Friday, August 2, 2013

Fangirl Friday: MORE by T.M. Franklin

Fangirl Friday is a weekly feature about kickass books and why they rock. 

MORE by T.M. Franklin      

Author's Facebook      Author's Goodreads

ARC received courtesy of The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Classified on NetGalley as YA, but I'd say New Adult FANTASY!!!!!!

Pub Date: October 4, 2012

Dannie Says: The name speaks for itself. I cannot wait to dive into book 2!

Ava Michaels used to think she was special. As a child, she fantasized about having magical powers . . . making things happen. She felt different from others her age, and just knew she was meant for something important. But, like most kids, Ava grew up and eventually accepted the fact that her childish dreams were just that, and maybe a normal life wasn't so bad after all.

Now a young college student, Ava begins to wonder if there were more to her childhood fantasies than she thought. She’s haunted by terrifying nightmares of a frightening man chasing her, determined to catch her, to take her—a huge hulk of a man with one blue eye and one green. Even during daylight hours, there are moments her hair stands on end with an uneasy prickle of awareness . . . and she just can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched.

Unable to decide if she’s imagining things or just plain crazy, Ava finds an unlikely ally in Caleb Foster, a brilliant and mysterious man who comes to her rescue as a Physics tutor, but in reality has another mission in mind. What he shows Ava challenges her view of the world, shaking it to its very core.

The thing is, Caleb’s not quite what he seems. In fact, he's not entirely human, and he's not the only one.

Together, the duo faces a threat from an ancient race bound to protect humans, but only after protecting their own secrets—secrets they fear Ava may expose. Now they’re after her, bent on her capture or maybe even her extinction.

Fighting to survive, Ava has to depend on Caleb to lead her through the strange new world opening up before her. A world of magic and mystery, where she learns she’s not
actually normal . . . she's not even just special.

She's a little bit more.

What I liked:

The pace. It was strong enough that I read without stopping, even though I had to get up with the wee one in the morning. I did, however, feel that there were some large blocks of uninterrupted narrative that could have been condensed. Which, for me, is why pace was a like rather than a love.

The MC: I liked Ava a lot, but I felt like I wanted to know her better prior to the midpoint. I wanted to know more about her wants and needs and how the story arc might help her fulfill them. I loved her role in the outcome!

The world-building. I wanted *more* but I loved what I got. I think it's a tricky thing to balance in a series, particularly when so much of it happens in "our" world. I suspect there's more to come in the sequel(s).

What I loved:

The opening hook. Though it breaks the "don't-start-your-book-with-a-dream" rule, I felt okay with the way that decision was handled. And after the first chapter, I didn't put it down until I finished reading, which for me says this book has a great hook. 

The timing and reveals with regard to the characters. I think that's a tricky balance in a series, because you want to save some goodies for later on. But I felt Franklin did a great job of giving us enough to make us look forward to reading more and finding out more about the characters in the future installments. For me this was especially true with regard to some of the minor characters who I'm looking forward to hopefully leaning more about. 

The emotional tension and character chemistry was spot on for me. I was totally sucked in and invested in Ava and Caleb's romance, which doesn't happen a lot for me recently after reading so much New Adult and YA romance. 

The story structure was really well done. I felt like the timing of reveals was just right and I never wanted the story to hurry up and happen or slow down and simmer. 

What I wanted more of:

Uh...the whole thing. For real. I am hella irritated I have seven books on my to-review list before I get to The Guardians. [/pouting]

But I still get to read it before you guys. ;P 


I was disappointed that the reveal with the Jordans' happened as a 'Tell'. Particularly with two POV characters, I felt like there were a number of ways this could have been presented 'on-camera' that would have made more of an emotional impact on me as a reader. Also, the presentation of it as a tell was repeated enough that it lost its impact altogether by the end.

Beyond that, though, I was really expecting more coming-of-age themes. I think that's an essential element to both the YA and NA categories, and I felt like there could have been more of that woven throughout the book. I really did want more New Adult tropes, because I think we're finally at the place as an industry where New Adult *is* branching out into genres besides romance and i was hoping to see a fantasy author tackle that challenge here. (I've no doubt she would kill it!)

I think in deciding to call this YA, the author could have just as easily made Ava a high school student. But the nice thing about indie publishing is you can basically break whatever the heck rules you want and get away with it. 

The romance! But that's just me and not an actual problem with the book. I read it expecting it to be classified as New Adult because it takes place in a college setting. Since the author classified it as Young Adult instead, the level of sexytimes is acceptable, I suppose. Harrumph.

But these are pretty nitpicky things. I read the entire thing from start to finish in under four hours despite having a full day motherhood looming in the morning, and that's really the best endorsement I can give. And while the paperback price point is a little steep, the eBook is worth every penny. You can pick it up online via the links below.

Next month I will post my review of THE GUARDIANS so subscribe and stay tuned!

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