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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

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2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

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7 / 25 books. 28% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

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33 / 50 books. 66% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

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35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

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39 / 52 books. 75% done!
Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review Part II (With a Giveaway!)

Although I'm still waaaaayyy behind on reviewing, I actually wrote the one for One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf over a month ago.  In the aftermath of the theater shootings in Colorado, I feel a little weird posting it, let alone offering a copy of the book as a giveaway like the book's publicist asked me to.  After debating the issue, I'm going to go ahead, if only because the novel brings to light the way shootings like these affect not just those killed or injured and their families, but all of us.

Like all of you, I was shocked to hear about the tragedy in Colorado.  Everything that could be said about it has already been said, so I'll just add that my prayers go out to all the victims.  May God bless and heal them.

Even though I didn't love, love, love One Breath Away, you might, so I'm giving you the opportunity to win a paperback copy of the book.  All you have to do is leave me a comment saying you're interested in winning.  Easy cheesy.  I'll pick a winner on August 10.  If you don't have a public blog that you update frequently, please leave your email address in your comment.  Also, because the book will be mailed by the publicist, the giveaway is only open to readers with U.S. or Canadian mailing addresses.

Another tidbit I forgot:  I was supposed to give you this link, so you can continue to follow Gudenkauf's book tour.  And, if you're interested, the author will be doing a live chat today.  You can get all the deets by clicking the icon below:

One Breath Away: Intense Premise, So-So Delivery

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As a sudden Spring snowstorm swirls down on Broken Branch, Iowa, an armed man walks into the town's only school.  While the police scramble to figure out what's going on, parents huddle together outside the building, anxious for news.  No one knows who the gunman is, what he wants, or how far he's willing to go to make his point.  Hazardous road conditions make it impossible to bring in outside help.  Without the aid of trained SWAT teams or experienced hostage negotiators, it's up to local law enforcement to end the standoff.  They only hope it can be done quickly, peacefully, with no casualties.  As precious minutes tick by and the snow continues to fall, all the people of Broken Branch can do is wait.  And pray.  

Meg Barrett, a 33-year-old police officer, can't stop thinking about the kids trapped inside the school.  She's got to find a way to get them out, even if it means ignoring orders from her superior and going against police protocol.  Anything.  She'll do anything to save the children.  Eighth grader Augie Baker already hates Broken Branch, hates that she has to live in the middle of nowhere with the grandparents she hardly knows while her mother recovers from severe burns in Arizona.  It's just her luck that she's now locked inside the school with a madman.  But when she discovers a way to save herself, she can't do it.  Her little brother's inside the school, too, and she refuses to leave without him.  On the outside, Augie's grandfather waits helplessly, not knowing the fates of the grandchildren he's only just getting to know.  After 40 some years of teaching in Broken Branch, Mrs. Oliver's ready to retire.  She plans to end her career quietly, without a fuss, something that changes the minute a man with a gun steps into her classroom.  Now, the 65-year-old educator may be the only thing standing between a desperate, armed man and a school full of innocent children.  

Tension mounts with each passing moment.  While the police fumble around looking for answers, the townspeople grow increasingly antsy.  And angry.  When Meg discovers a personal connection to the gunman, she knows it will be up to her—and only her—to put an end to the madness.

Violence at school is every parent's worst nightmare.  Which is why it makes such excellent fodder for intense, edge-of-your-seat reading.  Add in an inexperienced police team and a snowstorm that cuts them off from any outside assistance and you've got the makings of an A-grade thriller.  That's what I expected from One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf after reading its very promising premise.  Did the book deliver?  Not exactly.  While the potential was definitely there, the story started too soon, forcing Gudenkauf to spend too much time filling in back story and not enough on pushing the plot forward.  A little restructuring along with some overall tightening would have resulted in a much more streamlined, pulse-pounding novel.  I still enjoyed One Breath Away, which is, overall, a fast, engrossing novel, I just wanted something more polished and, ultimately, more satisfying.  

Grade:  C

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language and violence

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf from the generous folks at Harlequin/MIRA and Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.  Thank you!         
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