Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway: MINDER by Kate Kaynak. One Winner, Three Prizes!

I met Kate Kaynak, author of Minder at a writer's conference last year. At that time, we were both writers trying to hone their craft and working our way toward publication. Kate has beaten me to the finish line and the first of her Ganzfield Series, Minder became available in June. Let's go to the blurb on the book:

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn needs to learn how to use her special abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place.  Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey, especially once she meets the man of her dreams...

Minder is a YA paranormal that takes on a different element: that of teens that possess extrasensory abilities. As a fellow writer and one that is moving along the same professional trajectory as the author, I read this book and reviewed it with a more critical eye than I normally would. I previously read some of Kate's first pages when the story was still in its manuscript form and so, was very interested in the final product.

I really like the premise of teens with special  extrasensory powers. This is an element that hasn't been worked to death in the YA genre and has fresh appeal and is wide open with potential. Now let's talk about the execution of that potential.

The first chapter opened with a very dramatic scene. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I won't tell you what it is, but that scene was ripe with possibilities that left me with questions about the characters that were involved. I would have been interested in knowing more about this group and the extent of their exploits. It was like a very juicy orange that was squeezed, but there was certainly more juice that could have been extracted. Shortly thereafter, Maddie leaves home to enter Ganzfield. Initially, I questioned the credibility of her making such a sudden and dramatic move with the full approval of her mother, but as the powers in question were explored in the story, my skepticism was addressed and I was able to understand how this would be so.

Based on the above issues in the first and second chapters which are quite short (which is okay btw!), I questioned if the story was one in which I could really sink my teeth into. I'm pleased to say, my concerns were unfounded! As the story continued, I got pulled into it and what initially seemed to stretch credibility, made a lot more sense as the powers of the protagonist Maddie, as well as her peers were explored. There are groups of kids who have formed cliques of sorts based on their abilities and they often don't see eye to eye.  This is not just an issue of personality, but powers and how they mesh or don't--with those around them.

I love a romance, and it figured prominently in the story. This certainly piqued my interest...especially when Maddie and her love interest were forced to spend their nights together in an abandoned church--wanted to know how that was going to play out!

The author mentioned an "off-screen" character early on. When I discovered what became of the person, I recall my mouth literally falling wasn't expecting that! Minder is a page turner  and I see a lot of potential for the series. I look forward to Kate only getting better and stronger as a writer as the series continues.  Now for the best part--who's going to get a chance to check it out for themselves?

The author, Kate Kayak will graciously supply a signed copy of Minder, a tee shirt (worth $17.99) with the super cover art and a poster, depicting the same. For your chance to win, become a follower if you're not already. Please leave a comment telling me what kind of topics, creatures or powers you'd like to read about in a new paranormal book. Remember to answer the question for a chance to be the winner. Also, leave your email in the comment so you can be contacted if you win. That is all.

You can learn more about the author and the series by going here.

Giveaway ends Thursday, August 5th and is open to residents of the US only.



  1. I'd like to read more about Pixies and Faeries.

    twilightforever.edward at gmail dot com

  2. I don't really care about creatures, but I totally love the idea of teens having super powers (or something like that...). Anyway, in a new paranormal book, I'd to read about a character who has the ability to stop time. That'd be awesome.

    Sophia Lee

  3. Awesome giveaway! Thanks so much, I've heard great things about Minder and I really want to read it. I just really love paranormal, any type of paranormal is good to me.. I just love it!!! Supernatural powers are always fun, shapeshifting too!!!

  4. Already publicly following Writing is a Blessing with Google Friend Connect [Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug}] -- I always enjoy reading books with vampires and werewolves :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  5. I love supernatural creatures! I always enjoy reading about them.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    swordsforfighting at yahoo dot com

  6. Hi June!

    Thanks for reviewing and for hosting the giveaway! I can't win the giveaway, :)
    but I'd like to read something with a vampire in love with a teenager. And maybe, instead of bursting into flames in sunlight, the vampires could sparkle. Yeah, I think that idea's got potential. :P

    - Kate

  7. Thanks for the contest, I hadn't heard of this book before reading your review but it sounds great. As far as what I'd like to see in the paranormal world at the moment I'm kinda leaning towards the fey, always interesting to read about.
    Email address:

  8. Amazing giveaway. I think i'd like to read books where fairies and werewolves interact. I really can't think of any book where they do. Just no sparkling controlling vampires or pedo wolves.

    i am a follower

  9. Wow! I've heard murmurs of this book through blogs and I'm very intrigued! : ) I'd love to read a book with non-Western mythology/fairy tales involved. Don't get me wrong, I love our fairies & werewolves & vamps, but there's so many other options! : )

    Thanks for the giveaway.
    ambience.of.rain {at}

  10. A new to me author! I love finding them, and the books looks awesome. I really like all kinds of things in paranormals, but one of my favorites is dragons. I also like to read about witches.

    I am an old follower.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  11. Thanks for hosting! I would love to win! I love shifters and vampires, would love to see more fey and for certain more dragons. I love Irene Radford's books and would love to see someone write something like those.
    I am an old GFC follower.

  12. I'm not into 'creatures' but I think having characters with super powers and learning to develop them would be cool. I would like to see a series develop where the main characters are time travelers. Just a thought.

    Cindy W.


  13. I think I would like to read more about Pixies, genies and mindreading.

    I am a follower.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  14. Great review! Minder is such a compelling, gripping book- and great giveaways as well! :)

  15. Sounds like an interesting book, and thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

    I'm already a follower.

    I'd like to read about banshees.



I enjoy reading what you have to say. Seriously!