Books To Take You Away From It All

Tag Archives: Time Travel

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on toFollow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love. This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

Sissy: I haven’t read anything from Ann Brashares since the days of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The Here And Now couldn’t be more different from that series, but I really got caught up in this story. This is such a refreshing new twist on the dystopian futuristic society type of story. Imagine solving the problems of the future by going back to the past.

Bubby: It’s like Back to the Future in reverse! Except that the new future you make might not always be the one you were hoping for. I’d like to expound on that but Sissy is smacking me and yelling “Spoilers! Spoilers!” so I guess I won’t.

Sissy: If we could go back in the past I would start smacking you in order to make your present day lies the truth. One thing this book made me do is really think about the future consequences of the way we treat our planet–what could occur because of global warming and the overuse of petroleum.  This showed depth and intelligence in the thinking of author Ann Brashares.  Blood plagues and mutations and the proliferation of mosquitoes in the overly warm future world are convincingly crafted, and I found myself buying into it and counting the years to see if I would be alive when things got “really bad.”(No, I would be thankfully dead, which was a relief to the part of my brain having paranoia about the future).  And even though it is fiction, my psyche found the whole thing to be frightfully plausible, except for the escaping to the past part.  Which is bad, because that means being stuck in a hideous, tragedy-filled future with no way out.

Bubby:  I agree that it was scarily plausible and doesn’t sound like any future that I want to be a part of.  I like my current lifestyle of overabundance and ease.  I loved the characters of Prenna and Ethan. With one exception.  Ethan is a horn dog.  Now I realize most teenage boys fall into this category, but there I felt like Ethan pressures Prenna too much and it doesn’t jive with the otherwise thoughtful and loving boy that he is.  I have a really big issue with teenage sex in books–its just not okay.  They are too young and too dumb to realize the meaning and consequences of intimacy.  Fortunately, they didn’t actually go that far in this book, but I wanted to smack Ethan upside the head and say “give it a rest already!”

Sissy:  That being said, the love story between the two is sweet.  Prenna’s mother is portrayed really well.  She is a flawed character trying to do her best in a difficult situation.  She annoyed me, but I don’t know that I would or could have done things differently in her shoes.

Bubby:  Overall a fascinating, entertaining read.  3.75 bubbles

Sissy:  Captivating and thought provoking.  3.75 for me as well.

Click HERE to pre-order The Here And Now by Ann Brasheres at amazon.com

©Bubble Bath Books 2014


Jenny Kramer knows she isn’t normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them. When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life. Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren’t alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has travelled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back. While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock – and the Order – Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life – and beyond death. (From Goodreads.com)

Bubby: Endless is a little gem of deliciousness. I just ate this one up. We’ve got death-defying romance, time and space transcending romance, great characters, magic, an evil organization and ties to Romanov Russia. Pretty much perfection in all of its 384 pages.

Sissy: Is it possible to have a love so great that it spans centuries and even lives? A love so powerful that the lovers will break the rules of time and the universe to recapture it?  The story of Endless answers that question with a resounding “yes!” (cue swells and violins).  I, on the other hand, sometimes wanted to say “oh shut up and get over yourselves–you’re just dumb teenagers, and whaddya even know about love?”  Oh jaded readers out there like me, let it go!  Grab onto the possibilities and the magic,  and free yourselves from the disheartening ruins of reality!

Bubby: Well then. Guess Sissy liked it too. I love when I finish a book and my immediate thought is “when is the sequel coming out?!?!” as happened with Endless. Unfortunately, Endless was just barely published so we’ll have to wait for a bit, I’m afraid. As I am sure you know by now, character development is a big deal for me and this story delivered, big time. We have growth, change, acceptance, the whole nine yards here.

Sissy: I really enjoyed the connection to Czarist Russia here, where finally the female protagonist is NOT Anastasia, but rather her sister Maria. The theme was a little more moody and melancholy than I like but the story was engaging enough that when I reached the end, I fell face-forward on my bed with a protesting oomph because there has to be another book. Soon. Maybe next year it will come out and maybe I will remember what the first one was about. Doubtful, since I can’t remember what I did last Tuesday.

Bubby: Never fear, dear sister. I am here for you. (Last Tuesday you were blogging with me at your house. See?) This is one series I won’t lose track of, guaranteed. I am a sucker for a strong romantic male lead, in this case, Nikolai. I mean, really. Who can resist a man who falls through time to be with his one true love? And he’s cute. And his name is Nikolai. And I bet he has an accent. Totally irresistible. Excuse me whilst I swoon for a moment.

Sissy: Glasnost! Stop swooning, Bubby, it’s pathetic. Pardon my bleak attitude – it’s the overcast weather and the fact that I’m not getting enough circulation in my toes. I really did enjoy Endless. It is a captivating and entrancing romance/mystery. It will paint pictures on your mindscape and cause you to gaze with dark-eyed longing at your significant other. 4 deep and dreamy bubbles from me.

Bubby: I can’t wait for the next installment from Amanda Gray (which is actually a pseudonym for two unnamed authors . . .so curious!) so that I can see how these star-crossed lovers turn out! 4 bubbles from me too.

Click HERE to buy Endless by Amanda Gray at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2013


Iolanthe MacLeod has waited centuries to be rescued from her half-life existence. She has been trapped in an abandoned castle on the English moors since her untimely death back in 1382 and she is sure she will be there forever. Thomas McKinnon is a modern-day American business tycoon who is jaded by the lack of love in his life. When he buys Iolanthe’s abandoned castle and travels to England to restore it, he is totally unprepared to find Iolanthe in residence. But he was even more unprepared to fall in love. Now Thomas is willing to go anywhere and do anything if it means he and Iolanthe might somehow be together.

Bubby: I have no fewer than 12 Lynn Kurland books on my shelves at this very moment. That should tell you something right off the bat. I’m not sure what it is about these books – the settings of lonely castles on Scottish or English coasts or moors, the spunky women who usually do not wait around to be rescued or the hunky renaissance-era, broadsword toting, chivalrous men. Perhaps it’s the overriding air of delicious romance. Who knows? At any rate, My Heart Stood Still embodies the best of Lynn Kurland. We’ve got ghosts. Time travel. True love. Castles and hunky men. I’m happy.

Sissy:  I, being the lucky sister who has access to Bubby’s bookshelves, have also read a lot of these time-travel, paranormal romances by Lynn Kurland.  They fit a specific reading mood for me, and I can always count on them to give me action, laughs, and a delicious love story.  This one in particular has a fun twist with the time travel going in a different direction than usual.  Also the hero is not a sweaty, foul-breathed dude from the 14th century who has to learn to wash himself regularly–always a plus for me.

Bubby: Nope. The hero, Thomas, is a thoroughly modern businessman with a broken heart. Irresistible! A recurring theme in Kurland’s books is a little bed and breakfast in England called the Boar’s Head Inn. It happens to be owned by Thomas’ sister, Megan. It also happens to be heavily populated with ghosts from Thomas and Megan’s ancestry. Some of them are English, some Scottish, there’s a random French guy in there and they don’t exactly get along. My favorite scenes are the interaction between the ghosts – duels in the kitchen, song and ale fests and so forth. They are just hilarious. These ghosts have decided to take the fate of their descendants into their own hands – matchmaking is their favorite activity (just after sword fighting).

Sissy:  Love the tavern ghosts!  They remind me of all my male relatives.  I know why you love these books, Bubby, when you usually turn up your nose at historical romance.  Our ancestry is English, Welsh, Scottish, and French, and you are having genetic remembrance–your very DNA is pulling you with longing to those damp and cloudy surroundings and begging you to have a cuppa.  I would like to address this series as a whole, however.  Actually there are two time-travel romance series’ by Kurland – the McLeod series and the de Piaget series.  They often intersect.  Lots of romance, time travel, broadsword slinging and throwing into dungeon pits.  Most all of these are clean, but a very few push the line.  I can’t say which ones as my brain is too moldery to remember.  But mostly the whole collection is great.  Bubby says I’m writing a novel here so I have to stop before she chokes on a hairball.

Bubby: A hairball? Really? Heavens. I would agree that the settings do appeal to me but what appeals even more, especially in My Heart Stood Still, is the willingness of these characters to go to any length for true love. Travel through time with no guarantee that you’ll end up in the right time? Fighting to the death with unfamiliar weapons? Leaving all that you know behind to live in the time of your beloved? Sure, no problem. True love conquers all. Now I do love my husband with every fiber of my being but if he wanted me to go live in 1385 with no running water or toilet facilities and no chocolate and no books and music on demand I might have an issue. Thankfully I don’t see that kind of test of our love happening anytime soon!

Sissy: Oh pshaw, Bubby, you’d jump right into the past to get your hubby, I just know it!  Your teeth would all rot out and you’d get a communicable disease or two, but still!  Toothless and scabby are worth it for true love, right?  Nobody seems to be as in love with our ghostly heroine Iolanthe as they are with Thomas, but after so many centuries in a damp and decrepit semi-final  resting place, she probably has developed a borderline personality disorder.  She just needs some therapy and a few Xanax.  I liked her.  I liked the whole book.

Bubby: Great books for when you need a little romantic escape. It’s been a bit since I read one – methinks I might indulge a little this evening! I give My Heart Stood Still 3 ½ light and fluffy medieval bubbles. Did they even have bubble bath? Ah, who cares!

Sissy:I have a better idea for you, Bubby. Why don’t you buy Lynn Kurland’s latest book and then lend it to me? 3 ½ bubbles from me too.

Click HERE to buy My Heart Stood Still by Lynn Kurland

© Bubble Bath Books 2013


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