Friday, 28 February 2014

Review - Confessions: The Private School Murders - James Patterson

Confessions: The Private School Murders (Confessions, #2)Title: The Private School Murders
Series: Confessions #2
Author: James Patterson
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Publication: October 7th 2013,  Little Brown and Company
Pages: 422 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to RandomStruik for sending me this book in exchange for a honest review!
Rating: 4/5 Cupcakes!
Tandy Angel may have played the hero when she solved the case of her magnificently wealthy parents' mysterious deaths, but she isn't done yet. Her brother Matthew stands trial for homicide, young girls are found murdered all around New York's Upper West side, and Tandy is determined to use her piercing intellect to get to the bottom of both cases. But the biggest mystery of allmay be what actually happened to James Rampling, the handsome son of a family enemy, whom Tandy fell in love and ran away with--though most of her memories of the affair are disturbingly absent...
The confessions keep coming as Tandy delves even deeper into her own tumultuous history and the skeletons in the Angel family closet.
I was completely ecstatic when I received The Private School Murders in the post from RandomStruik! I read the first one, Confessions of a Murder Suspect a year or so ago, and I really enjoyed it. So I was extremely excited to receive and read the second instalment in James Patterson's latest series for young adults, Confessions.

The Private School Murders takes place three months after Tandy Angel has solved the sudden death of her parents. Tandy's family is torn apart. Their parents are dead. They are bankrupt and in debt due to their parents. The oldest Angel, famous footballer for the NY Giants, is in jail, under trial due to the suspicion of him killing his girlfriend and their unborn child. Harry, Tandy's sixteen year old twin brother, is mostly sleeping all the time and Hugo, their little brother, is trying to raise all the money he can to get Matty on bail. On top of that, Tandy has four cases she needs to solve.

Number one, private school girls are being brutally shot, across the street from where Tandy lives. All rich, all private-school going, all girls, all Tandy's age. Tandy knows that this can't be a coincidence, and she needs to track down the killer before she is next.

Number 2, her brother is locked up in jail, under suspicion of killing his pregnant girlfriend in a fit of mad rage. Tandy needs to prove her brother's innocence, but it's a hard thing to do when all the evidence is pointing towards him, confirming the fact that he's the killer, but Tandy will try her hardest to avenge her brother.

Number 3, poisonous creatures are being released into some of the apartments in the Dakota. Tandy needs to solve why there are cobras and deadly spiders roaming the halls of where she stays preferably before it kills her or her family, or someone they know. Is it just a fluke...or is someone purposefully trying to get a rich inhabitant of the Dakota killed?

Number 4, James. The boy Tandy once was in love with. The boy who was ripped from Tandy's grasp by her controlling parents and had her taken to a clinic to have all memories of him removed. But Tandy is now recalling the things they did together and the memories they made, she remembers how she fell in love with those electrifying blue eyes. She is going to find him, if it's the last thing she does.

The characters acted differently to how they acted in the first book. In here you could see their struggle to handle all the emotions they were beginning to feel now that they are off the emotion-numbing, mind-awakening drugs their parents fed them so that they  could be examples of brilliance.

I liked Tandy in Confessions of a Murder Suspect, but I preferred her in The Private School Murders. She acted more normal and less robotic now she was off the prescription drugs she had been fed for the last sixteen years. It was interesting watching Tandy experience normal, everyday emotions. From happiness, sadness, humiliation, love and the worst one yet - fear.  I admire Tandy for all the detective work that she does and how clear her thoughts are as she tries to solve the case. I also like it that James Patterson wrote that she felt sadness and slightly sick when she saw the murder victims' bodies, as in the first book she didn't really bat an eyelash when her parents were found dead. You can see a clear distinction between the previous Tandy and the current Tandy. I think she is a brave, stubborn character and I admire her for not completely falling apart despite all she has been through.

I liked that we got to see more of Tandy's siblings and I loved the new characters that we were introduced to in this novel, Claudia Portman, otherwise known as C.P., Tandy's best friend and Jacob, the Angel family's new legal guardian.

The Angel family are...interesting. We have Matty, the eldest Angel, star of the New York Giant's football league, and also a prisoner undergoing a trial for the brutal murder of his girlfriend, Tamara Gee and their unborn child. I didn't really get to see Matt's personality that well and I can never quite grasp what sort of person he is.

Then there is Harry, Tandy's 16 year old twin brother, piano and art prodigy, as well as the sensitive one of the four. Harry is probably one of my favourite characters, as I can relate to him the most and he is the kindest and sweetest.

There is also Hugo, Tandy's 10 year old brother, who has the strength of a grown man. I love Hugo's character, and he always has a positive attitude and is making others smile, however, you could see the strain Matthew's imprisonment was putting on him.

I wish we could see more of the characters, as I still feel that after two books, I don't actually know the other characters besides Tandy all that well.

The new characters we were introduced to definitely added more to the story!

C.P., Tandy's new friend seemed sweet and I liked her bubbly personality. It was nice seeing Tandy interact with kids her age, for once.

My favourite character though is Jacob, a military commando doubling as the family's new guardian who will be looking after them. I love the way he started putting the family's life back together and the way he accepted them as if they were his own children. I absolutely adored Jacob and the positive effect he had on the Angel children. He was really a fantastic addition to the story!

The plot was good. The mysteries had me extremely interested and I didn't guess the killer at all. I thought James Patterson wrote Matt's trial very well and I couldn't quite make up my mind if he was innocent or guilty. I do think though that when they found the killer of the school girls, James Patterson should've given the killer's reason, as there was none. Otherwise, it was a good plot.

The two things I didn't quite like about this book though, was the romance and sometimes Tandy's narrative voice. The romance between Tandy and James just didn't work for me. I think that we should've been properly introduced to James beforehand as Tandy was telling her story about her falling in love but I couldn't quite bring myself to care that much as I had never met James before and I didn't know his character, so it wasn't such a big deal to me when Tandy and James were separated. There was no chemistry between the two and I felt there relationship was quite unrealistic. I don't think this "romance" added anything to the book and it felt quite forced and slightly cheesy.

Tandy's narration at time also seemed a bit off, as she didn't speak like a sixteen year old when addressing us. She was constantly saying things such as "I hope you understand, my friend" the repeated "my friend" phrase kind of irked me when it was continuously used.

The writing in this book was good and better than the writing in the Witch and Wizard book, which I was quite disappointed in. James Patterson is great at writing mystery novels.

The Private School Murders was quite a lot more grisly than the first book. There was one scene in particular that had my gut twisting and my heart-racing and I honestly thought it was going to be the end of one of the character's lives, luckily she was saved in the nick of time. That one scene in particular definitely had me shocked and my mouth dry from fear for the character. I do think though that her being saved was almost too good to be true, but I'm glad that she ended up safe.
The Private School Murders was a thrilling, chilling, guessing-game story, James Patterson had me captured in his grasp with this fast-paced story. 

I found this book highly entertaining and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book, there were a few flaws that kept me from enjoying the book to the maximum extent possible, but it was still an action-packed, fantastic read with chilling mysteries that left me shocked. I highly recommend this series for any lover of mysteries and fast-paced, action packed reads that will leave you breathless and shocked at the cruelty that people are capable of. 

I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!

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Monday, 24 February 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #1


This meme is hosted by BookJourney!

Books I Read Last Week:
I Funny: (I Funny 1)I Even Funnier (I Funny)

Books I Am Currently Reading:
Dante's Girl (The Paradise Diaries, #1)

I am currently reading this and I am loving it! It's really an adorable story!

Books I Will Most Likely Read Afterwards:
The Secret Countess

This was the top pick in last week's What's Next? post, so I shall be reading this soon!

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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Stacking the Shelves #58

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

What's Next? #14

Hope you are all having a lovely week! I'm not sure what to read next...
Which book do you think I should read next?
*Blurbs taken from Goodreads*
The Secret Countess
Anna, a young countess, has lived in the glittering city of St Petersburg all her life in an ice-blue palace overlooking the River Neva. But when revolution tears Russia apart, her now-penniless family is forced to flee to England. Armed with an out-of-date book on housekeeping, Anna determines to become a housemaid and she finds work at the Earl of Westerholme's crumbling but magnificent mansion. The staff and the family are sure there is something not quite right about their new maid - but she soon wins them over with her warmth and dedication.
Then the young Earl return from the war - and Anna falls hopelessly in love. But they can never be together: Rupert is engaged to the snobbish and awful Muriel - and anyway, Anna is only a servant. Or so everybody thinks . . .

The Morning Gift
Ruth lives in the beautiful city of Vienna and is wildly in love with Heini Radik, a brilliant young pianist. But her world is about to change forever. When Hitler's forces invade Ruth's family flees to London, but she is unable to get a passport. Quin, a young professor and friend of the family, visits Ruth and in an effort to bring her back to London, he offers a marriage of convenience. As Ruth throws herself into her London life, Quin begins to fall desperately in love with her. Things are further complicated by the arrival of Heini..

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.
With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.
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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Review - Hush Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)Title: Hush Hush
Series: Hush, Hush (#1)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Publication: October 13th 2009, Simon & Schuster
Pages: 391 Pages, Paperback
Source: My library
Rating: 2/5 Cupcakes
I have been hearing about the Hush Hush saga for quite awhile now and I have always been interested in reading them. A gorgeous cover, an intriguing premise as well the paranormal theme being one that has rarely been done before. I heard of the swoon-worthy Patch and was delighted to be introduced to a possible new book-boyfriend, but then when I started reading...I realised my expectations were too high. I really wanted to love this book but I just couldn't, quite disappointing as I was hoping this would be a new favourite and stand out among the average books I've read lately. I'm glad I did finish it though, (as I was close to marking it as a dnf) because the ending did make me like the characters a little bit more. Just a bit.

Hush Hush is about sixteen year old Nora Grey, whose life is going pretty well. She is doing well in her school work, her mom has a good job, although it does require her to travel and they are coping well enough with the murder of her father. However, when her biology teacher switches the seating plan and Nora is seated next to the transfer student called Patch, whose aloof, dark appearance has disconcerting effect on her...yet he enthrals her simultaneously, Nora's life begins to change...for the worse. When danger starts striking Nora from every angle and it seems like Patch is at the centre of it all, she can't help but wonder if trusting Patch is such a good idea after all.

The thing about Hush Hush, is that it's one of those paranormal books where the "bad boy" tries too hard and comes off incredibly stalkerish and creepy, the main character is extremely dependant and can't stand on her own two feet yet is still putting her self in constant danger and the two characters' relationship is extremely unhealthy and should be reported to security. Does this remind you of any other YA book you've read?

...

Yes. That's right. Hush Hush reminded me of Twilight. They were extremely similar. I'll let you on a secret, I really enjoyed the Twilight Saga when I read it when I was 12 (don't judge me) but I think if I re-read it now, I'd probably find more faults with it and not like it as much. A lot of the things that happened in Hush Hush reminded me of what happened in Twilight. But I think I enjoyed Hush Hush less. There were so many similarities. Patch was like Edward, "dangerous" and "bad boy", Patch and Nora's first meeting in biology (like Edward and Bella) and the fight scene was practically identical to the "fight" scene in Twilight, where James corners Bella at the ballet studio. There were a lot of things that made the two books very similar.

I'll start with the characters. Nora was likeable at first. She seemed sweet, intelligent and like she wouldn't make too many bad choices. HA. I was so wrong about that.  Nora doesn't have a backbone in her body, she depends on Patch way too much even though he terrifies her, and she can't say no. In fact, I don't even think that it's in her vocabulary. She was constantly letting Patch/Elliot/Vee walk over. She was constantly trying to act all bravado (and not pulling it off) by putting herself in danger to try and figure things out, and then ending up needing to have Patch rescue her. I seriously hoped that Nora would start standing up for herself and by the end I would view her as a strong, independent character, but no such luck. I'm not sure if I'm going to bother reading the rest of the series but if I do, I seriously hope that Nora will grow a backbone.



Patch. Patch, Patch, Patch...I seriously don't see WHAT readers see in him. He was so incredibly stalkerish, I think Nora should've put a restraining order against him...if she didn't completely fall in love with him first. The fool. From the beginning of the book I wasn't keen on Patch. He is such an arrogant, cocky, jerk who thinks he's the bee's knees. He was not "sexy" or "swoon-worthy" as some have said. He was such a stalker, and I don't use that term lightly. When him and Nora were assigned biology partners in science he already knew more about her than Nora's best friend, Vee, knew about her. He also admitted to having lots of photos of her and let me point out,it was the first time they'd ever met. Nora than states that she feels uncomfortable about it, but she doesn't go out of her way to make sure she doesn't have to be in Patch's company. Also, there were several times where you could see Patch was about to harm her, yet she does NOTHING ABOUT IT. She just continues warbling on about how she can't stay away from him, and there's something dark about him that's so irresistible. For GOODNESS SAKE, Nora, it's called SELF-CONTROL. You can CONTROL your actions. If he invites you out and he scares you, say NO. But no, she continuously goes off with him. She knew she was getting into trouble when she kept going back to him, yet she decided to ignore any sensible thought that ever entered her BRAIN and just go along with it.


I also don't get Patch and Nora's relationship. Nora seemed to be petrified of Patch for most of their relationship and Patch seemed to either be trying to wind Nora up or kill her all the time. Then, towards the end of the novel, they were saying how they loved each other and how he couldn't live without her and stuff and then I'm sitting there thinking, did I just read a completely different novel? How did they go from that to THAT. Their relationship wasn't authentic, it wasn't healthy. It was bad, very, very bad. 

I also thought that it was bizarre in this book when the biology teacher refused to switch the seating plan back to the way it was, or even give Nora a new partner, even though Patch was basically sexually harassing Nora in front of the whole class. I mean you could see how uncomfortable she was with all the sexual comments Patch kept making, yet the teacher encouraged him. I may be home-schooled now, but when I was at school, I know that if you feel like you're being harassed by another student and you go to a teacher, they will do something about it. The biology teacher was so unrealistic and it was so obvious that the author made him like that so Patch could continue freaking Nora out. I don't know why she didn't just go to another teacher then if the biology teacher wasn't listening. Another thing, the biology lessons just seemed unrealistic. Their first lesson in biology together was about human reproduction and the teacher starts waffling on about what the students felt made them attracted to others, which hasn't got that much to do with biology. When Patch was asked what attracted him to a girl, one of the adjectives he used was "vulnerable". The way he acted was so predator-like and Nora noted that, yet she still gets herself in close contact with Patch and gets them into these romantic situations.



I didn't care for any of the other characters very much either. I liked Vee, Nora's best friend, in the beginning, she was quirky and cute but then the things she said and did irked me. She never listened to Nora, she was constantly hanging out with Jules and Elliot, who Nora warned her about and she didn't give a thought before doing anything. I just couldn't connect with Vee after the first few chapters, it's like she became a whole different character.

Despite the flaws of the characters/romance, I must admit Hush Hush has something about it that makes you want to keep reading. Even though I did almost DNF it, and I did want slap Patch and talk some sense into Nora, the little mysteries that were drifting around in the story did have me curious, and did have me wanting to know what happens. The plot is interesting, with the whole "guy in the ski mask" mystery and the mystery surrounding Patch, although it wasn't much of a mystery since we all already knew what he was. It is a book that, despite its flaws, will have you wanting to keep reading so that the tiny mysteries that have infiltrated through will be solved. I was quite disappointed at parts though, as it wasn't what I expected. For an instance, on the blurb, it said that there was going to be this huge battle and sides will have to be chosen, and there wasn't much of that in the story. I also would've liked it if the author gave us more of an insight onto Patch's history and about who he is. Hopefully in the next book.

Hush Hush did, unfortunately, disappoint me. It wasn't what I was expecting. I didn't fall in love with Patch and I found him quite creepy and not my cup of tea. Nora was too dependant on others and was constantly putting herself in dangerous situations, which almost ended up getting her killed. I also would've liked more focus on Patch's past and about the fallen angels but maybe in the next books. Although I was disappointed with the characters and the romance, the plot was incredibly gripping and the story was fast-paced. I also quite liked Becca's style of writing, those two factors redeemed the novel for me. Overall, I was quite disappointed by this but others have loved it, so give it a go! :)

I give it: 2/5 Cupcakes!

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Monday, 17 February 2014

General, random, personal post!

Hellooooo!

I'm sorry I haven't blogged in A-G-E-S but my computer's internet cable thingy hasn't been working but it is now. THANK GOODNESS.

It was my birthday last tuesday, which was really fun! On Saturday my parents treated me and took me to one of my favourite bookstores. That had a huge sale. So I got a couple of awesome books!


I also went to the art shop and my parents bought me some lovely art supplies which I have been using daily. 

Sorry that I haven't been commenting, but it's hard to do on my phone and my computer hasn't been its usual self! Posts are going to resume as normal from now! :)

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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Stacking the Shelves #57


Stacking the Shelves
Library: 
I shouldn't actually be going to the library as I have tons of books of my own to read...but I couldn't help it. I'm glad I did go though, as there were quite a few books I got that I have been wanting to read! :)

Knowing Me, Knowing YouThe Secrets Of LoveTimeRiders (TimeRiders, #1)The Last Leopard (Animal Healer, #3)The Elephant's Tale (Animal Healer, #4)Fly by NightHush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)
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