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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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url 2016-12-04 02:46
The Best Science Books of 2016
Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space - Janna Levin
The Polar Bear - Jenni Desmond
Time Travel: A History - James Gleick
The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time by Maria Konnikova (2016-01-12) - Maria Konnikova
Being a Dog: Following the Dog into a World of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz (2016-10-04) - Alexandra Horowitz
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World - Rachel Ignotofsky
The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars - Dava Sobel
Felt Time: The Psychology of How We Perceive Time (MIT Press) - Marc Wittmann,Erik Butler
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World - Peter Wohlleben

Listen to the best books of science 2016. Nice introduction. 

 

There are more books that I could link, so have a listen. 

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review 2016-01-05 03:06
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Source: ARC via publisher
Published by: Disney Hyperion

Passenger - Alexandra Bracken | Goodreads

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In 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, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he 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.

 

With any book that heavily features cinematic action, there's always the danger (for me) of dissociating from the characters because the focus is more on the plot than their plight. However, this did not happen with Passenger. From the opening pages, I identified with the main characters, Nicholas and Etta, and their character struggles. In the prologue, we are shown a crucial, character-defining moment in Nicholas's life; from that moment on, it's easy to understand his bitterness, his dissociation with the world around him and the privileges and legacy he cannot claim. In the first chapter, Etta is revealed to be a violin prodigy with a competitive, ambitious attitude; she's been waiting a long time for her debut, and she will not back down, a quite refreshing outlook (to me) for a young female character. Both characters are immediately rendered flawed yet sympathetic, with their own struggles to overcome in the duology.

Because Outlander is so successful, it seems like there is an increase in YA time-travel novels (for 2016 and beyond). Honestly, I like this trend, and I want to emphasize how Passenger is different from others in YA that I've read. Perhaps the most key element to this difference is the emphasis in Passenger on travelers not belonging to any one culture. In Passenger, time-traveling has become heavily regulated due to one family bending the others under its heel and a diminished ability to time-travel because of a decline in the population of the genetic predisposition therein. Alex Bracken has imagined several details to accompany the time-traveler "belonging" aspect of her world-building: people being orphaned from their time, shifting timelines because of the actions of certain characters and the war between families for power over the time passages; the discussion of wealth and power inherent to the privilege of time traveling and changing history. In order to survive the trials put by the dominating family with the most time travelers, people have been forced to take desperate action. People from that family, and others, have to learn several languages and the ability to blend in with the tenor and feel of a time period, even when its attitudes are so different from their own. Alex Bracken doesn't seem to skimp on historical detail, even when they're not accepted in our own time but are clearly markers of the struggles faced by characters from their own time period. Altogether Passenger is a fascinating look into history and culture with its well-developed world-building. I once saw that teachers recommended YA historical fiction to their students as a way of encouraging their interest in history; I can see Passenger among these novels, for it is clear that Alexandra Bracken has done her research to make the atmosphere and attitudes realistic.

The romance between Etta and Nicholas is of the slow-burn kind. While the two are indeed instantly attracted to each other, neither knows what to make of and whether to trust the other. Through their shared trials on their quest to retrieve a valuable object, they get to know one another and that attraction is allowed to simmer. However, the romance never takes over the main quest plot or the suspense that Alex Bracken builds about their motives and those of the other characters. In short, Passenger will have a huge audience. Also, it would make for an amazing movie, and I would not be surprised if, in the coming weeks, we hear of a Hollywood studio snatching the rights to this book. Check out the book trailer if you don't believe me.

If you're a The Darkest Minds fan, I do think that you're going like Passenger; there's a similar blend of cinematic action, romance, suspense, and emotionally charged situations. I also would recommend this to fans of A Thousand Pieces of You. Of the time travel YA novels published so far (that I have read!), ATPoY seems the most similar. Cinematic in scope and sharpened by suspense, family drama, flawed, interesting characters, and an intense romantic bond, Passenger is sure to nab its own legion of fans eager for the sequel, especially after that explosive ending.

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review 2016-01-05 02:52
Read the Mapmaker's Trilogy by S.E. Grove!

The Glass Sentence & The Golden Specific are the most inventive MG fantasy novels that I've read since Harry Potter. I don't read a lot of MG, true, but they are also much more inventive than a lot of YA I've read. Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommended.

 
After the below synopses, I will ramble in true fangirl style about my love for these books.

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove | GOODREADS
Release Date: June 12, 2014 (hardcover; pb: June 16, 2015)
Published by: Viking Books for Young Readers
 
She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.

Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World—a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods. Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.

Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.

The Glass Sentence plunges readers into a time and place they will not want to leave, and introduces them to a heroine and hero they will take to their hearts. It is a remarkable debut.


IF YOU HAVEN'T READ BOOK 1 AND ARE AFRAID OF SPOILERS, DON'T READ THIS NEXT SYNOPSIS.

The Golden Specific by S.E. Grove | GOODREADS
Release Date: July 14, 2015
 

The eagerly-awaited sequel to the best-selling The Glass Sentence -- a historical, fantastical adventure perfect for fans of Philip Pullman!

It is the summer of 1892, one year since Sophia Tims and her friend Theo embarked upon the dangerous adventure that rewrote the map of the world. Since their return home to Boston, she has continued searching for clues to her parents’ disappearance, combing archives and libraries, grasping at even the most slender leads. Theo has apprenticed himself to an explorer in order to follow those leads across the country—but one after another proves to be a dead end.

Then Sophia discovers that a crucial piece of the puzzle exists in a foreign Age. At the same time, Theo discovers that his old life outside the law threatens to destroy the new one he has built with Sophia and her uncle Shadrack. What he and Sophia do not know is that their separate discoveries are intertwined, and that one remarkable person is part of both.

There is a city that holds all of the answers—but it cannot be found on any map. Surrounded by plague, it can only be reached by a journey through darkness and chaos, which is at the same time the plague’s cure: The Golden Specific.

 

And the cover for The Crimson Skew, the third and final book in the Mapmakers Trilogy, was recently released as well. That book will be releasing July 12, 2016. You can read my initial thoughts up to page 85 of The Golden Specific as well.

Note: this is categorized, I think, as middle grade, but the characters are 13-14 years old. You could just as well categorize them as young adult, if you're hesitant to read them because of the label.

WHY YOU NEED TO READ THIS TRILOGY*:
*The Crimson Skew may not have been released yet but yes yes yes it is making my 2016 list...

1) This trilogy is not just for kids. I like to think of the quote I have on my about page: "A children's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last." (From Lewis, C.S. "On Three Ways of Writing for Children." On Stories: And Other Essays in Literature. New York: Harcourt Inc., 1982: 31-43.). The best kind of MG and YA stories are the ones with themes so resonant that adults can identify with them as well, and with recognizable yet colorful characters, complex world-building and plotting. When I read The Glass Sentence and The Golden Specific, my first thought was that I would recommend these books to readers of all ages. As I stated in my review of The Glass Sentence, the books focus on making of time what you want. The books focus on family, belonging, history, myth, and story-telling.

2) This trilogy is also perfect for kids. The Golden Specific would be excellent to facilitate discussion among kids about immigration policies and the founding of the United States, what happened to Native Americans. The trilogy is, in many ways, a discussion on historical constructs: this is what happened in our past (Age of Verity); need we repeat these events in the future? Who is telling the story - the people we're destined to become or the ones we're choosing to be every day, or the people empowered by their Age? It has these very deep embedded questions that a teacher or parent could use to ask questions of the kid, and for the kid? This series also has all the magical adventure, fun, wit, and sheer imagination that something as famous as Harry Potter does (note: I haven't read His Dark Materials, so I can't speak to the Phillip Pullman comparison). I have the sense that S.E. Grove can do anything; her imagination is truly remarkable.

3) Sophia, and the other characters, are as adorable as ever. I love that these books are clearly led by Sophia. Theo becomes a hero with his own character arc in The Golden Specific, but to me the books are still centered around Sophia, who is one of my favorite heroines for her resourcefulness, loyalty, and determination. I love that S.E. Grove has created a female lead who doesn't give up her willingness to trust other people, even in the face of dangerous and frightening circumstances. I love that she comes across her own realizations in the appropriate amount of time, and I love that her flaw, time and time again, is what helps her to succeed -- in accepting herself, she becomes stronger with each book. As for the other characters, my original complaint from The Glass Sentence was that they didn't pop for me as much as I'd liked. No such complaint for The Golden Specific! Because you get other points of view besides Sophia's, the characters feel more complex. They have their own agendas, and seeing the characters through more than just Sophia's perspective allowed for added shades to their character. Additionally, The Golden Specific did a wonderful job highlighting how the characters are both their own people and defined by the world and Ages in which they live.

4) The world-building is phenomenal. If I expanded on this category, it would be incoherent fangirly rambles in which I praise S.E. Grove's imagination and all the remarkable little details that she adds to make the atmospheres and settings palpable, imaginable, and within our reach. So, I'll just have to curtail my discussion; also check my review of the first book for more on that note.

In comparing The Glass Sentence to The Golden Specific, I'd say that The Golden Specific picks up the stakes; the other points of view (besides Sophia's) allow for additional complexity in the plot but sacrifice a little of the thematic emphasis that The Glass Sentence had on making of time what you want. I think that also hints at how dynamic this series is. While The Glass Sentence had a whole heap of magic and enchanted me with this grand world, The Golden Specific pushed my imagination as a reader, because I could not predict where the plot was headed; there were so, so many details, and the world-building is so expansive that I didn't know where the book would take me next. Reading was an adventure of its own! One last thing I will also say is that if you've read The Glass Sentence, I would suggest rereading before reading The Golden Specific. Because the world-building is so expansive, I had a harder time remembering certain aspects of the plot and world that turned out to be crucial to The Golden Specific.

A wonderfully well-written, timeless adventure through Ages and worlds both marvelous and dangerous, with colorful and developed characters at the forefront. You cannot miss out on The Mapmaker's trilogy by S.E. Grove.

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url 2015-11-04 21:09
Giveaway: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Are you all excited for Passenger by Alexandra Bracken? I definitely am. The only other book I've read that combines time travel and historical romance is Outlander, and I enjoyed the book and the show quite a bit (though I've still got to finish watching the last three episodes! ack!). Oh, wait, I also read Lisa Bergren's River of Time series. But it's been so long since I read some of those books, and there's always room for more. More YA + time-travel + romance + historical speculative fiction, please! More Alexandra Bracken please!

"You are my passenger, and I will be damned before I let any harm come to you." -back cover on the ARC of Passenger. Could this be the mysterious Nicholas from the synopsis?

If you're as excited as I am, check out the giveaway below!

 

Release Date: January 5, 2016
Published by: Disney-Hyperion

Passenger - Alexandra Bracken | Goodreads

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In 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, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he 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.


First: if you are really excited for this book, you can actually download the ebook sampler on either Amazon, Nook, or iBooks.

I love reading samplers before adding books to my TBR. They really help determine whether I'd jive with the writing style. I highly encourage you to check those links out!

Second: even if you don't win this giveaway, please consider pre-ordering the book. Pre-order sales can be vital to the success of a book. And look, handy links ahead: Amazon,  Barnes & NobleBooks-a-Million,  IndieboundIndigoiBooks.

 
Third: While waiting for Passenger to hit shelves, be sure to check out the newly released Darkest Minds collection, Through the Dark. Don't miss this breathtaking collection of stories set in the world of the New York Times best-selling Darkest Minds trilogy. Featuring ebook original novellas, In Time and Sparks Rise, available in print for the first time, and a gripping, brand-new novella, Through the Dark is a must-have for fans of The Darkest Minds. This collection contains three novellas: In Time, Sparks Rise, and Beyond the Night, as well as a sneak peek at the first novel in Alexandra Bracken's new series, Passenger.

Fourth: You can enter the giveaway below -- and it's easy! Just tell me why you're excited to readPassenger. Have you read one of Alexandra Bracken's books before? Do you like the sound ofPassenger? Did you read the sampler?

 
Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.
Please note prizing will ship early January following release of the book.
Giveaway ends 11/14/15.
RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY FORM IS AT THE ORIGINAL LINK
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alexandra Bracken is the New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds andNever Fade. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved east to study history and English at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. Alex now lives in New York City, where you can find her hard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that's perpetually overflowing with books. Visit her online at www.alexandrabracken.com and on Twitter @alexbracken.  
 
Follow Alex Bracken on Twitter and Instagram and/or follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram to find out more about Passenger. You can also learn more by visiting un-requiredreading.com or, of course, AlexandraBracken.com.
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