21. October 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, read by Angie, on 10/20/2014

So I picked up this book because it was on a time travel list. So I was expecting time travel; I didn’t expect to have to wait until the very end of the book to get it. This is a story of two girls separated by hundreds of years but connected by their love and grief over two little boys. Donnelly does an excellent job of bringing their stories together and making them both very believable. What she didn’t do a great job of was making me care about the characters. Modern day Andi in particular was hard to like or connect with. I got that she was grieving over the death of her brother Truman and that she blamed herself for his death. What I couldn’t get past was how unlikeable she was. She was whiny, self-centered and horrible to those around her. French Revolution Alex was easier to like even if she was further away in time. However, at times she too didn’t seem that realistic. She seemed to innocent of what was going on around her while at the same time she was jaded by the events as well. It was a contradiction that was a bit hard to reconcile. I thought the time travel bit at the end was pretty much unnecessary even though I was expecting it. It was basically a way for Andi to work through her grief and come to terms with her life as it is. I wish she had been able to come to that point on her own, but thought the narrative twist worked in its way. The problem with dual storylines is that one is often a lot better than the other and I think that is where this book fell for me. I really wanted more of Alex’s story and the French Revolution and every time it went back to Andi I got bored.

21. October 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Adult Books, Angie, Fiction, Science Fiction · Tags: ,

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, read by Angie, on 10/20/2014

The Time Machine is a classic of science fiction and H.G. Wells is one of those writers everyone talks about being the father of this genre. As imaginative as I found this work I also thought Wells was definitely a product of his time. Some of his ideas and beliefs about the time he travels to definitely reflect his social and political beliefs of the 19th century. Reading it from a 21st century perspective makes the time traveler seem a bit pompous and full of himself. I enjoyed the story, but I really wanted more. I wanted more investigation and true facts about the Eloi/Morlock society instead of 19th century commentary. However, I think if I would have read this book 100 years ago I would probably have thought it pretty brilliant.

The story is a simple one and the book actually quite short. A scientist builds a time machine and travels 800,000 years into the future. There he encounters a race of small beings he calls the Eloi. These beings are very simple and seem to only eat, sleep and play. He also discovers an underground race called the Morlocks. These nearly blind spidery type people are the workers who keep the world running. They are also cannibals who feast on the innocent Eloi. The time traveler gets into a bit of trouble after his time machine is stolen, but he also begins a relationship with Weena an Eloi. In the end he is able to escape the Morlocks and continue traveling into the future. He travels 35 million years and sees the world dying as the sun dies. Then he comes back to the present and tells his friends all about his adventures. After that he and his time machine disappear once more.

15. October 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction · Tags:

Anastasia Romanov: The Last Grand Duchess by Ann Hood, Denis Zilber (Illustrations), read by Angie, on 10/14/2014

Maisie and Felix are off for another adventure through time. This time they are headed to Imperial Russia and the Romanovs. Before they leave they befriend Alex Andropov who is Russian and has hemophilia. Alex smuggles himself along through time and once he gets there he doesn’t want to leave. The three kids spend months with the Romanovs in 1911 traveling from one palace to another. They need to give Anastasia a Faberge egg and get a piece of advice. Unfortunately when they arrived the egg ended up in the Czarina’s possession. Then Alex wanted to destroy the egg so he wouldn’t have to go back to the present time. Felix is also enjoying his time in Russia and bonding with Anastasia. Whereas Maisie is feeling jealous and left out and just wants to get the mission done. There is a lot to figure out.

I still don’t really like this series. I find the kids pretty unlikeable and unrelatable. There are also instances where logic seems to be thrown out the window for no reason. For instance, why does Alex have to destroy the egg? To get back to the future he has to be touching either Maisie or Felix when they give the egg to Anastasia. So instead of trapping them in 1911 he could just not be around when they give her the egg. Seems pretty straight forward to me.

14. October 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Kira, Science Fiction · Tags:

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, read by Kira, on 10/11/2014

An enjoyable book.  Main character Miranda starts the story off, telling how her neighbor and best friend Sal, quit hanging out with her, after he got punched, as the two were walking home.  A number of other 6th graders enter her life, as space is opened up.  These include AnneMarie, whose best friend Julia “broke up” with her.  Collin joking fellow who’d always been in the background, Marcus the kid who hit Sal, and even Julia, AnneMarie’s long-time best friend.  It also describes Miranda’s relationship with her Mother (single mom) and Mom’s boyfriend Richard.  The heart of the story is how Miranda navigates her friendships.  There is also a time travel mystery, as she receives notes from a9781921656064-1xdllbt person who has already seen the future. images2680954d79bd11915bdcbc13da7008c5 The question is who is doing the time travelling.  All the clue are laid out for you, but I didn’t think it was obvious.  Minor quibble – I didn’t think the explanation for Sal’s jerky behavior really made sense.  But overall enjoyable!

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14. October 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Science Fiction · Tags:

Leonardo da Vinci: Renaissance Master by Ann Hood, Denis Zilber (Illustrations), read by Angie, on 10/13/2014

So everyone is now back from the Congo and Kansas respectively and ready for their next adventure. Well Maisie and Felix are the Ziff twins are not included in this one. This time they are heading back to the Renaissance to meet Leonardo da Vinci. They end up with Sandro Botticelli to start out with (neither of the kids have heard of him) before they meet Leonardo. Again they do not ask his name for a few days (seriously what is wrong with these kids!?!). They meet the Medici family and attend carnival before completing their mission. Again the logic of these books just leaves a bit to be desired. Maisie is even more unlikeable in this one than she was the previous book and Felix doesn’t make that much of an impression. The one thing I do appreciate about the books in this series is the backmatter. Ann Hood gives the reader a very nice biography of the famous person we met in the book.

14. October 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Science Fiction · Tags:

Amelia Earhart: Lady Lindy by Ann Hood, Denis Zilber (Illustrations), read by Angie, on 10/13/2014

Maisie, Felix and the Ziff twins are sent back through time to the Congo to find the missing Amy Pickworth. They get chased separated and Maisie and Felix end up chased by gorillas and stalked by lions. They escape leaving the Ziffs to their fate. They end up with Amelia Earhart as a young girl before she falls in love with airplanes. Of course they don’t realize she is Amelia Earhart because she goes by Meelie and the kids spend a month with the family without asking their names (I’m serious here!). Finally they realize who she is and complete their mission.

So I haven’t read any of the other Treasure Chest books and wasn’t really familiar with the stories or how the time travel works in this series. Apparently, the family has been amassing treasures throughout time and storing them in a room called the Treasure Chest. In order to time travel you have to be a twin and find an object that will take you to the time and place you want to go. Once there you have to give the object to the person you are seeking after getting a lesson in order to go home. Seems a bit complicated and it really is if you never ask a person their name. Not my favorite mainly because I didn’t find Maisie or Felix that likeable and they just seemed a little on the dim side (I really can’t get over the fact that they stayed with Earhart for a month and never found out who they were staying with).

10. October 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Katy, Science Fiction · Tags:

The Good, the bad, and the Goofy by Jon Scieszka, read by Katy, on 10/10/2014

9780670843800_xlgThis is the third book in the Time Warp Trio series. While enjoying a western on television, Fred, Joe, and Sam are transported back to the old west after reciting a spell. Based on knowledge from their previous time travel adventures, they know the only way they can get back to current day is by locating their magical book in the Wild West. They have some close calls with a flood, stampedes, and almost get scalped! They manage to survive by finding the book and using a Time Freezer spell to get themselves out of a dangerous situation and back to the present day.

I don’t read many juvenile books but I thought this was cute and had good illustrations.

13. September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction · Tags: ,

Magic in the Mix by Annie Barrows, read by Angie, on 09/13/2014

Magic in the Mix is the sequel to The Magic Half. Miri and Molly have settled in the present were everyone believes they are the middle twins in the Gill family. Only Miri and Molly remember that Molly is originally from 1935 and was rescued by Miri. When their dad tears off the back porch of the house he opens another portal to the past, specifically 1918 where the girls again see the evil Flo and meet Molly’s mom Maudie. A broken window opens another door into the past this one to 1864 and the Civil War. The girls rescue a couple of Yankee prisoners from the evil Clark, but find out they are not the only ones who can time travel when their brother Roy and Robbie end up in 1864 as well. Of course they are dressed as Yankee soldiers since they were on their way to a Civil War reenactment. It is up to Miri and Molly to rescue the boys and get back to the present time.

This was another nice book by Annie Barrows. I found it interesting that the littlest changes to the house opened up portals to different times and different openings went different times. I liked that all the kids had to think on their feet and figure out how to get out of a dangerous situation. I wish there had been more parental presence in the book. The mom and dad are barely around and barely make an impression throughout. Not a very realistic or likely story but one I am sure kids will enjoy.

I received this book from Netgalley.com.

08. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Courtney, Fiction, Science Fiction · Tags: ,

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix, read by Courtney, on 09/10/2013

Found opens on an unusual note: a plane appears at an airport. It’s not on any manifest and there are no pilots on board. Stewardess Angela DuPre is the only who saw it appear and is the only one brave enough to set foot on the mysterious plane. What she finds is quite surprising: 36 babies on board with no parents or other adults in the vicinity. Once the infants are taken off the plane, it disappears.
13 years later, we meet a boy named Jonah who has recently begun getting mysterious messages in the mail that appear to be related to the fact that he is adopted. Things get stranger when his friend, Chip, reveals that he has also been receiving messages in spite of the fact that he’s not adopted. Or doesn’t think he is until he questions his parents. In shock over discovering that he has been adopted, Chip joins up with Jonah and his sister Katherine to figure out who is sending these messages and why. An unexpected interrogation by the FBI nets Jonah and Katherine a chance to find out a bit more. Chip and Jonah are among 36 kids who have all been adopted and are all located in the same geographic region. They realize this has something to do with the mysterious plane incident and subsequently begin to seek out other kids and witnesses who might know more.
As one might expect from Haddix, this is a fast-paced adventure story and the beginning of a series. This installment merely sets up what will undoubtedly become the main arc of the story, as the matter of how these kids got where they are currently is clearly not nearly as important as where they came from in the first place. There’s a lot of running around trying to piece together clues, only to have them explained in detail near the end. The first part of the book is intriguing and fun; the second becomes quite a stretch in terms of premise and execution. Unfortunately, the questionable premise is what will be driving the series and I’m not certain I can get over it enough to read the rest. Still, an entertaining diversion and a fun take on the time-travel genre.

20. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier, read by Angie, on 04/19/2013

I am quickly becoming addicted to this series and really wish book three was out already! Thank goodness it is just a trilogy and I only have to wait for one more book for all my questions to be answered. This is truly a gem of a series and a wonderful import.

Sapphire Blue picks up after the events of Ruby Red. Gwen and Gideon have time traveled a couple of times, been set upon by brigands, met the Count, and started a bit of a romance. This book just ramps things up even more. There are many more time traveling trips. Gwen starts to learn more about the conspiracy and the prophecies surrounding the twelve time travelers. The Count becomes even scarier, mainly because he was nice. We definitely don’t know who to trust at all. And the romance between Gwen and Gideon heats up, cools off, heats up, cools off.

I don’t read a lot of time travel books, mainly because I find them a bit confusing. That still holds for this book, but it is just too much fun to matter. Sure Gwen has a conversation with the Count about a meeting he had the day before and she hasn’t had yet. Sure she meets her grandfather one day and then a few days later, but for him it was years. Not confusing at all right? I love how witty and under-appreciated Gwen is. I think underestimating her is going to be the downfall of the society! Probably the best part of the book is the demon ghost and Gwen’s friend Lesley. They steal the show. If there is one negative thing I can say about the book it is that the romance is even more confusing than the time travel. Gwen is starry eyed over Gideon even when he treats her like crap. One minute they are fighting and the next snogging. Neither can seem to make up their minds about the other and it is a lot of back and forth. Frankly, I am not sure why Gwen likes him most of the time. However, romance aside, this is a fabulous series and I truly can’t wait until Emerald Green comes out.

19. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Kira, Paranormal, Romance · Tags:

With every Breath. by Lynn Kurland., read by Kira, on 02/19/2013

with-every-breath-lynn-kurland-paperback-cover-art leeds castle When Laird Cameron in the 1300’s rides to the witch’s hut and opens the door (to request the witch’s aid), he not only opens the physical door, but also a time portal door, to the current 21st century, in the process dragging Sunny back through the centuries to medieval times.

There is a little bit more romance in this book than there was in the Nine Kingdoms series – more hot kisses, and more stupidity (lovers not recognizing each other).  Parts of the ending seemed contrived – particularly the identity of the main antagonist.  Still, I stayed up late lynnheaderavatar15to finish reading this book.

24. October 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Science Fiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel by Phil Hornshaw and Nick Hurwitch, read by Tammy, on 10/23/2012

A quirky guide to time travel including how to build your own time machine, skills you need for different time periods like dragon fighting and knowing the symptoms of the black plague and what to do to avoid time paradoxes.

References several science fiction movie characters, tv shows and books related to time travel in any way. Speaks very reverently of Dr. Emmett Brown and his time traveling Delorian. Did I mention this is found in the humor section of non-fiction at the library?