The Betarrini sisters, Gabi and Lia, have spent every summer of their lives in Italy with their archaeologist parents. On yet another hot and dusty archeological site in rural Tuscany, these two teenage girls are bored out of their minds. The sheer boredom drives them to break their mom’s rule and enter an ancient tomb. When Gabi places her hand atop a hand print, she finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy in the middle of a fierce battle. With the introduction of handsome knights, castles, and intrigue, Gabi’s summer in Italy becomes much more interesting than she could ever imagine.
Sissy: We have done reviews of books that involved time travel before, but this one seemed to be a bit different and refreshing, don’t you think, Bubby?
Bubby: Yes I do agree. I think part of the difference may be location – in Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren, we are in the luscious land of Italy. Specifically, Florence and Siena. Complete with fabulous scenery and fabulous heroic men. I’m definitely refreshed!
Sissy: How old are you? And how does your hubby feel about your penchant for other fabulous heroic men?
Bubby: There is not a man on the face of this earth, real or fictional, that can compare in any way with my husband. He is without peer. However, that does not stop me from, shall we say, appreciating beauty and such when it appears in my life! Surely you were moved by the bravery and handsomeness of Luca and Marcello?
Sissy: Okay, I appreciate chivalry as much as the next gal (I think it is a dying quality), and I am all for handsomeness.
Bubby: Yeah – you married a fairly fabulous man yourself, especially in the handsome and chivalrous department. Apologize for slandering me!
Sissy: Nope. You are a creepy 14th century knight lover! And yes, my lovely hubby need not worry about my eyes wandering to fictional knights with bad breath. That reminds me– I love how Gabi describes the smell of her beloved, all manly and positive, and I’m thinking that he probably smells like rank, dirty sweat and rotten, stuck between the teeth food. But I guess that would take away from the romance…
Bubby: Bah, humbug. I am tired of your issues with the book genres we are reading – cozy murder mysteries have too many random dead bodies, foodie books have too many skinny people who eat anything they want and time travel novels have smelly people with bad hygiene. Me thinks you should just let go and FEEL. Become the story! Embrace the romance!
Sissy: Thank you, Dr. Phil. I am pleased with how well Gabi and Lia adapt to their situation and use their modern skills in the 14th century. I also enjoyed their bravery and prowess in battle, although I did have to suspend belief a few times to go along with them not being killed in some unlikely situations. I know that I would definitely have been dead. And really tired. And wanting a diet Coke. But all in all, I thought Lisa T. Bergren did a great bit of writing here.
Bubby: The author manages to put in a few clever plot devices (no, I won’t tell you what they are because that would spoil everything) that save Gabi and Lia from certain death once or twice.
Sissy: There are 3 books and 2 novellas in the River of Time series, and I read and liked them all. However, I had to take a break between them because there was just too much mayhem and battle and swordplay going on and I felt tense. I give Waterfall 3.5 bubbles.
Bubby: I enjoyed Waterfall immensely. I haven’t finished the series yet but it’s on the top of my to-do list. 3.5 bubbles from me too!
Click HERE to buy Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2013
Julia Beckett has always known that Greywethers was her home, from the very first time she saw it at age 5. Now, 25 years later, the house is finally hers. But it’s not just a house. It also seems to be a portal back in time. Julia is unpredictably and uncontrollably thrust back into her former life as a 17th century woman named Mariana. As she continues to travel back and forth from past to present, her past experiences threaten to overtake her current life. Can she lay the past to rest or is she doomed to lose love in both lives?
Bubby: So for a few months now Sissy’s eldest daughter’s best friend Jenny has been bugging us to read this book. “It’s fabulous!” she said. “Marvelous! A must read!” And did we listen? Nope. Totally ignored her. Until one day she finally forced Sissy to buy and read Mariana by Susanna Kearsley – shortly after which Sissy told me to read it RIGHT NOW. And I did. And I am so glad. Hands down one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.
Sissy: I totally agree and thank you thank you to helpful Jenny Joonie Poonie. Mariana by Susanna Kearsley is a sweeping romance that spans across time. The writing is brilliant. This was one of those “don’t talk to me until I’m finished with this book” books – where your teenage boys are standing around looking hungry and you just tell them to go make themselves a quesadilla.
Bubby: It was utterly spellbinding. I was completely drawn into the character’s lives – I loved Julia’s brother Tom. I was concerned about how Mariana would escape the clutches of her evil uncle. I wondered who her 17th century love Richard De Mornay had been reincarnated as.
Sissy: Reincarnated as? Bubby, you cannot end a sentence with a preposition. It makes my insides writhe.
Bubby: Nope. Your inside writhing is coming from too many prunes, not my writing. Sorry about the improper grammar. I shall endeavor to improve myself. Anyway, as I was saying, was it the Iain the Scottish gardener? Was it the Geoff, Lord of the Manor from up the hill? Was it the bartender’s assistant? I shall never tell. You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Sissy: There are other secret romances in this story as well. I enjoyed the character of Aunt Freda Hutherson who has “the sight” and serves as a guide to Julia. She reminds me of myself because I think I have “the sight”, as well.
Bubby: You think you have “the sight”, do you? Just because Grandpa saw little blue men running around his house shortly before his death (he was 99 – and a little demented) doesn’t make you “gifted”. Sorry. If anyone around here has “the sight” it’s me. Cause I’m special. I love this book for so many reasons, one of which is the descriptions of the lovely English countryside. I’ve mentioned before that I like to pretend I’m British – this time I was pretending I was British, with a lovely home in the countryside, complete with herb garden and dovecote. Delightful.
Sissy: Pearls before swine. There is a reason that gifted people like Aunt Freda, Julia and myself don’t discuss our gifts with outsiders. But you are right about one thing. You ARE special. And you ARE British. I have the genealogy to prove it.
Bubby: I have predominantly British ancestors, but until I set foot on the cobblestones of the village square and have tea and crumpets with Devonshire cream in the village tea shop, I must remain, sadly, American. Boo. Perhaps we should plan a trip . . .
Sissy: Mariana is a wonderful book that filled me with anticipational anxiety as I waited with every page turn for her to pop back into the past. Would she be in danger? Would her body wander about unsafely in the present? Would she escape the plagues and imprisonment of the 17th century and be allowed to return? Would she figure out who her own true love embodied in the present? Read it. You’ll love it.
Bubby: Fantastic book. I am anxious to read some of Susanna Kearsley’s other novels. If they are even half as good as Mariana, buying them will be money well spent. I give this fabulous book 4 1/2 bubbles.
Sissy: Yes, you can buy them and then loan them to me! 4 1/2 bubbles from this member of the gifted community.
Click HERE to buy Mariana by Susanna Kearsley from Amazon.com
Click HERE to buy Mariana by Susanna Kearsley from BookDepository.Com
© Bubble Bath Books 2013
Gwyneth Shepherd has spent her life watching her beautiful cousin Charlotte being prepared to travel through time. Charlotte (by virtue of her birth date) is supposed to be the last in a long family line of travelers – the one who will usher in a new era. But everything changes when Gwyneth, without warning, is the one who travels off to a past era. Gwyneth now faces the task of learning 16 years of history, dancing and etiquette in just a few days as well as figuring out why her mother lied about her birth date. She also meets Gideon, the current time traveler from the other side of the family, who just happens to be a gorgeous teenager. Together Gwyneth and Gideon must travel through contemporary London and the London of the past in order to find out who they can trust and who is still keeping secrets.
Bubby: I must admit I have a soft spot for anything related to time travel. Wouldn’t it be so cool to be able to just pop back into the past and get to, oh I don’t know, maybe meet William Shakespeare? Or be at your parent’s wedding? Unfortunately for Gwyneth and Gideon, they don’t get to choose where or when they are going. It’s all determined by the “society”, a bunch of egotistical misogynists.
Sissy: I too like books about time travel however I have serious misgivings about stinky breath, smelly body odor and the lack of flush toilets so prevalent in exciting periods of the past. And for all us backwater hillbillies, what is a misogynist?
Bubby: A misogynist in backwater hillbilly terms is a he-man woman hater. Don’t worry – your dictionary is on order!
Sissy: I really liked this book and I was so happy to have book two (Sapphire Blue) right there next to me to dive right into. However, book three (Emerald Green) does not come out until fall of 2013 because it is being translated from the original German. What I would have given in the moment I came to the last page of Sapphire Blue to be able to read German! And they are also making a movie of it in Germany. I have a sister-in-law who speaks German so maybe I’ll have to hop a plane to Connecticut and watch it with her and make her translate.
Bubby: Or maybe you can find a version with subtitles – cheaper than a plane ticket, yes? One of my favorite parts of this book is the period fashion. The society employs a French seamstress, Madame Rossini, who takes great delight in costuming Gwyneth and Gideon in perfect attire. The descriptions are just scrumptious – makes me want to strap myself into a corset, pop on a few dozen petticoats and a lovely frock in watered green silk and head off to a tea party.
Sissy: Substitute some Spanx for the corset and I’m in. Like I said before, these books are very readable and I’m amazed that good writing can be translated into other languages. The one thing I’m hoping for in the third book is that Gwyneth grows a spine. Her Aunt Glenda and cousin Charlotte plus all the stinking male chauvinist pigs say the rudest things to her and she does not fight back. If someone told me that I was brainless, underdeveloped or inferior, I’d be on my soapbox so fast they wouldn’t know what hit them! Of course, that is my mature and wise, non-sixteen-year-old self speaking. If I could go back in time to age 16, there are certainly some things I would say to some people.
Bubby: I agree. I understand that Gwyneth is way in over her head with all the new developments in her life but I sure hope that Kersten Gier gives Gwyneth more self confidence in the final book. I also hope all the secrets are revealed; what happened with Lucy and Paul? What is going to happen when the Chronometer is filled? What side is Gwyneth’s mom really on? What’s Gideon’s role in all of this and how does he feel about Gwyneth?
Sissy: Actually I read a review from an Austrian blogger who says that it is all wrapped up very nicely in book three, which just made me jealous of the bilingual Austrian blogger. I also want to know what happens to that nasty piece of work, Count Saint-Germain, aka Darth Vader (you’ll have to read the book to find out what I mean by that). If I ran into Count Saint-Germain, I would whack him over the head with Bubby’s very heavy anodized aluminum frying pan. Yes, I would!
Bubby: Not with my pan you wouldn’t! You know how much good frying pans cost these days? Just pelt him with one of those overgrown hockey pucks you call muffins! He’d go down and stay down!
Sissy: Wow. Bubby the Patron Saint of Gourmands has truly hit below the belt this time. I’m speechless.
Bubby: If I’d known that all it took to make you speechless was to insult your muffins, I’d have done it long ago! Ha! *Rimshot!* I’m here all week!!!
Sissy: Okay, you should go on tour. You could call your act “Bubby! – Queen of the Exclamation Points! Live!!” (Or “Queen of Refuse”, to quote The Princess Bride). Back to the book. You will really like it. Yes, it is another YA book but these days it’s hard to find adult audience books that are not steamy bodice rippers. I give it 3 1/2 bubbles.
Bubby: Nothing wrong with YA books. Helps us to pretend we still are young adults. 3 1/2 bubbles from me as well.
© Bubble Bath Books 2012
Maggie is a 17 year old orphan who has just found a home with her elderly aunt in Texas. When she begins working part-time at the high school, she quickly finds herself deep in a 50 year old unsolved mystery and deep in love with a ghost – a boy who is neither alive nor dead but imprisoned in a purgatory from which he can find no release.
Bubby: We came across this book as a recommendation from a mutual friend. I was skeptical at first because Amy Harmon is a self-published author and there’s a lot of not-so-good in that field, but Sissy insisted I read it.
Sissy : Bubby fancies herself to be somewhat of a literary guru, which is why she was initially skeptical, but I was immediately drawn in to this story. Also, author Amy Harmon has a really cool middle name.
Bubby: I couldn’t have been more wrong in this case – yes, I am admitting I was wrong. I was hooked after the first chapter. This book is set in both modern day and in the 1950’s, an era I just love. What’s not to like about poodle skirts, fabulous cars and boys with slicked-back hair and letterman jackets? Each chapter is titled after a classic 50’s song and I have to admit that I was singing along in my head, okay, out loud, as I read.
Sissy: I don’t much care for oily hair, but young love, time travel, and an original twist on the paranormal are all things I like in a story, and I’m just deluded enough to think I’m not too far removed from the YA lit demographic.
Bubby: Ha! I am pretty far removed from that demographic and I’m WAY younger than Sissy!
Sissy: As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted by my infant sister, Ms Harmon is a natural storyteller, yes she is, and that means when you read this book you will float right into the tale and be compelled to promptly purchase book two.
Bubby: I completely agree. The sequel is “Prom Night in Purgatory” – just as good as the first book. I also suggest checking out “Running Barefoot”, Amy Harmon’s debut novel.
Click HERE to buy Slow Dance in Purgatory by Amy Harmon at Amazon.com
Click HERE to buy Slow Dance in Purgatory by Amy Harmon at BookDepository.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2012