Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

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.

If I had to sum this review up in one word, that word would be ‘refreshing’. It was pretty awesome to read a new YA that implements a creative writing style and a very interesting plot and story line. I was sent this book last year from HarperTeen, and I devoured it in one day of reading and the story and characters have stuck with me all this while.

With the imminent release I today pre-ordered my hard copy to have on my shelf. The cover art is gorgeous, there is no person, place or thing there to distract me. I got to know the characters in the book in my own way. Kimberly gives you a basis to go on and your imagination can take you on the rest of the journey.

The two main characters Violet, and Jay are so fun. Through-out the book you are practically mentally screaming at them “HE LIKES YOU VIOLET” or “SHE LIKES YOU JAY”. Violet grew up a bit traumatized from finding a body of a girl her age in the woods when she was a small child. Her family and friends looked the other way as she went into the woods behind her house hearing echos of animals and bringing them home to bury properly.

Violet can also sense an echo on the murderer. Most people have some sort of echo attached to them, the more violent the death they caused (I assume even running over a squirrel would mark you) the louder the echo becomes. So when girls start going missing, Violet takes it upon herself to find the killer by looking for their fresh and distinct echos.

The book is fast paced, very fun, as I said refreshing. If you like mysteries, a little fun romance, and a good YA read then I urge you to pick this up.

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Review: Blue Moon by Alyson Noel (The Immortals Series)

To me Noel’s second book was stronger than her first. In Evermore the main character Ever annoyed me a bit. She seemed so dependent and weak to me. A bit over annoying and self pitying. Her parents died yes, but the pity party was a bit much.
In Blue Moon Ever is secure in her own skin. Damen and Ever’s relationship is strong and will probably withstand the tests of eternity. Roman a new bad boy in town gives Ever the creeps. Damen, Miles, or Haven notice nothing and even accuse Ever of just not liking new people. Figuring they are right Ever tries to open up to Roman to devestating consequences. Ever begins a race against time to save her friends and her true love. Will the Summerland give her the answers she is looking for?
Ever made some really bad decisions in this book. I would normally slam the book for the turns this took. It gets a bit outlandish, but it all works together well to end the book and makes me anticipate the time when I pick up the third book in the series. I have to know how all of this Damen / Ever stuff works out. If Miles becomes a pop star, if Haven and Josh’s relationship survives.
However what I do not need to see is Ever’s Aunt bumbling through like an idiot. I love YA books where the adults actually have a clue and aren’t complete idiots. Not every teen, or every teen who reads hates their parents. Ever seems to feel gratitude to her Aunt but not much real love going on there.
I missed the presence of Riley but adding the creepy twins Romy and Rayne made me miss her a bit less.
Ever grew up a lot in this book. I was very happy with her development. I would however like to see some development in the other characters in the third book.
If you like Shiver, The Mortal Instruments Series, or The Dark Guardian Series you will like Evermore and Blue Moon.

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Interview: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl Authors of Beautiful Creatures

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Photo by: Alex Hoerner

A big thank you to Kami and Margie, co-authors of Beautiful Creatures for answering these interview questions for Bookalicio.us. You can read my review of Beautiful Creatures by clicking here.
  1. Bookalicio.us: I have to say you have Southern people described to the letter. Are either of you Southern or have family that lives in the South? As I was reading I was fascinated with how much your book took me home to my teen years in Saltville Virginia (The Salt Capitol of the Confederacy).

    Kami: My family is originally from a small town in North Carolina, so I grew up with three generations of women (two Southern) living under one roof. I have a deep affection for the eccentricities of the South, and still go to see my mom in North Carolina every summer. Margie’s family is originally from a tiny town, though not in the South, and I think our shared stories from casserole counties are what made us want to set our story in Gatlin, SC. Even if it isn’t the Salt Capitol of the Confederacy!

  2. Bookalicio.us: I often wondered through out the book why you chose Ethan as opposed to Lena as the main character. The more I read the more I was confused about that, but the more I read the more I loved the fact you did so. It was a breath of fresh air in the paranormal YA assortment.

    Margie: You have to remember, we originally wrote this story on a dare from seven teenagers, who read our pages nightly and weekly as we wrote them. So we weren’t really thinking about anything other than what they would want to read. They were powerful, strong, individualistic teenage girls – except for our one Caster Boy! – and we wanted to give them a story where the girl was the powerful, mysterious supernatural, and the boy had to unravel her mystery, find his way to her. Also, I think we also wanted to give them something they hadn’t read before.

  3. Bookalicio.us: The Character of Lena’s Uncle was an amazingly thought out addition to the story. I can’t go into too much detail of how you as the authors used his character for some plot twists without giving spoilers, I wanted to ask how you fleshed him out the way you did.

    Kami: Lena’s Uncle Macon is one of our favorite characters, and an important counterpoint to some of the smaller-minded folks in town. He’s brilliant and sophisticated and worldly and unique, and he’s been living in Gatlin as long as the town folks who loathe him. He’s also a wonderfully loyal father figure to Lena. We love how he loves her.

  4. Bookalicio.us:I like the different kinds of paranormal in the book and the way you handled the naming of things and persons with even a little Southern Voodoo thrown in for charm. How did you mesh so many different supernatural elements into one piece without making it over the top?

    Margie: We named our Casters from day one. It was important to us to create our own unique rule set for our own magical universe. We didn’t want to be generic, and we wanted to give our readers a kind of magic that was deeply regional, and tied to the Caster County our book lives in.

  5. Bookalicio.us: What is your favorite place to write?

    Kami: In my comfy chair, in complete silence, with a Diet Coke. Extra ice.

    Margie: In the library or in my own comfy chair, also with a Diet Coke and my earphones blasting my mix of the day!

  6. Bookalicio.us: Pen and paper? Mac or PC? Why?

    Kami: We’re both Mac girls, though we use more white boards with more complex color-coding that you could possibly imagine.

  7. Bookalicio.us: Beautiful Creatures is a book that made it on my short list of favorites for 2009, it almost didn’t make it on there because I hadn’t heard about the book. Usually I get recommendations from literary blogs, and Amazon is always throwing stuff to me I devour. It is kind of hard for me to miss a young adult novel, and I am so glad I didn’t miss this one. How hard has it been marketing a YA book in a sea of others? Teens are statistically
    reading more now and there is so much to choose from. Publishers expect you to be able to market yourself effectively from the beginning now as well.

    Margie: Little, Brown has been incredibly supportive of our book from day one. Our editors, Jen Hunt and Julie Scheina, have always made us feel like a priority, and our publicist Jessica Kaufman is amazing. And the day Amazon picked us for their Top Ten of 2009 and their number one Teen Pick, we were thrown into a bit more of the spotlight than we had ever anticipated. The Warner Brothers movie announcement hitting the day before our book came out was another spotlight, and things just sort of kept rolling from there.

  8. Bookalicio.us: How do you feel about book trailers? Have you ever watched one that made you want to buy a book?

    Kami: We love good book trailers. Vania Stoyanova, the photographer who made one of our BC trailers, is so talented that she makes you want to buy any title she makes a trailer for. That’s why we were so happy she made one for us! You can watch her trailer on the homepage of our site, under the reviews. www.BeautifulCreaturestheBook.com

  9. Bookalicio.us: What has been the best part of reader reaction for you?

    Margie: It’s amazing to hear people talking about the characters, the town, the story – all of these things that only existed in our heads for so long. We also love love love our librarian readers, so the Morris Debut Award nomination from the YALSA was a special kind of “reader reaction” that we will never forget!

  10. Bookalicio.us: Are you going to be a book tour? Release dates in other countries or movie deals (really it should be a movie)?

    Kami: Beautiful Creatures is being published in 25 countries, which is really wonderful. We are going to be on our Southern US book tour from January 18th until the 29th, and then on a more limited northern states book tour from February 20th until the 27th. The movie is going forward in development at Warner Brothers, and we couldn’t be happier about that. For more information on all of the above, be sure to check back at www.BeautifulCreaturestheBook.com – we will be updating the site the whole time we are touring, so you can see the latest BC happenings!

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Review: Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

The towns are so boring and you can only dream of getting out. Ethan marked his days down until she showed up in town. Long black hair, weird slightly gothic style. She completely knocked the wind out of our Ethan and in a good way. Over time we learn more about the girl. Her name is Lena, she lives with Macon Ravenwood the town shut in. Was Lena crazy too?
Seriously strange things start to happen to Ethan, he is dreaming about Lena in a way that seems so real he even awakes with dirt and grime in his bed. Songs start showing up on his iPod with varying lyrics and messages. When he learns the truth about Lena and her family he realizes he has to race against time and break every southern social rule in order to save Lena from her fate.
The character development in this book is amazing. From Ethan, to Lena, Macon to Amma, Link to Ridley. I was laughing out loud, visibly annoyed with some, and smirking at the sarcasm. This book was short listed here on Bookalicio.us as one of my favorite reads in 2009 and short listed way more important places like you know Amazon! Absolutely this volume deserves its best selling status!
A movie is in development, I cannot wait to hear more news on that.
If you haven’t read Beautiful Creatures you need to. If you have let me know what you thought or share your star rating below. If you are like me in mentality and think it has been hyped too much to possibly be good. Then you are wrong. Pick it up, read it, and if I am wrong I will give you a cookie. Not any generic cookie, the good ones. Milano’s from Pepperidge Farm.
I was also lucky enough to conduct an interview with our lovely authors. Check it out: Interview with Beautiful Creatures Authors.

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Review: Hearts at Stake (My Love Lies Bleeding) The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey


Alyxandra Harvey has made quite a fan out of me with her first book in The Drake Chronicles. A big thanks to Amy for the recommendation. The two main characters Lucy (Lucky) and Solange are as different as night and day but somehow their best friendship makes total sense. Solange is a vampire princess born to a prestigious family that dates back to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Solange doesn’t really want to turn at her sixteenth birthday, nor does she want the crown that comes along with her transformation. Evil hordes of pretender queens to the throne and her minions try to thwart Solange in every effort she makes even though she has a total lack of interest in the crown. Just her being alive is enough to send the vampires into a frenzy.
Lucy has hippy parents and a love for ice cream not made with tofu. She is sassy and brilliant and like Solange a very well thought out character you immediately love. Even with all her bravado Lucy is not afraid to say when she is scared. Being human around a bunch of vampires at times can be a scary experience. Lucy has a dialogue that had me laughing out loud through out the book and her love interest was a great addition to the chaos surrounded her and her friends lives at that moment.
This book has loads of amazing characters. Solange’s family unit, Lucy, even the bad guys have style. Hearts at Stake is a silly fun read. Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

But not right now, right now I could indulge in a moment of triumph. But only a moment.
Because it was just one of those days.

This is better than some old fat guy. Now gimme.

If you love fun vampire fiction, then please give this book a chance! I cannot wait for the next in the series.

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