Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Review: Screwing up Time by CM Keller

This is an indie book by Connie Keller, who you might know from the blogosphere (she also has a blog just for this book here).

I bought this book because the premise sounded interesting (time-traveling teens) and because I knew Connie through the web. There's always a bit of hesitation for me about getting a book from someone I "blog know", because reading is subjective, and I worry that they might be upset if I don't like it.

To be honest, there is also some hesitation for me about getting self-pubbed or indie books. I think the fine line between these categories and "published" is being erased even as we speak, but still, I imagine there is a wide range of competence and skill among indie books. Because, while we're being honest, we can all admit there is a WIDE range even among published books, which have been through the so-called "gate-keepers".

I pushed my hesitation aside because I could tell (by her blog) that Connie was intelligent and serious about writing, and wasn't going to just put something random out there.

I'm so glad I did.

Here's the blurb from Amazon:

Mark Montgomery is a slacker content with his life. He’s a senior at New Haven Prep, has a great friend, and after graduation he’ll get a brand new sports car from his parents, assuming he stays out of trouble. Then, she comes into his life—Miranda with her I-just-escaped-from-a-Renaissance-Fair clothing. Only, she hasn’t. She has come from Bodiam Castle in the Middle Ages and demands a secret ingredient and a book of recipes for traveling through the treacherous colors of time. Although Mark has never even heard of either before, he must find them, or Miranda will die. To save her, Mark must break into a psych hospital to visit his grandfather who once tried to kill him, pass through the colors of time, take on a medieval alchemist, prevent Miranda’s marriage to a two-timing baron, and keep it all hidden from his parents. The sports car is definitely in trouble.

I adored this book. Connie did a great job of setting up the premise, making it believable (and it can't be easy with time travel, psych wards, and alchemy involved), and populating her book with smart, funny characters. The sibling relationship just sang with honesty, and I loved the way she portrayed the castle time period, it was gritty and dank. Not to mention the Grandfather in the Psych Ward-- ooh, he was a delightfully frightening character.

I read a traditionally published book to my son about kids and time travel in the last year, and since we're still being honest here, Connie's book was SO MUCH BETTER. The other book had huge gaps in logic, and was one of those books that strings you along the whole time, gives you no real resolution, and then sets up the next book. I've become really aggravated with these kinds of books lately: the ones that feel like they're forcing you to buy the next book in a series.

Screwing up Time had a complete and very satisfying story arc. Of course not every single loose end was tied up-- I don't believe all books should be stand alone-- but there was the satisfaction of knowing this story was finished, and the journey of these characters at this time was over.

I recommend this book- you can find it on Amazon.


  1. The cover for this book looks great- I'd totally notice it out of a list. I'm hesitant when going for indie/self-pubbed books as well, but this one looks quite interesting and well thought out, which is always a big plus. Great review!

  2. Great review! I especially admired your honest approach. I've added Screwing up Time to my TBR list. BTW, I read in the WSJ last year that there was no such thing as a best-seller, that marketing ruled. I'm open to a good read, whether in print or e-book. And, to be honest, I've had more good e-book reads than print books lately.

  3. I like how you stated your hesitancy about self and epub stuff...you're so right that the lines are getting hazy and that there is a range of quality in both areas.

    So glad you liked the book...may have to look into this one :)

  4. Love the last line of the blurb; I actually laughed out loud. The Miranda part didn't hook me so much, but the psych hospital and murderous grandfather definitely perked up my interest.

    Like you, I'm also hesitant about self-pubbed and indie books. Well, moreso self-pubbed books. The snobby part of my brain still wonders what's 'wrong' with the book that it couldn't get published the traditional route. As a writer, I should know better. Might have to branch out some this year!

    Totally unrelated, but I'm kind of loving the cover.


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