Top Ten Tuesday-Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week we talking about our Spring TBRs. This may seem slightly repetitive considering my post in December about the books I’m most looking forward to this year (because more than half of them were coming out between January and May), so humor me a bit here. I really want to read these!

 

1. A Million Suns by Beth Revis– It’s only been sitting on my bookshelf forever and I’ve been dying to read it since I finished Across the Universe. It’s a blessing and a curse (but not really) to have so many good books to read.  Why do I need sleep?

 

2. Hallowed by Cynthia Hand– This came out and I still haven’t bought it. Why???  I have no idea because I want to read it SO bad.

 

3. Lost In Time by Melissa De la Cruz- I still haven’t read this sixth installment of the Blue Bloods series.  And I should be cause I love me some Jack Force!

 

4. Fever by Lauren DeStefano– Oooooh what happened to Rhine and Gabriel? And what has become of Linden?  I should probably read it to find out.

 

5. The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting– I’ll be really honest here. I like all the creepy stuff in these books, but what I really want is more Violet and Jay.

 

6. Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready– Holy cow, I’m both dying for and sad about the conclusion to the Shift books.  What is going to happen?????

 

7. When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle– I can’t explain it. I just have to read this.

 

8. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare– The only thing I hate about this series is waiting for the next installment.  Can’t wait for this one.

 

9. Underworld by Meg Cabot– Pierce and John and that whole “trying to kidnap her and keep her in the underworld” thing–I loved that.  And I love everything Meg Cabot writes so I know this will be good.

 

10. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith– I hear this is super cute. I like super cute.  I love books that make me smile. Also there’s a British guy so I’m sold.

The Crazypantsness of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong. (Barnes and Noble)

I can sum up my feelings about this book in three words:

WHAT. THE.  SHIZZ?

Okay, let me back up.  The beginning of this book is SO good.  Mara Dyer (pseudonym like Carolyne Keene only more murdery) is our narrator and she tells you flat-out that she may have possibly or accidentally on purpose killed a few people.

Only three. Don’t get all judgey.

So this is an awesome start, right?  I was SO in.

Three months ago Mara awoke in a hospital to find that she’d been in a terrible accident.  An old building collapsed with Mara, her boyfriend Jude, her frenemy Claire, and her BFF Rachel trapped inside.  Mara is the only one who made it out alive. She has no memory of the incident, why she was in that building or how she got there in the middle of the night. All she knows is that her friends are dead.

I know, right? Still totally good.

Mara’s family moves to Miami to get away. They’re hoping to help Mara escape her old life and make a fresh start. All that seems to happen is that the nightmares that have plagued her since the accident somehow seem to spill over into her waking life.  She sees Claire. She sees Jude–and they don’t seem happy with her.  They appear out of nowhere, along with other hallucinations, making her feel totally cray cray.

Enter oh obvious one—the hot, accented guy with tousled hair and a strange interest in Mara. And of course she hates him. It’s like a requirement.  Noah (Oh Hot One) is just your basic manwhore. And every girl wants him except the one who intrigues him most.  So…witty banter, witty banter, accent, sexual tension, flirting, flirting,  hair tousling and voila! A relationship unfolds.  And I’m still okay with all of this. I even thought some of the moments with Noah and Mara were good.  The romance is a bit predictable, but I’m alright with this because Noah has a British accent. That gives him, despite his slight sleaziness, an in in my book (I’m so shallow). Also, as much as I wanted to dislike him, he had some sweet moments.

Here’s where things get weird.  Mara has some odd abilities (if you want to call them that). And the hallucinations and the nightmares are getting more intense as her memory of that awful night is slowly returning. And it’s not good.  Houston, we definitely have a problem.

My main gripe at this point was that I felt like I was always doing one of two things:

1. Reading a tension-filled romantic scene between Noah and Mara (they are aplenty) or…

2. Going W  T  H ??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, I dare you to read this book and not utter that phrase once. There are some great creepy scenes and some funny parts, but there is no real explanation for anything (other than psychosis or PTSD, when you know it isn’t that. How lame would that be?). On top of all that there is some really crazy business involving alligators.

Oh you read that right. Alligators.  And spiders.

Yup.

At this point I was lost and I felt I’d been taken on too many twists.  At the same time I couldn’t put the book down because I was hoping it would all make sense in the end.

It didn’t.  In fact the end just made it worse. It was a WTF sundae with a You Gotta Be Kidding Me on top.  It wasn’t a cliffhanger.  It was a ginormous HUH????

And then it was over, story to be continued in book two. That, to me, is so manipulative. A book, even in a series, should be a complete story. Even if someone goes missing (Peeta!) or if an old flame shows up (I can’t say where I recently read this but OMG!) or something completely shocking happens. The basic story should go somewhere. This one goes nowhere but in circles.

So, were there good things here? Yes.

Was there some crazy stuff? Hells yes.

What was missing was the explanation or a key to link the story together.

Crush Intensity: For the first portion 4/5. For the rest..um..2/5..maybe.  I think there are people who are going to LOVE this book. And then there are people like me. People for whom all the kissing and British accents in the world cannot make up for the ending and all of the unanswered questions.

For another opinion, check out this review from Makeshift Bookmark. She liked it (and I love her blog).

Top Ten Tuesday- Cover Edition

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is Favorite Covers.  This especially fun if you’re a YA fan because YA covers are so notoriously, embarrassingly bad. Even the good books often have hideous covers (lots of headless or emo people. What’s the deal there?) that make me want to curl up and die. Or worse, they make me ashamed of what I’m reading.  But there are a few stellar ones that come to mind. Covers I love to look at no matter what:

1. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han– Pretty girl, two cute boys. They look simple. They all have heads. This is good.

2.  Ten Things We Did and Probably Shouldn’t Have by Sarah Mlynowski- I know there are people who would probably be embarrassed by this cover but I think it is SO cute. Look at these two! They need to kiss STAT.

3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor– This is one of those covers that you totally don’t get (until you read the whole book) but you love either way. It’s just beautiful.

4. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Paperback Edition)- This is one of the most gorgeous paperbacks in my recent memory. And the tagline “One boy helps her remember. The other lets her forget.” Oh you guys, it’s so perfect.

5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare– What can I say? I have a thing for men in hats. Love it. This cover totally drew me in and made me want to read the book, even though I had no clue what it was about. It was my first Clare.

6. Abandon by Meg Cabot– This cover is gorg. And I love that it’s based on drawings she did when she was in high school.  And it just fits, you know? It totally fits the story. Alot of book don’t do that. You sit there wondering why this headless girl is sitting on a suitcase and go, “What does that even mean? Is her head stuck in the suitcase? Is this like Se7en or something?” This is not the case with Abandon. The image is pretty and it’s mysterious just like the book.

7. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart- This book is pure awesome. My daughter and I devoured it.  And the cover has all of these cute images that give insight into the characters and the house. We were constantly referring to it as we read.

8. Past Perfect by Leila Sales– This cover has nothing to do with the story, but it’s so cute. And that adorable happiness she’s experiencing is how I feel when I read a Leila Sales book. Also, where can I buy that jacket?

9. Divergent by Veronica Roth– I don’t totally get this cover but I dig it.

10. Wither by Lauren DeStefano– This cover has such great imagery.  It parallels the birdcage and bird with Rhine and her life of imprisonment. It’s deep, man.

11. Entwined by Heather Dixon– I can’t explain it. I love the dress. I love that you aren’t sure if she’s running TO something or AWAY from it. It’s just so pretty.

Top Ten Tuesday- Theme Song Edition

You guys, I love the theme that the ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish have chosen for Top Ten Tuesday this week. I always love them, but this one totally speaks to my heart because I’m the girl (ok, mature-ish woman) who carries her iPod everywhere, creates playlists for everything and has to be told by my kids constantly to turn down her music.

So why was this such a hard list to make? I mean, hello, we try as often as possible to include Soundtracks to our reviews. But therein lies the problem: I’ve already listed so many (but not all) of these in reviews that they don’t feel original to me anymore.  But you know what? The songs still totally rock me.  That’s what music should do.  It should take you back to a moment or a certain emotion and it should make it come alive again.

1.  Divergent by Veronica Roth – Bleed It Out by Linkin Park. Everytime I hear this song, all I want to do is say “HOLLLLAAAAA!!!” It’s lame, I know, but it’s me.

2. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson– Across the Universe by The Beatles.  As with most people, The Beatles are my favorite band ever.  I love the lyrics to this song.  You have definitely heard it before, but have you really listened to the words?

3. Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins– Read My Mind by The Killers

I love this book so, so much. And I love that even though Cricket and Lola have known each other forever, there is that underlying sense of newness to them as they tiptoe toward a romantic relationship.  There’s so much hope and uncertainty and such sweetness there.  And there is a great set of lines in this song:

It’s funny how you just break down
Waitin’ on some sign
I pull up to the front of your driveway
With magic soakin’ my spine

I just love how perfectly it hits that vibe of Lola and Cricket.  They are both waiting on something and throughout the whole story, the whole relationship, there is such charm and such magic in their connection.

4. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand– Run by Snow Patrol.

Oh my goodness, have you read this book?  The words to this song fit it so perfectly.

5. Across the Universe by Beth Revis– Newborn by Muse

I loved this book like, in a crazypants way. Originally, I chose the theme from The Twilight Zone as its soundtrack (which totally still fits), but I think this song does too.

6. The Summer Books (The Summer I Turned Pretty,It’s Not Summer Without You, We’ll Always Have Summer) by Jenny Han- Smile Like You Mean it by The Killers

7. Blue Bloods by Melissa De la Cruz– Time is Running Out by Muse

I can’t take credit for this one. She put it in the book. How can I think of anything else?  Plus, it fits perfectly.

8. The Truth bout Forever by Sarah Dessen– Someday by The Strokes

9. Hourglass by Myra McEntire– If I Had a Gun by Noel Gallagher’s High lying Birds.

Lordy, I love this song.

And that’s all I’ve got! I’m looking forward to hearing everyone else’s picks.  I need some new music!

Name of the Star

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police now believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities. (Barnes and Noble)

The Story:

Rory moves from Louisiana to London in the midst of some crazy business.  As she hopes to start her new life at Wexford Academy, a boarding school, everyone is in hysteria over a murder that appears to be a copycat of the first 1888 Jack the Ripper crime.

Creepy!!!

One by one, more murders occur with details alarmingly close to the originals.  After being dragged to a crime scene by her recent snogging partner, Jerome (um, yeah. You might want to rethink that one, Rory. Just sayin), Rory gets noticed by a strange man.  And when she runs into him later on campus, things get a little creepy.  With the whole school going Spazz City over the recent murders (and those to come. Boooohaaaaaaaa), it appears that Rory is about to get more involved than she’d like.  She finds that she has a strange ability that interests London’s special Undercover Ghost Police (not really their name, I swear) and they want to use her to lure the killer out.

My Take:

This was completely different from any of Maureen Johnson’s other books.  There was still an underlying sense of humor in the main character, which I appreciate because I think Johnson does that well, but there was a great creepy vibe that hearkened back to old school horror films— the old black and whites that let the horror happen in the set up and in the anticipation.  Of course, anything dealing with Jack the Ripper is equal parts intriguing and disturbing (I’m sorry Johnny Depp, but even you can’t make me watch From Hell again because watching the Ripper crimes scenes recreated was that scary).

Hmm...maybe I will watch it again

At the same time, the details given by Johnson made me want to look up more facts about the infamous murders and the theories behind who the killer may have actually been.

Picture of the real From Hell Letter. That gives me shivers. The bad kind.

Along with the gruesome bits of history is a storyline about ghosts. I won’t delve into too much detail here because it could potentially be quite spoilery, but I thought it was a fun, creative twist in the overall plot.  Also, Rory is still a just a teenage girl trying to adjust to life in a new school, faced with the typical are-we-boyfriend-and-girlfriend-or-do-we-just-makeout-alot dilemmas, in addition to wondering when and if this murderer will strike again.

Crush Intensity: 3.75/5 I liked it. It was a solid read.

Soundtrack: I’m showing my age here, but whatevs. This song, Like a Stone by Audioslave, has always creeped me out because of its stalkerish nature.

Fangirl Friday- February 17

Fangirl Friday is a feature hosted by Nancy Drew is My Homegirl. Basically, it’s where we chat it up about all of our most spazzworthy obsessions.  Here goes:

1. Adele- I know it’s played and played and played, but oh, seeing her win (and win, win, win) at the Grammys made me crave a good listen to 21.  In all honesty, I listen to her music relentlessly–but I was so happy to see her win so big.  And, on a side note, as much as I love her voice, you haven’t heard singing until you’ve heard my six-year-old trying to sing Rolling in the Deep in the shower.  I sit in the hallway and listen to her and it is the cutest thing EVER!!!

2. Hana by Lauren Oliver– Did you know there’s a short story between Delirium and Pandemonium? I didn’t either until my friend Maggie at Gone Pecan told me and was then nice enough to  send me the link.  It’s the story of Lena’s best friend Hana and what happens to her after Lena escapes. Come on. You know you want to read it.

3. I Fancy You- Alright, alright, I know that Valentine’s Day has passed, but did you see this cuteness?

I am so into this little crush that Klaus has on Caroline.  I mean yeah, he murdered his mum and yeah, he staked like, all of his siblings and has created a race of hybrids to serve him–but he has a fancypants English accent! And he paints! That has to count for something!

4. Lestat and Louis on Edward Cullen– To my Facebook friends, I’m sorry that you’ve already seen this, but I think it’s SO FUNNY.  It’s like Mean Girls with vampires. Love it!

5. Geek Love on TLC- I just caught and episode of this and am pretty sure it will be one of my favorite shows ever. It’s geeks! It’s speed dating! And Star Wars! This made me and the hubs want to hit Comic Con even more. Check it!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself? (Goodreads)

It’s so difficult to put my love for certain books into coherent thoughts and words.  If I really told you exactly how I felt about some of them, this is what the reviews would look like:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and then maybe:

OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!

So when it comes to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I don’t want to be a babbling idiot and say “You guys, this book is pure awesome.”

But you guys, this book is pure awesome. There’s no other way to say it (or, I’m sure there is but I have no idea how to communicate it as I’m still in the spazzing phase). So forgive me if I slobber all over this one or if I ramble incoherently. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I don’t want you to walk away without being convinced that is book is worth your time.

Here’s why:

1. Karou- She’s our protagonist. She has blue hair. Blue, because one day she wished it would be that color and thus, it was. Also, she’s mysterious and passionate a a total butt-kicker while still wanting to be a seventeen year-old girl who goes to art school (oh yeah, in Prague) and hang with her best friend.  It’s just that she also has access to a door that leads to magic and creatures—those who would be considered monsters by most standards—and strange errands and adventures.

2. Akiva- There isn’t alot I can reveal about Akiva the seraphim, so I’ll go with the obvious one—he’s Hottie McHotpants. Not just in the way his physical beauty is described, but in his brokenness and in the way he once again finds the desire to follow his heart regardless of the cost.

Doesn't he look sad? Like his heart is weighted?

“Everything was between them, everything he’d felt suffuse the air while they faced each other over the rooftops. Being near her was like balancing on a tipping world, trying to keep your footing as the ground wanted to roll you forward, hurl you into a spiral from which there was no recovery, only impact, and it was a longed-for impact, and a sweet and beckoning collision.” pg 199

3. The Creatures and Mythology– Brimstone, I love you and I want to hug you for what you’ve done for Karou. Don’t you wish you knew? Maybe you should read the book and find out.

4. Freaking World Travels- Karou lives in Prague. She travels to Marrakesh and Paris and Idaho (um, so that’s not so exciting but they can’t all be winners). She’s lived everywhere, learned the languages, learned their fighting techniques and bought the t-shirt. The door that leads to Brimstone can open to any place she wants to go or any place he needs to send her. And these locations are described with lush detail. It made me want to get on a plane—or find my own magic doorway.

Prague

5. The Writing- This is the first book I’ve read by Taylor. It was beautiful and poetic, written with such creativity and mind-blowing visual images. It flowed so perfectly and easily that I didn’t want it to end.  This book had me at hello, goodbye and every moment in between.

“Karou wished she could be the kind of girl who was complete unto herself, comfortable with solitude, serene.  But she wasn’t. She was lonely, and she feared the missingness within her as if it might expand and…cancel her. She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on a balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust.” pg 71

Crush Intensity: 5/5 Fantastic. Major crush here. Huge.

Big thanks to my friend Sandie at Teen Lit Rocks for encouraging me to read it!

Top Ten Tuesday- Oops

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

The topic this week is supposed to be Top Ten Books for People Who Don’t Read.  Since apparently I am unable to follow instructions, a few weeks ago I posted a list under the same heading  (I should have been more specific like, “People Who Don’t Read YA”. My bad!) Anyhoo, if you’d like to see my original list you can do that here. Otherwise, this week I’ll be doing what I should have done then.

So here’s my Top Ten Books for People Who Don’t Read Paranormal. I feel that this is a subject I can totally relate to because I really am not a fan of books about wolves and vampires and the like.  I mean, have you seen the covers of these books? Oh the emo faces! Oh the Twilight ripoffs!  It’s embarrassing to even pick one up, nevermind reading them.  But there are a choice few that I like. In fact, I pretty much love most of these:

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Angels, vampires, faeries, warlocks, wolves

Bonus Factor: Jace

These are considered Urban Fantasy and they fit that description perfectly, but if anyone had told me what they were about and the long list of crazy creatures, I may have skipped them. Thank goodness I went by the legions of ladies who swoon over Jace,  because I seriously LOVE these books. Clare makes this genre totally cool and fun.

 

The Blue Bloods series by Melissa De la Cruz

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Angels, Vampires, Witches

Bonus Factor: Jack Force

This series has an interesting mix of angels and vampires with some really fun history thrown in.  The love triangles are killer and the relationship of Schuyler and Jack is packed with chemistry. Get ready to fall in love with Jack. Also, dear lord, the tension is fantastic. I could barely take it.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Angels

I’ve read a ton of stories about fallen angels and storyline gets old quickly unless something truly creative is done with it (see Blue Bloods).  Unearthly has nothing to do with fallen angels. This is about a girl who finds out that she is part angel. And this girl’s entire purpose is wrapped up in a mysterious mission she must complete. Of course there are barriers to that mission. And of course there is a great love story. And the characters are wonderful.  I was totally surprised by how much I enjoyed this and at how swoonworthy the romance was.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Wolves

I can’t say this enough: I hate wolves.  It’s just not a storyline that generally speaks to me. This may be due in part to the fact that I absolutely cannot stand Jacob Black.  Hate him! This book, however is entirely about wolves. And it isn’t about some lame girl in love with a wolf . It’s about a tough girl who is a wolf. And she is set to lead her own pack along with the guy she’s betrothed to.  Only problem: she hates him (I don’t know why ladies. He’s pretty sexy). Oh and she falls in love with a human.  I loved the main character, Calla. She made this book for me.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Angels, Mythological Creatures, All-around bad asses

I’ve blabbed about this book an awful lot, I know. And luckily, the review is coming this week because I feel I need to discuss it more.  This story is less about angels than it is about clashing mythological worlds and the “normal” girl caught in crossfire.  It is so good. So good!

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Ghosts

Oh, I love, love, love these books. There is major swoon here. And the premise— because of some odd, cosmic occurrence, people under a certain age can all see ghosts—is so fun. And our heroine, Aura, can see the ghost of her boyfriend who just died. It’s weird and tragic all at once. Read this series.

The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting

CAST OF CHARACTERS: People who hear dead people (is there a name for that?)

These books are so creepy without having a really big “paranormal” feel to them.  Violet can hear dead people calling her—those who have died violently at the hands of another. And she attempts to use this ability to help find a serial killer who has been stalking young girls in her area. And while she’s trying to figure out that mess, she has developed a major crush on her seriously charming best friend, Jay. This series is equal parts creepy suspense and sweet romance.

Abandon by Meg Cabot

CAST OF CHARACTERS: A guy who runs the Underworld (so, Mythology)

This is a retelling of the myth of Persephone. And it’s Meg Cabot so, while it’s a little darker than her normal stuff, it still has her awesome wit, her great characters, and a romance that leaves you wanting more.

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Vampires, Vampire Hunters

This one is funny you guys. Totally funny. And yes, the naughty vampire, Lucien, is pretty darn sexy, as is the vampire hunter, Alaric (who I happen to picture looking like Alaric from The Vampire Diaries. This is not a bad thing). And Meena is caught between her attraction to Lucien and her belief in what is right and safe.  Word to the wise: this girl is no mindless Bella.

THE ENEMY BY CHARLES HIGSON

Cast of Characters: Zombies

You guys, this book is creepytown.  A virus infects the world so that anyone over the age of eighteen turns into disgusting, brain-eating zombies.  There’s  a few groups of kids outside of London, all of whom are trying to stay safe without starving to death.  It doesn’t sound enticing but trust me, I was sucked in from the get go.

Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder #2)

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

Violet can sense the echoes of those who’ve been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she’d turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike’s tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger. (Goodreads)

The Story:

If you haven’t read The Body Finder, take heed ( I’ve always wanted to say that). This is going to get spoilery. And seriously, you should read it, if for no other reason than to meet the awesome that is Jay Heaton (but really, the whole book is good).

In Desires of the Dead, Violet is still trying to keep secret her morbid ability to hear the mysterious call of dead bodies.  Only her family and her crazy hot BFF turned boyfriend, Jay (I told you, see above), know about her ability.  When she makes a major discovery related to a recent kidnapping, Violet is unwillingly brought to the attention of the FBI.

To makes matters all the more complicated, she’s being harassed by someone who leaves odd notes and creepy packages (you know, of the dead cat variety)for her.  Violet thinks she knows who it is, but she isn’t entirely sure. And ever since she and Jay have entered into sweet, smoochy coupledom, he is even more fiercely protective of her (and yes ladies, it’s quite becoming), which is why she shies away from telling him about the FBI and her new creepy stalker.  She doesn’t want him to go all Edward Cullen on her or to blow the whistle to her family.

Jay is totally aware that something is going on, but he seems pretty wrapped up in his new friend Mike.  Mike is nice and while Violet’s pal Chelsea is busy falling all over him, Violet learns that he has a dark, sad past and that somehow he may be linked to some of her current troubles.

My Take:

I really love this series.  It’s so well done and unique without being too “paranormal” (not my favorite genre). The descriptions of how Violet finds the bodies and of how she sees and hears imprints of them echoed on their killers is totally haunting.  She does so many absolutely impulsive, crazy things because her drive to answer the call of these lost souls is so strong that it overrides her fears.

And yet, this series is not about ghosts. These books are about finding and hopefully bringing to justice those who have taken another life—it’s just that the gift Violet uses is extraordinary.  There’s a good balance of the creepy right along with humor and a very sweet, believable romance.  Violet is a great heroine, realistic and flawed without falling into that common trend of being The Girl With No Self Esteem.  She’s likeable and she’s bright and she knows what she must do.

And Jay. I have to talk about him because man, do I love that guy. Seriously, I may have to rearrange my list because I find myself looking forward to every page with his name.

Crush Intensity: 4.75/5 Read this series.  The next book, The Last Echo, will be out on April 17.

Top Ten Tuesday- Book Club Picks

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by those lovelies over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week we’re discussing our Top Ten Book Club reads. Now, since I tend to blather on about the same books over and over again (The Sky Is Everywhere, Harry Potter, The Princess Diaries anyone?), I’ll make an effort to discuss Classic, YA and Adult fiction here, since book clubs aren’t normally limited by genre.  Also,  I think you all know that there are about 1000 YA books I’d like to recommend  (to you, to my girlfriends, to random people on the streets), but I’ll limit myself here. It’s going to take some discipline, but here goes.

1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger– Guys, I could spend weeks talking about this book.  It is my favorite.  I am absolutely in love with both Henry and Claire and I never, ever tire of reading it. If you haven’t tried this one, pick it up.

2.  Persuasion by Jane Austen– Everyone loves Darcy and Elizabeth and they love those Dashwood sisters and Emma, but I think people often overlook this beautiful book.  And sweet holy breeches, that letter by Captain Wentworth? It melted me. I was practically a puddle on the floor.

3. How To Save A Life by Sara Zarr– I think Zarr always asks interesting questions in her novels and this one is no different.  It touched so many emotions in me and I really believe it’s one that speaks outside of typical genre lines. I related to the kids in the story, but it really hit a nerve with me as a mom.

4. Night by Elie Wiesel– This is not a happy book. It’s dark, and haunting and sad.  But it’s essential that memories of horrors past not die, but are shared and carried on so that we have the foresight and the heart to never let them happen again. Here Wiesel accounts his experiences as a teenage boy thrust into a concentration camp with his father. It’s brutally vivid, but it is such a good read.

5. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton– This is the only book I’ve ever read by Wharton, but I devoured it.  It’s a picture of New york society during the late 1800’s and it’s full of lush descriptions, scandals and hateworthy characters. In fact, the only person I really loved was the one that everyone in the story kept at arm’s length. It’s a good book.

6. If I Stay by Gayle Forman– Ok, I talk about this one quite often too, but I really feel that there are so many beautiful themes to discuss here. Again, this is one I related to in so many ways, be it mother to child, daughter to parent, sibling to sibling or love to love—this one had everything. And yeah, it made me cry till my eyeballs practically bled, but it made my heart soar, and swoon and smile in equal amounts as well.

7. Snow Flower and The Secret Fan by Lisa See– This book delves into Chinese culture during the foot binding era (reason enough to read it because THAT is some crazy business) but the real story is about friendship.  If you don’t cry in this one then you have no heart!

8. Possession by AS Byatt– There is so much to discuss here. The story revolves around two modern-day scholars who discover love letters written by two Victorian-era poets who were quite famous. Byatt created tons of poetry and back story so that you’re really reading two stories at once (and they’re beautifully written). And at one point, it all sounded so authentic to me that I was convinced these poets must have actually existed.  Seriously. I looked them up online. (Genius? No. Gullible? Quite).

9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak– You need to read this book about Liesel and the Hubermann’s and how they lived in Nazi Germany while hiding a Jew in their home. And it’s fantastically narrated by Death.  It’s sad and dark and yet somehow hopeful.

10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor– This one is still on my mind (oh and yea for you and me, the review is coming next week!). I loved the creativity of the story and was totally blown away by the beauty of Taylor’s writing.

11. I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan– You must get sick of me talking about this book, but I had to mention it. I think it speaks across genres because it’s all about human connection. Again, there are so many ways I related to it.  I’m thinking of choosing this for my own book club (or any of the ten above. Geesh. It’s so hard to choose).