Audiobook Reviews 4/5: It’s Only a Clockwork Moon by Billy O’Shea

*Mild spoilers possible in the discussion*

Weird Twist on the Future Continues


Karl Nielsen struggles to make ends meat fixing clocks in the countryside. So, when the king calls him back into service, he sort of has no choice but to take the job to deal with some debt that has accumulated over time. Meanwhile, there’s a separate storyline with some monks on a dangerous mission.

Additional Comments:

  • This is a sequel to Kingdom of Clockwork, but it can be listened to on its own. Hearing the first will give you some background into Karl and his family though.
  • Characters 4/5: Christopher’s a bit of a screwup when it comes to being a monk, but I’m guessing he’s there as comic relief. Brother Joe has some cool inventions. Karl’s a good character because he’s not perfect. He’s not a world class fighter. He’s a clockmaker, an ordinary guy trying to make it in a world gone mad.
  • Plot 4/5: Following the two different storylines is a tad disorienting because half is told in first person and half is third. That’s a find technique, but probably easier to take in when written down. I’m not entirely clear on the monks’ top-secret mission. Karl’s just trying to make it. The kingdom’s in a bit of turmoil, the queen doesn’t particularly like him, and the king’s plans are a tad eccentric. The king demands Karl make several things, including a machine that can reach space and a giant clock.
  • Narration 4/5: The author/narrator knows his story best. He performs the singing parts with gusto.
  • World-building 4.5/5: Most of the heavy lifting for world-building was accomplished in book 1 of the series, but there is enough information for newcomers to jump in.


Whether you have read/heard Kingdom of Clockwork or not, if you are a fan of steampunk, you should give the series a chance. It’s one of those rare futuristic books that don’t just turn everything high tech, it moves up backwards to something well out of the dark ages but still steeped in fantasy charm.


Associate links to follow…

This Book…

Amazon Prime


Audible – If you’d like some free codes, please email me at [email protected] with requests for any of my works.


Audiobook Reviews 4.25/5 Stealing Liberty by Jennifer Froleich


Reed Paine and Riley Paca end up at a re-education camp for children of enemies of the State. Fate or fortune places them with a group of misfits, including Sam, Oliver, Adam, Paisley/Marie, and one other girl. Although the relationships do a fair amount of shifting, they become good friends willing to risk a lot for each other.

Additional Comments:

  • Characters 4/5 – There are quite a few characters and a lot of setup. They’re fairly well-developed on the protagonist side with thorough backstories, but the villains are a tad lacking. The two teen brutes are forgettable. I do like Wanda. Totally blanking on her last name, but she’s an odd mix of mildly sadistic and control freakish.
  • Narration 4/5 – You can definitely tell male from female narrative sections, but it’s sometimes harder to tell which teenager is which based on voice alone. The voice for Wanda was amazing though (controlled, measured, chilling). To be fair, there are like 7 MCs with distinct first person sections written about them.
  • Plot 3.5/5 – The plan to steal the liberty bell is okay, but I’m with one of the characters who basically says “what’s the point”? The other half of their plan makes a lot of sense. Aside from billing this as a “stealing liberty” book, which is quite obviously going to have sequels, it’s a really big stretch that these kids would feel the need to steal the liberty bell.
  • Pacing 2/5 – There’s a LOT of setup. That slows the work down significantly, to the point of a snail’s crawl.
  • World-building 3.5/5 – Much like any dystopian future where liberty is severely restricted in the name of order and peace, the protagonists must figure out what’s right on their own. It’s a tad like any school-based drama. You can see this school being in the world of the Hunger Games.
  • Ending/sense of closure 5/5 – There’s actually a lot of room to continue the story, but it reaches a good stopping point where one could have a semi-happily ever after stamped on it and feel fulfilled. The lead up to the end where they’re blundering about a bit is less impressive, but still, at least you reach some closure.


Fits comfortably in the dystopian teen drama genre. If that’s you’re thing, you’ll probably be satisfied.

Associate links to follow…

This Book…

Amazon Prime


Audible – If you’d like some free codes, please email me at [email protected] with requests for any of my works.



Author Interview with Nix Wittaker Author of Model Serenity

Author Interview:

Hey, join me in welcoming Nix Wittaker today. Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend.

Tell me a little about your background.

I was born in South Africa on the east coast. Mosquitos and green mamba rather than lions and giraffe Africa. I left when I was a young girl and moved to New Zealand with my family. And traded snakes and sharks with earthquakes and volcanoes.


What do you do for fun?

Reading and looking after kittens. I’m a foster mom for the RSPCA and hand rear week old kittens or help tame feral kittens.


Who or what inspires you the most?

My grandfather believed in collecting useless information. I do the same and that is where I get most of my ideas.



About your writing:

What got you into writing?

I’m dyslexic but when I was growing up no at school figured that out because I’m also a smart cookie so they suggested I read books. I read a lot. Talking about 3 digits and so I ran out of books to read and started writing my own.


What is your writing process?

I am not a pantser I always plan out the book. Not in detail. I plan it out start writing and then pause when I get a feel for my characters and go back to put more detail into the plan. Then I write the exiting bits and figure out why the rest isn’t interesting. Once I figure those out I start having others start reading chapters and giving me feedback while I tweak and polish.


When do you consider a work complete?

Never. I like to go back over and over. I usually publish though after I spend the cash on an editor. My mother is an artist and she is the same. She usually sells her work or paints over it as it never seems perfect. At least with writing you can forever tweak it.


About your book:

Are there any deep themes or messages in the book the readers should be aware of?

My book is set on another planet where some crazy scientists have played eugenics. The same stuff the Nazi were trying during WWII, I wanted to show that our racism in this day and age is insidious and everywhere.

me: That’s a great theme. I’ve got a series with crazy scientists too. (I’m a chem teacher too…so I get the appeal of going nuts with science.)


What gave you the idea for this book?

I’ve had this idea for a long time. But the original was a fantasy but I find I write Sci-Fi better and when I changed it to science fiction the story became something new. There are a few things that came over from the fantasy version like the names of the caste systems.


How long did the book take to write?

Longer than usual. My first novel took 3 months, to write this one it is already at a year but I have managed to knock out the next book in the series in that time as well. I thought I would write the whole series before I published.


Who designed the cover?

I design my own covers but don’t take that as permission to make your own. I am also a digital designer and sell covers professionally. If you are an author let the designer do their job, it is what you pay them for in the first place. I cringe when an author wants you to change everything or add in too much on the cover.

Me: Ha, yes, I can understand that. Wow, if I were a digital designer that would save me a whole heap of money :-). I’ve only ever made my nonfiction covers b/c they’re mainly text. (It is a very cool cover.)

Do you write in other genres?

I have another series in Steampunk with dragons so in my mind it is alternative history slash fantasy. Though technically it still falls under Science Fiction.


Tell us about one other book or series and why it’s important to you.

I’ve another series and this one is set a little in the future after the world has survived global warming. Usually when you have dystopias it is awful but my world isn’t. Humans are amazing and can adapt and that is exactly what they do in this book.


What animal do you most relate to?

Cats. Who wouldn’t want to lie in the sun and sleep all day.


What’s one thing very few people know about you?

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Triple chocolate. I have a distinct soft spot for anything chocolate. Add anything with nuts to the chocolate and I am in heaven.


What are you non-writing hobbies or interests?

Art. I’m a decent artist but I realised at a young age that I couldn’t be a great artist. So I thought I would become great at something else.


If you’d like to learn more about Nix, please visit her website.


Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible – If you buy some of my audiobooks with your first credits, I’ll pay the first month’s bill (beyond the free ones). (Terms and conditions: must have proof of purchasing my books, like a screenshot. Will also have to have paypal.)

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 stars Treasure: Seed Savers by S. Smith



Two siblings, Dante and Claire, go on a journey to find a place where they can be safe from an overbearing government, a place where people can grow real food without fear.


Additional Comments:

– The premise – that genetically altered, government sanctioned plants and processes have taken over America – is well-handled but still not very believable. The idea that all knowledge of gardening and farming is pretty much gone from the world except for some books and a few brave souls, is hard to accept, especially given the ending. I believe the part where the government wants to control everything, but I just don’t buy that these kids have 0 knowledge of things like apple trees and chickens. The internet would have to be completely gone. It’s been renamed the monitor, so it’s still there.

– Claire and Dante are believable.

– Dialogue’s good.

– Plot’s okay. It’s a little slow for my tastes, but that could be because of the recent stuff I’ve been listening to.

– I don’t get much of a sense of danger or fear for the young travelers. It unfolds like that “Everything is Awesome” song from the Lego movie. By extension, that means it will be exactly what some people are looking for, but just wasn’t “my thing.”



An intriguing look at a future where processing food has reached uncharted heights.


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Julie C. Gilbert

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