Book Review: Confessions of a Murder Suspect (Confessions #1)

Summary:

On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: She was the last person to see her parents alive. The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. She can’t trust anyone — maybe not even herself.

Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud’s intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents’ affairs is a dangerous — and revealing — game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐ 5/5

(review may contain minor spoilers)

Confessions of a Murder Suspect is the first book in the Confessions series by James Patterson. I picked up this book at the store a few years ago, having recognized Patterson’s name from the Maximum Ride series. As I was going through my bookshelves for something to read, I came across this novel again and remembered how much I had enjoyed it. So, of course, I had to read it again and write a review!

This novel is not just a murder mystery. It’s much more complicated than that. It is the story of a family full of secrets and a narrator who admits that she might not be reliable–even she doesn’t know whether she should trust herself. It adds a unique element to the novel and makes you tiptoe the line between reality and fiction throughout each chapter.

The book opens with our narrator introducing herself– sort of.

I have some really bad secrets to share with someone, and it might as well be you–a stranger, a reader of books, but most of all, a person who can’t hurt me. So here goes nothing, or maybe everything. I’m not sure if I can even tell the difference anymore.

The night my parents died–after they’d been carried out in slick body bags through the service elevator–my brother Matthew shouted at the top of his powerful lungs, “My parents were vile, but they didn’t deserve to be taken out with the trash!”

He was right about the last part–and, as things turned out, the first part as well.

This opening featured just the right amount of mystery and suspense. We learn from the very start that secrets will play a huge part in this story, along with the fact that our narrator has a few things hidden as well. This intro immediately invested me in the story, so much so that I finished the entire novel in under an hour. I was curious about the secrets that were obviously spread throughout the Angel family and I wanted to unravel them and figure out what had happened to Tandy’s parents.

Characters

The Angel family is an immensely interesting set of characters. To start with Tandy, our narrator, I have to say that I absolutely adored her. I’ve seen some reviews that argue her blandness is overwhelming, but I disagree completely. She’s not bland. She’s simply trained herself not to show emotion. It’s a very integral part of her personality. I felt for her and I found myself trusting her, even though she implicitly stated that she didn’t know if she was trustworthy. I also really enjoyed Tandy’s voice. She was honest and blunt and matter-of-fact and it definitely worked for the story.

So as I sat in the living room that night, I took on the full responsibility of finding my parents’ killer–even if it turned out that the killer shared my DNA.

Even if it turned out to be me.

You shouldn’t count that out, friend.

Hugo Angel is Tandy’s younger brother. He appears to have a much more black and white view of the world than his sister. He was more prone to anger and it is pointed out that he sees the cops as villains. I thought Hugo was pretty adorable, even though it was clear he could break anyone like a twig if he really wanted to. I enjoyed his minor part in the story.

I found ten-year-old Hugo in his room. He was still wearing his Giants sweatshirt, and he was using a baseball bat to break up his four-poster bed.

As I entered the room, he swung the bat for the last time, splintering the headboard, then began working on the bed frame with karate kicks.

“Hey. Hey, Hugo,” I said. “Enough. Stop. Please.”

I dropped my lacrosse stick and wrapped my arms around my little brother. I dragged him away from the bed and more or less hurled him toward the cushy, life-size toy pony that Uncle Peter had given Hugo when he was born.

Harry Angel was also an interesting character. Though he is Tandy’s twin, the two are worlds apart in terms of personality. He was the more sensitive of all the Angel siblings and his characterization made him the most sympathetic character as well. Though each Angel eventually showed their grief, Harry was distraught the moment he was told that his parents were dead. I loved that he seemed to be more fragile than the rest of his siblings. It made him seem more real and tangible than the other siblings. It was also interesting to see his backstory and how it connected to his attitude and persona.

Harry also has a great smile. I guess I do, too, but I almost never use it. Harry uses his a lot. Maybe he’s the only Angel who does, actually.

Finally, the last Angel sibling is Matthew. Though it was apparent that he was honest to the point of harsh bluntness, he also seemed to genuinely care about his family. As a famous player for the NFL, Matthew brings an incredibly new element to the story. He had possibly the most caustic relationship with his parents, but his reaction to their death was raw and impassioned. He was angry at their death and you could tell that he was struggling with how to handle it throughout the book. His relationship with his siblings showed his caring nature, however, and I loved the little moments between the Angels.

When Matthew entered a room, he seemed to draw all the light and air to him. He had light brown dreadlocks tied in a bunch with a hank of yarn, and intense blue eyes that shone like high beams.

I’ve never seen eyes like his. No one has.

Other characters included Detective Hayes and Sergeant Caputo, the two officers assigned to the case. I thought that the author did an incredible job with both of these characters. They were polar opposites, a fact that our narrator pointed out as soon as she met them. It was a very interesting dynamic and it kept me on the edge of my seat as I wondered who would solve the murder first.

Plot

Confessions of a Murder Suspect is quite honestly one of favorite novels. The tension is palpable throughout the chapters and it is written in a way that makes you crave more. I loved the story and I was right there with Tandy the entire time, trying to figure out the truth behind the death of her parents. This book was really interesting because it puts you in the mind of a narrator that isn’t sure if even she can be trusted. I went back and forth between characters, trying to decide who the real killer was. I did eventually guess the ending, but it took me much longer than it usually would and I couldn’t figure out all the details.

The plot was filled with mystery and I was constantly  trying to find clues that I was missing. Another extremely interesting thing about this book is the intertwined Confession chapters. In between every few chapters, there are chapters entitled Confession where we get to see into the past from Tandy’s perspective. It’s really interesting and gives us a way to delve into the secrets and pasts of the entire Angel family, even Harry and Hugo.

Conclusion

I absolutely adore this book and I highly suggest you pick it up as soon as possible. It is filled with danger and disaster and dysfunction, not to mention the twists and turns of the investigation. James Patterson and Maxine Paetro truly created a masterpiece and I believe that if you enjoy suspense or crime, you should definitely give it a try.

Signed,

your favorite bookworm

Book Review: Fatal Frost (Defenders of Justice #1)

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Following in her absentee father’s footsteps in a law enforcement career, U.S. Marshal Mercy Brennan has just recovered from being shot in the line of duty. And, unbeknownst to her, her father’s recent reappearance in her life has put her in the sights of St. Louis’s most powerful gang. Her boss assigns Deputy U.S. Marshal Mark St. Laurent-Mercy’s ex-boyfriend- to get her out of town until her safety can be guaranteed.

Unaware of the extent her boss and Mark have been keeping her in the dark, it isn’t until a freak ice storm strands them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy to put them in great danger. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive-if help is even coming at all?

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5

(review may contain minor spoilers)

Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl is a novel about cops and U.S. marshals, along with gangs, drugs, and criminals. It takes place in St. Louis where cartels and criminal activity are running wild. When I first read the premise of this book, I was interested, but not expecting much, to be honest.

The first chapter starts out by introducing us to the overall atmosphere of the city.

The seemingly deserted street was lined with empty houses, their windows as blank and vacant as the eyes of those who had become casualties in St. Louis’s war on heroin. Deputy U.S. Marshal Mercy Brennan gazed out the window of the black van as cold tendrils of rain slid down the darkened glass next to her, reminding her of tears. It was as if the tortured city of St. Louis wept because of the treacherous drug that had invaded her. The influx of cheap heroin had turned neighborhoods into war zones. The gangs that claimed ownership over their communities were killing men, women, and children for the right to rule. Crime was out of control, and many good people were trapped in their homes, praying they or their loved ones wouldn’t be the next victims of the violence that raged around them.

One particularly interesting thing about this novel was that it did not just follow Mercy’s point of view. We also saw snippets from the gang members, cartel leaders, and other detectives and marshals. It was a really intriguing way to let the reader see the thoughts of the lesser characters.

Characters

Our main character is a U.S. Marshal named Mercy Brennan. She is strong-willed and stubborn with a tendency to keep people at arm’s length, as we see in her relationship with Mark. Mercy is extremely prepared and organized, not to mention always armed with a back-up plan, which is just the thing that ends up saving her life, as well as the lives of every else involved. We get to see her transition from a young woman who is scared to let anyone get too close to an emotionally vulnerable person that isn’t afraid to cry or get a dog. Throughout the story, I was rooting for Mercy and I wanted her to find her own piece of happiness.

Another major character is Lieutenant Tally Williams. Tally and Mercy have been friends since they were kids and though Tally is married with his own children, the two are still as tight as ever. In fact, they’re neighbors. I really liked Tally. His character was warm and kind and just a great guy in general. I also adored his wife Annie. I wish we could have been introduced to his kids and seen his family more, but his part in the story worked very well. He was a very honest and sincere person and it was absolutely precious to see how much he cared for Mercy.

He was angry with himself for not seeing through his charade. Now Mark and Mercy were in terrible danger. He loved Mercy as if she were his own sister. Knowing she was in trouble and that he had no way to help her grieved him to the very center of his soul.

Now for the love interest. Deputy U.S. Marshal Mark St. Laurent. Aka Mercy’s ex-boyfriend. Talk about awkward an awkward situation… Anyway, I absolutely loved the dynamic between Mark and Mercy. I thought it was a really great balance of tension and familiarity between the two and I enjoyed how we got to see the reasons behind their break-up. Though I did keep screaming, “Stop being idiots and just make out already!” And, lo and behold, they did…after a few chapters of confessions, gun fights, mortal danger, and terror. It may have taken awhile, but the point is, they did it. I loved the little moments of their relationship from the past that was interwoven in the current story.

Mark pulled Mercy’s cellphone from her purse. “What’s your code?”

Marcy rattled off the numbers before realizing what she’d done. She searched Mark’s face, but he didn’t seem to notice anything unusual. She breathed a sigh of relief. She was still using the date he’d first told her he loved her. She’d meant to change it many times but just hadn’t gotten around to it. A voice inside her whispered Liar! She ignored it and steeled herself to concentrate on the situation at hand. 

As for the minor characters, I thought we got to see some nice background for even the smaller characters, like some of the gang members and crooked agents. It was interesting to see that a lot of the minor characters were connected in ways you couldn’t even begin to expect. While I guessed who the mole was pretty early, it was still a great read and I was surprised a few times.

Plot

I truly did enjoy this novel. However, I would have enjoyed it a lot more without the religious aspect thrown in. Now, I have read my fair share of novels with a Christian component and it usually doesn’t bother me. In this particular book though, it felt out of place. I wasn’t expecting it and it threw me for a loop at first. It was hard to equate religion with the situation and the characters. My mind just sort of skimmed over everything that had to do with religion because it seemed to take away from the story. I felt like it was a distraction and I think the book would have moved along much more smoothly without it. While it was important to understand that Mercy went through an enormous transition, it wasn’t necessary to show this through religious faith and church. We could see it in the little things, like Mark and Pippin and her demeanor.

Conclusion

This book was wonderful. I am giving it four out of five stars because of a few small things. First, I wish that we had more characterization of the minor and some of the major characters. We got to delve into their psyches a little bit, but I wanted more. I wanted a more concrete definition of the things that made them tick. Second, the religion aspect seemed foreign with the plot line. If it had been introduced earlier in a more subtle way, I feel like it could have worked, but as it was written, it felt forced. Because of the relationships and plot, however, I would definitely recommend this book.

Signed,

your favorite bookworm

 

 

Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox (The Jenna Fox Chronicles #1)

Summary:

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn’t remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson’s vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 3/5

(review may contain minor spoilers)

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson is not a book that you can put into a box. It is a myriad of genres and a myriad of topics thrown into one novel. To be perfectly honest, this book was not one of my favorites. It did not deliver what was promised in the very intriguing synopsis. I have read a great deal of books that deal with amnesia in some way, but never one that took on a sci-fi perspective so I was excited to dive into this book. To be fair, the opening was very gripping and in general, the novel was well-written.

We start out with our narrator showing us what she knows right off the bat.

I used to be someone.

Someone named Jenna Fox.

That’s what they tell me. But I am more than a name. More than they tell me. More than the facts and statistics they fill me with. More than the video clips they make me watch.

More. But I’m not sure what.

I really liked Jenna’s voice from the very beginning. She was honest and blunt and you could feel the detachment coming from her as she acknowledged that she really didn’t understand herself. She was plain in the best way possible. Having a distinct lack of memories left her as sort of a blank slate and I really liked how she chose to fill it in.

Characters

To expand on the above point, Jenna was the kind of character you rooted for from the start. I wanted her to succeed and I wanted her to figure everything out. She had this quality about her that made you want to hug her and help her find everything that she was looking for. She was disjointed and completely realistic in terms of her narration. Jenna Fox woke up without any memory of who she had been before the accident. She didn’t even remember that there was an accident. She relied on what her parents told her and what she could pull from the pieces of memories that started coming back. She questions things that she doesn’t understand and it makes you feel for her.

A Question I Will Never Ask Mother:

 

I may not remember everything, but I know there should be these things.

Something.

I know when someone is sick that people check on her.

What kind of person was Jenna Fox that she didn’t have any friends?

Was she someone I even want to remember?

Everyone should have at least one friend.

Jenna refers to her parents as “Father” and “Mother” and I really like how it showed the audience how truly detached Jenna felt from her everything around her, including her family. She calls her grandmother Lily instead of by a term of familial endearment.

Jenna’s parents were rather bland and not in a good way. I couldn’t feel anything for them because they never popped for me. It was like they were just strangers to me. When Jenna figures out what they did, their explanation didn’t redeem them in my eyes in the slightest. They didn’t feel like a family to me, though the father was more endearing than the mother.

Lily, the grandmother, is the only member of the family that really stood out to me. I enjoyed her honesty and her reactions to the things that were going on around her. She was fresh and I liked it.

“I don’t hate you, Jenna,” she finally says. “I simply don’t have room for you.” Harsh words, but her voice is tender and the contradiction is a stony reminder that I am missing something vital. I know the old Jenna Fox would have understood. But the timbre of Lily’s voice calms me just the same. I nod, like I understand.

As for other characters, I felt most of them were unnecessary. I enjoyed Bender and I enjoyed Ethan. It felt like Dane was completely pointless. He had half a story line. He’s just this jerk that shows up once or twice with no backstory or explanation for his behavior. It was out of the blue and paused the story for no reason. Allys was interesting to a point and then she just became annoying and seemed to have no motivation. For all of the other minor characters, it felt like half their characterization was missing. They were just kind of there.

Plot

The plot itself could have been a lot better. As I stated before, the premise was extremely interesting to me, which is one of the reasons I was so disappointed. Every plot twist was easy to see coming and it felt like the story was mainly Jenna thinking to herself about what she was and where she belonged. Her narration was flawless for the most part, but I wanted more action. I wanted more characterization and more plot.

The ending absolutely pissed me off because of how rushed it was. It was like we finally get to a conflict that has the potential to cause major panic and it was completely skipped over. The conflict is introduced and boom! The conflict is suddenly resolved and we’re looking at things over a hundred years later and everything is just dandy. It was ridiculous and I hated it. When I first read it, I thought I’d accidentally skipped a few chapters. This was not the case.

Conclusion

I have to give this book 3 stars because Jenna’s narration was beautiful, as well as Lily and Ethan’s characterization. However, everything else fell flat. The minor characters were boring and the plot itself was laughable at parts. There was really no conflict except for Dane’s random appearances and Jenna’s existence. However, neither of these conflicts were given the chance to really blossom and lead to character development and a climactic turning point. Bottom line is this book was extremely disappointing. There were some high points, but in the end, too many things were missing to make this an enjoyable read. Sadly, I would not recommend this novel.

Signed,

your favorite bookworm

Book Review: Heist Society (Heist Society #1)

Summary:

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5

(review may contain minor spoilers)

Alright, so I read this book right when it came out a few years ago. I remembered thoroughly enjoying it, so I decided to reread it this week. At just under 300 pages, it’s a nice length and manages to finish the story well.

The novel opens with an introduction to the Colgan School, our main character’s current residence.

No one knew for certain when the trouble started at the Colgan School. Some members of its alumni association blamed the decision to admit girls. Others cited newfangled liberal ideals and a general decline in the respect for elders worldwide. But no matter the theory, no one could deny that, recently, life at the Colgan School was different.

While this opening is not as fast-paced as some other spy/crime novels, it definitely intrigued me. I was immediately drawn to the prestigious atmosphere of the school and the way Ally Carter described it. She writes it in a way that makes you feel like you’re there watching everything unfold. With the first sentence, I wanted to know what the “trouble” was referring to. And it did not disappoint.

Characters

I absolutely adored our main character, Katarina Bishop. She’s spunky and feisty, but best of all…she’s real. You can feel her struggle throughout the book as she goes from trying to be a normal girl  who’s had anything but a normal life to trying to save her family and pull off her biggest job yet. It says in the first few pages, “Some called her a hero; others called her a freak.” I really enjoy her characterization because you can feel what she feels. You can feel the sheer desperation that Kat has throughout the book from attempting to keep her father alive. You can feel the hope slipping away as things get more complicated. You can feel the acceptance as Hale drags her back into the “family business.” Kat is a strong character, but I love that we get to see her inner thoughts and experience her small moments of weakness. We get to see her almost break down, but hold it together and move on. She was written extremely well and I loved delving into her mind.

Hale. Oh my word, I think I found another guy to add to my “Characters to Marry” list. He’s suave and sophisticated and handsome and definitely a bit sneaky. After all, he did manage to convince Kat to rejoin the gang for some criminal fun. He is full of confidence and charm, not to mention the weight of his family’s wealth hanging over his shoulder. He’s the perfect love interest/best friend towards Kat and I love what he adds to the story. Not to mention, the way Kat describes him and his attributes is absolutely beautiful.

Kat sometimes wondered if that kind of self-assurance was something only very old money could buy. Then she wondered if it was something you could steal.

Kat’s family, including her father Bobby, Uncle Eddie, cousin Gabrielle, the Bagshaw brothers, and many other colorful characters provide for a hilarious cast. From the dry wit of her father to the sultry sass of Gabrielle, these supporting characters add so much to the story. They all play an important role and it’s extremely interesting to see how people tie into a sort of ‘crime family.’

The main villain is named Arturo Taccone. When his prize pieces of art get stolen, his prime and only suspect is Bobby Bishop. However, he is more than willing to use Kat as a middle man when Bobby is in a bit of trouble of his own. I honestly enjoyed Taccone. I felt like I understood his motives, even if I was frustrated at him for not listening to Kat half the time. I felt like his actions were given reason and that he was a force to be reckoned with. However, we also saw his shortcomings, which was a gift in and of itself. I like the dimensions to him, as well as the other characters.

Plot

The story-line for this novel was very intriguing. It featured the right amount of suspense and thrills, as well as a little comic relief and romance. By using such lively characters, Ally Carter managed to create a world that was realistic and unbelievably interesting. The really cool part about this novel is that it is something that could be happening right now. Crime rings exist all over the world, along with notorious families. I really enjoyed following Kat as she tried to make it through the countless obstacles thrown in her path. The conclusion and resolution was believable and everything fit together in a way that made you smile and shake your head because it was so ridiculous that it just had to work.

Favorite Quotes

“You need me,” Gabrielle said. There was no doubt in her voice. No flirt. No ditz. She was in every way Uncle Eddie’s great-niece. A pro. A con. A thief. “Like it or not, Kitty Kat, the reunion starts now.”

It is an occupational hazard that anyone who has spent her life learning how to lie eventually becomes bad at telling the truth.

But Hale was still moving, shrinking the distance between them. He seemed impossibly close as he whispered, “And I didn’t choose it, Kat. I chose you.”

“Oh.” Hale smirked. “That’s simple.” Kat wasn’t moving— wasn’t dancing—and yet it felt like her heart might pound out of her chest as she watched Hale lean farther into the shadows and say, “I’m the guy who happened to be home the night Kat came to steal a Monet.”

Hale was Hale. And not knowing what the W’s stood for had become a constant reminder to Kat that, in life, there are some things that can be given but never stolen.

Of course, that didn’t stop her from trying.

“Some people understand the value of an education.” Hale stretched and crossed his legs, then settled his arm around Kat’s shoulders. “That’s sweet, Kat. Maybe later I’ll buy you a university. And an ice cream.” “I’d settle for the ice cream.” “Deal.”

Conclusion

Ally Carter is a wonderful author. On her website, she says that she wrote the Heist Society books as a way to keep her older readers entertained once they became too old for Gallagher Girls. Personally, I love both series, but that’s not important. I think that Heist Society is full of suspense in all the right places. It’s a great read with wonderful language. I love that she tells you names of cons and you’re essentially rooting for the criminals. The way Carter crafts her characters is beautiful and I can’t wait for the fourth book to come out. And Kat and Hale? Three words. I ship it. This series is perfect for a long car ride and I highly encourage you to pick it up soon!

Signed,

your favorite bookworm

That Thing We Call Passion

Everyone has something that they care about. And one thing that I think our society seriously needs to stop doing is putting down other people’s passions.

For example, I do not understand football. I honestly do not particularly enjoy it and, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why it is so entertaining to some people. (It is also possible that for the first fifteen years of my life, I thought the Superbowl was bowling. But that is a completely separate blog post entirely.) Anyways. I don’t like football. However, I know people that absolutely live for each game. I know people that order pizza every Sunday and invite all of their friends over to squeeze into a living room and cheer on their favorite teams. While this practice baffles me, who am I to judge it? It makes them happy.

And call me crazy, but I just don’t think it’s right to tear down something that makes someone else happy and doesn’t cause anyone any harm. Does that guy in your college class liking football ruin your life? No. No, it does not. It doesn’t even affect you. All it does is add a little bit of joy to theirs.

After all, how would you feel if someone did the same thing to you?

Personally, I have a few passions. Music. Cuddling. Disney. Mythology. Etc. But my absolute favorite thing in the world is reading. I have over 1,000 books and that number is continuously getting higher. I adore spending entire Saturdays curled up on my couch with a pile of books. A large pile because I tend to finish books rather quickly. But I digress. I love reading and that is really all there is to it. On the other hand,  some people do not like reading. While this idea is completely foreign to me, I’m not going to sit there and make fun of them for not sharing the same interests as me.

People are different. We have different purposes, values, ideas, opinions, understandings. Not a single one of us is perfect and we have no right to throw away someone else’s passion. We have no reason to make them feel small for caring about something we don’t understand or appreciate.

Some people like music. Some people like art. Some people like museums and historical sites. Some people like soccer. Some people like film. Some people like tigers. Some people like One Direction.

On the same point, you cannot force someone to share in the same passions as you. I’ve tried getting Boy to read more, but the truth is it’s just not his cup of tea. Just like he enjoys coding, I enjoy books. Just because I can’t find the same joy he does in picking apart Javascript and HTML doesn’t mean I can’t sit next on the couch and listen when he tells me about it. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like hearing about the latest suspense novel I read.

We are under no obligation to like something just because someone else does. However, we are under the obligation to act like decent human beings and let them get excited about the little things. If we stop letting people be happy, then eventually the same thing is going to happen to us. It’s a vicious cycle and it needs to stop.

Passion is that feeling when you love something so much that even thinking about it makes you smile. It’s the way I feel when I talk about Greek Mythology. It’s the way Boy’s eyes light up when he tells me that he figured out something involving codes and variables and other technical doobly doos that I don’t quite understand. I may not understand it, but I can definitely appreciate and enjoy how absolutely thrilled he gets when he talks about it.

Let people be happy. End of story.

Book Review: The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die

 

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(image from barnesandnoble.com)

Summary:

“Take her out back and finish her off.”

She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her.

And that she must run.

In her riveting style, April Henry crafts a nail-biting thriller involving murder, identity theft, and biological warfare. Follow Cady and Ty (her accidental savior turned companion), as they race against the clock to stay alive, in The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 3/5

(review may contain minor spoilers)

This book was extremely interesting right from the beginning. Each chapter is titled in the style of a day and a time. For example:

Chapter 1

Day 1, 4:51 P.M.

The first lines of the novel introduce us to our narrator.

I wake up.

But wake up isn’t quite right. That implies sleeping. A bed. A pillow.

I come to.

Instead of a pillow, my right cheek is pressed against something hard, rough, and gritty. A worn wood floor.

My mouth tastes like old pennies. Blood.

I really really really liked the way April Henry started this novel. It was suspenseful and riveting and I was immediately drawn into the world she created. The narrator describes what is happening without seeming like she’s just trying to give away the setting. She speaks like she is seeing everything around her for the first time, which, as we find out, she basically is.

This opening was perfect for a thriller/mystery and it certainly set the tone for the story.

Characters: We don’t even know who our narrator is until almost halfway through the novel. Candace (Cady) Scott couldn’t even remember her name at the start of everything and it was really interesting to see her put the pieces together. I think the author did a really good job of recreating her from the bottom up. With memories, flashbacks, and triggers, we get little glimpses until Cady finally remembers who she really is and how she became “the girl who was supposed to die.” Cady occasionally acted in such a way that made me want to throw things at her, but, in all reality, I probably would have acted the same way if I was in her situation. Her paranoia and suspicion is realistic and her voice throughout the novel is very believable.

Ty is a normal high school kid. He has had a tough past, but seems to have found his place in the world for the time being. He has an apartment and a job and a life. That all changes when Cady wanders into the McDonald’s where he works. Somehow, he ends up entangled in the mystery surrounding her and tries to help her as much as he can, along with his housemate James. I loved Ty. He was fun and sweet and lots of good things. However, to me, he was too good. He’s a teenage boy. Albeit, a very mature one, but still a teenage boy. Teenage boys don’t just jump headfirst into murder mysteries. I would have liked to see a little more fear or confusion from him. I wanted a fight between Cady and Ty about her past and whether she was really in danger or not. I wanted him to wonder and ask questions and I wanted him to freak out that there were armed men trying to kill them.

I think the characterization that bothered me the most would have to be Cady’s mother. We don’t know anything about Cady’s family until the book is halfway over and I felt like what we did know was not appealing. I understand that she was wary when Cady called for the first time. But once it was proven to really be her daughter, I expected tears and joy and relief. I expected something. I got nothing. She felt cold and sort of cruel. I felt no sympathy for her. I wanted more emotion than just a shake or crack in her voice once or twice. I wanted heavy exhales and long silences and emotional pauses. I wanted to feel what she was feeling. Unfortunately, it felt like she was feeling nothing. It was as if she was just reporting about something she saw on television. I didn’t feel invested.

Plot: For a mystery, this was spot on. It had a really great premise and it seemed to follow the general rules for suspense and thrillers. Unfortunately, there were a few misses. I felt that everything got crammed together and rushed after Elizabeth was introduced.

I wanted Cady to be safe and I wanted her to be reunited with her family. I wanted Ty to make it out of the whole mess alive. There were a lot of great plot points. But it felt like the last half of the book was just kind of strung together. There should have been more explanation and more suspense. It seemed like the ending was slightly unrealistic. In theatre, there is a term called ex deus machina, literally translating to ‘hand of god.’ This essentially refers to the point at the end of a play when the conflict gets resolved by some higher power, like a god or King. The ending felt a lot like that. It seemed like everything bad just got thrown into a box and tied up neatly and tossed away, never to be seen again.

To put it simply, I wanted more before everything got solved. I wanted that moment where you feel like the good guys are going to lose. When they have to run away and regroup and try to come up with a new plan. I wanted failures before the great success at the end.

Conclusion: All in all, this was an enjoyable read. There were little things that I would have changed here and there, but it was an entertaining story. I loved Cady and Ty and I wanted them to make it out alive. I wanted a happy ending. I just wish it hadn’t come quite so easily. I wanted more of a struggle.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something to read on a short flight or during your free time. It’s suspenseful and full of twists and turns. April Henry has quite a way with words and her mysteries always have me at the edge of my seat.

Signed,

your favorite bookworm