You Know You Need a new Boyfriend If… A review of The One You Love by Paul Pilkington

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Certain things in relationships are “red flags,” such as jealousy, controlling behavior, and kidnapping fiancés. Once you see a few of these red flags, you start to figure that breaking off the friendship / dating / hanging out thing might be a good idea. That’s situation I found Emmy, the main character of Paul Pilkington’s The One You Love, embroiled in. Though I found the book thoroughly enjoyable (and let me say that again, thoroughly enjoyable!), there were a few times when I felt like grabbing Emmy out of the book and knocking some sense into her. The reason why? She ignored a lot of red flags, and in more than one person. Now on to the good stuff:

The One You Love is a decent length for a thriller, batting at 298 pages. In addition to that, it’s written by a man from England, and I just love reading British-style conversation and phrasing—I know, I’m such an American. The basic gist of the plot is Emmy, a small-time actress shooting for the stars, is engaged to be married when her fiancé Dan all of a sudden disappears. His brother, Richard, is found at their apartment unconscious and with life-threatening injuries.

Emmy is joined by her best friend Lizzy and her brother William in trying to solve the mystery of Dan’s disappearance and Richard’s attacker. Pilkington does a superb job of adding twists and turns, showing both Emmy’s group and the police uncovering different pieces evidence in each chapter. It led me to suspect no less than five different people of the crime throughout the course of the book, and that, my friends, is excellent thriller writing!

I give the book four stars simply because Emmy acted like a crazy person half the time, e.g. refusing to talk to the police when she found evidence because she felt she needed to get to the bottom of the crime herself. I understand humans occasionally do dumb stuff like that, but after about the third time I began to wonder if Emmy might have some sort of complex. Even when her best friend in the whole world, Lizzy, suggested she not visit the home of a creepy ex-admirer, Emmy forged ahead as if she really believed nothing would happen.

I recommend this fabulous read to all lovers of mystery and complex plots. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Peter and the Monsters: A Review of Darren Pillsbury’s Series

Copyright Darren Pillsbury

Cover courtesy of Amazon.com

Notice: This series was free when I read it, but it has since been published. You can find it at Amazon or other major self-publish sites. The first book in the series is available for free by clicking on the following link: Peter and the Vampires

Darren Pillsbury has published an exciting new series featuring Peter Normal. The story begins when Peter, a ten year-old from California, moves to his grandfather’s haunted mansion. Well, ok, the mansion itself isn’t haunted, but it sure looks like it should be. In the very first story of the series, Peter learns that this is only a technicality, for a tribe of dead bodies “live” in a patch of woods nearby (Peter and the Dead Men). Worse, these Dead Men all want Peter to die!

This was my favorite of the series because I really liked all the unanswered questions and mystery surrounding the Normals. I also felt like the way that Peter defeated the Dead Men was very clever (while realistic, given his age). This one is also a good showcase of what you should expect from the series; most of the stories follow the format of Peter having to defeat a group of enemies within a short story and stumbles across a piece of the larger puzzle: why is Peter in constant danger?

When I read this story on Mr. Pillsbury’s blog, it was a daily post; you better believe that I was reading this daily!

Despite being essentially a children’s story, be aware that there might be the occasional swear word. These instances are very rare (I believe the first doesn’t show up until book 3), but they do exist. When I raised this concern with the author he explained that he took his cue from Harry Potter: kids that age really do swear/ hear swear words and those words have a touch of the forbidden which appeals to Pillsbury’s target audience.

There are also brief mentions of sensitive issues such as religion and witchcraft.

Rating changes depending on the book but I would say that Peter and the Trick-or-Treaters is the only book to score less than a 3 out of 5. I’ve been told that each of the books has a (long) preamble explaining what has already happened in previous books so they can be read out of order. That said, I would still recommend reading them roughly in order (except Peter and the ToT’s, which can be safely skipped without missing anything).

How Much for that Kidney in the Window: A review for The Missings, a novel by Peg Brantley

The weekend was murder and it was awesome, if a little on the short side. Got to say, I’ve been trying to find a good murder mystery for a while and found myself pleasantly surprised by The Missings, a novel by Peg Brantley batting at 376 pages.

themissingsbookcover

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Now I said it was a little on the short side for two reasons: one, it is most definitely not 376 pages. About thirty of those are acknowledgements and a preview of another book. Two, the chapters are extremely short–we’re talking short like Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech before getting cut off by Kanye West. Anyway, I like short chapters well enough, but I’ve always been more of a “linger longer” scene-reader myself. Keep that in mind if you think you’d like this book. Now on to the good stuff:

Chase is a police officer in the town of Aspen, Colorado. When he finds two victims in a row who have similar physical characteristics, he’s sure he found a link. With his team, Chase discovers more murder cases in the last year with similar characteristics. The interesting thing? All are illegal aliens. The gruesome connection? All victims have had their organs surgically removed. The problem? Noncitizens aren’t known for their trust of American police officers. The case would be impossible to solve without the Hispanic community’s help.

Brantley did an excellent job weaving together the lives of over ten distinct characters and their roles in the Aspen murder mystery, both good and bad. Whether telling from the point of view of Chase, a cop with a soft spot for murder victim families, or of Daniel, a Hispanic detective who struggles with his inability to fit in either the American or Immigrant world, the author shows me characters that are deep and dynamic.

I struggled with this book mostly in the telling of the story—like I said, the characters were interesting and the plot was compelling, but the chapters were so short I felt like I only glimpsed what was happening. I wanted more! I also got lost at times because I had to remember so many names. With more development and less cut-scenes, I think Brantley could make a mystery that was just as punchy but with soft spots where I could catch my breath. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.