Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

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Check out the Halloween Read-a-Thon here!

My TBR list here!

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**Originally, I was going to use Mary: The Summoning for this one, but I thought The Body Finder actually made more sense and fit the description better.**


First, the two main reasons that people are going to have issues with this book: The almost annoying focus on young love amidst a killing spree and the third person POV.

Second, the reason they didn’t negatively impact my rating: The story was pretty original (the body finding part anyway) and very well written.

Third, the moment I fell in love with this story:

“She waited only a few moments longer than she needed to, silently thanking Brooke for sharing this time with her… for sharing her heartbreakingly beautiful echo.”

How many stars do I give this? I’m going to surprise myself by giving this FIVE FREAKING STARS.

I didn’t expect to fall in love with this story. In fact, I was on the fence about buying this one in the first place, but now I’ve definitely got to check out the rest of the series AND add Kimberly Derting on my Authors To Read list.

Halloween Horror Rating:

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Two out of five bats. I hate to say it, because this is such an awesome novel, but ultimately it just wasn’t all that scary. There were a couple of moments where it had some good suspense or thrill to it, but I just wasn’t buying the concept of “terrifying” here. Would it have been scary in real life? Absolutely. Was it scary as a novel? Maybe not so much.

Even so, I’d read it a thousand more times.

But let’s begin with The Engaging And Overtaking Writing.

What I enjoyed personally:

That this was easy to get into. This is a combination of story and writing, but even if the story is good, the writing is what seals the deal and that’s what happened here. It was easy to fall into the story. By the end of the prologue I couldn’t wait to read the rest of the book (and I did so in under 24 hours, so there!). The writing was sort of long, if you know what I mean. The sentences didn’t rely on being short and choppy to be easy to process, but rather were well built. They varied to keep the writing interesting, not afraid to have those quick, jarring statements, or the long rambling ones. Italics were used freely and without judgement. They were mostly well placed and added some good emphasis, as italics should. Overall, I found the formatting and style pleasing and that goes a long way for me.

What I felt was a little questionable:

I’m not a huge fan of third person for YA (though it tends to work better for Adult novels and sometimes Middlegrade) and sort of feel like this could have been a little bit better of a novel in first, however, I don’t think it destroyed the novel to be in third. I think it’s going to bother a lot of readers, however, who maybe feel like a third POV is going to put too much distance between Violet and the reader when there’s the potential for so much emotional charge. It wasn’t a problem for me, but for some I think it will be.

Moving on to The Addicting Like True Book-Crack Story.

What I liked:

Everything. Well, just about anyway.

I loved the romance and while I think it might be off putting to some people who really want the grittiness of the serial-killer slash psychic portion of the story, it was ultimately a very successful story. I even think, in a little role reversal, the romance was the vehicle for the supernatural/killer portion! It was great to see them struggling against their feelings, but also once opening up to them, how they still interacted with each other basically the same. They were still friends, despite all the touchy feely things that had sprouted up between them.

I felt like it was interesting to have the short chapters from the killer’s POV and it helped to add a little bit to the end when we finally realize who it is. And I liked that it wasn’t cut and dry. There was a tiny twist that you almost kinda saw coming, but I think you were distracted enough by the romance that it wasn’t obvious. I also liked that the Epilogue had your heart pounding. Awesome.
I love, love, love the body finder stuff. I mean, seriously. The echoes? Freaky and awesome. The drive to find dead things? Totally weird. I mean, I was really sold on Violet’s ability and I loved that only the people closest to her knew about it—including her family. It made an already good story that much better. I was really impressed.

What I didn’t like:

I think maybe the romance developed a little too quickly. Like, head over heels before book two too quickly. However, even that isn’t a huge unlike. Because they were BFFs from the getgo, so I can see the romance moving rapidly as a result.

Other than that… I didn’t like the scene at the part. The end of it, yes, that was awesome, but the part with Grady? Just too typical. Too “Every YA Book Has This Scene” (which I’ll go over later). I think it might be the only thing I truly didn’t like in this book. Really. And as I mentioned, I loved the end of it.

Next, Le Characters.

What was good:

I loved that Violet wasn’t just a goody-two-shoes girl who was like “oh, woe is me!” She’s abrasive and at times aggressive, moody and very occasionally manipulative. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her insecurities. She doesn’t look like everyone else, she doesn’t feel like she’s “changed” enough or “grown” enough as some of her friends have. She doesn’t think she’s good enough to get the guy, etc. HOWEVER, I will say that her self-deprecating attitude was mild, making it, in my humble opinion, far more authentic. She was just this normal teen who, as a result of hormones and crazy things going on, had insecurities that she dealt with in the best way she could.

I also loved that Jay was… self-aware. He wasn’t just some cocky jerk, but he could be at times and I felt that was pretty genuine, too. He was gorgeous, but his personality allowed that to be an incidental trait that carried his character a little farther.

Also, he’s my new Book Boyfriend. *Sigh*

I liked that the parents HAD A ROLE IN THE STORY. Like, a legitimate one. Sure, at times they were lax—like with the open/closed door policy—but mostly they were struggling like real parents between protecting their daughter and letting her develop into a real, live person. Go figure. They didn’t have to be the Absentee Parents to make the story believable. Her family was involved without hindering the overall flow of the story and I appreciated that.

What was bad:

Grady.

Seriously, even Lissie Queen of the Bees was an acceptable stereotype for me, because she didn’t play that big of a role. But Grady? He was supposed to be one of their good friends and then he goes all slobbering mangy rabid boy dog on Violet? No, too convenient. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but that whole Incident felt too… tropey. It was staged to the point where, while I appreciated the Good Save and all, I had a hard time not rolling my eyes. It was just this excuse to bring things together, a means to an end, and that really bugged me. Because everything else flowed really well and then you have Grady. And we never really resolve Grady, we just have to live with him.

Finally, a section for Tropes and Other Much Hated Things:

Ah, alas, there are tropes and stereotypes here. Even in the best of books a little rain must fall… I don’t think that’s how that quote goes. Regardless.

Tropes:

A) Girl Is Attacked For Being Foolish… But It’s Okay, Love Of Her Life Miraculously Saves Her!
B) The Fated High School Dance… Like OMG
C) I’m In Love With My BFF, But I’m Not Admitting It

Stereotypes:

A) Pretty People Are Mean… Except For My BFF/Boyfriend Because He’s Super-Hot AND Nice
B) I Have Curly Hair So I’m Not Pretty… Except I Totally Am and Just Don’t Know It (okay, also a trope, but you get me)
C) The Sporty One, The Pretty One, The Dumb One, and The Main Girl

Would I recommend this? Hell. Yes.—If you like reading YA at all and care even a little for suspense. I mean, jeez. Awesome.

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

Book Information:

the-body-finderTitle: The Body Finder (The Body Finder #1)
Author: Kimberly Derting
ISBN: 0061779814
Language: English
Approximate Length: 327 pages
Stars: ★★★★★
I have a used softcover copy.

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Review: Ouija by Katharine Turner

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Check out the Halloween Read-a-Thon here!

My TBR list here!

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First, the two main reasons that people are going to have issues with this book: The way this reads like a Middlegrade book and the complete lack of suspense/horror/or anything remotely terrifying.
Second, the reason they absolutely did negatively impact my rating: Because the writing was third-grade status. So simple I could have done this just by watching the movie with absolutely no writing skills whatsoever.
Third, the moment I knew this was going to be bad:

“‘Hey.’ Trevor appeared in the doorway.
‘Oh my god!’ Laine gripped the board tightly. ‘You almost gave me a heart attack.’”

Because, um, why? Nothing happened. Absolutely NOTHING HAPPENED to build up to this “surprise, heart attack inducing” moment.
How many stars do I give this? Sadly, only 2. Maybe a 2.1, but probably not. (Lets be honest, I’m already being generous.)
I went into this book really wanting to like it, but I just couldn’t. This is possibly the first and probably only time I will ever say this but, THE MOVIE IS BETTER.
I feel like I should be stoned now…
Halloween Horror Rating:

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One out of five bats. It was pathetically un-terrifying to the point where I was bored and more interested in the grief of the characters, than the supposedly scary stuff happening.

A total disappointment.
But let’s begin with The Bland And Pathetically Boring Writing.

What I enjoyed personally:

Not much of anything, really. I found that this was one of those moments where the writing was TOO simplistic. It made it difficult to read, because it was so easy I felt like I was reading See Spot Run. I mean, why not include pictures, too?

Oh, wait, they did…

Seriously though. I’ve been trying to find something that I really enjoyed in the writing style itself, and I can’t find anything. I felt it was boring, stilted, lacked suspense, and felt more like it was meant to be read by 10-year-olds.

What I felt was a little questionable:

Um, everything.

First, the writer didn’t seem to understand that as a novel, not a movie the writing needed more meat. There needed to be at least a hundred more pages, all of which should have been descriptors. Okay, maybe not *all* but a damn lot of ‘em. There needed to be more “her heart thumped wildly in her chest as she felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise. She couldn’t see it, but she sensed it there, lurking, looming—coming towards her. She couldn’t force herself to turn, her body frozen in irrational fear, but in the mirror she caught the reflection. It should have been nothing, but that shadow—” Instead, we get the characters running around doing… well, we don’t really know what they’re doing because they’re suddenly downstairs in the dead girl’s room when a second ago they were in the living room. And they’re dying left and right, but they only seem mildly affected by this.
Where’s the drama? Where’s the suspense? Where are the friggin’ ghosts already?! Seriously, even they didn’t manage to be effective in this novel—which is bad, given that it’s basically a ghost story.

Moving on to The Rather Hobble-Cobble Story.

What I liked:

The relationship between Debbie and Laine. It was the closest thing to a really functioning storyline that we could grasp on to and it was the only thing that was convincing as a motivator for the unfolding events. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the sort of depth that it needed to be really *great* or effective and it left everyone feeling sort of… well, maybe like Debbie and Laine should have been dating and the two guys should have been thrown to the wolves.

Regardless, the best part (in the sense of storytelling) was Debbie’s apparent suicide. There was the promise of real depth there when her friends are initially grieving. They attempt to deal with her death in their own ways, wondering how they “missed the signs”. This was the most genuine part of the whole story—and it was only there as a backdrop to the rest of what was going on. Really disappointing.

What I didn’t like:

Most of what happened.

The Ouija Board has the potential to bring some real creep factor to any story—and yet it utterly failed here. There was no sense of foreboding, there was no feeling that they were playing with fire. Instead it was all this “oh, and by the way, a serial killer ghost is after you, kay, bye now”. I mean, that was the feeling I got from this novel and it really left me wishing that more had happened in the story. I think this is more a result of the writing than the actual plot, though I think there are holes there, too, and I think if we’d been offered a little more time to explore what was going on and given a few more details, I would have enjoyed the story more.

Next, Le Characters.

What was good:

The relationship between Debbie and Laine. And the relationship between Laine and Sarah. Both of these bonds were very brief, because the whole story was brief, but they offered the most development and tangible feeling in the whole novel. I also would have liked to explore the Laine/Pete dynamic, because it was, strangely enough, stronger than most here. More compelling. At least, it had the potential to be. But again, it was wholly underdeveloped, leaving it more like this weird “did I imagine a connection there?” thing.

What was bad:

There was almost no character development. No one really changed—or even had the chance to. We actually got the most change from Trevor, I think, and not in a good way. He shifted from the loving boyfriend to aggressive and unstable. But we only get a glimpse of that and the next moment he’s all “but I love Laine so much! Even though I think she’s nuts!” It was really disappointing.

The friendships between each of the characters had so much room for development, but instead they fell flat. I was left thinking that these characters were just cardboard cutouts of people, stand ins for the real things that had yet to arrive.

Finally, a section for Tropes and Other Much Hated Things:

There’s the Missing Parents trope. I think this novel counts as YA and falls into the same My Teenager’s Running Rampant, But I Really Can’t Be Bothered As A Parent trope. There’s also the My Boyfriend Takes Over My Life trope, though in a very small capacity. There’s the I Had To Grow Up Too Fast To Take The Place Of My Absentee Parent trope, always a fun one.

There weren’t a lot of Horror Tropes here, though fans of the genre will notice some. The Final Girl(s) being the main one, but also some “playing with something we shouldn’t” and “it’s just a game”.

Would I recommend this? No—there just isn’t enough here to be bothered with, sadly enough.

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

Book Information:

ouijaTitle: Ouija
Author: Katharine Turner
ISBN: 0316296325
Language: English
Approximate Length: 224 pages
Stars: ★★☆☆☆
I have a used softcover copy.

Halloween Read-a-Thon: TBR

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Because I am currently suffering from one of the worst writer’s blocks I’ve had in a long time (a combination of short-timer’s disease and a complete irritation with not getting paid…), I thought I would go ahead and post my TBR list for Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews’ Halloween Read-a-Thon. (You should definitely join if you haven’t already!)

I’ve broken this up into the Shorter Books That I Might Actually Fit In By Halloween and Longer Books That I Really Hope I Have Time For (But Probably Won’t). But for brevity, I’ll refer to them simply as Short and Long.

Starting with Short:

  1. MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
  2. Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block
  3. The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
  4. The Hallowed Ones by Bickle
  5. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
  6. Ouija by Katharine Turner

Moving on to Long:

  1. Shutter by Courtney Alameda
  2. Frost by Marianna Baer
  3. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  4. Possess by Gretchen McNeil
  5. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
  6. Dead Girls Don’t by Mags Storey

I’ll just say that I could find MORE, but these were the ones that I bought specifically for October – I may have gotten a little excessive, BUT I got some great deals (Possess was only $4 with shipping and I got both Shutter and The Body Finder for free thanks to a promotion!).

If you’ve noticed, there are a total of TWELVE books on my list. I KNOW that I will not finish them all in October. However, I will try my hardest to get through at least half of them. And since one of the challenges is to read at least six, I’ll aim for that anyway!

Now, on to the specific challenges!

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shutterI totally pick Shutter for this one! It is one of the creepiest covers I’ve seen in a LONG time and I am seriously impressed. It creeps me out just by looking at it and I think if I saw it sitting on my shelf in the dark, I might just freak out. That’s a win for me! (Wait, didn’t I just say I was going to try and stick to my Short list? Apparently I’m a liar.)

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ouijaHm. I think I’ll do either Ouija or Teen Spirit for this one, because they both deal with ghosts and spirit boards. I’ve really been dying to read Ouija, so I’ll probably do that one (AND IT’S SHORT!), especially since I’m not one hundred percent on Teen Spirit. But it sounds like it could be pretty good, so we’ll just have to see.teen-spirit

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maryI’ve got the perfect one for this! (Actually, I could use Anna Dressed in Blood for this one, but since Lauren used it as an example, I’m going to list my alternate instead.) Mary: The Summoning about Bloody Mary which I can remember trying to call with some of my friends as a kid. We freaked ourselves out because when we turned off the light, someone SWEARS they saw red eyes looking at her in the mirror! (It was actually just the LED light from a plug, but that didn’t take away the lingering sense that something crazy had totally just happened. Ah, the good ol’ days.)

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blackbirdsHm. This one’s a tough decision, but I think I’m going to say either In The Shadow of Blackbirds or Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. I’m not sure which one will be creepier, but I LOVE the cover for Blackbirds, so I think I may end up doing that one. I should pick a creepier one, really, but… I reserve scaring myself silly at 3am for The Conjuring and Sinister only, thank you. 😉

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trick-or-treat

dead-girls-dontHm. I’ll think about a free genre book, but honestly I’m probably going to try for Dead Girls Don’t, because I’ve had that one for almost a year and still haven’t gotten to it! The others I’ve gotten more recently, so I haven’t really been putting them off. If I come up with one I’d rather, I’ll update this, but otherwise, I’m going to go ahead and go with Dead Girls Don’t! (Also, I have a red cover, but I like the blue one better.)

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all-hallows-eve

the-body-finderI think I’m going to go ahead and say The Body Finder on this one, because I REALLY want to read it, but it hasn’t cropped up for any of the other challenges! I probably won’t get through even half this many, but I’m putting it down anyway! (Also, I can’t really say why, but I absolutely love this cover. I have since the first time I saw it and I love it all over again every time I see it. Maybe it’s the contrast? I don’t know.)

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I love so many of these covers!

Note: I have more. Ebooks galore, but I just cannot list them all. So these are the ones I bought with Halloween specifically in mind. I hope that by some miracle I will find the time to read them all, but even if I don’t, I know that I will get to them eventually. October may be the spookiest month of the year, but there’s something creepy about November and December, too. It’s about the cold and the ending of another year. So I’ll get to them. Eventually.

Also, the credit for the graphics (except for the main header, can you tell? Lol) goes to Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews. Aren’t they flippin’ adorable?! They make me happy.

I hope to see you all join in on the Halloween Read-a-Thon, because I think it’s an awesome idea! But even if you don’t, I hope you have a spectacular October!

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

Halloween Read-a-Thon via Wonderless Reviews

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OMG guys! This is exactly what I need for October! (Okay, not really, because WHERE WILL I FIND THE TIME?! But still. So. Awesome.) It’s a read-a-thon with a Halloween theme for this coming month. How cool is that? The idea is credited to Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews, because she’s just that awesome.

Check out the post here for rules and challenges! Halloween Read-a-Thon

sincerely3

E.C. Orr