Tag Archives: teen thriller

Altered by Jennifer Rush
Book Reviews
August 2, 2012 posted by Nikki

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, solemn and brooding; Cas, lighthearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who’s stolen Anna’s heart. Reserved and always controlled, Sam does everything with purpose.

When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to go, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab — not even their true identities.

 Anna has a different kind of life. She’s home schooled, doesn’t have a mom, and she works with her dad in the basement of their farmhouse monitoring and studying four young men whom the government is ‘molding’. But what are they being molded for, and why doesn’t Anna have more answers? She’s privy to limited information, and although she wants more, she’s never really made any real concerted efforts to get it.

It becomes very clear very quickly that Anna doesn’t have any friends … except, well, the boys. Although they live in ‘cells’ and there is a glass wall that separates her from them, she knows them well, spends time with them, entertains them, and connects with them. It’s clear within the first few pages that Trev, Cas and Sam all adore Anna in their own unique ways. Nick, however, is a bit of a surly one and seems to hate the fact that Anna even exists. Mostly, Anna just ignores his sourness, but she can’t always hide the teeny tiny blob of fear that nestles deep in her belly when she has to interact with him personally.

After spending four years with Anna and her dad in their basement, Anna and the boys, albeit locked up, have grown up together. But what kind of life is this? Anna, who cares about her boys more than she lets on, ponders this often. How is this fair to them and why, why is it so important that they be locked up like this. In their midnight games of chess, Sam has, in so many ways, made it clear that all they really desire is a life outside their cells.

Sam. The apple of Anna’s eye, the thump thump of her heart, and the very single reason she plods down into that basement every single day. Is it possible for her to love him so much, when their relationship is already so unconventional? What’s more, does Sam know? God, Anna hopes not.

Then, one day, they get their wish. The government rocks up and announced that they’ve decided to terminate the project, which means terminating the boys. In the middle of the extraction process, Sam miraculously defies all odds and defeats his captors. Anna, in a moment of pure panic, joins in the fight to free her boys and suddenly, after much blood is spilled, finds herself on the run from a secret government agency with four boys who have been wired and programed into some kind of superhuman being. What exactly that entails, none of them know.

They’re not safe from the government, they may not even be safe from each other…

As they run for their lives, Sam, Anna and the boys discover secret after secret about themselves, their pasts, and their ugly fated future. As the story careens to the finish line, one thing becomes blindingly obvious: even though they didn’t know it, this all started with Sam and Anna, so it only seems fitting that it end with them too.

This book has it all: romance, action, oh-so-much action! It’s a contemporary reality smeared together with just a hint of fantasy that barrels along at warp speed! It’s both character and plot driven, descriptive without being overbearing, and the best thing? Both guys and gals are going to dig this one!

The relationship between Sam and Anna, although completely central to the story, doesn’t take over and turn this into a wishy washy chicklit read. At times I was incredibly frustrated at the distance Sam put between himself and Anna, but the wedge only drew me in further as their romantic tensions sizzled the pages to life. So little touching, so so much fire.

I laughed out loud at Cas’ witty humor and inflated ego, I gasped loudly as trouble found them at every corner they turned. I wanted to cry as people they cared about were gunned down, left behind to bleed out alone. I swore loudly as betrayals broke their circle down. But the thing that had me allllllll wound up in a bundle of anxious nerves was the fact that no one could trust anyone, and it seemed that no one was exactly who they said they were. There were times when I thought everything was false, and then others when I completely doubted my instincts. I LOVED the unpredictability of everything. It was refreshing and incredibly invigorating to read.

A debut author couldn’t want anything better than this for herself. Perfectly written, utterly engaging, Altered hit every single one of my literary taste buds. It’s addictive and perfect in every single way.

Everyone on the face of the earth needs to read this book right now!

Pages: 323

Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.

Publication Date: January, 2013

Teaser Quote: Brakes screeched behind us. I looked back but Nick urged me on with a  shove. Footsteps pounded after us. Cas reached the Jeep first. Sam tossed him the keys and Cas snatched them from the air before sliding behind the wheel. Trev ripped up on the back door handle.

“Get the girl first!” someone shouted. 

Rating: ★★★★★

The Body Finder – Kimberly Derting
Book Reviews
February 10, 2010 posted by Nikki

The Body Finder – Kimberly Derting

A serial killer on the loose.
A girl with a morbid ability.
And a boy who would never let anything happen to her.

Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind… and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren’t enough to deal with during her junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton.

Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet’s small town… and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Fill with suspense, a gripping romance, and deadly consequences, The Body Finder is an impressive debut novel that’s impossible to put down.

Violet has known that she was different since she was eight years old. That was when she discovered her first murdered body, although at the time, she had no idea that it was the start of a supernatural ability for finding the dead. It’s the kind of thing that can’t be explained by normal or natural circumstances and Violet knows that she needs to keep this to herself. Her family knows, and so does Jay – her best friend – but she’s managed to keep it from everyone else.

She’s in her junior year now and there is a lot going on. Over the past few months, Jay seemed to transform from regular old Jay into an irresistible chick magnet, and it’s driving Violet bananas. She knows she shouldn’t care so much; he’s just her best friend after all. But the more attention Jay receives from her classmates, the more Violet realizes that she doesn’t think of him that way anymore. It seems that Violet has jumped on the Jay-loving bandwagon, too, and she wants him all for herself. But Violet knows her feelings are irrational and sets about pushing them aside. He’s been her friend for far too long…

Then, as if Fate was mocking her in the cruellest way possible, Violet gets the distraction she’s looking for. Teenage girls (girls that she knows) start going missing. When Violet stumbles across the first body, she knows it was murder. The echo left behind is a direct indication that it was so. Then another turns up, and another. When the police have little luck uncovering even a hint of a clue that points to the killer, Violet realizes she might be the only one capable of actually finding him. It’s dangerous, sure, but she can’t just sit by and do nothing.

Would you?

But Violet is just a girl and her serial killer is a skilled hunter. In the game of cat and mouse, who normally wins…?

Jay is a lovable character and it’s easy to understand why the girls are falling all over him. He’s very protective of Violet, he’s handsome – he’s the ultimate package really. Although I couldn’t pin point one particular characteristic that may cause a bit of a fangirl frenzy among readers, I think his loyalty and how much he cares about Violet is going to win him many points with the ladies. While he may not top the Fave Male Characters Of All Time list, he’s not exactly forgettable, either.

Violet seems like a regular teen with regular teen problems. There are so many strong female characters around in YA Lit at the moment that are so supernaturally charged they can’t possibly resemble regular teens. Although she does possess a supernatural ability, Violet strikes me as pretty normal. She experiences regular teen emotions and she’s dealing with regular teen problems on top of the whole murder mystery thing. Overall, The Body Finder feels much more like a teen mystery than a supernatural story.

I was a little creeped out by the pages that were written in the point-of-view of the murderer. Being inside someone’s head that is obviously as messed up as he is gives me the heebee jeebees. It goes to show that you just can’t trust anyone these days…

This one has romance, murder, suspense, mystery, and a whole lot more. All in all, The Body Finder has a little something for everyone and is bound to be a hit with readers or any age.

Pages: 327

Publication date: 2010

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: “But he was bigger and stronger and his hands reached up behind her to the back of her head, ignoring her denials and pinning her in place. When his mouth finally landed on hers, the combination of his alcohol soaked breath and his brutish unrestrained actions made her quiver sickly beneath him …… she felt like she was going to puke.”

Special Announcement:

yaReads is participating in Kimberly Derting’s promotional blog tour for The Body Finder. Tune back in on Feburary 11 – that’s two days from now, folks – for more Kimberly Derting goodness!

A Chaos Walking Novel: The Ask and the Answer – Patrick Ness
Book Reviews
July 7, 2009 posted by Nikki

A Chaos Walking Novel: The Ask and the Answer – Patrick Ness

“Your Noise reveals you, Todd Hewitt.”
A voice –
In the darkness –
Everything is shadows and blur and it feels like the world’s spinning and my blood is too hot and my brain is clogged and I can’t think and it’s dark –
I blink again.
Wait –
Just now, just
now we were in the square –
Just now she was in my arms –
She was
dying in my arms –
“Where is she?” I spit into the dark, tasting my blood, my voice croaking, my Noise rising like a sudden hurricane, high and red and furious. “

This is how the second novel in the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Ask and the Answer, begins. My heart was thumping as I read every single word. Every single freaking word, and it did not stop thumping until the end, some 519 pages later. Even then, I had to take a walk around the block just to calm myself down.

For those that have read the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, you’ll be well aware that readers were left dangling in the midst of one hell of a cliffhanger ending. Fortunately, this installment picks up right where that one left off, only now our two protagonists are no longer together. Todd has no idea where Viola is, or even if she’s alive. But the Mayor (actually, that’s Mr President to you now, thank you very much) promises Todd she’s alive and that he’ll get to see her soon. Todd has nothing else to go off and has to believe what he’s being told. He just has to. The thought of Viola not being alive any more is just too much to contemplate. He tried to save her; he tried with everything he had. What if it wasn’t enough?

I know what you’re thinking. If Viola isn’t with Todd, how are we supposed to know what happened to her? Fear not, special readers, as Patrick Ness is the God of all Gods right now and he definitely factored that in. Viola fans will be super pleased to hear that she has her own point of view in this installment, which means – obviously – that she’s alive. But she doesn’t know where Todd is, either, doesn’t know if Todd is even still alive. The President has her being held ‘captive’ and wont tell her a thing. The President is no fool, and he knows better than anyone that keeping Viola and Todd apart is imperative if he wants to see out his plans successfully.

Can you imagine what would happen if they were ever reunited, what they could achieve as a team? Would it be their connection be as strong as it was before? Would they still need each other so desperately? Maybe you’ll find out, but then again, maybe you wont…

Todd grows a whole freaking lot in this novel. He displays the maturity and strength of character of someone much older than just thirteen. In fact, at times, I found it hard to believe (in an astoundingly impressed way) that someone of his age would know so much, would have the emotional capacity to feel the way he does. It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with Todd – even if he is only thirteen years old.

I adored reading Viola’s point of view, as well. Readers are afforded the privilege of stepping inside her mind and witnessing first hand how she thinks – and honestly, I can see now why Todd likes her so much. She’s a fierce, strong girl with a remarkable capacity for compassion. She’s a fantastic heroine, and a great role model for young girls everywhere.

The Ask and the Answer is completely unputdownable. I read the entire 519 pages in one sitting, not even stopping to go to the loo. This is one series I know I’ll read over and over again in the years to come.

Rating:: ★★★★★