Friday, May 24, 2013

Flicker & Burn by T.M. Goeglein

Flicker And Burn by T.M. GoegleinReading Level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 352 Pages
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Narration: First Person: Sara Jane
Genre: Thriller/Paranormal Twist
Challenge: Paranormal Challenge
Source: ARCycling

The Cold Fury Series:
Book One: Cold Fury
Book Two: Flicker & Burn (7/13)
Book Three: Unknown

Order On Amazon: Hardcover
Order On Barnes and Noble:
Hardcover and Nook

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sara Jane Rispoli is still searching for her missing family, but instead of fighting off a turncoat uncle and crooked cops, this time she finds herself on the run from creepy beings with red, pulsing eyes and pale white skin chasing her through the streets in ice cream trucks; they can only be described as Ice Cream Creatures. They're terrifying and hell bent on killing her, but they're also a link to her family, a clue to where they might be and who has them. While she battles these new pursuers, she's also discovering more about her own cold fury and more about the Chicago Outfit, how the past misdeeds--old murders and vendettas--might just be connected to her present and the disappearance of her family. But connecting the dots is tough and time-consuming and may finally be the undoing of her relationship with the handsome Max--who's now her boyfriend. But for his own safety, Sara Jane may have to end this relationship before it even really starts. Her pursuers who've shown her her mother's amputated finger and the head of the Chicago Outfit who's just whistled her in for a sit-down make a romance unthinkable. The only thing that matters is finding her family and keeping everyone she loves alive.

My Review:

I was shocked by how much I enjoyed reading Flicker & Burn. This is definitely one of those rare cases where the sequel surpasses it's predecessor. The first installment of the Cold Fury series was a good read, great even. I found myself enamored with the elaborate world T.M. constructed, as well as the supernatural twist he intertwined with the plot to give it that dramatic flair. This was one of the reasons I found the plot, the whole premise really, to be so intriguing. It isn't your average, everyday blood-sucking vampire or werewolf love story, but a contemporary action thriller with just a hint of something that's not completely human. 

I was seriously blown away by it all, more so after I had enough time to digest the book and admire the lengths the author took to make it come to life. And that's exactly what it felt like. As if people who were born with ghiasso furioso (totally just butchered the spelling of that), could actually exist in the world today. The author made it feel realistic by taking actual history and sculpting it to meet his needs, much like what Rick Riordan did with the Percy Jackson series. If you've read the Percy Jackson series, then you probably know what I'm talking about, but for those who haven't, an example would be making the Civil War a battle between clashing demigods, instead of a war between the North and South soldiers in the United States.

In this installment, Sara Jane, SJ for short, has a bleaker outlook on life. After everything she's been faced with, encountering situation after situation that requires fighting or unleashing her secret power just for the sake of survival, she has been forced to grow up faster than any teen ever should. In Cold Fury, we discover that Sara has the ability to wield ghiasso furioso, a cold blue flame of fury that rises whenever she's in emotional turmoil or severe distress, a flame that once unleashed, shows her adversary their deepest, darkest fear. However, as the series progresses, her abilities end up evolving as well, growing in strength and size with continual use. 

The more she uses her power for mafia-related business and the more she kills, the more she finds her aversion to death becoming weaker and weaker. Yet, despite it all, she still continues to fight against the monster within her and keep her humanity from withering away. However, although I admired her strength, cunning, and intelligence, there were still a few times when I questioned her actions. She seemed almost indifferent to letting a certain someone destroy themself little by little in order to gain the information she needed to discover her family's location. I wish she would've at least tried to find another way that didn't involve hurting said person in the progress.

In this book, were introduced to a couple of new characters. Since I really don't want to give anything away, I'm going to try my best not to mention who they are to Sara in particular. Heather was a suckerpunch that I truly never saw coming. My emotions were a complete wreck because of her. One minute, I loved her and wanted to be her best friend....and the next, it was all I could do to refrain from punching my pillow in aggravation. Back and forth, Back and forth. In the end, I've finally concluded that although Heather did have her bitchy moments, I still loved her as a supporting character nonetheless.

If you've read my review for Cold Fury, you would already know that I absolutely despised the romance in the last novel and found it completely unnecessary. Not all books need a romance to appeal to the YA audience. I would read this series for the action and suspense alone! I didn't like the relationship between Max and Sara any more than I did in Cold Fury. Max was boring and completely detached from the plot. I really don't see why Sara is drawn to him and thinks he's boyfriend material. Why can we never have a book where the heroine is able to stand strong on her own?

The action was fast paced the majority of the time, and I didn't have nearly as much trouble getting into the book as I did with the first one. The fighting scenes made me feel like I was actually in the book itself, experiencing what the characters felt as the scene unfolded. You could obviously see that the author spent a good chunk of time researching boxing and fighting techniques in order to make his story sound more believable. 

However, there were a couple of places where the story dragged on a bit, like the times when T.M. just seemed to be dumping loads and loads of information on us instead of subtly working it into the plot. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't enjoy reading books that take on the tone of a textbook, or my ninth grade research paper for that matter. Once again, I had issues with the movie references.There weren't as many this time around, but every time I did see one, I felt my eyes glaze over, because I had no freaking idea what they were talking about when they compared movie situations to the situation they were currently in.

Overall, I enjoyed Flicker & Burn immensely, considering the fact that I was a bit put off when the synopsis promised creatures with red pulsing eyes who drove around in ice cream trucks. The plot and the characters were intriguing and realistic, albeit a bit corny at times. If you've already read, and enjoyed, Cold Fury, then you certainly won't be disappointed by its sequel.

Heroine- 4.5/5
Romance- 2/5 Unnecessary nuisance.
Action- 4.5/5
Fast paced and exhilarating.
Writing- 4/5
Overall- 4.5/5


  1. This is new to me, but it certainly sounds good. Thanks for the great review.

  2. Wow, this sounds so good! I love fast-paced books, and it is cool the author did his research to make the scenes more vivid :)


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