Even in a world of freaks, being a Firestarter is considered a dangerous GiftLucy was born with the ability to create and control fire She longs to leave the human world for one filled with Earthshakers, Transporters, and Chameleons, to name a few When she rejoins the circus, it’s everything she hoped it could benew friends, a potential love interest or two, and a place where she can be herselfWhen troupe members begin turning up dead, however, Lucy is suspected of foul play She must not only prove her innocence but also realize the full extent of her power To find the real murderer, she must uncover the truth behind her father’s fiery legacy while figuring out whom to trust within her new circle Little does she know the history of the Donovan Circus and its enemies might actually destroy the entire gifted world


10 thoughts on “Gifted, A Donovan Circus Novel

  1. Dianne Dianne says:

    So, the truth behind circus performers is finally revealed and Liz Long has done an amazing job bringing this high tension, YA fantasy to life! GIFTED is filled with fabulous characters, a little young romance, danger, and a deadly mystery to unravel.

    Lucy thought it would be like going home, to somewhere she would belong, be accepted and not have to hide her gift after tragedy struck and she was a teen alone in the world. The biggest problem seems to be her talent, she is a Firestarter and feared by many of the gifted, something she is determined to change. Meeting other Firestarters helps, and soon she learns she is the most powerful of all, thanks to her late father’s same gift and guidance. Just when she makes headway, the unthinkable happens and once again people look to her as the villain. How can Lucy prove her innocence, find the killer and gain a place to fully belong?

    Someone is taking the gifted for their own purposes, and the entire gifted community is in danger. What Lucy uncovers is far more than who the real villain is. She learns the dark secrets of the Donovan Circus, as well as who her father really was. Along the way just to muddle her mind a little more, she finds possible romance with two young men, but can they be trusted? Looks like only Lucy can save the day, but what about her heart?

    Fun, frantic and refreshing, non-stop fantasy that feels real from start to finish! Liz Long had me breezing through each page, oblivious to the world around me! Could I second guess the events that were to play out? Not all of them and that is because her writing is at once engaging and completely entertaining.

    Next time you go to a circus, I guarantee you will be wondering about those amazing entertainers and if they are hiding a paranormal secret!

    Series: Donovan Circus - Book 1
    Publisher: Liz Long (January 18, 2014)
    Publication Date: January 18, 2014
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Print Length: 289 pages
    Available from: Amazon Barnes & Noble
    For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com


  2. Runningrabbit Runningrabbit says:

    This was pretty good, not quite my thing and I won't go on to the next book. Nonetheless, a well written novel.


  3. Becca Becca says:

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG READ THIS READ THIS RIGHT NOW! DOOOO IT! IF YOU AREN'T READING THIS BOOK YOU ARE MISSING OUT! .... so now that i had ...wait no i got a little more in me.. REEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD IIIIIIITTTTTTTT! okay so now that i am done gushing and having my little freak out on how awesome this book was i will tell you alllll the many many many many many many many many many many reasons why it was so AWESOME!

    Okay so first and for most the plot! oh how i loved the plot! I am pretty hard to trick, and i don't mean that as to boast myself or anything but a lot times i am like psst i got this too easy, and i know a lot of readers out there can say the same thing, well maybe you would catch somethings that i didnt but man oh man did Liz Long trick me and do i love her for it? Why yes, yes i do! Okay so aside from the fact that this book will keep you guessing its more than just a murder mystery with gifted people that are in a circus and really if that isn't enough to get you interested then i don't know what will....well i do and i will tell you why! It is easy to fall into the same mundane... well not really mundane but similar plot when dealing with gifted indivdiuals, like x-men, push (the movie), etc, etc. but this book breaks apart and oh man it was goooooood! I loved, absolutely loved the circus thing, and this is a series... i think and HOPE WITH ALL MY HEART but it seems that way to me, and i think this was a perfect beginning! It walked you through this new world and explains while keeping you entertained. In the summary there isn't much noted about the romance of the book and if you are like me and a bit of a sucker for all types of romance, even if there just a little it makes a little more spicy and an interesting read...well when i get to the characters i will tell you a bit more about the romance but there is some! So YAY! for those hopeless romantics like me and those who are like ewwww romance! which i don't know anyone particular like that its not overwhelming that it becomes all that the book is about. So best of both worlds!

    So moving on to the characters...

    Our lead lady Lucy: She has lost both her parents and wants to return the only family she has left, which is her gifted family from the circus. Lucy is an interesting and sort of off-beat heroine that honestly kept me guessing. Sometimes i was expecting her to be this not helpless but sort of helpless heroine but man did she prove me wrong. One can be sort of shy and still be a total badass. And she is the BEST KIND OF BADASS! What do i mean by that you ask? Well she is logical, she thinks things through and tries to see all possible views but when it comes down to it sometimes her choices go a little more to the heart...i guess that is one thing i wish i could have had a little more of which was heart but i think that we will crack her throughout the series and she will become super emotional and i will love it. I am not saying she is like a robot because she isn't she is caring, loyal, a smartass which i love! She really can handle her own, and she is modest too which is another thing that i totally love about her. A lot of times it seems to be if you get a badass heroine she is always full of herself, and isn't afraid to be like fuck yeah, but its nice to have a heroine that is more human. I mean we all have insecurities, i know i do, and i pretty sure you do to even if you don't want to admit it, and you know what so does Lucy which makes me love her as a character. Its because she can be logical, she can be a badass but still have heart and still be modest and like a normal person....is so easy to connect to.

    Gabriel: One of our main men...he is...well he is...hmm...an asshole? so therefore by default for some horribly odd reason i love him? i don't know why i always fall for the asshole in books but i do. He is annoying, and full of himself, he is just UGH! and he pushes the mystery thing hard at first which is frustrating which all these things make me love him more and more. Even better yet you can see even though he is a loner he starts to open up around Lucy and i don't want to reveal to much about anything, but honestly she helps him grow as a character and i was finding myself as much as i wanted to keep him at arm's length because of a different character i will get to in a moment. Anyways he was a well rounded character and just full of surprises this one.

    Keegan: our other main man he is also a firestarter like Lucy. He is sweet and adorable. He really is a caring guy that is a little on the shy side which is nice to see from a male main character because you don't get a whole lot of those... or maybe its just the books i read which is probably the case...i don't know...anyways...moving on. He i don't think is as well developed as Gabe but honestly he had his only personality so i am not upset by it at all, and like i said first in a series so we have time.

    Side characters and there were a lot: We have: Delia (new best friend and roommate - Runner), Bianca and Brooklyn (a couple), Nickolas (another firestarter), Fin, Sheffield (bossman), and there were a few others that you don't really need to worry about, but these cats were the most used and i really liked that they had there own personalities and features, though the couple Bianca and Brooklyn they were different i got a little confused sometimes on who was who just i think it was the B names....when couples have the same first letter names it always just messes with me... anyways i they were a good support and they are loyal. I really think that they add more to the story verses taking away from it, or anything like that.

    So the ending which i know everyone wants to know is it a cliffhanger? NOPE. Thank you Liz Long for that but curse you for making me want the second one right now!!! seriously i wants it! now! please? ahhh welll anyways... its super good to the point that i want the next one!

    Okay so my last piece of advice: SERIOUSLY GO BUY THIS BOOK AND READ IT, READ IT READ IT READ IT READ IT READ IT READ IT READ IT READ IT READ IT.... OKAY thats alll....well not quite....


    Hi there! i am that super annoying person that is going to push there blog at you! hey now! calm down at least i am doing it at the end of my review... so if you enjoyed my so very interesting review on this AMAZING book! you can check out other books that i loved, liked, hated... and loved to hate... here's the link...i hope you enjoy! http://theviolethourbookreviews.wordp...

    Soo....go read the damn book already!


  4. Mandy (I Read Indie) Anderson Mandy (I Read Indie) Anderson says:

    Lucy has now lost both her mother and her father so she is running away to the circus. The Donovan Circus is full of Gifted people and Lucy feels that may be the only place she will truly belong. With the gift of being a Firestarter, it may be a little harder fitting in, especially being a female Firestarter, which is rare. Returning to the circus life is anything but easy though. She must earn the trust of the other members and work her way up. Thankfully she is not the only new person starting. Gabriel is the new guy, but he isn’t keen on sharing his life’s history or his Gift. In fact he is kind of a jackass.


    Not long after arriving there is a murder within the troupe. Of course suspicion is zeroed in on Lucy due to her talent and the lack of trust others have in her. Now Lucy has to do all that she can to clear her name and find the killer. Why is the killer setting her up? And could it really be one of the circus’ own doing the killing? Gabriel and Lucy will work together to end the mystery and find out who is behind the murders.


    I loved the whole idea of the circus being run by a bunch of Gifted people. People with talents such as starting fire out of thin air and becoming engulfed in it. Talents that may include being able to transport from one area to another. Even a talent of being unbreakable. How cool is that? Haven't you always wondered how that Magician could make his assistant disappear and reappear somewhere else? Well Liz gives us a totally different take on circus life and the people who run the show.


    Gifted had me intrigued from the beginning and I found it hard putting it down. Finding time to read while tile work is being done in the house? That is not so easy. So I didn’t get to invest the amount of time I wanted to while reading it. But it was still so good and very entertaining. The mystery had me guessing the entire time; who was the killer? Was it someone I already encountered in the book? *Cue music* Dun Dun Dunnnnn!


    I enjoyed all the characters…especially Delia. I could just picture her talking and trying to get all her American words right with a hint of her Greek accent. I did find there were quite a few characters to keep up with though. And that became a little confusing at times trying to sort them all out. Now let’s talk about Gabriel and Keegan. Hello cuties! I despised Gabriel and had my heart set on Keegan. But after some time, I gradually began leaning more towards Gabriel.


    Liz did not only a fabulous job writing a story that keeps you on your toes…but with some great characters added in…she has herself one heck of a read! Love a suspenseful, mysterious read? Gifted is just the book for you.


  5. Courtney Cole Courtney Cole says:

    I love (LOVE) finding awesome new authors and Liz Long is certainly one to watch.

    Gifted is Liz Long's debut novel and I have to say, what a promising debut!! Gifted is well thought out, has likeable characters (I love Lucy), (<-- No, I am not plugging the old sitcom right there, although I do love 'I love Lucy' too) and the pacing is great.

    At the very beginning, I was afraid that it was going to turn into a slow book, which I personally don't like. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the pacing picked up and turned into a suspenseful, action-packed book.

    Seriously- Lucy can create fire with her hands. There's going to be action. And what a delightful setting-- I mean, what book wouldn't be interesting when it is set in a circus!!

    A previous reviewer said that Gifted is like the X-Men meets the circus- and I find that I have to agree. It has that fun, rowdy feel of the circus combined with the awesome superpowers of the X-Men. Plus some romance thrown into the mix. It's just an all-around great book. My advice is to try it-- you'll be happy you did. I, for one, will be watching for Ms. Long's next book.


  6. Sandra Sandra says:

    I was immediately engaged as we are introduced to the circus and the world of the gifted through Lucy. Unfortunately this introduction phase went on a little too long and my interested flagged a little but don't despair. Things picked up soon as Lucy and her new friends go for a night on the town and from then on the story and action flowed nicely. Lucy is likable. The stupid love triangle less so. It is not a real love triangle because you have nice guy fire starter Keegan whom Lucy has a couple of interactions with and share a kiss and one make-out session and then there is brooding loner with a 'mysterious'gift Gabriel. Lucy spends most of the rest of the book interacting with Gabriel, sharing confidences with Gabriel and investigating a crime with him. I wonder who she will end up with??? Duh! And I would be less bothered by that if I actually liked Gabriel but I don't given (view spoiler)[ he told her he wanted a relationship and when she wanted some time to think it over - and she only took 1 night before going to tell him she wanted to give them a chance - immediately slept with someone else, and he was their to spy on Lucy for her protection and lied to her (view spoiler)[ I will read the next one because I like Lucy and the story was good but I am think the romance aspect will bug me too much to go much past the next book. (hide spoiler)]


  7. Lauren Lauren says:

    What it's about:

    Gifted is the story of Lucy Sullivan, a young woman grieving the semi-recent loss of both her parents. The book opens as she contacts Sheffield Donovan, owner and Ringmaster of the Donovan Circus, to ask if she can join up. Lucy was raised in the circus until her parents left to have a normal life. Now that her parents are gone, Lucy is anxious to re-enter a world where she can feel comfortable, accepted, and understood. She's never felt truly at home in the world outside the circus, and knows that Donovan Circus is where she truly belongs.

    You see, Donovan Circus isn't your everyday circus. Because most of the performers in the Donovan Circus are Gifted. They have special powers that set them apart from the outside world. And Lucy is no exception. She is a Firestarter.

    Lucy is quickly embraced by the young performers in the circus, a group that includes other Firestarters, a Telepath, a Runner, a Shape-Shifter, a Transporter, and more. She also quickly finds herself a (mostly) unwilling participant in a love triangle, which she does her best to ignore as she works on honing her abilities and developing her power.

    But her new life with the circus is threatened when someone starts attacking and killing the Gifted. And she's the prime suspect.

    My Thoughts

    After reading the synopsis of Gifted, I thought to myself, okay, so it's Water for Elephants meets X-Men. And Gifted absolutely bears some similarities to both of those, as well as some other gems of pop culture. An orphan joins up with the circus. Everyone has superpowers. There's a wise Professor X-ish mentor-type (sans wheelchair and bald head, and plus handlebar mustache). There's an evil supervillain that's kind of a cross between Magneto and Peter Petrelli, if Peter Petrelli was evil. And of course Lucy's Firestarter ability calls to mind (duh) Firestarter. But even though Gifted bears similarities to several other more familiar works, I still found it to be a fresh take on the more traditional comic-y superhero tales.

    Lucy was a great main character. She's strong and smart and sarcastic; all traits I like in female protagonists. She's not without her flaws. She tends to be a tad on the oblivious side (especially when it comes to men, and her own abilities). And, like most strong female protagonists, she also has a strong stubborn streak. But she kept learning and growing and struggling to understand the big picture throughout the book, and I admired that in her.

    There is a very pronounced love triangle in this book, and it's not like a lot of books where there's an obvious frontrunner for Lucy's affections. She flip-flops between them a good amount, and so did I. Truthfully, I'm still not sure whether I'm Team Gabriel or Team Keegan.

    *gag* I can't believe I just said that. Never mind. I'm not Team-anyone. I hate Teams. My point is that it's really not obvious who she should/will choose (in large part because of the previously mentioned obliviousness). Honestly, I think that's a more realistic way to portray a love triangle than a lot of books that have the poor, ignored, frustrated guy patiently waiting in the wings as the female protagonist displays zero interest in him while fawning over his rival.

    The overarching murder mystery plot was intriguing. Ms. Long drops tiny hints here and there about what's going on in the Big Picture, but mostly we discover tidbits of information right along with Lucy. I was kept guessing for a big chunk of the book, and right when I thought I had everything figured out, she threw me for a loop. It wasn't chock-full of twists and turns, but the road to the end was winding enough that it kept my full attention.

    As for the superhero action, it is abundant. There's a good amount of action sprinkled in throughout the book, and the climactic showdown is really satisfying. It's fun to watch Lucy develop her Firestarter ability, especially when all the Firestarters are training together. And since nearly every character in the book has some sort of gift, not a lot of time ever passes without something supernatural happening.

    The only real problem I had with this book was that Lucy and her friends go through some experiences that I imagine would be horribly traumatizing in real life. There's a couple instances of sexual assault, brutal beatings, and several of the characters are forced to kill. And yet, none of them seem all that bothered by what they've gone through, or what they've had to do. Even if the person that died is unequivocally a Bad Guy, I'd think taking a life would still take a heavy toll on a previously innocent circus performer.

    Now, I'm not sure the book would have been that much fun to read if the characters were constantly in mental anguish after having attacked or having been attacked. But I think I would have appreciated if there was at least a bit more of a psychological price to pay for their actions and experiences.

    I do want to mention that there's a good amount of strong language in this book. If it was a movie, the MPAA would give it an R rating. I mention it because the plot and subject matter give it a YA feel (even though Lucy and her friends are all at least in their 20s), but as far as parents or teachers giving it to young readers, it has a lot more cursing than I've seen in other YA books. I understand why it's in there -- Ms. Long wanted to be true to how most adults traveling with a circus would actually talk -- but I didn't want a parent to give it to their young reader thinking, little Sally loves X-Men! (you go, little Sally), and then get mad at me because I didn't warn them about all the f-words.

    Overall, Gifted was a fun read, chock full of stuff I like (including X-Men and Star Wars references), with an exciting plot and really likable characters. I know Liz Long has some other stories for the Donovan Circus crew swimming around in her head, and I'll be anxious to read them!


  8. Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads) Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads) says:

    From http://readingandwritingurbanfantasy....

    At a Glance
    I had so much fun reading this book. It got better and better with each page. Gifted has an original concept that makes you sit up and take notice.

    The Good
    Here's the Story...
    Lucy is finally home. Going back to the circus after the death of both her parents seems like the perfect idea. It's a place where she can be herself once again. No more hiding her fiery gift. She will finally fit in among people like her, the gifted. Just as her life starts to fall into place--new friends and new love--everything falls apart. Gifted circus members start showing up dead--burnt to a crisp--and the troupe can't help but point fingers at the new firestarter, Lucy. Lucy has no choice but to find the murderer and clear her name. And in her pursuit of the culprit, she uncovers some hard truths about her family and the circus she has come to love.

    A Hidden Gem...
    I love finding gems like this book among self-published authors. Gifted had a unique premise and amazing characters. The idea of people with gifts joining the circus intrigued me. Why not use your ability out in the open when everyone will just assume it's a carnival trick. Brilliant! And the array of abilities were fascinating to discover. We meet firestarters, empaths, earthshakers, runners, shapeshifters, and the list goes on.

    I Love Lucy...
    Lucy is kind of like your average girl...who can control fire. She has spent her life holding back her emotions in fear of bursting into flame from too much anger or happiness. Even entering the circus, she holds back, never meeting her full potential. She doesn't want to hurt someone by accident. Watching her emotions start to spiral out of control was actually exciting. The men of her life constantly keep her on her toes. The bad people out to get her never leave her a moment of peace. And the secrets revealed only intensify everything she has been feeling.

    Lucy is a sweet girl with a feisty side. She is also naive and defensive, which made her a more realistic character. All she wants is a family she can be herself with, but with the murders hanging over her head, and most people blaming her, Lucy has not found the acceptance she was hoping for. But at least her close group of friends are always there for her.

    A Cute Jerk...
    Though I loved Keegan--he really is the sweetest guy ever--watching Gabriel and Lucy banter back and forth was the best part of this story. Gabriel is sexy and frustrating. He's a jerk most of the time, but the way he says things is both hilarious and cute. Lucy does a good job of sticking up for herself, but Gabriel really knows how to rattle her. I never knew what to make of Gabriel. You want to trust him but his mysterious side is just too...well, mysterious. I spent most my time wanting to punch him in the face for treating Lucy the way he did, but it gave a great dramatic/comical flare to the story.

    Friends...
    I loved the array of characters we got to meet. The upbeat best friend, the gay couple, the sweet boy Lucy should probably end up with, and the jokester who doesn't take anything seriously. I was smiling every time they showed up on scene.

    Refreshing...
    The twists and turns were well done. We are often thrown red herrings that make us think one thing but the truth is a whole lot worse...or better. Long knows how to keep a reader on her toes. Lies and deceit run heavy within the circus and you can't help but feel bad for Lucy when the world she thought she knew starts to crumble.

    The pacing was well done. I rarely felt bored. I hated putting the book down when I needed to sleep (stupid sleep, always getting in the way of my reading). The action was good, especially the parts with fire. Long gives just enough description to draw a vivid picture of each scene without overdoing it. I actually felt refreshed after reading this book.

    The Bad
    Sometimes the conversations were too long and explained too many things in one shot. They felt a bit forced and I got a little bored (this was the only time I got bored).

    The beginning was a little slow. It didn't represent how great the rest of the book was.

    Serious moments often got brushed off with humor. I love humor, even in scary/sad moments. But sometimes certain events need to retain their seriousness to make an impact or just to make it more realistic.

    The Snuggly
    There is some sexual tension, kissing, and unwanted sexual advances, but overall it's a YA-ish clean book. If it wasn't for the cursing and violence, I would have labeled Gifted YA. Also, all the characters are in their 20's, though they act pretty young.

    I enjoyed the love triangle between Lucy, Gabriel, and Keegan. Keegan is so sweet and reliable, while Gabriel is a total jackass, but in an adorable way. He has passion that Keegan lacks, but that might be a good thing, since Gabriel is also dangerous and unpredictable. I don't know how Lucy is going to choose between the two because together, they make the perfect man.

    Overall
    Though Long left the love triangle open-ended at the end (grrr, why Long, why?) I was pretty much satisfied from beginning to end. Anyone looking for something new in the fantasy/paranormal department, Gifted is the book for you. The characters were likable and the plot was interesting. A highly recommended read.

    Excerpt
    It's too bad you're so hot, I mumbled. I kept my eyes on the ground to prevent tripping up again. Or maybe it was to keep from looking in his eyes and ripping his shirt off, I couldn't be sure.

    Why is that? Drunk or not, his smug expression was easy for me to read. The smile didn't reach his eyes, but I could hear it in his pleased tone.

    Cause you're a total jackass.

    Well, I think that's a little rude.

    Doesn't make it untrue.


  9. Raquel Evans Raquel Evans says:

    I gave it a chapter, but despite being about a circus full of superpowers, I was bored. The writing was a touch on the stilted side, but not terrible— I could have put up with it if I’d cared about the story.


  10. Jo Michaels Jo Michaels says:

    I grabbed a paperback copy of Gifted on Amazon after watching copies fly off a table at a book signing conference. There was this innate need inside me to find out what secrets were hidden on the pages. Full disclosure: I'm a total geek over X-Men. Total. Geek. I used to play the video game at the arcade (Storm was my favorite character to play as), I own all the movies, and I love supernatural ability stories--I'm also a huge Heroes fan. Why did I bother telling you all that? Because if you love those kinds of things, you're going to adore this book. Now, let's move on to the review so I can regale you with all the awesome.

    From a Reader's Perspective:
    I both loved and hated the main character, Lucy. She was spunky, smart, a bit weak at first, and someone I'd love to hang out with in real life. A couple of her tendencies irritated me at the beginning of the book, but once I realized where her actions were stemming from, they were a little more acceptable. Best of all, despite her being gifted, I could identify with her on a human level. Huge points to the author for that.

    Pacing was awesome, and I was able to finish this read in two sittings. Yeah, I was left wanting more, but not because there was a cliffhanger. It all stemmed from the awesome on the pages. Totally geeked out.

    Long's descriptions are rich and vivid, but they don't go on and on about each detail. She allows you to paint the scene in your mind by giving you nuggets to build on. My favorite kind of writing is when I don't have to skip pages to avoid getting bogged down. Needless to say, world-building was amazing.

    But let's talk about the plot! Up until the villain revealed themselves, I had no clue who it was. What fun I had trying to figure it out, though.

    My favorite character was certainly Lucy, but I also loved Brooklyn (she's so passive-aggressive awesome), Delia, and Bianca. I won't ruin the awesome by sharing what they can all do, but it's super cool. Their dialogue felt so natural, too.

    Oh, and the action! Yes, there's plenty of that. You get to see all the abilities at work constantly. I loved it.

    From an Editor's Perspective:
    There were no plot holes, and the flow and pacing were amazing, but the commas were kind of everywhere they shouldn't be and not where they should. So, I'll give half a star for editing.

    Rating:
    1 Star for creating a complex main character with layers I had to peel back
    1 Star for description and world-building
    1 Star for keeping the answer to the mystery elusive
    1 Star for all the action
    .5 Star for editing
    -.5 Star for fairy-like commas that flitted hither and yon

    Overall, 4.5 out of 5 stars. Everyone who's ever read one of my reviews knows I round up, not down, so this book gets a five click. Recommended for those who love books about paranormal abilities.