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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

(Book Blog Tour) Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston (Review)

Genre:Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Romance
Publication.Date  July 14th 2011
Published By:  Penguin Canada
WebsiteLesley Livingston Blog
Once Every Never - Goodreads
My review copy:ARC provided by the publisher (*Thank you!*)
Where to get: Chapters | Amazon

     Clarinet Reid is a pretty typical teenager. On the surface. She’s smart, but a bit of slacker; outgoing, but just a little insecure; not exactly a mischief-maker… but trouble tends to find her wherever she goes. Also? She unwittingly carries a centuries-old Druid Blood Curse running through her veins.

Now, with a single thoughtless act, what started off as the Summer Vacation in Dullsville suddenly spirals into a deadly race to find a stolen artifact, avert an explosive catastrophe, save a Celtic warrior princess, right a dreadful wrong that happened centuries before Clare was even born, and if there’s still time—literally—maybe even get a date.

This is the kind of adventure that happens to a girl once every… never.

“You actually want to spend precious minutes of our last summer vacation before final year hanging out with dead dudes.”
“Don’t knock it. Vampires and zombies are very hot right now.”
“First of all, vampires are undead. And zombies are … ew.”
“So that leaves bog guys.”

“I think Milo’s kinda cool.”
“You think Math-a-lympics are cool. You are an unreliable source.”

     Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston is a fantastic, engaging and highly entertaining Young Adult novel for those who like adventure. Lesley’s smooth writing style is irresistible and incredibly impressive, I absolutely loved it.

     Clare (or Clarinet if you prefer) is pretty much your typical teenager girl, with a dose of sass. She’s a good student, although you wouldn’t call her a nerd. She might not be the most popular girl in town, but that’s perfectly alright with her, because she gets all the attention and support she needs from her best friend, Allie. While her orchestra-musician parents are on a world tour with the Symphonia Intenationale, Clare is spending her summer vacations in England, under the watchful eye of her aunt, Maggie. Maggie – Dr. Magda Wallace – is a well known and highly respected professor of archeology, who works at the British Museum. You know what that means? Yup, Clare will be spending most of her time exploring the museum’s exhibitions. Not a very exciting prospect for Clarinet, but thankfully her best friend, Allie, is there to keep her company. And let’s not forget about the super handsome and unbelievably smart Milo, Allie’s cousin.

     What promised to be an utterly boring and dull summer, all of a sudden turns into a breathtaking time travel adventure when Clare touches one of the artifacts in the museum and is magically transported to AD 60, the times of Queen Boudicca. As it turns out, Clare has the ability to travel in time and it’s all due to an ancient blood curse. Now Clare has to figure out how to control her ability and find a long lost artifact, and she has to do all that without altering the time-space continuum and causing irreversible changes to the present. With an uber hot young warrior distracting her, this might prove to be even harder that she thinks.

     I had a lot of fun devouring this book. Fast-paced and entertaining, it was an excellent mix of mythology, history, paranormal, adventure and romance. All that spiced up with sharp, hilarious and witty dialogues.

     What I liked the most about this novel was Lesley Livingston’s fantastic writing style. She tells the story in such a smooth and fun way that it’s really impossible to put the book down once you start reading. It’s definitely a great page-turner. Most importantly, the dialogues are not forced or overdone, they are realistic, humorous and very entertaining, I was constantly cracking up. What can I say? I really think Lesley is a brilliant storyteller!

     It wasn’t only the constant question if Clare can actually do something to change the past and if/how it will affect the present that kept me turning the pages, it was Clare, too. As well as Milo and Connal. I wanted to know more about them. I was dying to find out how the whole time-travel-love-triangle will play out and who’s going to win Clare’s heart in the end. Clarinet is a very likable protagonist and, together with Milo, Connal, Allie and Aunt Maggie, she really made this story.

     The historical background provided by the author was skillfully incorporated into the plot in a way that didn’t come across as boring or too informative. What we get here is a perfect dose of history, mythology and even some powerful Druid magic.

     The ending, while it ties up things nicely, still left me with an impression that there was something lacking in the story. The way the love-triangle played out was a tiny bit unsatisfying to me and I found myself wishing for more emotional depth and some heart breaking drama. That would be my only complaint and the reason for rating this book 4/5 instead of 5/5. Overall, I had a fantastic time with this novel and I hope that Lesley Livingston will decide to write more books featuring Clare, Allie and Milo! I’d love to meet them again!

A Taste of History 

Boudicca was queen of the Iceni people of Eastern England and led a major uprising against occupying Roman forces. 
Boudicca was married to Prasutagus, ruler of the Iceni people of East Anglia. When the Romans conquered southern England in AD 43, they allowed Prasutagus to continue to rule. However, when Prasutagus died the Romans decided to rule the Iceni directly and confiscated the property of the leading tribesmen. They are also said to have stripped and flogged Boudicca and raped her daughters. These actions exacerbated widespread resentment at Roman rule.

In 60 or 61 AD, while the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paullinus was leading a campaign in North Wales, the Iceni rebelled. Members of other tribes joined them.

Boudicca's warriors successfully defeated the Roman Ninth Legion and destroyed the capital of Roman Britain, then at Colchester. They went on to destroy London and Verulamium (St Albans). Thousands were killed. Finally, Boudicca was defeated by a Roman army led by Paulinus. Many Britons were killed and Boudicca is thought to have poisoned herself to avoid capture. The site of the battle, and of Boudicca's death, are unknown.

Blog Tour Stops 
(make sure to visit them all!)
Giveaway Announcement! 

I will be giving away a finished copy of "Once Every Never" The giveaway will be posted together with my interview with Lesley at the end of this week. Make sure to check back! It will be open to Internationals!


April X said...

Great review :) So jealous that this book will only be published in Canada I think :( But thank you for making your giveaway international, I'm excited for that :)

Holly said...

Great review! This is the first that I've heard of it, but it sounds fantastic and funny! Definitely adding it to my TBR list :)

Bonnie said...

I saw a review of this book for the first time yesterday and thought that it looked really fantstic. Then I read your great review Evie and I am getting really excited for it! I'll be checking back for the giveaway! ;)

Dana said...

The best part about being part of a blog tour is being able to read what other reviewers think about the same novel. Yours is a great review. I felt the same way about the ending.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Great review! This is a cover that catches my attention every time I see it.

Chen Yan Chang said...

I love Lesley's Wondrous Strange trilogy, and I've been wanting to read this book! Hehe, her name's awesome. Clarinet! That's interesting that she carries a curse, unknowingly.

I need to get this book!

Thao Huynh said...

I didn't really like Lesley Livingston's Wondrous Strange, so I'm glad that this book here sounds really good to read. It still amazes me how much depth writers can make in their works, and how they each have their own style to tell a story.

And love triangles? They make our lives seem simple and normal. C:

aurora M. said...

This is a book that I wish I could get my hands on. Right up my alley. Thanks for the review

Krystal said...

I like this author-though I didn't like a few of her books in her YA series. This looks like a really great book, and I love the cover!

Rachel Bohlin said...

I love the cover and her Wondrous Strange series!!! It looks good! :D

Karen Mae Bautista said...

I hope I could read this one. Great review btw

Sky said...

Great review! Looks like a good book! I love Lesley Livingston!

Yvonne said...

Great review! Looks like my kind of book

FairyWhispers said...

sounds really good.

divavixenqueen said...

Wonderful review. First time I've heard of this author, but I'm sure it won't be the last.

Munnaza said...

I love the title of this book. The summary didn't impress me, but your review has me wanting to read this book right away. This book sounds adventurous, the characters sound fun, and I love books with hilarious, sassy dialogue. I'm a little cautious about the love triangle, especially since you felt it was lacking and I'm not a fan of love triangles at all, but I'll give the book the benefit of the doubt. Fantastic review!

Rea said...

Oh man, I really wanna read this book! Your review makes it sound awesomesauce! I love the idea behind it, can't wait to get my hands on it - hopefully soon! ^^

Rebecca Hipworth said...

This sounds good :)

Jaime Lester said...

I have been looking forward to reading this book for a long time but I haven't had the chance yet. I think I made a mistake by reading your review, because I don't think I am going to be able to wait! I love your reviews. They are very detailed without going overboard and they really break a story down well. Thank you so much for another great review!

Enbrethiliel said...


The way you describe the book reminds me a little of Madeleine L'Engle's novels--particularly Young Unicorns and An Acceptable Time. I'm fed up with Paranormals these days, so I wasn't too crazy about Clare leaving an already fascinating situation (London? Museum? Best friend? Cute guy? What else did she possibly need???) to travel back in time and learn about a blood curse . . . but if Lesley Livingston pulls of her Fantasy elements the way L'Engle pulled of hers, then this should be a great book anyhow!

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