Dragonfly in Amber


Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time-Travel
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Release Date: July 1st, 1992 

Note: This is one of the few times I am straying from my typical Young Adult book reviews to review this book, and the rest of the series. This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers. 

Additional note: This post reviews the second book of the Outlander series. You may like to read the first book in the series, Outlander, before reading this review.

I love what the author, Diana Gabaldon, has to say about this book: “It doesn’t start where you think it’s going to. And it doesn’t end how you think it’s going to, either. Just keep reading; it’ll be fine.”

Imagine my surprise when I began reading book two only to realize that 20 years have gone by since the happenings in Outlander, and Claire Randall is back in the 20th century with her grownup daughter, Brianna. (No spoiler here, I just hadn’t read the back cover teaser!) Thankfully for us as the readers, Claire takes us back in time, where we left off at the end of Outlander. In an attempt to end the Jacobite uprising that will inevitably end in absolute defeat, Claire and Jamie travel to Paris, to face Bonny Prince Charles himself. They do their best to socialize in the French court, filled with intrigue. But will their efforts be enough to save the Highlanders from the decimation that awaits them if Charles Stuart continues his course of action? Can Claire and Jamie actually make a difference… and change the history Claire knows?

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

Outlander

Title: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time-Travel
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Release Date: June 1st, 1991 

Note: This is one of the few times I am straying from my typical Young Adult book reviews to review this book, and the rest of the series. This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Diana Gabaldon at the RMFW (Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers) conference in September of 2017. I hadn’t read the Outlander books at the time and I knew very little about them, but I went into Gabaldon’s writing classes with an open mind, ready to learn. She completely blew me away, not just with the exhilarating love story of Claire and Jamie, but with her entire approach to writing novels. Gabaldon quickly made her way to the top of my list of favorite authors – even more so when I finally sat down and read the darn thing half a year later! Here is my review:

One moment, Claire Randall, a World War II combat nurse, is standing at the ancient stones of Craigh na Dun, and the next, she is thrown back in time – 200 years ago – when Scotland was being torn apart by war. Claire is a “Sassenach” – an Outlander – who must do whatever it takes to survive in an unfamiliar time in the midst of great violence. Before long, she is involved with a clan of Scots – who do not know what to make of this strange englishwoman – and she quickly learns that the soldiers of her own country, the redcoats, cannot be trusted. Her quest to get back to her own time becomes that much more complicated with Jamie Fraser – a brave, handsome Scotsman – in the picture. Torn between two worlds, two times, and two men, Claire must decide what she really wants – and this decision will completely change her life forever.

I cannot remember the last time I read a book that I enjoyed as much as Outlander. I had a difficult time putting it down, and found myself thinking about the story when I wasn’t reading it. (Nerd.) It is the kind of book I couldn’t wait to pick it up again, to see what would happen next to these characters I love. I was completely swept up in the romance of Claire and Jamie, and fell in love with the book’s setting: Scotland. And as for Jack Randall, he might just go down in history as the most hated, vile villain I’ve ever read. Even at a word count of 305,000, I was not ready for Outlander to come to a close. Thank God (and Diana Gabaldon) for the rest of the books to devour in this series!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

The Ship Beyond Time

 
Title: The Ship Beyond Time
Author: Heidi Heilig 
Series: The Girl From Everywhere Series, book 2/2
Genre: Time Travel, YA
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: February 28th, 2017

 

Note: This post reviews the second book of The Girl From Everywhere Series. You may like to read the first book in the series, The Girl From Everywhere, before reading this review. 

After spending sixteen years following her father on his never-ending search to get her mother back, Nix decides to take her life and the Temptation, their time-traveling ship, into her own hands. But when she learns that she is to lose the one she loves to the sea, she sets off on her own quest to change the past – and hopefully the future. She cannot bear the thought of losing Kashmir, her crewmate, her best friend, and love of her life, without first trying to save him.

Nix receives a map to a mythical island from a stranger who promises her knowledge about changing the past. She decides to sail with her crew to this island, Ker-Y’s, and there she begins to unravel mystery upon mystery concerning Crowhurst, a man who has manipulated time and made himself king of the island, and his daughter Dahut, who cannot remember her own past. Nix is familiar with the myth of Ker-Y’s – how the daughter of the king opened the sea gates at high tide, causing the flood and destruction of the island. Hoping there is a way to rewrite the ending of this legend, Nix, Kash, and Blake, the boy who joined them back in Hawaii, do everything they can to prevent Crowhurst from endangering the lives of many. But as they slowly uncover the truth, they realize that history may just be beyond anyone’s control.

This second and final book of The Girl From Everywhere Series was everything I had hoped it would be and more. It held my attention even more than the first book, and kept me turning pages to see how it would all end. The blend of history and myth was fascinating, and the blend of adventure and romance was just right. This two-book series is one that I would recommend to fans of adventure, travel, and love, and I know I will come back to read it again.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

 

The Girl From Everywhere

Title: The Girl From Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl From Everywhere Series, book 1/2
Genre: Time Travel, YA
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: February 16th, 2016

 

Sixteen-year-old Nix has spent her entire life aboard the Temptation, the time-traveling ship captained by her father. It is all she has ever known. As long as her father has the original of any map, its destination real or imagined, the ship can travel back and forth, to any time and place. Her father has always aggressively sought after a map of 1868 Honolulu, the time just before he lost Nix’s mother in childbirth. He is desperate to go back in time and save her before it is too late – even if it means completely erasing Nix’s very own existence.

It is unclear what will happen to Nix if her father does in fact obtain the 1868 Honolulu map. There is a real chance that she will no longer exist if he succeeds in changing the past before she was born. Nix and her father both know the time-travel laws that must be followed, and what is at stake if things go even slightly off course. Because of this, Nix does not want her father to get hold of the map.While her relationship with her father remains rather strange, Nix’s friendship with Kash, her charming Persian crew mate, is turning into something more than what it has been for the past two years. They have always been close friends, but now they are beginning to cross into a new territory altogether, one that she is not sure either of them are ready for. Will Nix have enough time left to find out what might have been with Kash, or will she be pulled away from the world she knows because of her father’s rash actions?

In this, the first of a two-book series, Heilig spins a tale of adventure, travel, friendship, and love in a captivating way. I chose this book as my Spring Break read in 2016, and it did not disappoint. This is the perfect sort of book to take on any adventure of your own. When I discovered that there was a sequel, and conclusion, to The Girl From Everywhere, I instantly added it to my never-ending list of books to read. Look for The Ship Beyond Time, due to hit the shelves this week!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

 

Emerald Green

Title: Emerald Green
Author: Kerstin Gier, translated from German by Anthea Bell
Series: The Ruby Red Trilogy, book 3/3
Genre: Romance, Time Travel, YA
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: October 7th, 2014 
(first published December 8th, 2010) 

 

Note: This post reviews the third book of The Ruby Red Trilogy. You may like to read the first two books in the series, Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue, before reading this review. 

Gwen is still getting used to the idea of time-travel. It is disorienting and downright confusing at times, and everyone involved seems to be keeping a big secret from her – a secret about her destiny as the Ruby in the Circle of Twelve time-travelers. Since no one tells her anything, she decides to figure things out for herself, and make secret visits to the past. She begins to suspect the founder of the Lodge, Count Saint-Germain, to have his own ulterior motive as to why the circle needs to be closed with the Ruby’s blood.

Aside from the pressure to unravel the mystery of the Lodge before she runs out of time, Gwen is continuously frustrated with her time-travel partner, Gideon, who seems to treat her differently each time they are together. Sometimes he acts indifferently and rude, and other times he is charming and wants to kiss her. This only adds to Gwen’s mounting confusing. What are Gideon’s motives for pursuing a relationship with her? Is he really interested in her, or is he, too, only using her to get to what he wants?

In this exciting, page-turning finale, Gwen takes her life, and her heart, into her own hands. She refuses to be anyone’s puppet and boldly discovers the truth for herself – and she learns more than she expected to. This author masterfully wraps up several different characters’ journeys, as well as tying in moments that she foreshadowed all the way back in the first book. This series is now a new favorite of mine in the time-travel genre, as well as young adult.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  

Sapphire Blue

Title: Sapphire Blue
Author: Kerstin Gier, translated from German by Anthea Bell
Series: The Ruby Red Trilogy, book 2/3
Genre: Romance, Time Travel, YA
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: October 31st, 2012 
(first published January 5th, 2010)

 

Note: This post reviews the second book of The Ruby Red Trilogy. You may like to read the first book in the series, Ruby Red, before reading this review.

Ever since Gwen discovered that she was a time-traveler, her life has been anything but ordinary. She has been flung into the world of the secret society known as the Lodge and is now expected to follow their every command. Using the chronograph, they send her back in time every day, usually with a specific agenda in mind. One is for her to collect blood from other time-travelers in the past so that they can enter it into the chronograph and close the circle. Once the circle closes, they believe that they will have a cure for all sickness and disease in the world.

The second of the two chronographs was stolen many years ago by two of the twelve time-travelers, Lucy Montrose and Paul de Villiers, ancestors of both Gwen and Gideon. This chronograph contains the blood of every time-traveler except Gwen, and it is believed that Lucy and Paul stole and hid it to prevent the circle from closing, though no one knows exactly why. This is one of the mysteries that Gwen, and her best friend Lesley, try so desperately to unravel.

As things remain unclear with this secret society of time-travelers, so do things remain unclear in her relationship with Gideon. The first book ends with Gideon kissing Gwen unexpectedly, and they continue to have their fair share of kissing in book two, even though neither of them fully trust each other. Gwen is on a constant rollercoaster ride with her emotions in this book. It is all she can do to try to stay level-headed and get to the bottom of the mystery – before she runs out of time.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  

Ruby Red

Title: Ruby Red
Author: Kerstin Gier, translated from German by Anthea Bell
Series: The Ruby Red Trilogy, book 1/3
Genre: Romance, Time Travel, YA
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: May 10th, 2011
(first published January 6th, 2009)


Ruby Red, book one of its trilogy, tells the story of Gwyneth Shepherd, a seemingly ordinary high-school girl living in modern-day London. That is, until she discovers that she has inherited her family’s time-traveling gene. This comes as a surprise to everyone, particularly because Gwen’s cousin Charlotte was assumed to be the one who would inherit the gene. Charlotte has been preparing for this her entire life, Gwen not at all. She is thrust completely unprepared into The Lodge, the secret society of time-travelers spanning over hundreds of years. There are only twelve time-travelers, each one represented by a precious stone; Gwen, the final stone, is the Ruby. She is to close the circle of time-travelers and fulfill a certain destiny – and she has no idea what that destiny is. 
 
As with the others before her, Gwen must elapse (the term used for traveling through time) for a certain amount of time per day through means of the the chronograph, one of only two time-traveling devices in the world, to avoid sporadic trips into the past. Once her blood has been entered into the chronograph, it can be used to transport her to an exact date and time in the past. Gwen begins elapsing for hours every day. Sometimes, she is sent into the past for no reason other than meeting her time-traveling quota for the day. Other times, she is sent on important missions – like meeting the intimidating founder of the Lodge, Count Saint Germain – with her time-traveling companion, the diamond, Gideon de Villiers. 
 
Her relationship with Gideon takes off to a rocky start, primarily because he looks down on Gwen as an unprepared, inexperienced, immature child. Gwen has mixed feelings about him, because even though he looks down on her, he is unbelievably attractive. She can’t help wanting to prove him wrong about her and gain his approval, and maybe his affection as well. Throughout the book, we see the mounting tension in their relationship, which the author masterfully keeps unresolved until the end of the trilogy. As if time-traveling weren’t interesting enough, their romance definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. 
 
In addition to the relationship between Gwen and Gideon, I also loved the relationship between Gwen and her best friend, Lesley. Lesley is always there to support Gwen, whether by helping her dig up information on this secret society or by talking it out when Gwen needs someone most. She is such a great best friend that she makes you wish you had a “Lesley” in your life. 

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series: