Wednesday, September 28, 2011

THE BODY FINDER by Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder tells the story of Violet Ambrose, a sixteen-year-old girl with the power to sense murder victims--and more importantly the taint left behind on both the bodies and the murderers.

Violet unearthed her first body buried in the woods when she was eight.  She can't stand the stench her cat carries around, the "echoes" of countless unfortunate creatures caught and killed by the feline clinging to his coat.  Her best friend, Jay Heaton, is one of the few people who knows about and accepts her secret, but all the girl's around town are starting to notice Jay now--and Violet is no exception.  When a serial killer starts picking off girls left and right, Violet sets out to find the murderer using her unique skill.  But even with Jay guarding her back, there's danger around every corner, and the killer has set his sights on the one girl who could end all the fun--or become his latest victim.

Honestly, it took me a while to pick this one up.  Don't know why; it was just one of those things. *shrugs* I've had a few people tell me this happens to them as well.  You go into the bookstore, keep picking up the book, putting it back, picking it up etc.  The title is so good I couldn't not pick up the book (and yes, that's a double negative J But it's the truth).  The cover is gorgeous and steps away from that whole beautiful-cover-model-staring-out-with-mysterious-eyes motif.  Not that I don't like those covers, but this book had more substance than two really hot characters making moon eyes at each other.

I loved getting to see how the friendship between Violet and Jay evolved into something more.  Those new feelings that threatened to change their relationship forever coupled with the new threat to the town's safety really played well off each other.  Talk about internal and external conflict, it was all there.  Kimberly Derting did a spectacular job of making the relationship between her two leads just as compelling as the serial killer plot.

I will say I have a real love of stories where "best friends become more."  Although that type of romance may seem overdone, I think it's more common nowadays to see the "mysterious stranger who wants to kill you, but in the end they profess undying love, and you forget they initially treated you like crap."  Maybe it's just me, but pretty much everything I real follows that formula, so it was nice to see a different romantic dynamic here.  Especially because it was done so well J  I believed that Violet was just now starting to recognize her feelings for Jay and that he had known his all along.  *Sigh* How can you not love that?

Apart from Violet making some pretty stupid impulsive decisions that had me pulling my hair out questioning her judgment--such as slipping out of the house at the height of the investigation for a light jog in the woods, ALONE--I really enjoyed the book.  The prose was a little thick, too descriptive for my tastes, the story a bit long b/c of that.  But overall, it was a good read, and I'm happy I picked it up.  It was another one of those MCs with a power that has "series potential" written all over it--and there are at least two other books after this one J

Happy reading all,

Ninja Girl

Friday, September 23, 2011


Hi all!  This week's Follow Friday Features are Sharon of Obsession with Books (note the awesome owls on her blog) and Liz of The Word of the Spork Master (LOL! love that blog name).  And as always Follow Friday is hosted by two very awesome ladies, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

Q. Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it?

Yes, I've got a ton of series that I love to read over and over!  First, there's the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  Cannot get enough of Ward's writing or just the overall awesomeness.  Then there's Mercy Thompson, and Harry Potter (of course :)).  But honestly, I could go on and on.

Any other great re-readable series I should know about??? Hope everyone's having a very happy Friday!

Ninja Girl

Thursday, September 22, 2011

THE IRON KING by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Fey series is my latest obsession.  You know those books that just grab you and sweep you away to another world?  The ones you can't possibly put down because, hey, you just found them, and there are at least three more books in the series J?  Yeah, this Julie Kagawa lady really gets it.  How do you create an impossible to put down series?  Let's run through the basics, shall we?

1) Take a tried and true plot, and give it a twist.

In The Iron King (first in the series), Kagawa takes the whole "teen who has no idea she's a princess" idea and elevates it to another level.  When Meghan Chase turns sixteen, there's nothing sweet about it: She starts seeing things--impossible things--out of the corner of her eye; her best friend starts acting more like a bodyguard; and her younger brother gets kidnapped* and taken to a place that shouldn't exist--a place where the Seelie and Unseelie Courts exist in a constant state of unease, a place where promises are binding, a place where a dark fairy prince could either kiss or kill you.  Yes, this plot is common in fairy stories, but the twist is a new bad guy: The Iron Fey--a threat to both Courts born of technology and ruthless human ambition.

(*Added bonus: The girl-in-search-of-her-kidnapped-brother subplot reminded me of The Labyrinth J.  I kept waiting for David Bowie to show up and bust out a ballad lol!)

2)  Add a dash of romance.

As I mentioned, there is a dark fairy prince who has it out for Meghan--but after they dance, the wall around Prince Ash's wintry heart begins to thaw, and no matter how hard he tries, it's impossible to keep Meghan out.  I found the romance very satisfying, but as usual, I'm going for the underdog.  Robin Goodfellow (aka Puck) is Meghan's best friend, her protector, a prankster with surprisingly believable sincerity.  I knew from the beginning where my loyalties lie, and it was not with the Winter or Summer Courts.  It was with Puck--and I think it's clear that his loyalty and love are all for Meghan.  *Sigh*  Why, oh why, can't the girl ever go for the great guy/fairy who has been right there, by her side the whole time?  I already know Ash is going to be Meghan's main love interest, but I'd like her better if she went for Puck :p

3) Fill it with all kinds of adventure/danger/fairy politics/sweeping descriptions and settings/the occasional kiss/impossible creatures of myth (including an invisible cat with a sarcastic tongue named Grim), and there you go!

One un-put-downable book series both kids and adults are sure to love.

I've just finished the second in the series, The Iron Daughter, and I'm still all in.  Love the characters (Puck especially J), love the writing, love the world and plot.  I can't wait to read the third and fourth books.  Kagawa is definitely a new favorite!!

Hope everyone's having a great week and reading books as good as this one,

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CLARITY by Kim Harrington

Clarity by Kim Harrington was (and wasn't) what I was expecting.

The cover is really eye-catching--though I'm pretty sure Clare is supposed to be a redheadJ--and the premise is a good one: A teenage girl sees memories, emotions, and secrets when she touches objects.  This is one of those paranormal powers that could carry an entire book series.  I mean, really, you could do so much with that, and I thought putting it in a YA setting was pretty smart.

When there's a murder in Eastport, not only does it put the family business at risk.  Most tourists are intrigued by the Ferns and their freakish abilities, but they're more interested in staying alive.  The girl's homicide brings suspicion onto Clare's brother Perry.  He was the last to see her alive and has a love-'em-and-leave-'em reputation.  But that doesn't make him a murderer.  As Clare delves further and further into the investigation, working alongside her ex, Justin, and the new detective's son, Gabriel, both her life--and her heart--are at risk.  Her brother Perry's acting guilty, the new psychic down the street is stealing what's left of their dwindling clients, and the killer's watching Clare's every move, waiting for her to slip up…waiting to take out the girl who could ruin everything.

I admired a lot about this book.  The idea went exactly how you'd want it to go.  I've read in different places where it was compared to different TV shows.  I'll throw my own in there, and say it was very much like the short-lived, yet entertaining series, The Dead Zone (ran on USA a few seasons, starring that kid from all the John Hughes films).  I enjoyed it just about as much, and there's always room in the YA genre for this type of story.  A teen sleuth with a supernatural ability she uses to solve mysteries?  Never gets old imo J

My biggest problem with the book was also what I liked best: It went exactly how you'd expect it to go.  I love it when someone delivers exactly what I'm looking for, but I love to be surprised by something I didn't know I was looking for in the first place.  Hope that made sense o_O.  Anyway, if I had one bad thing to say, it'd just be that I wanted more.  More of Clare touching objects and seeing things (maybe things that weren't even relevant, but juicy/entertaining/horrifying in some way), more romance, more angst, more depth, more pages, just more.

The book was a quick read, and the end provided a little bit of set-up for the next book, Perception, which will be out in 2012.  Actually, the summary for Perception is what made me pick up the first book, so I'll definitely be getting that one when it comes out.  I'd recommend Clarity to younger teens and fans of this premise.  And for the adult readers out there, I'd also rec Charlaine Harris's Harper Connelly series (a definite favorite J) for a read with more grit.

Whoop! My 20th review!! Would love to hear what you guys thought :)

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

EVERY OTHER DAY by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I've often perused the YA shelves looking for a brand-spanking-new urban fantasy (my favorite genre) to sink my teeth into.  Funny thing, I didn't find Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes at the store.  It came to me by way of a Net Galley request--my first--and I'm so freaking happy I got to read it.

People, this was my kind of book J

Kali, a sometimes human sixteen-year-old, goes to a high school where the mascot is a Kraken.  No, you did not misread; I said Kraken, as in "Release the Kraken!" that fantastic line about the mythological sea creature set on destruction.  (*Sigh*…I can still hear Ralph Fiennes's earth-shattering delivery in my head…perfection).

Although the creature doesn't actually make an appearance, I'm sure Kali could've taken it out.  No doubt in my mind.  She would've had that Kraken on its knees (tentacles??) crying like a baby in no time.  Why?  Because, like I said, Kali is only sometimes human.

When she's not, that's when things get interesting.  The shift happens around dawn.  One moment Kali's a normal human girl; the next she's a hunter, out for demon blood.  Fearlessly, she faces off with hellhounds, zombies, chimera, a dragon, anything to quench the bloodlust.  But everything changes when she sees the mark, a serpent eating its tail, on Bethany Davis's back.  Kali does something reckless to save the girl, putting her own life at stake in the process and opening up a great big can of worms--that may or may not include bloodsucking parasites, a shady research group, action galore, and one life-altering secret.

I loved the voice of the book.  Kali was such a badass!  I could feel the action in every page, enjoyed watching her go after the baddies knives blazing, claws out.  And the author actually gave Kali physical traits that made all of it seem possible.  Her hunter instincts, the "no fear" mentality, worked because of who and what Kali was.

Another thing I liked was the side characters.  Skylar, self-professed "school slut" and kinda-sorta-a-little-bit psychic, reaches out to Kali from the beginning, and I couldn't help but love her.  She's one of those characters who grab you by the heartstrings and don't let go.  Also, I loved her band of merry geeks--Darryl, the giant genius, especially--and Skylar's friends said just as much about her character as anything else.

The action was tremendous.  Loved all the blood and gore, but the heart of the book made it shine.  Kali was a stand-out heroine in a YA field where most female MCs need a guy to support them (and usually rescue them at some point).  Here was a teenage girl who could take care of herself, who stood up for everyone around her.

The book's not preachy, but the message came through loud and clear: Girls can kick ass just as hard as the boys (and in Kali's case, sometimes a little harder J).

Great book, definitely recommended.

Ninja Girl

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alisoncanread.  This week's feature is Lisa Loves Literature  and Once Upon a Prologue, and if I wasn't already following both of these ladies, I'd do it again.  Go check each of them out!

Q. If you could change the ending of any book (or series), which book would you choose? Why and to what?

Let me just say that I agree with EVERYTHING Parajunkee said on her blog and would've probably preferred her ending to the tragic letdown that was Breaking Dawn.  *Spoilers* to follow, so if you haven't read the final book in the Twilight saga DON'T do it!  Stop with Eclipse (especially if you're Team Jacob) you may want to stop reading here.

*Begin Spoilerfest: First, a white wedding straight out of the pages of fanfiction (and not even the best fanfiction b/c some of it is actually pretty good).

Second, a pregnant Bella who's so out of character she seems unconcerned about being implanted with Edward's demon seed.

Third, creepy, creepy baby Nessy (what the heck with that name?  Really Stephenie, what??) who everyone falls instantly in love with.

Fourth, my poor, poor Jacob imprinting on creepy baby--THIS was the most spectacular failing of the book imo :(  For shame, Meyer, for shame.

And lastly (b/c I have decided to limit myself to five; don't want this to turn into anymore of a rant than it already is), NO FIGHT SCENE!  I mean, really, all that build up with the Volturi, all the tension, and then they show up and...leave???  The lack of action/ability to deliver the promised battle to the death was a very, very big letdown.

Don't know how I would've ended it, but definitely with some kind of fight at the end.  Sorry, I really loved the series--like loved it--and then the fourth book came out and...yeah :(  I pretty much wanted everything that happened to happen, but I was disappointed in HOW it all went down.

Note: I NEVER wanted Jacob to turn into a cradle robber.  Just ew.

So, what's yours?

Ninja Girl