BOOK REVIEW: The Murder Of An Angel – by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Title: The Murder Of An Angel
(Confessions #4)
Author: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Genre: YA, Mystery, Fiction
First published: October 15th 2015
Publisher: Cornerstone Digital
Finished reading: May 5th 2017
Pages: 304

“There were three sides to this story: hers, his, and mine. But who cares about theirs? My side had been vetted and psychiatrically approved.”

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Confession: the only reason I decided to read the fourth and final book is that I can cross another series off my list that way. Confession: I still think this series should have stopped at the first book. Confession: I really wish I could turn the main character Tandoori into chicken tandoori food so I don’t have to listen to her any longer. Confession: there is a considerable amount of whining included in The Murder Of An Angel and that might make you want to throw your kindle/book against the wall. Confession: I don’t think the plot of this final book really lives up to the first either book. Confession: I actually think the conclusion is quite weak and there is a lot of repetition going on in the plot. Confession: Tandoori thinks she is pretty darn important, but she’s basically an unstable brat. Confession: I guess at least it’s a superquick read, although I’m not sure if it’s because of the pace or writing style. Confession: the fact that this series reads fast is probably the only reason I made it this far. Confession: if you ask me, stick to just reading the first book if you haven’t read the series yet. It will save you a lot of pain. Confession: I’ve grown tired of this format, so this will be my final confession. Done. Finito. Over and out.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first three books of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

After all that Tandoori Angel and her family have been through during the last year, the next murder case just could be her own. But she is not sure the new treats are real, or if the stalker she’s convinced will take her life actually just lives inside her head… Because let’s face it: she’s not exactly stable. A series of events lead her to believe it might all be real, but is this true or is it all the result of her own paranoia?

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In case my confessions weren’t clear, I didn’t exactly enjoy this final installment of the Confessions series. I actually really enjoyed the first book, but things went downhill from there and the last two books are basically pretty bad. It just seemed like more books were squeezed out for monetary reasons as the plot was weak and didn’t add anything substantial to the story at all. The main character Tandoori becomes intolerable and the romance/love triangle subplot plain annoying. I kind of wish I would have stopped after the first or even the second book, but I guess it’s too late for that… It is true though that The Murder Of An Angel is again a superfast read I managed to finish in less than a day. And thank the stars for that.


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BOOK REVIEW: The Paris Mysteries – by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

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Title: The Paris Mysteries
(Confessions #3)
Author: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Genre: YA, Mystery, Fiction
First published: October 6th 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Finished reading: February 20th 2017
Pages: 320
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“It was a crazy theory. But when Angels are involved, crazy is almost normal.”

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This is me trying to live up to my promise to finally start finishing at least a few pending series… I started the Confessions series last year and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book. The prose doesn’t read like a train; it’s probably closer to a rocket launch! Besides the lightning fast pace, the first book was also very entertaining even though the main character was quite annoying. I was looking forward to the rest of the series, but unfortunately the books so far don’t exactly live up to the first book. And while The Private School Murders was still ok, I can’t say the same of The Paris Mysteries. In fact, even though the prose reads just as fast as the first book, the beginning of this third book had me almost DNFing it. There is a LOT of cheesy romance involved in this one, topped with a VERY annoying main character I seem to have no further patience for. Tandy Angel managed to convince me in the first book, but now the only thing I wanted for her to shut up or disappear… Or both. I also felt the focus of this story was all wrong. For example, the whole ‘superpills’ angle is very intriguing, especially with such a rich potential subplot involving the ‘guinea pigs’/victims. But no, the focus is on Tandy, her messed up romance and her messed up family. The Paris Mysteries is by far the weakest book of this series so far, and I’m seriously afraid of what the final book will bring.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first two books of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Tandy Angel and her brothers have been through a lot, with their parents murdered and Tandy investigating multiple homicides back home. They are ready for a fresh start, and they are about to begin a new adventure in Paris. The Angels have moved into their grandmother Hilda’s mansion, but their new life in France doesn’t mean they won’t be getting into trouble. What about Tandy’s lost love? And what really happened to their long-dead sister Katherine?

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There is no doubt that this series is a superfast read, but I’m having the feeling the Angel family would have worked better as a stand-alone. The sequels seem to be losing their quality and I actually struggled to finish The Paris Mysteries. Even an easy read is difficult when you despise the main character and feel the urge to vomit whenever another cheesy scene makes its appearance… And the only truly interesting angle has only been touched briefly. All in all quite a disappointment unfortunately.


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BOOK REVIEW: The Private School Murders – by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

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Title: The Private School Murders
(Confessions #2)
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Genre: YA, Mystery, Fiction
First published: October 7rd 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown And Company
Finished reading: August 31st 2016
Pages: 422
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“There is truth in dreams, but especially in nightmares.”

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I enjoyed reading the first book of this series back in January, so I decided it was about time to pick up the sequel The Private School Murders hoping it was going to be just as good. And while it’s without doubt a super fast-paced book with a prose that is very easy to read, I felt like it suffered a bit from the weaker sequel syndrome. It seemed like there were too many different storylines squeezed into just one book, with the consequence that each storyline was only described quite superficially and some of them lacked credibility. Also, Tandoori is quite arrogant and it’s difficult to like her. She was the same in the first book, but somehow she felt more annoying in The Private School Murders. The ‘cases’ she is trying to solve are still quite intriguing though; I just wish that at least the whole James/romance sub plot would have been left out… But then again I’m not really a sucker for romance in the first place. Overall I can’t deny it’s still a pretty decent sequel though.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

After solving the case of her wealthy parents’ mysterious deaths, Tandy Angel doesn’t seem to be done with playing detective. Her brother Matthew stands on trial for murder and young girls are found murdered all around New York’s Upper West side. Tandy is determined to use her skills to get to the bottom of both cases, although another case is still distracting her as well. The biggest mystery of all may be what actually happened to James Rampling, the son of a family enemy who Tandy fell in love and ran away with. She cannot seem to remember much about the whole affair, but she is desperate to find out more…

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While this sequel was by no means as strong as the first book, it is still a pretty decent and superfast read. Not all of the storylines are all that credible, but most of the ‘cases’ are intriguing and the story reads like a train. The main character Tandoori (Tandy) is a quite annoying know-it-all, but she does seem to deliver in the end. If you are looking for an easy and entertaining mystery read, this series might just be the one for you.

BOOK REVIEW: Confessions – by Kanae Minato

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Title: Confessions
Author: Kanae Minato
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: August 5th 2008
Finished reading: January 28th 2016
Pages: 240
(Originally written in Japanese: “告白”)
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“The world you live in is much bigger than that. If the place in which you find yourself is too painful, I say you should be free to seek another, less painful place of refuge. There is no shame in seeking a safe place. I want you to believe that somewhere in this wide world there is a place for you, a safe haven.”

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I always like reading foreign literature, both books written in foreign languages and stories set in different countries. I have a thing for languages and love traveling, and when I saw the English translation of Confessions by Kanae Minato I thought it was the perfect way to introduce myself further to the Japanese literature. This read is without doubt both intriguing, disturbing and dark at the same time. It took me a while to get into the story, but as soon as I started the second chapter (and confession), I was hooked. The story is told in the form of a bunch of confessions of different characters that play a role in the circumstances around the death of Yuko’s daughter Manami. Like I said, the first confession (told by Yuko herself) wasn’t the best, but the other confessions made up for it. Kanae Minato found a perfect way to build tension in her story and I definitely really didn’t see the ending coming. The characters and their development are intriguing and once you get used to the writing style it’s hard to stop reading. Through the voices of Yuko (the teacher), Mizuki (one of the classmates), Naoki’s mother, Naoki and Shuya you slowly get an idea of what really happened and trust me, you will be surprised in the ending. Recommended if you like the genre!

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Yuko Moriguchi ended up raising her daughter alone after her engagement was broken off because her fiancee discovered he had a terminal disease. She is a middle school teacher and she seems to have adapted her life good enough, until the unfortunate day she brings her young daughter to the school she teaches again. Manami has an accident on the grounds of the middle school and drowns in the pool. It is declared an accident, but Yuko knows better… And she is determined to make those responsible pay. Yuko resigns as a teacher, but not before telling her class first the story of what she thinks really happened that day and afterwards that she gave the two classmates responsible for her daughter’s death milk mixed with the infected blood of Manami’s father… Telling them that they will be sick as well.  What will happen to the two classmates and will Yuko find her revenge?

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I’ve kept the summary short to avoid any spoilers, because Confessions has some crazy plot twists and an ending you most likely won’t see coming. It is a dark and disturbing read that will definitely leave you wanting for a light read afterwards… But if you don’t mind reading shocking but intriguing confessions, I would definitely recommend this novel by Kanae Minato. It may take some time to get a feel for the story, but it is worth the try!

WWW Wednesdays #76 – February 3rd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m close to finishing Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch… It took me long enough! I still love the worldbuilding and the story is quite interesting, although I’m not completely blown away by it either. I also picked up my copy of Eve by Iris Johansen during my days away camping, but I don’t really like it so far. The case sounds interesting, but I feel I miss a lot of background information and the whole sexual attraction/romance scenes are cringe worthy. Fingers crossed things will improve later on!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Only one book finished this week: Confessions by Kanae Minato. It took me a little while to get used to the writing style, but as soon as I started reading the second confession (chapter), I was hooked. A very dark, disturbing but intriguing read!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I finally have a copy of All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, so I’m planning to pick it up soon. I might read Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas first though, since I really loved the first book in the series… And I want to give Gillian Flynn another go and read her other novel Sharp Objects as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.

WWW Wednesdays #75 – January 27th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve started reading Confessions by Kanae Minato earlier this week, and although it’s an intruiging read I’m not sure if I actually like the writing style so far. I’ve also finally picked up my last TBR jar pick, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. So far it looks really promising!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings, which means I’ve finished my first series this year! I enjoyed this sequel just as much as the first book and I would really recommend it.
* I then finally picked up I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, a book I absolutely loved. Kudos to the author for raising awareness to what war veterans are going through and doing that by writing this beautiful story in the process!
* The last book I managed to finish was my pending ARC Eternal War Armies Of Saints by Livio Gambarini. I loved the general plot and worldbuilding behind this story and it was really interesting, but it was quite a slow read and I did have some minor problems with it. More in the review!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I loved the first book in the Veronica Mars series, so I’m probably going to read the sequel Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas next. I have also been thinking of finally picking up The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken… Although I might read Defending Jacob by William Landay first. Last but not least, Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider is my new TBR jar pick.

Teaser Tuesdays #78 – January 26th: Confessions

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at A Daily Rhythm. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’m not too far into Confessions by Kanae Minato yet, but hopefully I will be able to change that today. So far it’s an intriguing read!

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My teaser (23%):

“Just a few months ago I saw you every day, Yuko-sensei, but now I don’t know how to find you or where to send this letter. You stood there in front of us and told us that you couldn’t trust the law to punish the boys who had taken the life of your little girl, that you were going to handle them yourself – and then you disappeared.”

What are you reading right now?