AnnAlysis: Confessions of a Murder Suspect

confessions of a murder suspectFrom Goodreads:
James Patterson returns to the genre that made him famous with a thrilling teen detective series about the mysterious and magnificently wealthy Angel family… and the dark secrets they’re keeping from one another.

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 Thoughts:
I can’t believe I had never heard of this series until recently. I just happened across it when I was perusing the book store one night. I already had an arm load of books for Christmas presents, and the first two of this series were in paperback, right at eye level, so I had to grab them. Right?

I love James Patterson books and am always a fan of YA. I like so many things about this book. I love the NYC setting.

The cast of characters is fantastic and eccentric. Tandy is right up my alley. She’s quirky and intelligent and OCD and loves solving crimes. Matty is the beloved athlete. Harry is Tandy’s twin and the calmest, laid back, and most emotional of the Angel children. And then there’s Hugo. Hugo is fantastic. He is a little on the wild side. He’s kind of like a bull in a China shop. Just love him. The family dynamic here is very interesting. They have all the money and prestige in the world, but a family bond really isn’t there. There are things called Big Chops that are used as punishment. Very interesting, indeed.

I love the mystery and trying to find out what happened to the elder Angels. As with most James Patterson books, this was a very quick read. It kept me turning the pages. And although I’m not usually a fan of leaving strings untied at the end of books, I didn’t mind it with this one. I knew there was more coming, and I had the book on my shelf just waiting for me to pick it up.

I am loving this series… currently halfway through the second book.

I give Confessions of a Murder Suspect 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: September 2012
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AnnAlysis: The Job

the jobFrom Goodreads:
The FBI had one demand when they secretly teamed up Special Agent Kate O’Hare with charming con man Nicolas Fox—bring down the world’s most-wanted and untouchable felons. This time it’s the brutal leader of a global drug-smuggling empire. The FBI doesn’t know what their target looks like, where he is, or how to find him, but Nick Fox has a few tricks up his sleeve to roust this particular Knipschildt chocolate–loving drug lord.

From the streets of Nashville to the back alleys of Lisbon, from the rooftops of Istanbul to the middle of the Thames, Nick and Kate chase their mark. When they find themselves pitted against a psychopathic bodyguard and a Portuguese enforcer who gets advice from a pickled head, they decide it’s time to enlist some special talent—talent like a machete-wielding Somali pirate, a self-absorbed actor, an Oscar-winning special effects artist, and Kate’s father Jake, a retired Special Forces operative. Together they could help make this Fox and O’Hare’s biggest win yet . . . if they survive.

My Thoughts:
This is the 3rd book in this series. I will read anything that Janet Evanovich writes and I’ve been lucky enough to find all three books in this series on NetGalley. This series has ups and downs for me. I absolutely LOVE the characters in this book. Nick and Kate make a great team. They are sugar and spice and bring out sides of each other most people don’t see. They have great chemistry and I’m just waiting for them to get together and get it over with. And the supporting cast is great. They are cooky and fun and quirky. They always bring a little flare to the story. They are kind of like the cast of Oceans Eleven.

I love the premise of the series, but don’t always love the story itself. The plot of the first book was amazing, the second one was just meh, this one, about the same for me. It’s on a boat, and in an exotic locale. I do like that Kate continues to play grow and push the legal limits to bring down the bad guys.

I give The Job 3 out of 5 bookmarks. Although I didn’t love this one, I’ll keep reading this series.

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Released: November 18, 2014
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Other Books in Series:
The Heist
The Chase

AnnAlysis: The Revealed

the revealedFrom Goodreads:
Lily Atwood lives in what used to be called Washington, D.C. Her father is one of the most powerful men in the world, having been a vital part of rebuilding and reuniting humanity after the war that killed over five billion people. Now he’s running to be one of its leaders.

But in the rediscovered peace on Earth, a new enemy has risen. They call themselves the Revealed – a powerful underground organization that has been kidnapping 18 year olds across the globe without reservation. No one knows why they are kidnapping these teens, but it’s clear something is different about these people. They can set fires with a snap of their fingers and create a wind strong enough to barrel over a tree with a flick of their wrist. No one has been able to stop them, and they have targeted Lily as their next victim.

But Lily has waited too long to break free from her father’s shadow to let some rebel organization just ruin everything. Not without a fight.

My Thoughts:
As I prepared for the release of Mockingjay, I was hungry for a little dystopia in my life and this book fulfilled it!

I think that there’s a lot of pressure to be the next Hunger Games or Divergent. And those are very big shoes to fill. There are several things I think that Hickam did well with this book (and beginning of series). She set the stage for us as to where we are, which I think is extremely important. If we are in a dystopian society, I want to know where I am in proximity to where this is all taking place. In Hunger Games, I know that I am near District 12. That makes the story more real for me because I can relate to these people. As in any book, if it takes place in a location I am familiar with, I am more likely to gravitate toward it. I like being able to close my eyes and place myself there. Hickam set the center of this story in Washington DC. Even for those who haven’t been there, we know the location, we know the history, we know the importance of setting a dystopian political story in the nation’s capital.

I also think Hickam did a good job with the characters. I loved the strength of Lily. But at the same time, when things get super rocky, I love that she is real. She is a teenager. She is emotional. She is vulnerable. She is a bit reckless and certainly puts herself in more danger than necessary. But what teenager wouldn’t in that situation? They are few and far between. When it comes to Kai, shooo, he’s a tough one. You want to like him. He’s smooth and sauve and likable in a bad boy sense. But there are so many questions – Is he trustworthy? Is he the same boy that Lily remembers?

The one thing I’m hung up on on this book is what Hickam tried to do differently. It’s not magic, but it’s not necessarily realistic. I appreciate her working hard to put in a game changer and make her story different from others. It’s not exactly up my alley. However with that said, I am intrigued by it and interested to see where she takes it from here. I know I’m being vague…but I don’t want to give anything away.

The book was a gripping, adventurous, quick read. I will definitely keep my eyes out for the other books in this series.

I give The Revealed 4 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: June 2014
Author Website

AnnAlysis: Black Moon Draw

green dreamsFrom Goodreads:
A reader gets sucked into the book she’s reading and is trapped, unless she convinces the hero of the story to send her home. Just her luck – the book is unfinished, and its sexy hero is far more alpha male than she’s prepared to handle. 

What Naia doesn’t know: the story – and its hero – have been expecting her for quite some time, even though she has no idea what she’s doing there. 

Naia must learn quickly how to navigate the dangerous, magical world of Black Moon Draw and find a way to woo the unlikely, uncooperative hero of the story, who holds the key to returning her home. 

My Thoughts:
First – let’s be honest. What reader hasn’t been sucked so far into a book that he or she hasn’t wished they were there, in the pages? This happens quite a bit with me. There are some books, and some characters, that I just can’t get enough of. I relate so well with them and their stories that I feel that I could page on the pages with them. So, of course, I immediately connected with Naia in this book. From the get-go. My cousin was here when I started this book and I keep reading snippets to her. We both laughed because we both related with her. That being said, Naia made this book for me. I loved her from the get-go and battled along with her throughout the story, through the very last door she walked through.

The story itself wasn’t as easy for me. The magical world of Black Moon Draw caught me up a few times. All the knights and terminology and settings…. I normally stick with books that, although fiction, could be reality. This was a leap for me, but I was intrigued enough by the summary to test the waters. In the end, the story all came together with me. It just took a while for it to click.

There are so many things I want to gush about here, but cannot because I hate spoilers. I will tell you that this story has a little love, a few battles, some magic, some strange characters, some heartthrob men, and an ending that you won’t want to miss.

I give Black Moon Draw 4 out of 5 bookmarks and now must go dream of this mysterious fictional place with hopes that I too can be sucked into a novel.

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Released: November 9, 2014
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Q&A with Imogen Robertson

I am welcoming author Imogen Robertson to the blog today. If you missed my review yesterday of her new book, The Paris Winter, scroll down and take a little time to read what it’s about. Imogen is here today for a little Q&A about her book and what went into writing it.

Robertson ParisKA: Where did inspiration come from for this novel?
IR: From my grandmother. She was born in 1892 and travelled independently in Europe before the First World War. She always used to have a few sovereigns sewn into her skirt for emergencies and I’ve used that detail in my book. She also used to sketch and paint watercolors, so the idea of an English woman training to be an artist in Europe took shape from that. Then I saw the pictures of the 1910 floods in Paris and I knew that was where and when I wanted to set my story.

KA: Have you always been interesting in historical books?
IR: I stopped studying history at school at age 14, but I’ve always enjoyed reading history – particularly social history. I also read a lot of classic literature when I was young, Dickens, Austen and Eliot for example and would devour every Georgette Heyer novel I could get my hands on, so I guess that’s a big yes!

KA: I always think I would have a hard time keeping the language in the correct time frame. Do you ever catch current phrases that you have to make historically accurate?
IR: It can be a problem. The best thing to do is to immerse yourself in the writings of the time. Before I started writing Paris Winter I read hundreds of pages of newspapers, letters diaries and memoirs from 1909 and 1910 so I would get the feel and tone right as far as I could. Sometimes what trips you up is a phrase that is accurate, but sounds incredibly modern. You don’t want to make your readers stop to question the phrase, so sometimes I edit those out if I think they will cause problems.

KA: You spent time in Paris researching this novel (best work vacation ever). Other than the obvious reasons of being there and getting the feel for the city, how did this help your story?
IR: I was lucky enough to meet American writer David Downie and his wife Alison Harris, the photographer. They took me on a secret tour of Paris which included all sorts of locations I would never have found my myself and several of them ended up in the novel. You have to time your research visits carefully! I needed to know enough of what might happen in the novel to go to the right places, but also make sure I wasn’t so fixed in my thinking I couldn’t accommodate new inspirations. I think I got it about right this time.

KA: What did you learn about yourself as a writer while working on this?
IR: That I will always hit a point in a novel where I believe it’s all going wrong and will never work! That’s part of the process. Sometimes you have to stand back from your work and be a harsh critic about what is working and what isn’t. When you’ve done that you find you’ve cleared away the words and the story and characters can bloom.

KA: What are you reading now?
IR: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. She is an astonishing novelist and creates a complete world with very subtle writing. I would love to be as good as her someday.