When by Victoria Laurie

January 13th, 2015 Kimberly Review 71 Comments

13th Jan
When by Victoria Laurie
by Victoria Laurie
Genres: Paranormal
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one. Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not thehow, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie. Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?

When by Victoria Lane was an engaging paranormal with a neat concept. The protagonist has the ability to see everyone’s death dates. They hover around folks foreheads and even appear in photographs. The story shares what happens when a death she predicted ends up having her accused of foul play.

Caffeinated Aspects:

  • The premise for When is interesting and a little creepy. Imagine knowing the date everyone will die. How Maddie came to do readings was believable and immediately allowed the reader to connect. It makes you ponder the questions, “Would you want to know your end date?”
  • It is a standalone! In a sea of trilogies, series and serials it was fantastic to slip into a world and get a complete story.
  • Maddie Fynn is an interesting character who struggles with her gift and dealing with her broken home life. Despite that, she is a good kid and tries to deal with her lot in life. She longs to be wrong, which is understandable. I immediately felt a connection to Maddie, and appreciated how realistic she was portrayed.
  • Secondary characters are strong and added to the story. Stubby her best friend is both supportive and the catalyst that complicates things. The portrayal of Maddie’s mom and her disease was well done. I appreciate the way the author addressed it. From FBI agents, to the next-door neighbor Laurie gave them all unique voices and depth.
  • The pacing of the tale keeps the reader engaged as Maddie struggles to clear names and keep her home life from falling completely apart.
  • The author slowly increased the tension, with twists and turns. How people reacted as the case unfolded was realistic and a painful reminder of guilty to proven innocent. The final chapters will have the reader unable to set the book down. The conclusion was strong and left the reader satisfied.

Decaffeinated Aspects:

  • Police and FBI procedures are not exactly by the book here and while I suppose arguments could be made; I just rolled with it as the story was engaging.
  • There is a love interest, and while it displays Maddie as young, and normal it did little for the storyline. It was just sprinkled in here or there. Romance is not a necessary ingredient for me, but the hint of one and minimal page time may disappoint some. Go into the story thinking no romance and all will be fine. While it served to lighten the intensity, it could have been cut during editing.

When was a fantastic paranormal young adult standalone and not to be missed.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

71 Responses to “When by Victoria Laurie”

  1. Nicole

    I really loved this one too. Your comment about the police procedures not being up to snuff made me laugh – you’re totally right about that!

  2. Trish

    I loved the fact that it was (more or less) romance free. That makes a refreshing change and I really enjoyed the family/friendship dynamics.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I did too, but also thought the romance thread should have been ditched.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It would be so creepy. Just imagine being in line at the food store and seeing that the cashier will check out sometime today..gads

  3. Tyler H Jolley

    It’s funny you mention that the police/fbi procedures were not accurate. A writing conference I’m going to this spring has a class taught by a police officer to talk about policies/producers so we, as writers, can get them right. Next year we are having an MD teach the same class.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Nice..those little details matter and most seasoned readers of the genres notice.

  4. Angie F.

    I loooved this one, so I’m glad you enjoyed it! I actually think the lack of romance until the very end worked really well. I thought the ending was super cute and it made me cry!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I didn’t mind but thought we didn’t need the romance either

  5. Katherine

    I’ve read 2 other series by Laurie that are more in the paranormal cozy genre and always enjoy them despite their flaws. This looks like an interesting read despite the unnecessary romance. Thanks for sharing!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Glad to hear that, and yes it wasn’t perfect but as you said I enjoyed myself

  6. Candace

    I’ve seen good and bad reviews for this but I love Victoria Laurie so I’ll definitely read it! I’m so glad you enjoyed!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hope you give it a go, would love to hear your thoughts on it

  7. Ramona

    Hmm… I like a standalone, but no romance? Not sure… Though I did hear good things about this, and you seem to have enjoyed it. I guess it’s a “maybe” for now, thank you for posting 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Not every story needs a romance, and I think it could have been left out

  8. Lark

    I really like Victoria Laurie’s Psychic Eye mysteries, so I’ve been eager to read this. So glad it doesn’t disappoint! Thought I’m a little surprised that the FBI/police aspects aren’t quite right, because she’s been writing a murder mystery series for a while now. Still, I am looking forward to reading it – and thanks for reminding me to put it on hold at the library.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      From what are hear those aren’t overly technical with procedure either.

  9. Rashika

    It’s sad that there wasn’t as much research into the Police and the FBI procedures but at the same time, it’s nice to hear that this one was a standalone. I am starting (*cough* *cough*) to get worn out by all the series out there. Even in the contemporary genre, there are so many series and it makes me so happy to come across a book that is meant to be a Stand-alone.

    Lovely review, Kimba!! 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh I agree it seems I stumble upon books I want to read but find I am three books behind on the series and trying to keep up with them all

  10. Stormi

    I wish I would have picked this one up when it was offered for review..it’s going on my must grab list. 🙂

  11. aurian

    Great review Kimberly, I have read some paranormal mysteries from Victoria before, and this one sure sounds good.

  12. DannyBookworm

    Well, I was not sure I would enjoy this book but it does sound great. I am just a little concered about the romance part which you seemed not so love so much. I’m also always a sucker for a good romance so I might even have a bigger problem with it!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      There isn’t even enough of a romance to get connected..it was just this curious little tid-bit that popped up once or twice. It didn’t make me mad..but I questioned its validity.

  13. Heidi

    I know Nick didn’t like this one because of the unrealistic FBI/ law enforcement stuff. I have read several YA books like that, and though it niggles, I can overlook it. This one sounds interesting.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Same here Heidi, now if it was an adult book I would scoff..but I think some of it is just watered down.

  14. Adriana

    This is just like Death Note. That’s all I could think of while reading your review. It’s a manga and it would be interesting to see something like it in novel form. I feel like I already know whose been killing everyone though.
    I’ll have to set myself up to thinking no romance like you said because I always get excited by them. I don’t want to be too hyped up to be let down.

  15. kindlemom1

    So many people are reading and loving this, looks like I am going to need to pick it up! Can’t believe I missed out on the ARC. Darn it!

  16. Debbie Haupt

    Oh wow Kim, I would definitely be in the NO column for wanting to know. But what a great storyline and your review rocks. I can’t imagine being any age and having to deal with that kind of foreboding knowledge but wow she’s so young.

  17. Liz

    OMG, this sounds pretty interesting! But I would *hate* to have that ability. I swear, I would become a shut in for sure.

  18. Ro

    This is not a book I would have picked up on my own, yet your review makes it one I’d like to read in the future. The plot is a good one, making us all wonder…what if? Thanks for sharing. Hugs…

  19. Stacy (StacyHgg)

    What an interesting premise!!! I haven’t seen this one reviewed before so I wasn’t too sure what it was about. I think what you said at the end of your review about the Romance is important, because I – like you – don’t have to have it to enjoy a book, but I would like to know ahead of time and not be teased with it while reading.
    As for the question on the cover
    Would I want to know? Heck NO!!! LOL

    • kimbacaffeinate

      the romance was dumb, and I agree I would never want that ability.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have never read her books didn’t know she had Cozy mysteries..hmm I would think that her police procedures would have been more realistic.

      • Felicia the Geeky Blogger

        Her cozy is a P.I. Psychic so the procedure is not very solid there because she circumvents it with talking to spirits. So I am not surprised that is where she wasn’t great here.

  20. Nick

    I’m happy that you enjoyed this more than I did, Kim. I wish I was not as bothered by the FBI proceedings, but it got on my nerves. I watch too many shows and read too many books to be able to just ignore that. And yes, the love interest was useless!
    Great review! 🙂

  21. Christy

    I’m glad to see that you enjoyed this one! It sounds like a really interesting story and I’m excited to read it 🙂

    Great review!

  22. Meg

    Oh wow, this sounds like a really good book! I’m a little freaked out by the premise of being able to know when everybody is going to die though… eek!

  23. Lexxie

    Great review, Kim! I’m glad you enjoyed When so much. I thought it was OK, but it really reminded me of another story where the MC could see when people would die, so the premise wasn’t new to me.
    I hope you’re feeling better this week! Happy reading.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ah, this was a new premise for me. Sorry it was just ok..I have had that happen.

  24. Red Iza

    Knowing the dates of death is a familiar detail to me, but I can’t pinpoint exactly where I read it, Christopher Moore perhaps ? It looks like a great read and yay, finally, a standalone ! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  25. Cynthia

    I am so glad you liked this one! I preordered it from Amazon so it was delivered to my Kindle today. I have already started it and I am hooked. 🙂

  26. Christy

    1. I’d totally want to ability
    2. Yay for a standalone
    3. Yeah, the law enforcement procedures in these types of books tend to make me roll my eyes, but I try to go with it too.

    Sounds interesting!

  27. Melliane

    I liked this one. It made me think if another book I tried but it was better done. The investigation was really interesting as well. Great review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Glad you enjoyed it too, I haven’t read any that were similar

  28. Alreem

    YAY happy to hear you liked it, I have per order this last month, happy to know my money didn’t go to waste 🙂 great review