A thought provoking time travel caper exploring the themes of life, age and politics…
Just what would you do if given the opportunity to meet your younger self? A younger self who is determined to change the culture of an ageist world through angry activism. That’s exactly what this intriguing and wonderfully original book explores as we meet ‘Variel’ who has lived life knowing eventually she is going to face her younger self and that day has arrived.
“…there was no stopping the inevitable, so she swallowed her dread, observed her morning routine, and accepted today was going to be a very bad day…”
Based in a future where time travel is possible and is a type of tourist or even business activity, ‘Variel’ faces her younger self ‘V’ and their journey begins. The dialogue between them is well executed much like where this story takes you. Social themes of ageism, privilege and politics are centre stage here as ‘V’ is angrily determined to change society for the better and for the young. ‘Variel’ does her best to guide her younger self through the vacuum of youthful rebellion and the morality of the world. Their back and forth interactions act as a metaphor for what is happening in that wider world and being angry is okay but fixing things is perhaps better.
“Stop Blaming. Start Fixing.”
Youth and age clash constantly in a story that carries intricate and meaningful messages throughout where you are viewed as the sledgehammer, the bomb or the paintbrush which serves as great symbolism for the world and life. A great read.
5 Stars – This review first premiered on Reedsy Discovery
Unique and intriguing. A page-turning tale that’ll take readers down the rabbit hole of what’s there and what isn’t…
Its quite difficult to pin point what this story is really about and how deep it goes, but for the majority I was addicted and kept reading to see where it went. To me, that’s a job done well and driven by that immersive intrigue, Thomas Overlook tells the story of a young couple who decide to start again away from the hustle and bustle of city life with their infant child. Then events start to turn strange.
There’s a multitude of different themes and things going on here, some are more obvious and on the surface while others go deeper. Much of the book is taken up by the inner workings of ‘Joel’ and ‘Aubrey’ or their memories but we are only shown and told so much to the point where everything seems to have a kind of surreal feel – this is a complex but imaginative set up for a book because the events that do happen gradually unfold while we find out only limited information about these two characters. The concept of what’s on the surface and what’s beneath starts to blend and uniquely the organisation which ‘Joel’ works for is deliberately omitted, something some readers may frown upon but an original concept and there is a heap of originality here. ‘Aubrey’ seems to have this kind of lustful subconsciousness while also perhaps hiding something. These characters aren’t fully revealed to the reader which only increases that intrigue.
Soon after moving into their new and remote house weird things begin to unfold. Is this an elaborate prankster or perhaps even a haunting? this is after ‘Joel’ may have unleashed something or at least stirred it. What ‘it’ is, we never really get an answer but it points towards something that lurks beneath the surface literally and psychologically. Is what ‘Joel’ appears to be seeing actually there or not? Could we actually be in the company of something that has always been there but is only awakened if disturbed? Rational thought begins to blend with the irrational as he tries to investigate what really is going on. Has ‘Joel’ really unleashed something that feels like its hunting him and his family?
“He was terrified but not mortally. It was a queer feeling, deep fear tinged with a silken sadness…”
Cause and effect comes into play here as these events put a strain on the couple. This has all the makings to suggest there is another lifeform amongst us but that is only really suggested – that’s what this book made me feel anyway and I am intrigued to see where it goes as this appears to only be part 1 of a wider series. You might not get any answers this time but the reading experience was entertaining overall and full of enough mysterious intrigue to at least entertain more of this immersive deep writing style and story. For those looking to have a lighter reading escape or even those who don’t enjoy deep thought this might not be the one for you, but those who enjoy complex stories that are open to wider interpretation then this is the one for you. It’s definitely one of the most unique reads I have come across in recent times.
4 Stars – An encapsulating and page turning read. This review first premiered on Reedsy Discovery.
An immersive and suspenseful teen spy thriller with some darker edges, a positive message, originality and depth…
Dan McKeon delivers an immersive and suspenseful tale of one teen assassin who has always followed orders and never questioned those giving them. When things don’t go to plan ‘Wendy’ finds herself facing a rabbit hole of questions as she deciphers what’s good and bad while coming to her own conclusion. It’s part- coming-of-age part-morality check as the ‘agency’ giving the orders begin to reveal themselves as not so reputable.
Through the multiple missions and names she takes ‘Wendy’ begins to realise even if you eliminate bad people, there will always be someone else innocent effected by it. That is without mentioning if the target even is bad in the first place.
“Even those who do bad things have people who care about them, and their loss effects them…”
There’s a certain depth to that morality where choice and accountability of one’s actions make you as a reader question everything. It’s immersive and dark sometimes – death always is but our main character keeps things light hearted and you find yourself rooting for her because she is a force for good. You can give a person all the assassin training in the world and try to engineer out all human elements but they are still human and perhaps that message is at the centre of a great story that I took my time reading.
While there are plenty of concepts that are original and they merge with others that we’ve seen before in spy thrillers; it’s always the abandoned warehouse for a meeting point but the bubble gum idea is genius and of course fun. Although there is some violence there isn’t anything too graphic so I’d recommend this book to older teens and above and to anyone who enjoys a spy thriller with a difference. Highly enjoyable.
5 Stars – This Review First Premiered via Reedsy Discovery
Fun, unconventional easy-to-read comedy that never takes itself too seriously while delivering a good story with plenty of laughs…
Drew Purcell steps out of conformity and bravely delivers a book that many ‘literary’ snooty types will look down on through their noses but not me because this was an awesome and fun read! Comedy in the present day is hard to find, good comedy is even rarer and while this book has all the feels of a mid 2000’s gross-out comedy it is so much more.
Welcome to Shadybrook; a Californian town that has seen better days and where there is always a mystery to be solved, from the legendary ‘Route 66 Apeman’ to the whereabouts of a Native American Relic.
‘I don’t think anyone consciously chooses to live here, but it has its way of sucking people in…’
Of course there are Scooby Doo vibes as the narration even comes from the eyes of a dog. Our two main characters ‘Mickey’ and ‘Charlie’ have resided here all their lives and decide to join citizen driven police patrol effort with a view to pick up women. Their efforts seem to succeed albeit comedically and so the makings of a crime fighting group is formed.
There are cool and fun references left, right and centre which take a jab at so many different things from tropes seen in story telling to modern entrepreneur business types and there is even a wealth of awesome music that is laid out after the story. Comedy is a hard thing to get right and Purcell succeeds most of the time by putting in as much as he can throughout – the stuff that didn’t land for me was the few references I didn’t know of but most of the time I found the book to be a fun and sometimes metaphorical look at the world with even some forth wall breaking. For some unconventional and unique fun I’d happily recommend this to anyone looking for that. This is comedy done right.
4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery
A short but fun sci-fi story with great world building, action and some laughs…
Ginger is a care free bounty hunter on a mission to Mars where he finds himself getting into more trouble than good and his story is exactly what the title suggests. Even if this tale feels a little brief the science fiction world building stands out and the themes are captured well in this setting. Life is cheap, there’s sex and violence on the surface of this red planet and our cynical hero sees it first hand near enough everywhere.
The setting is paired with a writing style that I found to be executed very well – its a very easy read with some fun comedic elements. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and along with everything else this short book makes for a good read. For what starts out as a slowly paced introduction of this well imagined world soon picks up and is constantly moving forward much like the pages which turn; I was able to read this one in just a sitting.
Ginger is likeable and makes for a different type of hero. It would appear trouble and unpredictability follow him no matter where he goes. His final destination, we’ll have to find out next time as the story ends on a cliff-hanger.
Anyone who enjoys space sci fi with some adult themes will enjoy this one.
4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery