Advance Review: The Time Collector

★★★☆☆41711272

I have such mixed feelings about this book. I loved the premise and I wanted to love the story, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The Time Collector focuses on a group of gifted individuals known as psychometrists. Psychometrists range in their strength, but all share the ability to discern the past of objects the touch. Our male protagonist, Roan West, is one of the most powerful psychometrists among their small numbers. Roan has become increasingly worried with the disappearances of several psychometrists across the globe, including one of his closest friends. Then arises the problem of Melicent Tilpin.

Melicent is a young woman scraping by as she tries to balance work and raising her teenage brother following their mother’s recent death. She’s also a psychometrist whose powers have newly awakened. After peering into the past of objects found at flea markets and antique swaps, Melicent find herself on Antiques Roadshow where her items are appraised for tens of thousands of dollars and she’s admitted her gift to the world. Upon seeing the video Roan rushes across the country to warn Melicent, hoping she’ll listen.

The greatest triumph of The Time Collector is Gwendolyn Womack’s skill as a writer. This book touches on phenomena like out-of-place artifacts (OOPArts), crop circles, and more as Womack spins a tale that spans all of Earth’s breadth and history. I went in with very little foreknowledge of many of the phenomena she describes, but I never found myself lost in the explanations – the world she creates is easy to slip in to and enjoy. Some of the chapters that I enjoyed most were those where as a character reads an imprint, you are transported back in time. From 18th century Vienna to South Korea on the cusp of The Forgotten War, these periods are captured with incredible realism that drew me in despite their intrusion into the main plot.

So here’s the caveat of all this: I just didn’t like the romantic aspect. I was pulled in by the tension between Melicent and Roan through the first half of their story, but once the romantic tension was dissipated everything seemed to lose momentum. I’m also seldom a fan of stories where two characters are fully in love in a matter of just days. I tried to see past it because there was so much else that I enjoyed, but it ultimately left me feeling a little disappointed as I finished this book. I’m certain The Time Collector will be the perfect read for many people, just not me. Continue reading “Advance Review: The Time Collector”

Advance Review: Today, Tomorrow, Always (Vol. 1)

★★★☆☆44651182

Today, Tomorrow, Always is an anthology of varied short stories. This is this first volume of what will be a continuing series of anthologies showcasing what was billed as “a literary-sci fi-speculative fiction mashup at its finest.” So of course I had to pick this up, right?

All of the stories in this anthology were, at the very least, good. Some were too brief for me, some I couldn’t connect with. The rating for Today, Tomorrow, Always is essentially an average of all the stories contained within it. That being said, the ones that I loved were really brilliant.

Multilinear Memories by Gwen Tolios is one of those hypnotic stories that blurs the timeline of events and possibly the boundary of what is real and what isn’t. I don’t often love ambiguity in stories like this, but Multilinear Memories manages this feat beautifully.

Egg Toast by Elise Thi Tran is both brutal and lovely. Wren Sun-Lee confessed to her long-time boyfriend that she was raped several years ago and boards a train to her attacker’s house, picking up a carton of eggs along the way.

Skylight by Avra Margariti was so charming, I absolutely loved it. A young man discovers that the imaginary boy that he played with as a child was real and slowly befriends the man he spent years believing existed only in his head.

If the description has piqued your interest, it is definitely worth picking it up, but I can’t strongly recommend this for those who aren’t fans of this sort of multi-genre mashup.   Continue reading “Advance Review: Today, Tomorrow, Always (Vol. 1)”

Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer

★★★★★38819868

I’ve read some really kick-ass debuts lately. The Incendiaries was beautiful, Eight Lives was absolutely stellar, and My Sister, the Serial Killer knocked it out of the park.

If you’ve heard about this book, you’ve probably heard it described as “dark” and “funny” a hundred times. Well, it couldn’t be more accurate. Oyinkan Braithwaite has written one of the most twisted, delightful books I’ve read in a long time.

There’s no point in mincing words- Korede’s sister is a serial killer. Two of Ayoola’s previous boyfriends have died while with her, and when her most recent boyfriend turns up dead with a knife wound in his chest, Korede is summoned once again to clean up her sister’s mess. My Sister, the Serial Killer hooks you from the first page and refuses to let go. I think I pried myself away only twice, so I could sleep. The relationships in this book were truly fascinating and I was stuck by how real each character felt- their choices made me cringe, laugh, and shudder as I read on. This is both a brilliant thriller and a witty take on how far one will go in the name of loyalty. Continue reading “Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer”

Review: The Dreamers

★★★★☆34409176

Let me just say it outright: I loved this book. I was pining for weeks before it was gifted to me for Valentine’s Day and I was thrilled to finally begin. I haven’t read Karen Thompson Walker’s first book, The Age of Miracles but it has jumped far up my TBR after this.

In The Dreamers Walker transports you to the cozy town of Santa Lora, California where a mysterious illness descends has descended upon the local college. Told for the perspectives of a several of residents of Santa Lora, The Dreamers is an intimate portrait of a town in crisis.

This is not a fast-paced thriller, but something to bask in. There is a certain magic to the world Walker creates and the delicate way the lives of each character overlaps and intertwines. Even though this book succeeds in giving a full overview of Santa Lora in the midst of an epidemic, I felt like I had enough time to connect with each character and I cared deeply for all of them. No point of view felt unnecessary of wedged in, every life contributed to the story effortlessly. This book is simply mesmerizing. Continue reading “Review: The Dreamers”

Advance Review: Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom

★★★☆☆43837351

Kelly Thompson has brought new life to this well-loved character with her quick, witty graphic novel. I was an occasional mystery lover growing up and though I was never an avid fan, I fondly recall the Nancy Drew books I took from my elementary school library. I enjoyed the reintroduction to familiar characters (including The Hardy Boys!) and how Thompson portrays them in their late teen years.

The story begins with the midst of her hi-jinks, finishing up a mystery involving the disappearance of her school’s mascot. As Nancy begins searching for her next case, she is suddenly drawn back to her hometown by a mysterious letter relating to the death of her mother. Back in Bayport, Nancy reunites with her old friends and rallies the group to aid her investigation.

The artwork throughout the entire graphic novel is gorgeous, I’m a huge fan of Jess St. Onge’s style. The story is filled with interesting twists and a diverse cast of characters. Though the plot didn’t completely thrill me, I was definitely hooked by the cliffhanger and I will be looking forward to the next installment. Continue reading “Advance Review: Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom”