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Friday, February 18, 2011

Blog Tour: Sudden Moves by Kelli Sue Landon

Hi there everyone!

Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
It’s Friday….whoo-ACHOO!  *ugh*  Yeah, still fighting this cold but that doesn’t stop me from sharing happy wishes and great reads with you….just don’t get to close as to avoid the sneeze pattern.

A quick reminder that today marks THE LAST DAY TO ENTER (hehe) to win the Wereling prize pack featuring books 1 and 2 in the YA paranormal series by author Steve Feasey.  Trust me, you don’t want to miss these so be sure to get your entries in by midnight (CST) tonight.  Also, while you’re at it, there are several other contests currently running and with end dates fast approaching…for all the links, just check the right hand sidebar under “Current Contests”.  Moving on…

Today we play host to a blog tour featuring a newish author and her first venture into the literary world of novels.  She’s making waves with the sub category for it’s not often you find a YA Mystery that is actually a mystery.  Most delve into other sub cat’s so certainly a first in my reading travels.  Shall we get to the book?  Today’s blog tour guest and book of choice is….

Kelli Sue Landon

Toted as a YA mystery, Katie Brashers and her family leave on a vacation for Spring Break...never to return.  No notice.  No postcard.  Just an empty house, a missing book (don't ask…I’ll get to that later), and questions with no answers.  Is there more here than meets the eye?  The adults around don’t seem to think so; after all, Katie’s mother was a bit of a flirt so it is quite possible she simply extended their stay with a new love interest taking Katie and her sister along for the ride.  Despite the rumors and plausible explanations given, Michelle can’t help but think there’s something more at work here and she intends to find out just what happened once and for all.  Will her investigation uncover the truth before it’s too late?  Or will both she and Katie end up as just another statistic among the lost?

First things first, let’s take a look at the title.  Sudden Moves.  It has multiple meanings within this book and is always a great place to start a discussion. The most obvious reference would be to Katie’s family suddenly moving to Florida…or so her teachers say.  Another look and it refers easily to the act of making a move without thinking…often landing oneself in hot water as it does to Michelle a time or two here.  Yet if we take a third look, its meaning deepens, or rather heightens, to include making a sudden move in order to avoid something unpleasant…or perhaps to save your life.  Don’t you love it when you run into a title that explains itself as the novel progresses?  *nods*  Now on to the experience…

I actually read this book about 2 or 3 weeks ago, and yet I just wrote the review today.  Why?  To be honest, I think I was avoiding writing it.  Why?  Okay, what's with all the questions?  Can't you just accept my answer? *sees you shake your head* Okay, fine.  Here's the deal. 

When I write a review, I am carried away by my passion for the title at the moment....for better or worse.  If I enjoyed a title immensely, I feel the need to jot down my thoughts in some fashion STAT.  If I didn't enjoy a title, the same situation happens though it's more of a muted venting of sorts.  This title left me torn.  On the one hand, conversations with the author via email and Twitter were great, revealing the personality behind the author and the dream of being a published writer realized.  On the other hand, while the book had an interesting concept, I kept coming up against brick walls that prevented me from sailing through on shared winds of inspiration.  (Yes, I also wax poetic when I'm "inspired typing"...just go with it... ^_^)

I’m sorry to say but the way it jumps right into the mystery from page one seemed unnatural; we were missing the reason we should care.  People move sometimes without giving notice to their friends (or close acquaintances as I really didn’t feel a bestie connection between Michelle and Katie) all the time, but it’s no reason to call out the National Guard (so to speak).  Why this girl?  What was the tip off that something wasn’t right?  I could understand if it was Tami missing since she and Michelle are “friends forever”….but Katie?  She was new and had barely begun to spend time with any of them…it just didn’t feel “real”. 

The characters and scenes just didn’t connect with each other (or with this reader) either.  I mean, one moment Michelle is all “my friend is missing” and the next “oh, I’ll never get my book back from her now”.  Now about that book, I can only liken it to a running gag.  It would appear out of nowhere in conversation or thought to the extent that when I was reading it out loud, we’d guess when it would crop up again.  Grant it, the book plays a potentially important role at one point…but by the time its importance is discovered, it only shines as a minor detail, an after thought.  Second, when the character shows that much of a lack of commitment to the plot line…it’s hard to make readers care about it. 

Too many plotlines are running amuck.  Missing children, murder, suicide, kidnapping, mafia/crime family connections, adoption, the book, inappropriate conduct with a minor, unrequited love….see what I mean?  It seems to me that the author had several interesting ideas running around for a story but perhaps they would have worked better if they each had their own time in the sun (as in multiple books).

Add to all this the creepy aspects of the old (pervy) man and the married guy (not gentleman…guy or perhaps another not so nice word that I shall not type) possibly dating a 16 year old girl (or should I say the 16 year old girl concealing her age in order to date someone almost 30….ewww).  I’m not saying things like this don’t happen…I mean most of us have seen daytime talk shows or late night Springer episodes at some point, but it just didn’t add up.  I will say this though…once the action picked up at around page 120, I was driven to reach the end.  Despite whatever feelings I had towards the work at that time, I had to know how it all turned out so that certainly speaks to the potential it has (or at least to me it does). 

To sum up my ranting, the author had many threads started in this particular creation that would have made a grand picture…if only they could have been pulled together.  Those missing links were like those singular LEGO pieces in the building sets of old.  They may seem insignificant at first, but you’d be surprised at their tremendous value at plugging up unwanted holes.  Now don’t get me wrong, the story is not without merit after all anything that is worth the time it takes to get it from inspiration to creation has some sparkle to it….it just needs to reach the right set of eyes to make it shine.  Unfortunately for me, it didn’t quite work…but I certainly do not regret the read and would encourage you to try it for yourself.  You never know…it may fit you like the proverbial glass slipper; a match made in heaven.

A hot topic of conversation (at times) in the book blogging community is whether or not bloggers will review self-published material.  The case has been made time and time again for both sides but will probably be a debate for as long as there are reviews written.  I for one do (case in point, this very title).  It’s not about the fact that it was “self published” for me though…it’s about whether or not I have an interest in the work.  If I do, I’ll consider it….if not, it really doesn’t matter who published it, I won’t be reading it (sorry).  Why am I discussing this now?  *you again with all the questions…* 

The author was kind enough to include a few Q&A’s about her title that I wished to share with you and her first answer got me thinking….that’s all.  Promise.  Without further rambling on my part, here’s the Q’s and A’s to a few thoughts you may have rattling around in your mind at this point…

Q:  How did you get your book published?
I self published through Outskirts Press.

Q:  Why did you decide to write it?
I had the idea in my head since I was in high school.  It started as a story, but it evolved into a full length novel.

Q:  What types of reader will be interested in your book?
Teens or women who will be taken back to their high school years…

Q:  What is special about your book?  What differentiates it from other books in the same category?
This book is about regular teenagers, not the supernatural of vampires which seems to be the norm right now.  They react as normal teens would react in their situation.  It’s a YA mystery, but evolves into a more adult finale.  These kids learn a lot on their quest to find Katie.

Q:  Have you published any other books?  Do you plan to publish more?
This is my first one, but I have another one written.  It will be sent off for publication this spring.  It takes place on a weekend camping trip – a slasher type of story with a whodunit angle. 

Certainly sounds like that upcoming novel has a promising storyline for a weekend campy read…will be curious to see how it turns out.  Signed review copy received courtesy of author Kelli Sue Landon.  (THANKS!)  For more information about her work, feel free to visit her site, the publishers site, or follow her on Twitter (still sounds stalkerish after all this time..LOL).  Speaking of her site, you can read more reviews of her this book there as well as check out a sample of the audio book, and the book trailer…plus a chapter one sampling of that other soon to be published work mentioned above.  Lots to explore…so be sure to stop on by.

Until next time…happy reading!


Tales of Whimsy said...

Bummer! That's SO tough. I think you did a great delicate job :)

Gina said...

Juju: Thanks, Juju. ^_^

Pam Pho said...

You do a really great job with images in your posts :D

Amused said...

Bummer! It sounded like a good set up for a storyline too!

Anonymous said...

It's a shame it didn't quite work.

Kelli Sue Landon said...

Thanks for your review! Sorry you didn't enjoy it as well as my other reviewers. I shy away from overexplaining, which is something I learned from my writing classes. I also have learned to hook the reader right away, which is why the mystery dives right in at the beginning. I have over 15 great reviews on this book and hope more people will read it.

Gina said...

Pam: Thanks! I try to liven them up a bit so it's not just me me me.....hehe.

Amused: You should try it and see for yourself. You might really like it! ^_^

carolsnotebook: *nods*

Kelli Sue Landon: Thank YOU for the chance to share it with my fellow readers and I echo your hope on others trying it for themselves. After all, this was MY journey with the won't be everyone's. Thanks for stopping by! ^_^

Michelle Santiago said...

too bad it didn't quite work out for you but it's a great review. and like the others, i really like the images.

thanks for stopping by our blog :)

Gina said...

chelleyreads: Thanks! I try to keep things balanced on this type of occasion because each readers experience with a book is a bit different. (...and your welcome! ^_^)

The1stdaughter said...

Fantastic review Gina! Really, it's so tough to write reviews for books you just don't connect with or for other reasons. You did a wonderful job though.

I've recently changed my policy on self-published books and will accept them if the author has published at least a few books already. I find that often times if they've done that (even on their own), by the time they get through a couple of books they've worked out quite a bit of the "kinks".

But again, great job with the review!

Gina said...

the1stdaughter: Thanks! The author was very welcoming on the feedback as well...a fact that doesn't always ring true. Certainly speaks well of her interest and dedication to her craft. As for your policy change...I can certainly understand it especially with some of the past experiences I know you've had with them. Still keeping mine open at this point....but thanks for the knowledge share and kind words. ^_^

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