Friday, July 6, 2012

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf Scavenger Hunt, Review & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the One Breath Away Scavenger Hunt.  Check out my excerpt, then you can visit this link to see other  tour stops and keep up with the excerpts.
“He has a gun. He has P.J. and he has a gun.”
“Who has P.J.?” Terror clutches at my chest. “Tell me, Augie, where are you? Who has a gun?”
“I’m in a closet. He put me in a closet.”
My mind is spinning. Who could be doing this?
If that has you intrigued then let me tell you, you need to get this book.  I have loved Heather's first two books and from the start One Breath Away is no different.  Scroll down more to find my review.  But first check out the Live Chat coming up later in the month at


By Heather Gudenkauf

MIRA; July 2012
384 pages; $15.95 U.S./$18.95 CAN.
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-1365-6

My Review:
Heather Gudenkauf has now hit three out-of-the-park home runs for me with her books.  After the first two and how blown away by them I was I was almost afraid to open and read One Breath Away.  I mean can she really do it three times in a row, and using a gunman in a school too?  Well let me tell you, if you have any doubts, put them away because Ms. Gudenkauf has managed to do it again.  She manages to take this story and turn it into something completely fresh and unexpected.  So much tension, so many interesting storylines and how they intersect is  just amazing.  She managed to completely take my breath away with this book in a great way.

Ms. Gudenkauf returns to the varying points of view again in One Breath Away and I love that. It's especially important in this book since there is the parent in Arizona, the grandfather whose two grandchildren are trapped in the school in Iowa, the police officer on the outside, and the teacher who is right there in the middle of things.  All the characters are different and Ms. Gudenkauf crafts them to be so real. The struggles of single parenting.  The struggles of teaching and growing older.  Just everyday struggles.  They are all there and add such dimension to each character.  I felt like I got to know each one of them and could really hear their voices in my head.

The plot will just blow you away.  The gunman is not brutal, doesn't go in guns shooting and blazing, but he doesn't have to. That is really not the focus.   I won't giveaway too much. The suspense in this book is tyring to figure out who the gunman is and why he is doing this.  In the beginning Ms. Gudenkauf keeps adding to the list of suspects, but then as the book wears on the suspect list starts to wittle down.  Story lines intersect, things get intense and One Breath Away becomes very difficult to put down.  I think Ms. Gudenkauf will leave you guessing right up until she gives it away, I know I was and I kept trying to figure it out.  I loved it though, the guessing and the story were intense and while there is some violence it was nice to have an intense story without too much violence.  

Extremely well crafted with characters that I cared about as I got to know them through the book, One Breath Away will leave you breathless up until the end.  Ms. Gudenkauf knows how to create suspense and characters that involve you in the book.  She's been on my to-buy list since The Weight of Silence and I believe One Breath Away has moved her to one of my top authors.  Heather Gudenkauf has a gift and I am glad she is sharing it with the world.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About One Breath Away
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf follows the phenomenal success of her first two books with her most emotionally charged novel yet. ONE BREATH AWAY (Harlequin MIRA; July 2012; $15.95 U.S./$18.95 CAN.) is a gripping story of a small town caught in the midst of a deadly crisis, as experienced from the points of view of five different people.

On a bitter March day, as a sudden snowstorm envelops the small town of Broken Branch, Iowa, an unknown man with a gun enters the town’s only school and takes a classroom of children hostage. As awareness of the situation spreads, the panicked community is ready to do anything to protect their children, but can only watch and wait.

As a teacher with a long career behind her, Evelyn Oliver is ready to enjoy retirement with her loving husband. But now, faced with a crazy man armed with a gun, terrorizing her classroom, she’d rather die than fail to protect any of her students. But why is he doing this? Evelyn’s been scouring her mind but doesn’t recognize the intruder. Maybe one of the students is the key?

Holly Thwaite left Broken Branch and her family behind without a word eighteen years ago, vowing never to return. But after a debilitating accident leaves her recovering in a hospital in Arizona, she’s forced to send her children to her hometown to be looked after by their grandfather, the man she never wanted them to meet. Will Thwaite never understood why his estranged daughter, Holly, ran away all those years ago. But now that her children are in his care, he refuses to fail his daughter again. One way or another, Will is going to get his grandkids, P.J. and Augie, out of that school safely even if he has to go in and get them himself.  What Will doesn’t know is that thirteen-year-old Augie is just as determined to rescue her little brother from the killer and help her classmates, even if it means putting herself in the crosshairs of the gunman.

Police officer Meg Barrett wants to know who the intruder is and why he’s doing this. Whoever it is, there’s no excuse for this. Meg should know. She’s had plenty of hardships herself. But with innocent lives at stake, Meg is prepared to risk her own life to save these hostages, although it means disobeying orders and taking on the gunman face-to-face.

As the standoff progresses and the snowstorm rages outside, anxiety and frustration start to build to dangerous levels. But everyone knows how precarious the situation is. One wrong move, even a breath, could have the most devastating of consequences. 

Heather Gudenkauf is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden.  She lives in Iowa with her family.  Visit her website,

Thanks to Kate at BookTrib, I have one paperback copy of One Breath Away for giveaway in the US/Canada.  This will be mailed by the publicist.  Ends 7/13.  Fill out the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***I received this book from the publicist (BookTrib) for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***