Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Michael J. Bowler - A Matter of Time - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

The world's greatest evil stalks the world's greatest ship, and the only one who can stop him hasn't been born yet. Jamie Collins is a junior at Santa Clara University in 1986. He has friends, a professor who mentors him, and a promising future as a writer. Then the dreams begin - nightmarish memories that transport him back to a time and place fifty years before he was born: Titanic's maiden voyage in 1912. When Jamie discovers a foreign cell in his blood that links him to the famous vessel, the two timelines begin to overlap and he realizes an unimaginable truth - something supernatural stalks the ill-fated ship, something that will kill him if he can't stop it first. And the only way to stop it may be to prevent Titanic from sinking. But even if he can figure out a way to do that, should he? What will be the effect on history if he succeeds? And what about the lady he wasn't supposed to fall in love with? As her destiny becomes entwined with his, Jamie discovers the value of friendship, the power of love, the impact of evil, and the vagaries of Fate.

My Review

Most of us are familiar with the story of the Titanic. We've either seen the movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, or watched the many, many documentaries available online, or even read other books about it.

So why should you pick up this one?

Because it's downright entertaining.

Bowler did his research, unearthing little known facts about an event you think you know everything about. For example, were you aware that a cursed mummy was in the ship's cargo hold when it hit the iceberg? Apparently, the sarcophagus contained the remains of a princess of the Egyptian god, Amon-Ra. Everyone associated with owning, disturbing or transporting the mummy, ended up dead. Is that why an unsinkable ship ended up at the bottom of the ocean?

Using that fascinating tidbit of information, Bowler links two VERY different settings—a college campus in California circa 1986 and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The Gilded Age meets the Computer Age, all thanks to Baron von Vampire. Don't worry it's not some kind of "Twilight"-inspired love story. It's more about dreams and premonitions and what happens when we don't have all the answers to what's happening around us, and probably never will.

Bowler does a great job of setting up both worlds. He starts off with the disgusting cafeteria food and dorm room hijinks of kids blasting their boomboxes to the jaunty ragtime tune the band is playing onboard one of the most luxurious vessels ever to grace the sea.

For me, the first half of the book can't compare with the second half. It's just a fuller, more enjoyable read once Jamie leaves school. First, he enters a vintage clothing store in New York City, needing to look the part when he takes his place alongside historical figures like John Jacob Astor. Then he travels to a rowdy pub in a rustic fishing village in northern Canada, adding plenty of local color as he seeks to hire a boat to take him out to the middle of the ocean to ultimately embark on a journey through time to track down a vampire he needs to kill once he's on the Titanic.

And let me tell you, you'll feel like you're on the ship when it crashes. All the little details really add to it. The twenty-eight degree water temperature. The booming crash of things falling as the ship goes vertical. The weariness of the telegraph operators as they send out the world's first SOS call. Bowler nails the accuracy of the event, making you feel like you're right there living it.

Does Jamie slay the vampire before the ship goes down? The depiction on the front cover displays their epic battle. But I'm not going to tell you. You're gonna have to read it to find out.


A Matter of Time can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble

Formats/Prices: $2.99 ebook, $12.95 paperback, $14.95-$21.83 Audible
Genre: Historical Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 340
Release: March 2, 2012
Publisher: Outskirts Press
ISBN: 9781432787110
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of nine novels—A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), and The Knight Cycle, comprised of five books: Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner – 2013 Wishing Shelf Book Awards; Reader Views Honorable mention; Runner-Up Rainbow Awards; Honorable Mention - Southern California Book Festival), Running Through A Dark Place (Bronze Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), There Is No Fear (Finalist – 2015 Wishing Shelf Book Awards), And The Children Shall Lead, Once Upon A Time In America; Spinner (Winner Hollywood Book Festival; Honorable Mention San Francisco Book Festival; Bronze Medal from Reader’s Favorite; Literary Classics Seal of Approval; Runner-Up - Southern California Book Festival; Honorable Mention - Halloween Book Festival; Finalist – 2015 Wishing Shelf Book Awards), and Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot (Honorable Mention in the London Book Festival and The New England Book Festival; Finalist – 2015 Wishing Shelf Book Awards).

His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.

He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II.”

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles.

He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed him and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He has finished writing a novel based on his screenplay, “Like A Hero,” and another book aimed at the teen market. He hopes to find a publisher or an agent for both.

His goal as an author is for teens to experience empowerment and hope; to see themselves in his diverse characters; to read about kids who face real-life challenges; and to see how kids like them can remain decent people in an indecent world. The most prevalent theme in his writing and his work with youth is this: as both a society, and as individuals, we’re better off when we do what’s right, rather than what’s easy.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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