TimeRipper by D.E. McCluskey

TimeRipper

Welcome to the book tour for time-travelling, sci-fi, TimeRipper by D.E. McCluskey! Read on for more details and a chance to win an amazing giveaway– A copy of the book AND a $20 or £20 Amazon gift card!

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TimeRipper

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Publication Date: February 25th, 2021

Genre: Time Travel/ Thriller/ Historical Fiction/ Sci-Fi

Publisher: Dammaged Productions

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It is the year 2288, and Earth is reeling from the most horrific terrorist attack it has ever endured.The Quest, a pseudo-religious splinter group, have taken a stance against the Earth Alliance’s authority of the planet.It is down to Youssef Haseem, now the highest-ranking official left in the EA, to build a team to face the threat of total inhalation if he doesn’t stand down and bow to The Quest’s demands. Then the leaders of The Quest disappear, and a legend emerges in the year 1888. But just who is the mysterious stranger stalking and viciously killing women on the streets of Whitechapel, London?A mission is launched! A battle of wits against time itself. A fight to be played out in the present and the past, with the fate of humanity at stake.Legends can happen anytime…

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The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Pages: 406

Series: The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, Book 1

Genres: Fantasy; Mystery; Historical Fiction; Young Adult; SciFi; Horror; Retellings

Publication date: June 20, 2017

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Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular points towards Edward Hyde, her father’s former assistant and a murderer, being nearby. Knowing about a reward for information leading towards his capture, Mary knows this reward would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

When the hunt heads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, she finds a feral child left to be raised by nuns. Assisted by Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for Hyde and the truth about her father’s life. She soon befriends more woman, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

Their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power crazed scientists, causing the horrors of their pasts to return. Now it’s up to these “monsters” to triumph over the monstrous.

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Diana: Why do women have to wear such rotten clothes? I mean, you’ve got the chemise, and then the corset and then the corset cover. And that’s before you’ve even put on the shirt waist. What’s the point?

Beatrice: Clothing is one means of enforcing women’s social and political subordination. That is why we must support rational dress.

Catherin: Are you seriously going to have an argument about this in the middle of my book?

Beatrice: OUR book. As you keep reminding us. And I know you agree with me, Catherin.

Chapter Eleven

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I went into this read not knowing much of anything about it. Truth be told, I hadn’t even read the synopsis before I picked the read up. I’d heard a lot of BookTubers talk about the book recently, and many of them that I tend to have the same general taste in books have recommended it. On top of that, the cover is gorgeous and I absolutely love fantastical retellings of classic novels. So, naturally, I had to pick it up.

And I’m so glad that I did. I fell in love with this story almost instantly. The way that this story is told is unconventional, but made it even more enjoyable for me. As well, if you have the opportunity to listen to the AudioBook version I would highly recommend it. Kate Reading did a phenomenal job narrating this story and making it feel alive. Each character is distinct – both in tone and voice – and makes it truly feel like a group of friends talking over each other. It was perfect.

Goss herself did a phenomenal job at making this story feel real. I could picture the scene’s in my mind’s eye perfectly. I could see Mary’s calm anger or disappointment as it was described. I could visualize Diana’s rowdy behaviour and her scampering over the rooftops. Justine’s gentleness was clear as day, her unwillingness to be the monster she thought herself.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about this story is the fact that it ended. Sure I’m lucky enough that I can jump straight into the second story if I chose to – and believe me, I plan on picking the next story up state! – but still. This mystery was thrilling and I loved every second of it. I loved the clues slowly making their way known. Even having previously read all of the classic stories that are referenced in this one, each character felt new to me. Each story felt unique and new. Beloved characters took a new twist and I loved every new characteristic that Goss gave them.

If you’re looking for a fun and thrilling YA fantasy story, I would highly recommend this one. You don’t have to have read the classic stories – like Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, etc – in order to enjoy this story. While I adored being able to compare and contrast this “retelling” with the classic tales, it’s a fantastic read all on its own without needing to compare it to the source material. You can certainly believe that I’ll be reading the next story – and posting about it – soon.

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The Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 222

Series: Earthbound Angels, Book 1

Genres: Fantasy; Urban Fantasy; Paranormal; Angels & Demons; Mythology

Publication date: March 20, 2013

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Carrie works at a diner in South Philadelphia, dispensing advice to humans and angels wise enough to seek her counsel. But there are some problems that even the best advice can’t solve. Her latest supplicant, Sebastian, is unique among those who have sought her aid – he sold his soul to a demon to save his sister’s life. Yet his heart remains pure.

Carrie has lived for millennia with the knowledge that her immortality is due to the suffering of others and she can’t bare to see another good man damned while it’s within her power to prevent it. In order to negotiate his contract, Carrie must travel the depths of hall and parley with the demons that control pathways. As the cost of her journey rises, Carrie must determine how much she’s willing to sacrifice to save one good soul.

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We’d had what passed for a lunch rush – two whole tables occupied at once – and I was clearing off the tables when I heard the words that were going to change my life: “I’m here to see the Oracle.”

Chapter One

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I stumbled upon this read while looking at one of Corrigan’s other reads, and I absolutely felly in love with the cover. Not only is the cover fantastic, but I’ve always been drawn to stories about oracles and the different planes of existence. In this case, the mortal realm and the hell realm where the demons reside – my terms, the book just calls this being alive and in Hell. 

Even further than that, I’ve always been interested in tales about fallen angels and how the war between Lucifer and God impacted them. While the same characters always play a role – they were, after all, the angels that fought on the opposing sides in the way – I enjoyed the way that Corrigan dealt with them all. I loved the different personalities. Like Bedlam not always trying to cause chaos but always being the chaos that he stands for. Or Gabriel being so pure of heart that he makes Michael – right hand of God – feel inferior at times.

Carrie’s own story took center stage over the story I thought this book was going to tell – the tale of Sebastian and how Carrie was going to travel to Hell in order to save his soul. Don’t get me wrong, the synopsis wasn’t lying when it said that Sebastian’s request for help would be the driving force in Carrie’s life. But I expected more of an epic quest into Hell than what we’re given. Instead, the story is filled with flashbacks into Carrie’s long life and the events that led her to be the person she is.

Although it took me a while to be okay with the lack of an epic hellscape adventure like I was expecting, I ended up enjoying Carrie’s story much more than I think I would have had this story been exactly what I was expecting. Jumping between timelines isn’t always something I follow too well, but Corrigan did an amazing job at it. It not only helped make Carrie’s decisions make sense, but it also made her willingness to change her behaviour for one good soul that much more impactful. I can’t wait to dive back into this story and see when Carrie and her friends take the world.

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The Peasant’s Dream by Melanie Dickerson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pages: 311

Series: Hagenheim, Book 11

Genres: Romance, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Retelling, Christian Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling

Publication date: July 7, 2021

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Adela, the daughter of the Duke of Hagenheim, is rarely allowed outside of the castle walls. But longing for freedom, she sneaks out to the marked disguised as a peasant where she meets a handsom woodcarver named Frederick.

Frederick, a poor farmer, is the sole provider for his family and often his mother’s defender from his father’s drunken rages. He dreams of making a living carving wood and is thrilled when the Bishop of Hagenheim commissions him to carve new doors for the cathedral. As he works on the project, he and Adela meet almost daily and it doesn’t take them long to fall in love. Yet her true identity remains hidden from him.

When disaster separates the two, Adela and Frederick find themselves caught in the midst of a deception far more dangerous than innocent disguises.

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“I am spoiled, I suppose.”

“Spoiled?”

“I am used to having everything I need and almost everything I want.”

“You aren’t spoiled. You are loved and blessed. And love is much more important than wealth. If you have to live without wealth, you might have some difficulties, but living without love… that would be tragic indeed.”

Chapter 5

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As this is a reverse Cinderella retelling, I didn’t think that I’d need to have read the rest of the series before diving into this story. I’d originally hoped to read this story in January as another read for the Buzzword Readathon/Reading Challenge, but the copy from my local library wasn’t available until mid to late March. So, I waited until the book was available and enjoyed the read.

While this was a decent story, I wouldn’t really call it a “Cinderella retelling” per say – or even a reverse retelling. While there was a very brief ball scene, the main Cinderella storyline doesn’t really happen in this story. While there’s nothing to say that a retelling has to stay true to the original – in fact, one of my favourite retellings ever is a twisted story that only follows the original bones of the source material – I still prefer the story to clearly pull from the source material.

It felt more like a traditional Historical YA read than a fairy tale retelling to me, but that’s a personal perspective. Historical fiction isn’t my favourite genre – unless it’s got a fantastical twist or is further broken down into the Steampunk subgenre – which also impacted my enjoyment of the story. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why some people would enjoy the historical aspect of this story. I’m just not the intended audience for this story (no matter how much I thought I was going into this read).

It was a cute story if you’re not trying to force it into the confines of a retelling, but I found the side storylines and characters more compelling than the main plot of this story. While I don’t regret reading this story, I don’t know if I’ll bother reading anything else from this series.

That isn’t to say I won’t read more of Dickerson’s works, I will. I enjoyed the writing style of this story immensely. It’s just the specific series that I don’t think is my speed.

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The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Rating: 3.5/5 stars The Princess and the Fangirl

Length: 320 pages

Series: Once Upon a Con, Book 2

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT, Retelling

Publication date: April 2, 2019

 

Minerva cracks open an eye when she hears us approach. “Ah, so my prodigious progeny returns,” she purrs, although there’s only one prodigious child between us, and it’s not me. “Did you save the world or did you get lost?”

“Both?” I glance at Milo.

“Both,” he agrees.

“Both is good,” we say together.

(Ch. 4 (Imogen), p. 43)

Imogen Lovelace is your typical fangirl on a mission to save her favourite character from being killed off. The problem is the actress playing her doesn’t want to reprise her role. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, Jessica Stone will consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. Yet when the script for the Starfield sequel gets leaked, all signs point to Jess and she must turn to Imogen to find the person responsible. As these “princesses” race to find the script leaker, they need to learn how to rescue themselves from their own expectations and learn what it means to live happily ever after.

 


 

My first thought when I started reading this book was that Geekerella could have lived forever as a standalone and I would’ve been happy. I’m more than happy to say that Poston changed my mind on this and I found myself enjoying this read. Sure I didn’t love it as much as I adored Geekerella when it first came out, but I’m always happy to fangirl with others. Since Anime North – the convention in Toronto, Ontario I go to every year with my best friend – was cancelled this year due to quarantine, I gladly jumped into this fantastical convention in its place.

I knew I was going into this read with a favourite retelling of The Prince and the Pauper so I tried not to judge this read too harshly. (If you’re curious, yes Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper is still the best retelling of this story to be made.) I’ll be the first to admit that I couldn’t help but compare the two retellings from time to time, though I tried not to let this taint my experience in this story.

Overall I found The Princess and the Fangirl to be an enjoyable read. It’s not the most poetic or scholarly read I’ve ever read, but it doesn’t try to be. This book promises a fun read with a lot of nerdy stuff thrown into the mix and that’s exactly what it delivers. If you go into this read expecting a fun, nerdy read you won’t be disappointed.

This book covers a wide variety of fandoms and I was excited to see one of – if not my top – favourite fandoms represented throughout this story. If you’ve read the story and are wondering who that character with the umbrella is that’s mentioned, I would highly recommend you check out The Adventure Zone by the McElroy family. This is my favourite podcast of all time (but all of their podcasts are great) and so far two graphic novels have been released based on the events of this story – Here There Be Gerblins (review here) and Murder on the Rockport Limited (review here). I was absolutely thrilled to find all the hidden nods to this series thrown in.

In fact, my favourite nods to fandoms were the ones that Poston threw in subtly. While most of the fandoms were simply mentioned – Harry Potter, Yu Gi Oh!, etc – it was nice to see more subtle nods in the story. That being said, I would have loved a list of fandoms to be at the end of the book. The nerd in me would love to have seen the list and given the chance to go through the book as a sort of scavenger hunt of nerdom.

I could continue to gush forever about the fandoms mentioned in this story, but that’s not the main point of this story. If you know the story of The Prince and the Pauper then you know the bare bones of this story. The characters and the meat of the story are what make it unique.

I believe that Poston did a great job at making this story its own. It stands apart from the other retellings of this story I’ve read – not only because it’s a modern retelling or because it’s got a nerdy twist to it, either. Poston put life into this story and made it her own.

 


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Stain by A.G. Howard

Rating: 5/5 stars Stain.jpg

Pages: 516

Series: N/A

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Romance

Publication date: January 15, 2019

 

Scorch trotted up and snuffed her fuzzed head. He then sat on his hindquarters to gawk at her. “Humans are strange creatures. Moved to tears by emotions. Moved to laughter by physical exertion. And you, tiny trifling thing, are the strangest of all.”

(Ch. 17, p. 265)

Lyra, a princess incapable of speech or sound, finds herself cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt. Saved by a witch who steals her memories and raises her in an enchanted forest, Lyra is disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, the prince of thorns and night is dying. The only way for him to break the curse is to marry the princess of daylight as she is his true equal. But while Lyra is finding her way back to her identity, an impostor princess appears to steal her prince and crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice and strong enough to pass a series of tests.

I have yet to read an A.G. Howard novel that I didn’t love, and Stain is no exception. This novel brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion, yet at other times make me laugh out loud. I fell in love with the characters and felt heartbreak when they did.

While I won’t go too in depth on the subject because it would be considered a pretty big spoiler, there were two characters in this story that held my heart in their hands. I was instantly in love with them and wanted nothing but the best for each. Both of these characters sacrificed so much in order to bring the two kingdoms together and both of them managed to pull tears from me. While both challenging at times, they were two of the sweetest and most caring creatures I’ve ever had the pleasure to spend time with. I look forward to doing it all over again the next time I pick up this book.

Lyra goes through unprecedented challenges in her world, all to prove that she’s worthy – and all without knowing that she’s doing it. She must prove that she’s tough enough to sleep on a bed of nails and loud enough to be heard without a voice. Born a rose and stripped of her thorns, Lyra proves time and time again that though she might have been stripped of everything she’s ever known she’s still a strong spirit that won’t be broken.

While I found this book to be slow at times, every word is worth it. Those slow moments sometimes held the most important clues and only looking back on them did I see how truly impactful the scenes were. Howard is amazing with words and I look forward to reading anything else she writes.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in twisted retellings of fairy tales. Stain is an amazing retelling of the Princess and the Pea, all while being twisted into something almost unrecognizable. Almost, but not quite. The unique spin on this classic tale is one of the things I loved most about it. And if you love this read, I highly recommend reading Howard’s other novels as well.

One of the things I love so much about Howard’s novels is that they’re so great to jump back into time and time again. Having first been introduced to her works through Splintered in high school, I can honestly say that I adore going back and reading everything I have by Howard. I’ll be here, shielding my heart for the emotional turmoil within Stain, until I’m again able to jump into this story and feel the emotions packed into its pages.

 


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