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Search tags: sci-fi-time-travel
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url 2018-10-16 13:28
Lost in Time: A Short Story by Fizza Younis

would you risk your present and the future to change your past?

Continue reading at wattpad or at Between the pages of a book

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review 2018-09-27 02:31
Inception: Like It Says, Just a Beginning
Inception - Bianca Scardoni Inception - Bianca Scardoni
I know I'm supposed to be a little more forgiving of YA vampire novels than ones aimed at an adult audience, but Inception makes that job harder than usual. The first page starts it off pretty well, promising an intriguing story of how everybody lied to the protagonist and now she has to deal with it. And over the course of the novel this turns out to be true. So on paper, that level of plotting isn't the easiest thing in the world and nets some admiration from me… but I can't shake the feeling that I've read this book before.

Let's see if I can hit all the clichés without spoiling too much of the plot. I think the moment it started for me was when Jemma, the new-girl-at-the-high-school protagonist, dropped her books and the dreamy love interest picked them up for her. It continued through the bad boy one immediately pegs as a vampire turns out to be, yep, a vampire. But that one's a little forgivable because this is YA (younger readers may not have read as many vamp books as adults) and there's a spell on the protagonist that prevents her from cluing in to vampiric presences. The moment where it stopped being fun for me was when the protagonist turned out to be a vampire Slayer… yes, of all the terms in the world, that's the one the author chose.

There's a world-building info dump about Nephilim and supernatural bloodlines, which might have scored some points if it weren't followed by a barrage of labels like Shifters and Keepers and Casters, all coming at me until I totally did not care. Almost every named character in the elite high school is a supernatural woogums of some sort or another, and somehow they can keep their mouths shut about it unlike every high school student I've ever met.

This is too bad, because the characters have some decent interplay amongst the stereotypes; rather than just being standard shallow teens, they're motivated as often as not by convincing reasons like "If I don't lie about this important thing, it may lead to my death or hers." This lends the story a little weight and some nice characterization. There's also some genuine angst as Jemma's backstory gets explored through magical means. 

But that doesn't matter as much as you might think, because like so many urban fantasy series these days, Inception is just the first volume and doesn't have a proper ending or climax. It's a cliffhanger, and so can't be judged on the merits of its incomplete story. Plot threads that might have come together to give the protagonist more trouble (like the jealous mean girl who exemplifies the non-supernatural life Jemma can't get together) just kind of fizzle with a promise that the next book will answer all my questions. I remain unconvinced. I'm rating this 2.5 out of 5, with the 0.5 extra for the layered characterization. I'd be on the fence about recommending it to a YA audience. I liked it better than Twilight but considerably less than strong YA bestsellers like Hunger Games or HP. It did manage to soak up a lot of time on my flight to Beijing, though, so at least it's got that going for it.

 

Source: www.amazon.com/Inception-Dark-Paranormal-Romance-Marked-ebook/dp/B015KOI7F0/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1538013322&sr=8-5&keywords=bianca+scardoni
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review 2018-09-25 14:11
Summerhouse Series Continues to Disappoint
As You Wish (A Summerhouse Novel) - Jude Deveraux

I have been playing catch-up with books that I read during my house renovation that I just didn't have the energy to post reviews about. When one has plaster and dust all over them you tend to just want to go to bed and put blankets over your head (at least I did). Getting my floors, walls, and ceilings back helped return me back to a semi-normal state. When the kitchen gets started I won't know what to do with myself.


Back to my review though. I should have known better than to buy this in hardcover. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, even though I found problems with it. Did not really like the second one, and this one was a wash too. Deveraux tries to hard to connect all of the books/characters into this one and making it that one woman needs to choose a different destiny/future in order for the Summerhouse phenomenon (as I call it) to continue. 

 

The characters in this one did not grab me at all. We had one characters story just pretty much equal, she needed an aggressive man to help her find her sexuality (yes seriously) and another one just needed to embrace love. I don't know. The whole book just jumped around too much for me to like it much. I really have to stop reading time travel books, they end up irking me mostly.

 

The three characters we first meet are Olivia, Elise, and Kathy's husband, Ray. Olivia is asked to help Elise and Ray get settled after their therapist is held up. Elise wants Olivia to stay since she is not in the mood to be alone with Ray and Ray doesn't want Elise hitting on him. Yeah that mess happened.


Not too much to say about Ray except I disliked him. He is also referred to as a thug a few times by Olivia and Elise and that he is aping to be white collar though he's really blue collar through and through. No, Ray isn't black so I don't know what the heck was going on there. Also how about we not call people thugs that don't come from privileged backgrounds cause it says more about you than it does them. 

 

Eventually we get Olivia, Elise, and Ray's wife Kathy all together. We find out fairly early on that Ray is having an affair and wants to leave Kathy and he doesn't feel any chemistry with Kathy. However, we also realize that Kathy does everything for Ray so that makes him sexist? I don't know. This book had too many plot lines.


Olivia is newly married to someone she loved when she was younger. It's a second marriage for them both and Olivia is hiding a horrible secret (guess what it is) and resentful of her first husband and his having a whole second family.

 

Elise's husband locked her up cause you know he's in love with someone else and they tried to poison her.

All of the stories deal with women who got with the wrong men and the men cheated on them in some way. Not very appealing for a romance book. 

 

It takes way too long for the time travel aspect to even get going and Deveraux per usual just shows us two women's story-line in the past, and has the third one come back to the present and tell the other two. I booed the whole thing cause it really came down to the women just choosing different men. At least in book one it really dealt with two out of the three women just deciding things for themselves. We had Leslie keeping her same past and choosing a different present and Madison forcing herself to go forward with being a model instead of returning home to her high school love. 


And also these three women just forgive the trash men in their lives who did crap to them in the past, but it doesn't matter since nothing came to past and I don't know I just threw my hands up in the air and let it go. 

 

The long time readers will get a kick out of seeing the Montgomery family again though.

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review 2018-09-04 19:07
Voyager / Diana Gabaldon
Voyager - Diana Gabaldon

Claire Randall discovers that Jamie Fraser survived the Battle of Culloden and must choose between returning to him or staying in the life she has made for herself in her own time.

 

Well thank goodness that Voyager is now in my rear-view mirror! Not that it’s a terrible book, just it’s not the right book for me, especially right now when I’m looking forward to diving into my fall reading list. But my hold was fulfilled at the public library sooner than I anticipated and then I found there were 25 people waiting patiently behind me in line for it, so there would be no renewal allowed. Le Sigh!

I’m interested in the basic plot of the story, but Gabaldon bludgeons the reader with detail. I persist in thinking that a more ruthless editor would improve these books by orders of magnitude. Apparently this is an argument that the author has heard before, as Jamie & Major John Grey have a discussion about the length of books when Jamie is in the prison which Grey is overseeing. They are discussing Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson which is another kitten-squisher of a book and they come to the conclusion that some books just need more details to capture a life. Obviously, I don’t agree, but it’s a valid argument in some cases.

And of course I can’t review Gabaldon without my ritual bird-rant. This time around, it’s about a pelican, caught by the Chinese character and used to bring in fish. This method of using a bird to do the fishing is a real thing, done in China, but with cormorants. I’m unaware if pelicans have ever been trained in this way, but I suppose it is possible. There are certainly lots of cormorant species at sea that could have been chosen for the book. I’m not sure which species of pelican is referred to here, but I assume it’s a Brown Pelican (and Gabaldon, with her poor bird track record, thankfully doesn’t specify species). I suspect that she chose the pelican over the cormorant because it is a larger bird, providing some protection for its new master.

Having just recently finished Dr. No, by Ian Fleming, also set in Jamaica, I was struck by the shared details between the two books. Descriptions of mangroves and of the guano industry, for instance. Fleming references the bird guano industry, Gabaldon specifies bat guano. I assume that there are insectivorous bats in the Caribbean and caves large enough to house them and collect guano? I definitely know that Fleming’s bird colonies are dead accurate. ***I just found a reference to Jamaica bat guano on Amazon, of all places.  So Caribbean bat guano is a thing.***

One thing that I did appreciate in this volume was the lovely portrayal of middle-aged lovers. Jamie & Claire have still got it going on. I also thought that their hesitance when they are first reunited was right on the money—a 20 year gap is almost like starting over with a new person, after all.

I’m pleased to report that it looks like at least a year will pass before I will pick up the next book in this series. Hopefully, I’ll be feeling less time pressure at that point and can read at a more leisurely pace, which would dampen my resentment of all the unnecessary padding in these books.

Book number 293 in my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

 

This was the cover of the version that I read, and I have to say that I love it!  That lichen covered rock, reminiscent of something in a stone henge, with Claire and Jamie on either side of it.

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review 2018-09-01 05:29
Invictus - audiobook
Invictus - Ryan Graudin

Audience: Young Adult

 

Farway is part of a crack team that travels back in time to liberate priceless artifacts before they are destroyed or lost to disaster. On an expedition to the Titanic, another time traveler (Eliot) takes the piece they were there to retrieve. Eliot says all she wants is to be part of their team, but can they trust her?

 

I loved this book. The characters are likable and relatable, including typical human flaws. The world-building is fantastic, both the future time and the pasts they travel to. The twist at the end is surprising, but not completely unexpected. 

 

The narration is very well done. I never wanted to stop listening.

 

Recommended to: Fans of sci-fi stories with non-stop action and snarky humor.

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