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review 2018-08-16 12:53
Crossing the high bar of authenticity
Doctor Who: The Time Travellers - Simon Guerrier

I don't envy authors who write novels for established media franchises, as doing so poses challenges that they don't face when writing their own original creations. For such works to succeed, they must capture a certain tone of the series in a way that is true to the source material while broad enough to acknowledge their readers' often differing interpretation of it. This is especially true in terms of characterization without the filtering role that an actor or actress plays by taking scripts from multiple authors and filter them into their performance. Without this standardizing step, authors risk writing characters that can seem false to their source, even before having to address how an audience already familiar with these characters regards them.


For these reasons, writing such a book means crossing a high bar of authenticity in order to succeed, one that is even more challenging for the Doctor Who franchise, with its shifting tone over the decades and often outdated elements, Yet Simon Guerrier manages the feat successfully. His novel goes back to the beginnings of the franchise itself, offering a story in which the first Doctor and his original group of companions — his granddaughter Susan and teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright — arrive in London in 2006 after the TARDIS encounters a man while traveling inside of time and space. The crew finds themselves in a future in which the city is under attack from an unknown power, with a team of scientists developing a primitive form of time travel in the hope that it might prove the key to victory. As the Doctor and his companions discover, though, the experiments have resulted instead in a mounting series of problems, all of which must be solved amidst an impending invasion and while dealing with a hidden agenda.

Working as he does with the very first group of travelers Guerrier tackles attitudes and outlooks that are increasingly dated to his readers. Yet he manages to portray them in a way that is respectful while making it work for a story very different from the ones written by the writers of the day. His characters find themselves in a nightmarish world ingeniously constructed by Guerrier out of other stories from the show, imagining the world that would have resulted had not the Doctor defeated the threats that faced it. While the result is a world traumatized and grim, the genius of his approach is that because this is happening so early in the Doctor's travels he and his companions are unable to recognize the situation for what it is: an alternate future shaped by the evil the Doctor would go on to avert. None of them appreciate that the broader setting is wrong; for them it is simply is a future that is far darker than they imagined it could be.


In this respect what Guerrier has accomplished is much more than simple fan service, as he has drawn from nearly a half-dozen serials from the original series to develop his plot. And while the logic of the story does not hold as well as it might, overall the book is a remarkable feat: a novel that entertains on multiple levels while remaining true to its original source material. It is a book that every Doctor Who fan should read, ideally after having seen the episodes from which Guerrier draws the elements that serve as the source material for his novel so as to better appreciate the extent of his success with it.

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review 2018-08-06 13:03
A Murder in Time (Kendra Donovan #1) by Julie McElwain
A Murder in Time: A Novel - Julie McElwain
“She shook off her sense of amazement, and tried to pretend she was watching a period play. There was a lot of flirting going on, plenty of fluttering of ivory fans and eyelashes. It was weird to think that in another two hundred years people would flirt by pole dancing, twerking, and sexting.”


Title: A Murder in Time (Kendra Donovan #1)

Author: Julie McElwain

Genre: Historical | Time Travel | Mystery


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*** BOOK BLURB ***


Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.


*** REVIEW ***


I started reading this book just for entertainment rather than a literary challenge, but I was still disappointed. Firstly, I was annoyed at how long it took for Kendra to actually time travel. Maybe it would have worked out for me if the events and bad guys she was chasing in nowadays would have related to the story in the past, but it had no connection whatsoever.

While the parts of the novel set 200 hundred years prior was considerably more interesting, it still had flaws. POV changing in mid-paragraphs annoyed me.
Negatives aside, I really enjoyed the mystery of this book. If you like good mystery with time travel aspects and kick ass heroine hunting down serial killer in Victorian era, read the book and just for yourself.
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review 2018-08-04 16:18
The Memory Tree
The Memory Tree - John A. Heldt

The five Carson siblings plus their new sister-in-law, Bridget have just stepped through a time portal from 1889 into 1918.  They are still playing a game of Marco-Polo through time trying to find their parents, Tim and Caroline who have taken a detour on their time-travel adventure. This time they are hoping to catch their parents as they visit their ancestors.  Adam and his new and pregnant wife Bridget settle in a cabin in the backwoods of Minnesota, neighbors to two women set to marry into their family.  Greg agrees to travel into the potential dangers of Mexico, hoping to find his parents near where his great-grandparents live.  Instead, Greg finds a woman that may finally be his match.  Natalie takes a reporting job on the front lines of the War in France meeting the son and husband of a friend from 1889 as well as some ancestors. Meanwhile, Cody and Caitlin track down a friend from 1889 that is very surprised by the fact they the twins are still 18 years old.  With all of their trekking through time, the Carson family seems even more scattered, but they are closer to finding their parents than they think.

An exciting, risk filled, time travel adventure filled with romance, intrigue and history, The Memory Tree picks up right where River Rising, the first book of the Carson Chronicles leaves off. I would definitely recommend reading these books in order since so much happens in River Rising. I was so happy to begin reading about the Carson clan once again in a new time period.  I have enjoyed the device used for time travel in the books, a portal that opens only at solstices and equinoxes that will transport you to different times depending on when you walk through. I was able to learn more about the portals in this book along with more information about who uses them.  In The Memory Tree, we also delve into the Carson family history by meeting many of the Carson ancestors.  I am very anxious to see the results of the future Carson's family presence in the time of the ancestors.  This time, it seems to have altered some important events in their family tree.  With having the Carson family spread out, I was also able to witness many events that happened in 1918. As World War I came to an end, Natalie witnessed firsthand accounts of injured soldiers returning from the front in France and senseless killings even after the War ended.  Adam and Bridget survived a forest fire that ravaged Cloquet, Minnesota.  Greg witnessed Tijuana before it was a tourist town and when money was above the law.  Most interestingly, Cody and Caitlin were able to reconnect with a friend from 1889 and see the effects of the War on a family that has been left behind.  With moments that range from heartbreaking to heartwarming and exciting to mysterious, The Memory Tree is another expertly crafted tale within the Carson Chronicles.  I can't wait to continue their adventures into the 1940's.

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review 2018-08-01 03:23
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs (audiobook)
Library of Souls - Ransom Riggs,Kirby Heyborne

Series: Miss Peregrine #3


And we have the finale. It was alright, I guess, although the world still doesn't really make sense to me. There seem so few ymbryns (sp?) and they all seem so concentrated in England that it just feels off. The books also try so hard to be child-centric or at least teenager-centric so that there are all these really old "children" and it just doesn't really make sense unless you buy into the whole "ymbryns are controlling everyone" thing. Why infantilize them unless you really just want to control them?


And that romance is still weird.

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text 2018-07-28 20:16
Reading progress update: I've listened 409 out of 897 minutes.
Library of Souls - Ransom Riggs,Kirby Heyborne

"His pupils were terribly bloodshot, as if he hadn't slept in days, but otherwise unsuspicious."


Methinks that someone doesn't know which part of the eye the pupil is....

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