Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.

 

 

Book Review: Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.

Holy. Cow.

Let me start by saying, that I love time travel. However, time travel gives me a headache because it makes me think too much and ask too many questions. That being said, that only happened like three times over the course of these two books. This sequel is incredible. There’s always so much that’s going on but it never feels like too much. And at the same time, it’s at a pace where you can grasp how the mechanics of traveling work, without questioning it too much because you’re too invested in what’s going to happen next.

I was lucky enough to meet Alex Bracken (and Susan Dennard) on the WayWitch tour, and something that Alex said about how she constructs her characters really stuck out to me, “what about your world has caused you to be this way?” She does an excellent job of portraying that on the page, and for me, the biggest example of that is Nicholas. Not only in his motivations for independence and freedom from the Ironwoods, but in how Etta, and later Sophia and Julian, see him and how the recognize their privilege (the word privilege is actually used multiple times and it’s glorious).

I was so excited to get more of Sophia’s story in this book. Honestly, I loved her in the first one, even though she was always getting in the way. To me, it definitely always felt like there was more to her, and I am so so so glad that Bracken decided to expand on her character. And I’m even MORE glad that she explicitly says that she prefers women and always has. Nicholas’s response was also amazing. I love that they grudgingly come to rely on each other and even care about each other. Their journey and friendship is one of my favorite parts of the book.

In a book about time travel with ruthless people taking the idea of “the ends justify the means” a little too far, for me, this book was more about family. Every single character is on a journey that connects them with family, whether it is blood or found. But at the same time, it shows that family is messy and not perfect and sometimes you have to confront the fact that your parents can make mistakes.

I could talk about this book all day, honestly, I loved it a lot, 4.5 bards.

Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra-Bracken-PassengerIn one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods-a powerful family in the Colonies-and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick must ensure she brings it back to them-whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

In a book about time travel, an impossible love, and even privilege, the most important quote is this, “But she wondered if, in moving outside the natural flow of time, they had forgotten the most crucial part of life – that is wasn’t meant to be lived for the past, or even the future, but for each present moment.” I legitimately had to stop reading for a moment and just take that in.

Nicholas and Etta’s sexual tension and angst is 100% my jam. I am so here for all of that. I love a good angst-filled romance and Alex Bracken wrote theirs perfectly. I was always on edge with them, especially when they were dancing around each other (which, really, was almost always).

These two characters are forced together to complete an impossible task through time-traveling, and in turn they learn so much about the other and themselves. While Nicholas learns what it could be like to love someone, someone like Etta, out of his time, he learns that he is not truly the heartless man that he claims to be. Etta, on the other hand, has lived a life of privilege and is forced to realize that she never once considered how life would be for Nicholas, a freed slave, in his own time. What I’ve noticed, not just in Passenger, but in so many YA novels recently, is that the stories are becoming more than just about romance and adventure and finding yourself, but also learning something about the rest of the world around you. In our society, representation is so important, yet sometimes so hard to find, so I can really appreciate when authors take their own leaps out of what they know to educate their readers.

Definitely loved this one, even if it ended on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait for the next one. Keep an eye out for the reading playlist I made to go along with this book tomorrow! Four and a half bards.
four.fivebards

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

 

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lovethatsplittheworldNatalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.
 
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
 
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau. 

Release Date: January 26, 2016

I’m going to guess that you may have reacted the same way I did when you read the title of this book.  I remember thinking, “Wow, that is a bit dramatic.”  But now that I’ve finished the novel, I can tell you that my personal reaction to the ending was something like this:

So now I firmly believe that the title was really just a metaphor for what the story did to my heart.  Henry should just rename it The Love that Split Jessica’s Heart.

This book has the absolute wonderful ability to showcase some of the lesser known Native American myths, mixed with common anglo-saxon religious stories, some time travel theories, and alternate realities.  Whew, that sounds like a lot doesn’t it?  Well, it seems like it would be, but it all comes together extremely well.

Henry did such a great job with the characterization in The Love that Split the World, and I have to say that most teens and young adults I know can definitely understand and identify with Natalie’s main problem: trying to find who they are and where they fit into the world.  Seriously, I’m in my twenties and I completely identify with those questions.  Granted, Natalie has some pretty specific reasons behind her need to find herself and her place, but they can be universally applied and it really causes you to be emotionally invested almost immediately.

Quickly the reader will realize that Natalie isn’t exactly a run of the mill teenager.  She has been visited off and on her entire life during her sleep by a mysterious entity she calls “Grandmother,” and on her last visit Natalie is warned that she has three months to save HIM.  Naturally we all assume that the him is the guy mentioned in the synopsis, but there are actually three other male characters not mentioned in the synopsis that this possibly applies to!

Beau is the typical bad boy with a good heart, but that doesn’t make him any less complex or interesting in this context.  He comes in and out of Natalie’s life in flashes and their time together is precious and full of ALL the romantic and sexual tension (Kudos, Henry).

I’m not going to give away any other spoilers but there’s definitely a River Song and Doctor vibe going here with Natalie and Beau’s relationship.  If you are a Whovian then the correlation should be pretty obvious and make you want to read this even more.  If you aren’t a Whovian, then read this book and go watch Doctor Who! It’s on Netflix for crying out loud!

4.5 Bards for The Love that Split the World! Don’t forget to enter to win a copy below!

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Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: March 1, 2016

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.     

Book Review & GIVEAWAY: Loop by Karen Akins

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

Release Date: October 21, 2014

I really wish that there could be more time travelling stories that are as good as Loop.

Things that worked:  Akins manages to place the reader immediately in the action of the narrative, without leaving the reader behind with such fast pace explanations of time travel.  Not going to lie though, having musket fire on the first few pages really had me wondering what it was I was getting myself into. Basically, in what is “our” present, there are time travelers called Shifters who can move back and forth in time, because their bodies are just built for it through genetics.  There’s a whole education system built around these abilities, and evidently some kind of prejudice against them based out of jealousy.  I kind of wish that had been more explored, rather than leaving everything up to the mystery leading to the turning point.

I really liked that Bree had a very strong voice throughout the novel, and that while her story continued to evolve she kind of faught it tooth and nail.  I know, we are supposed to want a character to grow and become their true self through the course of a novel, but man, it was fun watching her try to resist all of the trouble that life and time kept throwing at her.

Akins’ debut novel manages to handle time travel without being super convoluted, and with specific rules that remind me of Doctor Who.  Granted, some of Bree’s “accidental” encounters can be arguably more Marty McFly-esque than The Doctor.  Although, I’m pretty sure the Doctor (minus all of his interactions with himself in specials) would warn pretty harshly against messing with events in her own timeline, but Bree still manages to do this…and it is a tad confusing.  I understand that it was the point to be confusing, but it also felt really bogged down in some places.  There is a sequel coming, but when we essentially learned what is in Bree’s future in Loop, then something drastic is definitely going to go down.

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Also, Bree & Finn: That one comment was very Rose and the Doctor.

 

 

 

 

Fun and fast read, even if I did have to stop and make sure I knew which timeline was happening.

4 Bards.

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Book Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. 

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. 

Well, I can honestly say that after the first two travelling pants novels, they just couldn’t keep my attention.  Although I don’t attribute that to Brashares’ writing, I imagine it is because I was at a pivitol reading age that I just grew out of it before I finished the series.  So when I found out that Brashares had a new novel coming out for young adults, I was a little surprised and taken aback since I couldn’t possibly imagine the author of the travelling pants, that I read back when I was a freshman in high school, could possibly give me a story that would keep me hooked.

I was wrong.  The Here and Now, while a fairly simple and short novel, was addictive and easy to read.  There are a few issues that I take with it, mostly with the idea that readers will likely not be happy with the ending.  But I’ll just leave it at that.  Brashares’ story starts off in the point of view of Ethan, but then switches to Prenna’s (the time traveler) for the remainder of the story.  So that

 

confused me, because I just thought that eventually we would get Ethan’s side of the story again at some point, but nope!  Nothing.  So really what was the point of the prologue in his POV when it would have made for a good reveal later in the novel, new knowledge for the reader as well as Prenna?

I am a huge Doctor Who nerd, so the entire narrative being centered around the idea of one specific event effecting an entire possible universe is absolutely fascinating.  Unlike Doctor Who, Brashares’ timeline is a little bit muddled, and the entire idea of Traveler One or Patient Zero are not mentioned until almost three-quarters of the way through the novel, and they turn out to be the turning point in the whole story.  Plus, Brashares subscribes to the strict cause and effect idea of history and the future, which considering all of the different possible time streams, doesn’t necessarily make sense.  I really wish that this had been a novel that looked at a few different possible futures based off of the main event that Prenna and Ethan prevented.  I think it could have been fairly groundbreaking in that sense.

Overall, I think that Brashares novel was a great idea and some parts were extremely well executed, but I can imagine a few ways that it could have been better.

Since I was still hanging on until the end, I’m going to give The Here and Now 3 solid Bards.

threebards

Book Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

11455096The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Tempest had a good start, then sort of lost me for a few chapters then got interesting again.  I thought the premise was ok, I still don’t fully understand how in a half jump your interactions do not alter the future nor to the people you interacted with remember those interactions.  That doesn’t seem logical, but neither does time travel so I guess that’s ok.  I liked that there were well thought out plot points and story lines, I thought that it added depth and versatility for the readers.

As for the characters, they were fine.  I loved that Holly was a gymnast, only because I was one too back in the day.   Jackson was pretty well developed and stayed true to his age (19), and his apparent upbringing (as a rich kid).  I thought the author’s choice to have him work a blue collar job was interesting and to have him fall for someone not in his socioeconomic status was good.  Cinderella-esk without the sappy “I will take you from nothing to everything” stuff, that is so common in literature.  I wish we had gotten to know Adam more, I loved his character.  I thought the relationships were portrayed really well between Jackson and everybody.  I hate when a book makes things seem perfect.  It is nice to not only see the flaws of the main character but to have him discover them as well.  It adds that human factor to the book and makes it relatable to the reader.

I think the most heartwarming or captivating part of the book for me was Jackson reliving and visiting his sister.  What a powerful and a great concept, who wouldn’t want to jump back in time and relive good memories with a dead loved one?  And there was a heart wrenching scene towards the end that had me sobbing while reading it.  That for me was better than the love story between Holly and Jackson, or the father/son story or even Jackson discovering his abilities.  That made the story.

I did notice that there were other books in the series, however the ending of this book did not leave me needing to read those necessarily.  I appreciate that I have a choice as to read the next book or not, and not feel like the story was incomplete in the first book thus forcing me to read the next to get closure on the characters.  Overall I liked the book, not loved it but it’s worth a read.  What do you all think?

3 Bards

threebards

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