Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting


The Body Finder (The Body Finder #1) by Kimberly Derting
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery
Short reaction: There’s mystery, there’s suspense and there’s a strange talent. A package!
Rating: 4 out of 5
Buy book on Amazon: Paperback / Kindle

Synopsis

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 that 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 the 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.

My Review

Also seen on Goodreads.

Imagine reading 4 books with a “lost souls” theme in a row – I just felt WOW that was eery! I may have suffered a lot of hangover plus exhaustion but good thing I’ve only chosen a few of the best in this genre. After reading The Archived, I went ahead and read The Body Finder to finally finish my challenge and tell you what, I’ve enjoyed although not perfect as I felt with The Archived but it was a great experience:

The Characters. Violet Ambrose, our heroine is love and hate for me. Love – because of how she manages her talent and control it, how brave she is alone yet how also normal she is when she’s with Jay, her best friend and lover. Hate – because while she’s brave enough, she just can’t do it all alone safely. She trips a lot and she’s always near accidents. Jay, on the other hand, there’s nothing to hate from him! This character is not the aloof, arrogant, bad-boy type that I’ve always craved for because he’s more like of a boy-next-door-football-star-player type who always cares for his best friend yet he’s still a hell hot to love. His character is so nice he can even pass for a guardian angel. Vi’s friends Chelsea, Jules and Claire are hilarious – same old high school gossips here and there and pointing at each other jokingly. Vi’s got a cool circle of their own without having to be eyed popular. Last but not the least, the mystery antagonist has done a good job for me to hate him and his calmness.

Pacing. Majority gets nice and smooth yet just right for the suspense; but sometimes it gets dragging especially with Vi’s part swooning over Jay, fighting over her feelings and examining the echoes. I like how the antagonist’s POV’s are written though – not much mind-talk, straight to the point.

Ending. Cliffhanger ending (as expected). I’ll see how it goes in the next book but still, it made me hate Vi for being so stupid.

So yeah, I’m willing to continue with the series and I’m hoping the next ones will not make me hate Vi more. 😛

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Cover Reveal: Champion by Marie Lu

It’s Friday news again and you deserve something big today!

Drumroll please….

It’s the cover reveal for Legend’s third and last installment Champion!

It’s a little bit different from the theme Legend and Prodigy had on the cover having an eagle and The Republic sign which this time, portrays a rose on fire.

Hmm, I’m now thinking what does that mean.

Here’s a sneak peek of what Champion is all about:

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Legend has come to an end and thus making a successful and complete series – I could imagine the happy and sad emotions we could have!

Anyway, Champion is set to be released on November 5 of this year and we should get our hands on it once it comes out! Freaking exciting!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How does it feel to put a period on the series?
MARIE LU: It feels pretty surreal. On the one hand, I’m so relieved that I’ve actually managed to finish my very first series, and that I’ve been able to see my characters through to the end of their journeys. On the other hand, I feel like how parents must feel when they send their kid off to college. It’s a bittersweet mix.

How do you think your fans will feel when they finish reading? Anything we may be devastated about? Will there be any big deaths?
There are a couple of deaths. And possibly some things to be devastated about. What can I say, I’m a writer — I enjoy forcing pain and suffering on my characters! I can’t reveal much, but I will say that Champion is the only book in the trilogy where I cried while writing it. This is mostly due to having John Lennon’s “Imagine” on my Champion playlist, but still. I hope my readers will at least feel a sense of closure at the end.

Book Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived (The Archived, #1) by Victoria Schwab
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Ghosts
Short reaction: Great unique concept about ghosts and ghost hunters and reading the past!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Buy book on Amazon: Hardback / Kindle

Synopsis

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

My Review

Also seen on Goodreads.

Wow. It actually took a bit of time for me to finish this since I’m revamping the blog and at the same time have lots of other buddy reads going on. However, it’s finishing the Lost Souls challenge that made me pursue this and I’m glad I did! Even though again it’s about lingering souls, Mac’s ability to read the past to hunt Histories and go through doors of another world are fascinating. The concept is breathtakingly fresh for me! Here’s the reason for my 5 stars:

The Archived brought me various emotions while reading every chapter. For instance, the flashbacks continually developed the story from the start until the end breaking one mystery after another while the present world with the protagonist showed clear descriptions of both suspense and action as I unlocked the doors to the living and the dead. The hunts, conversations between Histories and seeing their past life brought images on my mind so clear I felt I’m putting myself in the protagonist’s shoes.

Characters. Characters are strong and showed their dominance throughout the events. The most dominant of course is our 15-year-old heroine, Mackenzie Bishop who became a Keeper when she’s 12 after her grandfather Da passed on the talent to her before he died. Mac is undeniably strong-willed and smart since training because she showed unusual strength by being able to hunt the Histories since then. Her willingness to find justice for her little brother’s death and Da’s legacy as a keeper was impressive because that made her go through doors and face the strongest Histories without flinching while having to face and fight with them weaponless.

Keepers are the ones who hunt Histories (or in normal world, we call it ghosts/souls) that when people die, leave patterns and these patterns are then stored and archived thus making a copy of the dead in a place called The Archive. This serves as the dead’s chamber of protection so when they slip and wake from their shelves, they have to be hunted and returned.

Roland – a Librarian, (2 notches higher than a Keeper), shows a likable character because he’s strict yet he has sympathy to understand what’s fair and not. He follows orders from the other higher ranks yet he has a heart to balance things from right and wrong.

Patrick – another Librarian but newer and younger than Roland, I hate him for always doubting Mac’s skills and trying to report her to the higher ranks.

Wesley – fun to be with and a gentleman then turned protective when he felt an unexpected attraction with Mac. He’s young yet Ms. Schwab created this character to be seen as mature enough to accompany the protagonist and be with her throughout the journeys.

Hunting Histories. I can’t help but think of Anna Dressed In Blood and how Cas Lowood hunted the dead to stop them from killing the living and send them to where they should be (outside of the living world). With Mac’s case, it’s not about fixing the murders the dead has done but returning the Histories for their peace and protection.

Overall, it’s hands-down a great book! Thanks also to Katy for recommending this over Youtube and for my Lost Souls challenge. Looking forward to Unbound!

 

Cover Reveal: Anna and the French Kiss and Slammed Series Revamped!

Hola Friday! Today I’m excited to bring you wonderful news about these two of the most loved series in this blog. Without further ado, we’re going to welcome and congratulate the new covers for Anna and the French Kiss!

According to Stephanie Perkins, it’s actually her publicist Elizabeth who managed to launch the shiny, colorful new covers in a surprise. Penguin Teen has made these developments and it certainly fit what Ms. Perkins have imagined the covers to be since announcing the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After which will be out on September 17, 2013.

Here’s a snippet of the third installment for you:

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Our dear Ms. Perkins is still in the process of finishing Isla and the Happily Ever After so…the date is enough time for us to wait and see!

Q&A with Stephanie Perkins from Goodreads

Why the new covers?

Well, there are many reasons. But I assume you can tell by looking at them that we’re hoping to broaden the readership. I’m happy these will have a wider appeal.

When will they be out?

Anna and Lola’s new covers (paperback and ebook) will be released July 16th. Isla and the Happily Ever After will be published (hardcover and ebook) sometime this fall. The date on Amazon/B&N is listed as September 17th. I have no idea if that’s correct. Publishing is weird like that. I’ll let you know when I have a firm date.

Will I be able to purchase hardcovers of Anna and Lola with the new look?

I’m not sure. I assume this decision will be made in the future, based on sales. But I could be wrong. Again, I’ll let you know.

Will there be a box set?

Man, I hope so! Wouldn’t that be cool?! But I don’t know. This is another decision that my publisher will make in the future.

Will there be a paperback version of Lola with the old cover?

No. Lola will be released as a paperback with the new cover on July 16th.

Will the paperback of Lola contain an excerpt of Isla?

I’m not sure. Maybe? I’m really not sure. Sorry.

Will there be an opportunity to purchase an Isla that matches the old covers?

No. For readers who are sad that their hardcover set will not match, I’m sincerely sorry. As an avid reader and perfectionist, I understand your frustration. I like matching sets, too. But—as the author—please allow me to be clear that I am one hundred percent behind this new look.

But wasn’t there a photo shoot for Isla ages ago?

Yes. But I never saw any of the pictures, so . . . I doubt you will either.

Slammed Series New Covers Revealed

Now for the hottest news on the planet to date, after Colleen Hoover announced last 19th of April that there’ll be BIG CHANGES, it’s absolutely about the drastic change in the Slammed Series covers! And great news because just 2 days ago, Ms. Hoover finally announced that the new covers have been completed! Here it is…tada:

According to Ms Hoover:

The covers have been changed. Completely. Drastically. They’re completely different and while they’re completely different and will take a lot of us some getting used to because we’re so used to the other covers, I’m hoping it will garner a little more interest from readers and boost sales.

It’s certainly bittersweet because I will always love the old covers and am thankful I’ll always have them on my bookshelves. And if you want the old covers, too, then hurry up and purchase them here before they change the paperback, which will happen soon.

The new cover’s concept was created because of the third installment of the Slammed series called This Girl having the direct portrayal of the characters. This Girl will be available in the market in 4 days! I bet we’re all excited!!!

If you haven’t got your advanced copy of This Girl yet and you aren’t afraid of some revelations then I’d recommend you check out Aestas’ review. Remember the hangover I got from Slammed? Maybe it’ll be 10x more when I read this!

So that’s all for today’s Upnexts!

Cheers and there’ll be more news soon! 🙂

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Book Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Slammed (Slammed, #1) by Colleen Hoover
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Drama
Short reaction: It will slam you with love, life, death, grief and happiness. I never thought I created a poem for this after reading it, it’s that effective!
Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

My Review

Also seen on Goodreads.

Since my younger years, I’ve always been into short stories and poetry – reading and writing them. However it’s only after I read this good book that I’ve written my own poem again with such passion and emotions! Wow. See how Slammed did it to me:

Slammed, a performance by myself and written by myself, 19 April 2013

Here I am with my puffy eyes
Typing as I let all the memories dig in
As this one only book has slammed me in my face
To balance between heart and mind, life and death, grief and happiness

Here I am with my puffy eyes
Never thought I’d review a book through a poem I create
I never even knew about Poetry Slam until I read this one only book
That has slammed me in my face
To balance between heart and mind, life and death, grief and happiness

Here I am
Glad that my tears has now stopped from welling and dripping
Glad that I live life with my complete family of Mom, Dad, a brother, a sister and four family dogs
Glad that even if I’ve done a few things wrong and I hurt them, they’re still here for me loving me all along
Glad that I have them in good, comfortable life and health I’m always thanking God for

Here I am
Now wants to forget that I regret a lot of things that I did in the past
Things that I thought were all wrong because I broke the rules
Life has no rules, like Poetry Slam that has slammed me in the face
To balance between heart and mind, life and death, grief and happiness

Here I am
Wants to give honor to Avett Brothers for giving me such wisdom about 5 stages of loneliness
I never thought that I could learn from a band of great philosophers
And I swear, they just got me as a fan

Here I am
Thanking Ms. Colleen Hoover for doing such fantastic job
Of writing a book that will Slam everyone of us in the face
Whether or not we wanted romance or we’re a fan of poetry

This book has taught me so many things I can’t list
This book has slammed me in the face
To give emphasis to life and never forget to laugh everyday

Love of Characters

Layken – she’s strong and so easy to love. She trusts easily but she also hurts easily because of the grief she’s faced since her father died. I can’t deny how much I cried when she flash backed on her conversation with her Dad and the magic hair clip. This taught me that even a single simple thing can make a difference and that we shouldn’t ignore this magic along the way.

Will – love, love him! I consider him my first ever book boyfriend (drools)! The character he portrayed is somewhat similar to Lake because he also faced a lot of loss in life. And falling in love with Lake has given him more challenge to make it work so I cannot put all the as$ he acted against him because I understood his situation.

Layken and Will – I love their romance! Period. They might have been conditional with a lot of things to make their priorities work but it’s still good that they ended up so well like a fairy tale.

Kel – oh my God, this kid is so intelligent! This young character is unbelievably a teacher of small things straight to the point to go with life and even go backwards to reminisce the happy moments and laugh again. Such a great sibling.

Caulden – just like Kel, that’s why they became best friends. I love these kids’ characters!

Eddie – another strong personality we got here from a girl. She’s a foster child but she’s gone through life like it’s always the easy route. Great friend and a great slammer (poet).

Eddie and Gavin – need I say more? They’re also my favorite couple because they love unconditionally! 😀

Julia (Lake’s mom) – she made me cry a lot but those were tears of joy and acceptance. This character is so strong as well despite the challenges she also has within herself. Such a great parent.

So whew, that’s quite a mouthful but I can’t really make my fingers stop from tapping the keyboard LOL. I enjoyed this so much despite the puffy eyes!

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Book Review: Play With Me by Piper Shelly

Play With Me (Grover Beach Team, #1) by Piper Shelly
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports
Short reaction: Short and sweet novel but will give you giggles all over!
Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis

Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.

Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she’s a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she’s just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she’s prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.

My Review

Also seen on Goodreads.

Have you ever felt something giggly and like crazy to hug someone after reading a short book? That’s how I felt when I read this one! Not too cheesy, not too young yet not too bold. This just have the right type of sweetness and romance and a hint of a love triangle. Check this out: Oh my good Lord! It’s indeed short and sweet!

But even though it’s short, it didn’t give me the what-the-heck expression but the pacing just got so smooth I still devoured every moment of Liza Matthews with her gorgeous M&M pair and best friend Tony Mitchell or with the hot soccer team captain Ryan Hunter.

Liz is so lucky she has them both but the thought of falling for a best friend just – sucks sometimes (sigh). Too much torture on girls’ hearts! Yet I’m still thankful for Ms. Piper Shelly for coming up with this beautiful novel no doubt I can repeat over and over. Love love it! 🙂

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Book Review: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game (The Lying Game, #1) by Sara Shepard
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense
Short reaction: Full of lies and mysteries and miss popularity!
Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis

I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’snothing left to live for. No more kisses. Nomore secrets. No more gossip. It’s enoughto kill a girl all over again. But I’m about toget something no one else does–an encoreperformance, thanks to Emma, the long-losttwin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know whathappened to me. And the only way to figureit out is to be me–to slip into my old lifeand piece it all together. But can she laughat inside jokes with my best friends? Convincemy boyfriend she’s the girl he fell inlove with? Pretend to be a happy, carefreedaughter when she hugs my parents goodnight? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer iswatching her every move?

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, andkiller consequences.

Let the lying game begin.

My Review

Also seen on Goodreads.

I’ve been a fan of Pretty Little Liars TV series after Season 1 ended but I’ve never read its series yet. And then I’ve joined this challenge called Lost Souls in Never Too Old For YA Books and discovered The Lying Game. There are many rants that PLL is better than this series but I just don’t care and so I picked this one out! Here’s my say:

The First Lie
A secret boyfriend…
A stolen boyfriend…
A missing friend…
A silver locket…
A sisters’ quarrel…
A long-lost twin…
Someone’s death.

To lie and be lied (and bullied) is never fun so in short, this whole lying game where Sutton, Charlotte and Madeline is, is what makes them popular but hated and backstabbed in gossips all along wherever they go. Almost all the too weird, too beautiful, too handsome, too confident, too geeky, too sexy, too naughty, too quiet, too shy people have been pranked already and these girls won’t get tired of it because according to their L rules, each of them gains a point whenever they call a prank better than the other and that is of course, a prank should always be fun and fabulous. But then we meet Emma, Sutton’s long-lost identical twin who suddenly play Sutton’s role to break the mystery going on while Sutton’s gone.

“Sutton’s dead,” says the note and Emma has to play her role or else she’ll be dead too but you know what, I love Emma more than Sutton because she’s wiser and she knows how to play the right way. It’s been tough for her to be passed from one foster home to another after being left by her biological mother Becky but she’s got both soft and tough heart to let her fight back despite always imagining about her Mom Star, Dad Star, Emma Star and Boyfriend Star to come and meet her. 😥 It’s an advantage on the other hand to Emma because she’s stronger to face this challenge to try to find her twin and the murderer.

Love of Characters

Sutton – I feel sorry for her (I always do LOL). She’s popular but she’s also always the target for people to give her lesson. In this writing, Sutton is narrating the story while she watches Emma connect the dots. Everything is in Sutton’s POV and Emma’s been described in third person which is good. She’s practically a lost soul here and I find it funny when she tries to remember everything that happened when she’s still alive. I pity Sutton that in the past, she can’t leave her L group because she’s adopted and she has no friends but them since Laurel hated her for getting Thayer. If only she used her brain to decide to change and apologize to all the people they’ve pranked but it’s too late.

Ethan – I actually like this mysterious guy better than Garrett. He seems weird that he doesn’t talk much to people and mostly does things alone but maybe I really have a thing for mysterious guys because I love discovering what they’re into and in saying that, Ethan’s always been nice to Sutton even if he knows her stuff. He’s deep!

Garrett – This guy’s sweet and loving but if Thayer’s here, he’ll be the last one I’ll pick. However, Sutton loved him so much because she knew he’s kinda damaged from his past love life and I appreciate that. Good thing Emma didn’t surrender herself to him!

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