Book Review: Adrenaline Rush by Cindy M. Hogan

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Title: Adrenaline Rush: A Christy Novel
Author: Cindy M. Hogan
Publication date: October 2013
Genres: Suspense, Young Adult




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Adrenaline RushAdrenaline Rush
A Christy Novel
Cindy M. Hogan
O’neal Publishing, October 2013
ISBN 978-09851318-5-2
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

A madman with a mission is kidnapping groups of thrill-seeking high school seniors across the country, and it’s up to Christy to stop him.

To do so, she must take on a fearless alter ego and infiltrate a group of adrenaline junkies bent on pushing life to the limit. Death-defying stunts are only the beginning: two groups fit the profile, and Christy must discover the real target before it’s too late.

If she chooses the wrong group, more people will disappear. But choosing right puts her as the prime target—with no guarantee that she’ll get out alive.

Being a mystery fan from way back, I’m always excited when I find a really good one targeted for teens and what we now call “new adult”. Those age groups (which have very muddy lines between them) are inundated with speculative fiction—fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc,—but a really good mystery that will grab their attention is on the rare side. Such a mystery is the thriller, Adrenaline Rush.

The very nature of a thriller means that the action is not going to run smoothly and it surely doesn’t for Christy when she goes undercover looking for whoever is bent on kidnapping teens involved in extreme sports and other activities. Perhaps more to the point is WHY are they being taken? We’re about to find out when Christy sets herself up to be snatched.

Occasionally, the plot seems to be stretching credulity a little too much but isn’t that the case with pretty much every tale of spies and isn’t that implausibility half the fun?  A thriller needs to be scary, and this one has its moments, but it also needs to take the reader out of his or her comfort zone and Adrenaline Rush certainly does both in spades. Christy has an exciting life (what kid hasn’t at one time or another wanted to be a spy?) but she also has a lot of other things going on in her life, things that would cause anyone to be a little stressed. Probably the most important thing to keep in mind is that, while Christy might be a spy in training, she is also just 18 years old with all the attendant insecurities and immaturity. I also wasn’t as bothered as I usually am by the touch of insta-love since Christy has recently experienced a breakup.

I love Christy but there are other characters who “speak” to me almost as much, particularly Jeremy. Most of the players are fleshed out nicely and I had no trouble connecting with them.

Finally, while I found the prose a bit flowery every now and then (“His green eyes pounced on mine and his liquid voice smothered me in chocolate”—first time I ever knew eyes could pounce or that a voice could be chocolate), I did enjoy Ms. Hogan’s writing overall. Is Adrenaline Rush a little absurd and more than a little over the top? Yes. Will I read more? Well, I’d never met Christy or read anything by author Cindy M. Hogan before but I’m a convert now and will be adding the Watched Trilogy to my TBR pile first thing.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, December 2013.

About the Author

Cindy M. HoganCindy M. Hogan graduated with a secondary education teaching degree and enjoys spending time with unpredictable teenagers. More than anything she loves the time she has with her own teenage daughters and wishes she could freeze them at this fun age. If she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her snuggled up with the love of her life watching a great movie or planning their next party. She loves to bake, garden and be outdoors doing a myriad of activities.

Author links:

Blog  //  Twitter  //  Goodreads  //  Facebook


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Book Review: Caravan of Thieves by David Rich—and a Giveaway

Caravan of ThievesCaravan of Thieves
David Rich
Dutton, August 2012
ISBN 978-0-525-95288-6

From the publisher—

Rollie Waters is the smartest guy in any room. Working as an undercover marine, he knows all the angles, and he’s never less than two steps ahead of trouble—a skill he learned from the con artist father who raised him, though he hasn’t seen Dan in years. Like Dan, Rollie knows how to offer cheap gifts with one hand while stealing the family silver with the other. But, unlike Dan, Rollie is not a criminal.

Rollie’s childhood was a mesh of perfectly believable lies stretched so thin that he barely knows who he is. It’s only when he’s working undercover, inhabiting a false identity, that Rollie is comfortable in his own skin. The danger of deep undercover work makes use of his talents and keeps him out of trouble. Most of the time.

After he’s yanked out of his latest assignment and tossed in the brig, he’s only partly surprised when the officials in charge mention one name: Dan Waters. U.S. government money—a lot of money—has gone missing, and they think Rollie’s father took it. The only way to find Dan is to trace the frail tendrils of truth scattered among Rollie’s childhood memories. To do that, he’ll have to go deep into the undercover identity of a lifetime: his own.

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a copy of Caravan of Thieves by David Rich.

All too frequently, thrillers give the reader a lot of action and derring-do but they don’t spend much effort on such niceties as the psychology of the characters or the details of the geographic setting. Caravan of Thieves is a happy exception to the rule. One of the real pleasures I found in reading this book was how much I came to understand both Rollie and Dan and how they each had come to an acceptance of their relationship, past and present. In many ways, this book is a study of the bond between a father and a son and how a rift that is seemingly impossible to repair is, when all is said and done, not so insurmountable after all.

Along with that journey of possible reconciliation, the author treats the reader to a rollicking adventure that fans of Reacher and Bourne will love. Rollie, despite his familial issues, is a strong man physically, as would be expected with his military career, but also emotionally and mentally, and the reader can’t help feeling he’s exactly the right man to track down the missing loot. Perhaps he’ll also discover just who the bad guys are and why his own superiors are so sure he can do the job. There are reasons Rollie is good at undercover work and the villains of the piece are about to find out what those reasons are.

The pace left me breathless and, just when I thought I might have the answers, Rich would throw in another twist. Finely drawn settings—I felt I was right there on the banks of that river—add to the entertainment along with a light coating of humor. A surprising conclusion was the icing on the cake for a few hours very well spent and Rollie’s next escapade can’t come too soon for this reader.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2012.


You have two chances to enter the drawing for a copy of

Caravan of Thieves by David Rich. Leave a comment below

and then again on September 4th after an interview with David.

The winning name will be drawn on the evening of September 5th.