Review: The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

Review: The Last Echo by Kimberly DertingThe Last Echo by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder #3
Published by HarperTeen on April 17, 2012
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals--including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe--it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice.

When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye....

*Review may contain spoilers.*

The Last Echo was, by far, the best book in The Body Finder series. It had a little bit of a darker feel to it. I could tell almost right away that it had a more ominous tone, and I knew something terrible was going to happen. Also, I *may* have read the jacket for Dead Silence, and accidentally read the part about Violet being kidnapped. Oops!

Another thing I noticed almost immediately was the writing. Derting’s writing has definitely improved from the first two books. I’m not saying the writing in the first two books was bad – absolutely not saying that! Her writing has always been good, but it felt like it flowed better in The Last Echo.

On to the book itself, the opening scene kind of gave me chills. I was honestly a little creeped out (like I said, this book definitely had a darker, more ominous tone to it). I loved seeing Violet interacting with “The Team.” It was a far cry from the first two books, where she had to hide her abilities. It was especially in contrast to The Body Finder (book one), where her Uncle Stephen did everything in his power to keep her name off all the police reports.

The sections told in the killer’s POV were amazingly haunting. I felt like I was balancing on a tight rope; sometimes, I leaned towards hating and despising this cruel, twisted human being. And then sometimes I felt bad for this person. You could feel this person’s loneliness, their desire to be loved – and then you felt sick to your stomach for feeling bad for a serial killer. The writing in these sections was incredible, and Derting really did a great job of putting the reader into the mind of the killer.

Okay… So… This part is hard for me to write, because I feel so bad. But it needs to be said:

I am Team Rafe.

Jay was so much better in this book. I really didn’t like his character in The Body Finder or Desires of the Dead. I found him to be overbearing, overprotective (borderline possessive), and just down right mean. But he really changed from Desires of the Dead to The Last Echo. He calmed down a lot. His over-protectiveness didn’t feel overwhelming this time; it felt like he honestly just cared for Violet and wanted her to be safe. He also backed down from his insane jealousy over Rafe. But the thing is… Even though I liked Jay way, way more this time around, I still just can’t picture him as more than Violet’s best friend. I just can’t, no matter how hard I try. I absolutely love Rafe, and I want Violet to end up with Rafe. Sorry, Jay!

On the topic of Rafe: whoa to the mind-blowing revelations and backstory. I loved it so much! I really enjoyed getting to know Rafe better and it made me like him even more.

The consequences Violet faced due to the work she was doing with The Team were heartbreaking, yet inevitable. I actually cried at the end. And the epilogue.. Don’t even get me started. I wanted to kick someone… I can’t say any more, or I’ll get into spoiler territory, and I’m trying to keep the spoilers minimal.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Last Echo. It was a creepy, fun read with some amazing writing. There are several things that happened that have me wondering what Violet will do next, and how she will deal with the consequences of those things.


Review: Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Review: Desires of the Dead by Kimberly DertingDesires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder #2
Published by HarperTeen on February 15, 2011
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon
The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Her best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay, is the only one outside of her family who knows of her morbid ability. But when Violet discovers the body of a missing boy, she draws the attention of the FBI.

As Violet dodges their questions, she is pulled into an investigation that will endanger more than just her secret. For without even meaning to, Violet has stumbled upon a dark truth—and a desperate killer.

The description, as with the first book, intrigued me. The premise of Desires of the Dead is simple: Violet has drawn unwanted attention from the FBI, and now she must play a game of cat and mouse to keep her “morbid secret ability” a secret.

Unfortunately, Desires of the Dead suffered “Second Book Syndrome.” It happens sometimes, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the book is bad – it’s just a little bit of a let down after a great first book. I find this happens a lot in television shows, as well – season one is great, and then season two is kind of boring. Usually, book/TV season three picks up nicely, and all worries or doubts are cast aside.

The sections in the book told from the “killer’s” POV were bland compared to The Body Finder. I wasn’t scared at all. I also found the identity of the “killer” to be a lot more predictable than in the first book.  This was a little bit inevitable, unfortunately, because of who the “killer” was and who that person had to interact with; however, I don’t think Derting could have done these sections any other way. It’s disappointing and it took some of the fun out of the guessing game, but I understand why it had to be done.

One of my favorite characters this time around was Chelsea. I was indifferent to her in The Body Finder, and even found her a little bit annoying. She was much more likable in Desires of the Dead. Her character felt one sided in the first book, and she just rubbed me the wrong way. But in Desires of the Dead, she came alive (sorry for the pun!) She had moments where you really felt for her. You wanted Mike to notice her, to like her back. She was also more attuned to the feelings of others, especially Violet, this time. She knew when she had to be serious and stop joking around.

Another character favorite was Sara Priest. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I find her to be raw and authentic, like she genuinely cares about Violet, yet not totally trustworthy. And then there’s Rafe. Broody, moody, man-of-few-words Rafe. I’m not his biggest fan… yet, at least.

My least favorite part of Desires of the Dead, unfortunately, was Jay (again). He’s known Violet since he was seven-years-old. They’ve been through so much together and yet he didn’t believe her when she confided in him. She trusted him, needed his help, and he brushed her off. Worse, he brushed off her ability to sense echoes. That ability is a part of who Violet is and not believing in her ability is akin to not believing in Violet herself. And again, his temper didn’t win him any points.

I got a little annoyed with Violet this time around, too. In The Body Finder, she was a strong character who could take care of herself, but still relied on help from others when she needed it. She knew when something was too much for her to handle alone. In Desires of the Dead, she kept a lot of things to herself, refusing to open up to anyone. She relied heavily on her parents and uncle in the first book, but kept them pretty much in the dark in book two. There were several scenes where I just wanted to smack her for being so darn stubborn and for going it alone, when she should have asked for help. The one concession I can make for all this is that she’s a teenager, and teenagers do tend to be – stereotypically – stubborn. They make mistakes and, hopefully, they learn from them.

The ending felt a little bit anticlimactic. Maybe because it was more predictable than the ending to The Body Finder. Also, it had a little less action in it than The Body Finder did. Jay redeemed himself again, but he’s still on probation as far as I’m concerned.

Overall, despite my many issues with it (Sorry, Kimberly!), I did still enjoy Desires of the Dead and I still think it is worthy of 4 stars. It was a little harder to get through, but it pushed the series forward. I’m hoping everything that happened in Desires of the Dead was done to set up for an epic book three. I will say I’m about 100 pages into The Last Echo, and enjoying it a lot more, so that definitely gives me hope.


Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly DertingThe Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder #1
Published by HarperTeen on March 16, 2010
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

A gripping tale of a girl with a morbid ability that could lead her to a killer . . . and the boy who would never let anything happen to her.

Sixteen-year-old Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her unusual so-called gift. While her confusing feelings for her best friend are new, she has been able to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered—and the imprints that attach to their killers since she was a little girl. Violet has never considered her ability useful, but now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Fiercely protective of her, Jay agrees to help Violet search for the murderer. But even as she's falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

This book really caught my eye when I first picked it up in the bookstore. The words “morbid secret ability” intrigued me. I’m used to reading about vampires, witches, werewolves, and ghosts. So right away, I knew this was going to be different than anything I’d ever read (thus far).

Violet is an interesting character. She’s a typical teenage girl. She loves her best guy friend but doesn’t want to tell him, she goes to school and has a small but tight group of friends, and she can feel the echoes of the dead.

I haven’t read many books with serial killers in them yet, but the ones I have (and the ones I’d like to get around to) all seem to have supernatural themes in them. Kate Brian’s Shadowlands,  Daniel Marks’ Velventeen, and Brenna Yavanoff’s Paper Valentine all seem to deal with the theme through the use of ghosts. I’ve only read Hereafter, so I won’t profess to know, for sure, what Marks and Yavanoff do or don’t write about. However, It was nice to see a slightly different take on this theme with The Body Finder (no ghosts in this one, so far, and the main character holds the ability to locate the victims of the serial killer).

It was a little cliche to have Violet’s uncle as the local chief of police. But Derting made it work, and she did a fabulous job of making it not seem cliche. Honestly, I don’t think the story would have worked any other way. Without her uncle shielding her from the authorities, I don’t think Violet could have done all the good she did without her name appearing in multiple case files, making her look suspicious and guilty.

The sections in the book told from the killer’s POV are wonderfully creepy. They add an element of fear to The Body Finder, really putting the reader in the mind of the killer.

My least favorite part of The Body Finder, unfortunately, was Jay. He just… I wanted to root for him and Vi, so bad. And he definitely had his moments where I loved him. But at times, he was too overbearing, too protective. I know, deep down, he cared for Violet and he just wanted to keep her safe. But sometimes, that protectiveness came off more as possessiveness. I kept waiting for it to be revealed that he was somehow involved in everything. His temper didn’t win him points, either.

The ending had a pretty significant twist – two, really. And I didn’t expect either one, though one was more shocking than the other. Violet was brave and strong, despite the circumstances. She’s definitely not the type to sit around on her butt, waiting to be rescued. She takes matters into her own hands, sometimes stubbornly so. She knows what she has to do, though, and she does it. Jay stepped it up in the end, as well. There were a few moments where we didn’t know his fate, and my heart was in my throat – so there’s still hope for Team Jay!

Overall, I really did enjoy this book and I’m really interested in seeing what happens next for Violet and Jay. I want to like Jay, I really do. Let’s hope he can redeem himself in Desires of the Dead!


Want to win ARC of Vicious by V.E. Schwab?

There are so many amazing books coming out later this year, it’s hard to decide what to read next. To help you out, I’d like to bring your attention to one book in particular:


Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab
Release Date: September 2013

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

That’s right, folks! Vicious is releasing in September – just THREE MORE MONTHS! I’d really love to write a more comprehensive blog post on this, as well as The Archived (written under Victoria Schwab), and I will – soon, I promise!

For now, I want to draw your attention to an awesome giveaway in which you can enter to WIN an ARC of VICIOUS!

Need I say more?

I really want to win this ARC, so bad. I loved The Archived and Vicious sounds so incredible! I can’t even put into words how excited I am for this book.

So since the contest ends in, oh, about 30 minutes… GO CHECK IT OUT! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??

UPDATE: This contest is now over. I hope everyone enjoyed, and congrats to the winner! If you didn’t win, then head on over to Amazon and go pre-order it! Like, right now! Click here to Pre-Order Vicious.

Waiting on Wednesday (#1): The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Hey everyone. Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine. Its purpose is to highlight upcoming releases that we’re dying to get our hands on.


Title: The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4)
Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: November 2013

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her….

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

I mean, really, who doesn’t want to see what happens next with Sydney and Adrian?!? Getting part of the story in Adrian’s perspective is just a bonus! I’m also a little biased here, because I’ve followed Richelle Mead through every single one of her series so far. I love the Georgina Kincaid books and, of course, the Vampire Academy books. And am I the only one who has swooned over Kiyo and Dorian from the Dark Swan series??

November feels very far away right now!

Top Ten Tuesday (#1): Top Ten Books I’ve read in 2013 (So Far)

Hey everyone. This is my first official blog post! Yay for that! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Broke and the Bookish, and the theme for this week is: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2013.

I’ve read some truly incredible books so far this year, so narrowing this down to just ten books was difficult. I thought really long and hard before finalizing this list. So here it is:

1. Shadowlands by Kate Brian released on January 8, 2013 and it immediately became my favorite book of 2013. It’s almost July, and no book has surpassed this one so far. The ending alone is enough to put it in the top spot. I was so mind-boggled by that ending, I had to re-read the last few pages about five times.

2. I don’t think there are words to describe how I felt about The Program by Suzanne Young. I felt angry, violated, shocked, helpless… Basically, all the different emotions Sloane felt, I felt. It’s scary to think something like this could actually happen. I’m really glad there’s a sequel to this, and I’m dying to see what happens next for Sloane. Will she get her memories back? Who will she end up with? How will the rebellion fight back? So many questions!

3. I absolutely adored Spellcaster by Claudia Gray. It was Charmed meets Buffy meets The Secret Circle. But it was still unique and original. Does that make sense? I loved the way Nadia practiced her magic and the rules that made up the Craft – it was different from everything I’ve ever read/watched with witches. And, of course, Verlaine was Nadia’s very own Willow – in my opinion, at least. I’m excited for Steadfast!

4. Chapter 21 of With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent was, by far, the most heartbreaking in literary history. I just sobbed. And sobbed. And sobbed some more. And the ending was a truly unforgettable, and perfect, ending. It was very fitting, and words can’t describe how much I loved it. I truly enjoyed the little sneak peak into what the characters were like after so many years had passed. It made the ending feel more final, more complete. Definitely one of my favorite endings to a YA series.

5. Mind Games by Kiersten White was such a fun read. It was raw and emotional with tragedy, drama and mystery. And the ending was just… It blew my mind. I’m really excited for Perfect Lies. I need to see what’s going to happen to Fia and Annie next!

6. I’m actually planning to do a blog post for The Archived by Victoria Schwab, as well as for her upcoming Vicious. At the risk of being repetitive, I’m just going to say that this book was a truly original, edge-of-my-seat mystery until the very end. I loved Mackenzie. She was take-charge; she didn’t just sit around waiting for other people to save her. Oh, and I never trusted Owen. Not at all.

7. Really, you guys just need to read The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa. It is made of awesome. And for anyone who is sick of vampires? It will change your mind, IMHO. The ending had me sobbing like a little baby. Enough said. Go read this. Now!

8. Chapters 6, 24, and 28 of Sever by Lauren DeStefano gave me heart attacks! Never has a book had me so on the edge of my seat. I nearly died each time something huge happened. I was scared, I was shocked and I was blown away. There are no words. The ending was amazing and satisfying.

9. First off, reading Parallel by Lauren Miller was a nice change from all the supernatural books I read. Don’t get me wrong, I love vampires, werewolves, witches, etc. But it was nice reading something different. And seriously, parallel lives? It really made me stop and think. Every little thing we do in our everyday lives can have an effect on our future. Even the small things matter. The real lesson here: Your path in life might change and deviant from your original goals, but in the end, you’ll do what you’re meant to do.

10. And last, but definitely not least, is Elegy by Tara Hudson. I had the privilege of reading this as an ARC, courtesy of Tara Hudson and the Amelia’s Birthday Giveaway. And let me tell you, it was incredible. The ending was so different from what most authors do. (SPOILERS AHEAD) Most authors end with the main love interests all happily ever after. But in this case, Amelia had to say goodbye to Joshua, until the day that Joshua joins her on the other side. And even though it was sad, I found this to be really refreshing. Because in real life, nothing is happily ever after.

So, that’s the end of my Top Ten Books of 2013 list! And the end of my first official post as a blogger. So exciting! Hope you guys enjoyed!

Welcome to Pandora’s Books

Update, July 20, 2013: Since writing my original welcome, I have switched from Blogger to WordPress. I want to thank Shannon and Ashley for all their help and hard work. Without them, I don’t know if I would have made the switch. I might have, but it would have taken a long time, and it would have been very, very painful. So thank you guys, so much!

Next, I want to thank Nikki, who helped me get my start on Blogger. Without her encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have started blogging in the first place. Or, maybe I would have, but the process would have been much, much slower and (again) very painful. She did the initial design of my Blogger blog, which I loved so much; I’m so sad I couldn’t bring it over to WordPress. Maybe one day, I will. She also designed my gorgeous blog button, which is also the header for WordPress. Finally, she acted as my mentor, helping guide me through the sticky world of blogger. Without her help and encouragement, this blog wouldn’t exist.

With that said, any amateur mistakes are my own! There will definitely be a learning curve – more so now that I’m on WordPress, so please be patient with me! I’ll do the best I can to bring you awesome reviews, fun content, and – eventually – giveaways and author interviews.

So I think that’s all I have to say for now. I promise I’m going to work really hard to get content up quickly! Thanks for your patience and support!