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The Falinnheim Chronicles #1

Relatively Normal Secrets

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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.

244 pages, ebook

Published September 7, 2021

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About the author

C.W. Allen

7 books197 followers

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.)

Keep up with her latest projects at her website: cwallenbooks.com

She is much funnier on Twitter than in person: twitter.com/cwallenbooks

Sign up for her newsletter and get a bonus short story!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 128 reviews
Profile Image for Darlene.
281 reviews95 followers
October 20, 2021
This book was so fun!

Tuesday and Zed Furst know their parents are hiding things from them but in their wildest dreams they could never guess what. When their parents go away for a business trip and leave them with a kindly neighbor things don't go as planned. When the siblings are forced to escape from evil villains, their parents' secrets are about to come out.

What follows is a delightful, fast-paced adventure perfect for the middle-grade reader. The characters are fun and engaging. The pacing is perfect for those of an age with little patience (and their mothers). In short, I absolutely loved it!

I highly recommend this for readers approximately grades 2-5.
Profile Image for Sofija.
183 reviews
October 19, 2022
Thank you to Netgalley for the audiobook!
Tuesday and Zed Furst are normal kids with weird parents. They always felt like their parents had kept things from them. Maybe they were adopted, or maybe their parents kidnapped them when they were very young. Tuesday had plenty of strange ideas about their parents' secrets. Even their pet, Nyx, was weird. Nyx is a smart, and huge dog, who was only obedient around their mum. One day, inspired by their parents' upcoming business trip, Tuesday and Z decided to snoop around, and expose the secret but to no avail. After their parents leave, their snooping was interrupted by a pair of dangerous-looking, uniformed men attempting to kidnap them. Thankfully, Nyx intervened with her magical abilities allowing Tuesday and Zed the perfect escape to a huge tree their father had mentioned as a meeting spot in case of trouble. Soon after arriving at the tree a light descended towards them and transported them to the same forest in a different dimension called Fallinnheim. It was now up to Tuesday and Zed to find their way around this unfamiliar territory. With the help of clues hidden in nursery rhymes posted in different places around the towns of Fallinnheim, Tuesday and Zed inch closer to being reunited with their parents. But soon they will find out there are many people who wish to harm them because of their parents' secrets. Not everything is so grim for the siblings, on their journey they will form unexpected kinship which brings more answers than they ever hoped to find.

This is a lovely story filled with fantastical elements and a mystery that keeps the momentum going. Our protagonists with quirky names are intelligent and quite mature for their age. Tuesday is fierce and snappy, while Zed is more quiet, perceptive, and always writing things down in his notebook. The narrator, Ivy Tara Blair, does a great job of bringing all the characters to life. She gives a lively performance, making it easy to know which character is speaking and expressing their emotions accordingly. The world-building is soft and simple; it expands the story and shapes it into a memorable collage. The story's second half is set in a cave base hidden by a waterfall. One of the rooms is wall-to-wall covered in glow-in-the-dark mushrooms, and yes, it's my favorite place.
The story is action-driven, goal-oriented, and fast-paced. Despite that, there are enough moments for our protagonists to bond with other characters and engage in conversations that spark emotional growth. All in all, I enjoyed this story so so much, which is why I immediately listened to the second part.
Profile Image for Natalie  all_books_great_and_small .
2,220 reviews80 followers
September 13, 2022
I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

Relatively Normal Secrets is the start a new series for middle grade children.
Tuesday and Zed Furst come from a family of quirky people. They see themselves as being relatively normal but feel their parents are definitely not, but in a nice way. The children decide to do some digging into their parents as their father won't give them an answer as to what his job is and their mother won't go anywhere without her guard dog with her. After being targeted by a gang of thugs the children find themselves trapped in Falinnheim being left clues in a coded format as a trail to help them. They keep hearing their father is a disgraced fugitive and need help from the most unexpected people to escape and be with their parents again.
This book is great for helping children embrace their differences and realise that normal is underrated.
I loved the mystery element to this book and thought the narrator did a wonderful job of narrating the story.
Profile Image for Laura Snider.
Author 8 books119 followers
October 21, 2021
What a cute and creative story! I loved the characters - especially the dog - and the world building was excellent. The use of nursery rhymes felt a tad bit cliche, but it wasn’t that important to the story. The twist near the end was pretty predictable, but I still enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Tahera.
580 reviews235 followers
August 14, 2022
It has been a while since I either read or listened to a children/middle grade fiction. I decided to give this series a try and clicked on 'Listen Now' because of the quirky cover design and the blurb. Incidentally, it was the second book in the series 'The Secret Benefits of Invisibility' that popped up first on NetGalley and I was getting pretty confused with regards to what was actually going on in the book when the first title soon followed and helped me a great deal in understanding the plot line.

Both are fun books to listen to with two very precocious and smart children as protagonists and is a mixture of Sci-fi adventure- with an alternate dimension world called Falinnheim (which is a mix of medieval and futuristic technology) as the backdrop- mystery solving( with clues being nursery rhymes!) and a struggle to bring the rightful government back in power in Falinnheim. Tuesday, the eldest of the two children, is quite hyper while Zed is someone who, in desi terms, can be described as 'chota packet bara dhamaka'. Also, Falinnheim is a world where the yearly calendar is based on seasons and not months (as both Tuesday and Zed find out in book two).

This is a fun series which children, whose age group it is aimed at, will surely enjoy listening. I am not sure how many books this series will consist of but it has started off well. Ivy Tara Blair does a very good job as the narrator; her narration is lively and plays a big role in keeping the interest of the listener.

I received an audio Arc of both the books from the publisher Cinnibar Moth Publishing LLC and the author C. W. Allen via NetGalley. Since I listened to both the books back to back, this is my review for both the books.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (both audiobooks).
Profile Image for Georgia.
1,031 reviews58 followers
October 28, 2022
More on Chill and read

It’s been a while since I read a middle grade book and “Relatively Normal Secrets” sounded like something right around my corner. It has mystery and magic, children, a whole new world and a Gabriel Hound, that is a huge dog with magical abilities. What’s not to like about all that?

Tuesday and Zed and perfectly normal children! Their family not very much though! They don’t exactly know what their father does for a living, his job is not a discussion topic. Their mother never leaves their house without her gourd dog, Nyx. Also, they have no relatives, the children never met anyone, and the children were never able to create a family tree as there was information made available to them.

One day, their parents need to leave for a business trip. Tuesday and Zed check all their things trying to find something abnormal. Something that would explain all the secrets their parents keep, but they come emptyhanded. However, when their parents leave, they are more vulnerable than ever. Their snooping around is interrupted when some very bad and dangerous looking people suddenly appear at their house. They only manage to escape thanks to Nyx, who out of sudden appears to have magical abilities. Thankfully, they remember their family meeting spot, a huge tree. One moment, they are at the tree and the next moment they find themselves at a strange and peculiar place. Nyx has managed to get transported with them, so they see a familiar face. But they also see the face of a man they never saw before. He claims to know their parents and he tells them that they are in danger, and they cannot return home. To do that, they would need to have a special device that looks like a compass, like the one he is holding in his hands. They also learn they are no longer in the world they have lived all their lives. They are now at Fallinnheim, which is in another dimension and is a mixed of medieval and futuristic world. Soon, the man that saved them leaves them all alone, and it is up to Tuesday and Zed to find their way around, without any knowledge of this whole new world, without any money to get something to eat and without actually having any idea what to do. Their parents’ secrets seem to be in the way of their survival in Fallinnheim. But just as they start to lose faith, they find messages hidden nursery rhymes and they understand that someone is trying to help them, and they find hope again.

This story has everything a middle grader would appreciate. Relatable characters, children of the same age that go on an adventure, meeting interesting people, both dangerous and helpful. Tuesday and Zed are two amazing characters! It is always easy to understand whose voice is heard and it is not only because of the narrator, who has done a great job, but also because of the writing. I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook and I would recommend it to children or anyone else that likes reading middle grade books. There’s a lot of action, but none so graphical that would be inappropriate for children.

Thank you to NetGalley & Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC for an advance copy of this book. The views expressed are my personal and honest opinion.
Profile Image for Star Gater.
1,245 reviews42 followers
September 18, 2022
Thank you NetGalley and Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC for accepting my request to audibly read and review Relatively Normal Secrets.

Author: C.W. Allen
Published: 09/07/22
Narrator: Ivy Tara Blair
Genre: Children's Fiction -- Middle Grade -- Sci Fi & Fantasy

I had the audiobook. Sadly, I was not able to connect with the narrator. Respectfully, that lead to trouble following the story. Her interpretation did not equal my expectations.

Briefly, the story centers around a family with supernatural secrets. The children learn about their lives after a series of events occur, and they are accidentally transported to their parents homeland. This creates an unrealistic tale for me.

Even with the genres labelled, I couldn't visualize the story. I would suggest evaluating the physical book and applying your findings to your recipient.
Profile Image for Yamini.
304 reviews23 followers
September 10, 2022
Two adorable troublemaker siblings landed in an unknown world after magically being transported from their home during an attack.
Now set to decode secret messages & solve the mystery to get back where they belong

The story is humorous, Magical, mysterious & Unpredictable
Somehow I find it a combination of
The Incredibles
Mission Impossible (parts)
June 19, 2023
A soft cover book against a Golden Doodle's paws. The book is Relatively Normal Secrets by C. W. Allen.

RELATIVELY NORMAL SECRETS by C.W. Allen is the first book in The Falinnheim Chronicles. It is an engaging and fast-paced adventure that follows the curious siblings, Tuesday and Zed. Their innocent question about their father's occupation sets off a chain of events that lead them to uncover the mysterious secrets of their family. When their parents are unexpectedly away, they embark on a thrilling quest for answers, only to be pursued by thugs with shape-shifting weapons. With the assistance of their remarkable dog, Nyx, who harbors surprising abilities, they escape to an unfamiliar world. The story is intriguing and keeps you hooked until the end. However, the conclusion felt slightly rushed, leaving me wanting more. I will read the next two books to find out more. Nyx, the dog, steals the show with her captivating presence, adding depth and excitement to the story. This book is a perfect choice for younger readers seeking a thrilling adventure filled with mystery, codes, and imaginative realms.

#bookstadog #poodlesofinstagram #doodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #bookstagram #dogsandbooks #bookishlife #bookishlove #bookstagrammer #books #booklover #bookish #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookishcanadians #canadianbookstagram #bookreviewer #bookcommunity #bibliophile #RelativelyNormalSecrets #CWAllen #booksforward #cinnabarmothpub #BooksForwardFriends #middlegradebooks #bookreview
Profile Image for Aylea.
277 reviews28 followers
August 17, 2022
Overall, this was a fun book with engaging characters and a fun world. It has some weaknesses, but I don't think that will get in the way of the target audience enjoying this book.

The two main characters of this story are fun, smart, and entertaining. They have strong personalities with individual strengths and weaknesses. They feel real and relatable in our world and the new world they find themselves in. I appreciated that all the characters had unique quirks and personalities, including the adult characters the kids encounter on the journey. I enjoyed the lists as a way of establishing character.

The ending and the beginning of the book were somewhat underwhelming. While the beginning did a lot to set up the characters and explain that there were secrets involved, it took a lot of time before the action started happening. It would have been more enjoyable if the action had started sooner rather than spending so much time on the kids arguing about whether there was something suspicious happening with their parents. The ending felt somewhat anticlimactic and that there should be a lot to come. The book is the first in the series, but it didn't feel complete as its own story, and I didn't feel particularly motivated to keep reading the series either.

The world-building had many interesting aspects that I would have liked to see more of. There were enough hints to show this world is a unique sci-fi/medieval fantasy world. I enjoyed its creative ideas and concepts, but I ended the book feeling like I never got a real sense of what being in this world is truly like. It felt like reading a tourist brochure rather than getting to experience it myself.

The nursery rhymes were a fun idea and done in a way I hadn't seen before. I enjoyed them being a unique way to communicate in this world. The twist at the end was very predictable, but it was still enjoyable to get to it for the most part.

Audiobook review: While it wasn't the most engaging audiobook I've listened to, the narrator did a good job of expressing the story for the most part. A few moments were a little overwhelming, but I recommend this audiobook for people who read books in that format.

Thank you to NetGalley for letting me have an audiobook version of this book to review.
Profile Image for Eileen.
2,041 reviews89 followers
June 19, 2023
3.5 stars

I listened to this and read along with the narration. The story follows two siblings, Tuesday and Zed, who come from a quirky and loving family, and do what they can to fit into school by pretending everything is normal. While they are very different from each other (as siblings often are), the one thing they have in common is they want to know more about their parents. When their parents go on an unusual trip together, they work together to learn more, only to get drawn into Fallinhein, a world that is not quite like our own.

This was a really fun middle-grade adventure, with an awesome dog and an enjoyable mystery. The bit with the fairy tales was a bit obvious, and all signs pointed to the big reveal at the end, but I still enjoyed reading it. While the immediate mysteries are resolved, the ending leaves you hanging, so keep that in mind when you read this book, that you'll want the next one to continue the adventure!

The narrator was okay, but I couldn't connect with her and ended up just finishing the story on my own. In particular, her voicing of Tuesday with the shouting was over the top and made me wince, and that happened several times. I have a copy of the second book, which I want to read, but I'll be doing so without the audio narration.
Profile Image for Momo .
369 reviews2 followers
November 1, 2021
3/5 Decent read and great narration.

This review is for the audiobook version. Firstly, I want to say that I really liked this narrator and they don't sound weird sped up which is a huge plus for me. The story however was a bit confusing at times and didn't always keep my attention which is usually a big no-no for me when reviewing books let alone children's/middle-grade books. I really liked the middle of the book though and really enjoyed the first little bit when they just get to Falinnheim. The ending and beginning were both quite dull. I usually prefer when the secrets get revealed in the last third of the book and not the last 10% but it is, unfortunately, a common thing in kids' books so I didn't mark it down for that. In conclusion, I liked about 50% of this book and really only recommend it to young readers/listeners.

Disclaimer: I got early access to this audiobook on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Aly.
2,724 reviews
August 19, 2022
This is a fun middle grade fantasy featuring siblings who discover a new world while running away from kidnappers. I like this plot device, a la Narnia, where characters from the real world stumble upon a fantasy land. It makes the reader feel like this could happen to them, if only they found the right closet, doorway, or lake to dive into.

The story was cute and not too complicated. I liked their dog companion and think every kid needs a protector like that. One thing I didn't love was their parents giving a huge info dump about their whole history and the world. I would have preferred we learn some of this as we went through the plot. Other than that, it's a cute and quick read and I'm happy that there's already a sequel coming.

I listened to the audiobook for this and thought the narrator was great. She did a good job with the kids' voices without sounding comical.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Audiobooks, and NetGalley for the copy
September 8, 2022
Seeing all my Booksta friends reading and posting rave reviews about middle grade books pushed me to give this one a try. And I’m so glad I did! It was a fun and quick read with colorful characters and interesting creatures.

I liked that there was nothing too frightening in the story but there were stressful moments and some twists that surprised me. I’ll definitely be reading more so I can hopefully find some great options for my daughter as she gets older.

The audio was very quick, and I enjoyed almost all the characters the narrator portrayed. The only one that didn’t quite fit was the young girl who was smart but made to seem extra whiny at times. That might just be me, so don’t let it deter you from giving this a listen because I really enjoyed this one overall.

Thank you Netgalley and Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC for the alc in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Jessica  Sinn (Books and Trouble).
314 reviews20 followers
September 25, 2022
This book is an excellent adventure/fantasy read for the very young end of the middle grade spectrum. I love the whole concept of parents with supernatural secrets that lead to a whole new fantasy world--such fun!

I can see this book being a hit with fans of Spy Kids. It would make for a fun made-for-TV series on the Disney Channel.

My only gripe is that the narration is stilted, making it hard to engage with the story. This would probably be easier to read via paperback with illustrations.

Big thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Alex.
786 reviews19 followers
December 29, 2021
Tuesday has always guessed that something was weird about her family. Their dad never discussed his job and their dog always acted a little strange. She had come up with several wild theories about what her dad could really be doing for a living, theories that her brother Zed never agreed with. Nevertheless, some of those theories may not be far off from the truth when their parents go on a last-minute business trip and the two are whisked away to a new world named Fallenheim.

Middle-grade fantasy is a genre that I will never truly give up on, although I am definitely not the intended demographic. Some of the books in this genre (Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, Chronicles of Narnia, etc.) shaped my journey as a young reader. These books can still entertain me, so I was very excited to read about Tuesday and Zed’s journey. I also love those names, they feel iconic.

This story had quite a lot going for it. You had a brother-sister middle-grade duo (hello 39 clues, I love the brother-sister duo theme so much). You have parents who Tuesday already thinks have secret second lives from the very start of the book. And then you have kids being thrown into a completely different dimension that is completely disconnected from Earth! The book is very fast-paced and would definitely hold the attention of a younger reader

Once you get past what the book had going for it, you start to see some of its flaws. For starters, I feel like Fallenheim wasn’t as fleshed out as it could have been. You have a modern yet medieval world, but for the most part, the kids spend a majority of the book running around solving riddles. I felt like the worldbuilding could have been done a bit better, as I really didn’t feel as if I was in a different world when I read this book. This should have felt like Narnia to me, a completely different universe that doesn’t follow Earth’s rules and that the kids have to survive to return to their parents. If a bit more time had been spent describing the world, I feel like I wouldn’t have had this same reaction.

Nevertheless, the interesting characters continued to shine throughout the entire story. The characters were the one thing that never disappointed me. The kids felt realistic and were fun to explore with and the adults they ran into had all of their own unique quirks. There were also tables and other small drawings thrown in throughout the story that always made me feel like I was truly on an adventure with kids armed only with a notebook and their deducing skills.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new middle-grade fantasy read. There was a pretty interesting twist at the end of the story, so I have hope that the next book in the series will expand upon the world that was starting to be built up in this story and give us more adventures with these fun characters.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 books.
Profile Image for Lucía .
64 reviews34 followers
December 27, 2022
Estuvo lindo. Fue agradable y gracioso escuchar este libro. Ah pero Tuesday INFUMABLE (ella o la manera en que la narradora hablaba en sus diálogos). Creo que lo hubiese disfrutado más sin los agudos que pegaba la señora...
Profile Image for Lara.
36 reviews12 followers
September 11, 2022
Rating breakdown:
total: 4(.25)/5
enjoyment: 4/5
problematic content: 1/5 (1 being the lowest possible score)
writing style: 3.5/5
pacing: 3/5
characters: 4/5
romance/frienship /character relationships: 3.5/5
worldbuilding: 4/5

Relatively Normal Secrets is the first novel in the "the Falinnheim Chronicles series" by C.W. Allen. This series follows the Furst siblings: Tuesday June and Zed; whos family is decidedly not like other families, but they are about to find out how much more different their family is than Tuesday and Zed ever imagined.

Overall I liked this book, a lot actually. Personally I didn't find it awesomely groundbreaking, but definetely enjoyable and just great for a cozy little read. It's relatively short, making it perfect for an evening spent on the sofa. Relatively Normal Secrets is an absolutely unproblematic read with no graphic descriptions, though there is some mention of orphans and one scene where it is discussed, how someone lost part of their family (murder). And I would say it's something even younger children read or be read to.
The narrator, Ivy Tara Blair, did a good job and lend the characters a pleasant voice.
The writing style of C.W. Allen was good, and while I liked how funny Zed's narration of the story was written I found her writing overall average. Good enough that it was of no distraction and kept me engaged, but nothing I would sing praise to (though I don't think that would be necessary anyway, especially not in a middle-grade novel). Sometimes I felt that dialogue or characterisation was used a little heavy handed and easy to detect. For example

The pacing was also somewhat wonky. For the first quarter it felt a little like there was no purpose, because when Tuesday and Zed

they were just left to their own devices without anything to do, so that part felt a little unguided and looser than the rest. But fortunately after

the plot picks up again and especially the end tied together enough plot threads to provide a satisfying conclusion, but also left you with enough questions to be excited for the second, and subsequent, book(s).

"I'm your partner, and I'm not going anywhere!"

The characters are where C.W.Allen really shines in my opinion. Tuesday and Zed were great and instantly likeable. Every character had something to them that made them different and interesting. I especially liked Nyx and even minor characters like Leander had characterisation that made them stand out.

The only character where I felt there was some backstory lacking was Nicodemus, but maybe in the next book we'll learn more?
The relationships between the differnt characters were well portrayed too. You really felt that Tuesday and Zed were siblings, even if they usually get along, one sometimes annoys the other and they have known each other for so long they can communicate almost without words.

Additionally the worldbuilding was also something I enjoyed. Trustfully I read fantasy mostly because I love magic and how it impacts a world, as well as just the different ways authors bring to live whole worlds entirely different from out own. This genre has so many different sub-genres where you can experience differnt parts or interpretations of similar themes (or very different ones) and that's what I love about it. Epic fantasy, Grimdark, Romantasy, Low-fantasy or High Fantasy. Everything is possible, but what I've found is that middle-grade fantasy feels the most excitingly magical and creative (mostly because there's less thought about rules and explanations and magic just is soft and there, but not that I judge, I love it after all).
And the world of Relatively Normal Secrets proves that again. Does it make much sense that part of the world is medieval with a kingdom, little villages and soldiers with "swords" on horseback, while the other is modern or even futuristic with dental beads and hoverboards? No, but it doesn't need to, because this adds to the feeling of wonder it ellicits. The little knods to our world like villages/cities named Kyoto and Alexandria, but in a totally different context are really fun too. And there is even a sort of explanation

In conclusion I think this is a great book, even though it has a few little things that could be improved, and I would recommend it to anyone searching for a cute fantasy middle-grade, but especially to children from the ages eight to twelve.

This review is made possible through NetGalley and Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC. Thank you for providing me with an ARC audiobook copy.

Profile Image for Alyssa (Intotheheartwyld).
373 reviews12 followers
September 1, 2021
Special Thanks to Booksirens for providing me with a review copy, I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Relatively Normal Secrets is a fast paced and engaging tale that follows two siblings, Tuesday and Zed, as they try to uncover the secrets their parents have been keeping from them.

This was a fun and quirky read. Instantly we are thrown into this world where Tuesday and Zed are two siblings who are so suspicious of their parents. They have no knowledge of what their dad does for work, they have no extended family and when ever the two try to find answers their parents expertly navigate a change of subject. And that's not even taking into account their mother's giant dog that Zed is overly suspicious of.

It doesn't take long for the story to take a turn and the kids are separated from their parent and are pulled into another world where everything just gets more and more weird for them.

The story focuses on Tuesday and Zed learning how to rely on themselves while also working together in the face of danger trying to find their parents in this new strange world. We get to see them bicker and fight but then come together to solve their problems. They also have very distinct personalities from each other. The other half focuses on the tyrant who has taken over the world they get magically transported too, and eventually these two story lines collide and I wont lie, as an adult, I was shocked. I had one theory for how they where going to met up but I was only half right, I managed to miss some of the other earlier clues, so I feel kids will be taken back with surprise when they get to that part.

The story has a lot of magic thrown in, the changing weapons was my favorite and it made for the fight scene to be more intense but still fun to follow along with. There is also a nice amount of advanced technology, can I have those self teeth cleaning orbs please, those sound amazing. Also keep an eye on that giant Dog, she was something else alright!

I loved how the author used existing nursery rhymes in this tale, it added a new and fun element to the story that I haven't seen done before. The way they are used are fun and engaging and as long as the reader knows them they will catch the subtle changes to them the minute they start popping up. I did start to wonder which rhyme was going to come up next.

I will say the end is kind of bold step, it wraps up the main plot for the story but at the same time leaves on a pretty intense cliffhanger because all the secrets are reveled literally at the end. Its not often I come across MG books that do this and for me I want to come back, so I hope this works and gets any kids who pick this up excited to come back as well.

The only bit I didn't care to much about was all the lists that Zed made in the story. I understand that it was part of how he processed information, but it ended up only repeating information that we had just gotten a page or two prior, so it didn't really serve a purpose to the story aside from further explaining Zeds personality.

All in all it was fun, easy and fast paced with some intriguing elements. I'll be keeping an eye out for the 2nd book.
Profile Image for Zoozoo.
79 reviews
August 11, 2022
Relatively Normal Secrets is a fast-paced and engaging adventure following a pair of over-curious siblings, Tuesday and Zed Furst, in which they find themselves in another dimension called Falinnheim. In this strange new world, they are faced with numerous dangers, a rebellion and a bunch of nonsense nursery rhymes.

This was such a fun audiobook to listen to! It is very obviously aimed at younger readers but it still makes an enjoyable listen for adults. I really liked the whole concept of Falinnheim being a mix of medieval and modern technology and setting. I also really love how the city names are all based on ancient Earthen cities. As for the characters, I loved both Tuesday and Zed. They were both so funny and witty and I reckon this book’s child readers would very much enjoy their banter and quips. I also enjoyed the twist at the end, although I did expect something to that effect, but certainly not to that extent. Finally, the narration was stellar! I really enjoyed how the narrator gave each character a unique voice of their own and kept the storytelling dynamic.

Overall, I just want to say that I sure hope I can get to any sequels soon because I would love to follow the Furst siblings on their further adventures in Falinnheim!

Thank you to NetGalley for access to the audiobook!
Profile Image for Rachel N.
465 reviews1 follower
November 9, 2021
*3.5 Stars!!

This book is about two very inquisitive siblings Tuesday and Zed who after being asked a very simple question ‘what does your father do for a living’ Tuesday is unable to answer which leads the children to realise that they don’t know as much about their family as they should. When their parents go on a last minute work trip they decide to use that opportunity to find out the answers themselves. Before they can do more than get home from school they find themselves being attacked by shape shifting thugs looking for their father, with the help of their dog Nyx who turns out to be hiding some pretty big secrets they manage to flee but find themselves in a world that isn’t their own.

I listened to this as an audio book. It was fast paced book perfect for younger children and will keep them engaged. I did feel though that the ending might have been slightly rushed but I enjoyed it all the same. My favourite character was the dog Nyx she really added to the story I think without her I wouldn’t have enjoyed the story as much as I did.

I really liked the narrator she was the correct women for the job and should be the narrator for the rest of the series.

*I received a copy of this book from NetGally in return for my honest review.*
Profile Image for Yasmine.
321 reviews18 followers
October 19, 2021
I received a free copy from NetGalley and Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This was a quick, short and fun audiobook that I can recommend to anyone who likes middle-grade magic stories with dimension travels and family secrets thrown in. Tuesday and Zed are two "normal" siblings with "normal parents" who go on a "normal" business trip. When they suddenly arrive in modern-meets-medieval Falinnheim, they quickly realize that the villagers don't think their father is so normal after all. On their quirky adventure to get back to their parents, we get to accompany the siblings on a trip full of magic, mystery and secrets.

The narrator Ivy Tara Blair has a great voice that I loved listening to and I thought the author C.W. Allen did a great job bringing this new story to life!
Profile Image for Jen’s library.
73 reviews46 followers
August 28, 2022
5 out of 5 stars:

This book is great! I really enjoyed it! C.W Allen made characters really likeable and I felt like I was in the story with them. Its a fast-paced read, lighthearted and mysterious. Its a middle grade age range book but I’m 26 and loved it! When I have children I would definitely read this with them. Zed and Tuesday go on this mysterious journey with clues leading them and it’s really a lot of fun for the reader. I have always enjoyed books like this. If you like books with clues leading the way and want something older (closer to high school age) I recommend the inheritance games by Jennifer lynn barnes. Or you can always read the sequel to this book called The Secret Benefits of Invisibility by C.W Allen. That’s next on my Want To Read list. I Can’t wait!
Profile Image for Brooke Losee.
Author 16 books35 followers
August 26, 2021
If you want an engaging, new world, magical read, then Relatively Normal Secrets is for you! Join Zed and Tuesday on a fascinating, action-packed adventure as they discover who their parents really are. Allen's unique world is fantastically described and will draw you in to keep learning more with her clever plot lines and surprise twists. Enjoyable for young and old alike. I can't wait for the next installment.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Profile Image for Drea Braddock.
Author 10 books27 followers
September 8, 2021
This was a delightful adventure that I read aloud to my children. We all unanimously loved the two siblings, Zed and Tuesday, and were thrilled by their journey from the beginning. My kids definitely connected with the sibling relationships and liked how they grew to trust and rely on each other throughout the story, working as a team. The action, tension, and pacing was great for reading with a range of ages. Our only teensy issue was with Zed's lists throughout. In the beginning, it was a great way to understand his character and see him processing information. As the story progressed though, it just became an unnecessary repeating of information we had just read. I wish the lists had maybe been incorporated in a way that shared fresh information. The format was cute, it just got repetitive. We all hope there's more to come, like a sequel!
Thanks to Book Sirens for providing this free ARC copy to read and allowing me to share my own unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Barbara Schultz.
3,082 reviews183 followers
November 4, 2022
Book Title: Relatively Normal Secrets’
Author: C. W. Allen
Series: The Falinnheim Chronicles
Narrator: Ivy Tara Blair
Publisher: Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC
Genre: Middle Grade Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Pub Date: September 7, 2022
My Rating; 3.7 rounded up

This is first in this series and I read and love the second book The Secret Benefits of Invisibility.
In this story Tuesday and Zed Furst believe they are relatively normal but their friends think differently.
• It seems strange that they live in an isolated area away from everyone.
• Seems strange that mom doesn’t go anywhere without ‘Nix’ her guard dog!
• It seemed strange when Tuesday class assignment was to do an essay on her parent’s profession. Tuesday knew mom stayed home but didn’t know what dad did.
• It seemed strange when Zed’s school assignment was to do a family tree and his parents said they didn’t have an extended family.

This has them thinking perhaps they were adopted - or stolen - or they are in a witness protection program.

When their parents go out of town for a ‘so called’ business trip, and before heading next door to stay with their kindly neighbor- Tuesday opens the door thinking it is their neighbor. However, it is two men with weird shaped weapons push their way in. Zed and Tuesday escape and soon find they are trapped in ‘Falinnheim’

Although slow in parts it was still a good red!!!
The audiobook narrator Ivy Tara Blair does a great job in performing the character.
I believe this story will help children that differences are really okay!

I know I am not the target audience for this book but as an educator I love to read children as well as YA stories. When parents find out that I am an avid reader they’ll often ask if I have any recommendations. ~ I can always say~ as a matter of fact - Yes I do!

Want to thank NetGalley and Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC (Member of IBPA- Independent Book Publishers Association) for granted me the pleasure of listening to this eGalley. Publishing Release Date was September 7, 2022
Profile Image for Rebecca.
4 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2022
Cozy adventure perfect for 8-10 year olds. Strong initial hook, clever riddles any kiddo can feel good deciphering for a high-five moment, and a satisfying twist ending. Chapter length and pacing make it ideal for before bed, chapter-a-day reading. Largely tech free which leaves it feeling a wee bit nostalgic (typewriter mention made for fun conversation). Would be extra fun as a grandparent read. I did speed up the audiobook to improve listening experience.

I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and the publishers.
Profile Image for Nina Levine.
147 reviews8 followers
November 15, 2022
Ho. Hum. For Zed and Tuesday, life is "relatively normal." Sure they live pretty far from school and friends. And then there are some unexplained mysteries. Every other kid in school has no trouble saying what their parents jobs are, but Zed and Tuesday suddenly realize they have no clue what their dad goes when he goes off to "work". But nothing could prepare them for the adventure ahead.

With their parents on a rare business trip, Zed and Tuesday come home from school before heading to the neighbor's house. A knock at the door. Two men. And their dog Nix ... well we'll leave that unsaid.

So begins an adventure with surprises, danger, and fun.

Gratitude to NetGalley for the advanced copy of the audiobook.

Ivy Tara Blair's narration is lively and engaging, beginning the story to life.

The story is clever and the children are bright and capable. The plot moves steadily forward with exciting bits sprinkled liberally through out.
Profile Image for TheEtherealReader.
22 reviews2 followers
June 3, 2023
“Tuesday and Zed Furst are perfectly normal children with perfectly strange parents.”

This book was fun and with an obsessive sense of adventure. The siblings desperation to discover the secrets their parents keep from them resonated with me, especially with how they were only left to speculation and rumours. All the clues being connected by the siblings all lead to one definite thing, they are most definitely not adopted.

Of course that’s not all though, but I couldn’t possibly spoil this book for you, that would be a heinous crime.

However I do love how the author presents the concept that the reader should be appreciating their weird qualities just as much as their other qualities, declaring “normal” nothing but a construct that doesn’t define you. And it was something I really appreciated.

But you should know it’s definitely worth a read, or a listen (as I did thanks to NetGalley in return for an honest review).

So if you need a cute middle-grade mystery, look no further. This book is perfect for little kids, and even as far as adults, especially if you have a poor attention span for audiobooks!
Profile Image for Mae.
46 reviews2 followers
November 24, 2021
I received an advance review copy for free via BookSirens, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Relatively Normal Secrets was a fun and pleasant middle-grade read. Its a fast-paced adventure where two kids who come from a family filled with secrets is suddenly transported to the magical land of Falinnhaiem. There were really a lot of aspects I enjoyed about this book. First, the main characters, Zed and Tuesday were fun to read about, especially since they had two different personalities. It was amusing to see how they clashed at times, but also how they were able to work together despite thinking and reacting differently to situations. Second, I loved the concept behind the world of Falinnhaiem, which was a "futuristic medieval" dimension. Third, with the story's backdrop being of two kids navigating an unknown world at a time of political unjust was something I did not expect, but it was eased into the story so well, that these heavier themes were well-adopted into everything that was happening. Lastly, I definitely enjoyed the mystery behind everything in this book: a lot of questions were floating in my head as I was reading it; and the secrets, codes, and sheer magical realism of it all added to the exciting storyline.

The author's writing is also really great as it perfectly captures the atmosphere of an observant narrator, just like the characters themselves. However, there were times where I felt the pace moved either too fast or too slow. I also felt that the ending part was rushed and a bit overwhelming. It felt like a bomb dropping unto the reader which was somehow supposed to explain everything that had happened in the book. Nevertheless, this was an enjoyable and wholesome read! I can't wait for the sequel to this one.
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