Monday, October 2, 2017

Blog Tour Book Review: Sparked + GIVEAWAY!

Release Date: October 3, 2017
Authors: Helena Echlin & Malena Watrous
Publisher: Geek and Sundry
Length: 310 pages
Source: Review Copy for Tour

Fifteen-year-old Laurel Goodwin wakes up to find her older sister Ivy missing from their Airstream trailer in the Oregon redwoods. A recurring nightmare convinces her that Ivy was abducted, but no one takes her dream seriously, including her mom. Laurel, a loner, has to learn to ask for help, and Jasper Blake, a mysterious new kid who shares her love of old books, quickly becomes her ally. Together they find their quiet town holds a deep secret and is the epicenter of a dark prophecy.

Laurel soon learns that her worst enemies, mean girls Peyton Andersen and Mei Rosen, are developing powers that she needs to find and save Ivy. With time running out, Laurel realizes that power doesn't always take the form that you expect. And once she learns to look beyond her snap judgments, she develops an unexpected gift of her own.



Protagonist: Laurel wakes up to find her sister Ivy is missing, trying to rationalize it to herself she keeps a pretty level head for most of the day, but with her sister not back by that night, a suspicious note left that explains her sister's absence with a vague explanation and a dream where Ivy is being held in a dark and grim cellar or basement, Laurel suspects her sister has been kidnapped but no one seems to believe her. The only people that might have a chance to help her are the new bay in school that shares her love of older books and the two girls that have made her life hell since elementary school. I liked Laurel a lot as a character, I did feel she fell into the whole self-deprecating protagonist role a bit much sometimes, but overall I really did like her character development. I liked seeing her really begin to come into her own and take control of her life. There was something so indulgent about watching someone figure things out and mature in a week.

Romance: As for the romance I wasn't a huge fan. The romance between Laurel and Jasper felt very cliche and by the numbers. It felt like your typical paranormal romance and there wasn't really anything to set it apart. Honestly, there isn't all that much romance in this book, and ironically I think that's where it suffers. There wasn't enough time to build the romance between these two characters, and while it's understandable why the authors chose not to, it was kind of sad that the chemistry between these two characters, which there wasn't all that much of, never really got to achieve its full potential.

World Building: Going into this book I was expecting a YA paranormal thriller. A girl gets possibly kidnapped and her sister needs to find out what happened to her. However, this story wasn't nearly as dark as I expected it to be, which is fine, but this isn't really a thriller by any means, it reads far more like a standard paranormal book with a bit of a mystery aspect. I really like the paranormal elements to this tale and how the powers of each individual character work. Even though this is told from the first person POV of Laurel we do get a few chapters told from the third person POV of other characters such as Peyton and Mei and we learn more about how they get their powers and how they work which is really interesting. This book takes place in Oregon, which is a reason I decided to give it a try and I really like the woodsy feel this story has, granted I live in a big city in Oregon, but there's so much greenery that it's nearly impossible to not understand what things must look like in this town. The world really came alive as I read the book and everything was very easy to grasp.

Predictability: When it comes to the twists in this book it's pretty easy to see what they are from a fair distance. The thing is that the foreshadowing is just way too obvious. I felt like things should have been a bit more subtle so that the twists could really pack a punch, but every time it felt like the twist was given away far too soon by something that could have been completely avoided. That being said there are a few good twists in this book, but nothing that made it stand out.

Ending: So... is this a standalone or part of a series. On the whole, it feels like a standalone. The final climax felt very final and was quite an interesting showdown. The cooldown period was also really well done answering a few lingering questions and leaving pretty much nothing left to hold onto, but suddenly out of nowhere comes a cliffhanger like ending and I have no idea where things would go from here. I'm not against a sequel, but I wish I knew whether this was an artistic choice the authors made for a standalone, or if there really is a sequel coming.


The characters and world building really saved this book for me. I really enjoyed the story, even if it could be a tad predictable at times, and am interested to see what these authors write next because other than one thing, this story seems perfectly wrapped up.

About the Authors:

Hello! We are both novelists, but if you've ever tried to write anything, you know that writing can be a lonely, angst-filled business. So one night over a cocktail or two, we came up with a solution: write our next book together. Malena already had an idea: a girl's sister is kidnapped and she has to rely on mean girls with superpowers to get her sister back. We couldn't resist seeing where that story would take us – a wild ride that includes a loner girl who wants to be a writer and a gorgeous boy who can shoot fire from his eyes but also loves to talk about books. And an ancient Zoroastrian prophecy. And pie shakes. (OK, so maybe we got a little carried away.)
We've both published solo novels (check them out here and here) and had no idea how co-writing would work out, but we pounded out the first draft in a white-hot frenzy of inspiration we called "the Vortex." One of us would write a scene and send it to the other with a note: "My apartment is a pigsty and I haven't eaten all day. #inthevortex." We wrote the book we wanted to read as teenagers: a supernatural thriller with healthy doses of horror and humor. Oh, and of course there's romance. You have to wait a long time for the only kiss in the book, but isn't that the case with all the best kisses in books?


Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of SPARKED, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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