Category: Time Travel

Nov 12

Vampires and Witches and Daemons, Oh My! (The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness)

Supernatural, Time Travel, Vampires 21

Good Morrow, Bookworms!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A witch, a daemon, and a vampire walk into a bar… Oh wait, you know that one? That’s kind of what I thought too, when I started reading the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I decided to review the series as a whole, because I totally binge listened to them and this way I can limit spoilers with carefully placed vagaries. I’ll probably screw up and reveal stuff because I’m me, so take this as your spoiler alert if you’re super spoiler averse. Spoiler sounds funny if you say it over and over again. Spoiler. Spoooooiiiiiillllllllleeerrrrrrr.

Basic plot overview: Historian/professor/reluctant witch Diana Bishop finds herself drawn into an ancient mystery all while falling head over heels in love with a vampire/doctor/research fellow/polyglot Matthew Clairmont. A mysterious, bewitched alchemical manuscript revealed itself to Diana and as a result she draws the interest of every daemon, witch, and vampire in the greater Oxford region. Diana and Matthew’s attraction is forbidden by a shadowy organization whose chief function is to prevent the intermingling of creatures lest they be discovered by the hapless humans surrounding them (Volturi, anyone?) Diana and Matthew need to acquire the book, discover the secrets it holds, and figure out their relationship before the world around them implodes. Or something. It’s a big deal, okay?

adiscoveryofwitches

A Discovery of Witches was the first book in the crew and I found it disturbingly Twilight -ish… At least in the beginning. Diana (who doesn’t realize she’s beautiful and talented) can’t figure out why devastatingly handsome vampire Matthew has a thing for her. She falls for him, he tries to push her away despite his desperate passion, you know the drill. As things progressed, I got a little less grumpy because there was some science (highly fictionalized science, mind, we’re talking about vampires, daemons, and witches, after all) and pseudo-science. Namely alchemy. Everyone knows that alchemy is the process by which people who didn’t understand the periodic table of elements attempted to turn metal into gold. It’s obviously not a thing that can happen, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fascinating from a historical perspective, so that was pretty fun.

shadowofnight

Shadow of Night was the second book in the bunch, and reminded me of the second Outlander novel, Dragonfly in Amber in approximately 18 zillion ways. Only, you know. Vampires and witches and daemons. Oh my. There were a ton of cameos by famous historical figures because OF COURSE. Vampires don’t just chill with chimney sweeps. They get all up in art and literature and philosophy and politics. They also adopt street urchins, but as much as I liked Jack, he’s no Fergus. (From Outlandernatch. My word this isn’t very coherent if you haven’t read every single book I’ve read, is it?)

bookoflife

The Book of Life was the final installment of the series, and while it contained elements I recognized from other series, none of the comparisons are as pronounced as with the first two books. In fact, it felt a little more spy thriller than supernatural time-traveling love story at times. Intrigue and justice and the righting of old wrongs all came into play.

I know this was meant to be a trilogy, but I kind of feel like Harkness left a number of loose ends that she could neatly dovetail into an offshoot series, prequel, or future installments. I’d probably read them if she wrote them. I’m not completely in thrall to the series, but I’d be willing to invest some more time in this world. If you’re in the mood for the supernatural, it’s definitely worth a read.

Talk to me, Bookworms! Have you read the All Souls TrilogyDid you see the same parallels I did? What did you think?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Mar 26

Repeat by Neal Pollack

Contemporary Fiction, Time Travel 11

Hello, Hello Bookworms!

Want to know a secret? One of my all-time favorite movies is Groundhog Day. I’m sure that says disturbing things about my psyche, but it’s the truth. When I ran across Neal Pollack’s latest release Repeat on NetGalley and saw it compared to the cinematic gem, I knew I needed to give it a whirl. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration. I swear on the threat of living in an infinite time loop that this review is honest.*

repeatBrad Cohen is a failed screenwriter living with his wife and two daughters in Los Angeles. On the evening of his 40th birthday, Brad takes an herbal concoction brewed by his wife and wakes up in his mother’s womb. Yep. He is born and has to deal with being an infant, a toddler, a child, a teen, etc, all with the brain of a 40 year old man. And then? He has to do it again. And again. And again. Brad Cohen is stuck living his own life (but only up to age 40) in an endless loop.

What would you do if you had infinite do-overs? Brad does all sorts of things. He becomes a political pundit, a fabulously wealthy investor, a Jeopardy! champion, and everything in between. After a while, Brad realizes that none of his alternate lifetimes compared to what he had with his wife and daughters, but try as he might, he can’t seem to get them back. Doing seemingly innocuous things differently sends Brad down paths he could never have anticipated, but all he wants to do is get back to the life he didn’t appreciate the first time around.

Repeat was a decent read for me. I found it funny in places, tragic in others, but in the end a pretty run-of-the-mill “you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone” allegory. It’s a trope I rather like, though, and I’m always pleased with the idea that money can’t buy happiness (given the fact that I do NOT live in an infinite time loop and therefore cannot invest my religious rights-of-passage money in Apple stock.) There were a few instances when I wanted to punch Brad for being an insufferable douchebag, but considering he was under extreme psychological distress at having to go through puberty a zillion times, I’m inclined to forgive him. Fellow Groundhog Day fans, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Repeat!

Tell me something, Bookworms. Since we’re in hypothetical land with no herbal concoctions or haunted carnival machines or voodoo practitioners nearby, is there anything in YOU life you’d try to do differently given a second (or third, or fourth…) chance?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I still won’t invest it wisely, because I lack omniscience.*

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Oct 03

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Audio Books, Historical Fiction, Time Travel 34

Well Hello my Lovely Bookworms,

I’ve been spending a good amount of time multi-tasking lately and utilizing the glory of the audio book. Last year Life After Life by Kate Atkinson was ALL the rage, and I, as per usual, missed out on it. I decided to play catch up when I saw this was available through my library’s digital audio offerings, and it was a wise decision.

lifeafterlifeWho out there likes Bill Murray? I suppose the more telling question would be who DOESN’T like Bill Murray, but I digress. Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies. I first saw it on an airplane ride to a fun family vacation, can you blame me? The premise of the movie is that Bill Murray keeps living the same day over and over and over again until he gets it right. My husband is a huge nerd on the subject and he saw somewhere that the creators estimate that for Bill Murray’s character to have acquired all the skills he did he was likely living the same day for somewhere in the neighborhood of TEN THOUSAND years. Crazy right? Why am I rambling though?

Life After Life is about a woman named Ursula. Instead of living a single day over and over again, she lives her whole life. Some of those lives aren’t particularly long, though. I mean, she’s strangled by her umbilical cord at least once. And YOU try escaping the Spanish Flu. It is NOT as easy as it sounds. If you manage to avoid the flu, though, good luck surviving the London bombings during WWII. The universe isn’t particularly kind to any of the Ursulas. Just when you think she’s finally gotten it right, though, you’re hit with a bit of an ambiguous ending. And so it goes.

I thought this book was very good. The only thing that hampered my enjoyment slightly was that the narrator insisted on saying “et” instead of “ate.” That, and she really wasn’t particularly good at American accents so the couple of times one popped up they sounded funny to me. Of course, it’s not as though I could do any better. I’m sure my British accent is downright offensive in its clownishness. I’d recommend Life After Life to those who enjoy literary fiction AND time travel type novels. A little bit o’ metaphysical mystery is going on and it’s quite the ride.

Alright Bookworms, talk to me. If you had to live one day of your life over and over again, which one would you choose?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Feb 26

The River of No Return GIVEAWAY

Giveaways, Time Travel 30

Howdy Bookworms!

Remember last spring when I was super stoked about a time travel romance called The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway? You don’t remember? Well, click HERE. I’ll wait. You’re back? Good. You’ll now understand my excitement when I received an email last week from the publisher tipping me off to the release of the PREQUEL to The River of No Return, The Time Tutor. Prequel, sequel, I mean, who can really tell when you spend your time hopping around through time, you know? Now, I’ve yet to read The Time Tutor (as I’ve naturally over-committed myself to reading ALL THE BOOKS) but I’m really excited to tackle it soon.

beeridgway

Why am I writing this post on a book I haven’t read yet? Only because I want to share FREE STUFF with you! The folks at Plume Books/Penguin Random House have graciously offered a copy of the newly-available-in-paperback The River of No Return to one of YOU lucky readers. Enter the giveaway below! *UPDATE* I forgot to mention that this giveaway is for residents of the US and Canada only, by publisher’s request. As in, the publisher is mailing it out and probably dislikes international shipping charges as much as I do. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Dec 30

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Time Travel 31

Hi Ho there, Bookworms!

I hope everyone’s holidays were spectacular! I know I enjoyed myself, but now ’tis the season to get back in the swing of things. Shall we?

I spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about how I would cope if I were sucked back in time. I blame Diana Gabaldon for my obsession, but the concept is pretty universal. What would you do? My biggest concern is the fact that I wear contacts. I can’t believe that people back in the day had significantly better eyesight that the current population, which makes me wonder how they coped with the blurriness… Of course, I can afford to focus on trivialities like eyesight because that because my ancestor weren’t enslaved simply based on the color of their skin. Slavery was THE WORST.

kindredKindred by Octavia Butler explores the story of a woman named Dana. Dana lives in the 1970s in California with her husband. She’s African American and he’s a white dude, but aside from the occasional bigot with an attitude problem (who are sometimes family members), they’re able to live a fairly nice life… That is, until the day when Dana is mysteriously transported back in time and space and winds up in antebellum Maryland.

Time AND space! How much does that suck? She was totally living in California in the 1970s, but back when it became a state in 1850? Slavery wasn’t legal. Still sucked to be black because civil rights were awful, but at least you weren’t OWNED. Poor Dana is linked to this redheaded kid who lives on a frickin’ plantation in Maryland. She gets yanked back across time and space every time his life is in danger, which for this kid is a LOT. Time travels a lot faster in the past than in the present, so five years in the antebellum South is little more than eight days when coming back to the here and now. Oh yeah. That’s the other part. In order to GET back? Dana has to nearly die herself. Sooo, that sucks.

I really enjoyed this book and the concept of time travel being linked to a specific person. Dana’s struggles as a modern woman encountering slavery are stunning. She comments over and over again on the ease of accepting the most outrageous sorts of dehumanization. It gives a unique perspective to a modern reader who simply cannot fathom how slavery ever existed. I do, however, have one small complaint. The ending was a bit abrupt. I felt that Dana’s “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment should have come earlier, but that’s just a tiny objection intermixed with a whole heap of love. If you have any interest in fiction involving time travel or the antebellum period in history, I highly recommend you check out Kindred by Octavia Butler.

So, Bookworms. If you were to be carried back in time (let’s leave out the SPACE part for the sake of argument), what would be your biggest concern? Spectacles? Pestilence? Lack of deodorant? Tell me!

*If you make a purchase of Kindred using a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Dec 12

Flight by Sherman Alexie

Coming of Age, Time Travel, Young Adult Fiction 16

Howdy Bookworms,

Remember how I went on a crazy Cyber Monday shopping spree snapping up ALL THE DIGITAL BOOKS?! One of those books was Flight by Sherman Alexie, and holy cats, was it a doozie!

flightAlright, so there’s this kid who calls himself “Zits,” right? Poor guy is 14, in foster care, and suffers from a severe case of acne. He is half Native American, his father is an absent alcoholic, and his mother died of breast cancer when he was 6. Zits has been stuck in the system and wreaking havoc on the Seattle area for years. When we meet Zits, he’s in a foster home of the “we want the monthly stipend” variety. Instead of playing nice in his new surroundings, Zits goes out and gets himself arrested.

The way he sees it, jail is preferable to yet another crappy foster home. On this particular journey to the slammer, Zits meets up with another juvenile delinquent calling himself “Justice.” Justice seems like he’s got his life in order (at least from Zits’ perspective) and they team up. Only Justice? That guy’s got some ISSUES. He manages to convince Zits that they need to start a revolution… A revolution that will be kicked off by Zits shooting up a bank.

Zits is in the midst of his murderous rampage. He perceives that he’s been shot in the head, but instead of dying, he is taken on a Quantum Leap style journey through time and space. (I KNOW!) It sounds crazy, and it is pretty crazy, but it was SO GOOD! You know I’m a sucker for time travel, and jumping into someone else’s body? Well, that just turns things up to eleven! Seriously y’all. Never once has (what I assume to be) Proactiv made me cry. Until today. Wowza.

If you could jump into someone else’s consciousness, whose brain would you want to get inside? You’ve got all of history to pick from, Bookworms. Let’s hear it!

*If you buy a copy of Flight from a link on this site, I make a few cents. Let’s face it. Cents/Sense is something I could use more of. ALSO, did you enter my giveaway yesterday? Take a little scroll down. Free book!*

 

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Jun 04

Top Ten Tuesday TRAVELS!

Book Club, Children's Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Time Travel, Travel 42

G’Day Bookworms!

It’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and the Bookish! Today’s topic features books with a travel element. This should be fun. Shall we?

TTT3W1.Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple. This book rocked for a number of reasons. Quippy sarcasm, ridiculous situations, clever forays into the seedy underbelly of suburbia. My absolute favorite part of this novel? The trip to Antarctica. What would you expect of a self professed penguin enthusiast?

2. Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan. The Griswolds have got nothing on THIS vacation’s crazy turn of events. A group of American tourists tries to travel down the Burma Road and ends up being held captive by a local tribe led by child soldiers believed to have mystical powers. It’s a very cool book, but you may want to stay in your country of origin after reading this bad boy…

3. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Hemingway and his first wife Hadley move to Paris during the Jazz Age. Earnest is is search of inspiration, Hadley is in search of a pleasant life. Though they live in Paris, they’re able to do so cheaply thanks to the slow recovery of European economies after WWI. The Hemingways galavant all over Europe spending time in Spain for the bullfights and ski holidays in the Alps. For as “poor” as they’re supposed to be, their travel schedule reveals none of the supposed hardship.

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4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The whole doggone series is travel-tastic. From Scotland to France to a rickety boat taking them to the Caribbean and the American colonies, Jamie, Claire, and the gang never stay in one place for long. Plus, TIME TRAVEL absolutely counts as traveling. YOU pass through a rock and head back two centuries and try to tell me it’s no big deal.

5. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris. Sedaris takes you along on his travel adventures in this hilarious essay collection. Mugged in Honolulu? Check. Suffering at the hands of a lost passport sticker? Check. Appreciate the sterile disinfectant style of Japan? Checkity check! All sorts of countries, all sorts of weirdness. David Sedaris is my kind of crazy.

6. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. A road trip out of Kentucky leads Taylor into a strange set of circumstances that land her with a toddler. Taylor and the child continue to travel and make their way to Arizona, where they establish a life for themselves. Life changing cross country road trips. They’re the stuff great books are made of!

7. His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. Travel in the traditional sense? There’s some of that. But when Lyra and Will start ripping holes and traveling between dimensions? Awww yeah. Travel-saurus-rex.

8. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle. You don’t just travel in this book. You travel to OTHER PLANETS! Intergallactic!

9. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Chase the legend of Dracula from Amsterdam to Istanbul to Budapest to Romania to Bulgaria to… Epic crazy travel, vampire lore, and a side of spooky. It’s good times.

10. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. TIME TRAVEL! That is all.

What about you, my globetrotting Bookworms? What are some of your favorite travel tomes?

*If you haven’t done so already, there’s STILL TIME to enter the contest to NAME THAT BOOK CLUB!

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Apr 30

Word To Your Mother: Top Ten Tuesday Collaborates and Listens

Children's Fiction, Classics, Coming of Age, Dystopian, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Humor, Time Travel, Top Ten Tuesday, Young Adult Fiction, Zombies 45

Salutations, Bookworms!

I know you stayed up all night trying to guess the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and The Bookish, didn’t you?! This week we’ve been asked to list off the top ten words or phrases that make us want to pick up a book. I’m a refined consumer of literature, see? JUST because a book says something saucy on the book jacket doesn’t mean I’ll buy it, but there are some terms that don’t hurt a book’s chances. I may be a snob, but I’m highly susceptible to marketing tactics.

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1. Time Travel- Awww yeah, I love me some time travel. I typically prefer accidental time travel, so if there’s a deliberate machine involved? Probably not going to be my cup of tea. However. Outlander, The River of No Return, and The Time Traveler’s Wife? Yes, yes, and yes. Break me off a piece of that time space continuum.

2. Penguins- Hi, I’m Katie. Have we met? If we have met in the past, oh, 22 years or so, you know that PENGUINS are my spirit animal. Sadly, they don’t make a ton of appearances in books for grown ups, but hey, kids books are a thing. Remember If You Were a PenguinMr. Popper’s PenguinsOr how about when penguins DO show up in adult books, like the awesomeness that was the trip to Antarctica in Where’d You Go BernadettePenguins can ONLY help you, I say! Penguins forever! (Seriously. Just ask Alfred. Or Josie.)

PENGUIN LOVE

PENGUIN LOVE

3. Plague- This probably makes me horrible, but plagues are fascinating! Reading up on the bubonic plague in Ken Follett’s World Without End was the shiz-nit. And the letumosis outbreak in Cinder? That’s where it’s at! And my heavens, THE STANDThe mother-loving Stand, people!!!

4. Flowers- I LOVE flowers. Darn near as much as I love penguins. It can be pretty intense. So, when flowers feature heavily in a story I do some serious geeking out. Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s Language of Flowers was amazing. More of this, please, author types. (Gardens are good, too, but I don’t grow vegetables. Has anyone else noticed that Alice Hoffman is maybe a little obsessed with growing tomatoes? No? Just me? Moving on then…)

5. Zombie- “What’s in your heeeeeeeeeeeeeeead, in your heeeeeeead, zombie, zombie, zo-omb-a-yuh-a-yuh-a-yuh!” Don’t pretend that you don’t rock out to The Cranberries. And if you legitimately don’t rock out to The Cranberries, don’t tell me, because, yodel-y Irish rock from the 90s kicks arse. But really. I like for real Zombies, too. World War Z and Warm Bodies are my JAM

6. History- I am a sucker for historical fiction. Chilling in ancient Greece like in The Song of Achilles or dabbling in the Underground Railroad and rocking a bonnet like in The Last Runaway or experiencing the scandalous world of the Tudor court in, well, basically anything by Philippa Gregory… It’s the only way I can time travel, and really the only way I WANT to time travel. Indoor plumbing is my favorite.

7. Dystopia- It’s almost ridiculous the amount I adore screwy fractured future scenarios. The Giver and The Hunger Games and Brave New World and 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale just make me feel warm and fuzzy about our effed up present. Let’s face it y’all. It could be a whole lot worse. Gratitude, brought to you by oppressive governments, lack of color, religious persecution, and kids fighting to the death for sport! 

8. Saga- Sweeping epics are right up my alley. The word “saga” implies length and drama and change and grand scale. Les Miserables and Gone With The Wind and The Pillars of The Earth are some of my favorites. If it couldn’t be made into a mini-series or a very long movie, I want nothing to do with it. (That isn’t really true. See this? Terrible liar. I tell you IMMEDIATELY when I lie. I also like books that couldn’t be long movies and mini series, but it didn’t WORK with my POINT there. Ugh. I’m a walking vial of sodium pentothal.)

9. Whimsy- I’ve mentioned how fervently I adore Amy Sherman-Palladino, head writer of Gilmore Girls and Bunheads haven’t I? Yes. I know. I obviously have. One of my all time favorite quotes came out of Kirk, Stars Hollow’s resident weirdo when he was describing his new Condoleeza Rice decorative mailbox: “Whimsy goes with everything.” Whimsy DOES go with everything, books in particular. Alice in Wonderland probably gets to wear the tiara for most whimsical title of all time, but Harry Potter, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and The Night Circus aren’t in short supply on the whimsy front.

Curiouser and curiouser...

Curiouser and curiouser…

10. Awkward- I spent the weekend with some of the world’s most excellent friends, and we were discussing high school. They both said that they had enjoyed themselves. I said, “I was too busy being morose and wearing really baggy pants.” Both of those things are true, and both are reasons I have a serious soft spot for the awkward characters. Bridget Jones? Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower? Eleanor & Park? To paraphrase a song I heard far too often at wedding receptions, “These are my people. This is where I come from.” Teen angst is CHARACTER BUILDING, dangit!

Oh Bookworms, my Bookworms, what are some of the words and phrases that make YOU think you’ll like a book?

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Apr 23

Well, That's Not What I Was Expecting (A Top Ten Tuesday Adventure.)

Classics, Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, Humor, Time Travel, Top Ten Tuesday 71

Tis Tuesday, my dear Bookworms!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is brought to you, as usual by The Broke and The Bookish. They’ve asked the book bloggers of the internet to list out the books we’ve read that really weren’t what we were expecting. Something you thought you’d love but didn’t? Something you thought would be terrible that you adored? Let’s get to listing!

Katie Is Disappointed

This is my McKayla Maroney face. Sort of.

This is my McKayla Maroney face. Sort of.

1. A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I feel like an uncultured blob of loser admitting this, but I really did not like this book. I can always tell how much I like a book by how well I remember it. The only thing I really remember from this one? One of the teenager’s mothers made homemade yogurt. That was weird. Otherwise? Something about gold leaf instead of Viagara? Yeah. I expected rock-n-roll coming of age stories. I got angry middle aged people lamenting their lost youths. Just… No.

2. On Gold Mountain by Lisa See. I’m bad at non-fiction, and I didn’t realize just how much of a plod this was going to be when I picked it up. I had visions of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Shanghai Girls and Peony in Love and I got… Well. None of those things.There were an awful lot of less than thrilling business ventures were described in great detail. Bummer.

3. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. After reading The Fault In Our Stars, I was quite certain I would love everything John Green had ever written. Too bad I spent the majority of this book wanting to smack Colin around…

4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I know there are zillions of people who found deep meaning in this book. I happen to not be one of them. I would have stayed at home with my flock of sheep, and would never advise anyone to go in search of their personal legend if it meant giving up all their security. That’s just plain foolish, y’all.

5. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I was sure that this book was destined to by my new favorite novel- all the cool kids dig Vonnegut! Sadly, it just was not my thing. Sorry Vonnegut fans, I am not one of you.

Katie Is Pleased

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This is my “YAY!” face.

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I KNOW. The amount I rave about these books is ridiculous, but honestly? I almost didn’t read them. My Aunt Margie got my mom hooked on them. I remember calling my mom from college and she’d be all, “Oooh these BOOKS! She’s being tried for witchcraft! But she went back in time. Jamie will save her. He must!” And I was like, “That sounds ridiculous!” Eventually I gave into peer pressure, and the rest is delightful history. But. Now you know the truth.

2. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I first heard about this book on the YA blog circuit. I’d never heard of John Green before (for shame, I know) but I was completely expecting this book to be a Lurlene McDaniel knockoff (Lurlene McDaniel wrote a series of books on critically ill teenagers that were all the melodramatic rage when I was in 5th grade.) I thought I’d get snarky blog fodder from it. Have I mentioned that I’m not a good person? Anyway, I loved this book so much I read it in a single sitting.

3. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I read this initially because I felt like it was something I should read. I was thinking that it would be a slow-going classic that would put me to sleep. I WAS WRONG! So very wrong. And so very HAPPY to have been so wrong!

4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I can’t even tell you how long this sat on my shelf. My mom gave it to me, but I saw the word “alzheimer’s” and thought “old people book.” Isn’t that terrible? I’m ashamed of myself. My mom usually has decent taste in books, I should trust her opinions, ESPECIALLY after the Outlander incident. Sigh. Teenage habits die hard I guess.

5. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. I read this as a senior in high school. It was assigned reading, so I naturally expected the worst. I was utterly tickled to find myself engrossed in the soapy scandals of the sisters Bennett! It was exciting and intriguing and full of questioning what glances and offhand comments meant. It was like Jane Austen KNEW how I analyzed boys! (Which is rather unfortunate, seeing as I was analyzing boys quite a long time after Ms. Austen was… This probably explains my lack of dates.)

What books surprised YOU, Bookworms? The good, the bad, the ugly. Spill it!

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Apr 15

Get Swept Up In The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Supernatural, Time Travel 41

Salutations, Bookworms!

I’ve been a book blogger for a while now, 8 months or so. I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing, but I’m pretty sure I’m doing something RIGHT, because I recently got an email from a publisher offering me a free book! Now, this is not the first time I’ve been offered a book, but it IS the first time I’ve accepted one, since time constraints and/or lack of interest have prevented me from taking them in the past. You’re supposed to be VERY CLEAR AND UP FRONT when you review a book you’ve gotten for free. HEY INTERNET! I GOT THIS BOOK FOR FREE!

Now that we have the formalities out of the way… I got an email offering me a copy of The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway. I was intrigued because the email claimed that fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander would like this book. I was intrigued, but also a little wary. I mean, was I in for a poorly executed copy of Gabaldon’s awesomeness? I’m not very nice when that happens…

rivernoreturn

I needn’t have worried. This book had elements I’ve seen in other places, but they were woven together into something completely original and enthralling. If you took the time travel romance element of Outlander and combined it with the conspiracy theory aspect of, say, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, added a some of the magical bits from The Night Circus, and put it in a blender with a chocolate milkshake, you’d get close to The River of No Return. It’s delicious.

Without getting super spoiler-happy, I’ll give you the lowdown. Nick Falcott is a Georgian-era English aristocrat who decides to fight in the Napoleonic wars. Just as he’s about to be done in by a Frenchman, he vanishes into thin air and re-materializes in 2003. Oops. He’s rescued by a mysterious group known as “The Guild” who locate accidental time travelers and help them re-acclimate to the time they’ve jumped into. The Guild provides the unwitting time travelers with money and sets up new lives for them in new countries. They also force them to learn medieval Finnish. (A secret society has got to have SOME quirks, right? They can’t ALL speak Latin, for heaven’s sake.) Anywho, Nick gets all situated with his indoor plumbing and his blue jeans and indulges his affinity for homemade stinky cheeses and beautiful women for a good 10 years. All is well until he receives a summons from The Guild…

Meanwhile, in 1815, Julia Percy is super sad because her grandpa kicks the bucket and she’s stuck with her douchey cousin as heir to the manor (or castle. They call it a castle, but as there are no crowns involved, I don’t think it counts.) Julia doesn’t realize her grandfather’s gift of freezing time is anything more than a strange game the two played. Of course she realizes it’s not NORMAL to go around stopping time, but she has no idea just how important she will be to The Guild, their enemies, and Nick (bow chicka bow wow).

I imagined nick looked rather like Hugh Dancy in period costumes. You know, plus the appropriate scars and whatnot.

I imagined nick looked rather like Hugh Dancy in period costumes. You know, plus the appropriate scars and whatnot.

Okay. I need to stop talking before the spoilers happen. Here’s some stuff I loved. First, there were some seriously funny one-liners in this book. I laughed out loud several times (particularly when Nick pondered his existence as “just a dude.”) Second, despite having a very science-y twist with the time travel, it was very accessible to me. The idea that time travel was facilitated by feelings and the flow of human history rather than, like, equations and black holes made me really happy. Third, time travel brings all sorts of fun colorful characters together who wouldn’t normally get to hang out. Gender bending teen from the 80s is like BFF with a medieval Swedish turnip farmer? It’s awesome.

My only complaint, if I can even call it that, is that the book left a lot of unfinished business. I assume (and hope… nay DEMAND!) that this is the first in a series of novels, because if it isn’t, I might cry. The concepts aren’t new, but the take is fresh and FUN. If you liked Outlander or Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore or The Night Circus or just generally enjoy books that don’t suck? Check out The River of No Return. Bee Ridgway, you’ve got yourself an admirer right here.

Alright, Bookworms. Since we’re talking time travel here, if you could go back to any point in history, where would you go? Why? Would you try to smuggle in deodorant, toilet paper, and contact lenses? (Because I totally would…)

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