Time’s Twisted Arrow, Review and Blog Tour

TimesTwistedArrowTour Times Twisted Arrow, Review and Blog Tour

TimesCover Times Twisted Arrow, Review and Blog TourTitle and Author: Time’s Twisted Arrow by Rysa Walker (Goodreads | Amazon)

Publisher: Gypsy Moon Books

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Publication Date: October 1, 2012

Pages: 351 pages

Source: Received review copy as part of tour

Kid-rating: Clean.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

“Sharp writing, a flair for dialogue and a big, twisting imagination.” – Kirkus Reviews.

They weren’t panic attacks. Of that, seventeen year old Kate is certain, no matter what the shrink told her parents. But it’s even harder to accept the explanation offered by her terminally ill grandmother – that Kate has inherited designer DNA from the time-traveling historians of CHRONOS, who were stranded in the past by a saboteur. Kate knows that her grandmother’s story could easily be the brain tumor talking, but that doesn’t explain the odd medallion or the two young men – one of them hauntingly familiar — who simply vanish before her eyes on the subway. It doesn’t explain Trey, the handsome stranger who now occupies Kate’s assigned seat in trig class. And it definitely doesn’t explain why Kate is now in an alternate timeline, where leaders of a previously unknown cult hold great power and are planning a rather drastic form of environmental defense.

In this new reality, Kate’s grandmother was murdered at age twenty-two on a research trip to the past, which means that Kate’s mother was never born, her father doesn’t know her and, for all intents and purposes, she doesn’t exist. The only thing keeping her from disappearing entirely is the strange blue medallion around her neck, and the only thing keeping her sane is her burgeoning relationship with Trey. To restore the time line, Kate must travel back to 1893 and keep herself and her grandmother clear of H.H. Holmes, the serial killer who is stalking young women at the Chicago World’s Fair. But that choice comes at a price – she’ll remember the past few months with Trey, but when he looks at her, he’ll see a total stranger.

My review

Time travel can be so tricky: if you don’t build it and sell it well, it falls apart. Luckily, Ryse Walker built this one quite well, and I loved this book a lot. I was pretty thoroughly convinced by the world-building, the character-building, and even though we are dealing with the confusion the comes with the implications of time travel as presented by this book, I was thoroughly satisfied by the way the author led us through everything.

Although there are 2 swoon-worthy love interests for Kate, our main character, the circumstances did not read like a clichéd love triangle to me. Other readers might disagree, but know that I’m getting tired of the triangle thing, so my radar is tuned pretty high for that.

I like books that don’t end up giving me every single answer — there was a nice resolution, but not a cliffhanger, and the possibilities for future stories in this book’s universe are endless. I look forward to seeing where Walker takes us next. There were lots of things hinted at, or left open that would be nice to have answered. With the twists involved in this book, I can only imagine what twisty ways in which we’ll get those answers.

I don’t believe in going on and on and writing my own novel in response to the books I’ve read: I like to know what people thought, so that I can find out if this might fit with something I’d be interested in reading. I could write a longer review, but I’d rather just suggest that if you enjoy time travel novels, you should check this one out. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next installment!

Author Bio

RYSA WALKER grew up on a cattle ranch in the South. Her options for entertainment were talking to cows and reading books. (Occasionally, she would mix things up a bit and read books to cows.) On the rare occasion that she gained control of the television, she watched Star Trek and imagined living in the future, on distant planets, or at least in a town big enough to have a stop light.

When not writing, she teaches history and government in North Carolina, where she shares an office with her husband, who heroically pays the mortgage each month, and a golden retriever named Lucy. She still doesn’t get control of the TV very often, thanks to two sports-obsessed kids.

Author Links:
Website: http://chronosfiles.blogspot.ca/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6581077.Rysa_Walker
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RysaWalker
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheChronosFiles

Giveaway

There are TWO giveaways you can participate in:

First is for one (1) ebook copy of Time’s Twisted Arrow. Open internationally. This giveaway is only here on my blog. In order to enter, you just need to comment on this post. Be sure to enter a valid e-mail address when you comment, as this is how I’ll contact you. Entries will be open until March 10th at midnight. One entry per person, I’ll use Random.org to pick a winner.

The second giveaway is for the grand prize for the entire tour and includes a signed copy of Walker’s book, as well as a $25 Amazon.com gift card! (See the Terms and Conditions in the Rafflecopter form for the details).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

16095936 Book Review: The Archived by Victoria SchwabTitle and Author: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication Date: January 22, 2013

Pages: 336 pages

Source: Purchased at iBookstore

Kid-rating: Clean. No qualms about suggesting to my 13 year old family members. I’m going to encourage the boys to try to read, for something different.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

(from GoodReads)
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous-it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

My review

I have read 19 books in January, and this is the first that is going on my Favorites shelf. And I have really enjoyed a lot of the books I’ve read this month.

This was SO good. A great strong main character, who is not without flaws. Interesting and unique premise that I thought was explained well, in just enough bits to keep me reading, but not in infodumps that were boring.

The secondary characters were also quite fascinating, and even though there is some love interest (and 2 boys), this was not a love triangle (thankfully). I was totally on board with how Mac was feeling about all of her relationships, and definitely have a new book crush in Wesley.

The mystery was well done and I did NOT see the solution coming at all. In retrospect, there was one moment when I wondered…but I shook it off. Silly me.

I’m trying to think if I have any quibbles to share, and I can’t think of any. At all.

I’d also like to say thank you to the author for making this a complete story without a big honking cliffhanger at the end. Is the door open for further stories? Absolutely. There was a lot left unresolved in terms of relationships, and maybe even the aftermath of what resulted from the mystery itself, but I am not left hanging — I’m getting tired of that. It does appear that this is first in a series, and I will definitely read whatever comes next.

Book Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

12291438 Book Review: The Madmans Daughter by Megan ShepherdTitle and Author: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Gothic, Mystery

Publication Date: January 29, 2013

Pages: 432 pages

Source: ARC tour

Kid-rating: Would my 13 year old boys like this? Probably not, probably too much kissing (and talking about kissing and about love and mushy stuff). They might like the horror bits, but I think it would probably move too slow for them. How about my 13 year old nieces? Hmmm. I think they might be a little too grossed out by the horror parts of this right now. Maybe in a few years.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

(from GoodReads)
In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.(

My review

There was a lot to love about this dark, creepy tale. As with other books that I’ve had on my “high-expectations” list, I was a little leery to start this one, but thankfully, the ice/fog day we had on Monday gave me the perfect opportunity to read this in one fell-swoop and it was a great read.

And by “great,” I mean very twisted and weird and scary. It’s no surprise that this is based on The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that our main character’s father, Dr. Moreau, himself, is involved in some pretty horrifying science experiments involving animals and humans.

The choice to tell this story from the perspective of an imagined daughter (Juliet) who was abandoned by her father (and whose mother has since died), was an interesting one. She is very compelling, a young woman who is brighter and more capable than anyone will allow her to be. She does spend a little more time being dense than I would have liked, and not asking question sooner about some things that seemed to need questioning.

I was as surprised as she was, though, by the twists and turns her story takes.

The love triangle was a little overdone, in my opinion. That might just be me projecting, though, because I’m getting kind of tired of angsty love triangles. Books don’t always need triangles to hold my interest.

The cliffhanger-y ending of this didn’t bug me the way some of these 1st-book-in-a-trilogy tend to. Maybe because I actually figured out what was happening about 2 pages before Juilet did, which actually made the actual ending even more wrenching for me on her behalf.

This is a very excellent debut, and I will definitely be waiting for the rest of this story.

Also, I have to mention: I seriously hope all of the book covers are as gorgeous as this one. Love it. icon smile Book Review: The Madmans Daughter by Megan Shepherd

(I read this as an ARC as part of an ARC tour. I will be mailing this book on to the next person in the tour just as soon as the weather allows me to actually leave my house. Also, the post office is now closed for the day).

ARC Book Review: The Trajectory of Dreams by Nicole Wolverton

15776322 ARC Book Review: The Trajectory of Dreams by Nicole WolvertonTitle and Author: The Trajectory of Dreams by Nicole Wolverton

Publisher: Bitingduck Press

Genre: Thriller, Contemporary

Publication Date: March 1, 2013

Pages: 285 pages

Source: Netgalley

Kid-rating: I should be taking notes on this. I don’t remember anything that was inappropriate for younger readers, but this is definitely about and for adults.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

(from GoodReads) For Lela White, a Houston sleep lab technician, sleep doesn’t come easy—there’s a price to be paid for a poor night’s sleep, and she’s the judge, jury, and executioner. Everyone around Lela considers her a private woman with a passion for her lab work. But nighttime reveals her for what she is: a woman on a critical secret mission. Lela lives in the grip of a mental disorder that compels her to break into astronauts’ homes to ensure they can sleep well and believes that by doing so, she keeps the revitalized U.S. space program safe from fatal accidents. What began at the age of ten when her mother confessed to blowing up the space shuttle has evolved into Lela’s life’s work. She dreads the day when an astronaut doesn’t pass her testing, but she’s prepared to kill for the greater good. When Zory Korchagin, a Russian cosmonaut on loan to the U.S. shuttle program, finds himself drawn to Lela, he puts her carefully-constructed world at risk of an explosion as surely as he does his own upcoming launch. As Lela’s universe unravels, no one is safe.

My review

Right from the get-go, the extremely unreliable narrator, Lela, is clearly NOT RIGHT — and I kept turning page after page, following her descent, finding myself worried for my own sanity. What was real? What wasn’t? I thought I knew, and was fooled several times.

The explosion of the Challenger was a moment that I remember pretty clearly from when I was in 8th grade (ironically, the age of my own boys), and I know that many people were affected by the disaster — but not quite in the same way as the main character of this book. The way in which this situation warped her, was fascinating.

 

The Trajectory of Dreams was well-written and a great read from a debut author.

Book Review: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

6308590 Book Review: Alices Adventures in WonderlandTitle and Author: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Publisher: pub

Genre: Classics, Fantasy, Childrens

Publication Date: 1865

Pages: (My e-reader says 122 pages, I’ve seen different ranges on different editions)

Source: Free e-book from Project Gutenberg

Kid-rating: Here’s where I wish I had read this to my boys when they were younger. I’m not sure they’d appreciate it now.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

(from GoodReads)
Journey with Alice down the rabbit hole into a world of wonder where oddities, logic and wordplay rule supreme. Encounter characters like the grinning Cheshire Cat who can vanish into thin air, the cryptic Mad Hatter who speaks in riddles and the harrowing Queen of Hearts obsessed with the phrase “Off with their heads!” This is a land where rules have no boundaries, eating mushrooms will make you grow or shrink, croquet is played with flamingos and hedgehogs, and exorbitant trials are held for the theft of tarts. Amidst these absurdities, Alice will have to find her own way home. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland began as a story told to three little girls in a rowboat, near Oxford. Ten year old Alice Liddell asked to have the story written down and two years later it was published with immediate success. Carroll’s unique play on logic has undoubtedly led to its lasting appeal to adults, while remaining one of the most beloved children’s tales of all time.

My review

There’s a very good reason this is a classic. I don’t remember having actually ever read this, though. Oh sure, I had seen the Disney movie, and more recently, the Tim Burton movie, but read the actual book? Don’t remember.

I loved it, and I’m glad I decided to read it in preparation for Splintered. (A reimagining, which I highly enjoyed…link is to my review.)

One thing that was interesting to me was that some of the poems that Alice recites (and gets wrong…) are now only really known in their “wrong” Alice version! The originals, which would have been well-known at the time of the writing, are barely remembered these days. I can only imagine how much funnier this book was to it’s original audience, who would have recognized them as parodies.

It occurs to me now, that I need to go on a further Alice binge and re-watch the movies! And I should probably add Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There to my to-read pile..