Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Body Finder.

Stars: 5

Pages: 336

Released: March 16, 2010 (Hardcover)

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

Summary from Goodreads.com

I’ve been waiting to read this book ever since Sarah Maclean, author of The Season, read an advanced copy of it last year. She’d said that it was a book so good that it made her miss her subway stop, and that it had a really yummy romance. Ever since, I’ve been in anticipation of this book coming out-and I was not disappointed!

The Body Finder combines a serial killer, the paranormal, and a great teen romance. I was really impressed with the romance. Violet and Jay have been best friends since first grade. Over the summer, Jay seems to have changed, Violet’s noticed, as have all of the other girls at the school. Now she’s dealing with her new feelings for him, and his new fan club encroaching on their friendship. After all the paranormal romances where the best friend gets the shaft, I was excited to see a best friend who actually gets the girl.

The mystery was also great. There were wonderful twists and turns, and I really loved the point of view. Most of the story is from Violet’s point of view, yet every few chapters you get the serial killers point of view. It was intriguing and creepy all at the same time!

So, yes, I highly recommend this book to readers of paranormal romance, and those who love mysteries. It is that good!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In My Mailbox

I've been out of town, and was really upset when I realized I would be missing my books being shipped from Amazon.com. I know, it's a little pathetic, but as you'll see, I just couldn't wait to read The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting!

Here are the other books I got:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Match Made in High School by Kristen Walker

Match Made in High School

When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: Jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

Summary from Goodreads.com

I am sorry to say that I didn’t like this book.  It has an average rating of 4.08 currently on Goodreads.com (of 180 reviewers), and I think of it as a 2.5.

I have to say, that I did like the premise of the story.  I did like the wit and sarcasm.  I liked some things about the main character Fiona: she was strong.  She was not popular, yet she didn’t feel sorry for herself, or try to fit in.  She did not apologize to anyone for being different, but stood her ground.  I did not like that she was so aggressive.  I would not have been her friend in high school, but I would still have respected her for her independence. 

That being said, my main problem with the story was language and innuendo.  I can stand a little swearing in YA literature, but when it starts appearing every few pages I get out my white-out (only on my own personal copies, of course).  A Match Made in High School had language and sexual innuendo probably averaging one item per page.  I know that swearing is out there, and for some people “a normal part of high school”, but I hated that the language was used in such a way to make it seem sassy and cool.  After reading this story I found myself wanting to flick off my husband in response to something he said because Fiona made it seem playful and feisty.  But if you really think about what that gesture is saying, there’s nothing funny about it. 

Besides that, the story was promising, but did not live up to the expectations all of the high reviews had given me.

Stars: 2 1/2

Pages: 277 (paperback)

Released: February 4, 2010

Debut Author

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wish by Alexandra Bullen


For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone... until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn't just look magical; it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.

With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses-and two more wishes left. But magic can't solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again.

In a breathtaking debut from Alexandra Bullen, Wish asks the question: If you could have anything, what would you wish for?

Summary from Goodreads.com

After finishing Wish last night, and thinking about it today, I feel there’s not much I can say. Usually with a book I give three stars it is because I liked it, yet still had to trudge through it. Wish was short enough, and flowed well enough that I did not in fact feel like putting it down. When I finished all I thought was, “well, that’s nice.” No sense of satisfaction, no eagerness for more, just finished.

Wish was a story about family, moving on after losing a loved one, and magic. I felt the loss, but did not get into the romance and the magic. Parts of the reality of the story were unbelievable to me. I guess the one word to describe Wish was okay. Worth my library read, but not one I’d tell all my friends about.

3 Stars

256 pages (hardcover)

Released: January 1, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguie

Violet Eyes

When a storm brings the dashing Prince Richard to her family's farm, Violet falls in love at first sight. Richard also gives Violet his heart, but he knows his marriage is destined to be an affair of state, not of passion. For the king and queen have devised a contest to determine who will win their son's hand in marriage.

To be reunited with her prince, Violet must compete against princesses from across the land. It will take all of her wits - and a little help from an unexpected source - if Violet is to demonstrate the depth of her character and become Richard's bride.

Summary from Goodreads.com

One of the best books in the "Once Upon a Time" series, in my opinion. It's the retelling of The Princess and the Pea. When, farm girl, Violet, saves the prince of her country, they fall in love. But he is on his way home to witness his parent's contest for his hand in marriage. Princesses have gathered from all over the world to pass six tests and be eligible for his hand. When Violet learns that she might actually be a princess, she goes to the castle to compete as well.

This has always been a fairytale that I've wanted to rewrite just because there had to be more to the story than finding a pea under 20 mattresses. Debbie Viguie did a good job at writing that story.

There wasn't a lot of depth to the romance, but I did feel like we got to know and admire Violet.  I recommend it to others who love fairytales, and people who enjoy a good, fast, light-hearted read.

4 1/2 stars

256 pages (paperback)

Released: February 23, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Description from goodreads.com


Perfect Chemistry was like an urban Romeo and Juliet.  Luckily, no double suicide though!  Alex and Brittany go to high school in the suburbs of Chicago.  Their town is very split (north and south-side) to such an extreme that sparks fly when a chemistry teacher assigns yearlong lab partners alphabetically.  Brittany Ellis and Alex Fuentes think they have nothing in common, yet they grow closer together as they realize that they’re both not who they pretend to be.  Reputations are everything to them, whether it’s pretending to be the perfect blonde cheerleader, or the tough gang member, they both have secrets to keep.

I really enjoyed the characters and their depth.  I also enjoyed how Simone Elkeles could get us inside a gang to realize that good and bad is not as black and white as it seems.  In Alex’s world it’s not good or bad, it’s survival.  I didn’t enjoy all of the swearing, or the sex.  If it had been my personal copy, I would’ve had my white-out in hand. 

3 1/2 stars

357 pages (paperback)

Published: January 1, 2008

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

Hearts BloodAnluan has been crippled since childhood, part of a curse that has besieged his family and his home of Whistling Tor. But when the young scribe Caitrin is retained to sort through family documents, she brings about unexpected changes in the household, casting a hopeful light against the despairing shadows.

But to truly free Anluan’s burdened soul, Caitrin must unravel the web of sorcery woven by his ancestors before it claims his life—and their love…

Description from Goodreads.com

Overall, a fun read.  It was an interesting mingling of fantasy and gothic romance.  Running away from her past, Caitrin finds herself at Whistling Tor.  She is delighted to find work as a scribe, even when the townspeople warn her about the strange going-ons at the manor.  Four generations ago, the chieftain of the manor, after disputing with his neighbors, decided to raise his own unstoppable army.  He doesn’t know what went wrong with the spell, but “the Host” which he called forth aren’t as biddable as he’d planned.  When he, and later his descendents, leave the grounds, the Host go into a violent frenzy, killing friends and enemies alike.

Caitrin enters the scene, and changes the way that everyone views the Host.  She sees good and hope where everyone else has just seen despondency.

My only disappointment in the story was how Caitrin and Anluan’s romance developed.  It developed very slowly, where both characters aren’t confident that the other feels the same way.  When they finally did acknowledge it, they skipped kissing and went straight to making love.  Where’s the progression?  And why couldn’t they be married first?

Besides that, it was a very beautiful, and suspenseful read.  Juliet Marillier is the author of several fantasy books including the Sevenwaters and Bridei series.  She also wrote YA books, Wildwood Dancing and Cybele’s Secret.

4 Stars

560 pages (Hardcover)

Released: October 2, 2009