Genre: Time Travel

Book Review – An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

July 20, 2018 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2018 4 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – An Ocean of Minutes by Thea LimAn Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
Published by Touchstone on July 10, 2018
Pages: 320
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Time Travel
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Goodreads


three-stars

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Station Eleven, a sweeping literary love story about two people who are at once mere weeks and many years apart.

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded laborer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

An Ocean of Minutes is a gorgeous and heartbreaking story about the endurance and complexity of human relationships and the cost of holding onto the past—and the price of letting it go.

“TimeRaiser is a good company. We’ll protect you. Today, or rather tomorrow, is the first day of the rest of your life. It’s a gift.”

In the year 1981, the flu has devastated the world. When the ability to time travel becomes a reality, doctors attempt to go back to the beginning to prevent the flu from ever becoming an issue but limitations on travel prevent them from going back that far. Being infected is certain death and when Polly’s boyfriend Frank becomes infected, she agrees to a 32-month contract with TimeRaiser: in exchange for medical aid to cure Frank, Polly will travel to the year 1993 to help rebuild the physical elements of society. Goodbyes are conducted quickly with the two promising to meet the year she was due to arrive except Polly finds herself in the year 1998 instead. Filled with uncertainty in a world that used to be familiar, Polly must learn to cope with the past decisions that have changed her future irrevocably.

‘She had done it all without understanding the weight of what she was doing. Until this moment, the choice she’d made had kept its true, perverse nature secret: it was irreversible, and only comprehensible after it was done.’

With flashes between past and present, An Ocean of Minutes tells the story of Frank and Polly and why Polly would be willing to make such a monumental decision so that the two of them had a chance for a shared future. This story shares many genres, time travel, post-apocalyptic, and romance, but Lim balances the elements nicely and one never overwhelmed the other. The post-apocalyptic aspects were eerie, with the United States of America being divided into a section called The United States and a separate section called America. TimeRaiser’s employees are assigned codes based on the type of work they are assigned to do with some individuals making new tiles for new flooring, or other individuals ride exercise bikes all day to power resorts (reminding me vividly of Fifteen Million Merits. Any Black Mirror fans?) Polly is fortunate enough to be a skilled laborer and is assigned to restore old furniture where she’s granted certain liberties that regular “Journeymen” are not.

Life is still far from easy and nothing like the life that she left behind and Polly is forced to deal with far more than she ever anticipated when she signed up. Finding Frank is always at the forefront of her mind and was what kept these pages turning most for me: I was eager to know if Polly’s sacrifices would pay off for her and possibly Frank as well. The story’s pace is admittedly unhurried and despite the shocking nature of the world Polly finds herself in, it’s not exactly what I would call thrilling. Despite all this, I found myself completely enthralled in finding out the ending. The story concludes instead with a life lesson on impermanence, the reality of change, and a bit of a cynical approach to love. Realistic or not, I found it concluded most disappointingly.

‘In her heart, the past was not another time, but another place that still existed. It was just that she had taken a wrong turn.’

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva [Review]
The Last Policeman (The Last Policeman #1) by Ben H. Winters
The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan [Review]

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

June 27, 2018 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 4 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Phantom Tree by Nicola CornickThe Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick
Published by Graydon House on August 21, 2018
Pages: 384
Genres: Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Format: Paperback
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“My name is Mary Seymour and I am the daughter of one queen and the niece of another.”

Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait—supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better. The subject is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr, who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child. And Alison knows this because she, too, was in Wolf Hall...with Mary...in 1557.

The painting of Mary is more than just a beautiful object for Alison—it holds the key to her past life, the unlocking of the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance and how Alison can get back to her own time. But Alison’s quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called the Phantom Tree harbors secrets in its shadows...

A spellbinding tale for fans of Kate Morton, Philippa Gregory and Barbara Erskine by the bestselling author of House of Shadows.

About Nicola Cornick


International bestselling author Nicola Cornick writes romantic historical mysteries and witty and passionate Regency romance. She studied History at London and Oxford and was awarded a distinction for her dissertation on historical heroes. It was a tough study but someone had to do it. Nicola has a “double life” as a writer and guide at the stunning 17th century hunting lodge, Ashdown House.

Nicola lives near Oxford and loves reading, writing, history, music, wildlife, travel and walking her dog. She also loves hearing from her readers and chatting to them on her blog at www.nicolacornick.co.uk She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter @NicolaCornick

Tudors + Time travel?? Sign me up.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday – An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

May 9, 2018 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – An Ocean of Minutes by Thea LimAn Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
Published by Touchstone on July 10, 2018
Pages: 320
Genres: Time Travel
Format: Hardcover
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Goodreads

Also by this author: An Ocean of Minutes

“Amidst the breathtaking world Thea Lim has created in AN OCEAN OF MINUTES is a profound meditation on the inhumanity of class and the limits of love. It takes immense talent to render cruelty both accurately and with honest beauty – Lim has pulled it off. This is a story about the malleability of time, but at its core lives something timeless.”- Omar El-Akkad, author of AMERICAN WAR

America is in the grip of a deadly flu. When Frank gets sick, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded labourer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

“A beautiful debut exploring how time, love, and sacrifice are never what they seem to be.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Heartbreaking and haunting.” - NetGalley UK (Top 10 Books for June 2018)

“An Ocean of Minutes is a time machine into the future of this moment. Gripping and graceful, it's dystopian love story as told by a visionary. Thea Lim's debut reads like the birth of a legend.” - Mat Johnson, author of LOVING DAY and PYM

About Thea Lim

Thea Lim's writing has been published by the Southampton Review, the Guardian, Salon, the Millions, Bitch Magazine, and others, and she has received multiple awards and fellowships for her work, including artists' grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

She holds an MFA from the University of Houston and she previously served as nonfiction editor at Gulf Coast.

She grew up in Singapore and lives in Toronto with her family.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

January 4, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Scribe of Siena by Melodie WinawerThe Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer
Published by Touchstone on May 16th 2017
Pages: 464
Genres: Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Format: Hardcover
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Equal parts transporting love story and gripping historical conspiracy—think The Girl with a Pearl Earring meets Outlander—debut author Melodie Winawer takes readers deep into medieval Italy, where the past and present blur and a twenty-first century woman will discover a plot to destroy Siena.

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.
Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

The Scribe of Siena is the captivating story of a brilliant woman’s passionate affair with a time and a place that captures her in an impossibly romantic and dangerous trap—testing the strength of fate and the bonds of love.

About Melodie Winawer

Melodie Winawer is a physician-scientist and Associate Professor of Neurology at Columbia University. A graduate of Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University with degrees in biological psychology, medicine, and epidemiology, she has published forty-seven nonfiction articles and book chapters. She is fluent in Spanish and French, literate in Latin, and has a passable knowledge of Italian. Dr. Winawer lives with her spouse and their three young children in Brooklyn, New York. The Scribe of Siena is her first novel.

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I’m forever a sucker for anything time travel, but time traveling to Italy in 1347 to prevent a plot to destroy a city… and something to do with a plague? This debut novel sounds fantastic.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Early Review – Bury the Living (The Revolutionary Series #1) by Jodi McIsaac

August 13, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2016 1 Comment

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Bury the Living (The Revolutionary Series #1) by Jodi McIsaacBury the Living by Jodi McIsaac
Series: The Revolutionary Series #1
Published by 47North on September 6th 2016
Pages: 302
Genres: Time Travel
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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one-half-stars

Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, more than a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and vivid dreams of a man she has never met.

When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back eighty years—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war. There she meets the alluring stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and agenda. Taken out of her own time, Nora has the chance to alter the fortunes of Ireland and maybe even save the ones she loves. In this captivating and adventurous novel from Jodi McIsaac, history belongs to those with the courage to change it.

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*spoilers are hidden in spoiler tags*

In 1990, Nora O’Reilly is fifteen years old with an unruly temper that gets her into far more trouble than would be otherwise necessary. Being angry at the poor situation her family finds itself in, a murdered father, a mother that can’t put down the bottle, and a brother that is the sole breadwinner, Nora takes it upon herself to start selling pills in order to make some side cash. Cash that will hopefully one day get her family out of Ireland and away from the ongoing war for freedom. The only thing it does it get her into more trouble than her temper ever did and before long, she’s signed up to be a member of the Irish Republican Army, and won’t manage to leave Ireland for another 10 years. Flash forward to the year 2004, Nora is now thirty years old and has been spending the last several years of her life as a relief worker in various foreign countries. She’s been having strange dreams for many months which feature the same man who never actually says anything to her yet leaves her with a sense of urgency that has her puzzled. When she dreams of him one night and he actually speaks, asking her to go to a town in Ireland because he needs her help, she brushes it off as nothing but a dream but she can’t completely shake off the pull to follow through on his request. When she does as the man in her dream requested, she ends up on an adventure through time itself, ending up in the year 1923.

Bury the Living was initially tempting to me because it’s a time travel adventure and marketed to fans of Outlander. It’s an understandable similarity, yet, Living falls undeniably short of living up to the comparison. The writing was enjoyable and kept me reading till the end but the characters themselves really blurred together after a point, except for the main character who seemed to have never grown out of her teenage temper. There’s an extensive focus on the historical detailing of the time as well as a romance, but the confusing aspects of the time travel itself, the inclusion of some puzzling fantasy aspects, and the lack of a logical plot made any positive aspects of this story fall by the wayside.

The historical detailing: This was the best part of the story. This is all information I had to take at face value because I knew little to nothing about the history of Ireland and the wars and strife they went through for decades. It was terrible yet fascinating but quite clear that the author did a lot of research for this book.

The romance: There isn’t a Claire and Jamie type of love, although, they’re truly incomparable. The building blocks were established for the romance in this first installment of the planned series, but I can’t say I felt any sort of chemistry between our two supposed love birds. I expect that will come later.

The time travel: After Nora’s dreams send her to a church in Kildare to find ‘Brigid’, a nun there is prepped and ready because she also had been having dreams warning her of Nora’s impending arrival. With the help of an ancient relic View Spoiler » from Saint Brigid herself, Nora is sent back to the year 1923. I don’t know, it was all just a little too methodical for my liking.

The fantasy aspects/Plot: The majority of this is quite spoilery so I’ll just include these bits in spoiler tags. View Spoiler »

Bury the Living is an informative time travel adventure through the arduous 1920s of Ireland. It’s evident this is the first installment of a planned series and the ending definitely leaves you hanging whether Nora will ever manage to accomplish her goal of changing the future. Unfortunately, I doubt I’ll be picking up the next book to find out.

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Book Review – Once Was a Time by Leila Sales

April 7, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Middle Grade, Read in 2016 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Once Was a Time by Leila SalesOnce Was a Time by Leila Sales
Published by Chronicle Books on April 5th 2016
Pages: 272
Genres: Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Time Travel
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Goodreads

Also by this author: This Song Will Save Your Life

two-stars

In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

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“What do you do when you learn, without a doubt, that you’ve lost everyone you love and you’re trapped by time forever?”

Charlotte “Lottie” Bromley has been raised to believe in time travel. Her father is an illustrious scientist who has been tasked with learning the secrets of time travel in hopes of gaining a leg up in the war. The year is 1940 and ten-year-old Lottie and her best friend Kitty are kidnapped by Nazis in an effort to coerce the secret of time travel from her father. When a shimmering portal appears in front of Lottie, she takes advantage of an opportunity that might never present itself again, even though that means leaving Kitty behind. Lottie finds herself in a place called Wisconsin in the year 2013 clad only in her pajamas. Her only desire is to find some way to return to Kitty and hope that her and her father survived after she escaped.

Once Was a Time intrigued me from the very beginning with the portrayal of a war-ravaged England through the perspective of a ten-year-old girl. Add in a scientist researching the existence of time travel and I was more than ready for an adventurous and entertaining story. Unfortunately, that feeling was tragically short-lived. I am ready and willing to read anything to do with time travel, however, in looking at the time travel books I have read and loved, there was one similarity between them all: the characters were time traveling to a fascinating time and place. Alas, Wisconsin circa 2013 does not scream fascinating to me.

The numerous genres also made this a difficult one for me. We’re introduced to this as historical fiction upon which it’s given a dash of science fiction and mystery. As soon as you’ve got comfortable with this interesting blend, the reader is then thrust into a contemporary, coming-of-age setting where Lottie is adapting to a modern age where everything is unknown. It was an interesting switch from what you typically find in time travel books, where a modern person is forced to adapt to the past but her dealing with mean girl cliques was too much. She makes friends with these girls even though she never seems to actually care for them because of she believes she doesn’t deserve to have good friends because she left her best friend behind with the Nazis. I could understand her mindset, it just ended up being far too long and drawn out for a meager 272 pages. The pacing picked up speed and seemed to be making a comeback at the end but seemed to lose control making the ending feel avoidably rushed.

I fell in love with Leila Sales’ writing after her novel This Song Will Save Your Life. Yes, that story touched on personal experiences so of course, it would be special to me but it was so passionately written, personal experiences or no, it was an incredible story. Unfortunately, I think it set the bar astronomically high for any future read I picked up from her. That spark that made that such an incredible story seemed to be absent here and while I loved the concept of it all, it could have been so much more than it was.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau

January 6, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 1 Comment

Waiting on Wednesday – Every Anxious Wave by Mo DaviauEvery Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau
Published by St. Martin's Press on February 9th 2016
Pages: 288
Genres: Sci-fi, Time Travel
Format: Hardcover
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A highly original debut -- a wild romp of a love story across time and a soulful interweaving of science and music -- this is THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE meets WHERE'D YOU GO BERNADETTE

EVERY ANXIOUS WAVE tells the story of good guy Karl Bender, a thirty-something bar owner whose life lacks love and meaning. When he stumbles upon a time-traveling wormhole, Karl, along with best friend Wayne, develops a business selling access to people who want to travel back in time to hear their favorite bands. It's a pretty ingenious plan, until Karl, intending to send Wayne back to 1980, transports him to 980 Mannahatta instead.

Karl is distraught. He needs an ally. And he finds one in prickly, overweight astrophysicist, Lena Geduldig. Karl and Lena's connection is immediate. While they work on getting Wayne back, they fall in love-with time travel, and each other. Unable to resist meddling with the past, Karl and Lena bounce around time. That's when they alter the course of their lives. That's when they threaten their future together.

A high spirited and engaging novel, EVERY ANXIOUS WAVE plays ball with the big questions: Who would we become if we could rewrite our pasts? How do we hold on to love across time?

About Mo Daviau

Mo Daviau was born in Fresno, California and proclaimed her life goal of publishing a novel at the age of eight. Mo is also a solo performer, having performed at storytelling shows such as Bedpost Confessions and The Soundtrack Series. She is a graduate of Smith College and the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan where Every Anxious Wave won a Hopwood Award. Mo lives in Portland, Oregon.

This sounds extremely quirky and full of fun. Not my typical type of time travel but time travel nonetheless!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Waiting on Wednesday – Eleanor: A Novel by Jason Gurley

November 4, 2015 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 3 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Eleanor: A Novel by Jason GurleyEleanor: A Novel by Jason Gurley
Published by Crown on January 12th 2016
Pages: 384
Genres: Time Travel
Format: Hardcover
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Eleanor and Esmerelda are identical twins with a secret language all their own, inseparable until a terrible accident claims Esme’s life. Eleanor’s family is left in tatters: her mother retreats inward, seeking comfort in bottles; her father reluctantly abandons ship. Eleanor is forced to grow up more quickly than a child should, and becomes the target of her mother’s growing rage.

Years pass, and Eleanor’s painful reality begins to unravel in strange ways. The first time it happens, she walks through a school doorway, and finds herself in a cornfield, beneath wide blue skies. When she stumbles back into her own world, time has flown by without her. Again and again, against her will, she falls out of her world and into other, stranger ones, leaving behind empty rooms and worried loved ones.

One fateful day, Eleanor leaps from a cliff and is torn from her world altogether. She meets a mysterious stranger, Mea, who reveals to Eleanor the weight of her family’s loss. To save her broken parents, and rescue herself, Eleanor must learn how deep the well of her mother’s grief and her father’s heartbreak truly goes. Esmerelda’s death was not the only tragic loss in her family’s fragmented history, and unless Eleanor can master her strange new abilities, it may not be the last.

About Jason Gurley

Jason Gurley is the author of Greatfall, The Man Who Ended the World, and other novels and stories. His bestselling self-published novel Eleanor is forthcoming from Crown Publishing in 2016. His work has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine and numerous anthologies. He lives and writes in Oregon.

I’m a sucker for anything even mildly suggesting time travel but this sounds like a lovely yet heartbreaking story that I have got to try.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

dvd-pearl

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – Replay by Ken Grimwood

August 7, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 6 Comments

Book Review – Replay by Ken GrimwoodReplay by Ken Grimwood
Published by William Morrow on January 1986
Pages: 311
Genres: Time Travel
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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five-stars

Jeff Winston was 43 and trapped in a tepid marriage and a dead-end job, waiting for that time when he could be truly happy, when he died.

And when he woke and he was 18 again, with all his memories of the next 25 years intact. He could live his life again, avoiding the mistakes, making money from his knowledge of the future, seeking happiness.

Until he dies at 43 and wakes up back in college again...

Jeff Winston is given a unique opportunity when amidst a mid-life crisis of sorts at the age of forty-three, talking to his wife on the phone, he has a heart attack and dies. Yes, this is only the beginning of his story. When he wakes up, he’s confused by his surroundings and thinks he must be dreaming because he hasn’t seen the inside of his dorm room since he was eighteen years old. Except he really is eighteen, all over again. He has the opportunity to do everything differently and he starts by using his knowledge of the future by betting on the Kentucky Derby and creating the start of his fortune. He becomes more successful than he ever could have imagined in his first life, he’s happy and healthy and while this life isn’t without its flaws he feels it to be far superior than the first go around. And then he turns forty-three, has yet another heart attack at the same exact moment, blacks out, and reawakens once again at eighteen.

Something really resonated with me with this book and I absolutely adored the time I spent reading it. Replay is so spectacularly simplistic yet bursting with brilliance. While it’s tagged as a time travel novel, it’s a very different sort. With each replay, Jeff retains all knowledge of the past while constantly returning to his younger self. There’s a distinct lack of anything supernatural or science fiction or even an answer as to why this was happening to him period. While you won’t be able to stop yourself from wondering about the why of it all, Replay’s real focus is more on the profound and of the components of what makes life worth living.

At one point or another, we’ve all wondered “If I could go back in the past, would I do things differently?” If given the opportunity, knowing the things we know based on the lives we’ve led, would we attempt to try to change things in hopes of creating a better future for ourselves? While I fully agree that our experiences in life are what truly makes us who we are, and I’m pretty satisfied with the way I turned out, I still can’t help but think of the myriad of possibilities of what could be changed or at least slightly altered. In Replay, even though it is told from the point of view of a fictional character, you can’t help but feel as if you’re being given the opportunity to replay based on the way he chooses to live his various lives. His immediate reaction to second chances is money and he spends his life making millions only to discover by the next replay that it never quite made him as happy as he had expected it to. So in the next life he focuses on something different. One thing he does begin to realize is that no matter what life you choose to lead, something is bound to go wrong, even with a knowledge of the future and of memories of past actions. Even with the opportunity to replay, there’s never a guarantee that you’ll end up with anything close to perfect, you just learn to work with what you’re given and make it the very best possible.

All life includes loss. It’s taken me many, many years to learn to deal with that, and I don’t expect I’ll ever be fully resigned to it. But that doesn’t mean we have to turn away from the world, or stop striving for the best that we can do and be. We owe that much to ourselves, at least, and we deserve whatever measure of good may come of it.

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Book Review – Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana Gabaldon

September 11, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 2 Comments

Book Review – Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana GabaldonWritten in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #8
Published by Delacorte Press on June 10th 2014
Pages: 848
Genres: Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads

Also by this author: The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

three-stars

In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears . . . into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven bestselling novels, and CNN has called it “a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the heart, weighs the soul and measures the human spirit across [centuries].” Now the story continues in Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.

1778: France declares war on Great Britain, the British army leaves Philadelphia, and George Washington’s troops leave Valley Forge in pursuit. At this moment, Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed watery grave to discover that his best friend has married his wife, his illegitimate son has discovered (to his horror) who his father really is, and his beloved nephew, Ian, wants to marry a Quaker. Meanwhile, Jamie’s wife, Claire, and his sister, Jenny, are busy picking up the pieces.

The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in twentieth-century Scotland. Or not. In fact, Brianna is  searching for her own son, who was kidnapped by a man determined to learn her family’s secrets. Her husband, Roger, has ventured into the past in search of the missing boy . . . never suspecting that the object of his quest has not left the present. Now, with Roger out of the way, the kidnapper can focus on his true target: Brianna herself.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is the brilliant next chapter in a masterpiece of the imagination unlike any other.

Outlander series

Outlander (Outlander #1) {Purchase}
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) {Purchase}
Voyager (Outlander #3) {Purchase}
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) {Purchase}
The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5) {Purchase}
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) {Purchase}
An Echo in the Bone (Outlander #7) {Purchase}
The Outlander Series 7-Book Bundle on Kindle {Purchase}

After the dramatic conclusion in An Echo in the Bone and the five years it took for this installment to come out, I was expecting to swallow this whole as soon as I was afforded the opportunity. Instead? It took me upwards of almost THREE MONTHS to finish which is practically unheard of for me. When I finally read the last page, I ran joyously through the house a la Liz Lemon style.

But let’s back up and discuss what actually goes down in this book. There will be spoilers for previous installments.

So, there was drama. A lot of it. Written picks right up where Echo left off in 1778 with Claire discovering Jamie is, in fact, alive and kicking and her marriage (and consummation) to Lord John poses some mighty intense drama. Then there’s William who just recently discovered that Lord John is not actually his father, Jamie is, but raised him since Jamie was unable to. He proceeds to throw a tantrum about said drama for pretty much the full extent of the book making his chapters pretty interminable. We’ve got Ian and his dog Rollo, who have decidedly less drama but since he has become engaged to Rachel and just so happens to be well-liked by William, well there’s your drama for that storyline too. There are various other side stories too that are, you guessed it, full of drama. Oh, and we can’t forget about the fact that the American Revolutionary War is going on in the background of all this. Meanwhile, in 1980, Bree is frantic to find her son Jem whom she fears has been taken through the stones and back in time by an enemy who discovered that Jem knows the location of a priceless buried treasure. Roger has set off to follow them through the stones to get him back but his leaving brings more trouble for Bree back home.

Bree and Roger’s sections were my most favorite but were, unfortunately, the smallest part of the book as a whole. I’d say they got roughly 20% while the remaining 80% was spent in 1778. All of Gabaldon’s books have been large in size, Written clocking in at 848 pages of extremely tiny print, but this one honestly felt too long. An extreme amount of detail was placed on Claire’s methods for healing with the rudimentary tools available to her and some were extremely graphic and completely unnecessary for the storyline as a whole. There were several chapters spent on her saving Lord John’s brother from an asthma attack, the medical cases from various individuals that were injured in battle, an amputation, Lord John Grey’s eye injury which she heals with her fingers and honey and the worst of them all: the surgery she performs on a slave girl to fix her rectovaginal fistula. FYI? Don’t Google that. It was all super detailed and somewhat interesting for the most part but I wanted more actual story.

Yes, I did give this 3 stars so clearly there was some good to this. Again, like I said, Bree and Roger’s chapters were the best and I loved where their stories took them in this massive puzzle Gabaldon is masterminding. There were some terribly emotional scenes that managed to draw me back into the story: Ian and his dog Rollo, Henri Christian (Fergus’ son) and Jane’s whole sad story. I found the unrelenting drama too much but mainly because it didn’t manage to work my emotions like the other books always seemed to. Even though this one is most definitely my least favorite of the series there is no doubt that I’ll be continuing this series. I anxiously await the next installment (in a half dozen years or so if we’re lucky), especially after everything, got set up in the conclusion (but thankfully there wasn’t a dramatic cliffhanger).

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