Review - Confessions: The Paris Mysteries - James Patterson

Confessions: The Paris Mysteries (Confessions, #3)Title: The Paris Mysteries
Series: Confessions #3
Author: James Patterson
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Publication: October 6th 2014, Arrow (Young)
Pages: 320 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank to RandomStruik for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! This has in no way influenced my review.
Rating: 3/5 CUPCAKES!
The City of Lights sets the stage for romance, drama and intrigue in the latest Confessions novel from the world's bestselling mystery writer!
After investigating multiple homicides and her family's decades-old skeletons in the closet, Tandy Angel is finally reunited with her lost love in Paris. But as he grows increasingly distant, Tandy is confronted with disturbing questions about him, as well as what really happened to her long-dead sister. With no way to tell anymore who in her life she can trust, how will Tandy ever get to the bottom of the countless secrets her parents kept from her? James Patterson leads this brilliant teenage detective through Paris on a trail of lies years in the making, with shocking revelations around every corner.
*There are spoilers for the first two books in this review!*
**There are spoilers which you can highlight to read, if you want to.**

I never know how I feel about James Patterson's books. On one hand they have something about them that makes me want to keep reading and reach the conclusion (that may be because I fly through the short chapters), and other times I wonder why I read them as they're not books I love, but like I said, there is something gripping about them. While I enjoyed this third instalment, I found it was lacking in certain departments, it was slightly cheesy at times as well as predictable - which is something I really don't like when reading a book. Despite this, I will probably read the rest of the series because I'm a very curious person and I want answers, which seem to never be in answered in this series, which is very frustrating.

In The Paris Mysteries, Tandy and her three siblings as well as their new found uncle (and guardian) Jacob, head to the City of Love to secure the Angel siblings' financial status and find them a place to stay that is secure and will keep the siblings safe. In the famous city, Tandy is reunited with her long-lost boyfriend James, who for a few months she forgot existed as her parents tried to numb her feelings and sent her to be brainwashed because they were highly bizarra. When James is ripped from her grasp again, she's determined to find a way to be with him. That's not the only thing on Tandy's mind however, when she discovers boxes of her dead sister's in their new home (which they inherited from their grandma) and Tandy reaches several startling conclusions. However, someone knows that Tandy is discovering secrets that they want hidden and they will try to do everything in their power to stop her.

This is a three star book and, as you know, they are the hardest to review and I'm still not particularly sure what my thoughts are towards this book. I liked it, I didn't hate it and it didn't blow my mind either. I cared for the characters but not very deeply, I didn't care for the romance but I did want to know what more Tandy found out about her sinister family and I think if it weren't for all the secrets I wouldn't be interested to keep reading as they're not particularly characters that I want to spend all my time with, like with the Harry Potter books or the Percy Jackson books.

There were several things I didn't like about this book and I shall list them because I am trying to be more organised and lists seem to be the way of Organised People.

1) The romance. I don't understand this supposed "romance" between Tandy and James. It wasn't authentic and it didn't make sense to me. It was kind of a form of instalove and I found myself not caring for James at all because I'd only seen a couple of scenes with him and Tandy in and he didn't give me any incentive to swoon over him. I didn't actually know him, I only knew things about him from what Tandy had told the readers. I like a romance in a book that makes me feel something, that makes me ship the characters, here I just felt nothing for them because I really didn't care for James.

Like I previously stated, I also found the romance incredibly cheesy. These are two sixteen year olds who claimed they loved each other and they would do anything to be together and practically saying they would die (figuratively or literally, I'm not sure) if they didn't have the other. For example they were at the Bridge of Locks in Paris and they lock a padlock and throw away the keys, which is the procedure when one visits the area. Here is a quote from that part that made me severely roll my eyes because it was silly and bleurgh:
"The moment was both joyous and solemn , as if we were taking vows that could never be broken. James Rampling and Tandy Angel together in perpetuity."
Now, if you've read these books, you will understand when I say that we literally don't actually know James. He's just someone who Tandy claims to absolutely love, even though she only knew him for a couple of months and they weren't even properly dating. Perhaps I'm just cynical, but it's a pet peeve of mine when people who have been dating for only three months or less claim they are in love and that person is everything and then they break up anyway and fall in love with someone else. I just really, really dislike it when people claim these things (like Tandy) when she actually barely knew him. *Spoiler* It was such a rotten thing of James to abandon her and for him to cheat with C.P., Tandy's supposed best friend. When he left her I knew he was actually a jerk and that he didn't have her best interests at heart yet she still claimed he loved her and would do anything for her and I'm just like TANDY YOU BARELY KNOW THE GUY, WOULD YOU SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY?!*Spoiler*

2) The excessive amounts of words in italics. Now, don't get me wrong, I myself am a fan of putting words in italics. But there were so many words in this form for no obvious reason which immensely frustrated me as he was emphasizing words that didn't need to be emphasized.

3) Lack of plot/lack of answers. I feel like in every book more questions are left unanswered and sometimes I feel like there's no plot structure. For this book I feel like it was just haphazardly thrown together and no care was really put into it. It was a very short book, the actual story was 293 pages (the other 27 pages was an extract from his other book) and I feel like not many questions were answered. There's actually not any other questions that are important enough to be answered besides the whole thing with their uncle Peter, but other than that there isn't actually that much mystery occurring in the series anymore and I feel as if the author is just drawing it out, even though it doesn't need to be drawn out. All questions could have been answered in this book actually, if the book were made slightly longer, perhaps 400 pages like most novels. There wasn't much mystery and there wasn't much action and there just wasn't much of a plot, to be honest. There was a large "plot twist" which I actually guessed when Tandy was going through Katherine's reports and I was just like "I knew it" because I did and it seemed blindingly obvious, There was nothing about this book that surprised or shocked me.

4) Some characters weren't very consistent. Take Harry, for an instance - Tandy's music prodigy twin brother, who in the previous books was kind, compassionate, sensible and caring and he was anything BUT sensible in this book. He's stoned for half the book and doesn't take anything seriously. *Spoiler* He also becomes some kind of musical sensation but then towards the end of the book when they have to return to America and Tandy thinks Harry will be upset they don't show his reaction at ALL and he doesn't seem to care and I just found that highly unlikely, especially because he came across as super-bratty in this instalment.*Spoiler* He just didn't act like the same character and the author didn't give him a reason to act like this, it was incredibly random and I couldn't comprehend this sudden change in character. There needed to be more details in this book.

Now, there were things I did like. I liked that the book made me ask questions about the Angel family and I liked that I was solving things with Tandy even though I had generally predicted the events from the beginning of the book, ahead of her. I liked that Tandy was showing more emotions and becoming even more human now that she was (mainly) off the pills her parents had fed her. I could understand the emotional trauma and stress she was feeling because she had experienced a lot, and her grief over the death of her sister was the one thing in the book that felt truly authentic and I felt really sad for her, as I could see how she adored her sister and how she needed her in her life. Despite that, Tandy annoyed me with her declarations of love for James, I do like her character. She's very smart, she's logical and she tries to be practical and serve justice and I admire her for that. The only thing I don't like about her is the instalove situation, but she is only sixteen and most of my friends have had boyfriends and acted like that, so I credit Patterson for painting the situation realistically. 

I liked Jacob and I appreciated how he wanted to protect the Angel kids and prevent anyone from harming them. I think he really wants to help them and I hope he hasn't been involved in any sinister things in the past, which Tandy originally suspected. I love Hugo and Matty's brotherly relationship, which was another thing that felt authentic as you could see they genuinely cared about and adored each other. I liked Harry but his character wasn't the same as in the previous books. He became careless and reckless and turned to drugs and I don't understand why he did because everything was going well in his life and he went off the track during a time where things were the least tragic. I don't understand why this occurred now and I felt like it was just a random ploy to add more "excitement" to the story. Some of the "bigger events" didn't really add up and they just seemed randomly placed and sometimes nothing came of it and I wondered what was the point of putting it in if it would be forgotten immediately after and wouldn't affect the story in the slightest. I would like to see more family dynamics, however, as I feel as if a lot of the time Tandy doesn't actually spend that much time with her siblings and aimlessly wonders around and I think a stronger sibling bond should feature especially since at the end she states that:
"...we share the strongest possible bonds siblings could have.
I feel as if she doesn't spend that much time with her family and after seeing what they've been through, I thought she would. I hope that in the next books I'd be able to become better acquainted with the other Angel siblings and see even more family dynamics.

Like I previously said, there wasn't much of a plot and not much actually happened, just Tandy asking more questions and not getting a lot of answers. She did discover quite a few things, but like I said I predicted what would happen during the middle of the book and there wasn't as much suspense as the first two books. This book felt very rushed and there could seriously have been more added to this book. It wasn't even 300 pages and as it was a young adult thriller/mystery book, it needed to be longer. I also feel like a lot of the things that happened was just randomly placed to add a "twist" to the story, but it wasn't shocking or surprising and I felt like I was reading a condensed version of the previous two books. They got accused of more murder for stupid reasons that if cops actually thought like that in real life, there would be plenty of criminals in the street and plenty of innocent people in jail. They were nearly killed again, like in the previous books. Tandy learnt about more emotions. Again. It just seemed like I'd read a lot of the story in the previous books and that disappointed me. It was mainly predictable, aside from the video email thing she receives in the end, which I wasn't expecting and which I also didn't think added up to the plot, as the person stated that they wanted to be discreet but then their face appears in the video. *Spoiler* When Tandy was going through Katherine's papers and her personal things and she mentioned that she thought her other uncle was hiding things I knew, I just knew that Katherine was alive. So when I read that in the book I wasn't surprised at all as I had seen it coming. I was quite surprised, however, that she sent Tandy an email (not sure how she got her email address and why she was sending emails with her face in it when someone else might be able to see it) and that she had a baby. Who's the father, I wonder?*Spoiler* So it ended on a sort-of cliffhanger and I hope that Patterson will deliver in the next book which I will be reading because now I have more unanswered questions. To be honest, I wish the author would stop putting all these little mysteries into the books without the larger mysteries being solved (the Angel pharmacy company, why their parents created the pills, her sister's death, James) or why he didn't solve the mysteries in the first book (as I thought he would) and have Tandy solve other mysteries in the following books, one of the two. The first book consisted of personal problems, then the second book consisted of Tandy solving other mysteries and this book consisted of her solving personal problems again, so I don't know if James is going to turn it into just an Angel Family Mysteries series or if he's going to turn it into a series where Tandy solves other peoples' mysteries, so far it looks like the former, but I do wish he would make up his mind.

The writing was also quite simple, but I liked it. It wasn't overly descriptive and the pace flowed smoothly. I didn't like the way the romance was written as it was very cheesy, but otherwise I liked the writing style, even though the plot was weak.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed with The Paris Mysteries. It was predictable, the romance was awkward and seemed insincere, some of the characters didn't seem consistent and there wasn't a cunning, twist-y plot. I did, however, enjoy discovering things with Tandy and I did enjoy the fast pace and the mystery surrounding her family. I also highly appreciate that this book wasn't as grisly as the previous one was as I hate grisly books as they often freak me out, so if you're into books like that, you won't enjoy this one as much as the previous ones (which were quite gory). I did enjoy reading it though and I will be continuing the series as I have unanswered questions and I am interested to see what Tandy uncovers next. Filled with family secrets, the heartbreak of first love and a girl's determined quest to uncover the skeletons in her family's closet, thriller lovers will enjoy this series, however they may be disappointed with this instalment as it is quite easy to predict the outcome. The overall series is still gripping, though.

I give it: 3/5 CUPCAKES!