DNF: Twisted by Holly Hook and The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Twisted coverTwisted by Holly Hook | Goodreads | Amazon

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I sort of just saw Tornadoes and being from Oklahoma, I was kind of interested. I should have read more carefully (I’m bad about blurbs, guys) because I did not realize that it was about WEREtornadoes. I do not mind were-things. Teen Wolf is one of my favorite shows. However, in my mind, to make sense, things need to be living for this concept to work? And a tornado is just air. This was really confusing to me. But the main character is a girl who is really into science and there are some creepy like hill country wind cult folks that are kind of interesting. This book wasn’t for me, but if it is something that sounds interesting to you, I think you should check it out!

The Here and Now coverThe Here and Now by Ann Brashares | Goodreads | Amazon

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I might have mentioned before that I really love time travel stories. Time Travel is really important to me and it probably has a LOT to do with the Back to the Future movies, which I will always love. So this story about people from the future evacuating to a safer time seemed like something I would love! The people from the future aren’t supposed to get close to anyone in the past or stand out in anyway. Main character Prenna has problems with this and gets in trouble for it a lot. THEN this guy knows something and tells her she must stop something important that has a huge effect their future. It sounds so interesting. But…it isn’t that interesting? It’s slow and the way Prenna and even the way Ethan (a boy from the present that she is friends/more with) doesn’t talk normally. I couldn’t handle it. Some things were also really obvious and others were kind of weird time travel stuff that bugged me. I might skim the end to see what happens with the big event, I only got about half through this one. However, it might be right up your alley. I’d recommend also or rather watching Continuum and reading All Our Yesterdays (my review) because they are excellent.

 

Have you read either of these? Did you like/dislike them? Have anything similar to rec? Let me know!

Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis [thoughts on time traveling historians]

 

Blackout and All Clear cover

Blackout  and All Clear 
 by Connie Willis
February 2010 and  October  2010
Publisher: Spectra

Blackout’s Goodreads description: In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds—great and small—of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collide—and the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place. Scores of time-traveling historians are being sent into the past, to destinations including the American Civil War and the attack on the World Trade Center. 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, Mr. Dunworthy, into letting her go to VE Day. Polly Churchill’s next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London’s Blitz. And seventeen-year-old Colin Templer, who has a major crush on Polly, is determined to go to the Crusades so that he can “catch up” to her in age.

But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments for no apparent reason 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, unexploded bombs, dive-bombing Stukas, rationing, shrapnel, V-1s, and two of the most incorrigible children in all of history—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.

From the people sheltering in the tube stations of London to the retired sailors who set off across the Channel to rescue the stranded British Army from Dunkirk, from shopgirls to ambulance drivers, from spies to hospital nurses to Shakespearean actors, Blackout reveals a side of World War II seldom seen before: a dangerous, desperate world in which there are no civilians and in which everybody—from the Queen down to the lowliest barmaid—is determined to do their bit to help a beleaguered nation survive.

I found Blackout randomly on Overdrive. I think the cover and title just seemed interesting. When I read what it was about, it definitely seemed like a me type of read. History, WWII, and time travel are things I really enjoy reading about!

About the story: In 2060, Historians go back in time to observe history. This series focuses on three and they each go back to Great Britain during World War Two. There are a lot of complications with the process and they have to figure things out.

Feelings: I really like these books as a whole. The first book ends in a completely ridiculous spot, and it almost doesn’t feel like a complete book at all. However, I enjoyed the whole story. Luckily the second book was available when I finished the first one! In the first book, you get to know the main characters and get familiar with the setting and what is happening. They are time traveling historians. TIME TRAVELING HISTORIANS. I love time travel stories and I love history. This story happens during the Blackout in London during World War II. I also love learning about World War II, because even though horrible things happened, people did try to work together and make it better, and I think this book does a good job of showing that.

The three main characters of the books are all student historians. There’s Polly, who is studying how Londoners kept heart during the Blitz, Merope/Eileen (mostly known as Eileen in the story because it was a common name in WWII, especially since she was “playing” an Irish maid) who is observing the evacuations of children to country manors and Michael/Mike who is supposed to be at a battle at Dover, researching heroes that came on their own accord to save downed sailors. The story starts out in Oxford 2060, with all three of them talking and learning that the lab that’s in charge of sending them on assignments has been in an upheaval and switching orders of assignments, including Mike’s. They’re all sent to separate locations and months in 1940, but they each begin to face unexpected problems with their assignments.

Time travel stories almost always have some issues and this story is no exception:

  • I don’t understand how the future has time traveling technology but they’re letting history students use it? That is like the most ridiculous idea ever. There’s no way governments would just be like “Oh, time traveling technology? Let’s let young people gallivant around through important historical events, no big deal.” Unless the future just has a drastically different government, which is very possible. Maybe they think it’s fine. But even with “slippage,” it still seems crazy to me.
    • There is supposed to be a paradox-safe sort of padding called “slippage”  and the instructors and scientists in charge of the technology and students mostly (there are some that disagree) believe it’s impossible for them to affect history at all.

 

Slippage is basically the cause of a lot of the problems, it’s normal and it causes travelers to get there a few hours after they’re supposed to or maybe in a different place. The team at the lab is supposed to research drop sites so nobody will see anything suspicious. In the prep stage for the main characters, something is obviously starting to go down with slippage, but they don’t know much about it. They only know some things have changed. When they don’t really know what is going on, they begin to wonder if they can really affect history or not. They have implants of some important details, such as certain places hit in the blitz, but they don’t know every single detail. When they take actions and see results, they start to wonder if they might have changed the complete course of the war.

Overall, the book really focuses on small interactions and how little things might have unexpected results. I loved seeing the characters puzzle it out and worry about what was happening.

I loved that the three main characters were dealing with WWII situations with all the knowledge of the future, because it added to the reading experience. Two of many:

  • Londoners had a superstition about the ravens of the Tower of London and when some died during the war, they brought in more so people wouldn’t be alarmed. I had no idea about that before I read this book.
  • Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot and others were on Hitler’s lists and he planned to put them in camps. I am pretty sure I knew this at some point and had not thought about it in a while.

There were a few other issues with the actual story and not just time travel stuff. The main one has to do with Eileen and how I didn’t really like the transition of her character from book one to two. I think the ending makes up for a little bit of it, but not all of it. I don’t want to spoil anything, but she kind of gets pushed to the side a bit and I didn’t think it was fair. There were some time related tiffs I had that weren’t actually about the time travel: some chapters were in the past during the blitz, some were in 2060, some were in other times. It could have actually been my fault because I wasn’t paying attention, but some of the other time chapters really confused me because they either didn’t tie the characters together or I missed the names completely. It took me a few of these chapters to figure out what was going on and once I did I was fine.

I kind of surprisingly fell in love with these books and characters, and became overwhelmingly  invested in their story. It made me cry (not just sad crying), and the kind of crying that I was sort of like “Oh, I love this” because I didn’t expect to like it so much. Also, I love that romance wasn’t driving the story but it was there in different parts of the story and it was heartfelt and lovely. Plus, there was so much other love and just community that it was just great. I think maybe I don’t even love the ending, or “answer” I guess, but I love the story overall and I wanted to know more about the characters, I didn’t feel ready to leave them. I knew Willis had written several other books, but I just now, while writing this review, realized there are other books with historians traveling in time set before these, and I am going to be reading them at some point!  I definitely plan on looking into the rest of her work, also!

Basically: If you’re willing to get through a bit of slowness and you love reading about survivors in World War II and Time Travel, I think these books are worth your time.

If you have happened to have read them, tell me your thoughts! Or, have you read anything else by Willis? Anything similar or comparable? Let me know!

Connie Willis’s website

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill [thoughts]

All Our Yesterdays coverAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: 
September 3rd 2013
Publisher: 
Disney Hyperion
Series: Al Our Yesterdays #1

Goodreads description: What would you change?

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it… at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win. All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

I saw All Our Yesterdays getting a bit of buzz from bloggers, and I like time travel anything. For some reason, even with interest and positive reviews, I wasn’t really super excited about it. However, I was pleasantly surprised!

Em is the main character and she’s in a bad future where time travel is possible. Other versions of herself and a friend named Finn have gone back in time to try to correct/stop something big, but it never works out. She has managed to leave herself clues on what to try next. Along with Finn, she goes back in time to see if one thing she doesn’t want to do will save the future. I really enjoyed how the book was set up with alternating POVs from the same person in different times.

Sometimes I get weird about small details, but I felt like this story kept focus on what happened during the time travel and the story rather than time travel itself. There was some science and paradox talk, but I felt like it worked. There was nothing huge that bugged me, and I didn’t feel like it was too complicated. The situation of trying to change the world before it goes wrong and trying to decide what changes to make and if you can hurt someone you love  if you knew it would make the better place and prevent awful things from happening. It was thought provoking and very interesting.

I liked all of the characters, I was even intrigued by the “bad guy.” Em was determined and I enjoyed her so much. She went through some tough things, but she grew and I liked how the book handled her transition and how she dealt with her feelings for the past and her past self.  I also enjoyed Finn and would have liked even more of him! I think I would have liked a little more of their memories and time together, too. The romance was not the book’s focus, and I liked that, but I was curious about that some parts that were left out and would have liked to get to know them better. While I enjoyed them all, I didn’t really fall in love with any of them.

4 star rating

All Our Yesterdays hooked me early on, and I read most of it in one sitting. It was engrossing, and I kept thinking about it all day after I finished. I wanted more! This is a book I can see myself enjoying again. I would also love to read more of Cristin Terrill’s work and even though I have no idea what the rest of the series will involve, I’m excited about it! I recommend All Our Yesterdays, but especially if you like time travel.

Cristin Terrill‘s website and twitter!