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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-09-06 17:30
Book Review: The Occasional Diamond Thief By J. A. McLachlan
The Occasional Diamond Thief - J.A. McLachlan

Brief Synopsis: “16-year-old Kia must learn the secret behind the magnificent diamond her father entrusted her with on his deathbed – without letting anyone know she has it.”

 

J. A. McLachlan has created a highly addictive, inspiring, and adventurous Young Adult/ Science fiction story with The Occasional Diamond Thief. The main character, Kia, is smart, stubborn, analytical; free willed, strong and 100% an independently thinking individual whom still exhibits truly the most moving moments of venerability as the result of an a strained relationship with her family, excluding her brother, Etin.

 

Despite all of this, the young, inquisitive minded teen still manages to make friends and gain a few trusted allies across the universe on a semi-technology backwards/basic planet called Malem, whose people openly reject and dis-trust foreigners. While unknowingly developing a truly heart-warming bond with a (unique) Select–Agatha—who fills the maternal absentness in Kia’s life she was not aware she needed.

 

Another thing I appreciated about this book was the fact that it not only revolves around a strong female protagonist of color, but that it equally balances differences in Culture/Languages, Social Standards and Religion with Morality, Identity, and Humanity without losing it’s comedic, adventurous and mystery elements. There are just so many quotable/memorable moments from this book that you can relive over and over again.

 

 

Itohan—his name means ‘mercy’. My father was Itohan Ugiagbe, I want to say to the Malemese hurrying about their business, ignoring me, a foreigner in their midst. He came here and suffered like you. I watched him die all the years of my childhood and I didn’t understand.

 

Every time I pass another death house, empty and boarded-up, I understand a little better my father’s long despair. What would he have been like if he hadn’t come to Malem? I never really knew him. Already his image is fading in my memory. I look around the dirty streets as I walk.

 

They stole him from me, but they might also be able to give a little of him back. If I can find out what happened to him here, I’ll know him in a way I never did. The Malemese diamond must be mixed up in it somehow.

“Tell me,” I whisper to the cold, gray streets. “Tell me who my father was.”

(spoiler show)

Excerpt From: J. A. McLachlan. “The Occasional Diamond Thief.” iBooks.

 

It is one of best YA books I have read in a really long time and I wish I could have read a book like this when I was younger. As I followed Kia through this book and read her learn not only more about her a strained father’s past but learn to have more confidence in herself and trust in others, I found that I too was learning with her.

 

Besides the fact that I am sad that the book ended at all, I give this book 4.5 stars because we were not able to see any resolution between Kia and her family when she finally left Malem. (Unless that’ll be in the next book? *crosses fingers*)

 

But at some fundamental human level where the fear of not being understood touches us all, Central Ang ties the human universe together.”Excerpt From: J. A. McLachlan. “The Occasional Diamond Thief.” iBooks.

 

As a person who finds comfort in my studies and in moments of solitude when being around my family or friends feels like I am an outsider or a stranger, I recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t belong.

 

If it were not for sleep, eating and work I do not think I would have taken breaks reading this book. It is a true page-turner. I was fortunate enough to win this as a free e-book from Librarything.com, but I’ve purchased a hard copy of this book also to have on my bookshelf forever! Ms. McLachlan, if you see this please, please bring Kia back for another adventure :-) . I will wrap this up with one last quote from the book:

 

“Malem isn’t on the cyber link.”

“God doesn’t need the cyber link.”

I let that one lie. Excerpt From: J. A. McLachlan. “The Occasional Diamond Thief.” iBooks.

 

 

Thanks for reading ^__^ (It feels good to be back). Until next time,

Gia.

 

 

 

 

NOTE: You can pick up your own copy of The Occasional Diamond Thief following the links below. Be sure to check out J. A McLachlan’s  Goodreads account & her website too. :-)

 

Purchase your own copy of The Occasional Diamond Thief at EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy Books  OR  Buy The Occasional Diamond Thief at Amazon

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review 2015-06-12 08:00
The Ruby Airship
The Ruby Airship - Sharon Gosling

This turned out to be the sequel to another book, The Diamond Thief, that I hadn't read. And although it usually doesn't really matters, I felt at the beginning that I was missing large parts of what was going on. My bad, of course, but I would certainly recommend reading the first book first (even though I didn't).

 

Remy is a French circus artist/diamond thief who has now settled for an easier life in London, when she's called back to France to rejoin her best friend and her circus.

 

It was a very, very fast read, not in the least because of the somewhat gigantic amount of white space on every paper. I mean, I read 140 pages when I went to donate blood plasm (which takes a little over half an hour). I don't usually read THAT fast, but it was as if I was constantly swiping pages.

 

Besides, it was quite enjoyable. Not really memorable or anything special, but enjoyable nonetheless. Remy came across as the somewhat annoying and immature girl, who didn't understand too much of the world. The rest of the characters all fell a bit too well in their roles. The shady mysterious guy is very shady and mysterious. The kid from the slum turns out to be some kind of genius (I've definitely not seen that before </sarcasm>). And as in Harry Potter, just to name one of the many possibilities, there's this important story that is supposedly so very famous, but the characters still need the tale to be told. Yeah, that.

 

While quite nice and a very fast read, it didn't blow me away, and I'm not really sure what to think about it.

 

The Ruby Airship is the second book in the Diamond Thief series. The first book is called The Diamond Thief.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2014-09-11 00:00
The Diamond Thief
The Diamond Thief - Sharon Gosling Received an ARC from NetGalley.

Mild spoilers

This was a very interesting take on circus carnies. I definitely enjoyed reading this story.

Remy was a sweet girl put into a rough situation. No family, no friends and poor. She joined the circus to feel that kind of "safety". The circus however was simply a group of hidden thieves. Remy was the best thief that circus had. One night she is called by the Master to go and survey the Ocean Light Diamond to steal it. Why? The Diamond has a curse placed on him and her lineage. Without the diamond the curse cannot be broken. When she goes to survey the diamond she is thrown into an opportunity of luck, or so she thought and things take a quick turn.

Thaddeus was a young copper who grew up on the streets. When he is left responsible for the diamond and it goes missing he is blamed for it and wanted to for theft. He searches out for Remy, but when they meet up he learns that not only did Remy not have the diamond but an unlikely Lord stole the diamond. Now they must retrieve and work together.

I love the romance the built up between Thaddeus and Remy. It was slow and patient. The perfect pace for this story.

I love that this takes place in London and the writing went extremely well with the setting. I felt apart of the story every turn of the page. I love how the Indian culture is intertwined along with the Indian characters. Amazing combination.

I totally loved the Professor and J. They seemed to be very essential secondary characters to this story and helped it move a bit faster. Lord Abernathy is a cruel man. I totally dislike him! He seemed sweet until the truth of the stolen diamond is discovered and then missing people -- he is a heartless man.

That ending was amazing! I'm trying to figure out how she was able to do it without leaving a trace behind.

I definitely enjoyed this novel and plan to read the sequel soon.
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review 2014-07-02 00:00
The Diamond Thief
The Diamond Thief - Sharon Gosling Review to come..
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-05-13 21:19
The Diamond Thief
The Diamond Thief - Sharon Gosling

(I got a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

A fast read, and one of those books I wish I had liked more (Victorian London + circus + thief + mechanical inventions: what's not to like in there, really?), but also one that didn't convince me in the end, unfortunately.

Things I liked: the steampunk side, light enough to be understandable by basically everyone, younger readers included. It has a touch of Fushigi no Umi no Nadia (in that stones/jewels play an important part), though it doesn't go further than that, and makes use of machinery whose concepts are easy to grasp, such as experimental night-vision goggles. Not the most creative I've ever seen, but a nice introduction nonetheless.

On the other hand, I found the backdrop fairly light, too—not a good thing. I never really got the feeling of a real circus, nor of Victorian mores. I think this could apply to several other aspects of the novel, in fact: it brushed against them, without ever diving deep enough for me to feel immersed. I could sense this most specifically with the characters. At first, I found them interesting, but they were never developed enough to hold my attention until the end, nor make me care about them. (And there definitely were interesting ideas in here, such as the unlikely trapeze artist/thief + young cop duo, the Professor with his inventions, the mysterious Lord...) Also, I didn't like the romance at all. I couldn't feel any chemistry within this couple, it seemed like a plot device to add some drama, and there were a few very melodramatic scenes that made me roll my eyes and want to slap those characters. Somehow, it moved too quickly, too superficially.

The plot itself seemed to rest on a lof of deus ex machina, predictable twists, and events inserted for convenience. I would've been more enthralled if Rémy and Thaddeus had had to really investigate, which in turn would have given them time to talk, get to know each other better; I guess this would have made the romance more palatable for me, as well as enhanced the strong points of their pairing, in terms of skills. Another thing I had a hard time with were a couple of plot points. First, the opal's role. One of the characters says that

it would allow Rémy to hear other people's thoughts,

(spoiler show)

yet I never got the purpose of that specific thread. Is there a second book in the writing? If there isn't, then I don't see the point. Same with

the curse:

(spoiler show)

couldn't Gustave tell Rémy about it way earlier than that, considering how involved she was, and how she was the one tasked with stealing the stone?

I suppose it could work as a very light read, or for really young readers (things never go further than a brief kiss in the romance department), but for me it didn't.

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