Tuesday and Zed Furst are perfectly normal children with perfectly strange parents.
Welcome to one of the April 26th stops on the blog tour for Relatively Normal Secrets by C. W. Allen with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, more reviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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About the Book
Relatively Normal Secrets
by C.W. Allen
Published 7 September 2021
Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 246
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Tuesday and Zed Furst are perfectly normal children with perfectly strange parents. Their father won’t discuss his job, their mother never leaves the house without her guard dog, and the topic of the family tree is off limits.
When a last minute “business trip” gets the adults out of the way, Zed and Tuesday decide to get to the bottom of things once and for all. Too bad some thugs with shape-shifting weapons have other ideas. Their escape leaves them trapped in the modern-meets-medieval Falinnheim, where everyone insists their father is a disgraced fugitive. They hope whoever is leaving them coded clues may have some answers, but they’re not sure they’re going to like what they learn.
If they ever want to see their parents again, they’ll need the help of a smuggler with a broken compass, their unusually talented dog, some extremely organized bandits, and a selection of suspiciously misquoted nursery rhymes.
Zed and Tuesday may not have all the answers, but one thing is certain—when it comes to normal, everything is relative.
At lunch, her father was the headlining topic of conversation. Perhaps, everyone joked, he was some kind of secret agent—if anyone found out what he really did all day, he’d have to erase their memories or have them deported to Jupiter. Tuesday made a hasty decision: better to ride the wave of laughter, than drown in it. This was ridiculous, of course!
Of course it was.
Tuesday heaved her backpack onto the lunch table and made a production of searching for a missing paper until the cafeteria’s collective attention bounded on to a new distraction. She retrieved last week’s History assignment and tried to look intensely interested in reviewing it, staring through the page with unfocused eyes while zoning out to the satisfying snapping sound her carrot sticks made, the pitch falling rhythmically as her teeth chopped each one shorter and shorter.
The newly-hatched suspicions about her parents’ routines burrowed in with the rest of the doubts nesting in her brain. It wasn’t just the way they sidestepped any mention of their lives before they had children. It wasn’t just their odd taste in names. It was just—oh, everything.
Her last name should have been different, for one thing; Tuesday was sure of it. Her father wouldn’t say what it might have been, but anything else would have been fine with her, really. Anything that wouldn’t make her a walking punchline. If her parents hadn’t been so weird, her mother would have taken her father’s last name when they got married, like normal people. Then Tuesday could have inherited his name, instead of just his face.
My Rating: 4 Stars
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I was granted complimentary access to Relatively Normal Secrets by C. W. Allen as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with Goddess Fish Promotions. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
The first thing that caught my eye when this tour was opened for bloggers to sign up was the cover art. I’m not sure who the cover artist is, but this looks like a lot of the middle grade titles coming across my suggested feed on NetGalley these days from the big publishing houses. Excellent choice! This book certainly has the right kind of shelf appeal for the target audience.
I really enjoyed the mystery plot going on in this book and the clever incorporation of children’s rhymes and folk songs that should be familiar to the reader already. Throw in a dog that is very much a well-rounded character all on its own, and this book has all the charm it needs to hold a young reader’s attention.
On the topic of the dog, the choice to name a mysterious black dog Nyx tickles this mythology lover just the right way, I love it, but if any mythology nerd kids or perhaps slightly older classic YA readers are reading this they may get overly hung up on what it could mean. I’ve seen the name Nyx used in children’s novels a lot since the House of Night series gained its following and the promise that name presents doesn’t always pay off, but I’m always expecting it to.
I did find that the big twist reveal at the end was a little over broadcast, but I recognize that I’m a seasoned adult reader who’s been out of high school longer than the age of the target reader. I think the kids who are meant to read this will either be genuinely surprised or feel quite proud of themselves for catching all the foreshadowing.
Overall this is a really solid, satisfying middle grade adventure and I would definitely give it to any middle school reader who’s interested in fantasy.
About the Author
C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.
She recently settled in the high desert of rural Utah with her husband, their three children, and a noisy flock of orphaned ideas. Someday she will create literary homes for all of them. (The ideas, not her family.)
Relatively Normal Secrets (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, Fall 2021) is her debut novel. She writes fantasy novels for tweens, picture books for children, and short stories and poems for former children. Her work will appear in numerous anthologies in 2021. She is also a frequent guest presenter at writing conferences and club meetings, which helps her procrastinate knuckling down to any actual writing.
C. W. Allen will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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