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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Untraceable - SR Johannes

 Title: Untraceable
Author: SR Johannes

Format: Ebook provided by author for review

From Goodreads:
16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. 

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him. 

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. 

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.
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I really enjoyed a particular aspect to this book. First, each chapter isn’t named “Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.”  They are named “Survival Skill 1, Survival Skill 2, etc” And then there is a line or two of a survival skill, which correlates to the chapter.  I’m a sucker for these little things, the attention to details really adds to the story for me.  This book has a ton of facts about surviving the wilderness and tracking.  But it doesn’t feel like a text book – although I definitely feel like I learned something above and beyond being entertained.  The author must have done a ton of research, or possibly grew up in the mountains to have amassed such a large amount of knowledge. 

Right away, in the very first chapter, there is action.  Someone is chasing Grace, and she is running through the forest, mentally going over the things her father has taught her about survival.  Immediately she strikes me as a very intelligent and mature for her age girl and I like her.

Grace’s father is a Game Warden in North Carolina, and he’s been missing for over three months.  Everyone has given up hope – except Grace.  She is bound and determined to find out what is going on and she will not stop until she finds him or finds a complete answer.

The entire book moves at a quick pace, I was excited at every page turn to find out what happens next.  There were so many twists and turns, it felt very fresh all throughout the story.  There was a lot of “Oh, I’m sure it’s this person!” and then “oh no, I know it’s this person!” I really felt like I was brought along to figure out the answers with Grace, not just told what was happening.  You don’t know who to trust, and who is really helping you – or hurting you. 

This book will take you through your emotional stock, that’s for sure.  You will laugh, and be fearful.  You may even cry – I did.  When Grace is happy, you feel her joy.  But then there are other times you can just see and feel the despair dripping off of her, your heart will break for her.  And you find yourself swearing to be her steady partner on this journey to find out the truth.

Grace doesn’t seem to have many friends, perhaps because she was so close with her father and spent so much time in the woods.  Often she will think back to a story from her childhood, a memory of her and her dad.  But she does have one, Wyn.  He is her best friend and also an ex-boyfriend.  He is terrific, and I did develop a bit of a crush on him.  He’s funny and sincere, and willing to do whatever he can to help Grace.  But yet Grace doesn’t tell Wyn about Mo, the hot guy she’s met in the woods and developed a “thing” for.  I’ve got mixed feelings about Mo.  Maybe I’m just a sucker for what she had, and not what’s waiting for her.  You’ll have to read and figure out your own opinion on that one. 

And then things get dangerous.  Very serious and very dangerous.  She learns she can’t trust the people she thought she could, and finds allies where she had given up. There are some very strong “what’s next!??!?!” moments that will definitely leave you on the edge of your seat.  But there are also some very tender and intimate moments, where you get to take a peak in at contentment and happiness.

I really enjoyed this book quite a bit.  The sequel, Uncontrollable, comes out in 2012.  There was definitely a chance for it, and I was glad when I flipped the last page and saw there was indeed another book coming. 
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Author Bio:

S.R. Johannes is the author of Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and On The Bright Side ( a tween paranormal).
She started out writing for her local school paper, winning a state Nutrition essay contest for “Be a Smart Cookie”, and singing in a local Jazz band. Somewhere along the way, she earned an MBA in Marketing and embarked on an 18-year marketing career in Corporate America working as a marketing and communications consultant.
In 2000, S.R. traded in her expensive suits, way-too high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She started her own marketing & communications business,, and continues creating materials for a variety of large profit and nonprofit clients, including Spanx, Goody Hair Products, Chick Filet, Delta, CARE, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.
S.R.’s dream is to publish children’s books and magically imprint the imaginations of kids. In addition to juggling nap schedules while attending client meetings, Shelli focuses on her writing. She is a frequent marketing speaker at SCBWI conferences across the U.S and runs a popular marketing blog, Market My Words ( where she provides marketing advice for authors in the hopes of helping them better market their words.
In her spare time (yeah right!) and if the kids allow (yeah right!), Shelli obsesses over movies, reads children’s books (over and over), wishes she could squeeze in Bikram Yoga sessions, and dreams of sleeping in on the weekends.
She currently lives in Atlanta with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess that someday will change the world.


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