Thursday, January 30, 2014

REVIEW: ONCE EVERY NEVER (Never, #1) by Lesley Livingston

Title: Once Every Never
Series: Never, #1
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Publication Date: July 14, 2011
Genres: YA, Time-travel, Historical fiction
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 5/5


Clarinet Reid is a pretty typical teenager. 

On the surface. 

She's smart, but a bit of a 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.


If I had known earlier on what a magnificently scintillating joyride this book was going to be, I would’ve moved it right to the top of my to-read list MONTHS ago! Quite frankly, I’m flabbergasted that more people aren’t reading this book and raving about its awesomeness. So, okay, deep breath. This, my friends, is not just a simple must-read. It is a bucket list read. In fact, I forbid you from leaving this world before having read this book, understood? Yes? Good.

*rearranging facial features from do-my-bidding-or-suffer-my-wrath, to friendly, non-threatening smile”

You know those books where you’re almost halfway done with one but then life gets in the way and you have to wait until the next day to finish reading it, and you’re just dying with excitement because you can’t wait to read the rest of the book? Once Every Never is that book. When Clare (short for me, I kid you not) swoons over the first guy she comes across in the first few pages, I thought to myself, “Oh boy, insta love...please, someone slap me.” But, no. I was very, very wrong. This is definitely not that type of book, even if I thought so at the start. We’re talking a superbly plotted time-travel novel that will leave you breathless with laughter, sidesplittingly hilarious dialogue, lots and lots of action, an antagonist with the snarky wit of Klaus (from the tv series The Originals – fans of the tv series Vampire Diaries will understand the reference), a friendship that inspires envy, and two geeks who does that word proud. And all that? That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Interestingly, about a month ago I read another YA book with the Iceni warrior queen as the main topic in the story. So, when I came across this same story element in Once Every Never, I was already familiar with the background of this historical figure. What made the story about this queen who started a war with the Roman Empire entirely different from the one I read in Jordan Jacobs’s Samantha Sutton and the Winter of the Warrior Queen, is that it offers an entirely new perspective on the consequences of the decisions made by a heartbroken, vengeful, wife/mother. This novel also focuses on one of the warrior queen’s daughters and her love interest.

At first glance I was falsely under the impression that this was going to be a romance (I was misled with the blurb on the cover about a first kiss changing history, and all that), but I think hopeless romantics might be a little disappointed. The romance, thankfully, plays a small role at the conclusion. However, even though the romance only forms a tiny part of the plot, it was so utterly sweet and sincere, it actually brought tears to my eyes. Yes, folks, that’s what I said. I, anti-swoony-romance reader, begrudgingly admit that I unabashedly wiped away a few tears while I was getting caught up in the Disney-like love scene playing out near the end. I was so into it, I could swear I heard violins playing in the background during that specific scene.

So, what are you waiting for? Do you need more convincing? Fans of time-travel books, adrenaline-fueling adventure, historical fiction, and anyone with a sense of humor will be captivated by this tale of non-stop action, and the most unforgettable characters I’ve come across in...well, the past week or so. Another fantastic time-travel book with tons of romance you should check out (after you’ve read this one, of course) is Blue Bells of Scotland by Laura Vosika. Once Every Never is the first book I’ve read by this author, but certainly won’t be the last. So off I am to Goodreads to see what else Ms Livingston has written!



Lesley is a writer and actor living in Toronto, Canada.  Captivated at a young age by stories of mythology and folk lore, past civilizations, and legendary heroes, she developed into a full-fledged Celtic Mythology Geek, steeped in stories of the Otherworld, Faeries and King Arthur. Lesley went on to earn a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Toronto specializing in Shakespeare and Arthurian literature.

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