Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In My Mailbox

In my mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, to let bloggers show what books they have accumulated over the past week. Luckily, I managed to get some neat snags this week:

In My Mailbox:

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

From Random Buzzers (thanks a bunch!):
Fat Cat by Robin Brande

Borrowed from a friend:
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

From the Library:
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Paranormalcy

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


By Kiersten White
Publication Date: August 31, 2010

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.

Normal is so overrated.

Why I want this book:
First off, I have to talk about the cover. Everyone's heard that you should't judge a book by it's cover, but I don't mean to talk about it in that way. I simply want to point out that it is GORGEOUS. It's so mysterious and dark, and the mystique pink dress is stunning. The cover itself lures me in to wanting to find out more about this book.
Secondly, the teaser/summary fascinated me. Lately there has been an attack of paranormal books being published for young adults, and they were pretty much all the same, for the most part. But this is something different. It's not about a paranormal human with special freaky powers or inner beings inside of them who fall in love with a helpless human. This is about an agency that "bags & tags" paranormals? A girl who can see through their powers? Now there's something different. I can't wait to read this book. It is very promising, and my expectations are not willing to be disappointed.

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Genre: Paranormal and Romance
harcover, 329 pages

"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 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." - Summary from Goodreads

The Body Finder is a luring, addictive book that caught my attention right from the short description in the front cover flap. When I was first introduced to this book, my friend was consuming it at the time and kept blabbing about how good it was. It caught my attention, and I promised myself to investigate the book further.

Violet's special ability was astonishingly creative. I really liked the idea -not in a creepy way, though- of a girl who could find murdered bodies. Not only was it clever, but it was also executed particularly well. Violet didn't find bodies just through one certain sense. Instead, she found them through a number of senses, all creative and enchanting.

They would omit an energy - a sensory echo - in the wake of their murder, like a beacon that only she could find, letting her know where they'd been discarded. it could be anything . . . a smell, a burst of color, a taste in the back of her mouth, or a combination of several sensations at once.

She didn't know how . . . or why . . . It just happened.

Violet and Jay were an addictive combination. I have always had a soft spot for books with boy/girl best friend relationships, I love reading about them when their together, and how they just weave with each other so easily. However, some parts of Jay and Violets friends-only relationship confused me. One moment they would be holding hands across school, and the next they would be completely ignoring each other for a week. One day they would be lying together in their beds, and the slightest provocation would cause them to cast the silent treatment towards the other for days. Their relationship was like a crouching tiger. The slightest move in the scene would cause it to pounce. For the first half of the book I knew that something was missing, something needed to happen to them because they were simply meant to be together. Finally, midway they confessed and poured out their love to each other and picked up the pace. They became inseparable.

The mystery of the killer caught on to me as if it were a fishing hook. Several chapters were introduced by his point of view, which added to the mystery and suspense of the plot. He himself includes a HUGE dangerous twist that made me feel overprotective for Violet and Jay. I felt the need, as the avid reader, to protect them from harm, whether or not there was the fact that I actually couldn't help them. The killer made me emotionally attached.

One of my favorite things about this book was the laconic foreshadowing. Often they were just phrases or a simple sentence that seemed unimportant at the moment to the scene. But they had that effect on me to seem as if they were telling me that something unexpected was going to happen, I just didn't know when or where. The foreshadowing was amusing, and it was a great addition to the story line. Every mysterious sentence kept the gears in my brain turning as I was trying to predict what would happen next.

The Body Finder is a unique, fantastic story that will drag you in like a narcotic. I stayed up until around three in the morning to finish it, as it was impossible for me to put it down. A potpourri of romance, action, murder mystery all topped with the paranormal touch, this book was a highly enjoyable read. Recommended for any young adult who wants a page turning and addictive book.

4.5 Beasts

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Title: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella

Author: Stephenie Meyer

Genre: Paranormal Romance

hardcover, 178 pages

Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for before she became a vampire. All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has a few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself and. above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as "her". As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a life, how do you find the truth?

-Summary from Goodreads

I'm not a Twilight fan. I stopped reading the series after New Moon, and I found that book so boring I never actually finished it. I skimmed through most of Twilight. But this book, compared to the ones in the saga, was not bad, and I would say it was definitely better than the two books that I did read by Stephenie Meyer. It was a well paced story. It wasn't a page turner, but it also wasn't a "I-have-more-important-things-to-do" books either.

The head of the coven, Riley, and his head-honcho, only referred to as "She" or "her", were able to leave me to try to fill in the mystery of who they were, exactly. Bree and Diego were a good match. When the separated after spying on Riley and "She", I was excited to see what would happen with they planned to meet again. I had a gut feeling I knew. It was a little predictable.

There were some very unclear parts, such as Freaky Fred's power. Apparently he was a special vampire, but I never figured out his special abilities until the last event in the book, even though there were multiple scenes mentioning him and his special power, which apparently caused constant revulsions.I finally realized that he could be invisible, but at that point i was too confused to care. What did revulsions have to do with being invisible?

Stephenie Meyer ruined the ending before the book even began. She indirectly says Bree dies. What if the reader has never read Eclipse? She should have let the readers find out for themselves. Also, I found that several times, Meyer contradicted herself. For example, on page 71 Bree describes lips of kisses. She says "Lips like stone, no give." Eleven pages later, Bree is kissing Diego, describing it: "His smooth lips". Okay, so how is it that lips are like stone one page, and then smooth the next? Don't confuse and contradict.

Lastly, Bree's character development was...underdeveloped. Just like Bella in Twilight, she had no voice. She was a very bland character who I didn't understand or find myself relating to in any way. Overall, I think this was just an average book, and I would only suggest it to readers if they want an average, short read.

3 Beasts

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Title: Sisters Red

Author: Jackson Pearce

Genre: Paranormal Fiction, Romance

hardcover, 328 pages

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless

-Summary from Goodreads

Sisters Red is slightly like a twisted version of Little Red Riding Hood, but with much more action, adventure, romance, suspense and mystery. It was fun how Jackson Pearce made the story told from the two points of view of the March sisters, Scarlett and Rosie. Pearce did a fantastic job depicting the voices of both girls, they had very different personalities, hobbies, and opinions in and on life. Pearce was able to show how the two sisters were similar in so many ways, yet so different in so many as well. For example, the whole thing about them both having "The same heart". I know, it sounds really cheesy, but the way she described it was really neat, like how, when they hunt, their hearts move as one, and they have the feeling of becoming one another.

The writing style was perfect, as the descriptions and details told by them were never overloaded with unnecessary adjectives, yet they were also detailed enough for a good image based on the descriptions to submerge from my thoughts. Scarlett was portrayed well as protective, caring and forgiving as a sister, yet merciless, ruthless, and dangerous as a hunter. Rosie was portrayed well as understanding and loving. She knows that ever since the wolf incident, she owes her life to Scarlett forever by hunt. Yet she also wants to live a life besides wolves and hatchets as well. Rosie's character added to the storyline with a good twist.

To be honest, there was one unnecessary part of the book that I should mention. The art class that Rosie took as part of a community program where they had to draw men nude? That was pretty unnecessary. I know that it is a referral to remind the reader that Rosie is starting to fall in love with Silas because one of the men she has to draw looks like him, but there were many other parts of the book where Rosie talks about how she falls in love with Silas. I found this section of the story confusing, weird and very unnecessary.

However, I liked how Rosie and Silas's relationship was not rushed, and it took about half of the book for things to really pick up between them. I highly dislike books with story lines that go from "I didn't know he/she existed" then five minutes later to "I love you". Overall, this was a great read, and I must say so far it has been the best paranormal book I have read yet.

4 Beasts

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Genre: Science Fiction

Hardcover, 266 pages

Who is Jenna Fox?

Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a year long coma, and she's still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, her memories, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen?

Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. Along with the memories come questions-questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident?

In this fascinating novel, acclaimed author Mary E. Pearson presents an unforgettable look at one human life and a glimpse into a possible future that may be closer than we think.

-Summary from Goodreads

The Adoration of Jenna fox is one of the most mysterious and psychological (deep) books I have ever read.

The beginning was a little slow, but there were so many unfulfilled explanations and disconnections in the book that it just forced me to keep reading. Pearson did an AMAZING job with the voice of Jenna. She was confused yet smart, independent, and weak yet strong. There was a major development of this character as the book went on.

What I loved about this book is it kept me guessing, and only at halfway through the book did most of my questions become clear. After some- note only some- explanations were told, the storyline goes full-speed ahead. There were new twists and more answers at every page, which only doubled my curiosity about one question: Who is Jenna Fox? Just like her, I had yet to understand who she truly was.

All the characters were well developed. Dane, the one who has something missing inside of him, the charming criminal Ethan, the real Mr. Bender. Dying Allys, Lily, the untruthful and secretive mom and dad. Every single character made an impact on Jenna and her new life. Before the accident, Jenna lived in Boston. It was really neat too hear her talk about Boston, like when she mentioned the T and shopping with Locke and Kara at Newbury Street. Those are real places (I've been to both), and it was fun to imagine the scenes since I have been there.

The plot was genious. I was especially hooked on a single phrase, that was repeated almost every chapter in the book.

"Hurry, Jenna, Hurry."

the meaning, which I realized in the end, was overwhelmingly powerful. The ending of this book was quite possible one of the most striking I've read yet. Sorry, I know I'm being very bland and un-descriptive, but if i mention anything about the ending or the main parts of the book, I'm sure to give it all away.

5 Beasts

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson

Title: Claire de Lune

Author: Christine Johnson

Genre: Paranormal romance

Details: Hardcover, 336 pages

"Torn between two destinies?

Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: she's a werewolf.

As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire's new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will change her forever?."

- Summary from Goodreads

When I read the inside flap of this book, to be honest, it sounded like a typical young adult paranormal romance story. The girl has a secret of being a werewolf and she can't tell anyone, even her adorable boyfriend Matthew. The beginning was all right, maybe around 4 Beasts. The typical boy/girl romance starts, and I was in awe by how Christine Johnson added a bit of mystery at the beginning of each chapter to lure me further into the book. Each chapter started with a snippet of the antagonist’s point of view, a view of a dangerous and deadly werewolf that was the talk and shock of the town. It made me wonder, who was the villan?

But after Claire learns about being a werewolf, everything went downhill. Her mom had to go into this whole session about explaining the "true" life of werewolves that went on for pages and pages. The lives of the creatures had so many specific and strict rules, techniques and traits that just rambled on. The explanation pages just got more annoying and boring as they went on, but I wont go into detail because some of them may ruin the book. However, I feel it necessary to point out one odd thing: the ritual of the "Greeting". Heres some snippets from the book:

"Victoria, I greet you."

"Marie, I greet you. Claire, I greet you, too."

"I-I greet you,"

"This is Zahlia. Zahlia, I greet you."

"And I greet you, Marie. Claire, I also greet you."

"I greet you, Zahlia."

I don't mean to be frustrated, but, I was not amused or fascinated by many of the habits of the werewolves that were meant to be fascinating. And because of all the secretiveness of being one, Claire had to lie and make up excuses for people in her social life. LOTS of excuses. Too many, if i say. She acted like an inconsiderate middle school girl, showing her emotions that she was obviously hiding a secret instead of at least trying to be normal and responsible by covering it up. It was clear to me that she wasn't even trying to make an effort to cover up her secret. The excuses got overboard and obnoxiously obvious, yet somehow people still believed her.

The only thing that kept me motivated to read was the strange werewolf character in the beginning of each chapter. But, not even halfway into the book my motivation left me because the character was completely predictable. Nothing sparked my interest in this book. The main character was bland, the villan was obvious, and the relationships between all the characters were dull and fake. Overall a below average read that I would suggest not wasting your time on.

2.5 Beasts

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Genre: Historical Fiction

hardcover, 552 pages

"It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul."

-Summary from Goodreads

Narrated by death, this book immediately struck my curiosity. What an odd yet brilliant way to tell about Liesel Meminger's life as an adopted child and a book thief.

I loved the strong voice of Death. Zusak made him very distinct, and portrayed his personality of grim and, well, obviously deadly, yet he was able to tell the reader that he was really a softy on the inside. I also loved how Death "is not a big fan of surprises", and he often told the reader about future events of the story way before they happen in the book. When the first shock was spoiled, I was mad, but then when the part came in the book, I was relieved because it wasn't a major giveaway that could effect the enjoyment of the book.

The plot could have been stronger, as there wasn't a major conflict between the protagonist, Lisel, and the antagonists, the Nazis. One strange thing about the ending was that Liesel had nothing to do with the resolution, which I infer is the end of world war II. However, this book is still a one-of-a-kind, filled with suspense, action, laughs, friendship, and odd display of romance, and an abundance of love.

4.5 Beasts

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner

Author: James Dashner

Genre: Dystopian Science Fiction

Audience: Young Adut

Other Info: 1st book in a trilogy

" When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is black. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.

The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl springs up—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable. And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind. "

- Summary from Good Reads

I especially loved this book because it was a page turner, and I was up late every night, using all my strength to keep my eyes open so I could keep reading. When I had other obligations in the middle of my reading, all I could do was think about The Maze Runner and constantly calculate the time left before I could return to reading this book.

This book was absolutely compelling. Thomas and the mysterious world of the Glade drew me in from page one. James Dashner undoubtedly has an amazing imagination and creativity, as the story line and setting for this book is one of the most original I have ever read. This book had me holding on because it was filled with unexpected twists and turns, and was completely unpredictable, all in positive exciting ways. The mysterious touch on everything kept me going.

The writing style was also great, although not as good as it could have been. The main character, Thomas, had a distinct voice throughout the book and it made me feel like I really knew him, inside and out. In fact, because of his memory loss, I actually knew just as much about him as he knew about himself. That was great because I could follow his voice. When he was confused, I was just as confused. When he was running away from the grievers, I felt as if I was running away too, right beside him. I was more scared for him being killed by them then he was himself! Dashner did an amazing job connecting the protagonist of this book with the audience.

With mystery, thrill, suspense, action, and a touch of romance, this book deserves a good solid rating of…

4.5 Beasts

First Post!

So, here's the first post of The Book Buzzer. This is my official book blog, and my first blog Wefreadom is no longer being used for book blogging purposes. Now, I'm going to do contests, more reviews and more memes. Stay tuned!