An intellectual, stylish, and brisk sci-fi tale.




A debut novel follows two characters in their own time periods who are each outfitted with a potent object.

In late 17th-century England, Elizabeth’s mathematician father, Owens Blake, trusts her to deliver a package to Sir Isaac Newton. But she turns around after spotting strangers heading in the direction of her farm. She discovers the family property in flames, her mother and little brother gone, and her father dead. According to a farmhand, Owens had refused to reveal to the strangers the location of a particular item. Elizabeth later unwraps the package and a device inside activates, surprisingly attaching itself to her back. In 2018 Canada, Mikael heads to Bryo, a research lab, for an internship but instead becomes an unwitting participant in an experiment: His spinal cord is replaced with an unusual object. Luckily, a doctor helps him escape the lab and explains that the device allows Mikael to “influence the laws of physics.” Both he and Elizabeth are pursued by nefarious groups that resort to lethal means to retrieve the item. Meanwhile, the superpowered protagonists slowly master new skills, like subverting gravity and effectively walking on the ceiling. Olejarz’s clever and entertaining series opener is rife with intelligent notions often relayed in layperson’s terms without oversimplification. Manipulating fundamental forces, for example, may stem from a “mysterious energy” or an unknown element that surrounds everything. The author alternates between time periods with ease, with the storylines’ similarities (for example, the two protagonists dodging baddies and likely using the same object) giving the overall plot cohesion. Intermittent displays of the device’s capabilities fuel the narrative’s momentum while descriptions are occasionally lyrical: “Science is a lighthouse in a fog filled with beliefs.” Subsequent installments of the sci-fi series will hopefully address the device’s specific origin and perhaps reveal a stronger connection between the two protagonists and time periods other than the enigmatic object.

An intellectual, stylish, and brisk sci-fi tale.

Pub Date: April 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77528-223-5

Page Count: 327

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2018

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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