It’s 1945, soon after VJ Day. Odessa Shatto, an antiques dealer, is pierced in the side by a prehistoric bone. The next morning she awakens, horrified to see a hideous green slime creeping over her, hardening into a cocoon that quickly entombs her in darkness and leaves her fearing for her life. Each time it happens, she remembers feeling a sense of being thrown hard, as though from the hand of a giant. And the last time, she remembers her trajectory crossing with that of her fiancé, a soldier who has been injured in the Pacific in World War Two. They may think of their paths crossing as a gift, but in reality it will produce agonizing results.
Ruttledge Rosenbaugh, a professor of science devoted to his students at Hensley University, has spent years learning from his mentor, whose mantra was that time travelers are constantly around and unnoticed. But nothing Ruttledge has ever heard or read on time travel prepares him for what he witnesses in his secret laboratory in 1910. After recuperating from the ordeal, he spends years trying to prove the existence of time travel, while a jealous rogue from his past lies in wait, hoping to debunk any time travel theory the professor develops–no matter the cost.
Myth Agent is a time travel tale, woven of the fantastic, and interspersed with traces of historical fiction.
In her third book in the Community Chronicles series, Jenn Lees continues the adventures and perils of a world that is spinning into chaos after a major stock market crash. Set in the year 2061, Saving Time is the story of brave Scotsman and his companions who risk their lives to save Scotland from nuclear destruction. In a world where the government has deserted its people and bandits are always a threat, the story’s hero must take matters into his own hands even if that means risking a trip back in time to get the information he needs. Through her story of loyalty and betrayal, Lees shows readers the meaning of self-sacrifice for the betterment of all.
Although the book starts off a bit slow, I found the story line increasingly compelling as the book progressed. The topics of love, time travel, and impending worldly destruction that run throughout the book are ones that are likely to appeal to the reader and keep their interest. In terms of grammar, flow, and ease of reading, the book was well written and enjoyable.
I felt like the time travel part of the book was not as compelling as it could have been. It didn’t seem integral to the plot. The reasoning for traveling to the past seemed vague, especially when the information that the characters acquired from this journey was ultimately unnecessary in dealing with the nuclear threat. I thought that the surprise assistance that showed up for the ultimate resolution of the threat seemed coincidental and made the original plan seem unnecessary.
The characters were interesting and well developed. When they make their way through 21st century England, I enjoyed the outsiders perspective, but would have enjoyed a deeper contrast. Rory and Siobhan’s relationship reflects that kind of contrast and I savored the experience of watching the slow development of their characters.
Overall I thought the book was enjoyable, particularly after reaching the second half where the story really picks up speed. This would be well suited for anyone looking for post apocalyptic fiction with a time travel twist.
Pages: 255 | ASIN: B07PWYVYJC
High Flying follows stunt pilot Skylar when she’s flung back in time and has a chance to investigate her origins. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
I have always loved time travel stories and have been intrigued by the idea of changing our personal history if given the chance. Our parents have a great deal to do with who we are as individuals but sometimes we don’t understand them and knowing about their past lives become a true education and door to our future. In addition, my father worked for United Airlines for years and I remember sitting on his shoulders, watching planes take off from the tarmac at LAX. I’ve had the opportunity to virtually fly around the world and the idea of bringing my passions together seemed perfectly natural.
Skylar is a well developed and endearing character. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in her character?
I wanted to creating a troubled young woman who was damaged by the choices her parents made and negatively impacted by the people she’s lost in her life. By being forced to experience her parents’ lives first-hand, she has the opportunity to grow, let go her anger and self hatred, and ultimately discover the compassion she holds inside.
Skylar is orphaned when she was young and she tries to reconcile that throughout the book. What were some driving ideals that were important for you to explore?
I initially wanted to make readers aware of the thought process behind cutting—a troubling behavior that was introduced to me by a dear friend. It is more common that people would like to admit or believe and is becoming a common practice among young girls in our society. Bullying and isolation often leads to this method of dealing with anxiety, as well as physical or mental abuse. Skylar finds her release through martial arts and eventually flying. Her struggles with overcoming the neglect she’s known is what makes her a stronger person and a more endearing character in this story.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on a sci-fi thriller that involves reincarnation and stolen souls. So I guess I’m pushing myself to try genres outside of my comfort level, which has been great fun thus far. I typically write one book a year, so I would watch for this one in 2020!
Skylar Haines has struggled with personal demons most of her life, going to dark extremes to subdue anxieties rooted in her tragic past. On a perpetual hunt for the next adrenaline hit, she discovers a passion for flying and becomes a hard-edged stunt pilot, verging on obsession. In the sky, following her most daring airshow, she encounters a mysterious storm and almost collides with another aircraft, sending her into a perilous dive. Guided by a mysterious voice, she manages a safe landing but finds herself transported to another time.
Eight months before she was born. One week before her father was murdered.
Though baffled by her circumstances, Skylar soon arrives at a single certainty: Before her lies a remarkable chance to change her family’s destiny drastically for the better — or possibly even worse — depending on the choices she makes, before her window of opportunity closes.
High Flying, written by Kaylin McFarren tells the story of Skylar Haines, a talented young pilot. This is a complex story, filled with both suspense, drama and themes of love, the complexities of family, self-harm and sacrifice.
The main character, Skylar has been orphaned – her father died before she was born and her mother died when she was seven years old. She lives with her stern and seemingly uncaring Grandfather. This has left a huge and detrimental impact on her life. The reader is plunged into the pain Skylar is suffering on the very first page, as Skylar retreats into her bathroom with a box cutter. She proceeds to self-harm, sitting desperately alone on her bathroom floor.
Skylar has found some solace in her new passion – flying, in particular stunt planes. Her enthusiasm and passion for flying are evident; as is her feelings for Jake Brennan, describing him as “an artist” in the cockpit. This new-found happiness proves to be short lived, as she flies into a storm when performing with Jake at an air show. After colliding with another plane she is transported back in time, where she is able to witness the poor choices her parents made that have led to her current life.
High Flying switches between modern day Nevada (2013 and 2018) and back in time to before Skylar was born. The story is however, predominantly set back in time – eight months before she was born, twenty-one years ago. I enjoyed the description of the town, in both the past and present, it was vivid and convincing.
The plot is generally easy to follow and logical. The plot is otherwise grounded and believable, other than the time travel bit. But the ending makes up for this by being quite believable and realistic.
Most of the characters are well developed. Their body language and vocabulary help discriminate between characters. We meet many characters when Skylar travels back in time, the ones that link to her present life are easy to follow but the addition of many other characters can be difficult to follow. But I truly enjoyed the relationships between the main characters and found the tension between the two both engrossing and believable. But some of the minor characters and their relationships are not quite as well developed.
Overall the story is engaging and entertaining. I highly recommend it.
Pages: 277 | ASIN: B07QYH3CD4
Stolen Time is a thrilling time travel romance story following Caitlin and Scott who must survive the collapse of the world they knew. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
Inspiration for this story’s setting came from the questions ‘What if the stock market crashes but doesn’t recover? What kind of world would we have then?’ I imagined a stock market fall similar to 2008, only worse, because in this one, the world economies never recover. Jobs, wealth, businesses, homes etc are lost. Weak governments mishandle situations and the general populace revolt. Opportunists loot and terrorize. Goods are in short supply, services, such as medical care, become hard-pressed, infrastructure collapses, law and order are harder to maintain, power sources and supplies are fractured, and the world spirals down into further violence and anarchy, poverty, and disease. That is a very brief summary of world events as I imagine they may unfold. To survive, people either go underground, as some governments eventually do, or start self-sufficient communities, or roam in packs.
What if someone who had lived through this chaos came back to live it again, but this time, to mentor someone while navigating them through it?
I loved following Caitlin and Scott’s relationship and watching it develop. What were some themes you felt were important to capture in their characters?
I wanted to share the journey of a young woman who had no idea of her potential and the important influence she would eventually have on society.
We all are capable of great things but are often oblivious to the possibilities.
Caitlin was used to a life of ease, only suffering the usual ‘first-world problems’. Suddenly her comforts and securities are taken from her. How does she adapt and what inner strengths are drawn out and developed as Scott mentors her?
With the time travel element and Scott coming from a Caitlin of the future, I enjoyed (and I hope the readers do too) trying to answer the question of ‘who mentored whom?’.
I wanted to explore what true love is; to show how much one person can love another. What they would risk to be with them, even if the risk was that they didn’t fall in love with them this time. Is it possible to love someone in a different phase of their lives and, indeed, are they the same person? And how much do we really love the people we say we do? What would we do to keep them safe, even if that meant we were not?
Stolen Time is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a science fiction and romance. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
I didn’t start with a particular genre in mind. I knew the questions I asked regarding a sudden, worldwide economic decline would place the story in a dystopian world, but not one of post nuclear annihilation. I was sure it would have romantic elements as the story itself started with a dream where someone was coming to take my character to safety because of the impending disaster. That sparked the question of a love interest.
But then, as happens in some stories, the characters took over and I found it hard to keep up. So yes, it was organic in its genre-crossing but most of my stories are. At present I’m working on an interworld fantasy series where the characters go back and forth from our world (present day) to a world of warriors, high kings and mages (not our world nor our history). So, it isn’t just contemporary or only fantasy. I find it difficult to write stories confined to just one genre.
This is book two in the Community Chronicles. What can readers expect in book three in the series, Saving Time?
Saving Time is mostly set in this possible-future Scotland, eight months after the future section of the Stolen Time story. Caitlin and Scott Campbell’s son, Rory (who we met in Stolen Time), is now a leader of the Invercharing Community’s Militia. We see more of the community system lifestyle. Siobhan, who has grown up in the Scottish Government’s under-ground Bunker since the crash, is a nuclear physicist who heads a team to find a solution to the problem of a radiation leak coming from a submarine in a sea loch in the far north of Scotland, near to Rory’s community. These two survivor-groups have to co-operate to save Scotland. There’s a lot more action, time travel is involved and, of course, a romance between two gutsy heroes.
Restoring Time Community Chronicles Book 4 is on the way.
When the stock market crashes, banks close, homes are repossessed, and jobs are lost as the world descends into a dystopian chaos, young Scottish nurse, Caitlin Murray cannot escape the madness. Her future had been bright, but now survival is her number-one priority.
During the ensuing violence a military-type stranger, Scott Campbell, rescues her. Caitlin is perturbed because he knows so much about her… and her apparent destiny.
Can Caitlin trust Scott who seems to be the only safe option in the violent turmoil? Should she stay with him and believe his outlandish claims of time travel and her fate as a leader in a very different world?
But is Scott telling Caitlin the whole truth?
If only she knew the future.
Time Framed follows two family members battling across generations to avoid the consequences of a family curse. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
In 2002 I published the novel Mean Spirits which introduced the Pennfield family curse. The story follows the curse from the Mayflower through several generations and then ends with the downfall of Prof. Christopher Pennfield, once a highly respected professor of Philosophy, but now shamed for causing the suicide of his research assistant, a student with whom he was having an affair (and was the contemporary agent of the curse). The Epilogue of the book, takes place in 2052 when another descendant of the Pennfield family, Jimmy Mashimoto-Pennfield, an industrialist-genius, is contemplating how he, himself, can avoid the curse. He figures that if he can change the past a bit, he can throw off the timing of the curse so that he avoids it in the 2050s. So, in effect, Time Framed begins where Mean Spirits left off (but don’t worry, you don’t have to read Mean Spirits before Time Framed; the back story is thoroughly covered!)
Your characters are compelling and well developed. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating them?
Certainly, one of the main themes is about greed and privilege. On the surface, The Pennfields are a well-respected American family; however, their accomplishments have a dark underbelly of deception, cheating and cruelty. Some of the characters in the book, specifically Christopher, Jimmy Mashimoto-Pennfield and Izan Bonne-Saari, a world renowned financier who uses his control of world financial markets to reshape the world’s governmental order into a caste system heavily favoring the wealthy elite, represent humankind’s proclivity to ego-centrism and narcissism. In fact, Jimmy Mashimoto-Pennfield creates a holographic clone of himself, aptly named Narc, so he can have someone of equal intelligence to converse with. Despite these characters self-centered and greedy natures, Christopher Pennfield realizes he has done wrong is looking to redeem himself which, I think makes him an interesting character. Some of the other characters in the book, Shippy Pennfield, Ed Swann (ghost hunter), Julian Weisman (theoretical physicist) and Dr. Brenda Altieri (nun turned psychiatrist), Derek Fane and Robyn Viega represent the better aspects of humanity.
I thought you handled the use of time travel deftly in this book. Time travel usually comes with its own paradoxes. How did you avoid these in your book?
Yes, indeed, any story about time travel has to deal with what’s called the “grandfather paradox” — suppose you went back in time and killed your grandfather; then you would never exist in the future to be able to go back in time to commit that very act. The only resolution to that paradox is for the universe to split into two parallel universes, one where you exist in the present and the other where you do not. So, in effect, Time Framed becomes the story of two separate universes, one where a certain event happened and one where it didn’t and then how they finally resolve into one universe again. Interestingly, there is no physical time travel in Time Framed. It all centers around the Pennfields using their pre-existing psychic sensitivities to communicate psychically across time and influence the other time period, convincing someone in the past or future to perform an act which appears trivial to them in their time frame but one which causes a major disruption of history.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
It’s not nearly as daunting as writing a book about two parallel universes across space and time, but currently my daughter and I are working on a screenplay that explores the relationship between fame and true talent.
Two periods of time clash with an alternative universe in Time Framed, a story that pits family members against each other across generations as they attempt to evade the dire consequences of a menacing family curse. Dating back to the Mayflower, the curse had its origin as family patriarch, Charles Pennfield, threatened a poor servant girl, causing her to leap to her death off the Cape Cod coast. Now, her unsettled spirit ebbs and flows, surfacing every sixty to eighty years to exact justice as she inhabits a living agent and forces them to crush the greatest ambitions of whatever unlucky Pennfield crosses her path.
Progenie is an interesting book that is slow to start but definitely captures the readers attention as the story progresses into one of the most fascinating plots I’ve read this year. The story is a whirlwind of emotions written that takes place in the past and present. The writing style is uniqeue and the descriptions are vivid and provide details for all of your senses.
The story takes place in both the present day and the ancient past. Each place seemed exotic and realistic as the world building in this story was superb. It seemed as if I was transported to this other world where all these events and story lines were taking place. One of my favorite things is how the story starts off in the present, then goes back in history to clarify certain details.
I wasn’t too crazy about the beginning of the book, mostly because it was slow to build, and compared to the rest of this exciting novel, this felt flat. Once you get past the beginning, the story picks up and things start to fall into place. If you’re confused when reading this book, don’t worry, the author does an excellent job of clearing up the confusion in later parts of the story. And the revelations are satisfying.
There’s very few things I dislike about this book. Even the cover art grabs your attention. I call attention to the title of the book. It’s very clever and unusual. Yet, you can’t help but remember it. Several parts of the book make you feel as if you’re watching a movie rather than reading because the detail and world building are meticulous.
I love Zenobia Grant’s character. I always enjoy a strong female lead in sci-fi stories. Her journey is one of self discovery and that is masterfully shown through the slow development of her character throughout this surreal story. This is a book like no other that I’ve read. Filled with different creatures, in different times, and in different dimensions. This is a surreal adventure that you won’t soon forget.
Pages: 450 | ISBN: 1941637566
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Back in the 1600s, Charles Penfield drove a girl to her death. Since then, her soul roams the world seeking revenge through generations of the same family. She strikes every few decades to cause havoc. This had come to be known as the Pennfield curse.
Decades later in 2053, Jimmy Mashimnoto-Pennfield is well aware of the family curse and is looking for ways to get rid of it. He finds a solution in time travel, something that will not exactly get rid of the curse but will divert it from him. An alternate universe is created and Professor Pennfield catches wind of this. Jimmy’s intentions could make for a direr situation for Shippy so he has to be stopped. Now the Professor remains to fight Jimmy through the time-space continuum.
The characterization in this book is exceptional and sets up some remarkably vivid characters. Each character is bespoke and continues to develop as the story progresses adding layers that make the characters interesting and engaging. Understanding the characters is easy, being that this is a complex time travel sci-fi book, I appreciated this. Jimmy is quite obviously the villain, with his selfish motivations, his character is easy to dislike but still empathize with.
This book is long and complex, but it needs to be in order to dive completely into all the ramifications of meddling with the past. There is a lot going on in this book, time travel, curses, and multiple storylines. At times I got lost, but the author masterfully brings the story together in satisfying ways that kept me engaged. The moment of realization when events in the story comes together and makes sense, for me, was satisfying.
The way the professor and Jimmy try to outwit each other with intelligent and well thought out moves is an engaging experience. They’re each smart and cunning in their own ways and I was entranced watching them clash. This is the same feeling I get when I read Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series; intelligence used as a blade to attack and parry.
Time Framed is a suspenseful book with an absorbing story, an interesting villain, and a relatable underdog. Some parts of the book were hard to follow, but when you catch on, this book is simply addictive.
Pages: 748 | ASIN: B07DN3RNBC
Posted in Five Stars
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If you only read the first few lines of this review, the most important things you should know is that the story being told is both unique and interesting and the writing style is long-winded and full of fascinating detail. The author of this book is clearly adept at delivering a believable scene that has the power to bring readers directly into another world. Readers who read both science-fiction and historical fiction for the sake of reading – that is to say, readers not in any particular hurry to reach the end of the book – will revel in the amount of content delivered in this book.
The plot unfolds over time through the development of three connected story lines, and there is more than enough time for the author to build in strong connections between the story lines that make sense and are believable. The element of time travel is a driving force for the storytelling and it is done with great care. The reader can easily feel when they are exploring Saxon England in the middle of the 11th century and when they are in the present day.
The attention to detail in this book goes beyond what other writers in this genre are able to achieve. The historical accounts throughout the book are rich and the scenes taking place 1000 years ago are clearly laid out. Not only is achieving that level of believability a feat of literary skill, but also displays good historical knowledge. Anyone who reads this book will receive a history lesson, whether they are after one or not.
The detail and depth that Shackleford goes into while taking his readers through this historical fiction/science-fiction novel is something that some might take to be a challenging task but are features that fans of epic fantasy will appreciate. This book is for those who prefer to dig deep and really get into the world of the characters they are reading about. This is, therefore, a book preferred by those who enjoy the journey rather than reaching a destination. Rather fitting, actually, for the type of story that this is.
The character-building is a central focus in the book. While there is not much to make the characters stand out or seem like they are anything other than ordinary individuals put through extra-ordinary situations, Shackleford ensures his readers feel what the characters are going through.
The skill and research that went into creating this story is commendable but not everyone is a fan of meandering prose. While I may be a fan, it will probably take a lot of people by surprise. In either case, this is an exceptional book that I truly enjoyed.
Pages: 431 | ASIN: B07NZ59G8Y
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Stolen Time (Community Chronicles Book Two) by Jenn Lees is a time travel fiction story about a dystopian future. The book begins in the Scottish Highlands in the year 2056, then jumps back to Present Day. After the U.S. Stock Market crash, plunging the world into chaos, Scott Campbell saves Caitlin Murray from a mob, but there’s something strange about him. He acts like he knows her, and he seems to know future events. He claims that he must protect her because she’s needed for her coming role as a great leader. Caitlin thinks he’s crazy, until he proves that everything he’s said is true. Will Scott be able to keep himself and Caitlin alive amid violence and the fall of human society? Or will his act of traveling to the past change everything about the future?
This book has an interesting premise and I enjoyed reading the story. Although it is Book Two in the Community Chronicles, this story can be read without reading the first book. The Glossary of Scottish Words at the end of the book is helpful for readers unfamiliar with some of the terms used by the characters.
The author’s descriptions of the chaos and struggles for immediate survival were vivid and I could picture what Caitlin and Scott were seeing and experiencing as they escaped from Edinburgh. But then the book got bogged down a bit by a slow pace when they hid out in a cabin in the Highlands, while Scott taught Caitlin survival and fighting skills. This section did not hold my interest as well as the rest of the story, when they were in constant danger.
The portions of the story that take place in Present Day were told primarily from Caitlin’s point of view. At the beginning, I felt just as confused as Caitlin since I didn’t have a clear idea of what was going on and I didn’t know why Scott acted like he knew her when she first meets him. It is only later that he tells her the details of their relationship. Once Scott revealed their connection in the future, I would have liked to see more glimpses into his “past” with scenes from his point of view. In either case, this slow build up and reveal was intriguing and, I thought, the best part of the novel.
I liked the interactions between Caitlin and Scott, and I enjoyed the romantic element in the story, which showed a love that spanned across different timelines. As soon as I finished the story, I immediately wanted to start reading Book Three in the series, Rory’s (Caitlin and Scott’s son) story.
Pages: 280 | ISBN: 0987644807
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