Book Review: The Time Mechanic by Victoria Bastedo

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The Time Mechanic by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. (07/16/2018)

Summary:

“I’m the new Time Mechanic. I was chosen, just like you, to take on an important mission. We’ll journey, risk our lives, and perhaps never return. But we’ll save this present time from encountering wreckage so catastrophic that history is shattered here. We’ll save many lives.”

Jeremy lives a simple life. He works hard in an honest job and saves as much of his income as he can. That all changes when he gets the urge to buy a new coat. His life changes don’t end there with the coat. Jeremy must soon deal with an ex-fiancee and confront an old friend before everything he knows and counts on changes. Life as the new Time Mechanic is chaotic and dangerous. Still, Jeremy will find new friends and form a team. Together they will fight new enemies on their new adventures together.

Keywords:

Simple Times, Action, Adventure, Thievery, Ordinary, Secrets, Gifts, Fighting, Capture, Rules, Friendship, Family, Steam, Mechanics, Engineering

My Review:

Jeremy may be simple and plain, but he reveals himself to be smart, levelheaded (most of the time), honest, and caring. Though “it’s from ordinary friends that Time Mechanics are made” Jeremy is not ordinary. His life may be ordinary before he encounters the mysterious steam that changes his life forever, but he is a larger than life character who embodies the characteristics of a do-gooder. He picks up the mantle of savior and Time Mechanic naturally, though he continually questions his own role and and choice as the Time Mechanic.

I liked how the book was grounded in the relationships between Jeremy and his team and the plot that unfolds as the evil plans of the bad guys are slowly revealed. Jeremy is granted special powers as the Time Mechanic and the book is set in some undefined time period in a fictional place called Tonturin where there are no cars and life appears to operate on a much simpler plane of existence. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fantasy book that was grounded in the characters’ reality.

Jeremy takes on the responsibilities as Time Mechanic, but he does so willingly and with full knowledge of the rules and potential dangers. I liked how the rules of the Time Mechanic were revealed immediately, but the mystery surrounding how Time Mechanics came to be is revealed slowly. I especially liked rule 2 – “accept the help and company of others who are so compelled.” The way those “compelled” people resisted at first was very entertaining.

This book was grounded in some alternate past and the way women were viewed (by the narrator Jeremy) as more delicate and needing to be protected threw me off even though Kannikey and Ffefferpip both proved more able and crafty than Jeremy and Miles at times.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. 07/16/2018 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.25

 

Links for more information:

On the web

Victoria Bastedo blog

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Book Review: Another Cinderella by Victoria Bastedo

Another Cinderella by Victoria Bastedo

A Fairy Tale Adaptation published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. (08/11/2017)

Summary:

Cinderella marries Prince Charming and gets her happily ever after. But what of her stepsisters and stepmother? Alexandria and Atlantia are left without their free laborer and while pockets grow emptier, the three women grow hungrier. It isn’t proper for any young lady of merit to work in the household, but Atlantia is too hungry to care. A pan of eggs turns into washing the windows and sweeping the floors. Too soon, Atlantia will feel like the new Cinderella. But she’s too stubborn to let her mother or sister boss her around!

Keywords:

True Self, Self-Journey, Brat, Privilege, Money, Wealth, Power, Kingdom, Cinderella, Stepsister, Orphans, God, Chores, Servants

My Review:

God is very present in this novel, as well as the journey toward Him, but religion is not the focus, nor is it ever really talked about in this book. It is refreshing to see God present without religion. Is it true that a transformation of soul and personality can take place without God or without a belief in God? I like to think that many other factors helped in Atlantia’s complete transformation and that anyone in her situation could have been transformed, but only with God could she endure. Those with true and sometimes blind faith in Him are able to stay calm in the face of chaos and kind in the face of evil and endure in the face of unending torture. This is an interesting explanation for how Cinderella endured so many years as the servant to her stepmother and stepsisters and endured their cruelty for so long. This is also an explanation as to how she was able to forgive them and wish them no ill will once she’d been taken out of that situation.

I absolutely love the bad guy’s perspective and especially love seeing the complete transformation of a character that is realistic. I wish all bad guys in real life or even people who make bad decisions or used to be mean can about-face and become good people. I like to believe we all have the potential to be good people and that we all want to be good people deep down. Bastedo’s book is a thought-provoking discovery into how a good person can bloom out of a spiteful and mean person.

I enjoyed the changing POV’s – from Frey to Atlantia to Theo and getting multiple little stories along the way. It was interesting to view Cinderella’s story from afar, through the eyes of those around her, especially as this story takes place after her well-known tale.

I absolutely adore fairy tales and fairy tale adaptations and this book was no exception. It was enjoyable to read, fast-paced, and fulfilling. It was exciting to watch the characters, especially Atalantia, grow and change and to get an up close and personal view of their thoughts and feelings.

I received an ARC from the author. This is my honest opinion.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. 08/11/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

On the web

Victoria Bastedo blog

Book Review: Paper Cranes (A Fairytale Twist Novel) by Jordan Ford

Paper Cranes (A Fairytale Twist Novel) by Jordan Ford

A YA Contemporary Romance Novel Published by Amazon Digital Services (6/16/17)

Summary:

“I know it must seem odd sometimes like we’ve never really fit into this world. But there’s magic in words and storytelling. I’d be lost without books, Tristan. They’ve kept me afloat through my darkest days. Escaping into another world full of love, enchantment…heroes. It keeps me breathing.” (Kindle Locations 1450-1452).

Tristan decided to live with his dad when his parents divorced because his mom had someone to come home to and his dad did not. Tristan feels more and more burdened taking care of his dad. He doesn’t want to participate in school or be social and would rather be the typical morose teenager until he meets the girl in the tower next door, Helena. She is straight out of a fairytale with her mild English accent, proper English, and romantic notions.

Keywords:

Puppy Love, Tower, Fairy Tale, Paper Cranes, Wishes, Quirks, Poetry, English Assignments, Love, Romance, Divorce, Teenagers, Dreams

My Review:

Tristan, outside of Helena feels incredibly real and like sullen teenager, but with Helena he is full of puppy love. Most of this book was focused on the ridiculous and hard to read over-the-top puppy love. Helena never felt real to me and she was a flat character and though Tristan idolizes her and her unique ‘personality’ she felt unreal and exaggerated to me.

Tristan is incredibly dynamic. He’s your typical broody teenager, but his backstory is rather interesting. Every moment we were in his head as he interacted with his dad or his mom, I was engrossed in the book.

The plot was quite predictable, a bit dull and unremarkable. If only more of the book was devoted to Tristan, it would have been a much better read.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services on 06/16/17 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Jordan Ford’s Website

Book Review: Wild at Heart: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 5) by Starla Huchton

Wild at Heart: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 5) by Starla Huchton

A Fantasy/Fairy Tale Adaptation published through Amazon Digital Services LLC (04/09/17)

 

Summary:

Princess Belinda yearns for the freedom of the outdoors. She wants to soar like a bird or run like a wolf. She feels trapped in the castle. So she leaves. Using an enchanted cloak, which allows her to turn into an animal for thirty minutes, she leaves her home. Traveling for days and unhappy with her human body, she arrives at her sister’s castle. Still restless, after meeting with a hermit who grants her wish for freedom, she can now transform into an animal form for as long as she wants. Freedom at last, but at what cost?

Keywords:

Fairy Tale Adaptation, Contemporary Fairy Tale, Magic, Wards, Glamour, Survival, Family, Love, Romance, True Love, Strong Female, Adventure, Travel, Walking, Wolf, Animal Transformation

My Review:

This book takes a character from a previous book and tells a new fairy tale. I wish I’d remembered more from that previous book as I couldn’t remember much context when Erata came up in the story. Thankfully, most of the story centered around Belinda.

I absolutely loved how Belinda was portrayed. She was flighty and had a head for adventure. She was headstrong and stubborn, rushing headlong into things. She grew so much during this story and it was fascinating to see her change and grow.

Again, all the dialogue and any time a character was trying to teach another character were superb.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services LLC April 9th, 2017 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Starla Huckton’s Website

Book Review: Feyland: The Twilight Kingdom (Feyland Trilogy Book 3) by Anthea Sharp

The Twilight Kingdom (Feyland Trilogy Book 3) by Anthea Sharp

A Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel published by Anthea Sharp (12/15/12)

Summary:

Feyland is ready for release, just as soon as beta testing concludes. Jennet, her dad, Tam, Roy, and several others have been chosen for the team. With an excuse to be in-game, it should be easy for Jennet to prove that Feyland is dangerous, but at first glance the game appears… normal. Still, it doesn’t take long for Jennet and Tam to get sucked back into the real Feyland. The realm of faerie still wants nothing more than to break free into the regular world.

Keywords:

Fae, Video Game, Worlds Collide, Evil, Gaming, Class Distinctions, Tech, Gamers, Friendship, Prototype, Mischievous Characters, Danger

My Review:

This book and this series will make anyone want to be a gamer! The excitement and camaraderie of playing an epic fantasy adventure seem very appealing. Though I am not a gamer, I really enjoyed the up close view of Jennet and Tam playing through Feyland.

As someone who doesn’t like to read epic fantasy, I thought this series was an excellent bridge between fantasy, contemporary and dystopian literature. It was fascinating enough to keep me interested in the gaming/fantasy sequences and the details in the world building were well-done.

I was glad that the relationship between Jennet and her father was resolved in this final book and that the relationship between Jennet and Tam was pushed and explored more. Roy also developed quite a bit between where we first see him and at the end of the series.

Overall a great and exciting book and series to read!

This novel was published by Anthea Sharp on December 15th, 2012 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Anthea Sharp’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Feyland: The Bright Court (Feyland Trilogy Book 2) by Anthea Sharp

Feyland: The Bright Court (Feyland Trilogy Book 2) by Anthea Sharp

A Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel published by Anthea Sharp (05/21/12)

Summary:

Jennet barely escaped the clutches of the evil Dark Queen of Feyland, with the help of Tam Linn in the Dark Court, but the game is still set to release. The land of faeries is still attempting to step through the boundary of Feyland to wreak havoc on our world. Roy, the son of the CEO of the game company provides another complication as he appears to glamor all those around him, except Jennet and Tam. Not only do they have to figure out a way to stop Feyland’s release, they now have to figure out a way to stop Roy and his illusions.

Keywords:

Fae, Video Game, Worlds Collide, Evil, Gaming, Class Distinctions, Tech, Gamers, Friendship, Prototype, Mischievous Characters, Danger

My Review:

I started reading this second book in the series as soon as I put down book one and it took very little time to get back into the magical realm of Feyland and the world and lives of Jennet and Tam.

I was excited to see more of Marnie as she gets more time and importance as a friend in this second book. Of course, the growing friendship and budding romance between Tam and Jennet is also quite exhilarating to watch. I absolutely love slow to develop romances, especially ones based on more than just attraction.

One of the greatest little details about this book (and series) is the fact that I see gender equality. The book isn’t all about the greatest female who must take upon herself the mantle of saving the world (almost every dystopian book ever). Feyland is more than just a female main character. Tam has as much action time and importance as Jennet. Then there is the fact that the CEO of the gaming company is a woman and the most famous celebrity simmer is female. Huzzah! Finally those in power and those in charge are not just male! And their genders didn’t even matter!

I loved this second book and the ending was perfect. I can’t wait to read the final book in this series.

This novel was published by Anthea Sharp on May 21st, 2012 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Anthea Sharp’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: The Stillness of the Sky: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales) by Starla Huchton

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The Stillness of the Sky: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales) by Starla Huchton

A Fairy Tale Adaptation Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (02/02/15)

 

Summary:

“There will always be opportunities to be better people, but it’s up to us to take those chances.” (Page 286).

What can we do to ensure that the world be a better place in 100 years? Starla Huchton, Miss America contestants and Jack from the Stillness in the Sky all think the answer is peace. Jack’s answer comes with magical consequences that bind her to fulfill this wish by using her newfound abilities as a powerful and talented bard. She was nothing more than a farmer’s daughter when she came across the three beans after all.

 

Keywords:

Fairy Tale Adaptation, Contemporary Fairy Tale, Magic, Family, Love, Romance, True Love, Souls, Strong Female

My Review:

I used to read Princess stories and odd fairy tales and have never found another book written like those until finding Starla Huchton’s Flipped Fairy Tales. I’m so delighted by Huchton’s writing style and quaint fairy tale adaptations. She is a wonderfully talented writer with an eye for re-imagining childhood favorites. Her style will grab you and plunk you down into a world that is familiar, yet unique. Huchton must have sat down one day and thought, what if? Not just thinking through the possibilities, Huchton interweaves Aesop’s Fables’s type morals and characters that are struck with such conviction, you have to believe them and believe in them.

It’s entirely obvious the themes and morals Huchton describes through Stillness in the Sky, but they are not overtly preachy. They come from a place of goodness and kindness and wishing to instill the same understanding of peace in all the characters and through them to the reader. Not as obvious is the fact that Jack is humble. That is one of the most unique and distracting traits in a character. How many people do you know that are truly humble? Jack isn’t just humble, though, she is kind and wishes to do good by the world.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on Feburary 2nd, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Shadows on Snow: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales) by Starla Huchton

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Shadows on Snow: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales) by Starla Huchton

A Fantasy/Fairy Tale Adaptation published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (11/03/14)

 

Summary:

“Strength comes in many forms. Beauty is but one.” (Page 28).

Raelynn is both beautiful and strong and when she overhears that the Queen is in trouble, she cannot but try to help. Rae has a magical gift that helps her remain unnoticed as she attempts to help the Queen. In the form of a lowly, simple stable boy she is still able to charm the young Prince Leopold, but when he is in danger himself, she must try to save him as well. Forever late, even in birth, can Rae protect the Prince from his evil stepfather?

 

Keywords:

 Fairy Tale Adaptation, Contemporary Fairy Tale, Magic, Wards, Glamour, Survival, Family, Love, Romance, True Love, Souls, Strong Female

 

My Review:

The messages in this fairy tale adaptation ring loud and true. Starla describes animals that have intelligence and feelings, life having souls, being strong even after victimization, standing up for beliefs, perseverance and hard work paying off, love being the highest form of magic. Each ‘moral’ is layered into the novel so that none come off as too obvious. There were so many wise words in this tale, so much one could learn, so many beautiful quotes. Starla is wise beyond measure and is able to communicate through her novels these lovely themes.

Starla’s characters are the noblest and the most evil. They became larger than life for me and I loved all of them, even the evil stepfather, because they were each and every one so well described, unique, and so real you could sink your teeth into them.

The main character, Raelynn was very well written and I fell instantly in love with her. She is stubborn but resilient. She is well meaning but can’t always talk about her feelings. She has a resounding character flaw that isn’t so much a ‘flaw’ but an event that is cataclysmic in her need to help others when she can and to do everything to shield herself for protection. She doesn’t hesitate when it comes to duty.

Prince Leo falls in instalove with Rae, but for good reason. She is wonderful, with passion and care for those around her and for what she believes in. She is beautiful and kind, but also timid at times and brave when she needs to be. She is the ultimate strong female character, even though she is constantly plagued and haunted by memories of a tragedy that happened in her past.

This book contains magic, but not in the over the top kind. The use of magic is not a crutch for the author but a wonderful new imaginative tool.

I loved the special bond between the seven sisters.

The author’s clever interweaving of subtle hints of common fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White was awesome and so very, very clever.

The character’s never break character and fit so well into the world/environment that Starla has created for them in this book.

My only critique would be to get rid of the epilogue and do away with the introductory bit in the beginning.

This novel was published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform November 3rd, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Starla Huckton’s Website