Friday, May 28, 2010

The Body Finder - Kimberly Derting

TITLE: The Body Finder

AUTHOR: Kimberly Derting

SUMMARY: 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 left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer-and Violet is unnerved by her hope 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. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A kudos to Derting for writing a strong female lead.

Violet has captured my heart and she's the sorta female lead that I love. The struggle she has with these new-found feelings for her best friend Jay was beautifully written and so realistic. The push and pull and fear of 'outing' herself and ruining their lifetime friendship was a thrill to read. There were so many aspects that made me love their story. How long they'd been friends and the comfort they had with one another along with Jay knowing her secret ability and him never viewing it as creepy or doubting it. Finally, we had a female that wasn't going to be walked on. There are scenes where Jay and her are arguing and I love that Violet didn't back down. She wasn't annoying stubborn or written in a way that rubbed you the wrong way, she just wasn't a pushover or a lovesick puppy. What clinched my love for this character was that when Jay was being obtuse or they was friction between the two she didn't allow him to walk over her or push her into anything. Often, I feel like the female lead allows for poor behavior because she loves him. It was refreshing to see how healthy and strong a female she was. To appreciate what he did but still not excuse bad behavior.

The plot itself was amazing! It had a far more adult feel to it and that often came from chapters being written from the villains point of view. It gave it a grittier, darker edge to the book, which I loved. Plus, Violet and her family had already come to terms with her special skill. It wasn't a taboo topic or something they shunned. In fact her parents worked around to try and discourage her searching out some of the 'echos' but at the same time finding answers (the little cemetery) to give her peace. The parent child dynamic was very refreshing. They were as normal as you could be considering that their child could hear the echos of those (human and animals) that were murdered. The way the book started off with Violet (at a young age) going for a walk with her father and her discovery was chilling and the perfect answer to set the stage of her skills. I love when an author shows us rather then tells us.

All the characters were well rounded. I enjoyed that Violet wasn't an outcast with one or two friends, but rather she was like most kids in school. She had her own group of friends, she wasn't in the 'it' group but she wasn't the kid that got picked on. It gave the book a far more realistic feel to it and it allowed for you to connect with the characters.

Derting's debut novel knocked it out of the park! I'll be eagerly awaiting her second book Desires of the Dead and highly recommend that you all pick up The Body Finder.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fallen - Lauren Kate

TITLE: Fallen

AUTHOR: Lauren Kate

SUMMARY: There''s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price''s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He''s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can''t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story. - From Publisher

REVIEW: I was sadly disappointed with this book.

I found it to be far too much like other books I've read. The whole school being more than it appears has been done and in my opinion done much better. I found the way the school was set up and controlled far too dramatic and sorta felt like a ploy to make the kids isolated. I think Kate could've found a way to bring this group of troubled kids together without the school or maybe doing the school in a way that hasn't been done.

The characters themselves bored me and were really predictable and cookie cutter. Each character filled the 'formula' and nothing about them was really unique. And then we hit the major pot hole that always rattles me.

Yes, I do realize that I am not a teen and so my view on relationships is naturally different. With that said while I understand that teen books will have a relationship occur far quicker and not with the same layers and detailing that an adult book will I don't think that means that the female should be weak minded. Can someone please explain to me why so often in teen/ya books the female lead is written as a smitten kitten who will forgive any slight and the male lead always has some excuse as to why he flops on and off on the girl. Why in the world are we teaching young females that it's okay if the guy goes hot and cold and to just keep going back for more? I know this is just fictional but I feel like it's setting up unrealistic expectations for girls or that they should stick with a guy that does that whole yo-yo thing and that he'll have this 'reason' for his behavior.

Okay, I'll put that rant on the shelf... for now.

The story/plot was interesting but I felt like it took ions before we got to the meat of it all. I wish we'd gotten more of Luce's back-story and the events of the 'incident' that brought Luce to the school. I'm all for being shown the events rather than told for important plot points. I think in this case it would've added to her character.

This first book is definitely a set up for the next book and sadly nothing about this book really makes me want to pick up the second book. All around I think the younger age group will enjoy but for those adults that enjoy reading teen/ya books I'd venture to guess you won't.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult

TITLE: Nineteen Minutes

AUTHOR: Jodi Picoult

SUMMARY: Jodi Picoult, bestselling author of My Sister''s Keeper and The Tenth Circle, pens her most riveting book yet, with a startling and poignant story about the devastating aftermath of a small-town tragedy.

Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens--until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state''s best witness, but she can''t remember what happened before her very own eyes--or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show--destroying the closest of friendships and families. Nineteen Minutes asks what it means to be different in our society, who has the right to judge someone else, and whether anyone is ever really who they seem to be. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A must read!

This was one of those books where I loved but at the beginning it had some lull moments. I liked that Picoult jumped back in time to give us history but at the beginning I was so desperate to get into the actual shooting that I was a tad frustrated that I was being pulled out of the present to be in the past. However, this could also just be my small level of patience I have. I did enjoy the past segments as it got closer to the shooting. I found those more relevant however; after reading the book those early years of Peter showed events that happened that morphed and changed him and tied things together.

Content. This book was heavy. It broke my heart in more ways than one and just sorta rammed home the after effects. Often the news covers the current and you sorta forget that for the victims the sound of a loud bang will send them falling to their knees looking for cover long after the camera crews have packed up. That's heartbreaking and Picoult gave us so many moments of the after. Of Peter receiving letters, the court description and pictures and how it shook up the town. It was all overwhelming and Picoult never shied away from the content. I feel like if you're writing about such heavy issues that you need to fully dive in because not and skimming or glazing over takes away and trivializes the events.

As always Picoult writes in detail and definitely not one that you can sorta breeze through. Every page has important information and the characters go through lots of changes and there's twist and upsets and you end up feeling for people that you wouldn't normally feel for.

A potent and beautiful book about events that are horrific and painful. One of the best books I've read and a must read for all, especially if you're in a book club.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

TITLE: Hush, Hush

AUTHOR: Becca Fitzpatrick

SUMMARY: For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She''s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora''s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can''t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A brilliant start to this new series!

The character of Nora Grey sorta fell into the cookie cutter shape that seems to be drifting about in teen/ya genre. And I've got to admit I didn't really like that. I don't like reading about the same character in book after book and that makes me wish that perhaps things were changed up. That Nora was a bit different and wasn't the typical teen that was clumped in the reject group of HS. I do have to say that I liked that Nora's Mom wasn't what I expected. I expected her to be distant and not really take an interest in Nora's life but I enjoyed reading that her Mom was there, just simply trying to make ends meat for the family. Was a refreshing change, but didn't make up for Nora being the expected.

Patch, thankfully was not what I expected. He was probably the most refreshing of them all. I sorta popped him into dark/brooding sort and while he did have some of those qualities as the book progressed things were just exposed and I ended up loving him. I don't want to give too much away because no one likes spoilers in reviews but I am most looking forward to this series due to his character. Fitzpatrick wrote him full of angles and edges and while reading this I was never quite sure who he exactly was and what his motives truly were. She kept me on my toes and I love when the unexpected happens with a character that you feel will be expected. Make sense?

The story itself I found to be an enjoyable read. The plot was laid out nicely with a good pace. Things were in constant motion but I never felt like she tried to put too much into this book. She set the stage beautifully and left enough loose ends that her second book Crescendo is going to be eagerly anticipated by this reader.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hunting Grounds - Patricia Briggs

TITLE: Hunting Ground

AUTHOR: Patricia Briggs

SUMMARY: Anne Latham didn't know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son--and enforcer--of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn't know how dangerous it could be either...
Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran's controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan--and it seems like someone else might be, too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all--or risk losing everything... - From Publisher

REVIEW: I love the character of Anne, but I sorta wish we got more of her inner struggle.

It's not a secret that I'm in love with Brigg's Mercy Thompson series and that I'm also a fan of this series. I love her writing style and characters. My issue with Anne is that I want more of her turmoil. I feel like we got some of her inner conflict and her trying to deal with her past issues but I would love more. I would love to feel that oppressive feeling she gets when surrounded by dominates and her struggling with things. Meshing her human and wolf sides together. I guess, in short, I want her to be a bit more broken and for us, the readers, to get a better handle on how broken she truly is.

However, in no way do I think Briggs is gliding over her past or changing Anne's character I just want more. I did think we got some beautiful and touching moments in this installment but I'd like more. I'm a bit greedy that way.

What I have loved is Charles dealing with her. I love how off balance she makes him and I love reading how torn he is with trying to ensure he doesn't hurt her or scare her away with his past. It's all frustratingly beautiful.

As always, reading Briggs is pure reading enjoyment. I love her plots and characters and how she weaves things together. Will be eagerly awaiting more.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Generation Dead: Kiss of Life - Daniel Waters

TITLE: Generation Dead: Kiss of Life

AUTHOR: Daniel Waters

SUMMARY: The phenomenon that's been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay. Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time. While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakville have banded together in a group they're calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in segregation.

Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends. Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie -- her Homecoming date Tommy Williams -- her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her. Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave. Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can't seem to live without. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Some will love this second installment, I am not one of them.

The first book didn't hook me as much as I wanted it to and the second one didn't make the cut either. The concept was really cool and I like the political and acceptance issues that were brought in and think Waters did a good job is reminding people that while we may not understand things it doesn't mean we should try to destroy or shun it either. I just generally found the book boring. It had moments where it grabbed me but it didn't hold my attention. I often had to force myself to sit down and pick it up.

Along with lack of attention holding I found the concept of lusting after the zombie disturbing, which is odd because I'm always fine with it in the vampire genre.

Perhaps this series is better read with the understanding that the book is more a tale about acceptance. Because from that angle it's a real cautionary tale. From the perspective I read this with just left me bored.

Not sure I'll be snagging the next book, of course I said the same thing about the second book.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

You Can Run But You Cant Hide: The Life and Times of Dog the Bounty Hunter - Duane 'The Dog' Chapman

TITLE: You Can Run But You Cant Hide: The Life and Times of Dog the Bounty Hunter

AUTHOR: Duane 'The Dog' Chapman

SUMMARY: Duane Chapman, aka Dog the Bounty Hunter, has had an amazing life. He had a troubled and trying upbringing, which led to an early life of crime, including numerous arrests for armed robbery and a murder conviction. While Dog claims to be innocent of the murder rap, he maintains that the 5 years he served for the crime changed his life. With a new-found respect for the law, Dog vowed to become a force for change and good. This inspired him to pursue a career in bounty hunting. Dog is now the owner of Da Kine Bail Bonds in Honolulu and self-proclaimed "Greatest Bounty Hunter in the World." Six thousand-plus captures over the past two decades have earned this highly intense, charismatic ex-con and born-again Christian such a distinction. He is also a devoted father of 12, and some of his older children work with him as bounty hunters, along with his equally charismatic new wife Beth. In YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE, Dog details all this and more, giving his legion of fans all the details they've been waiting for. - From Publisher

REVIEW: I have a not so guilty love for this family and the show. Sure at times it's a bit crazy dramatic and over the top but isn't that sorta what makes all 'reality tv shows'? Who's the sluttiest? Who can have the most kids? How many lies can you tell on a little island? The crazier, the more people love. Of course my love for this family stems from a few areas and one is from the Stephanie Plum series. I easily picture the character Ranger being a Leland sort of guy. With that said, yes, I do realize that I at times live in a fantasy world of books. However, so do you, to a degree if you're reading this.

This book is filled with details from Dog's life that I sorta assumed but never realized how far he was down that rabbit hole until I read this. The guys life has been interesting and colorful to say the least. I love that he didn't hold anything back. You either love him or hate him and he's okay with whichever you chose.

I'm not a big fan of biographies that are ladled with straight facts. I enjoy having the subjects life told to me like a story. As if I'm sitting there and they are almost predicting what my next question will be. Dog wrote this book just like that. It kept me interested while still being very informative.

So, for those of you that hunker down and watch Dog the Bounty Hunter marathons on A&E you'll definitely want to pick this up to read, bra.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Feast of Fools - Rachel Caine

TITLE: Feast of Fools

AUTHOR: Rachel Caine

SUMMARY: The wait is over. dig into the feast...

In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace. Student Claire Danvers has never been convinced, though especially with the arrival of Mr. Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town's living and its dead is unthinkably sinister. It's only at a formal ball, attended by vampires and their human dates, that Claire realizes the elaborately evil trap he's set for Morganville. - From Publisher

REVIEW: A great re-start to a series I was starting to get bored with.

When I first started reading this series I loved! It was fun and different and I found the scenarios that this motley crew got themselves involved in was humorous and always made for a fast paced, enjoyable read. However, the last book or two left me wanting more and a bit disappointed and bored. Thankfully this book definitely picked up and did some nice changing around with the characters and story line. I feel as though this series has been re-energized.

The new characters that Caine brought onto the canvas were perfect and just what was required. The beginning villains, while still are no where near being redeemed, were starting to be predictable. This new group is harder and far more blood thirsty.

All around I've starting to once again love this series and I'm looking forward to getting all caught up!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Betrayals - Lili St. Crow

TITLE: Betrayals

AUTHOR: Lili St. Crow

SUMMARY: he's no angel...

Poor Dru Anderson. Her parents are long gone, her best friend is a werewolf, and she's just learned that the blood flowing through her veins isn't entirely human. (So what else is new?)

Now Dru is stuck at a secret New England Schola for other teens like her, and there's a big problem—she's the only girl in the place. A school full of cute boys wouldn't be so bad, but Dru's killer instinct says that one of them wants her dead. And with all eyes on her, discovering a traitor within the Order could mean a lot more than social suicide...

Can Dru survive long enough to find out who has betrayed her trust—and maybe even her heart? - From Publisher

REVIEW: This series is rapidly becoming one of my favorites.

I am a huge fan of the way Crow is constantly building up relationships before twisting them. She's managed to do this with almost every person that interacts with Dru. Sure, she's got the tension of romance but that doesn't consume the book, just adds the delicious variables that make Dru's choices that much harder. I love when author's can keep this reader on her toes. I often felt that when I was just starting to grasp a character she'd add a nice little bomb in there. Never did those bombs seem out from left field, just explained some little moment that happened previously that I never took much stock in.

The plot in this one at times did hit a bit of a lull. However, there was more than enough action to keep me engaged and those moments of lull are often hard to avoid especially if they are used to explain things later.

Definitely cannot wait for the third book. Crow has created a wonderful world, with vivid characters and a plot that is dark and twisted and keeps you reading and guessing.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥