Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review of FLICKER & BURN by T. M. Goeglein (Plus EXCLUSIVE insider info)

Author T. M. Goeglein is back and better than ever in the second book of the Cold Fury series, FLICKER & BURN. I thought my summer was hot and wild-paced already, but then I got into this book, and it kicked everything up a degree. Learn more about Geoglein and Cold Fury here.

So what's FLICKER & BURN about and why did I love it so much? Well, read on, readers, read on.


*SPECIAL* Video Clip:




Summary:

 Sara Jane Rispoli is still searching for her missing family, but instead of fighting off a turncoat uncle and crooked cops, this time she finds herself on the run from creepy beings with red, pulsing eyes and pale white skin chasing her through the streets in ice cream trucks; they can only be described as Ice Cream Creatures. They're terrifying and hell bent on killing her, but they're also a link to her family, a clue to where they might be and who has them. While she battles these new pursuers, she's also discovering more about her own cold fury and more about the Chicago Outfit, how the past misdeeds--old murders and vendettas--might just be connected to her present and the disappearance of her family. But connecting the dots is tough and time-consuming and may finally be the undoing of her relationship with the handsome Max--who's now her boyfriend. But for his own safety, Sara Jane may have to end this relationship before it even really starts. Her pursuers who've shown her her mother's amputated finger and the head of the Chicago Outfit who's just whistled her in for a sit-down make a romance unthinkable. The only thing that matters is finding her family and keeping everyone she loves alive.

***

 HOW COOL IS ALL THIS? I honestly wasn't sure Goeglein could top his first book because it was so exquisite, but he did. And I bet the next will be even better. 

On Goodreads, I gave the book 5 out of 5 stars. Already it's rating there is cooking, so I'm far from alone in my opinion of this young adult book. 

So why did I love FLICKER & BURN so much? I don't think we have enough adventure stories starring girls, and that's exactly what this is. Not to mention, the mystery keeps getting bigger and bigger, and every chapter has a new twist. 

Goeglein has a knack for introducing a zillion subplots but managing them very well. I never once felt lost, though there's plenty going on. His writing style is, again, easy to read and fast-paced. And I don't often say that male authors do a good job of capturing a teenage girl's voice, but he really, really does. I kind of want to BE Sara Jane. No, I really want to be Sara Jane.

I like the combination of a strong female in an budding relationship with a good guy. To me, Goeglein gets at the heart of young love--it isn't all amazing passion and perfect kisses. It's awkward and confusing, and you're not sure if it's going to go anywhere, and that's okay. 

I realized that I missed some of the humor in COLD FURY the first time I read it because I was so engrossed in the story, itself. However, FLICKER & BURN had me laughing at several points and holding my breath at others. Now that's a book worth reading. 

If you're looking for a fun, hot summer read, I can't recommend anything better. FLICKER & BURN is scheduled to come out August 30th, so you've got some time to read COLD FURY (if you haven't) and pre-order a copy of FLICKER & BURN. I warn you...It's going to fly off the shelves. 

Join me next Wednesday when I'll have a special guest post by T. M. Goeglein, himself, on writing!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Update!

Hello, readers! I hope everybody is enjoying summer 2013. I, myself, will be taking a bit of a vacation.

This post is to update everyone that I will be reviewing one book in July (FLICKER AND BURN by T. M. Goeglein) and one book in August (ON LITTLE WINGS by Regina Sirois). I will also have two guest posts by the authors of those books.

Starting in September, I'll go back to reviewing a book a week!

See you in July, my friends.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review of UPRISING by Jessica Therrien

I don't know about you, but I love Greek mythology. As a kid I devoured the myths and as a young adult I enjoyed Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. What next?

I was one of the lucky people to receive an ARC of UPRISING by young adult novelist Jessica Therrien (Learn more about her here), and I can't wait to share this book with you. So read on, readers, read on.http://jessica-therrien.blogspot.com/



Synopsis:


Elyse has done everything she can to protect her friends from The Council's reach. As long as they believe she's dead, she has time to rest and train for war. And war is inevitable.
When Kara arrives with the news that Anna and Chloe have been captured, Elyse is faced with the realization that no one is safe until The Council is stopped and Christoph is destroyed. She doesn't need a prophecy to tell her to lead an army. Christoph has done the one thing that ensures she'll fight to the death. He's threatened the people she loves. 

It will take more than the words of an oracle to help them fight against the most powerful Descendant alive. To break The Council's oppression and rise up against a plot so many years in the making, Elyse will need to get dangerously close to her enemy. So close, in fact, she may not survive.

***

What were my thoughts, and more importantly, should you buy this book? I say yes! I gave UPRISING 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and can't wait to get a hold of the next book in the series. 

Some of you may know, Jessica Therrien and I (as well as other fantasy authors Sabrina Fish, Tamara Grantham, Jere Ellison, and Tom Barczak) worked together on a collaborative blog project called A Feast of Fantasy. But I promise you our connection didn't in the least part weigh in on my review.

I liked UPRISING because (*SPOILER ALERT*) Jessica does a fantastic job of combining Greek myth with her own creativity. I enjoyed the main character's power--she can both kill and heal with her blood--as well as the unique traits the other characters possess. 

Besides liking the characters, there wasn't a dull moment in the book. I read the entire thing in ONE DAY because I couldn't put it down. Some beautiful and tragic...things...happen to MC, Elyse, which I hate to share on this post because I think you should discover the book's secrets for yourself, and these events made me care about her and her family very much. 

I loved the end because I didn't see it coming. It isn't often that an author can fool me, but about 50 pages from the ending, I had a jaw-drop moment when I realized we'd all been duped from the start. 

Thanks, Jessica, for writing such a fabulous, fun book. You bet I'll be recommending it by and large. 

Join me at the end of this month for a review of COLD FURY 2: FLICKER AND BURN and author interview with T. M. Goeglein.

See you later this June, readers! And as always, let me know if you'd like a book reviewed, and I'll be sure to do it. 
 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review of FAR FAR AWAY by Tom McNeal

Not too long ago, I read Philip Pullman's new book on the Grimm brothers' fairy tales. Picking up young adult fantasy novel FAR FAR AWAY by Tom McNeal seemed like a natural continuation of my fanciful 2013 reads. To find out more about Tom McNeal, click here.

Are you a fan of modern day fairy tales? I certainly am. That's why I've prepared their review, complete with the cover and synopsis of FAR FAR AWAY.  Read on, readers, read on.



Synopsis:

It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn't even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it's been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn't been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings. . .
 

Young adult veteran Tom McNeal (one half of the writing duo known as Laura & Tom McNeal) has crafted a novel at once warmhearted, compulsively readable, and altogether thrilling--and McNeal fans of their tautly told stories will not be disappointed.

***

On Goodreads, I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. Like the last book I reviewed, I wish I could have given it 4.5. The only reason I didn't give FAR FAR AWAY the fabled 5 star review is because it started out rather slowly. Though when you think about it...Most fairy tales do. However, fairy tales were--in large part--written a great number of years ago for a different audience. The modern audience has evolved to have little patience with a slow starting book. 

FAR FAR AWAY is narrated by a ghost, the ghost of Jacob Grimm, as it states above. I suppose if I'm completely honest, that may be another reason why I only gave the book 4 stars. I understand many readers love a narrator, but it threw me off balance. Also, the characters seemed rather pathetic, particularly the boy that Jacob Grimm watches after. 

HOWEVER, the book quickly picks up steam to the point where, when I absolutely had to put it down, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Those same characters and narrator who first gave me pause blossomed into extraordinary people that I now care deeply about. The plot has several twists and turns that I certainly didn't see coming. That makes for a great read. I love it when the author is smarter than I am!

McNeal's prose is extremely clean. I never once felt pulled out of the story, never once felt like he could have used a better editor. The book is not separated into characters; instead, it has scene breaks every few pages. At first I questioned at first but quickly forgot about.

I've already stated that I came to love the characters. Why? They're all uniquely written, as if McNeal knew these people in real life and decided they needed a story of their own. They're likable, kind, care for others, but they're also mischievous and flawed, just like the best of us. Even McNeal's secondary characters are well fleshed out, and many of them get their moment in the spotlight, which I think is generous writing on the part of the author. 

And the climax! Oh, the climax of FAR FAR AWAY! It's been awhile, since a story's turn for the worst seems like an impossible obstacle to mount. And--*SMALL SPOILER ALERT*--the narrator, which I first questioned, turns out to be invaluable to a satisfying, fairy tale ending. 

FAR FAR AWAY is scheduled to come out on June 11th. Really, it's worth a read, so definitely pick up a copy. I think this book will be a quiet gem that doesn't get nearly the press that it should, so help Tom McNeal out and blog/tweet/Facebook/etc. about how fabulous FAR FAR AWAY is.

I'll see you same time next week when I'll be reviewing UPRISING by a friend of mine, Jessica Therrien. Until then!