Book Review

Broken Melody – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 / 5 stars)

Alana has a demon living inside her that she calls Sunshine. This is demon is dark, constantly throwing her between mania and depression, and the only way that Alana can silence Sunshine is through her addiction to toxic substances. Time is a mere figment. Her relationships are falling apart. And everything is spinning out of control.

In a harrowing, passionately written story, Nikki Haase takes us deep into the psyche of what addiction does to people. It’s unique to find a story specifically about a female addict as well, since most ride off the wave of Breaking Bad, focusing on the lives of male addicts instead. The story, told from Alana’s point-of-view, has the jittery focus of a drug addict. When she is high or stoned, her speech pattern reflected it, and while sober, she is more observant of her friends and her surroundings. Time moves weird in the book; sometimes days go by, or months, and like with any one struggling from addiction and mental illness, it doesn’t always make sense. This was brilliantly done.

Yet, while time becomes meaningless in Alana’s life, it does negatively impact the pacing. The first half of the book is a little slow, while second half moves a little too fast. I would have liked to spend more time with Alana after her life takes a turn for the worst. Possibly we don’t see it because Alana is living in a haze of addiction. She is inwardly focused, and when she’s on her high, she doesn’t feel anything.

Because of her inward focus, a lot of her friends are seen through a selfish lens. She sees them as “I don’t know why she loves me,” “I don’t understand why he cares,” etc. This doesn’t always work in a narrative, but I think it works well with Alana’s story…since it is very much about her. Granted it does take away from an emotional event that occurs, leaving two of her friends empty, as well as how her parents feel about her addiction. She’s a teenager, after all, and teenager are selfish.

Despite the book’s flaws, I really enjoyed it. It gave a sort of perspective that isn’t always addressed, and it also creates a sympathy for people who get stuck in a cycle of addiction. The book is also an examination of failed mental health systems, which ultimately led to Alana self medicating. Friends, even if they shouldn’t forgive someone, often are the changing forces in someone’s life. Even if I think some characters should have walked away from her, I understand why they didn’t. In real life, you don’t always give up on someone despite their battles. You might walk away for a bit, but it’s very realistic that you would come back.

I do recommend this book but with a caveat. It is dark. It’s about addiction and the horrors that face it. If this makes you uneasy, then this book is for you. But, if you want to explore the depth of someone’s psyche as they struggle through these horrors, I do recommend you check out Broken Melody.

I think it will be on my mind for awhile.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What’s it about?

I think a demon lives in me. Her name is Sunshine and she wants the numbing chemicals of cocaine. She craves the sweet, disgusting taste of heroin and the sharp flavors of crystal meth. We’re often told that drug addicts are lowly humans that drop out of school, can’t hold down a job, and they always come from a life of abuse and pain. I have friends who love me, parents who care about me, and a beautiful girlfriend who I adore. I was a straight-A student in high school. I was at the top of my class. I’ve been getting high since I was a kid to self-medicate mood swings that feel like whiplash on a good day. And I’ve messed up. Big time. Now, I owe the biggest dealer in town thousands of dollars! If he finds me, I’m dead. I can’t get the money and I can only hide out for so long. I have to get sober so I can get my head straight and figure this out. All I need is one more hit.

Book Review

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Merricat is content with her life. Sure, her sister Constance never leaves the house, and Uncle Julian seems to be getting worse every day, but she enjoys her life secluded from the rest of town. She explores the Blackwood Estate, left to her after her parents died in an unfortunate accident involving arsenic in their sugar, and keeps to a routine she finds soothing. But people talk. They blame Constance for the murder. When their cousin Charles appears one day in attempts to claim unknown riches, Merricat will stop at nothing to get him out of their house, even if it risks revealing her secrets.

In an intricately woven tale, we see the world through Merricat’s eyes. Her childlike nature, her distaste for most people, and her games infect the reader. We become sympathetic to her pleas, even if they are on the irrational side. Besides, who doesn’t want to be left alone? Who doesn’t want to protect those they care about? And who isn’t afraid of their entire world being upended? Merricat is painted as the perfect sympathetic character, but beneath it she harbors sociopath tendencies, with the inability to connect with anyone else. She likes to watch others squirm. But as the reader, you want them to squirm too.

As an audio book, Merricat’s personality shines, and that helps in the more drawn out portions of the book. While the writing was beautiful, weaving intricately through a maze of problems just like the house, I wonder if it meandered too much. After the most destructive moment, due to Merricat’s hatred of Charles, the book continued wandering through the narrative, almost as if it was uncertain how to conclude. Possibly, the story might have been stronger if it was ended sooner, or was shorter. I am not entirely certain. The thrilling nature of the narrative comes from the way it’s written, but for me at least, that was also it’s flaw.

That being said, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, will chill you to the bone. The revelation is well thought out, and while I figured it before its reveal, the seeds are planted well enough that it’s neither too obvious nor too wild a discovery.

With Halloween approaching, this thriller is definitely one to add to your TBR list.

Before you eat dessert tonight, make sure to check your sugar.

What’s it about?

Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune—and manages to penetrate into their carefully shielded lives. Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods, resulting in crisis, tragedy, and the revelation of a terrible secret.

Book Review

The Techno Mage – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.25 / 5 stars)

Airships teeter in the sky. Alchemy fuels the mechanics. As two mechanics and an alchemist, Ikarim, Arteus, and Magaliana have ingrained themselves into society while under the wing of Arteus’s father. But after Art’s father dies and sky pirates raid their shop, the trio are sent on a whirlwind of an adventure, surrounding the mythical figure: the Techno Mage.

The mage is everything Magaliana thought was fantasy: charming, charismatic, and with the ability to perform true alchemy, he completely enthralls her. She wants nothing more but to master the art of alchemy just like he did. But will mastering it mean sacrificing her own values?

A well written, fast paced adventure, S.W. Raine’s debut novel will whisk readers young and old into a world of magic and technology. The characters are well defined: hot-headed Arteus, level-headed Ikarin, and tough-as-nails Magaliana serve as three different insights into the story. Then you have Josepheus, the slimy Technomage, who’s voice cuts through the paper like a deceptive breeze. The beginning is well thought out, giving the reader a chance to get to know the characters and see their motivations, as well as learn what brought them all together. Even if you haven’t read too much steampunk fiction, Raine does a good job at introducing the different elements to the world without inundating the reader with world building.

Yet, despite the well thought out beginning, the pacing grows muddy throughout the narrative. Parts will meander, before speeding up. While this often happens in many narratives, there were parts I would have enjoyed exploring more in depth: the Haze, the dichotomy between the above and below worlds, the second half of Mags’s arc, as well as the ultimate confrontation with the Technomage and his beloved Juliet. Yet, despite the fast paced nature of these part, I learned enough to still enjoy the story.

What did ultimately knock this book down to 3 stars for me though was a single trope. This is a personal opinion and might not impact most people’s thoughts on the book. Unfortunately, while Magaliana is a tough, powerful, and intelligent woman who I really adore, she falls into the “Smurfette Principle.” She is basically the only woman in the story. Yes there is Juliet and the characters mother’s, but they’re so brief in comparison to Magaliana’s role. While this occurs plenty in fiction, and often times is easy to overlook, the one issue I had was how so many of the male characters were infatuated with Magaliana, or used her to their advantage. Yes, Magaliana is endearing and intelligent, but it was something that personally made me a bit uneasy. This was made worse by how I interpreted the ages of characters, which are never blatantly mentioned, placing Magaliana’s fate at the hands of men older than her.

That being said though, Magaliana does receive some justice at the end by choosing her own destiny. I do hope to explore more of her adventures one day too, to explore more of her abilities as well as how her experiences shaped her into a powerful alchemist.

Still, The Techno Mage by S.W. Raine is a promising first novel that will captivate audiences. I definitely recommend that people jump on this voyage with Ikarim, Arteus, and Magaliana…it will be a fun time.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What’s it about?

She’s being held hostage and yet, Magaliana doesn’t want to be saved.

Close friends Ikarim, Arteus, and Magaliana always knew the dangers of sky pirates, but what they didn’t expect was having their airship repair shop pillaged and being separated when Magaliana, a noble, is sold for a hefty bounty.

Once in the hands of the Techno Mage, her world changes. He’s a mythical man with the ability to flawlessly combine both technology and alchemy, and his mythical ship is a haven for Magaliana. There, she discovers how to refine her craft.

Ikarim and Arteus are determined to escape the sky pirates to save her, but do they have what it takes before the Techno Mage initiates his grand plan?

Book Review

Last Memoria – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 / 5 stars)

Memories are sacred. The memori claim to know this, but they continue to steal them. Sarilla is vehemently aware of this as well. King Renford has ordered her to steal memories, more than she can count, and each one has hung heavily on her soul. Meanwhile, Falon is determined to get his memories back…and he will make Sarilla help him, whether she wants to or not.

In a gripping adventure that takes Sarilla and Falon down a path of memories, we’re introduced to this unique idea of the Memori. They take memories, determined to get back their inherita (or their history), by sending out tendrils of black vine into the kingdom. Horrific and deadly, it tears apart the landscape, leaving anyone who encounters it an empty shell.

And this is the essence of the story: without our memories, who are we? And when we loose a memory, is worth fighting to get it back? Or should we move on and create our own identity?

I loved the concept and the discussion of how memory ties us all together. The memori are a unique entity, positioned as both friends and foe when looked at from both side. They want their history back, but they also threaten humanity. There is no black and white in this battle. Everything is gray. It is always interesting to read a story muddling the lines between dark and light. In the end, it leaves you wondering…who can you trust?

While I loved the concept and the overarching plot, unfortunately I found the execution to be a disservice to the novel. The first half of the novel is told from Sarilla’s point of view, and with good reason due to who is telling the story, before switching over to Falon’s point of view. Really now, writing this review, I realize more why it starts this way. But, I find that for us to really understand this memoria and Falon’s struggles with his memory, the story might have been better off just told from Falon’s single point of view (perhaps starting at the point where he lost his memories). It would have given us a chance to get to know his friends better, and when certain disheartening moments occurred, we would have felt the pain. As is the essence of memories, so much of the novel is a reflection instead of placing the readers in the actual plot. Any novel like this that bounces between memories will either be executed well or be executed poorly. While I wouldn’t say this was the worst execution of the story, the story definitely struggled in the beginning because of it.

Since I did get a chance to talk with Rachel Emma Shaw a few months ago, I do understand her process on writing the novel. It was written as an audio adaptation, and upon reading it, I can see how it would work as an audio book. Some day I might listen to at least a few pieces of the audio book, since has piqued my interest.

That being said, I am curious to see what the second book in the duology will hold. Will Sarilla come to terms with who she is? Will memories finally be free? I do want to find out, so I am eagerly awaiting that book’s release for sure.

If you enjoy fast paced dark fantasy with a romantic and horror element, I encourage you to check out Last Memoria.

And remember…everyone lies.

What’s it about?

There’s nothing Sarilla hates more than stealing memories, but the king forces her to, just so he can keep his subjects in line. She wants to escape to where nobody knows what she is or what she can do, but her plans go awry when she runs into someone she would much rather forget.

Falon has a six-month void in his memories that he’s desperate to restore. He doesn’t know why they were taken or what they contained, nor why the man he loves is acting so cagily about what happened during that time. He hopes to use Sarilla to get back what was stolen from him and isn’t interested in why she’s so desperate to escape. She will help him get back what he’s lost, whether she wants to or not.

Join Sarilla and Falon in this twisted tale about how sometimes good intentions aren’t enough to keep the darkness at bay

Book Review

Burning Embers – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 / 5 stars)

Her whole life, Feia has been bullied and treated poorly at the Temple of Light, until one day she unleashes a dangerous spirit gift deep within her core: fire. That, coupled with the odd dreams she’s having about destruction in the Spire, sends her on a journey across the realm to prevent inevitable destruction. With the help of a hunter, Rhyode, and her dear friend, Vesta, Feia attempts to reach the Spire to prevent the destruction…as well as discover the truth about herself.

In a classic adventure fantasy, Fiona Jeeves takes us on Feia’s adventure to the Spire. The world building is carefully woven into the story, giving us a sense of who the Sisters of Light are, why certain people have spirit gifts, and who and what wants Feia captured and killed. It adds depth to Feia’s travels, and keeps the reader engaged throughout the entire story. The world that Jeeves built is well though out, making a very typical story unique in its own right.

On top of Jeeve’s fantastic world building, she is able to construct action scenes that really bring the reader into the moment. Fast paced, but with enough details, we not only get a sense of the action, but also a sense of Feia’s feelings and emotions, leading to how she herself perceives the battle and reacts to it. This is not easy to do, and I wanted to take a moment to compliment Jeeve’s this. For a brief moment, I was there with Feia amid the action, and my heart raced as each arrow flew and each defense fell.

Through the constant action, the reader is also made acutely aware of each of the character’s personalities: Vesta, the motherly, Rhyode, the brooding, and Feia, the typical perplexed and noble-hearted protagonist. While I do wish we could have sat with the characters away from the action, watching them banter or talk like young adults typically do, I still understood these characters at their core.

I think my only hang up on this novel was how rushed the ending felt compared to the first 65% of the book. The moment Feia and her companions arrive in the Spire it is constant revelation after revelation, without much time to build suspense or let it breathe. I would have preferred a longer encounter with the Spire Lord, especially with how he was built up throughout the story.

That being said though, while I wouldn’t call Burning Embers revolutionary, it is certainly an amazing start to The Shadow Returns series. We’re introduced to a world filled with spirits and power, and while I want to learn more about both Feia and Rhyode’s abilities, I anticipate I’ll discover much more in the next book.

So if you’re looking for a fantasy adventure that will set your life ablaze, look no further. This book is definitely worth the read.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What’s it about?

After years of bullying it is time for Feia to break free. A young woman haunted by nightmares of her homeland destroyed she seeks to prevent a terrible tragedy. Leaving behind all that she knew, she sets out to protect a family that abandoned her as an infant. Guided by visions of a future that no one believes and with a dangerous gift growing within, Feia has to learn that the most powerful thing in any world, is learning to love and accept who she is. Those who have the power to do that, have the power to do anything.

A young adult fantasy, with danger, romance and a desperate need for self-discovery.

Book Review

The Magic Misfits: The Minor Third – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.25/5 stars)

The talent show is approaching, but tensions between the Magic Misfits are high. With Callaghan’s threat on the horizon, Theo Stein-Meyer feels the stress between his friends. They’re constantly bickering, and when a famous ventriloquist arrives, and a girl named Emily asks to spend time with their little group, the Magic Misfits are threatened to be torn apart.

In the third book, we once again join the Magic Misfits. But things aren’t quite so magical with them. They keep arguing and disagreeing, and their tensions are clearly high. Theo desperately wants to be the peace keeper between his friends, and with his oldest friend, Ridley, constantly triggering the disagreements, it leaves him between a rock and a hard place. It doesn’t help that everything is colliding at the same time: his siblings want him to participate in their talent show act, he’s experiencing his first crush, and there is a ventriloquist setting up creepy dummies throughout town. But these tensions are necessary; friendship isn’t always completely happy. There will be fights, and this will show children that sometimes fights are OK. In fact, they might even be healthy to keep the friend group stronger.

This book deals with some darker prospects that the previous book: there’s a devious villain, disturbing ventriloquists and dummies, and betrayal that was not evident in the previous books. Once again, Neil Patrick Harris has woven a tail that is both entertaining and engrossing, for adults and children alike! Each piece that led to the twist is constructed in detail, and I am sure once the identity of the notorious Callaghan is revealed, all the pieces will come together.

Yet, with the tensions, some of the magic is lost. The conflicts are constantly in repeat, as arguments among friends often are, which became tedious in parts. Overall it doesn’t detract from the story, but I think having a falling out and seeing them come back together slowly might have led to less repetition. But…that isn’t always happens in the real world.

I really do recommend this series to both adults and children alike. It is so much fun, with a wide array of diversity and characters. Mostly anyone will be able to connect with these misfits.

That being said, I am eagerly awaiting the last installment in September! I’ve already preordered the audio book and I am so excited!

What’s it about?

Theo Stein-Meyer loves being part of the Magic Misfits. Armed with his trusty violin bow, he completes the team with his levitation skills, unflappable calm, and proper manners. But when a girl named Emily begins to spend time with the group, Theo is surprisingly drawn to her. She seems to understand the pull he feels between music and magic, between family and friends.

Then a famous ventriloquist arrives in town, and the Misfits are sure he (and his creepy dummy) are up to no good. With their mentor, Mr. Vernon, suddenly called away and tension simmering among the friends, can they come together to stop another member of the villainous Emerald Ring? It’s time for Theo to make a choice about where–and with whom–he belongs.

Join the Magic Misfits as they discover adventure, friendship, and more than a few hidden secrets in this unique and surprising series. Whether you’re a long-time expert at illusion or simply a new fan of stage magic, hold on to your top hat!

Book Review

The Magic Misfits: The Second Story – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.25/5 stars)

Leila has been enjoying life ever since her fathers adopted her. She has a group of magical best friends – Carter, Theo, Ridley, Izzy, and Ollie – and better yet, she lives above a magic shop! This is everything she could have dreamed of as one of the Magic Misfits! But, when a psychic comes to town and begins unveil her father’s past, Lelia is caught in a whirlwind of secrets that makes her question who she is and where she belongs. As new dangers work their way into her personal life, it threatens to expose her secret…and maybe lose her family and friends in the process.

Once again, we are whisked away by Neil Patrick Harris’s storytelling (even if the narration is performed this time by actress Christina Hendricks). Hendricks does a phenomenal job with the audio book, but it did lack of the charm that Harris put into the first one. This could be due to some of the elements in the first book such as the barber shop quartet and other musical elements, as well as Harris’s ability to pull off different voices. That being said, Hendricks still did fantastic job getting us into Leila’s head versus the first book with Carter.

The story itself is another enjoyable ride, this time not just observing magic, but examining how cruel circumstances leave someone with lasting trauma. We explore Leila as she holds tight to secrets of who her birth parents were, as well as her anxiety and frustrations over her father’s own secrets. Her friends are her rock though, and through all her frustrations, they are there each in their own ways: empathetic Carter, blunt but loyal Ridley, compassionate Theo, and the joking twins Izzy and Ollie. While even at the end, Leila is still keeping her secrets, she knows then that she has her friend’s ears. And that is the lesson, overall, in this story: your friends are there for you, through thick and thin.

This story was slightly less magical than the first. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. We already met all these characters, so the initial excitement has waned. Instead, we’re diving deeper into who they are as individuals. The first book let us meet them through Carter’s eyes, experience the excitement, and ride with it. In this second book, Leila has already been surround by magic for years, so instead we are in a quest for self discovery instead.

While the book does ride on some tropes that have been done before (such as in the musical Annie), it didn’t hinder my enjoyment. In fact, I didn’t even anticipate the twist at the end of the book until Leila started to consider it. I thought something completely different about one of the key characters (who I won’t give away), and while some of my hunches were correct, the last one was a pleasant surprise.

I also appreciate, while all these books could be read as a stand alone (which kids will enjoy), there is an underlying plot taking place that older children and adults will enjoy. As the pieces fall together, I am excited to see what mischief these misfits get into next.

So I guess it’s onto the next audio book for me!

What’s it about?

Growing up in an orphanage, Leila was bullied for being different. She turned her hardship into skill by becoming an escape artist–a valuable trait when you belong to a group of magical best friends. But when a famous psychic comes to town, Leila and her pals can’t escape the big mystery heading their way. Whether chasing mad monkeys or banishing ghosts from haunted hotels, these six friends will do their best to keep their home of Mineral Wells safe–but can they protect themselves?

Join the Magic Misfits as they discover adventure, friendship, and more than a few hidden secrets in this delightful new series. Whether you’re a long-time expert at illusion or simply a new fan of stage magic, hold onto your top hat!

Book Review

The Magic Misfits – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

As people get older, magic often loses it spark. This is the case for Carter. After his parents “disappear” in their final vanishing act, Carter is forced onto the streets with his distant Uncle Sly. But life with Sly is short of being wonderful and magical; no, it’s obscene and heart-wrenching. When Carter has enough, he flees, and hops on a train to the town of Mineral Wells. While this town is every Carter has dreamed of, there is something rotten afoot with a group of carnies heralded by B.B. Bosso. Can Carter and his new friends foil Bosso’s plans?

In a fun, enchanting novel written by actor Neil Patrick Harris, we are shipped off into Carter’s journey not only to escape his uncle, but also to rediscover his love and passion for magic. Is magic real, or is it all a trick? That is for you as the reader to decide. But, this story is magical all the same. Each character is so uniquely defined, that both children and adults will find themselves drawn into this book. While Carter is the typical protagonist, you have the elusive Mr. Vernon, his daughter the adventurous Leila, and her friends, the kindhearted Theo, skeptical Riley, and the twin comedians Otto and Izzy. Each one pulls you into the story, and you’ll be cheering for them to out B.B. Bosso at the end.

While the story itself is mostly predictable, as most children’s stories are to adults, the way Harris provides a diverse cast, likable characters, and an intriguing plot about magic, trickery, and friendship makes this story all the better. Listening to this as an audio book really brought it to life as well; Neil Patrick Harris is a performer, and if you are familiar with him you know he cannot only just act, he can sing and enchant the imagination. That being said though, even if you read the book, I think you will still be captivated by the storytelling.

I cannot wait to get my hands onto the other books in the series! I listened to it all in one day, and I have no doubt I’ll feel the same about the remaining books.

So whether it is you or your kids who need a little bit of magic, why not join this band of misfits? You won’t be sorry.

What’s it about?

When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on.

After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded illusionists. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series.

(Psst. Hey, you! Yes, you! Congratulations on reading this far. As a reward, I’ll let you in on a little secret… This book isn’t just a book. It’s a treasure trove of secrets and ciphers and codes and even tricks. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll discover more than just a story–you’ll learn how to make your own magic!)

Book Review

The Stone Thieves and the Honourable Order of Inventors – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.8 / 5 stars)

Forget everything you think you know.

Sam thought his father worked in the boring patent office in London, pushing papers and stamping documents. After his father brings him to work one day, Sam discovers that the patent office is far more than he ever thought. It turns out, his father is one of the Few, aiming to protect humanity from risky inventions that threaten to take over the world. After an attack occurs in a room that shouldn’t exist, Sam is offered a “summer internship” of sorts to begin his induction process into the Few. With his new friends, Joe, Fedor, and Veronique, they are tasked to become the new generation of the Few…or their families will be cast out for good.

In a fast paced adventure, filled with well defined characters, unique technology, and a blend of sci-fi with fantasy, we enter the world of the Few. Everything we think we know is turned on its head. Immortality exists. People can be modified. You can “fold” to different locations. And the world is not quite as small as people think. Eddy Telviot creates a unique sci-fi world that has not been explored in these lengths.

Telviot’s knowledge of technology, patents, and science shine in this book. He has put a lot of thought into all these elements, and it shows! Equally, he also has done a great job defining the four main characters. Sam is the traditional protagonist, with a hero complex and self-righteous desire to protect his friends. Fedor is the stereotypical “strong man” with a heart of gold. Joe is the standard smart, little nerd with big glasses but a hidden toughness. Then there is Veronique, who only pretends to be aloof, but is actually very attentive to her place in the world. They form a great rag-tag team, and their strengths and weaknesses come together to excel as a cadre.

While the story gripped me from beginning to end, I realized while reading this that books written in third-person omnipresent need to be done a certain way for me to love them. While the writing in this book was well done, sometimes I struggled to figure out who’s perspective we were in, or the perspective switched too quickly. It almost read as if it were ultimately designed to be a graphic novel. In fact, I can even picture it as such. As a graphic novel, the reader would be able to see all the technology, as well as get those momentary glimpses into the antagonist’s lives, the side characters, and so forth.

Even so, the plot does not get lost despite the constant shifts. It is a wonderful induction into the world of the Few and the Fabulous Arrangement of Atoms. The ending will leave you wanting more.

So do you want to become one of the Few? Why not check out The Stone Thieves and the Honourable Order of Inventors! You’ll have a fun, action packed time!

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What’s it about?

Escape into a world you never knew existed.

There is a book which has shaped the course of history. For thousands of years, a secret society of inventors have guarded it. From the Greeks and Persians to mighty Hannibal and the formidable Caesars of Rome. Viking raiders. Crusaders. Even Genghis Khan and the Conquistadors sought it. Yet none have come close to finding it, until now.

Taking a seemingly innocent summer apprenticeship, fifteen-year-old Sam is drawn into the mysterious world of The Few. He and three new friends are chosen to be trained in forgotten arts by this ancient order of inventors, whose existence is shrouded in dark science, marvellous modifications and incredible creations. It’s the beginning of an epic and relentless adventure that will blur the boundaries of their reality – full of action, gadgets and intrigue.

The stakes are high and The Few must adapt if they are to survive this new threat, for Ms Keller and Harbinger Robotics are poised for victory. They have learned of a scroll which will lead them to the book and, with it, change the world forever…

Book Review

The Time Keeper – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.25/5 stars)

We’re always counting. The seconds. The minutes. The hours. The years.

But it wasn’t always like that. Thousands of years ago, Dor began to count, and time as we know it began. But creating time has been both a curse and a blessing, and Dor is thus transformed into Father Time himself, forced to listen as people continue to ask for more time, faster time, and slower time. In order to break his curse, he has to help two unlikely individuals: Sara Lemon, a love struck teenager who wants time to move faster, and Victor Delamonte, a big-wig business owner who just wants to live forever.

In a compelling narrative, we are taken through time to Dor’s childhood, as well as back to the present, where Sara and Victor contemplate time. It illustrates humanity’s obsession with time. What would it be like if we didn’t tell time? Would we enjoy these moments more? Would we revel in the sunsets? These are the topics Mitch Albom asks through The Time Keeper.

Dan Stevens’s narration of the audio book makes the story even more compelling. While at times the whimsical narrative could become repetitive and slow, Dan Stevens made it entertaining and kept my attention.

The overall story is a wonderful analysis on humanity. Most of the book is compelling, realistic, and a true look at how teenagers fall desperately in love, and greedy old men area always for more. The last chapters were a tad cliche though, reminiscent of stories like A Christmas Carol, seeing the future which may or may not be totally accurate. But Dor does in fact get what he deserves in the end, after an eternity of emptiness, and that is enough to provide a satisfactory ending.

So don’t waste time, but don’t rush through; The Time Keeper is a honest look at humanity. When you finish it, you might just stop counting the seconds and a live a little.

What’s it about?

In Mitch Albom’s exceptional work of fiction, the inventor of the world’s first clock is punished for trying to measure God’s greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years.

Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world–now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began–and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.

Told in Albom’s signature spare, evocative prose, this remarkably original tale will inspire readers everywhere to reconsider their own notions of time, how they spend it, and how precious it truly is.