Two reviews are in from Readers Favorite — I could not be happier! Woo hoo! Way to go Orville, Sophia, and Proto! Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of characters who live in my head and tell me what to write, even when I’m trying to do something else!
Joel R. Dennstedt – Reviewer
In concert with the sentiment above, I share my professional reviews of books by Indie Authors. I am an official top reviewer for Readers’ Favorite, a highly-regarded and award-winning online review site. Adhering to their standards of professionalism, ethics, and formatting, I offer my life-affirming voice to a greatly deserving field: Indie Authors.
If you are going to write a young person’s book, a book to entice and enthrall the thoroughly committed imagination of an intelligent child old enough to sense the inauthentic and insincere efforts of a “gasp!” adult, a book by which perhaps another less maturely quicksanded adult might recall and re-immerse himself in that incredible realm of realistic make-believe that feels like a secret land once and regretfully abandoned, then you could do no better than to be Tom Hoffman writing his book: Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Shattered Abacus. In earlier times, it was Hugh Lofting and Beatrix Potter who possessed such writing gifts. Today, Mr. Hoffman may rightfully declare himself a master magician author.
Orville Wellington Mouse (whose appearance in an earlier book I had the misfortune to have missed) is an instantly endearing character with an equally endearing girlfriend, Sophia, and a host of other endearing friends. Together, Orville and Sophia and something very unique called a Rabitton – whose name is Proto (also known as The Great Silver Rabbit) – embark on a series of adventures to solve a metaphysical puzzle. Referring to themselves naturally as metaphysical adventurers, these humorous creations of a highly creative mind inhabit and venture through a world at once reminiscent of our own and yet mind-blowingly tweaked from the everyday norm. It might also do well here to note that the puzzle they must solve is how to stop someone or something from ending Time itself: a huge task for some small folks.
Tom Hoffman manages to suffuse his marvelous book Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Shattered Abacus with an accelerating plot nurtured by grin-inducing humor, heart-warming friendships, and the mundane acceptance of the most terrific magic one might imagine – and he does so without once missing that perfect beat necessary to keep the perfect reading child totally enthralled.
Jack Magnus – Reviewer for Readers Favorite
Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Shattered Abacus: Orville Wellington Mouse, Book 2 is a young adult metaphysical adventure fantasy written by Tom Hoffman. Orville’s dream seemed so real. He was deep in the Symocan jungle, trying to enjoy the warm sun and luxuriant foliage, but Sophia seemed obsessed with counting the minutes and even seconds until something or other would happen. He just didn’t understand why she was unable to dissociate for a while and relax, but, finally, he gave in to her prodding and challenged her to a race to the top of the volcano. He felt awful gazing into that bubbling liquid heat, the hot air all distorted and wavy as he peered into the volcano. And Sophia was actually determined that they should leave their precarious, yet relatively safe, perch on the rim, and jump into that fiery maelstrom. Sophia reminded him that it was only a dream, and she assured him that it wouldn’t hurt, but it took the staunchest adventurer’s leap of faith to allow him to clutch Sophia’s paw and jump. Waking, Orville was relieved to see that it was, indeed, a dream, but was puzzled by the thick coating of snow that covered his night table. The chilly mess seemed particularly odd considering the jungles and volcano he had just experienced. There had to be a reason, he figured, for these two disparate, yet obviously connected, events. He’d have to discuss it with Sophia.
Tom Hoffman’s metaphysical adventure fantasy for young adults, Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Shattered Abacus, follows now veteran adventurers Orville and Sophie as they take on their newest assignment as a Metaphysical Adventuring team. Yes, it’s the second book in Hoffman’s series, and, yes, again, you can read this book on its own, but don’t. Seriously. Each of Tom Hoffman’s books is a gem, and they fit together to make an astonishingly good literary tapestry of metaphysical adventure, fantasy, science fiction and just a bit of quantum physics. Well, maybe a little more than just a bit, but don’t let your lack of mastery of such matters keep you from diving head first, or jumping feet first as Sophie and Orville do, into Hoffman’s quirky and most marvelous universe. Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Shattered Abacus lets the reader travel to distant planets, solve mysteries, and study the remnants of long-gone civilizations, and you’ll be doing it in the finest of companies.
I love seeing how well Orville and Sophia’s strengths complement each other. Their banter and laughingly begrudging appreciation of each other’s growing gifts is a treat, as is the way each keeps the other from taking themselves too seriously. Watching as the daredevil in Sophia is constantly tugging along the not so sure Orville has to be one of my favorite humorous aspects of this series. Proto, the Rabbiton and the newest addition to Orville’s family, with his love of adventure and rather odd appetite for encountering strange and horrible beasties, is a hoot and a half, especially when one considers his other avocation for baking little frosted cakes while wearing Orville’s mom’s aprons.
Hoffman’s fictional universe, which seemed so limitless in the Bartholomew the Adventurer Series, just keeps on expanding. Each new volume promises metaphysical delights, strange horizons, wormholes and hidden doors into far-off places, and ever more opportunities to learn, grow and experience alongside the adventurers. I’m so pleased with this book — the characters are first-rate and the plot is marvelous. Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Shattered Abacus: Orville Wellington Mouse, Book 2 is most highly recommended.