Monday, September 10, 2012

Seconds Away by Harlan Coben (Mickey Bolitar #2) REVIEW + 2x Prize Pack GIVEAWAY

Genre:Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, 
Publication.Date  September 18th 2012
Published By:  Putnam Juvenile
WebsiteHarlan Coben | 

Seconds Away- Goodreads
My review copy:A copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:

When tragedy strikes close to home, Mickey Bolitar and his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and the adorkably charming Spoon—find themselves at the center of a terrifying mystery involving the shooting of their friend Rachel. Now, not only does Mickey have to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter, the Butcher of Lodz and the mysterious death of his father, he needs to figure out who shot Rachel—no matter what it takes.

Mickey has always been ready to sacrifice everything to help the people he loves. But with danger just seconds away, how can he protect them when he’s not even sure who—or what—he’s protecting them from?

When you experience something like that, when something happens so suddenly and destroys everything in your life... you remember everything about it. Every single detail.
What scenario is more likely? That the Butcher of Lodz has a passing resemblance to a paramedic and you imagined more - or that a ninety-year-old Nazi is now a young paramedic working in California?
"I'll see you at school in the morning." She hung up. But Rachel was wrong. I wouldn't see her in the morning because by then everything would be different.

     Seconds Away is a great addition to Harlan Coben's first YA series featuring quick-witted and clever Mickey Bolitar (Myron Bolitar's nephew). Full of exciting twists and turns and thrilling new developments, it's a book that moves at a near break-neck speed and is sure to leave you stunned, breathless, maybe a tiny little bit confused, but very satisfied nevertheless. Thoroughly captivating, well-written and with an incredibly suspenseful plot line, it's one of the best thrillers I've read this summer, possibly this year. 

There are moments in your life that change everything.
I don't mean little things like, say, what cereal turns out to be your favorite or whether you get into any AP classes or what girl you fall in love with or where you wind up living for twenty years. I mean total change. One second your world is one thing, the next - snap! - it is completely altered. All the rules, all the things you accepted about reality, are turned around. 
Like, up becomes down. Left becomes right.
Death becomes life.

     Seconds Away picks up exactly where Shelter left off. The first Mickey Bolitar novel ended with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger that left me clamoring for the sequel. When I got my hands on a copy of the second book, I was extremely excited to finally be able to learn more about what happened during Mickey's meeting with the mysterious Bat Lady. I wanted to know if he learned something valuable about his father's death. If the Nazi officer in Bat Lady's picture (the evil Butcher of Lodz) was indeed the same person Mickey remembers as the paramedic who took his father's body away after the car crash. Why did the old lady say Mickey's dad was alive? Could he possibly be? And - most importantly - I wanted to learn more about Abeona Shelter and the role this mysterious organization played in it all. Just like Mickey, I needed some answers, and I needed them badly. And just like Mickey, instead of answers, I got more questions, more unbelievable plot turns, more mysteries to solve and lives to save. And while I can't say that I was satisfied with how little information the story line provided me with, I was most certainly well entertained by the thrilling sub-plot and happy to follow my favourite characters as they solved yet another bone-chilling case. 

     The plot line of Seconds Away follows two stories that - though different from each other - intertwine with one another, as they are both related to Abeona Shelter. The main plot line - the one involving Mickey's father and the seemingly immortal Butcher of Lodz - does not get resolved in this book. In fact, while we do get bits and pieces of information throughout the story, overall there isn't much progress to Mickey's investigation. At the same time, though lacking any major breakthroughs, the story is still thick with tension and even more action-packed than the first book. 

     The second story line - a sort of a sub-plot - is even better. Mickey's friend, Rachel, is attacked in her own house. She ends up in a hospital, with a gunshot wound to the head. Her mother, who claimed to have some incriminating information about Rachel's father, gets killed during the attack. There's an air of secrecy surrounding the events of that fatal night, Rachel's father seems to be hiding something. Mickey, together with his faithful side-kicks (Ema and Spoon), is determined to get to the bottom of it all. He'll do whatever it takes to protect Rachel and find out who is responsible for her mom's death. 

     I really enjoyed the plot of this novel. It was fun and gripping, and I couldn't bring myself to put the book down mid-point. At times the plot was so twisted and tangled up that I wanted to scream. I kept on thinking to myself: what on earth is going on here? There were moments when I would get a little bit confused, but that's mainly due to the fact that not much was explained. The mystery part plays a major role in this series, everything we read about - every single fact and detail we're presented with, every new character, flashback, or seemingly unrelated story - leads to uncovering the secret of Abeona Shelter and those who are determined to destroy it. And though we might have to wait a book or two to get to the big "aaaah, I get it now!", I'm pretty sure that when the moment comes to connect all the dots and get to the bottom of the story, the conclusion will knock our socks off

     I liked many things about this book, but I was especially excited to learn more about our main characters. Harlan Coben created a fabulous set of personalities, each of them distinct, vibrant, and essential to the plot. I was very happy to be reunited with them, especially with Spoon who is just so awesomely nerdy and adorable (kind of reminds me of Sheldon from Big Bang Theory). Seconds Away provides us with a great insight into the characters' past. We learn more about Mickey, his hopes and fears, and his strained relationship with his uncle. But then we also learn more about Ema and Spoon. We get a really good look at their thoughts and feelings, and we even get some really eye-opening information about their family situation and how it shaped them to be who they are. I found it absolutely fascinating to read about, and it definitely made me love these characters even more.

     While published and marketed as Young Adult reads, both Shelter and Seconds Away are - in my opinion - great mystery novels that can be enjoyed by Coben's fans of all ages. Seconds Away mixes mystery, action, and personal drama, adding a pinch of something vaguely supernatural (or so it seems). It's a spicy and flavourful cocktail, and one that will keep you frantically turning pages. With solid and exciting plot line, characters that are realistic and relatable, and premise that is just as moving as it is threatening, this brand new teen mystery makes for a very good read, infused with some powerful adrenaline shots.

About author Harlan Coben:

Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of numerous adult novels, and the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award, and Anthony Award – the first author to receive all three. His books are published in forty languages with over 47 million copies in print worldwide – and have been #1 Bestsellers in over a dozen countries. He lives in New Jersey.
Official links:


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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Carl said...

It's so cool that Harlan Coben has a new book out, and the trailer really grabs you too. This could be a lot of fun, thanks for hosting the giveaway.

alicia marie said...

Thanks for the great review! I've been looking forward to reading this book so I'm glad to hear that it's as good as I was hoping it would be : ) I can't wait to read it now! Thanks for the giveaway too!!

Amy said...

Awesome review!! It sounds like a really great book. I love fast paced thrillers!! I just saw Shelter at B&N and almost picked it up.

Tiffany Mahaffy said...

... Okay so I NEED these books!! Your reviews are dangerous! They make my To Buy pile MASSIVE lol The suspense of not reading them is already killing me lol

Steph said...

This series sounds really interesting! I'm definitely adding them to my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway!

Jaime Lester said...

I have never read a book by Harlan Coben and I think that may be a big mistake on my part. I haven't read many reviews, but all of the reviews that I have read have been glowing. Thanks for the review, Evie, and hopefully I can write a glowing review of my own soon!

Anita Yancey said...

I love Harlan Coben's books, and both of these sound so good. Your review sure made me want to read this series. They are definitely going on my TBR list. Thanks for having this giveaway.


Evie said...

Thanks for all the lovely comments pretties! :) Fingers crossed for each and every single one of you! <3

MissKimberlyStardust said...

I'm a big fan of Harlan Coben's adult series so I can't wait to read this one. Great review!
-Kimberly @ Turning The Pages

Carol M said...

I really enjoy Harlan Coben's books. It's so nice to see that he is now writing YA books. I always like to give my grandchildren good books to read.

Lynette said...

WIth three teens in the house, I hve really been enjoying YA books these days. I love reading books and discussing with my kids. I'd love to read this one. Great review - thanks!

Mellanhead said...

I love his books! My dad got me hook

Julie Witt said...

Harlan Coben is one of my favorite authors and I would LOVE to win a copy of these books since I haven't had the chance to read them yet! Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway:)

Holly said...

I haven't read any of Harlan Coben's books yet, but it sounds like I should!

Rachel V said...

I have not read these yet and I can't wait to read them. They sound really good. Thanks!

LisaILJ said...

I have heard such good things about these books as well as those targeted to the adult market.

M.A.D. said...

I haven't read either of these, but everybody loves Harlan Coben :)
Thank you very much for yet another generous giveaway <3

Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

Stina Butcher said...

These sound like awesome books and I've definitely heard awesome things about them. They'll have to go on my slightly lengthy to-read list.

Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing your love of reading.

Krystal Willingham said...

This series sounds so good. They are totally going to be added to my to-read list. Thanks for doing this giveaway.

city said...

thanks for sharing..

Ash said...

Wow, just wow.... looks like one interesting read. love the cover too.

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