Audiobook Giveaway & Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Scroll to the bottom for the giveaways!

Narrator: Gary Furlong

Publisher: Forever Young Audiobooks (2017)

Length: 8 hours 48 minutes

Series: Book 1 The Timekeeper Trilogy

Author’s Page

Set in a Victorian England, the clock towers keep time from fracturing and the Timekeepers keep the clocks ticking along smoothly. Danny Hart is a time mechanic like his father and he hopes to one day free his father and citizens of a Stopped town where a clock tower broke 3 years ago. Meanwhile, he has been assigned temporarily to the clock tower in the little town of Enfield where small things keep going wrong. Danny begins to suspect sabotage even as he learns an unsettling yet still intriguing truth about the clock tower – it does indeed have a clock spirit. Colton seems equally intrigued by Danny and the two share a spark of romance that may or may not go anywhere.

This book was so much more than I was expecting. First, I was sucked in by the mythos of Chronos and how time was shattered but brought back under control by the clock towers and their spirits. Through out the book, we get little snippets of this mythology – never enough to bore and they always intrigued me. Then we learn more about the clock mechanics, their rigorous training, and how it’s more than just sprogs and bolts. There’s also this slightly mystical ability to feel the flow of time coupled with intuition of knowing just what the clock needs to run smoothly.

Danny Hart enters the picture and he has plenty going on in his life. He’s the youngest mechanic to graduate from the training program. His dad has been absent for the past 3 years trapped in the stopped city of Malden and no one has figured out how to free the city yet. Also, the lad survived a nasty accident himself and he’s suffering from PTSD. Lastly, he has finally come out of the closet, now that being gay is no longer a hanging offense. Few people are understanding, including his mom. Luckily, he has a stalwart friend in Cassie, a lass who has been his friend since childhood. As you can see, I was totally caught up in Danny’s character and definitely wanted to follow him around and see what he could accomplish in this book.

When Colton, the clock spirit in Enfield, first appears, he doesn’t tell Danny what he is. Danny guesses early on in their friendship but this presented yet another problem. Few people believed that the clock spirits were real so it wasn’t something he could readily explain to folks. Then as their romance begins, he finds it even more difficult to chat about Colton to folks. The romance is light, sweet, fumbling, and has a few misunderstandings between the two. I look forward to seeing where the author takes their relationship in the next book.

Danny becomes convinced that someone is sabotaging the tower in Enfield and so the hunt for clues begins. I enjoyed this little mystery and I only began to suspect the culprit late into the story. I was delighted that the tale hid the true nature of this person for so long. That made the reveal that much more delicious to me as the reader and it hit a hard punch to Danny when he figured it out.

As for side characters, I felt they were nicely developed and weren’t simple stand ins. Mrs. Hart is obviously grieving for her lost husband and is ready to move on. I think she’s a bit afraid to care too deeply as her son is in the same line of work and has already escaped one nasty accident. Cassie is a mechanic herself, though she tends to enjoy automobiles most. Daphne greatly intrigued me. She has a facial tattoo, wears men’s work clothes, and is rumored to have a parent from India. I hope there is more about her in the next book. I was charmed by Matthias, an older friend of Danny’s who went through a hardship and now is a teacher instead of a mechanic. He often took Danny under his wing in a paternal uncle-ish sort of way.

All together, it’s a great start to the trilogy. I saw that some folks stuck this book in the steampunk genre but I wouldn’t call it steampunk. I don’t recall a single thing being steam-driven. Regardless of what genre you place this book in, it’s going on my top shelf.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Gary Furlong was a great pick for this book. I loved his rich, older voice for Matthias. He had the perfect on-the-cusp-of-manhood voice for Danny. His female voices were believable and varied (the ladies didn’t all sound the same).

What I Liked: Time can be messed with but you probably shouldn’t do so anyway; Danny comes into the story with some issues to work on; the mythological bits; the little romance; the mystery; the side characters brought something to the story; solid ending.

What I Disliked: Nothing – I was fully entertained by this book.

Check out more reviews, interviews, spotlights, and more on the blog tour.

About Gary Furlong:

Gary Furlong grew up in Wexford, Ireland. Throughout his life he has worn many a hat: He has worked as a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, Tennessee; and as a singer and actor all over Ireland. He started narrating audiobooks in late 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

Gary made his acting debut in the musical Godspell as a student. Since then he has pursued acting both on the amateur and professional circuits. Notable roles include Tom Collins in Bare Cheek’s production of Rent in 2010.

Over the course of his five years in Japan, he was an actor, director, and audio producer. It was during this time that he discovered his interest in audiobooks and voice-over.

He now works full-time as an audiobook narrator and voice actor from his home in Ireland.

 Website ~ Twitter

Synopsis of Timekeeper:

Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Audible        Amazon

About the Author Tara Sim:

Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press) and can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, and check out her website at tarasim.com.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ GoodReads ~ InstaGram ~ Pinterest

GIVEWAYS!!!

$50 Amazon Gift Card

Timekeeper Giveaway #1

Audiobook Bundle that includes Timekeeper

Timekeeper Giveaway #2

Prudence by Gail Carriger

Clementine could use a few manners.
Clementine could use a few manners.

Narrator: Moira Quirk

Publisher: Hachette Audio (2015)

Length: 12 hours 40 minutes

Series: Book 1 Custard Protocol

Author’s Page

The metanatural Rue and her friends are on a mission for Queen and Country! And tea, of course. Prudence Alessandra Macon Akeldama (Rue) has been gifted an airship, which she charmingly names the Spotted Custard. She’s also been given a charge, and that is to fly off to India on a mission of secrecy – it involves tea. There’s proper manners and attire, werewolves, tea-time, weremonkeys, and plenty of proper British manners.

Rue and her best friend Primrose (Prim) Tunstall make a great team for mayhem. In fact the opening scene is one where Prim and Rue work together to turn a stuffy British cocktail party into a race through the Victorian London streets. Rue’s metanatural abilities allow her to temporarily ‘borrow’ the powers of a paranormal. For instance, she can become a werewolf (which tears her lovely gown and underthings all to hell) and then Prim can catch a ride on her back as they make a noisy exit from the boring party.

Of course these hijinks are just the latest and Rue’s parents, along with her adoptive vampire father Dama, decide she needs a job. Hence, she’s given a mission that involves tea in India. Rue selects Prim, of course, to accompany her but then also Prim’s bookish brother Percy. Toss in the intense Quesnel Lefoux, who Percy detests, and you have quite the madcap company for the trip. The crew who actually do all the work are quite fun as well, not giving a fig if the passengers are practically nobility or not.

This was a my first Gail Carriger book and it was so much fun! It was light and silly and full of adventure and flowery phrases that just had me giggling. Maybe I was just in the right mood for this book, but I really did get a kick out of it. There’s some light flirting between Rue and Quesnel but there’s also some pond tossing that comes up as well. It’s a love/hate thing and very amusing.

There’s a bit of a steampunk flavor to this story but it’s not a heavy element of the tale. Of course the dirigible is fun. I enjoyed all the action scenes because they were often had some bits of comedy involved. I especially enjoyed Percy and his hunt for mushrooms. He was delightfully bookish.

Once the Spotted Custard gets to India, things change as the local paranormal citizens checkout the Londoners. There’s plenty here that surprised me! It’s a whole different rule book and Rue and Prim have to do some improvising, even if it means ticking off the local English gentry. I was entertained throughout the entire book and I look forward to reading more Carriger novels in the future.

The Narration: Moira Quirk was so good in this book! She’s the perfect Rue but she’s also the perfect Prim and the perfect Dama and the perfect Percy! She’s got these English characters down to a T. I loved her light lisp for Dama as I could totally picture him talking and every so often on certain syllables, a touch of a lisp due to this teeth. I loved her distracted Percy, his head always in a book. She really did a most excellent job with this narration. 

What I Liked: The dirigible; proper English manners tossed out the window again and again; all the humor; plenty of action; great narration.

What I Disliked: Nothing! This was such a fun book!

What Others Think:

Smart Bitches Trashy Books

Fantasy Book Critic

Vampire Book Club

For the Love of Words

The BiblioSanctum

The Ice Captain's Daughter by S. G. Rogers

RogersIceCaptain'sDaughterWhere I Got It: Won a copy from the author (thanks!).

Narrator: Rachel F. Hirsch

Publisher: Idunn Court Publishing (2014)

Length: 3 hours 45 minutes

Author’s Page

Set in Victorian England, Miss Jillian Roring, daughter to the ice captain and merchant Mr. Roring, is headed off to her first season in London. Unfortunately, there is failed kidnapping en route and she must seek assistance from the nearest estate, that of Logan. What ensues is a mess of flirting, confused signals, mild insults, and misunderstandings.

I will admit that it was the title that drew me into this book. The job of an ice captain has to be exciting, and I had pictures in my head of the daughter wrapped in furs, big rock pick in hand, hammering away at a small iceberg as the men of the ship collected the chunks and stowed them away in the hold. Alas, the captain is barely mentioned in this book, and his profession is only discussed by snide gossips who find his career far beneath them. Of course, they are sipping ice chilled drinks as they do this.

I think that if you like Jane Austen’s works, you wold enjoy this book. It is a sweet tale of two people struggling through their own fears and desires, London society’s strict rules of propriety, and vicious gossip. If that all sounds like your cup of tea, then check this book out. It is well written with a decent pacing. There is also a little sub-plot dealing with the failed kidnapping that added some dimensionality to the our main character, Jillian.

Unfortunately for me, I have never been much of a Jane Austen fan and so this book just wasn’t my cup of tea. I find all the gossip and people pushing against London society’s unspoken rules to be tedious and a bit boring. Also, none of our characters work for a living (except the ice captain, who we see so very little of) so their lives seem small to me.

The ending was sweet. I think romantics will enjoy it. Of course we know from early on that they must get together by the end, because that is how these books go. The amusement was in watching how they figured everything out.

The Narration: Rachel Hirsch was a good fit for this book. Most of the tale is from Jillian’s point of view and Hirsch had a nice, proper English accent for her. She also had dialects for the servants. Her range of male and female voices served this book well. 

What I Liked: Pacing of story was good; sweet ending; excellent narration.

What I Disliked: Predictable; most of plot is driven by gossip and fear of gossip; has almost nothing to do with the ice captain.

What Others Think:

Romantic Historical Reviews

Books Are Sanity

The Aylesford Skull by James P. Blaylock

Stout wouldn't hold still for a pic!
Stout wouldn’t hold still for a pic!

Why I Read It: 1800s mystery + steampunkishness = incredible read.

Where I Got It: Review copy from the publisher (thanks!)

Who I Recommend This To: If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper, or English murder mysteries, you’d enjoy this.

Publisher: Titan Books (2013)

Length: 427 pages

Series: Book 5 of Ignacio Narbondo series; Book 3 of Langdon St. Ives series

Looking at Wikipedia, it was a little difficult to tell where exactly this sits in the series scheme of things, but you have my best guess and the link, so you can go muddle through it yourself, if need be. Honestly, this book works fine as a stand alone even though one can tell that both the main protagonist (St. Ives) and antagonist (Narbondo) have pasts, both with each other and as separate entities. As an introduction to James P. Blaylock‘s body of work, it will have you hooked and looking for more. I truly enjoyed how the suspense built a little at a time in the beginning, and before long we were rolling at a high level of action, concerned for main characters, and itching to thwart Narbondo at every opportunity.

This book combines the history of Victorian England with Holmesian deduction skills and a few steampunk contraptions, such as an airship and special home made rounds for a .30 caliber rifle. Langdon St. Ives and his family recently moved out to the country (his wife’s aunt left them a nice place) to get away from the bustle and intrigue of city life. Indeed, we open with Alice busy fishing, only to find that someone poisons her catch while she is focused on hopefully catching a second pike. Ignacio Narbondo, a known criminal and master mind, is in the area, and St. Ives has no wish to get caught up in whatever scheme he may or may not be up to. Despite warnings from Narbondo’s mother, a neighbor of St. Ives and a spiritualist, St. Ives refuses to get involved until his son disappears.

This is when the real fun starts. St. Ives makes for London, calling in debts by informants and friends alike to track down his son. Also, St. Ives’ ward Finn secretly makes his way to London to redeem himself, as he blames himself for Narbondo abducting young Edward. Mother Laswell, Narbondo’s mum, also travels to London to seek her son out, not even leaving a note for her trusted man Bill Kraken, who figures out her destination anyway and runs after her. Alice is left on the farm with her young daughter and the servants to await the return of her husband and son.

Here Blaylock does a masterful job of revealing Narbondo’s past bit by bit, along with his current scheme so that the reader is left guessing the details to the end. We get the nitty gritty of foggy London, along with a paranormal aspect, as Narbondo is carrying around his half-brother’s skull, which he has turned into a spirit prison. From time to time, he shows this spirit off, causing speculation and fear. Mother Laswell is also something of a spiritualist and uses her talents and a friend’s aid in tracking Narbondo. Throw in an airship, some mechanical toys, and a few high-tech (for the time) weapons, and you also have that steampunk feel without it being overused.

The character development in this novel was well done, with each character having a past and potentially a future. I was engrossed in the St. Ives family from the beginning, but even the ‘bad guys’ were intriguing with some being totally loathsome and deserving death and others caught up in circumstances. The plot was revealed at a suspenseful pace, allowing the reader to put clues together and still keeping the reader guessing about details until the end. Subplots entangled together nicely towards the end. My one criticism is that the ending felt rushed compared to the rest of the novel. SPOILER ALERT Indeed, the ending of Narbondo was a little too simple, easy, and the use of the trapped spirit in this matter seemed a little cliched END SPOILER.

What I Liked: Complex characters left and right; Finn has such an interesting past, one that he prefers not to chat about; Bill Kraken and his simple straight-forward love of Mother Laswell; Alice gets involved in the last quarter of the book; there is a guest appearance of Arthur Doyle; the airship is put to good use; Narbondo isn’t a nebulous evil – no! the vivisection pretty well defines his level of evil; incredible food that had me jealous of the lucky, feasting characters; the cover.

What I Disliked: Capable Alice gets to sit home fretting for 3 quarters of the book; the ending was a little abrupt compared to the rest of the book.