Multilingual Previews, Reviews, Interviews & Point of Views...of/for/with/about various products, movies, books, people, things & events...

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Release - Mechanica (Betsy Cornwell)

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Clarion Books

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home. 

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Creating Monsters (Novel Review)


A psychedelic adventure set in a city on the verge of disaster.

In modern Philadelphia, where a deep economic depression has left the city near collapse and most of its inhabitants in gruesome poverty, Mitchell Gray, a twenty-year-old graduate student in a beleaguered university physics department, spends most of his time playing piano and touring the city’s worst slums in stolen cars. He is a technical virtuoso whose scientific ideas challenge the foundations of his field but he lives in hiding from one of the world's most powerful billionaires, a man obsessed with the quiet Mitchell and determined to capitalize on his strange inventions.

When Mitchell falls in love with an older woman, the wife of a wealthy pharmaceutical executive, their relationship inspires him with a mad plan use his creations to change the world. With the help of a brilliant and neurotic chemistry student named Charlie Nolan and technology so advanced that it resembles magic, Mitchell devises horrifying yet harmless schemes and supernatural hoaxes, causing an uproar in the city.

His nights as a modern day robin hood also raise the alarm of some of the real monsters in Philadelphia, including a mysterious child murderer rumored to possess supernatural powers, known only as "The Demon." Christopher Rankin's debut novel is a haunting story of love, friendship and survival in a world of revolution.



A very dark, enigmatic story that explores the familiar themes of despair, anger, and revenge, Creating Monsters is a book that is hard to put down. If you had the intelligence and ability to exact revenge, would you? The main character is thoughtful and insightful, but allowed himself and his talents to be manipulated in ways he didn't approve. Along the way to revenge, monsters are created all around him: some by his doing, some by circumstance. In the end, when he steps back to view the whole picture, what has he really accomplished? 

The storytelling is exquisite. Word choices and ease of phrasing lull the reader into this dream-like world. The haze over the city is a great metaphor for the lack of clarity most of us have for what is happening around us. At times, imagery reminded me of the dark Batman movies. 

There are other common themes in this book: vigilantism, love, losing one's parents, young scientists in a lab... Many readers can enjoy this story because of their interests in similar genres.

The biggest problem I had with the book was the editing. Many issues of missing punctuation, missing words, incorrect pronouns, homonyms used, spelling errors were throughout the entire book. Normally, this would be quite upsetting to me. However, I enjoyed the story so much, I jumped right over the problems. This may not be the case for all readers. For this book to be great, it needs a thorough editing job. For now, it is very good.

If you are a reader who enjoys dark stories, who likes to read about characters exacting revenge, you enjoy comic book characters who create a new powerful persona to seek justice, or you enjoy futuristic fantasy, please check out this book. It's the author's debut novel, and I'm excited to read more from him! 

Rating - 4/5