Monthly Archives: April 2012

Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

Emily Koll is awaiting trial at a young person’s institute, although for what, we’re not told. She’s given a notebook (she insists she’s too old for a journal) which she eventually leaves on top of the wardrobe in her room.

Within the notebook, Emily shares with us an insight into life in the institute, and her sessions with Doctor Gilyard, alongside telling us what her life was like before. She tells us that everyone knows the Emily Koll from the papers, but not the real her.. not what her life was like, what was taken from her, etc.

It’s a format which works really well.. as her life and crime unfolds, we also see her reactions to being in the institute, and how she communicates with those around her.

I really don’t want to spoil the story for you, but Emily’s crime is one of revenge, despite the fact that she’s obviously conflicted by her feelings. She’s made out to be an evil character by the papers, but that’s not the  impression her notebook gives – but then can you really trust all that Emily has to say?

This is a compelling, page turning read, and is disturbing in a subtle way. It’s memorable, and I think readers will develop different reactions to Emily.

Added: a month or so after reading this, I wanted to come back to say that it has indeed stayed with me. I write reviews for those thinking of reading a book, so I don’t give away details, but there is a lot to think about after reading.

Published by Headline May 2012

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The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

The Last Echo is the third book in the Bodyfinder series, and for fans of YA series, if you missed the first book, I seriously suggest you go an find it!

I reviewed the original book back in 2010, and looking back, I enjoyed the serial killer part, but found the romance part a little too ‘sweet’. However, the actual concept and story has stayed with me, unlike many other books which disappear into the depths of my memory. I then actually missed the second book, and when I looked up reviews, they weren’t quite as positive. However, the synopsis of this one looked interesting, so I decided to give it a try.

Brilliant decision! 🙂

For those of you new to the series, Violet has an unusual ability – she can ‘feel’ echoes which the dead leave behind, as well as the matching imprint on the killer. As a child, this seems limited to the birds her cat catches, but when she finds a murdered body, this all changes.

The first two books look at Violet’s developing ability, and the dangers it brings, alongside her relationship with her boyfriend.

The Last Echo brings an interesting new layer, as Violet is invited to join a group of teens, all with varying abilities. We’re gradually introduced to these new characters, finding out a little about their backgrounds, and abilities. They appear really interesting, and I was disappointed to think that this may be a trilogy, and these characters may never be developed.

It appears however, that the forth book is due out next year, and I think this series holds a lot of potential. Enough potential actually, that I can even imagine a TV series.

For teens, this series provides a great introduction into crime fiction, and for anyone who enjoys a good YA series, I would recommend a look.

Visit Kimberley Derting’s website

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Every Vow You Break by Julia Crouch

Every Vow You Break is Julia’s second book, , which I was keen to read after loving Cuckoo. It tells the story of the Wayland family, who are spending their summer in upstate New York. Marcus has been offered the lead in a new play, and Lara is hoping the time away from home will be good for them all.

The family have their problems.. Lara is recovering from an abortion, with a marriage under stress, and the two older children have secrets of their own. There is a gradual build up at the beginning of the book, as Julia unravels the thoughts and feelings of the troubled family. Alongside this, however, are small mysteries.. things which don’t seem that important at the time, but start to warm the reader that something else is wrong.

As the story evolves, the family are reacquainted with an old friend of Marcus – who also shares a history with Lara. As she starts to feel attracted to him, she spends more time with him, unaware of the building danger.

Within Every Vow You Break is the subtle, building tension and danger that was present in Cuckoo, but towards the end it has a more traditional thriller ending. Readers of Cuckoo should love Julia’s new step, as should new readers. A highly recommended second book, and I look forward to number three!

Published by Headline  – March 2012

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