One of my favorite New Adult reads this year was MORE, the first book in this series. So I was totally stoked when I was contacted to participate in the tour for Book 2. I gobbled it up as soon as it came across my NetGalley approval list and was not at all bothered to go back and read it again for this tour. And I'm super excited to welcome T.M. Franklin to my blog. Her interview is also included in this post so stay tuned!
About THE GUARDIANS
Ava’s life is . . . complicated.
After all, it’s not every day a girl learns she’s not entirely human, or unlocks hidden powers strong enough to make even the First Race sit up and take notice. After surviving an attempted kidnapping and standing up to the Race’s Ruling Council, Ava Michaels returns to college and what she hopes is a normal life. But Ava quickly realizes that for her, normal may not even exist anymore.
In fact, the Council wants her under their control, and they’re not the only ones. The mysterious Rogues have a plan of their own, and it turns out Ava’s a big part of it, whether she wants to be or not.
On top of that, her new relationship is tested in ways she never expected. Her boyfriend, Caleb Foster, has disappeared—accused of betraying the Race—and Ava herself stands implicated in a crime she didn’t commit.
Clearing their names will mean uncovering a web of deceit and intrigue with Ava woven right in the center. To unravel the strands, she joins forces with some unlikely allies; a Protector who once haunted her nightmares, a young girl with secrets as unexpected as Ava’s, and a group of rebel Guardians who have their own fight against the Council.
Together they stand in a battle to find the truth, bring Caleb home, and secure Ava’s freedom—not to mention save her life.
WHAT I LIKED
The plot and storyline. I expected a mid-series slump, but this book holds its own. Though there were times when I wanted the pace to move a little faster, that was me being impatient and empathizing with Ava more than it was a problem with the book--I cannot wait to read book 3!
The well-developed characters. There are no Mary Sues in this bunch. The characters are well-executed and multi-faceted.
WHAT I LOVED
Everything I loved in MORE still applies. This is just a fun, fun series to read. It's a little bit X-men (which just makes me love it more), a little bit TWILIGHT, but not really. It stands on its own. Some reviews for Book 1 make comparisons to Edward and Bella. Maybe, if Edward weren't a controlling jackass and Bella were interesting. These two are soooooo much more compelling and fun!
There are sexytimes teases from the start! I love the chemistry between the two main characters. Though perhaps there is not as much steaminess as a lot of NA readers may be expecting, but that makes it great for younger readers, too!
Love love love banter between Tiernan and Ava. A couple parts made me actually LOL. At three in the morning. I scared a dog. And my husband. These are just book bonuses as far as I'm concerned.
Love all the plot twists and turns. Even the ones my gut niggled at me to suspect surprised me.
WHAT I WANTED MORE OF
Would benefit from more distinctive narrative voices between POVs
Mid-book, when a lot of time is being spent traveling, it felt like we were spending a lot of time traveling. I wanted faster pace there, though admittedly part of that was me being impatient to find out what was going on.
Sort of but not really spoiler here: The detail about Ava's dad being ill sort of appears out of thin air. It felt inauthentic that during the discussions of Ava's family up until that point that Dad being ill didn't factor into Ava's decision-making (ie whether to visit for Spring Break.
More emotional consistency--Ava waffles about her feelings toward Emma in a way that feels inconsistent more than undecided. I wanted a little more from her internal monologue in that respect.
Short story long, I loved this book. I cannot wait to read Book 3. While I'm waiting, find out more about T.M. Franklin in the interview below. Then buy THE GUARDIANS and tell me what you think!
About T.M. Franklin
T.M. Franklin started out her career writing non-fiction in a television newsroom. Graduating with a B.A. in Communications specializing in broadcast journalism and production, she worked for nine years as a major market television news producer, and garnered two regional Emmy Awards, before she resigned to be a full-time mom and part-time freelance writer. After writing and unsuccessfully querying a novel that she now admits, “is not that great,” she decided to follow the advice of one of the agents who turned her down—write some more and get better at it. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Mike, is mom to two boys, Justin and Ryan, and has an enormous black dog named Rocky who’s always lying nearby while she’s writing. Whether he’s soothed by the clicking of the computer keys or just waiting for someone to rub his belly is up for debate.
In addition to MORE and The Guardians, Franklin penned the Amazon best-selling short story, Window, as well as another short story, A Piece of Cake, which appears in the Romantic Interludes anthology.
Connect with T.M. Franklin
Tell us a little about your writer's journey so far:
It’s been a crazy, busy, wonderful experience so far. I've learned a lot and grown a lot. I’d say the most rewarding thing about it is to have someone say they've enjoyed something I've written. That they stayed up late to read it, or got lost in the story – that makes all the hard work worth it!
Okay, let's hear your Twitter Pitch! (140 characters or less.)
The Council’s after her. Rogues want her. Cops think she’s a killer. In MORE, Ava found power. Now, to survive, she turns to THE GUARDIANS.
What inspired you to write this book? How is it a book only you could write?
Like Ava, when I was a kid, I was convinced I could do cool, superhuman things – like move things with my mind or maybe fly – if I only tried hard enough, believed hard enough. In essence Ava is me – at least that aspect of her, so in that respect, it’s a book that only I could write.
Of course, I was never able to do those things, but I thought, what if someone could? What if somebody had hidden abilities, and that childhood belief was not imagination, but maybe instinct or intuition? Ava is that person, and that was one of the ideas that inspired the trilogy.
What's your favorite thing about writing?
Well, as I said, having someone read and enjoy the story is the best thing about being a writer. I mean, as much as we like to say we write for ourselves, we all want someone to read it, right? We write because we want to share a story or communicate an idea. So having someone get what you’re trying to say is amazing.
But as far as the actually writing process goes, I’d say my favorite thing is when the words just flow. Sometimes, you can just picture a scene in your head like a movie, and hear the dialogue, and the words just tumble out onto the keyboard. That is SO much fun!
What's your least favorite thing?
Negative reviews, of course. I think every author dreads those. But I think you have to learn to take the criticism and learn from it when you can. When you can’t, you just have to let it go and try and move forward.
Now it's time to brag a little--What do you love most about your book?
I think I love the idea that it could really happen. There could be a hidden Race of super humans on Earth, who for the most part stay out of sight. There could be Half-Breeds living among us right now – maybe you’re one – maybe I am! J Maybe the Race is out there and is responsible for things like
the pyramids. Maybe they helped things along when we needed a cure for polio or
small pox. That, I think, is what’s most fun about the MORE universe.
What has surprised you most about publishing post-agent (in other words, something unpublished writers may not know about how the process goes after you get an agent)?
Well, I don’t have an agent, but I’ve had LOADS of surprises when it comes to publishing. I think the biggest one is how much work is involved that actually has nothing to do with writing the book! Promoting your book and your brand takes up a lot of time, and there’s always more to do. It’s all a lot of fun, but if you’re not careful, you can spend all of your time promoting and selling. It’s important to strike a balance between marketing and actual writing.
Okay, now a little about you. (And yes, I stole these questions from In the Actor's Studio with James Lipton.)
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
ME TOO! (Aaaand I believe that brings the anti-moist author count to four!)
What turns you on?
Being passionate about life.
What turns you off?
Negative, why-me attitudes.
What sound or noise do you love?
Baby laughter—or any laughter, really.
What sound or noise do you hate?
Fingernails on a chalkboard. Or whining.
What profession, other than your own, would you most like to attempt?
Millionaire Playboy J
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear G-d say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Finally, what's the one question you've always wanted to answer in an interview? (And of course, you have to answer it!)
What originally sparked your interest in stories like MORE?
I’ve always enjoyed reading books with a little bit of magic in them. I think the first book I remember reading in this genre was “What the Witch Left” by Ruth Chew. I read it when I was a little girl, and I absolutely LOVED it. It’s about a girl who finds some unusual items left behind by her aunt in a locked drawer – like a pair of gloves that enable her to play the piano and sew perfectly, a robe that makes her invisible, and rubber boots that let her travel seven leagues with every step. I read that book over and over. Maybe it was the fact that I was taking piano lessons (and hating them) at the time that added some extra appeal. I wanted those gloves!
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