Young Adult / January 5, 2018

Author: Ryan Graudin. Summary: Time flies when you’re plundering history. Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems. (Published Summary) My Thoughts: Every bit the exciting romp it purports to be in the description. Now, I did come in with high expectations, because it’s Ryan Graudin, and those were rather disappointed. It’s nowhere near as good as Wolf by Wolf. I couldn’t figure out exactly what was missing until I saw someone else’s review where…

The Last Magician
Young Adult / September 18, 2017

Author: Lisa Maxwell. Summary: 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…

All Clear
Adult / July 3, 2017

All Clear #2. Author: Connie Willis. Summary: In Blackout, award-winning author Connie Willis returned to the time-traveling future of 2060—the setting for several of her most celebrated works—and sent three Oxford historians to World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler’s bombers attempt to pummel London into submission. Now the situation has grown even more dire. Small discrepancies in the historical record seem to indicate that one or all of them have somehow affected the past, changing the outcome of the war. The belief that the past can be observed but never altered has always been a core belief of time-travel theory—but suddenly it seems that the theory is horribly, tragically wrong. Meanwhile, in 2060 Oxford, the historians’ supervisor, Mr. Dunworthy, and seventeen-year-old Colin Templer, who nurses a powerful crush on Polly, are engaged in a frantic and seemingly impossible struggle of their own—to find three missing needles in the…

Adult / July 1, 2017

All Clear #1. Author: Connie Willis. Summary: Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place, with scores of time-traveling historians being sent into the past. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser into letting her go to VE-Day. Polly Churchill’s next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London’s Blitz. But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments and switching around everyone’s schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, and dive-bombing Stukas–to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past. (Goodreads Summary) My Thoughts: Don’t go into Blackout thinking science fiction. Even though that’s technically the genre, since the time-travel short circuits out in the beginning, and the actual execution is historical novel. And…

The Ship Beyond Time
Young Adult / May 8, 2017

The Girl From Everywhere #2. Author: Heidi Heilig. Summary: Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father? Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. (Published Summary) Content Review: Sexual Content: “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?” / Fade-to-black scene after m/f characters undressing together./ “That’s what the legends say – that she…

The Girl From Everywhere
Young Adult / December 20, 2016

Girl From Everywhere #1. Author: Heidi Heilig. Summary: Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination. As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. But the end to it all looms closer every day. Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence. For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters. She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love. Or she could disappear. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: Eh. I really liked the time-travel ship idea, but they didn’t spend a whole lot of the book time-traveling, and the plot was kind of a let down. Instead of adventures on the high seas of timey-wimy…

Quest for the Future
Adult / October 29, 2016

Author: A.E. Van Vogt. Summary: Worlds of differing probabilities and the constant search for immortality are the twin themes of this mind-toppling story. Expanding the enigmas of time, van Vogt carries the reader to the furthermost edges of past and future and outwards to a place where time loses all meaning. (Summary from Goodreads.) My Thoughts: A.E. Van Vogt weaves a complicated, imaginative story with his usual skill. I did not enjoy it myself because I took a strong dislike to the main character; a brash, arrogant man whom I could never get along with. Content Review: Sexual content: Brief kiss between a married man and a woman who is not his wife. Man says he “caught my parents in bed around then [age 14]. There they were pretending no such thing as sex existed, and they were going at it like veterans.” From narrative, ‘They made love in his apartment within an hour of meeting.’ (Adultery.) Character’s thoughts, ‘Maybe a female doctor […] might for strictly clinical purposes also be interested in sex with such a smelly type.” “There’s got to be sex. Without that I’ll kill myself.” Character reads a novel about a “sexually free society where every…

The Door Into Summer
Adult / August 16, 2016

Author: Robert A. Heinlein. Summary: Electronics engineer Dan Davis has finally made the invention of a lifetime: a household robot with extraordinary abilities, destined to dramatically change the landscape of everyday routine. Then, with wild success just within reach, Dan’s greedy partner and greedier fiancée trick him into taking the long sleep – suspended animation for thirty years. Content Review: Sexual content: The female villain is discovered to have been married to multiple husbands in various parts of the country. In future clothing-styles the increased exposure of skin is given a comment in passing. Male character accidentally ends up in a nude camp once. Language: 16 d***, 3 hell, various exclamations of ‘my God!’ Violence: Main character is drugged at one point, there is a vicious fight between a house-cat and a couple. Other issues: Main character is drunk when the story begins.

Young Adult / July 30, 2016

Passenger #1. Author: Alexandra Bracken. Summary: Violin prodigy Etta Spencer has given up everything for her music – hobbies, friends, and dating. But in one devastating night she is snatched from her life and thrust into a strange new one with no one she knows. Can Etta navigate the currents of time, escape the manipulative lord who has forced her services, and get back to her mother? But as more and more secrets are revealed, the question begins to change as Etta wonders: how deeply is her mother mixed up in this, and does she want to return to her old life? Content Review: Sexual content: Women on the streets in low-cut dresses, one asks man if he’s looking for a place to sleep and he says he’s spoken for. Some intense kissing. Man thinks to himself that “he has known lust before”. Worried man asks in a roundabout way whether a woman is a bought concubine to her companion. A fade-to-black couple of paragraphs where unmarried teen girl & boy engage in sexual intercourse. Language: 44 d***, 20 bloody, 20 instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, 15 hell, 12 derogatory terms. Violence: Sea-men and pirates fight hand…

The Last Continent
Adult / July 1, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: There’s big trouble at the Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork’s lone institute of higher learning. A professor is missing—and the one person who can find him is not only the most inept magician the school ever produced, but currently stranded on the unfinished down-under continent of Fourecks. As the UU faculty tries to bring him back, Rincewind is having troubles of his own, thanks to a pushy mystical kangaroo trickster named Scrappy and a mob of Fourecks hooligans who are out to hang him. All his problems would be solved if he could just make it rain . . . for the first time ever. And if the time-traveling professors can get to the right millennium . . . (Published summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: A man has to try and explain how elephants procreate, very awkwardly. Three instances of innuendo. Language: 32 bloody, 27 d***, 12 derogatory terms, 7 hell Violence: There is a traffic pile-up in which some people are probably hurt (probably because we don’t see them.) A man dies abruptly of spider-bite.