Book Review: Enigma In Time

Here is the review for the second graphic novel sent to us by Bad Aura. This one was called Enigma In Time by Chris Kostecka.

20190116_214001_hdr-522293197.jpg

Synopsis: A speck, the size of a drop of blood, driven mad by eons of silence, filled with unimaginable power senses its missing piece on earth. It finds this essence inside an unimaginably cruel human named Gordon. It sets off toward earth traveling across the universe destroying many planets, solar systems, and civilizations along the way.

Meanwhile, on earth, Neal, a seemingly ordinary boy witnesses the suicide of his father and is traumatized by this unexpected act. A frightening man in a red shirt stands over his father’s crushed body. 

Years later Neal is adopted by a loving family and his life changes for the better.

Eventually, the speck arrives at earth. Gaea, the earth’s sworn protector, is quickly overwhelmed by the speck and its power; in the last ditch effort to save the earth she merges with the speck empowering it with a conscience. Gaea redirects it from Gordon into Neal. Enigma in Time is a story about something that should not exist but does. It is a story about Set’s rebirth.

This was quite an interesting comic book. It was kind of an origin story but then kind of not at the same time. The main character Neal keeps going in and out of time (at least I am presuming that is what is happening) throughout his life growing up.  Sometimes he is in his bedroom then all of a sudden he is in medieval times.

Many events happen throught Neal’s life that are traumatic and he plays the part of a hero in a lot of them. He has this force inside of him that is always there and he can feel it but can’t access it.

The girl/woman he loves is also experiencing this time traveling which makes me curious to know if the two of them are tangled in the same time web and if they will come to play a more prominent part in each other’s stories.

I enjoyed the graphic novel overall but I wouldn’t say it was one of my favorites. The storyline gets a little confusing at times and the dialogue is very straight forward. That being said, I would be interested to see what happens in future issues as the ending insinuated that there would be more to come.

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy this book on the Bad Aura website.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format by Bad Aura to read and give an honest review.

Purium©

Advertisements

Book Review: Hippo Ocracy

Welcome back to the blog, bookies. We have a new review for a graphic novel called Hippo Ocracy by a company called Bad Aura. They sent us two graphic novels (the other will be reviewed tomorrow) and we are more than happy because graphic novels are the best.

20190115_202409_hdr1811867661.jpg

Synopsis: Khipo leads the hippo kingdom with his energetic blonde hair, political savvy, and lackadaisical demeanor. Along with his rhino wife Ronda and their half-breed, pacifier sucking son Rhipo they rule with total devotion from their subjects.  Watch the insanity within his kingdom unfold as elephant royalty visits, and enemies from the past threaten to destabilize everything. All along the way, you will be introduced to fantastic over the top characters and subplots. Will the hippo’s triumph over their enemies?

Honestly, this graphic novel was hilarious. Yes, it may have been a very simple storyline that didn’t have much substance to it but it was very creative in the way it portrayed many huge media references. Such references include:

  • the hippos building a wall to keep the crocodiles out (Trump’s wall)
  • A reporter showing up during the battle called Clark Potamus (even had the classic hair swirl that Clark Kent aka Superman has)
  • The enemy crocodile leader wearing crocs to battle (this was just funny)

The hilarity even went as far as a zebra being a referee due to its obvious colors. He then gets mad and uses beavers as chainsaws to wreak havoc on the battlefield. I was laughing out loud while reading this and kept snorting while enjoying this lovable, slightly ridiculous, fun comic book. It really reminded me of Happy Tree Friends.

I would recommend this comic book to literally everyone because it gave me about 20 minutes of complete entertainment. It is a very quick read.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can find this book on the Bad Aura website!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us by Bad Aura in physical format to read and give an honest review.

Purium - Shop Now!

Book Review: OtherEarth by Jason Segel

Hey bookworms! We are starting off the year of 2019 strong with our third book done and coming your way. This one was called OtherEarth by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller and is the sequel to Otherworld which I reviewed not long ago. Needless to say, I loved the first book so much that I went out and bought the sequel immediately afterward.

Synopsis: Simon saved his best friend, Kat, from the clutches of the Company and their high-tech VR gaming experience, Otherworld. But it was at a steep price. Now he, Kat, and their friend Busara are on the run. They know too much. About the Company’s dark secrets. About the real-life consequences of playing Otherworld. And about Kat’s stepfather’s involvement in everything. The group is headed to New Mexico to find Simon’s old roommate, who is a tech genius and possibly the only person who can help them reveal the truth about the Company before it’s too late and the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy is erased… forever.

Dare I say that this book was better than the first one! Oh, I dare. I read this one in about a week because I had to set aside other time to work and get back into the routine of the daily grind.

We get right back into the story where it left off with Simon, Kat, and Busara as they are on the run from the Company. The effort to bring down this company is draining the characters as they struggle to keep ahead of getting caught while trying to hatch a masterplan to bring an end to this madness that they are caught up in.

There are so many new characters introduced in this book. My favorite being Simon’s friend Elvis. He is super techy/nerdy which is relatable. He is also very awkward at flirting and it makes for some very entertaining scenes.

I just love the unpredictability of this book. There were parts where I would think I knew what was coming but would be totally off and that makes for an even better read in my opinion because I couldn’t figure it out so easily. Once again, I will avoid saying any spoilers because I don’t want to ruin anything. That just means that you should read this series so we can talk about it!

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a little YA sci-fi action to keep you going through the weekend (or weekdays, really anytime you want).

Book Rating: 5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

We made a Patreon page if you wish to support us in our blogging efforts! You can check out our page at:

 https://www.patreon.com/breakevenbooks

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money and read/reviewed it because I wanted to.

GeekBuying.com

Book review: The Mighty Thor – Lord of Asgard

Bookworms! I read a graphic novel as a little in between books break because we all need those every once and awhile. This one was called The Mighty Thor – Lord of Asgard by Dan Jurgens and Joe Bennett. This graphic novel collected Thor (1998) #44-50.

20190106_140206_hdr1422365305.jpg

Synopsis: Thor is called upon to fulfill his father’s legacy as lord and master of the Eternal Realm—leaving Earth’ protection in the hands of the untested Tarene! But an old foe of the Thunder God has embarked on a quest for immortality, one that may spell the end of both Midgard’s fledgling guardian and Thor’s new reign! And then it’s Thor, Lord of Asgard vs. Desak, Destroyer of Pantheons!

This review will be short and sweet because well it was a graphic novel so there is not much to say about it. I enjoy Thor as a hero but I must say that I prefer his brother Loki. He is very cunning and entertaining as he will always throw a loop into Thor’s plans which keeps the storyline flowing.

I feel like there could have been a bit more action and less narration in this comic but overall it was set up for future issues so that is understandable. The art was pretty great! I always marvel at the art in comic books. This style of art is what inspired me to go to school for Graphic Design so thank you Marvel (and all the other comic publishers out there ;P).

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Goodreads!

Disclaimer: I bought this book at a comic book shop for an amazing discounted rate and read it because I wanted to.

Fusion Belts

Book Review: Body Swap

Another day, another review! This book was called Body Swap by Sylvia McNicoll and it was sent to us by Dundurn Press to read and give our honest review.

20181231_120415_hdr1747102971.jpg

Synopsis: A fatal collision — who’s to blame? Two bodies, two souls switch in search of justice.

When fifteen-year-old Hallie gets knocked flying by a Hurricane SUV, her life ends without her ever having kissed a boy. At an otherworldly carnival, she meets and argues with the eighty-two-year-old driver, Susan. Both return to life, only with one catch — they’ve swapped bodies.

Now Hallie has wrinkled skin and achy joints while Susan deals with a forehead zit and a crush on a guy who’s a player. Hallie faces a life in a long-term care residence. Susan gets picked up for shoplifting.

As they struggle with technology, medications, and each other’s fashion foibles, they start to understand and maybe even like each other. But can they work together to prove that a defect in the Hurricane caused the deadly crash? Or will their time run out?

This book was pretty good. It gave me huge Freaky Friday vibes except with older and younger characters. I think that Hallie and Susan were not fans of each other off the start and I mean who can blame them considering they both ended up in this purgatory-like place because of the accident they were in with each other. Also, it was set in Burlington, Ontario which is in Canada so that is a plus for me as a Canadian book blogger :).

As the story continues, they are forced to learn and grow together as they try and find a way to get their bodies back. Susan doesn’t always want to go back to her old, brittle body but wants what is best for Hallie because she is a kind and caring woman. Hallie learns what it is like to be an elderly person and how they can be treated with little to no respect at times.

A big part of this book is about spending more time with the people around you and less time on our devices. I can honestly say that when I was reading this book, I spent very little time on my phone as I couldn’t peel away from the book.

Hardeep’s character was great. He was the depiction of a young boy who is in love for the first time and will do anything for the girl of his dreams. It made me remember how it was like to feel that way at such a young age. He was such a gentleman compared to Chael (“the player”).

I would recommend this book to anyone who liked YA fiction and enjoyed the Freaky Friday movie.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon or Dundurn Press and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format by Dundurn Press to read and give an honest review.

Purium©

Book Review: Unsavory Delicacies

We have Sara’s first review of the new year ready to share with you. This was the second book in a series that she started in 2018. Let’s see what she had to say about it.

*Also check out her Etsy store Adorkable Lil Crafties to see what she makes in her spare time*

10997415

Synopsis: Rogues, Russians, Revenge…The Ingredients of a Three Course Meal.

Crème Brûlée

Rogue operative, Monique Beauvais, cons a software genius into selling her a coveted technology that would allow its user to control CIA drones while they’re in flight. And she will go as far as killing him in public in order to have it.

To the Last Bite

A renowned food critic–whose scathing reviews have closed down restaurants–gets a savoury surprise.

Shashlyk and Morezhenoe

CIA operative, Ridley Fox, leads a team against one of Russia’s most powerful crime families. He discovers secrets, but not one that he was expecting to find.

Three stories with three consequences. All containing three Unsavory Delicacies.

This collection of three short stories follow Ridley Fox, a spy operative we were introduced to in Brooks’ first novel. Mostly.

SPOILER HERE
In the first short, we have an agent attempting to kill her supplier for some tech, only to discover that the supplier is actually Fox in disguise, and takes down the agent in her own apartment.

In the second short, a food critic is killed by a chef whose food he actually enjoys, for stealing his girlfriend and giving him a terrible review in the past. No sign of Fox in this one, so who knows why this was included in the collection.

In the third, Fox is undercover attempting to find some important files from a Mobster who owns a restaurant. He gets away with it only because he manages to take down one bodyguard which apparently terrifies the Mobster into submission.

I’m not exactly sure what this collection is supposed to be FOR. One of the stories doesn’t include Fox, and none of them include Parris, who is supposedly the other main character. Overall the stories seem like introductions to what could be a more interesting larger story, so maybe they’re a hint of what’s to be in the third book? They also don’t do much to make me like Fox as a character any more than I did after the first book, as he seems to just be an arrogant ass, which might be the point. I personally like at least a couple redeeming qualities in my main narrators, but that might just be me.

I’m interested to see what Brooks will do for the next book, and I hope that it’s a full-length story like Pandora’s Succession. I ALMOST liked that book, and I feel like Brooks has potential as an author if he can use some more original dialogue and plot points. There are some pretty major cliches here that make it feel like you’ve read these ideas in another form already.


Book Rating:
2/5

You can buy the book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.

Shop YelloowBeauty.com now!

Book Review: Foe by Iain Reid

Wow. Just wow. This book was awesome! Hey bookworms, I have another review to share with you. This one is called Foe by Iain Red. and was sent to me by NetGalley for review.

37510662

Synopsis: In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won’t have a chance to miss him, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company.

It would be classified as a sci-fi psychological thriller? It’s Iain Reid. His books for lack of a better word f**k with your head but in a good way that keeps you drawn into the story and wanting more.

I figured out the twist pretty quickly but read the entire story to get the satisfaction that I was right. It was like unpeeling an onion layer by layer and unveiling each new part to the story that gave you just a little bit more.

The character development was wonderful. The main characters become so engrossed in their lives together yet are so far apart from each other at the same time. They get set in routine but don’t actually realize what the other is feeling.

If you don’t want to know any more, go buy this book! But below I will reveal a spoiler so don’t read it if you don’t want to know the end.

SPOILER BEGINNING

SPOILER HERE - READ AT YOUR OWN RISK

So I knew right from the beginning that Junior wasn’t human due to the fact that when he spoke, there were no parentheses around his words. None the less, I was still engrossed in his character development and loved learning about the Installation and where the real Junior has been all along.

I also love that Henrietta actually left the real Junior at the end to make a life for herself that was her own and where she wasn’t expected to be at Junior’s beck and call. The fact that Junior couldn’t tell the difference between real Hen and a fake shows a lot about his personality and his connection or lack thereof with the real Hen.

SPOILER END

This book is a must-read recommendation from me! I want to talk about it with others and hear their opinions. If you have read the book, leave a comment below about what you thought.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format from NetGalley to read and give an honest review.

GeekBuying.com

Book Review: Provider​ Prime

More fantastic reviews from our external reviewer Chris Connors! This one was called Provider Prime: Alien Legacy by John Vassar.

36641578

Synopsis: Earth has endured world wars, global famine and the near-collapse of civilization. It has always survived. But it has never seen anything like this…

After a century of peace, world security is under attack from an entity with incredible power and intelligence. Something that has remained hidden within the Populus for decades. Something malevolent.

Facing impossible odds, one man is caught in a race against time to find and eliminate the threat. Earth’s all-powerful AIs, the SenANNs, offer hope but have their own agenda for the future of mankind. As an alien starship appears on the outskirts of the solar system, the loyalty of the most advanced machine minds the world has ever known will be tested.

In the final reckoning, with the future of humanity at stake, the SenANNs themselves will hold the balance of power.

Will they stand with the human race or assist in its subjugation?

An expletive might be appropriate here, but I’ll settle for, “oh boy, this book was good!” I admire anyone who has taken the time to write a book, even if it isn’t all that good, because, by gum, they sat down and wrote a friggin’ book! How awesome is that?! Then you get an author who not only has written a book but has done it so well you wouldn’t know that there was no professional publishing house behind him.

For the most part, this book was difficult to put down at bedtime. It wasn’t just good in terms of the storyline, but good in terms of writing, both creative and technical. If there were any spelling errors or major grammar mistakes I missed them. I thought I spotted an incorrect comma placement right near the beginning, but that’s probably po-ta-toe vs po-taw-toe scenario; and I was so involved in the story right from page one I didn’t even slow down to check. The attention to detail needed for this level of technical writing is something you expect from a professional editor—my reviews have more grammatical errors in them than this entire book (I’m pretty good at spotting errors in my own work but only after they’ve gone online or been sent out to a client).

Set about 2 centuries in the future, Earth’s scientific knowledge has leaped forward since the time of the Great Famine when several billion people died and humanity was in danger of extinction. Space flight, orbital living quarters, AI, Moon and Mars colonies are thriving, and crime rates are at a manageable level. People are beginning to exhibit signs of telepathy or empathic connections, something that is viewed with a bit of suspicion, but doesn’t stray into us vs them X-men territory; instead, it plays a background part that adds to the storyline rather than be the storyline.

Part of the story blurb from Amazon states, “After a century of peace, world security is under attack from an entity with incredible power and intelligence. Something that has remained hidden within the Populus for decades. Something malevolent.

Facing impossible odds, ex-FedStat agent Lee Mitchell is caught in a race against time to find and eliminate the threat. Earth’s all-powerful AIs, the SenANNs, offer hope but have their own agenda for the future of mankind. They also have plans for Mitchell which will make him question what it is to be human.”

It won’t come as a spoiler, given the sub-title of the book, that aliens are involved, but at first, you don’t know why they’re here—to aid or to subjugate?

One thing, of many, that I liked is the author doesn’t explain all the terms— he doesn’t spoon-feed you like some authors (you know who you are) who seem to have a low opinion of their readers’ intelligence.

In real life we don’t explain all our acronyms or terms or how things work to people we talk to, but use them with the understanding that they also know these shortcut terms or how things work: MTO, OPP, coppers, 9-1-1, tweakers, NFL, change the spark plugs, electoral processes, and on it goes. Vassar’s technique feels much more “realistic” than having characters explain things for the sake of the reading audience that should be obvious to the other characters in the book.

baby

Did your pilot just explain pilot acronyms to another pilot?

With Vassar, the reading audience can pick up what is meant within a few pages of seeing the terms used in context. His well-done technique kept me turning pages; I wasn’t pulled out of the story, which happens when some character explains what should be obvious to those around him. I feel this type of writing technique is under-appreciated by many readers because the story flows so smoothly they don’t recognize why it flows that way.

He also manages not to veer into William Gibson territory who has taken “aggravatingly obtuse” to a whole new level; Gibson is brilliant, but avoid going on Gibson reading binge if you want to maintain your love of reading.

The pacing of the Vassar’s story also kept me turning pages. Things did slow down a bit near the end, strangely enough, when the alien spaceship finally shows up—it was still interesting though. As well, there were a couple of items that didn’t seem to fit into the story—it wasn’t fully explained why an agent’s communication node failure was integral to the story nor why it had to malfunction; far as I could tell it wasn’t necessary as that storyline could have been fulfilled using devices that are already in place.

There is also a couple of near Deus ex Machina used to extricate characters out of tight situations near the end (one technological, one convenient telepathic intervention); it felt like cheating to me. If you don’t know what Deus ex Machina is, don’t look it up—it’ll ruin Star Trek for you forever.

startrek

“Don’t look, you’ll be ok, this will be the last Deus ex Machina device for this week, ahhh.. I mean season”.

And, I thought the love interest wasn’t developed well at all—Mitchell just meets this person yet they’re deeply in love. Yes, they both are latent telepaths, but the story didn’t explore how this brought them towards deep love. The love interest felt tacked on to give Mitchell more motivation for continuing on against some good-sized odds.

But those are minor quibbles. The line “We are the same. But we are different” (see front piece picture) is a recurring theme in the book, which ties things together. It is especially put to good use at the end of the story where the words “We are the same” take on new meaning, which gave me a happy chill. The universe Vassar has created felt realistic, creatively done, and was clever, which is fitting considering his writing was the same way.

The ending does leave room for further books in this universe. It also could end right there, as it was fairly satisfying and leaves it to the reader to imagine what might happen next. If Vassar does continue with this universe I’ll buy those books. Personally, I want to know how Mitchell’s life continues as all he knows now will completely change how he sees life. Vassar has demonstrated that his writing is comparable with some well-known authors, and I thought it was better writing than some big names (you still listening, Dean?).

For just the technical prowess alone I’d give 6/5 stars if there were such a thing. For storyline, creative writing, imagination, well-developed universe, definitely a 5/5 star book, and then some!

Book Rating: 5/5

You can buy the book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format by the author to read and give an honest review.

GeekBuying.com

Book Review: The Ambassador Of What

Bookworms! I am super excited to share this review of The Ambassador Of What by Adrian Michael Kelly. This book was sent to me by an amazing publishing company called ECW Press as part of a blog collaboration I reached out to them about doing.

Publishers Weekly recognizes ECW Press as one of the most diversified independent publishers in North America. ECW Press has published close to 1,000 books that are distributed throughout the English-speaking world and translated into dozens of languages.

Synopsis: Slogging through the miles of a city marathon, an eleven-year-old boy encounters small miracles; about to marry one of her patients in a home for the elderly, a nurse asks her estranged son to come to the wedding and give her away; home from university, a young man has Christmas dinner with his hard-up dad in a bistro behind a rural gas bar. Men and boys and maleness, money and its lack, the long haunt of childhood, marriage and divorce — these lie at the heart of The Ambassador of What. Driven by an ear for how we talk, how we feel, how we fail, and how we love, these are tough and tender stories that take hold, and linger.

Honestly, this book was brilliant. It was so real and showed the sides of a family in all their great times and all their struggles. No family is ever perfect and it was refreshing to see that portrayed in these storylines.

The book was completely set in Canada (primarily Ontario) which I loved because this is where I live. I am in North Bay but the book referenced Toronto, Kingston, Sudbury and then other small towns in Ontario. Books that are set in my home country always resonate with me. It’s amazing to have attention being drawn to your home; the place where you have grown and created stories and memories in your lifetime.

It isn’t too long either so it keeps you interested from start to finish. The last part was about a father and son going fishing and it was so similar to how I used to go fishing with my dad. They had the same mannerisms in their preparation for the daily catch and what bait they used (frogs on a hook). I was not a fan of the impaling of frogs on a hook as I was a kid and felt bad for the frogs so I tended to use other styles of bait or the old classic worm and a bobble lure. I felt like I was reading my memory straight out of my brain. Then I had a dream about fishing that night that was so vivid, I felt very nostalgic the next day. A book that can bring out this feeling and emotion in me is one you don’t forget so quickly.

Overall, I would suggest picking up this book for a quick, entertaining read that will bring you back to your roots.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy this book on ECW Press and find it on Amazon and Goodreads!

Sidenote: I am running a fundraiser for our local Food Bank in North Bay to raise money and make sure that families will have something to eat over the holidays. You can donate at this link:

https://www.facebook.com/donate/2243695192532823/?fundraiser_source=external_url

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by ECW Press in physical format to read and give an honest review. 

Buy Now

Book Review: Push On – My Walk to Recovery on the Appalachian Trail

Chris Connors has hit us up with another review for the blog! This one is called Push On: My Walk to Recovery on the Appalachian Trail by Niki Rellon.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]

[note: this is a review of the first edition. After I submitted this review, I was forwarded an updated copy of the book in which the new formatting makes for a better reading experience; see notes at the end]

This is a 285-page book about extreme athlete Niki Rellon’s struggle to recover from a horrific accident in Montezuma Canyon, Utah that left her with a missing leg and daily pain. It chronicles her struggle to overcome the doctors’ pessimistic prognosis (she should learn to get used to a wheelchair), her injuries, her pain medication dependency, and her own despair (how was a restless nomadic athlete supposed to adapt to a desk job? Spoiler alert: she didn’t, but you’ll have to read it to find out where her adventures took her—aside from the trail, that is).

“A diamond in the rough” probably sums up this book—and perhaps the author—which has some rough edges that hides its value. A rough diamond can look quite unremarkable, but shows its true value when much of it has been cut away and polished.

The book starts well, but it seems the editor did not see much of the book. There are some mild editing problems in the beginning: three foreshadowing sentences in two pages, a few awkward sentences “I’d never even heard of Paradox Sports, but they’d heard my story from a base jumper who’d been at the same time in that Hospital in Grand Junction I’d been there”, and sentences that belaboured the obvious. One humorous spelling mistake about her brother’s wedding produced a great euphemism I’ll be using now. “Every time I posted something on Facebook about a breakdown, they [her parents]got more and more nervous about me making it to Germany in time for my brothers weeding.

By the middle it was similar to a high-school diary with stream of conscious from present day to past with no coherent narrative, what parties she attended, books and movies read and seen, restaurants visited, and interjections about who was a jerk, who was a creep, who was an angel (angels outnumber creeps and jerks, which itself is uplifting).

The Appalachian Trail part of the book starts on page 122, then there are numerous detours back in time to earlier events, as well as numerous social forays at stopping points along the trail or while she was waiting for infections in her leg to heal or prosthetic repairs. We are treated to what life as an active athlete is like before and after the accident. The detours, though, do not seem to relate to the main narrative, but are more random connections—she sees a dog, she remembers her own childhood’s dog.

One’s heart goes out to Rellon. For example, Rellon gave the nurse her height and weight in metric. The nurse hadn’t even heard of metric. Rellon felt like she’d walked into a Third-World hospital. One can only imagine how she felt upon discovering she was at the mercy of a nurse who had managed to graduate without even being aware of the metric system. What else doesn’t she know? This level of incompetence is stunning—even nurses in Third World hospitals know the metric system as only the US, along with Liberia and Myanamar, still use the antiquated imperial system.

The book is littered with inspirational quotes (I view inspirational quotes the same way Rellon views shrinks—her term, not mine) that are randomly salted throughout chapters without obvious relevance to the topic at hand. They were written in 14-point Algerian font with reddish letters, which jarred me out of the flow that was present in the early chapters. I started skipping over quotes the same way I skip over ads on webpages. Perhaps they’d work better at the top of each new chapter, or if they were placed in an inset box where they fit the topic under discussion.

Another big item that distracted from the narrative were the pictures. They’d been resized without regard for proportions (holding the Shift key down while dragging at the corner of the picture will keep the original proportion while you change the size). As well, faces were marred with bad photoshopping. It is good to value someone’s privacy, but permission to use their faces could be obtained from good friends or Facebook friends; the rest could be gently blurred or pixelated.

matt

Eventually, I had to start skipping over the pictures as I found them cumulatively disturbing. I did not find the pictures of her infected stump disturbing though, just missing faces—other readers’ mileage may vary.

faces

Missing faces are always creepy.

This book is more like a biography as only about half of the book takes place on the trail. An editor would have her change the title to reflect this. Or, an editor would keep the title but have her use the trail as a skeleton for the rest of the story. For example, the book begins with the accident. Later, there is a trail story where she almost dies from hypothermia and gale force winds that knocked her off her feet. This story is told beginning to end which leads to no real suspense. Now, suppose the book opens with that story, talks about how she tries to huddle into a wet sleeping bag thinking, “How did I get here, in the middle of a storm on a mountain, far from help, just months after I was told I’d have to use a wheelchair for most of my life?”—then cut away to the accident, leaving us wondering how she got out of the trail predicament. It’d keep people reading to find out what happened next.

The flawed delivery should not take away from Rellon’s message though. The accident was horrible—rocks always seemed more unforgiving in eastern Utah—and her determination to push on, to recover, to prove the naysayers wrong is motivational.

rocks

Unforgiving rocks. Photo by CC

There is so much potential in this book to be far better. It is an inspirational story, and with some cutting, some polishing, it could easily become the diamond that is already there.

Addendum to the newer edition—now with some polishing.

The new edition’s interior layout looks great. They’ve changed from Cambria font to MinionPro, altered the information and look of the headers, gone from blocky-looking paragraphs to smoother paragraph transitions that let the eye flow naturally along without jumping across white spaces between paragraphs. This appears to be the work of NZGraphics and Nick Zelinger, according to the front piece.

The pictures are higher resolution, and some of the distortion has been corrected too. Compare the two editions below—the one on the left is the updated version.

fixes

Night-and-day difference. Kudos to whoever did this (Nick of NZGraphics.com, and Niki and Jeremy?)

The quotes are also formatted with DancingScript (I think) and delineated with lines above and below the quote. I wouldn’t have thought that technique would be effective, but as I read through parts of the book again the quotes no longer jarred me out of my reading rhythm. In both pictures note the changes in paragraph layout to the more eye-pleasing updated version.

fixes2

Quote formatting made a world of difference in presentation and reading

I didn’t see any editing of the words or sentences themselves—I was happy to see her brother was still going to be weeded—but I only compared small sections. Still, even without grammar and typo corrections, the book is greatly improved just by these changes alone; they also added a shark photograph at the end—you can never go wrong with a shark photograph (says the completely unbiased biologist)—well done, folks. A vast improvement, quite reader-friendly, and shows more of the diamond that was hidden.

Book Rating: 3.5/5 stars

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.

Kobo Canada