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
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... ^_^)
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.
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).
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!