The Lore of Ramridge by Karuna Savoie

Lore of RamridgeThe corn maze at Ramridge Ranch is the talk of the sixth grade. It’s a community tradition to visit the ranch in fall. In fact, folks come from miles around to enjoy some fall fun. But this year there are rumors that children are going missing in the maze—and it’s all the rage for the older kids to boast of having visited. But James isn’t allowed. His parents are adamant that he remain at home and stay safe.

Ignoring his parents, James sneaks off to navigate the maze alone, thinking he’ll only be gone a few hours and they won’t be any the wiser. It doesn’t take long before James realizes he might just have made a terrible mistake.

This creepy novella is the perfect read before Halloween! Karuna Savoie has placed interesting characters into a familiar setting readers can see and smell and even feel. In addition, the plot of this story is no ordinary creepy thriller.  James’ decision will take readers on a thrill ride as they navigate the twists and turns of events at Ramridge Ranch.

Karuna Savoie is an amazingly talented young writer. Fortunately for readers everywhere, she’s got a brain full of story ideas to share with the world. I can’t wait to read the next installment in the Lore of Ramridge series.

Full disclosure: Karuna is a client of my editorial business, so I have had a hand in polishing this book. I don’t write reviews for all of my clients, but Karuna’s amazing imagination and writing skills make The Lore of Ramridge the great read that it is, so I felt I could give an honest review. Keep your eyes on her. She’s a writer who’s going places.

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Hit the Ground Running by Mark Burley

Hit the Ground RunningBlue Moon Publishers, 2017.

Eric hasn’t talked much with his family since his parents suddenly moved from San Francisco to British Columbia—he was just too mad about the changes they forced him to make. He hasn’t bothered to get to know the other students at his boarding school, either. That would seem too much like acquiescing, so he spends his free time outdoors avoiding the other students and practicing the parkour he loves. But when Eric gets a video message from his brother, he learns that their parents have been taken and his brother’s on the run, so Eric’s forced to come out of his isolation to find them.

Before long, Eric has cobbled-together an action team and they’re off to solve the kidnappings of Eric’s family, but before he’s even had a chance to become the hunter, Eric finds that he’s actually the hunted. He’ll need his extensive knowledge and contacts from traveling the world with his anthropologist parents, his skill at parkour, and a handful of talented friends to survive this little adventure.

I chose this book because I was intrigued by the idea of a YA parkour thriller, and it didn’t disappoint. Eric is a sympathetic and engaging character. As the title suggests, Hit the Ground Running is fast-paced, but unlike some thrillers, the plot is easy to follow. The characters may be moving constantly, but the story allows readers to get to know them, their flaws, and their motivations. There’s parkour, science, cool tech, and even a paranormal element. Two more books are in the works to complete the series, and I’m looking forward to reading them.

Happy Book Birthday to Hit the Ground Running!

Game of Fear by Gledé Browne Kabongo

game-of-fear2016

Abbie has a secret, a secret that’s buried so deep that she’s just about forgotten it. She also has a plan. She’s an excellent student at a prestigious private school. According to her plan, next year she’ll be at Princeton, and then she’ll move on to Harvard or Stanford for medical school. She’s working really hard senior year to set her plans in motion. But Abbie didn’t plan on the new and exciting romance that’s sweeping her off her feet. She also didn’t expect to be stalked and blackmailed because of her nearly-forgotten mistake. If she doesn’t find and stop the stalker fast, her new romance, her plan, and everything she’s worked so hard to achieve, will be gone.

This is a suspenseful thriller wrapped up into a boarding school story. Gledé Browne Kabongo has a good sense of teen’s motivations, friendships, and hormone-controlled thrill rides. The plot twists and turns and the stakes are high. Readers who love auspicious wealth, designer name dropping, and high stakes plots will enjoy this story.

I must say that as a feminist, I found this story hard to stomach at times. Abbie Cooper is definitely a strong female character, but the trope of the (mostly) good girl choosing the bad boy because of his astonishingly good looks and his charisma, despite the terrible way he’s treated girls in the past bothers me. Other similar details large and small abound in the story. For example, when the friends come to Thanksgiving dinner, the boys end up in the family room playing video games while the girls help Mom in the kitchen. Many, many clichés also made it into the book, and at times they made me long for fresher word choices.

On the whole, this is a fun, fast paced book with a twisty plot.

I received a copy of Game of Fear courtesy of the author and Kate Tilton’s Book Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.