The Whizbang Machine

The Whizbang Machine Series, Book 1

Young Adult - Mystery
404 Pages
Reviewed on 03/11/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Danielle A. Vann lives to write. When she was small, she spent endless days writing and crafting wild characters out of thin air. As Danielle grew, that love for writing sparked a career in journalism. She began her career as a scriptwriter and then moved into a flourishing career as a news reporter, food reporter, and morning/evening news anchor. That career earned her an Associate Press Award.

After becoming a mother, she was inspired to write children's books for her three adorable children. While she holds children fiction especially close to her heart, she also loves to write books for all ages. These genres include Young-Adult Fiction, Adult Fiction, Young Reader Fiction, and Non-Fiction.

When she isn't writing you can find her doing "mom" things, digging in her organic vegetable gardens, running, finding her Zen in yoga, or playing chef in the kitchen. She currently lives in Mansfield, Texas.

Danielle is also the author of Gracie Lou and The Bad Dream Eater, November 2016 release, Award-winning YA series, The Whizbang Machine, and September 2016 release The Very Tall Tale of Ranger, the Great Pyrenees, and his Adorable Friend, Miss Keys, and October 2016 release Building Faith Through A Carpenter's Hands. To learn more, visit

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Whizbang Machine: The Whizbang Machine Series, Book 1 is a young adult mystery novel written by Danielle A. Vann. Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Yale loves her typewriter, even if it's not as efficient and easy to use as a laptop or word processor. While she's no stranger to tech and loves her phone, there's a special connection that she feels to the clanging chatter and other little noises that the typewriter emits as she works, and the feel of the keys hitting her paper. She's reluctant to leave her typing incomplete when her mother calls and tells her to come downstairs, but it is Grandpa Jack who's coming to see them, after all. It's been eight long years since he left, almost immediately after the sudden death of her father, Jesse. Having her grandfather desert her so soon after the loss of her dad hurt deeply, and while she's thrilled to be seeing him again and still has the hundreds of postcards he sent her during his travels, there's just a touch of resentment and hurt lingering from his desertion when she needed him most. But when the door opens, and she sees him standing there looking at him, she can't help but rush into his arms.

Danielle A. Vann's young adult mystery, The Whizbang Machine: The Whizbang Machine Series, Book 1, is an exciting and fast-paced novel that follows Elizabeth and her grandfather, Jack, as they follow the trail of clues relating to the strange typewriter he found in Morocco which bears Elizabeth's initials on it. Along the way, they discover hidden documents, share in an amazing genealogical trip into their family's past, and travel to Leiden in the Netherlands where it may all have begun. I loved revisiting the main branch of the New York Public Library with them and found the descriptions of Leiden so compelling that I searched Google for images to go along with my reading. Vann's characters are well-defined and authentic, and I especially appreciated Elizabeth's resilience, imagination and courage as she teams with Grandpa Jack. The plot is superb, mingling history with mystery as the two persist in following their clues, despite the dangers they come up against. While this is a relatively lengthy work, I actually found that this book ended all too soon, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. The Whizbang Machine: The Whizbang Machine Series, Book 1 is most highly recommended.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Elizabeth is a writer, a young writer, and she loves old typewriters. So what better gift to give a young author with a passion for old typewriters than an old typewriter, especially one that seems to have a mind of its own and a voice, of sorts, to speak its mind. And that's where the mystery and the adventure begin in The Whizbang Machine by Danielle A. Vann.

Elizabeth's grandfather, Jack, left her and her mother years ago, after her father's (Jack's only son) sudden death. Jack traveled the world and picked up treasures here and there, always sending postcards to his granddaughter. Suddenly, Jack reappears and Elizabeth's life couldn't be any more complicated. She loves her grandfather, but there's something about the man and the old typewrite that he picked up in Morocco that spell a mystery to unravel the truth about her family's history. And there's a curse to go with it.

Danielle A. Vann has written a compelling story. The Whizbang Machine is full of fantasy, mystery, adventure and all that can capture a teen reader's attention. There is almost an air of believability in this story, and, as the author reveals at the end, there is a history connected to the Royal typewriter, the old machine that sparked and inspired this story. Lots of action lead the plot forward with pizzazz. Even the attempts Elizabeth and Jack make to do legitimate research leave the reader breathless as the otherwise slow routine of looking through old records heats up when fire alarms go off, hasty exits must be made, and countless mysterious figures start chasing them - and all for an old typewriter with a mind of its own. Interesting, and a great story.

Lisa McCombs

When her grandfather Jack gifts Elizabeth Yale with an intriguing souvenir of his travels, she had no idea of the power and the heritage that it represented. Every time she touched the machine it created havoc for her and her home. Emitting a fierce “Whiz Bang”, the ancient typewriter spouted warnings of a past gone awry. She is given constant reminders of the fact that it is her responsibility to right the wrongs associated with her Dutch family roots. Are they truly members of the Yale family or is their true lineage royal? As Elizabeth and Jack embark on a quest for answers to solve the mystery, they are not prepared for the many dangers their pursuit to the small city of Lienden entails, but they are propelled by the message: “The answer lies under the keys.”

The Whizbang Machine by Danielle A. Vann is an engrossing tale loosely based on the invention of the Royal typewriter. Although fiction, the story unfolds on basic foundations associated with the creation of one of the most famous typewriter factories in our history. Vann’s research on the subject is evident in her tightly woven story, and makes what I believe to be a fascinating novel for all ages. This reviewer sees the possibility of adding The Whizbang Machine to the list of young adult titles used in a classroom language arts curriculum. There is a multi-faceted accumulation of research and writing topics within this novel that any public school teacher would embrace. I really enjoyed the story, and see it as a great book for reluctant readers.

Patti Boepple

The Whizbang Machine
By Danielle A Vann
*****5 stars
Reviewed by Patti Boepple

I really loved this book! I cannot wait for it to be published!
This story has suspense and intrigue and in my humble opinion is written by a master storyteller. The secret in this page turning story, is in the words that are snippets of power, irresistible courage, patience, and fortitude.

It starts out in New York City with Elizabeth Wright Yale aka Lizzy and Laurel her mom.
Her grandfather Jack is coming for a visit. He had left them eight years ago when his son, Laurel’s husband and Elizabeth’s dad, Jesse died. Jack couldn’t handle being alone with all the memories, as his wife was deceased too. He sold their bookstore that they had owned for over fifty years. He dropped off a few family heirlooms and their old grandfather clock at their house and left without saying goodbye. While Jack was gone he sent postcards from all over the world, “416 to be exact” from all the places he had been.
Now he was coming back home.
When Jack knocked on their door they were so happy to see each other. Grandpa Jack and Elizabeth have always been kindred spirits.
The real reason Jack has come back, is unbeknownst to Elizabeth, and that is her mother has given permission for her to travel the summer with her grandpa. Exciting is the least of how Elizabeth would describe her feelings!
Grandpa Jack also brought a few gifts for her and her mama. Relics he called them and her mother called them junk.

Jack has Lizzy get this one certain box out of the stack of boxes they had carried into the house and this particular box has light radiating from it and when Lizzy is touching the box it gives her sensations that she isn’t quite sure she wants to open it. Jack had to beg her to open this one particular gift. She takes a unique case out of the box but to open the case Lizzy needs the last postcard grandpa Jack had sent her. When the case is opened things begin to happen. Magical, unbelievable, frightening, and staggering things began to happen to and around Elizabeth. As she started to run from Jack’s room, she saw the most elaborate vintage typewriter she had ever seen. Now you must know Elizabeth is passionate about old typewriters and would rather use one of those to the now modern laptops. This particular typewriter talks to them with whoosh, pop, whiz, sizzle, whoosh, whiz-bang noises! Can you say wowzers! It is a talking out-of-this-world supernatural relic typewriter! What is going on here?
Why does Jack think this particular typewriter has ties to Elizabeth? Is it because it has her initials on the front, EWY? Or does grandpa Jack know something he isn’t telling? Before Jack and Elizabeth can get gone on their trip something significant happens to Jack.
Jack tells Elizabeth to go into the attic and find an old photo album and as she is going into the attic the typewriter machine starts it’s whiz-banging noises again and giving out messages that are like a scrambled up word puzzle.
I can only imagine what is going through Elizabeth’s mind as all this is going on and her imagination is running wild.
Elizabeth’s mom has no idea what has been happening with the old typewriter machine and themselves. They do not believe she would understand but they eventually have to tell her. When they do explain the puzzle begins to unravel. Even Laurel has some pieces that fit in this secret puzzle.
After Jack checks himself out of the hospital and returns to their home and he and Lizzy set on a journey that begins with research at The New York City Public Library.
Do they ever get to go on that summer journey together?
Does the whizbang machine ever finish it’s story?
Run with leaping strides to the nearest bookstore and get this book!

I would even say this story could be described as historical fiction. The facts about the history in the story make it even more imaginable.

I will share this review when the book is published.
I, was given this book, by for review purposes.
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D. Dovovan, Midwest Book

Supernatural machinery is nothing new to fantasy (many a young adult and preteen read have included magical equipment), but a talented typewriter is something different, which Elizabeth discovers when a gift from her grandfather spells out new powers in the form of secrets revealed.

One delightful aspect of this story line is the old-fashioned type sprinkled throughout the pages, which capture the typewriter's special font and clarify that the messages are coming from a machine.

Another is the fact that a family curse brings granddaughter and grandfather together on a problem-solving mission spiked with supernatural overtones. As Elizabeth narrates her family's heritage and her increasing involvement with the magic typewriter that will change lives and destinies, she thoroughly involves readers in the quest: "The machine sighed to sleep with the flip of the red off button. I drew in a deep breath, stuffed Jack’s last postcard in my front jean pocket and stood eerily still. Jack, I thought. After all this time, he would finally be standing inside my house. The place he used to treasure before the bomb went off in both of our lives. It didn’t seem like today would ever come."

Mystery and supernatural elements are paired with strong characterization, believable scenarios and motives, and a host of challenges that keep Elizabeth and Jack on their toes. Readers follow the clues along with the investigator duo and will enjoy an ever-quickening pace as the two race against time to solve a series of impossible problems, with the Royal typewriter pushing them to hone their sleuthing skills before it's too late.

The result is a beautifully written page-turner recommended for young adult readers: one that does an excellent job of building its plot and characters and surrounds them with a mystery spiced with the dilemma of a Royal curse that may prove undefeatable, if the two family members can't solve it once and for all: "I repeated the sinister words the vendor chanted, “One thousand and forty years the curse will remain until the rightful owner shall turn back the hands of time and correct a Royal mistake. The secret will eat away at those who come to play like a disease.”

Literary Classics, Litera

Elizabeth is an extraordinarily mature fifteen year old girl. Of course, her life circumstances have caused her to grow up faster than most kids her age. An only child, her father passed away a few short weeks after her grandmother's death. So when her grandfather, bereaving and heartbroken, escaped reality to travel the world, she and her mother were left to pick up the pieces of their lives on their own. Now, eight years later, Elizabeth's grandfather has returned home with a mysterious typewriter which he believes is somehow connected to his family, and in particular, to Elizabeth.

The Whizbang Machine is an incredibly suspenseful book which will have readers of all ages eagerly turning pages with enthusiasm as they wait to see what will become of Elizabeth and her eccentric grandfather, Jack. Author Danielle A. Vann displays rare talent as a story-teller in this thrilling book which will leave readers anxiously awaiting the sequel to this delightfully engaging read.

The Whizbang Machine is highly recommended for home and school libraries and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

Ilene Benator

This is more of a young adult book, but has appeal for adults. I enjoyed the mystery of the whizbang machine. I loved that the heroine is a teenage girl. This is exactly the kind of book I loved to read when I was a kid.

Also, the European adventure details were vivid. A fun, thrilling ride. The ending was not a full ending, more of a more-to-come. But that just means I look forward to the next book.

I received this copy as an early review copy and this is my honest opinion