Extra Innings: Can You Go Home Again? by Don Massenzio #bookreview #timetravel #scifi

Joe McLean hates his life. A lonely, divorced, middle-aged man, stuck in a cramped apartment, the only bright spot in Joe’s life is cheering on his hometown baseball team. Now, the local stadium, the place of many childhood and adult memories is being replaced. Joe desperately wants a piece of this iconic venue to preserve his memories and have some memorabilia from his happier past. That’s when unusual things begin to happen, and Joe begins to rethink the direction his life has taken. Can Joe take a different path in life? Can he use the special ability that he has acquired to change the course of his life? Will he realize the truth about old adage, you can never go home again? Follow the twists and turns in this supernatural story, Extra Innings, to find out.

When I first saw the cover for this book, not being a sports fan, I nearly passed on it.  But when I read the blurb and saw it was about time travel, I snatched it right up.

I immediately wanted to root for Joe.  With a failed marriage, a thankless, dead-end job, and not much to go home to at night, the guy deserves some happiness.  Upon realizing the seat he purchased from a baseball stadium that held wonderful memories for him is a time machine, endless possibilities are at his fingertips.  If you could travel back in time, what would you change about your life?  Anything?  Would those changes have unexpected ripple effects?

Joe encounters several surprises along the way, and I laughed out loud at some situations he found himself in.  Extra Innings is a fabulous, enjoyable story with several layers to include family drama, organized crime, and corporate mergers, and I was captivated throughout.  The ending isn’t something I expected, but will leave you thinking about it for days after.

The Cube (Guardian of the Present #1) by Melissa Faye #bookreview #YA #scifi #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

In the future, time travelers are a reality. In the present, time travelers are a real pain. 

June Moore is a normal teenager by day and a vigilante hero by night. 

She guards our present day from time travelers from the future. Law enforcement can’t keep up with their futuristic abilities. 

But June has an edge. 

Her smarts and strength help her fight off these visitors before they can take advantage of our world. She sends those time travelers back where they belong…whether they like it or not. 

Now it’s the night before her freshman year of college, and June finds herself face-to-face with a traveler. His motives are unclear, and he’s holding a strange cube. 

She has to know what’s inside. 

An extra second of hesitation allows the man to escape. June’s left alone. With the box. And with regrets…She should have sent the guy straight home. 

If June doesn’t capture the time traveler soon he could really mess up the future for everyone. Who knows what kind of trouble he may cause? And if the cube opens…it might cause even more trouble. Something that would hit closer to home. 

To save the future of those close to her, June must hunt the escaped traveler down.

…Before she runs out of time. 

The Cube is Book 1 of Guardian of the Present, an eight book series of novellas that will appeal to fans of tough female leads, Buffy, Veronica Mars, and Looper. 

I’m pretty sure it was the original Planet of the Apes movies that made me a fan of time travel, so every time I see a book on the topic, it’s like a laser beam that draws me in.

I like the idea of June’s story being told in eight novellas – it reminds me of Stephen King’s The Green Mile.  All were quick reads, and each left the reader with a bit of a cliffhanger – the first book in the Guardians of the Present series is no different.  The traveler case June is dealing with wraps up in this novella, but shocking news regarding something from her past turns up at the end.

June is a very likable protagonist, and despite her unusual ‘job’, she’s trying to have a normal college experience – roommates, fraternity parties, and possibly a new love interest.  The clever names she’s given her self-invented weapons made me chuckle, and her understanding of and knack for technology has saved her numerous times in her line of work.  Currently, June’s three roommates aren’t really asking any questions about her mysterious behavior and oddly timed comings and goings, but there’s potential for some conflict in the future, and maybe the possibility of even taking some of them into her confidence.

Something I missed was more information on world-building.  Although it may be included later in the series, I was left wondering how June became a guard at such a young age, and how she met Ridge.  Is there someone over the program?  Are there guards throughout the country?  The world?  June encounters a traveler at Central Park Zoo, obviously a high traffic area, and later even sneaks in after hours, but no mention is made about park goers sighting them, security guards, or cameras.  Is there some gadget that prevents her from being seen?

This well-paced novella can easily be read in one sitting, and Buffy, Looper, and Veronica Mars are excellent comp titles.  I’d like to continue with the series, but hope the author fills in some blanks and gives readers a better grasp of June’s world and backstory.

I received a copy of this novella from the author through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

 

 

 

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell #fantasy #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog

Stop the Magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future.

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past. – Goodreads.com

First – this is a gorgeous cover and, combined with the description, immediately intrigued me.  Second – at over 500 pages, it’s a chunk, and I hesitated to request it because of time limitations.  Third – the time commitment was completely worth it, as this is one of the better books I’ve read this year.

The author has created a unique world, unlike any other I’ve read involving magic, and from the first page, I was captivated.  Esta is clever, impulsive, and a skilled thief and the friction between her and cunning magician Harte is born from the moment they see each other.  The supporting characters are all well-drawn and untrustworthy and through Esta and Harte’s eyes, the reader gradually learns who is reliable.

With grand heists, sleight of hand, time travel, and wicked, unexpected twists, this didn’t seem as hefty of a book once I got into it.  I was somewhat disappointed at the end when realizing this isn’t a standalone, but honestly don’t mind spending more time with these characters.  The Last Magician is scheduled for publication July 18th, 2017.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the digital ARC.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreviews

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.20983362
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. – Goodreads.com

This cover is beautiful and the first thing that caught my eye.  When I realized the story involved time travel, that was just the chocolate icing on the cake!

Etta is a joy to read – smart, courageous, quick-witted, fair-minded.  She may occasionally act before she thinks, but that’s part of her charm.  Nicholas is perceptive and intelligent, but usually thinks before he acts – a trait that’s a good balance to Etta’s impulsiveness and their interactions are very humorous at times.

The rules and regulations of the time travel are meticulous and referenced several times during the book to refresh the memory of the reader – which helped me more than once.  The vivid descriptions of the multiple settings are well-written, making the imagery easy and enjoyable.

I initially had difficulties with the typography of the book – I found it distracting to the point that I was pulled out of the story and it took several chapters before I was able to overlook it.  For YA, this is a somewhat lengthy novel and the pacing ebbs and flows in places.  Extensive details of surroundings and places were sometimes overdone to the point that I skimmed through sections.

Overall, this was an engaging read I’d recommend it if you enjoy time travel, a bit of history, suspense, mystery, and adventure.  I’ll be looking forward to the next book in this series.

Passenger is scheduled for publication January 5, 2016.  This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

 

Timesplash by Graham Storrs

It started out as something underground, edgy and cool. Then Sniper took it all too far and 18054749timesplashing became the ultimate terrorist weapon.

Scarred by their experiences in the time travelling party scene, Jay and Sandra are thrown together in what becomes the biggest manhunt in history: the search for Sniper, Sandra’s ex-boyfriend and a would-be mass murderer.

Set in the near future, Timesplash is a fast-paced action thriller. Filled with great characters, a sprinkling of romance, and a new and intriguing take on time travel, Timesplash is ultimately a very human tale about finding bravery through fear, and never giving up.

Highly recommended for science fiction and thriller enthusiasts alike. – Goodreads.com

I’m a sucker for books about time travel, so this sounded like an interesting read.  The description doesn’t go into a lot of detail, but basically there are ‘bricks’ (people) who are lobbed back into time, making a ‘splash’.  Then someone gets the idea to kill an important person in history, and the manhunt begins.  Pretty good plot, right?

I’ll agree that the plot was intriguing – however, for me, the sci-fi aspects of the story were more believable than the characters.  I didn’t care for Sandra’s character at all.  She was an insecure teenager (14 years old when the story begins) and basically looking for a man to take care of her.  A couple of years later, she’s still insecure, but has transformed into someone with the skill set of a highly trained anti-terrorist operative after spending two years in a mental institution.  Not likely.  Jay, who actually is a highly trained operative, was more likeable, but made decisions like the 19-year-old that he is.

Although I enjoyed the actual story and it was well-written, it was a little confusing at first because of the multiple POV’s – a lot of characters to keep straight, and I felt like more of the focus should have been on the time travel aspect rather than pages of police procedure.  The action sequences were exciting and the pacing, for the most part, was good.  If you’re a sci-fi fan, especially time travel, you make want to look into this series, but concentrate more on the plot line than the characters.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Dream of Time by Nancy J. Price

Each night, when Robin drifts off to sleep, she finds herself dreaming about the life of a woman in the Victorian age. She soon realizes it’s not a dream at all, but she is truly slipping into San Francisco’s past.

While living two lives — one as a mom in the modern day, the other as a proper young lady at the turn of the 17883058century — she discovers *how* she’s being sent back to a bygone era is only the first mystery. A much more important question is *why* she’s there.

With the help of a rookie police officer, Robin takes off on a spellbinding adventure, sifting through a century’s worth of clues to untangle the past — and to put love to the test. History, though, proves itself a worthy opponent, and she comes to experience firsthand how destiny can be kind and cruel in the same stroke. – Goodreads.com

Anything concerning time travel has always fascinated me and that’s initially what drew me to this book.  The idea that you may find a letter you left for yourself decades ago or receive a necklace from someone you gave it to almost a century earlier – you could spend hours just thinking about it – or I could, anyway.  There were things about this book I really liked and some, not so much.

I loved Robin/Jennie’s voice.  As someone who also speaks before thinking far too often, I could completely identify with her.  The way she perceived the world and references she made to pop culture were very humorous.  I also thought Travis’s character was easy to like and, without giving anything away, definitely had an open mind.

I struggled with the slow pace of the novel.  After being thrust into a different era, I understand Robin/Jennie would need time to adjust, but it seemed as if too much time was spent on describing her surroundings and the unfamiliar customs of that time rather than why she was there and what needed to be done.

The writing flowed well, the ending was satisfying in a bittersweet way, and the links within the novel to pictures of various things from the early 1900’s were unique and helped with the imagery.

If you enjoy a slower-paced novel with time travel, mystery, romance, and humor, this is your book.

I received a digital ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley.