REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

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♦BLURB♦

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back his to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time tells a love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. It is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

♦4.5-STAR REVIEW♦

How to Stop Time is an inventive and captivating story that details the very long and adventurous life of its main character, Tom Hazard. Haig’s storytelling is magnetic and fantastical, pulling so easily on the curiosity and wonder of a character so rare and the amazing historical figures he meets through time. Told in various eras of time along with the present–lent to help in seeing how it shaped him–it all encapsulated to telling one exciting story.

Tom Hazard, for as unique as he is, is a character one can easily relate to and like. Underneath the fun things he’s done in the past, his basic human wants and needs are just the same as everyone’s: to find happiness. Haig perfectly captured the sad loneliness underlying his every century, and how deteriorating the mind can be when deprived of affection and stability. Seeing him battle the Society of his people for what his heart truly wants, and warring with the possible selfishness of that choice and how it could affect everyone around him, was absolutely heartbreaking.

Knowing this has been adapted for screenplay, that Benedict Cumberbatch is coined to be the leading man, I cannot wait to see how a tale such as this plays out on the big screen. Haig skillfully brought the imagination to paper and made it accessible for readers to become a part of it. His writing style is as different as the plot, and together they created one fast-paced, beautiful story.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Matt Haig is a British author for children and adults. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children’s book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit in his own country and is translated in over 25 languages. It is being made into a film by Studio Canal and The Guardian called it an ‘instant classic’. Neil Gaiman said of his writing: ‘Haig has an empathy for the human condition, the light and the dark of it, and he uses the full palette to build his excellent stories’. His novels for adults include the award-winning The Radleys and The Humans.

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REVIEW & TOP REC: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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♦BLURB♦

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.
 
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

♦5-STAR REVIEW♦

Enigmatic and bold, The Cruel Prince was a gripping fantasy novel about three sisters growing up in the land of Faerie with the man who killed their parents. Brimming with complex characters and political conspiracies, the story played out in a dramatic fashion from beginning to end. The writing–skilled in engulfing the reader into the world and in keeping a suspenseful plot–grew upon itself with each new chapter and made it impossible to put down.

Jude was an unusual leading character; a flawed heroine shaped by her environment but daringly unapologetic in her need to fight back. She was a product of a decade spent proving her worth to a guardian and kingdom that represented the destruction of the life she once knew, and yet for a girl who wanted nothing but to belong, her journey to finding it would take everything she has. With each sister having chosen a different path in coping with the difficulties of being mortal in an immortal land, their paths converged to a tension-filled crescendo that changed the entire game and then kept on giving.

As the first in a planned trilogy, The Cruel Prince not only laid the groundwork for more, but had enough development and action to feel like a full story on its own. Heroines like Jude don’t frequent fiction often, but when they do, their stories cannot help but stick with you. And though the romance aspect was slight, I’m anxious for how it’ll blossom as the story continues. Black’s masterful storytelling created an enchanting read, one that I cannot wait for more of.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and The Darkest Part of the Forest. She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

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