Tag Archives: mystery

Book Review: #Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

Tor Teen
TBP: Feb. 13, 2018
228 Pages

When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo–along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”–Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.

Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettboy, of all freaking things.

His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life. -Goodreads

Before anything, I would like say that this book was inspired by #alexfromtarget If you do not know anything about that story, you can take a look here to see whats its about.

I was excited for this read. Black teenager, who works for the CIA undercover. Sounds fantastic. However, I was disappointed in this book not initially but as the story progressed.

  • It took place in a day.

I really enjoyed the fact that the story was not drawn out and the author was able to build a world and story that last literally less than 24 hours. For me, it showed skill and creativity. And overall, it added some intensity and that help drive the story. But the downside to this was I felt some things were missing.

  • The story was far from narrow.

The author complicated the story as much as she can without it being distasteful. I liked that about this book. What you think you do or what you can guess isn’t exactly how it is going. There are some instances where what you see is what you get but not for everything.

  • #prettyboy didn’t cut it for me

Not only was there not enough description of Peter, the book pretty much only mentions the hashtag twice. Considering that it throws the anti-social Peter in the spotlight, I wanted there to be more about it. His class for the most part do not really react to his new found fame. They really don’t care and his fan base is only on twitter and not even close to real life. Yes, I understand why the author did this because it really does tie the story together but considering it is part of the title and it changes Peter’s day, I wanted more attention on it.

#prettyboy Peter was a unlike-able character

Didn’t like him. He had no real personality. He doesn’t know anything about fitting in, which is where considering that he is in the CIA and this isn’t his first run. He is more bite than bark. He needs way more training.

Although the short time frame of the story provided intensity, it didn’t last and at a certain point, I was just ready for the bad guy to be caught. However, the author was able to suck me in at the end and want a book two.

Overall,

2 Pickles

Book Review: The Elizas by Sara Shepard

Atria Books
TBP April 17 2018
352

When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.

Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?

The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.- Goodreads

This is the first book I’ve read by Sara Shepard. The Pretty Little Liars series at the time didn’t peak my interest. However, after reading this I may give it a shot. The Elizas is Shepard’s first adult book and you can really tell that while reading this.

I had a hard time reading this because Eliza was uninteresting and a brat. What I was more interested in was the story Eliza had written even though it tied in really well with the main story, I was captivated by Dots (what it is called). However, it was real obvious what the author was doing with that story and that was extremely unfortunate. The thing that made the Dots story more interesting than the main story was because Dot was a more like-able character. Eliza has some issues, not only trust issues but issues with herself that she works out throughout the book. But she is missing the base in her voice, for a lack of better term. Every time she spoke, it came off like ‘wow I have to do this on my own because no one believes me…well that’s great.’

I wanted more personality from Eliza. Something else other than her illness and what happened to her. Some form of connection was missing and when I finished the book, I wanted that.

The overall plot was slower than I expected but I do give Shepard credit for creativity. Despite the predictability earlier in the book, how she ties everything together makes a lot of sense and it shows that Shepard can pull some twists and turns. I was impressed and that is why I want to read Pretty Little Liars now.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read. But isn’t something that I would read again but I do know a few people that would enjoy this book that is why I would recommend it.

2 Pickles

Book Review: Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

Minotaur Books
Published Feb. 2, 2017
416 Pages

“Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don’t want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who’d rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. At the crime scene, they find puzzling ritualistic details. Black smudges. A strange incense smell and a symbol–a large black sun. Iwata doesn’t know what the symbol means but he knows what the killer means by it: I am here. I am not finished.”- Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book and I say that surprisingly because crime novels are not really my thing. I picked up this book because of the title but I decided to read this book because of the summary. As mentioned I did enjoy this book. Iwata is a broken man trying to handle a devastating lost while also trying to solve a murder no one seems to really care about. I like Iwata because he was human. He wasn’t one of those characters that was too manly or felt that he couldn’t let go of his emotions. Granted he made sure no one seen it but he didn’t exactly let it build up either. However despite this there wasn’t a whole heap of personality that made me cling to him and I believe a lot of that had something to do with what he went through in his past and what he is currently going through with his career. So I don’t have a real issue with this but it is something to point out.

But those other characters? Sakai is a butt and for a majority of the book I didn’t like her nor did I really like her relationship with Iwata. It was confusing and at times it felt like the author was forcing it but then thinking about it Iwata was trying to find some form of normalcy sooooo….. hmmmm yeah. But any way, I didn’t Sakai but the author was able to explain why the way she was, although I think Sakai could have made some better decisions.

What threw me off with this book was how detailed it was. When I say that it threw me off, I mean it in a good way and in a not so good way. Firstly, I’ve been to Japan and specifically to the areas mentioned in this book and through this book I saw Japan. I saw the narrow streets with the parking lots. I saw the hole in the wall restaurants, shoot I smelt the smoke within this book. I really really loved that about this read. However, at the same time, this made for a very long book that took a few let me put down for a little bit and then get back to it.

There was also this lack of urgency that the book was missing. It really didn’t show until the end but it still didn’t feel as if this needed to be solved yesterday. The case is the focus of the book but the author was able to stretch it out by adding a “side” story that explains things about Iwata. If you are not paying attention, you can get confused and then that it is part of the main story but it isn’t in a way.

Despite this Blue Light Yokohama is a recommended tbr book. There were surprises and twists that the author was able to hide literally until the very end and a lot of that has something to do with the massive details and the side story. I loved what the author was able to get out of Japan for this book. I loved the conclusion because it makes me want more and it makes me wonder if Iwata can actually have a happy ending or even a life.

Overall, the biggest issue for me was how long it was drawn out but I am super glad I finished this book and I highly recommend it.

3. 5 Pickles

Book Review: Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Grand Central Publishing
Published Sept 5th, 2017
384 Pages

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.- Goodreads

It didn’t take long for me to be sucked into this book. I stayed up late to finish this book and was disappointed in the ending but the overall book left an impression. Louise was a follower as a teen and still is in a way as an adult. What she did and didn’t do as a teen is coming back to haunt her in the forum of a Facebook request, guilt and some stalking.

I really enjoyed the vagueness and suspense the author was able to create in a everyday environment. There isn’t a lot that actually happens. A lot of the tension and the what will happen next is because Louise is freaking out. Which is completely understandable if the person you thought was dead is physically haunting you. There is no paranormal activity going on in this book, so that may be a hint to where things are going but it is also important to note that because things move slower then what you would think if this was a paranormal book. But there is a constant need to find out what happens next. There is a desire to get to 1: find out about the secret 2: find the truth about Maria 3: find out what is actually happening.

Here are my issues with the book:

1: There are some parts of the book that are very misleading. The author leads you down a specific road but the at the end you’re like what?

2: The ending was weak. All that building, waiting for the truth, excitement for the truth just lead to the most lack luster ending I could possibility think of. Think of staying up until 1 a.m. to get to that. -_-

Those were my two biggest issues in this book. I felt that there should have been more going on other then Louise freaking out and feeling guilty and still wanting the approval of others. There should have been some growth in Louise and personality. There wasn’t much to her other than what happened when she was a teen and her relationship with past friends and her ex-husband.

Overall, I enjoyed the book but I know it could have been 5 Pickles as opposed to

3 Pickles

Book Review: Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers’ Club by Robert J. Harris

Kelpies TBP: June 15, 2017
Kelpies
TBP: June 15, 2017

Artie Conan Doyle is 12 years old and while in the future he will write the great Sherlock Holmes for now he has to deal with the mystery before him. When sneaking out with his best friend, Ham, to explore Greyfriars Kirkyard, the two spot a woman in grey walking through a cemetery and footprints of enormous hound.

Not one to look past questions, Artie, with the reluctance of Ham, follow clues to discover a series robberies that will lead to a villain that Artie may not be able to defeat.

Jumping right in, I would recommend this read to children who have not been introduced to Sherlock Holmes. It is a really creative spin to focus on the author as a child. Yes, it has been done with Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland) but only to a certain extent.

What I liked about this book is how the author was able to show the reader glimpse of Sherlock, without actually mentioning it. I enjoyed the personal struggle Artie goes through, although it is not the full focus it is a starting point in the book and a good one I might add. It shows, for a lack of better term, a human emotion/reaction other than curiosity and the need to solve something. I appreciated that.  I also loved how the story was told through Artie and not by his friend Ham or some random voice. It was a better read because of that.

The pace of the novel was acceptable. At one point, it did feel like the book was going nowhere but with the turning point(s) it added more depth to the novel. Character development was non-existing but I didn’t have an issue with this. The way the author wrote this book, there wasn’t any real need for it. Did some things change? Yes. Did any characters change? Kind of. One character, side character, a fairly key character experienced a significant change but it didn’t really apply to the mystery.

Overall, I would recommend this to my nieces and any child that wants a good mystery. As an adult I am glad I found this series.

4 Pickles

 

Book Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Dial Books Published March 22, 2016 247 Pages
Dial Books
Published March 22, 2016
247 Pages

Poppy is the manipulative bully that used Midnight, the innocent boy, who feel for Poppy. Wink is the neighbor no one in town wants to get to know that is until Midnight sees her up and close. 

Something bad happens but who is telling the truth. 

I took a risk with this book. I say that because I wasn’t over the heels with the author’s first book Between the Devil and the Deep Blue SeaBut I was given a sample of this book and I was interested enough to continue reading.

I was sucked into this story and was fascinated by the three characters. I loved the fact the author decided to use three different points of view as opposed to two or one.  What made the book for me was the characters and how they interacted with each other.

There was holes in the plot. It was as if the author didn’t want to get too deep into individual stories. I can see why but it would been nice for Midnight to have some more depth and the same with Poppy. Wink had enough back story to hold throughout the entire book. I liked her. I liked Midnight until the end. And Poppy was just a perfect character to push things along. Also the author places a spotlight on family but decides to skim over Poppy’s and Midnight’s family. This was very noticeable.

I didn’t like the ending not because of the twist but Midnight was unexpected in a not so favorable way. I say that because he didn’t change; all he did was avoid and although he didn’t feel entitled to anything, he was selfish and I can’t get over that. Wink, what I didn’t like about her, was she allowed too much to happen with her emotions, I don’t exactly know her end game and that is what is getting to me, hours after reading this book. Poppy despite the horrible decisions she did to those that actually looked at her, for her, she got what she wanted at the end and I didn’t agree with that.

The pace of the novel was great, I was able to read and be engaged throughout the entire book. Some predictability was there but not overall.

This was the better book than her first two. I can see the growth and I can see the details in characters. I was memorized by them and yes, I want more and better decisions with the book but I am a happy camper.

3.5 Pickles