9 Recently Released Paranormal-y Books On My Must Read List

paranormal urban fantasy books to read

I feel like I find myself wanting to read certain types of books at certain times of the year — it’s always contemporary in the summer and I seem to want like Gothic reads or paranormal/urban fantasy/supernaturally reads during the Fall.  I was feeling SO out of the loop of what was coming out/what has recently come out so I spent some time on Goodreads perusing to add stuff to my TBR and figured I would share some recently release  and upcoming paranormal/supernatural/urban fantasy books that I added to my MUST READ list.  I feel like I went through this phase, after the Twilight era, where I got real burnt out on paranormal sorts of books. BUT NOW I AM SO IN THE MOOD FOR THEM ALL and I feel like it’s been hard to find stuff like that! Soooo let me know your fave recent paranormal/paranormal romance/urban fantasy stuff!

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Review: A Need So Beautiful By Suzanne Young

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Balzar and Bray – June 2011

When my lovely blogging BFF Jen (from Makeshift Bookmark) tells me so passionately that I need to read something…I do it. Especially since she knows that I’m picky when it comes to the paranormal genre (I need unique and not regurgitated stories), I know that it must really be an excellent read for her to be telling me I must read it. She did not steer me wrong on this one, folks!

The premise seemed promising from the start  (although I think the official summary divulged way more than it needed to) – Charlotte has this “Need” that compels her to, no matter where she is and what she is doing, to go and help somebody. She never knows why she needs to be there or what is going to happen but this “Need” pulls at her against her will and she physically feels pain when she tries to resist it. Her friend thinks she’s got psychic abilities and her boyfriend thinks she’s acting shady when she just runs off in the middle of the night for a reason Charlotte has suspect answers for. When the Need starts to put her in dangerous positions and come more frequently, her relationships start taking a toll. When Charlotte finally gets the answers to what compels her to have these Needs and what she really is, she needs to choose to fight fate or accept it…either choice has a bittersweet ending.

I loved the fact that Charlotte didn’t know what she was or why she has these Needs. I really could feel her anguish and lack of control when these Needs struck. I could really feel how much she wanted to fight it so that she could be there for her friends and family but was torn by these unexplainable feelings that she’d had since she was younger. Uncovering who she was and why she had the Needs alongside of her really connected to me to Charlotte and made this story riveting and unshakeable. I waded through all the information with her as bit by bit she started to figure out who she was and felt attune to the emotions she was feeling. So by the point that she found out what her destiny was and what being a Forgotten really was, the story become heart-wrenching and compelled me to read hastily and with passion because I needed to know what happened next.

Charlotte was a wonderful character which made this book impossible to shake after putting it down. Suzanne Young was able to draw this deep connection between the reader and Charlotte that makes it an emotional and memorable read. I cared about Charlotte and I couldn’t imagine the reality of being a Forgotten. How could you even choose between something that would hurt you tremendously but be for the greater good or choose what you know and what your heart wants but might be bad for the world. It’s a weighty decision to be on the shoulder’s of a young girl. How Charlotte begins to try and reconcile all this only draws you closer to her as she grapples between what is right. She begins all the more human in my opinion because I honestly couldn’t imagine choosing.

Bottom-line: This book was wonderfully written – from the relationships, to her emotions and to the heart pounding ending. The story flowed very well for me and I found myself racing through it and sitting in shock as it ended. I had some tears in these eyes of mine. What I loved most about this was that it was so very unique from all the other paranormal books I’ve read. If you tend to shy away from the  typical heavy paranormal offerings but still want something a a little other-worldly…I’d say this is an excellent pick for you. The emotional response you will have to this book is something that, for me, has been unmatched in most paranormal books. It’s got a strong plot with a unique and refreshing twist on paranormal but only treads lightly in that realm. I think the next book will probably be a bit more heavy on the paranormal realm and I am surely excited for that as A Need So Beautiful was STELLAR and she’s got me hooked. I need to find out what happens to my girl Charlotte!

*Review On A Post-It will come later…I’m at work and don’t have the image I use for it*

three-half-stars

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Title/Author: Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting (sequel to The Body Finder)
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen – February 15 2011
How I Got This Book: It was sent to me for review from the publisher.

Violet, outwardly your average high school girl, has a secret that only a few close to her know. She has the ability to hear the echos of the dead whose lives were wrongly cut short at the hands of others. Their killers, unbeknownst to them, carry their own unique imprint that matches that of their victims that are also sensed by Violet. These bodies seek her out so that they can be uncovered and be at peace. Her unique sense has remained relatively secret as she’s used it to help the dead before but an echo of a four year old boy threatens to make her secret known to others outside of her family and her boyfriend Jay and somebody else’s secret threatens Violet’s life.

Desires of the Dead, the mysterious and thrilling sequel to The Body Finder (my review), is the perfect book to read curled up next to your fire with the wind howling and the fog settling outside your window. I couldn’t have asked Mother Nature for a better setting in which to read this book–although I really could have done without the freezing rain.

As someone who is just delving into the supernatural/paranormal world in my reading, this series is an excellent start for me. These books are more of a mystery/thriller book with an underlying dash of the supernatural. This series is especially good for those who are reluctant to read anything out of the realistic YA genre. This series has reminded me of why I loved reading both Nancy Drew and anything by RL Stine or Christopher Pike as a young teen. I liked the suspense and feeling like I just couldn’t read fast enough to figure out the mystery and I liked being creeped out. Ok, I lie. I slept with the light on most nights.

The first book ends with all the loose ends tied up so there aren’t any lingering questions nagging at you when you begin this book and it was kind of nice to start fresh and get to see how Violet and Jay were doing since all the events of the first book. I was anxious to see what sort of shenanigans Violet would find herself in during this book and Derting didn’t disappoint. She, again, had some alternating chapters written from the perspective of the “bad guy” but I honestly didn’t find it as effective and as chilling as I did in the first book and that was something I really found to add to the creepy factor of the first book. Overall, I thought the first book was a little bit creepier and a little bit more action packed as it practically gave me a blister from flipping the pages all day. There were some parts in the middle that I just kept dying for something to happen that would shock me but luckily I was so interested in the FBI plot-line that I kept moving along.

I don’t know if it was just me, because I am notorious for figuring out the mysteries in movies or who the killer is in shows like CSI, but I figured out everything pretty quickly in this book. I’d love to know if it was just me or if it was a little predictable. I also was getting a little irked with Violet for finding herself in bad situations and not telling anybody where she was going. It was like watching a scary movie and you are just screaming, “DON’T GO UP THE STAIRS!” or “DON’T GO OUT THERE ALONE!” I don’t think many girls her age would keep wandering off and putting herself in compromising positions although I wonder if it could be attributed to the pull of these bodies that makes her do these things.

I am beyond thrilled to see what Derting does with the rest of this series. The ending of this book leaves some really interesting possibilities for Violet that I think could make for a really great series. I think it will be interesting to see how Violet progresses with using her “talent’ to help people. I hope to see more of Rafe as he was a really intriguing addition to this book and I want to know more about him. I thought Derting added some really interesting and compelling characters to this book and I thought she integrated them very well so I’m hoping that some of them reappear in subsequent books. I’ll be really interested to see how Derting continues on and, as always, wanting to find out how Violet and Jay hold up.

My final thought: While I think I personally enjoyed The Body Finder a bit more than this one, I’d highly recommend this series if you are looking for a good YA mystery with some supernatural elements that will be thrilling, a little creepy at times and has a good romantic plot. If you enjoy shows like The Ghost Whisperer or Medium, this would be an excellent series to get into. The series is fresh and unique and Desires of the Dead is an intriguing sequel that explored Violet’s gift and made her question how she should continue to use it in the future as well as added a new dimension to the old characters and fascinating new characters. Needless to say, I’d like to hijack Derting’s brain so I can know RIGHT NOW what she is creating for Violet. I know it’s going to amp up the mystery and the chill factor—and not to mention the romance factor as she already did in Desires of the Dead.

three-stars

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Title/Author: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Publisher/Year: Harper Teen 2010
Where I Got It: I bought it on my Nook!
Why I read It: I heard it was so creeptastic.

Violet, outwardly your average high school girl, has a secret that only a few close to her know. She has the ability to hear the echos of the dead whose lives were wrongly cut short at the hands of others. Their killers, unbeknownst to them, carry their own unique imprint that matches that of their victims that are also sensed by Violet. These bodies seek her out so that they can be uncovered and be at peace. But what happens when a serial killer is on the loose too close to home? And if that wasn’t bad enough, now she is starting to have feelings for her childhood best friend who suddenly became eye candy at school overnight.

The premise had me from the moment I read it–hook, line and sinker. I was a little carp just flapping around on Derting’s line. I was intrigued by the fresh idea and got a wee bit giddy for some supernatural action and a good mystery. I like to try and guess whodunit because it makes me feel like Nancy Drew who I idolized as a child. However, I’m not sure that Nancy Drew ever had a connection with dead people.

I could not stop turning the pages of this one. I needed to know who this serial killer was and I just wanted to find out what was going to happen between Violet and Jay! So on one hand, you have this super creepy aspect of this book where there is a serial killer and a girl who hears echos of dead people and then you have this adorable budding romance where you just want to throw these two characters together and show them how obvious it is that they want each other. At every point there was something that interested me whether we were a step closer to finding out who the killer was or whether there was some drama with Violet or Jay. And the romance was not at all annoying (other than wanting them to just BE TOGETHER) and it was very much realistic and sweet. It was like watching two friends in high school who were so obviously into each other and you just wanted it to happen already. I would have been placing bets on how long it took them to realize this. Anyways, I was rather fond of them as a couple. The other characters in the book were not so memorable to me and actually Violet would have fallen flat for me at times if she didn’t have such an interesting “gift”. Hopefully in the sequel she’ll become a little more alive for me.

I have to say I was hoping for it to be super creepy and keep me up late at night to the point where every creak in the house HAD to be some psycho serial killer creeping around my house. Seriously, I get like that. I start sweating and thinking of what I could hit him with. Anyways, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be. However, Derting did something very effective to add the creepy element to satisfy me. She had some alternating chapters from the perspective of this unknown serial killer. Being in the serial killer’s head was CREEPY and added a whole other element to the story. Props to Derting for doing that because she pulled it off well! She must have been browsing the true crime section of the bookstore because I thought she captured the essence of the serial killer perfectly.  And props to Derting because I, the queen of figuring out the endings to things, didn’t even see that ending coming until nearer to the end of the book. That made me happy!

My Final Thought: Read this if you are looking for a YA book that will quicken your heart rate with its creepy plotline involving serial killers and dead bodies along with a romance that gives you butterflies. Derting creates the perfect novel for someone who wants to dabble in a little supernatural action but not fully immerse themselves. For lovers of the supernatural/paranormal scene, this one will definitely be one that will chill you and thrill you with its fast pace and its refreshing premise although it might be lacking in the paranormal creature department.

four-stars
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