Life – Marian Keyes

As regular readers of the blog will know, I love Marian Keyes’ books so I couldn’t wait to get started on her latest book, “The Woman Who Stole My Life”. I think Keyes herself should take this title as I couldn’t put the book down and wasn’t getting anything else done! I loved it.   

The protagonist, Stella Sweeney, actually reminds me a lot of Keyes from things I have read on her Twitter feed. Stella is supposed to be writing a book but spends more time procrastinating on Twitter and eating Jaffa cakes rather than writing.  

 

The plot was excellent and the characterisation was brilliant as usual. I loved Stella’s crazy family and friends, especially Jeffrey, her slightly odd, teenage son who pretty much hates her and is always doing yoga and meditating rather than engaging in stereotypical teenage behaviours. I also had a bit of a soft spot for Stella’s ex-husband, Ryan, who decides to do a karma experiment and give away all his worldly goods and trust the universe to provide for him. Obviously, with this being a Marian Keyes book, this has hilarious consequences.

 

Between Ireland and New York, this book covered two of my favourite places and I always love reading about places I’ve visited in New York. I must admit I was a little envious of Stella getting to live there for a bit!

 

There is a bit of back and to in the action with us seeing things that have happened and then what is happening at the present time but I quite like that and it was very easy to follow. Obviously it meant that there were some slight spoilers as characters that are together in the flashbacks aren’t in the present day so you obviously know something is going to happen to come between them.  

 

All in all, this was another brilliant book by Marian Keyes and I would recommend it to anyone. I also happened to see her being interviewed on the Paul O’Grady show recently and am very excited as she mentioned she is working on another book about the Walsh family, who I absolutely love so I can’t wait for that to come out.

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His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

I have read Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy before but not since I started the blog and it is on the “50 Books to Read Before You Die” list so I thought now was as good a time as any. The three books in the trilogy are “Northern Lights”, “The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass”. 

Throughout the series we meet several different characters and travel to many different places, the idea being that there are many different worlds beyond our own that we could access if we had the correct tools. The main characters really are Lyra and Will. “Northern Lights” is set in Lyra’s world, which appears to be very similar to our world but very old fashioned in most terms, and is centred around her character. Lyra then meets Will at the beginning of “The Subtle Knife”. Will is from our world and has spent most of his life looking after his mentally unstable Mother. “The Subtle Knife” is set between our world, Lyra’s world and a world called Citigazze. By the end of “The Subtle Knife” we learn more about why Lyra appears to be so important to the religious leaders in her world. “The Amber Spyglass” is again set across a few different worlds with Will and Lyra travelling between worlds as and when they need to.

 

For me, “His Dark Materials” has a very interesting concept. I like the idea of there being parallel universes that you could get to if you only knew how. The characterisation was excellent and really made me care about what happened to the characters. I know there has been some complaint about the way religion is portrayed in this series but I think what people sometimes fail to remember is it is a fiction book. Pullman isn’t saying this is a factual book about what religions are like; he’s saying in this world he has created, this is what religions are like.  

 

I loved the fact that in Lyra’s world all humans have a “daemon”, which is said to be your soul in animal form. This animal accompanies you everywhere and can speak to you. Until you hit puberty these daemons can change their physical form at will.      

 

Although the series is rounded off nicely in “The Amber Spyglass”, I would love to read more about these characters and see what happened to them after the events of the Trilogy were over.  

 

I’ve loved re-reading these books and would definitely recommend them to others.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’d Like to Meet

  

I know I’ve not been great at these but jumping in and doing another Top Ten Tuesday today as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish (full info can be found here

Without further ado, here are my 10. I decided not to limit this to authors who are still alive. 


1) J. K. Rowling

I think this one is fairly obvious.  I love the Harry Potter series and from following Rowling on Twitter I think we’d have a lot to talk about and I hope I’d be able to hold my own in a decent discussion with her. 
2) Louisa May Alcott

I would have loved to have been able to sit and have a chat with Alcott about “Little Women”. It is one of my absolute favourite books and I’d love to learn more about the March family straight from the horses mouth, as it were. 
3) Stephen King

I love pretty much all of King’s books and have done since I was quite young. I think I’d be a little in awe if I ever actually did meet him, I have so many great memories connected to his books and I’m really glad my Dad first put me on to him. 
4) Marian Keyes

I follow Keyes on Twitter and I get the impression she would be so much fun if I was ever lucky enough to meet her. She seems so funny and down to earth.  I would ask her all about the Walsh family and about her adventures in baking. 
5) Kathy Reichs

Meeting Kathy Reichs would be doubly awesome for me. Not only do I love her books but she is the inspiration behind one of my favourite TV shows, “Bones”. I’d have so many questions for her and I think I would likely have a bit of a fan girl moment and probably make a complete fool of myself! 
6) Enid Blyton

My childhood was filled with Enid Blyton books, like “The Famous Five”, “Mallory Towers” and “The Magic Faraway Tree”. I loved them all and I’d love to have been able to have a chat with the woman who created them. 
7) Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern’s books never fail to make me smile. I love the hint of magic and hope they contain.  I’d love to talk to her about where she gets her inspiration from. 
8) Dean Koontz

I’ve read lots of Koontz’ books but my favourite has to be “Lightning”. I’d love to meet the man behind that book and ask him where the idea came from. 
9) Roald Dahl

Another of my childhood favourites. “Matilda” was one of my faves.  As a bookish kid myself it really spoke to me and I often wished I had powers like she did. 
10) William Shakespeare 

Surely this one is obvious?! 
Do you agree with any of my choices? Who would you pick instead? Let me know in the comments. 

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