Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Have you ever read a book for the first time and didn’t like it? Then you read a second time, and you liked it a little? And then you read it for a third time and realized that the book was really good? That was my experience with What Happened to Goodbye. When the book first came out in 2011, I was really excited for it, but when I read it, I found that it was different than the previous Dessen novels. I read it again in 2012, and liked it a little bit more than the first reading, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized that this book, although different than Dessen’s previous work, was pretty good.

McLean Sweet has moved again. For the fourth time in two years, she’s starting at a new school in a new town, all because of her father’s job. He’s a consultant for struggling restaurants. He goes in, figures out what’s wrong, and then tries to help turn the place around, if he can’t then the place gets sold. Her father didn’t used to have this job, he used to run his own restaurant with the help of McLean’s mother, but after a tabloid worthy affair and divorce, McLean isn’t really on good speaking terms with her mother these days. She blames her for ripping their perfect family apart.

The ugly divorce is also the reason that McLean creates new personalities with each new town she moves to. A new town, a new clean slate. She’s been Elizabeth, Beth, Lizbet, and in this town she wants to be just Liz. But not everything goes according to plan. In this town, she’s known by her real name, and she isn’t a specific type of person. She just is. She meets some interesting kids – Tracey, Leo, Riley, Ellis, Heather, and Dave – who make her come out of her usual predetermined shell.

Like I said, this book was really good. I could kind of relate to McLean’s different personalities and I understood where she was coming from. If you could, wouldn’t you reinvent yourself? I think, when I first read this book, the thing I didn’t like was that Dave and McLean didn’t really have a relationship until the last ten pages or so, but now, I kind of like that that happened. And, holy crap! Was the Jason in this book the same Jason from The Truth About Forever and Along for the Ride? If so, wow, did he ever change!

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Compared to previous books, the climax and McLean’s history were tame and not as intense. The ending was also very different, and McLean’s mom was a piece of work until the last twenty pages.

Bookshelf worthy? It’s been on my shelf for years, why isn’t it on yours?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

It’s the year 2021 and crime is on the rise in the United States. The government and scientists have determined that there are people out there with a gene called HTC or the ‘murder’ gene. People have to be tested and if they test positive for the gene their whole life changes.

Davy is the perfect high school senior. A music protégée at the age of three, she has already been accepted into Julliard for the following year. She has the perfect boyfriend and best friend. She lives the perfect life. That is until she comes home from school one day and is told that she is a carrier. In a blink of an eye her whole life changes. Her acceptance to Julliard? Gone. Her perfect boyfriend? Turns into an asshole. Her perfect best friend? Turns on her. And she now has to go to school in a cage with the other carriers. This is where she meets Sean, a carrier, who isn’t who he appears to be.

So there were moments in this book that really pissed me off. How is that a girl like Davy is treated like a social pariah just because she has a gene that might make her a murderer? At first, I really liked her boyfriend for reacting so calmly about this, but when they go to that party later on and he basically treats her like she should be thankful that he’s even still with her, I wanted to slap the crap out of him. Did the US government think that maybe the reason people ‘snap’ when they get the gene is because of how they’re treated once it’s out there?

As for the camp scene where Davy is forced to kill someone, I really wanted to scream. It’s amazing how they label her a potential killer and then actually turn her into one. Gah.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Davy’s situation was really frustrating and I couldn’t wait to be done with this book. I liked the characters of Gil and Sean, and I’m curious to see what happens to everyone now.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

The Body Finder Series Book #3: The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

A question for all the authors out there: when you’re writing a book with a female narrator or main character, and you introduce several guy characters into her story, do you automatically think, hm, there should be a love triangle? Or does that plot point come up as you go along? I feel like I need to ask this question, because in about every other supernatural/paranormal book I read, there always seems to be a love triangle between the main character and the guys she knows. The Last Echo was no exception to that rule, which I was really disappointed. Not only did this series go from having the best guy friend being the main character’s boyfriend, but now we have a love triangle too.

Violet is readjusting to her life again. This time she has to get used to being on a team of people who know that she’s different. A whole bunch of new characters get introduced – Gemma, Krystal, Sam, etc. – while Sara and Rafe are kept around. The team that Violet is on is investigating a new case. College girls are turning up dead. A new serial killer – called the collector – is on the loose. And unfortunately for Violet, he seems to have taken a new interest in her, even though she isn’t the type of girl he goes for. What happens changes the course of Violet’s life forever.

So I’ll admit this book was just as good as the other two. The new team for Violet are really interesting people. The whole love triangle thing aside, I kind of liked the character of Rafe too. He’s dark and mysterious, and when his real story actually comes out you kind of feel sorry for the guy. And the final fifty pages when Violet finally has to stand up to the killer alone…just wow.

I will admit I’m still kind of curious about whom the team actually works for if not the FBI, and why they are so adamant on keeping Violet on board. Plus, the whole thing with the sleeping pills? I think that’s going to have some major impact in the next book.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I still really love the interlude chapters that come from the killer’s POV. They make for some interesting reads. I just wish Jay and Violet’s other friends had made more of an appearance in this one.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Winds of Salem: A Witches of East End Novel by Melissa de la Cruz

So when we last left the witches of East End, Freya was being dragged back to the 1600s, Ingrid was finally coming to terms with her relationship with Matt, Joanna was finally accepting Norman back into her life, Freddie was getting married, and Killian was being dragged off to Limbo for destroying the bridge.

Winds of Salem picks up a month after Serpent’s Kiss left off. Freya is stuck in Salem during the Salem witch trials with no memory of who she really is. Ingrid, Joanna and Norman are trying to find a way back to her, but the time passages are closed and the family is losing their powers because Loki poisoned the Tree of Life. Freddie is married now to Gert and is taking care of the pixies while they try and look for the missing trident.

Things aren’t going so well though - a nice tie in with the final book of the Blue Bloods series – and Joanna and Norman learn that if Freya dies while stuck in the 1600s, she’s going to stay dead, unless magic can be restored. Ingrid’s relationship with Matt is on the ropes because she’s pushing him away trying to find her sister. Gert leaves Freddie and the pixies take off to find the trident. And Freya is in danger because of her affections for two familiar brothers.

Okay, so I liked this book a whole hell of a lot better than the last one, but…this book drove me insane! Ingrid’s insecurity with Matt, his daughter, and his ex-girlfriend were so annoying! Yes, Matt’s ex was good looking and obviously had some sort of relationship with Matt, but c’mon, Ingrid! You’re a witch who’s been around for hundreds of years, and he loves you! Get over it already…although at the end she sort of does get over it, so I can somewhat forgive her, but yikes. Maybe this was the reason she was a spinster for so long.

When Freddie comes face-to-face with the destroyer of the bridge, I kind of saw it coming, considering certain characters that have made appearances in this series, it was about time this person showed up. And wow, the reason for the destruction of the bridge was crazy. All is fair in love and war, eh?

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Better than the last one, but characters were annoying with their insecurities and the open ended ending, was kind of evil.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

One of the many things that I didn’t like about my education was the fact that even though I took a lot of history classes, we never really covered World War II. Every year in those history classes we talk forever about World War I, but we would briefly go over WWII before going on to the Vietnam War. So, I was pretty much on my own when it came to finding out facts about the war.

Prisoner of Night and Fog is mostly a work of fiction. The main character – Gretchen Müller – and her family are fictional but most of the other characters actually existed. Gretchen is a teenaged girl whose father was a close friend of Adolf Hitler’s. So close, in fact, that he sacrificed his body to protect him a few years previously. Because of his sacrifice Hitler has always held the Müller family in high esteem. However, it isn’t until one night when her brother Reinhard goes after a Jew on the street that Gretchen starts to question what her ‘Uncle Dolf’ has been telling her about the Jews, and she meets a mysterious young man who calls her different than the others.

This mysterious man is Daniel Cohen a reporter for the Munich Post and who has been investigating Hitler and his closest allies. He seems to know the truth about what actually happened to Gretchen’s father that night, and it isn’t what she’s been told. Someone in the National Socialist party killed Gretchen’s father not by the state police bullets like everyone thought. The question is, who did it and why? Gretchen is hell bent on finding out even if that means alienating her family and her Uncle Dolf.

This is another book that was so disgusting (in parts) but it was written so well you barely even notice it. You get an inner look at the world of Adolf Hitler and his ‘niece’ as she tries to undo the brainwash that he has done on her over the years. Gretchen’s brother was a piece of work and I am not ashamed to say that I cheered when he died at the end of the book. When you find out that Eva – Gretchen’s best friend – has been ‘dating’ Hitler for the last two years, I really felt like being sick, and that was after he tried making the moves on Gretchen. Ick. I like the way that this book set up for a potential sequel, but even if Blankman doesn’t write it, it kind of had a clean ending.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I’m usually really wary of WWII books, sometimes they are so haunting that I have nightmares, but this one was just the perfect blend of seriousness and romance.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

The problem with reading a book by an author using a pseudonym whose identity you already know is comparing the work you’re reading with their previous works. There were a lot of times while reading The Cuckoo’s Calling that I had to remind myself that this wasn’t going to be the next Harry Potter although they were written by the same author. I don’t usually read mysteries though and I kind of remembered why as I read this book.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is about a private detective named Cormoran Strike – a war vet, the son of a famous celebrity, and a guy who’s down on his luck – as he tries to solve the case of the potential murder of the famous model Lula Landry. The only problem is, this model died three months ago, but it wasn’t a murder, it was a suicide, or so the police and coroner concluded in their investigation. But Lula’s brother, John, doesn’t think so. He thinks she was murdered, and comes to Strike for help. Strike doesn’t want to take the case, because the police have already deemed it a suicide, but his private detective business is in financial trouble, and John is willing to pay more than double the usual fee. So against his better judgment he takes the case.

What follows is countless pages of interviews of Lula’s old friends, coworkers, and family members. This girl was very troubled. Her rise to fame threw her into the spotlight too quickly, and she was paranoid about who she could trust.

I don’t usually read mysteries because I don’t have the patience for them. I get more captivated by the story then I do the actual clues, and it usually isn’t until the killer is revealed that I start to realize the clues that were dropped along the way. The same goes for this book, I had suspected that the killer was someone else, and when it was revealed who it actually was, I was like “whoa, what?”

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I liked this book. Galbraith/Rowling still has her usual flair for setting the scene so you feel like you’re actually there, and the dialogue was quick and snappy. Some sections of this book were a little dry though, and I wished there could have been more emphasis on the character of Robin (Strike’s secretary).

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

This time around, Dessen takes her readers back to Colby, the beach town that was focused on in Keeping the Moon, with her main character Auden. Auden is very reminiscent of the character Macy in that she tries to be perfect academically but instead of being perfect for a boyfriend – although Jason does make an appearance in this book – it’s for her academically minded parents. Her mom and dad divorced a few years back and because of it, Auden can’t really sleep anymore. She stays up all night focusing on her studies.

She’s not much of a social bird, so when she gets a gift from her Europe travelling brother – Hollis – she wonders if maybe she’s doing her summer before she goes to college wrong. With this in mind, she decides to visit her father, stepmother, and new stepsister. Her arrival is perfect because Heidi – her stepmother – is having a difficult time with her new stepsister, Thisbe. Auden, despite everything her mother has told her, helps her out with the baby and then with her business – Clementine’s – books. During her first night in Colby she has a brief fling with a guy named Jack who turns out to be one of her new co-workers boyfriend.

Feeling like she’s already making such a great start with these people, she goes back to her old ways of staying up late and studying. But in Colby there’s no 24-hour diner where she can sit and drink coffee. That is until she meets Eli, a local in Colby who has a dark past of his own.

Some people find this book repetitive, and I really want to ask why? Other than Keeping the Moon, That Summer, and This Lullaby not all of Dessen’s books take place during the summer. This book does too, and you get to check in with Isabel and Morgan, and Auden really grows while she’s in this town. The only reason I don’t like this book is because her father is a writer who’s working on his next book, and every time those scenes were mentioned I said to myself – “I should be writing too.” I get where some people are coming from with the character of Eli, although he has a dark past with the accident, his character isn’t really that explored.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I loved Auden’s character development throughout this book. I loved the character of Eli, and the characters of Maggie, Adam, Esther, and everyone else that Auden became friends with while in Colby. They’re the kind of people you want to be friends with in high school.

Bookshelf worthy? I bought mine used, and finally got around to reading it. Wohoo, another book read!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Back in August 2003, there was a massive blackout that covered most of the east coast and Canada. People were without power for almost two days. I was in a Mexican restaurant when it happened. Other people weren’t so lucky…

The Geography of You and Me takes place, at the beginning, in New York during a power failure much like the one back in 2003. The two main characters, Lucy and Owen, are stuck in their apartment building’s elevator when the power goes out. They’ve never really met, Owen has just moved in with his father who took over as the building’s super. Since they’re stuck together they begin to talk, even when the building’s doorman and maintenance guy get them out, they continue to talk. What else is there to do in a blackout? Especially with Owen’s dad in Coney Island and Lucy’s parents are over in Paris. In that brief twelve-hour period, they develop a connection, which is great because they live in the same building…

Or not. After the power comes back, Lucy’s parents send her a plane ticket to come visit them in London where they have some surprising news. Her father is up for a job that would require the family to move back to England. Owen’s dad gets fired from the apartment building because of his absence during the power failure and a plumbing issue that was mostly his fault, so they decide to go on the road. The two maintain their relationship with postcards and e-mails, and eventually they do meet up. But things don’t go exactly as planned.

So this wasn’t my first novel by Jennifer E. Smith. Two summers ago I tried reading The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and I didn’t really care for it – not that I read that many pages to begin with – and school was starting up so I returned it. Last summer I read This is What Happy Looks Like and fell in love. It was a really good book and when I heard about The Geography of You and Me I couldn’t wait to read it. This book didn’t disappoint. Usually I’m not a fan of the switching of POVs between chapters, but with this book it just worked. I loved all the traveling that Lucy and Owen did, and I loved the postcard idea. The only thing I didn’t really like was the ending. Everything just came together a little bit too easily. I wouldn’t mind a sequel to see how Lucy and Owen are handling the long distance thing, maybe more postcards?

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Loved the characters and the plot. Especially loved the flow of the story. I practically read the whole book in one day. Thanks to this book I’m probably going to give The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight another try.

Bookshelf worthy? If only my shelves were bigger. The book design is just amazing.

Serpent’s Kiss: A Witches of East End Novel by Melissa de la Cruz

So, as much as I loved the first novel in this series, Serpent’s Kiss was a little bit of a let down. The characters were still their usual witty selves, but the story line was kind of lacking for me.

At the end of Witches of East End, Fryr – Freya and Ingrid’s brother – comes back from Limbo and accuses Killian of being the true person who destroyed the Bifröst, the link between Asgard and Midgard. Freya is sworn to secrecy and is put in charge of trying to find her brother’s – who goes by Freddie now – trident. This causes a slight rift to grow between her and Killian and he can’t figure out what’s going on. Ingrid and her boyfriend Matt are getting along just swimmingly, until he confesses that he doesn’t believe in any of that witch stuff. For a good portion of the book, Ingrid overlooks that, she’s more concerned with finally losing her virginity – even though she does back out at the end – and it isn’t until the aftermath of Thanksgiving dinner that she realizes that maybe Matt and her can’t work. Joanna is dealing with not only her husband, Norman, being back but the romantic interest of a guy named Harold as well. But even she gets sucked into something witchy that ends being involved with Freya and Killian.

You would think by now I would be used to de la Cruz’s POV jumping, but I’m still not. In some books I don’t really notice it, but in this one it was an issue. It broke up the flow of the story and it wasn’t really until halfway through the novel that it didn’t bother me as much. Killian and Freya sort of lose their hot and sticky romance – although it does make brief appearances – and that title goes over to Matt and Ingrid, until she chickens out. Freddie’s chapters were kind of interesting, although I didn’t think he could be that naïve when it came to love. Yeah, he’s been in Limbo for the last few centuries or so, but c’mon. Even I was sitting there going, don’t sign the contract before reading it! That seemed to sort of work out though near the end.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Serpent’s Kiss set up the events for the next book nicely, but the plot sort of fell a little flat compared to its predecessor. Killian and Freya need to get their hot and sticky romance factor back and something needs to happen with Joanna she was the flattest character this time around.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book #3: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Another final book of a series that I actually liked, something is wrong with this picture. And while the other two books of this series were disgusting – but in a good way I swear – this one wasn’t.

Rhine has survived Vaughn’s experiments thanks to help from Linden and Cecily. They rescued her from the basement, and it turns out that Vaughn lied about Linden renouncing her. He didn’t even know that she was back, but because of her lies and disappearance, he doesn’t believe her about anything she says. Which includes everything that his father has been up to. Mostly, it’s because he’s hurt by what she’s done, but it’s also because it’s his father and he trusts him with everything. Either way, Rhine knows she can’t go back to Vaughn’s mansion. In fact, as soon as she’s recovered she needs to leave Florida and go to Rhode Island, where her brother was last seen. He’s involved with the bombings of factories and research laboratories in charge of creating the cure. But like with everything in Rhine’s world, nothing is what it seems.

This book was fantastic. Thankfully, a lot of the gross needles and experimentation scenes weren’t involved in this book. Characters who you met in the last book make appearances again and I was floored – sort of – when I learned about who Madame’s daughter really was. I loved the character of Reed – Vaughn’s brother – who is everything his brother isn’t. I especially liked the character development of Cecily, she has become so strong since the first book! There was also a plot point that reminded me a lot of the ending of Catching Fire and the beginning of Mockingjay. My only complaint about this book was that the ending was sort of anti-climatic. Things got tied up way too tidily for my tastes, but it wasn’t a bad ending.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. For a person who isn’t a big fan of endings I’ve enjoyed the final books in series a lot more than I usually do of late.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book #2: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

In my review for the first book in this trilogy, I said that Wither was disgusting, but it was a well written kind of disgusting. My review for the second book will probably read just like the first one, because as expected the second book was just as, if not more, disgusting than the first.

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped Linden’s mansion. Fever picks up right where Wither left off with the two on the run. They’ve left the boat and have gone ashore only to be kidnapped by a madam in the scarlet district in South Carolina. Rhine reminds the madam of her daughter and that is why she isn’t made into one of the girls who have to sell herself every night. Instead her and Gabriel become a ‘look, but don’t touch’ act. There’s a lot of drugs involved in this novel, something called angel’s blood, that reminds me a little of heroin. Gabriel is given steady doses to keep him calm about the situation that he and Rhine are in.

Eventually, Gabriel and Rhine do get away from the scarlet district, with a young charge named Maddie. They venture north to Manhattan to find Rhine’s brother. After a few twists and turns, they get there only to find her home blackened by fire. Rowan seems to have burned down the house and moved on, thinking that his sister was dead. Not knowing where else to go, they try and find the address written in the book that Maddie brought along with her. It turns out it’s an orphanage, but the woman who runs the place, Claire, is Maddie’s grandmother.

Things take a turn for the worst though when they show up at this place. Rhine becomes ill. It almost resembles the virus, and Gabriel and her know that it has something to do with her father-in-law Vaughn and his experiments. Gabriel wants to go back to the mansion to get a cure, but Rhine refuses to go, knowing that if she does she’ll end up a test dummy for even more experiments.

Like I said at the beginning, this book was just as disgusting as Wither was. Vaughn does show up at the orphanage to take Rhine back to Linden’s mansion and she does wind up as an experiment host. The descriptions of her hallucinations were just…shudder worthy and then some. When you find out that the other experiment that Vaughn is working on involves trying to get pre-pubescent girls to conceive children you just want to throw up for hours on end. I won’t even mention the eye injection scene…oh wait, I already did…but yikes. I could have done without the last fifty or so pages of this novel, but damn. It was written really well.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. The second book was just as good as the first one. Vaughn is one disgusting villain and I’m curious to see how all of this ends.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Ruby Cooper has been abandoned by her mother. This bit of information doesn’t surprise her though, her mother has always been a bit of a free spirit. What does surprise her though, is that after trying to make it on her own for the last few months, she is called into the principal’s office where police officers are waiting for her. Her landlords saw the ‘filth’ that she was living in and decided to intervene. From there, her older sister Cora is called and Ruby is taken to her sister’s home where she has made a lovely new life with her husband Jamie.

The only problem is that Ruby doesn’t feel like she fits in. She hasn’t spoken to her sister since she left for college ten years ago, feeling abandoned even back then. She wants to just make it until she turns eighteen and can live on her own again, but even that plan has problems. So against her ‘better judgment’ she stays with her sister and tries to live a somewhat normal life. It’s sort of hit and miss as Ruby tries to get acclimated to this new living situation. She finds out her sister never truly abandoned her that she has been always looking for Ruby but their mother has been keeping them apart. She makes friends with a girl from her old school Olivia and with her next-door neighbor Nate. But as she gets pulled deeper she realizes that her ‘checkered past’ isn’t the only one out there.

Both times that I have read this book, I always hate the beginning. Ruby is a very stubborn character and doesn’t accept help from others easily, if at all – in some ways, Ruby and I are a lot a like – and that really drove me crazy. Her sister is honestly just trying to help her out, give her the fresh start that she’s always wanted, and here is Ruby just throwing everything back into her sister’s face because she thinks she abandoned her and her mother all those years ago. When it’s revealed that Cora did not in fact do that, that she’s always been looking for her sister that’s when the book really starts to get interesting.

Another thing that I like about Dessen’s books? The cameo appearances by characters from her other novels, not quite sequels, but at least you get a check in every once and a while. This book had a lot of them! You get a mention of Kiki Sparks (Chole’s mom from Keeping the Moon), Barbara Starr (Remy’s mom from This Lullaby) actually turns out to be a client of Cora’s, and you get three mentions of characters from Just Listen; Annabel’s radio show, Jamie’s CD guy for Cora’s Valentine’s Day present is Owen, and Mallory shows up at Ruby’s work (although she isn’t mentioned by name). It’s fun to pick out the references every now and then.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. It seems that the intensity factor has been pushed up since Just Listen, this time instead of rape you have parental abandonment and parental abuse. Because of this, the book was a little intense at times, and made for the whole Ruby/Nate relationship to be quite odd.

Bookshelf worthy? I own the hardcover, but I want to replace it with the paperback since the dust cover keeps ripping by the keyhole.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Annabel Greene starts her junior year of high school as a social pariah. Her and her best friend Sophie had a major falling out over the summer and things have become even bleaker. The rumor mill is swirling with all kinds of accusations, and Sophie is only feeder to the fire. Annabel has no friends, unless you count Clarke Reynolds, who used to be her best friend until Sophie came along, but on the first day of school she makes it clear that she’s still angry about what happened all those years ago.

So Annabel is alone, unless you count sitting with the other social outcast Owen Armstrong for lunch…  Anyway, after an altercation with Sophie’s boyfriend Will Cash and then Sophie, Annabel has a ‘meltdown’ and Owen out of all people comes to her aid. From there a friendship begins that makes her into a different person – or at least the person she could be – and things are good for a while until another ex-friend of hers – Emily – begins to have rumors spread about her…

I think this Dessen book – so far – was the most intense one that I’ve read by her. The main character has so many issues not just with her personal life and what happened the summer before, but with her family too – her older sister Whitney’s eating disorder. The reveal of what happened to Annabel that summer kind of reminds me of Speak, since Annabel doesn’t tell right away and everyone just assumes that she hooked up with Will willingly. I also like – with all Dessen’s books really – the gradual ease into a male/female relationship. All her narrators don’t right away end up dating the guy they’ve been talking to, they form a friendship first which is just amazing. However, I do wish that Dessen would leave just one couple as friends and not something more and that the guy screwed up more, the last four books (Keeping the Moon, This Lullaby, The Truth About Forever and Just Listen) have all been the girl screwing up the relationship. Mix it up a little!

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I loved how strong Annabel’s character was, it couldn’t have been easy keeping all of that inside, and I loved how gradual her coping was. Owen was pretty badass too.

Bookshelf worthy? The old print, not the new one.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Body Finder Series Book #2: Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

So, I’ll admit (I really should rename this blog to confessions of a bookaholic) second books in a series where I loved the first book scare me. Why? Because I always feel like there are high expectations for that book and they can never live up to their predecessor. Desires of the Dead was no exception. I’ll admit something else: my fear was rational.

Don’t get me wrong, Desires of the Dead was amazing. This time around there isn’t a serial killer for Violet to find. Instead a mysterious person is terrorizing her from her school and the FBI. You see she found a missing boy’s body while she was in the city with her friend Chelsea and she called in an anonymous tip that turned out to be not so anonymous. But this member of the FBI, Sara Priest, is different. She has a team of special people who have abilities like Violet…or so you think. Nothing is really said about this other members of Priest’s team, and the only member you really meet is Rafe, but his ‘power’ isn’t revealed at all. Although I do have my suspicions. Add that to the new kids Mike and his sister Megan monopolizing Jay’s time and Violet is one stressed out teenager.

A few chapters, the one’s that involved Violet finally telling Jay the truth about what’s been going on with her, reminded me that this isn’t a true psychotic thriller – like the ones you find on the upper level of your library – but a YA book filled with a lot of angst. I mean, seriously. I got where Violet was coming from when Jay didn’t believe her that it was Megan, but c’mon, girl. You find dead people and animals, shouldn’t you have a little bit more maturity?

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. The twists in this book were amazing, and the ending was very climatic. Curious to see more of Rafe and Sara in the next book, and hope that the whole ‘killer’ POVs continue. It makes for more intrigue.

Bookshelf worthy? Support your local library.