Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Playing With Fire (Hacker #1) by Sherry D. Ficklin Review

Hey Readers! Ethan here with an exciting post for you all. As many of you will have seen throughout social media today, it's release day for one of my all-time favorite authors, Sherry D. Ficklin! Today I am so excited to be taking part in the blitz for this and then on Thursday I'll be sharing my stop on the blog tour. Who's excited!? I know I am. I am even more excited to share my review of this awesome novel with you all today. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:

One brilliant young hacker.
One experimental government aircraft.
One chance to keep it all from going up in flames.

Still recovering from her troubled past, Farris is no stranger to change. But when the military transfers her father across the country to an experimental aircraft squadron, settling in to a new life is the least of her problems. As a series of apparent computer glitches threaten the security of the fleet and the blame falls on her father, she decides to put her computer skills to use digging up the truth. Soon she’s drawn into the perilous world of a hacker who is determined to ground the fleet—at any cost.

When all signs lead to someone close to her as the mastermind, Farris will have to burn more than bridges to get to the truth. She will have to risk her fragile new life to uncover the identity of the cyber criminal before they can escalate from harmless tampering… to all out murder.


Sherry D. Ficklin
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

Find Sherry F. Ficklin

My Thoughts:

Sherry Ficklin. Oh my dear Queen of Literary Greatness. You’ve graced us with nearly every genre imaginable and crafted each passing tale to near perfection. With so many absolutely incredible stories under her belt, I found myself so excited to see what she could craft next. Coming off of the massively successful award-winning and best-selling Stolen Empire series, I was worried that her next work may not quite hit the bar. When I was first told the latest release would be a YA Science Fiction/Mystery novel, I won’t even lie and say I wasn’t a bit hesitant, but with Ficklin at the helm, I had no doubt it’d find a fan in me.

So how did it hold up?

I’ll go ahead and admit outright that this wasn’t my favorite Ficklin story to-date and it took me much longer to dive into Farris’ world than I would have liked. This story is a bit different than anything we’ve seen from Ficklin previously, but I promise if you stick with it, you definitely won’t regret it. The first novel in a series is always a rough one, creating the world, introducing the characters; it takes time. With the world laid out and the characters in play, once Ficklin was finally able to lay out the details and get the plot rolling, I couldn’t set this one down!

When Farris and her military father are transplanted to a new base on the east coast, Farris is anything but thrilled about the idea. As a high schooler, Farris only wants stability after hitting an extremely rough patch in her life. Struggling with the loss of her mother, Farris and her father settle into their new lives as a two-person family. Alone in a new place with nobody to turn to, Farris opens herself up for the first time since her mother’s passing and allows herself to be a teenager again. That in itself is an extremely emotional side of the story that Ficklin wrote beautifully. Putting these feels aside, we learn that Farris is about as nerdy as it comes and an absolute computer whiz to boot. A skilled Hacker, Farris is so much more than your average teenager girl. Full of brains, snark, and enough street smarts to be dangerous, Farris can be added to the list of amazing female characters crafted by Ficklin.

When strange happening begin around the base, it’s up to Farris and her new group of friends to crack the case before their world falls apart. In an environment when you never know what will happen tomorrow, Farris knows full well the weight of the task at hand. Her tech-savvy knowledge and crime-busting skills come in handy when she finds herself in the center ring of happening. Can she find her way out of trouble and find the culprit threatening their way of life in time?

With an incredible cast of characters, Ficklin really does an incredible job of capturing the contemporary present-day daily life of a teenager. Farris and her friends are written to near perfection and I found myself relating to them in so many ways (even if I’m no longer a teenager myself). I am really excited to see what Ficklin is able to accomplish with the next installment of this series.

I won’t ruin the plot for anyone, but I will say that this one kept me guessing from the very first page. Every time I thought I had the culprit figured out, Ficklin threw another wrench in my plan. It isn’t often that I find myself surprised by a plot twist in a novel, but Ficklin certainly got me with this one. It was one of those finales where I had to go back in the book and re-read certain passages to see how I missed it. The shock factor and action-packed finale is enough to satisfy any reader!

Action-packed and full of suspense and thrills, Ficklin has crafted a truly original work of young adult greatness. Playing with Fire is a much needed breath of fresh air to the genre. 

With all of this being said, I am so excited to be granting Playing With Fire a well-deserved 4-star review. While it may not be my favorite Ficklin story to-date, I still was extremely impressed with the finished product and it left me begging for more! I highly recommend this novel to readers of science fiction, mystery, and young adult novels. Add this series to your TBR today, you will not be disappointed!


Alright readers, that's all I have for you today on the topic of Playing With Fire by the incredible Sherry D. Ficklin. I have no doubt that this series is going to be one to watch. Don't miss your chance to pick up your copy today. Don't forget to come back on Thursday where Sherry will be spilling her dream cast for this series in an exclusive blog tour post! Special thanks to the author and Clean Teen Publishing for providing me with an early ARC of this novel. Until next time, Happy Reading!


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