Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Harpercollins
Rating: 9/10

Summary: 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 left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope 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.

My Thoughts: I read this book back at the end of summer and now, in March, I still remember it. The Body Finder is that good.

From the first page, I was hooked. The Body Finder is so spooky, thrilling, and all-around entertaining that you just won't want to put it down. I read this in the summer, when the sun was shining bright, but man, I still felt chills while I was reading this, and my heart was racing as the end drew near and I was trying to figure out who The Killer was. The ending was absolutely FANTASTIC and completely unexpected.

The plot was the best part of the book. It was unique, fast-paced, and what kept you unable to put the book down. The characters were also completely unique and easy to relate to. The romance, while slow at first, is realistic. It adds a nice touch to the story while never taking over the plot. 100% Team Jay!

Overall, I highly recommend this debut and I look forward to reading more by Derting.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'm Back!

My hiatus is officially OVER. It did go on much longer than I expected but I had so much going on with school and PAYA. But, I did get a bit of reading in during the time I was gone and I'm back and feeling refreshed and ready to jump back in.

Look for reviews and other content starting back up tomorrow!

Also, is anyone going to be at ALA?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2 Exciting Things!

I'll be back to blogging regularly pretty soon but I have 2 things I think everyone should know about.

1.) The PAYA Festival is going to be August 21st in West Chester, PA. A full author list will be released in a month or so but I can tell you right now that it's going to be GREAT. There's also going to be a writing workshop. Check out the deets here.

2.) Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert, which is my all-time favorite book, is on Amazon for $4.86. Yes, people, LESS THAN FIVE DOLLARS. So I *highly* suggest you go buy it. Need some convincing? Here's my review. Now go buy it. You won't regret it. And, if you have a copy, buy one for a friend. I plan on ordering at least five!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lauren Mechling on MY DARKLYNG

Hello book (blog) lover!

Lauren Mechling, author of the Dream Girl books, here. I have hijacked Harmony's blog in order to convey some Very Important Information.

You might not know it by looks alone (no pink hair, no metal bar through my septum), but I've become a total hacker worthy of her own "Dragon Tattoo" installment. And I'm not just talking about how I've cracked the code and broken onto Harmony Book Reviews. My new book MY DARKLYNG, which I co-wrote with Laura Moser (my hilarious co-author on the "10th Grade Social Climber" books), is a YA thriller chockablock with multimedia awesomeness that will be appearing in serialized form on the awesome website The first installment runs today, and there will be more excitement every Friday for the rest of the summer. Also: it's free!

Slate is calling MY DARKLYNG its "juicy summer read for vampire lovers (and haters!)." It's about a normal 10th grade girl named Natalie Pollock whose own fiction addiction gets her into major trouble. She's been reading Fiona St. Claire's yummy "Dark Shadows" book series since middle school and when she sees a post on Fiona's blog about an open casting call for the model for the next book's cover, well, she can't resist. What she had thought was just a random field trip turns into a dark and terrible new-best-friendship, scarier and more thrilling than any of Fiona St. Claire's vampire novels.

MY DARKLYNG is different from anything you've ever read before--it's a first-of-its-kind story told in simultaneous platforms. Huh? you ask. Okay, so here's the deal: While you are perfectly free to follow the MY DARKLYNG chapters on Slate and leave it at that, we have been milking the magic world of the Internet for all its worth. Why limit a story to mere words? What about pictures and videos and weird Tweets and scary Facebook wall posts that bring texture to the story and bring the characters to life? With that in mind, we found real (and really awesome) teenagers to play our characters. Here's a picture:

Pretty, right? Expect to get to know these faces really well over the course of this book.

Without further ado, this is the Slate page that will host the chapters.

Here is Natalie's Facebook page--well worth "liking" so you can follow when weird things start happening on it.

Natalie's Twitter page is here.
Fiona's (the vampire writer) Twitter page is here.
Natalie's best friend Jenna tweets here.
James (the vampire model) tweets here.
And Fiona's loving sister Tilly uses this Twitter page.

Natalie and Jenna post Youtube videos here. Here's a sample video that shows them getting ready for the audition that will change their lives.

Now YOU can help make our great experiment in Internet fiction even more amazing. There is an upcoming scene that has a missing detail. We need to come up with a weird thing that Natalie's teacher Mr. Trachtenberg keeps in his briefcase. Again, we are desperately seeking A SUGGESTION FOR A WEIRD THING THAT A TEACHER TOTES AROUND IN HIS BRIEFCASE. Please write in your suggestions in the comments section. The winner will be chosen in a week and featured in MY DARKLYNG--if your answer is selected, it'll be like the story is actually winking at you from the screen.

I know this is all a bit much to wrap your head around. Sorry for any confusion--just read the first installment and take it from there. Please please post comments or send us emails telling us how you're finding the series. We can be reached by my website.

And if you find yourself feeling afraid, don't say I didn't warn you!

your humble hacker,
Lauren Mechling

Thursday, June 3, 2010

PAYA Book Drive


I'm sure most of you know about the book organization I started, PAYA, which is dedicated for raising money and collecting books for Pennsylvania libraries, which are in pretty desperate need after facing recent budget cuts.

We've started our latest fundraiser, which is a month-long book drive. We're currently collecting any and all books. YA or MG books in good condition will be donated to libraries and other books will be sold in a used book sale and the proceeds will go to the libraries.

So please, take the time to go through your books and get rid of any you don't want or will never read again. These libraries could really use it!

If you're interested in donating, send an email to bringya2pa[at]yahoo[dot]com or harmonybookreviews[at]yahoo[dot]com.