Thursday, October 26, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Sparked by Helena Echlin & Malena Watrous

Book Blurb:

Sparked by Helena Echlin and Malena Watrous

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Publisher: Geek & Sundry

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.

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When the novel opens, Laurel wakes up to find her sister Ivy missing from her bed. Beginning that night, Laurel starts having nightmares that she is Ivy, chained up in a dungeon, being held captive by a man in a ski mask. Here is a scene from one of her first dreams…

Something drops into the cell and I jump. But it’s just a roll of toilet paper, still in its paper wrapper, decorated with dancing teddy bears. The expensive kind we never buy. It rolls to the far corner of the cell, out of reach.

I rake my fingernails against my wrist, desperate for relief.

I remember the first time the itch flared up. I was at that stupid camp, and I became convinced that I’d been bitten by something venomous—a scorpion or a snake—something way bigger than a mosquito. The itch seemed to be concentrated in the star-shaped birthmark on my wrist. The more I scratched, the worse that spot throbbed, until I started to worry that I was going to dig a hole in my skin. I used it as an excuse to hide out in the cabin. I was alone, trying not to scratch myself bloody as I stared at my sewing machine, wondering why I’d lugged it all the way there, when I realized that the needle was moving up and down, lifting and lowering the thread in perfect stitches through the fabric of the dress I was dying to finish.

There wasn’t even electricity in our cabin.

“One more minute,” he calls from above.

I catch sight of that roll of toilet paper in the far corner. I shouldn’t even be thinking about doing this. I hate this freaky power. But I hate this crazy itchy feeling even more.

I take a few jagged breaths, trying to clear my mind, and then I flex my eyes. Everything else fades, until the toilet paper seems to be illuminated by a spotlight that’s glowing from inside me somehow. Then it starts to roll. Very slowly at first, and then faster and faster, all the way across the floor and into my waiting hand.

Thunk. Thunk.

He’s coming back. For one sweet moment, I’d managed to forget about him.

I drop the toilet paper. The itch is gone, but so is the adrenaline. As the power drains out of me, it takes every ounce of strength just to stay on my feet.


My Review:

4.5 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Mystery, Supernatural, Suspense, Teen--

Laurel and her older sister Ivy are best friend and know everything about each other. But on the morning that Laurel wakes up and Ivy is not in her bed, Laurel knows something is wrong despite her mother's denial and the note Ivy left behind. Laurel refuses to give up on what she knows about her sister and with the help of a mysterious boy named Jasper, who is full of his own secrets, Laurel is willing to do anything to get Ivy back.

So here I was, thinking that I am reading a gritty real life mystery about a teen trying to find her missing sister, but instead I was thrust into something completely unexpected about magic and the end of the world. Color me surprised with what I read, and I don't mean that in a bad way. After I was like half way through the book, I went back and read the synopsis and realized that I totally skipped over the words like "prophecy" and "powers" when I originally discovered this story. Now that that is out of the way, I really enjoyed this tale, it kept me guessing and there were so many side secrets and mysteries that I picked at during my journey through the pages. The authors were very skilled at creating a layered story with lots of depths and issues. This was not just a mystery, but instead a well written mystery full of supernatural developments, surprises, teen angst and family drama, societal drama, love (be it romantic or sibling) that kept me on my toes.

The story was narrated by Ivy predominantly, but there were also moments of Mei and Peyton, as well as visions of what Ivy was going through while she was taken. I enjoyed getting to know Laurel, how sensitive yet persistent she was, how she realized what was important to her and to tune out the rest, and that she was so mellow and controlled in the face of supernatural revelations and danger. Laurel hero worshiped Ivy (who was a great character and an even better sister!) but pretty much thought of herself as non-existent, but by the end she realized her own worth and strengths. I loved watching Mei and Peyton grow and develop as people because when the book started I will admit that I was not of fan of the seemingly vapid and mean girls. But by the end of the adventure, I was rooting for them right along with Laurel. I really enjoyed how all the characters came together to create a hodge-podge family of sorts, be it supernatural kids or a brainiac bestie. Seriously, the last chapter or so were so freaking sweet I loved it.

I like that the story wrapped up so this could be a standalone, but there were enough hints and loose ends that I would love to have another book set in this world. I found this to be a very unique, engaging read dealing with teen supernatural powers, dangerous villains and a love with power sacrificing potential. What more could you ask for? I am also super impressed that this was written by a writing team, the chapters flowed so smoothly and everything was cohesive as if one creative mind wrote the book. I am excited to read more stories by Helena and Malena, be it together or separate.

I received this title for reviewing purposes.

Author Bio:

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?

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