This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

GoodReads Summary:
Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters—and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic book from award-winning authors Amal-El Mohtar and Max Gladstone.
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.
Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?
Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.
This Is How You Lose the Time WarReview:
I have heard rave reviews about This is How You Lose a Time War. But I found that I wasn’t sold on it at first. I wasn’t really invested in the story until a little under halfway through. But once I was invested, I couldn’t get through it fast enough.
This story was told in alternating perspectives. It follows two characters, Red and Blue. And in between their chapters were the letters they wrote to one another. I loved this method of telling the story. It was beautifully set up. It told us about each character and their actions while the letters really allowed the reader to see who they were.
Following these two, who are from a warring species, as they travel through time battling was so much fun. It was suspenseful and full of action. But there was also so much love and curiosity.
This was a beautifully written story about two people that were as different as different can be, falling in love and doing anything to be together despite the things that made them different.
The writing was really what blew me away. It was beautiful and poetic and I absolutely adored every page. I loved the time travel and the characters and their love. I adored this book and I see why everyone is raving about it.

Quotes:

“Books are letters in bottles, cast into the waves of time, from one person trying to save the world to another.”

“Adventure works in any strand—it calls to those who care more for living than for their lives.”

“It’s amazing how much blue there is in the world if you look. You’re different colors of flame. Bismuth burns blue, and cerium, germanium, and arsenic. See? I pour you into things.”

“Hunger, Red—to sate a hunger or to stoke it, to feel hunger as a furnace, to trace its edges like teeth—is this a thing you, singly, know? Have you ever had a hunger that whetted itself on what you fed it, sharpened so keen and bright that it might split you open, break a new thing out? Sometimes I think that’s what I have instead of friends.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen

GoodReads Summary:
Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.
Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.
Their mission: return Kin to 2142, where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember.
Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.
A uniquely emotional genre-bending debut, Here and Now and Then captures the perfect balance of heart, playfulness, and imagination, offering an intimate glimpse into the crevices of a father’s heart and its capacity to stretch across both space and time to protect the people that mean the most.
Here and Now and ThenReview:
Here and Now and Then had me hooked just from the premise. But once I actually started the book, I seriously could not put it down. The pacing was just right. There were times when things moved quickly and other times when things slowed down for a beat, but nothing was ever happening too quickly or too slowly. I honestly didn’t think I was going to like this book when I was about a third of the way through. I was liking it well enough, but after a certain time travel incident, I didn’t like some of the characters. But Chen really brought everything full circle.
I really loved Kin. I at first his ‘agent brain’ was a little annoying and at times, choppy. But that got better the further into the story we got. He really loved his family and that was my favorite part of the story. This whole book was based on one man’s love for his family. Kin was passionate and just trying to figure out what to do that would be fair to all of the people he loves. I really admired his quick thinking and the fact that he tried to considered all sides of any decision.
Penny was one that I didn’t like for the first half of the book. She’s his fiancé in his original timeline. But I preferred Heather and Miranda, his family he made in the 90s. But Penny proves herself worthy over and over and I really grew to love her. I would have liked to see her stand up for herself to her parents, but we can’t have everything.
Heather and Miranda were my favorite part of this story. The time travel aspect really created some wild dynamics. I’m not going to say too much about Heather other than I liked her. Miranda though, had a pretty bumpy life. All because her father was a time-traveling secret agent. I was so intrigued by the ways that Kin managed to communicate with Miranda from the future and how things came full circle in the end.
Overall, there was so much to this story. Ideas that are completely over my head, but they were explained well and without info-dumping. I loved this book. Time travel, family values, what more could I ask for? If you’re a light science fiction lover, this is the story for you.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Summary:
Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.
He almost made valedictorian.
He almost got the girl.
Until…
When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.
But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves.
Opposite of AlwaysReview:
Opposite of Always was not at all what I was expecting. I think that might be becasue I didn’t really know anything at all about this book before going into it. I bought this purely for the cover and the hype. I’m so glad that I did.
I had so much fun reading this book. I loved Jack, our main character, even when he was being unlikable. He loves so much and so fully, but doesn’t always do the right thing to the people he loves. He makes mistakes but he learns from those mistakes and makes sure to do better. I loved him. He was caring and kind and passionate. He always had the best intentions even if things didn’t work out how he planned.
I loved his friends too. Jillian and Franny are the cutest couple, aside from Kate and Jack of course. In the beginning, when Jack talks about how he’s in love with Jillian I thought we were going to get some moping and pining. But I ended up really liking Jillian and Franny together but also the friend dynamic between the three of them. I enjoyed how their history was shown and how close they were.
Then there’s Kate. I liked her. Though there didn’t seem to be much more to her than being Jack’s love interest and being sick. I don’t feel like we got any backstory or history for her. Also, her brother was really annoying.
Overall, I loved this. I read it all in one day because I just could not put it down. The story was interesting and the characters were loveable and entertaining. I would definitely recommend this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Summary:
After what seems like a lifetime of following her father across the globe and through the centuries, Nix has finally taken the helm of their time-traveling ship. Her future—and the horizon—is bright.
Until she learns she is destined to lose the one she loves. To end up like her father: alone, heartbroken.
Unable to face losing Kashmir—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet a man who promises he can teach her how to manipulate time, to change history. But no place is perfect, not even paradise. And everything is constantly changing on this utopian island, including reality itself.
If Nix can read the ever-shifting tides, perhaps she will finally harness her abilities. Perhaps she can control her destiny, too.
Or perhaps her time will finally run out.
The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl From Everywhere, #2)Review:
I read the first book in this series (reviewed here) because I was going to an event where this author was going to be. I am very glad I did read that book because I met the author and she was completely wonderful. She was funny and I just adored meeting her. So, after that event I thought I should probably get this book and read it (as well as all her other books but those will be for their own reviews.)
I adored this book just as much as the first. There were times where I thought to myself that Heidi was really going to do this or that to me and then she turned everything around again much to my pleasure. I love the concept behind the magic in this series. Being ‘Navigators’ they can travel through time, but only if they really believe in the place that they are going to, as well as having a map of that time and place. I just find time travel in general so compelling, but this method was so unique and interesting to me. I also really enjoyed how the author incorporated a combination or history and mythology. So, the characters visit real places in history as well as places that cannot be proven to have existed. I just loved it.
Next are the characters. I think there’s a really interesting father/daughter dynamic here that I appreciate, specifically because I was raised by my father in a single parent home. I really felt like her father wasn’t as present as he was in the first book and I think I would have liked just a little bit more insight into his struggles of fighting his addictions for his daughter. Nix was still my favorite. She’s fierce, strong, clever, and unapologetic about who she is. She stands up for what she wants and what she thinks is right. She’s insanely curious and always trying to learn and I really loved that about her. I also adored her love interest. Kashmir was exactly what I wanted him to be. I’m happy we got chapters from his perspective. I felt like it gave a bit more insight into his character. We learned more about his fears and insecurities and I liked that.
The rest of the supporting characters were as enjoyable as they were in the first book, but we didn’t really get any further insight into the familiar characters which I would have liked. Instead, we met new characters and learned all about their struggles and goals.
Overall, this was a great sequel. I enjoyed all of the different aspects of the story and plot. I loved all the dynamics between the characters. Time traveling pirates is all you have to say to me and I’m sold.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Summary:
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 in the past.
The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1)Review:
I officially have a new favorite book. I won’t say favorite series until I read The Devil’s Thief, BUT, I completely adored The Last Magician. I’m sad that it’s been sitting unread on my shelf for so damn long.
I loved literally everything about this book. I cannot think of a single thing that I didn’t like. The magic system was intricate and interesting. I’m still not sure I totally get it but I’m excited to learn more about it in the second book. The writing was great. Not too simple but not filled with words I didn’t know attempting to sound smarter than necessary. The story was well paced. Nothing felt like it was dragging on or rushed to be wrapped up. The characters were well crafted and just incredible. I cared about them. They had me invested in their stories and I genuinely cared about what happened to them. There were parts that had me holding my breath in anticipation of what was going to happen. Other parts had me smiling to myself, or even swooning here and there. Things felt realistic with a modern girl going into the past where the culture was different. The difference in the times was mentioned and acknowledged.
I feel like I could go on and on and on. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you that if you like fantasy​ if you like historical fiction, or slow burn romance, or time travel or magic, or all of the above then you need to read this book. That is all. I need to go find out what happens in book two.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

Summary:
In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon-when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach-an “outlander”- in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny is soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidding Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Review:
This eight hundred fifty page book took so much out of me. It took mostly time, to read the pages, but also little pieces of my heart. Outlander was a book that was almost forced upon me, by Antonia’s mother. She is a fellow reader, but I generally don’t like the same kinds of books as her. She made me take Outlander home and I’m very glad I read it.
This book was beautifully written. It is definitely a long book, but it was such a good one. The description of Scotland in the seventeen hundreds was amazing. A place I would totally love to go and visit. Outlander is told from the point of view of Claire, the Outlander herself. Reading this story from Claire’s point of view was awesome. I felt like I was part of Claire’s life going through everything right alongside her. The title of this book, Outlander, fits our main character very well. Its definition is an outsider or stranger and that’s exactly what Claire is when she finds herself in 1743.
I adored Claire. She proves herself more times than I can count in these pages. If I found myself two hundred years in the past, I probably would handle it nearly as well as Claire. She adjusts to this new life with a few bumps in the road but ends up fitting in fairly well. Claire is strong, brave, courageous, and an amazing main character. She loves fiercely and makes a point to protect what and who she loves.
Which brings me to Frank, Claire’s husband in the present. I really liked Frank from what I got to see of him. He loved his work and Claire. He was passionate about the things he enjoyed, even if he made himself look silly. I do wish that Frank could have played a larger part in this book and I’m hoping that I do get to read about him again later in the series.
Now to talk about Jamie. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. I could go on about Jamie forever. He’s a Scottish version of that mysterious, handsome, strong man that you want to whisk you away in your dreams. I really enjoyed getting to know every side of Jamie in this story. He has this innocence about him that can turn to an almost scary intensity at times. He loves with all he has and would do anything to protect those in his life. Jamie is honorable, trustworthy, honest and so much more. He’s really just an all around good person.
Going into this book thinking that I wasn’t going to like it very much didn’t change the fact that Outlander was an amazing book. I think anyone that likes books needs to try this series. Even if you don’t think you’ll like it. I loved every page.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

Goodreads Summary: Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is.
She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.
This stunning conclusion picks up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate.

The only reason I picked up these books was because of the covers. Each one has the most gorgeous dress on it and I couldn’t keep myself from finding out what it was about. I loved the first two books in the Ruby Red trilogy and Emerald Green didn’t disappoint me. Everything was tied up perfectly, all my questions were answered, and there was a perfect mix of humor, suspense and action that I’ve come to expect from these books.
Since these books deal with time travel, there’s tons of information between the present and the past that can get pretty confusing. Gier filled in many of the blanks by providing information between chapters in the form of transcripts and articles from the Temple’s archives of the past. It really helped me to get a little bit more information because it drives me nuts when I don’t know any more than the characters do.
I’ll start with Gwyneth. I wasn’t sure how much I liked her at the beginning of the series. She’s fifteen so I know I can’t exactly expect constant maturity but her naiveté seriously irritated me. She got better in the second book and finally stepped up in the third and got the shit done that she needed to do. When I started the third book, I fully expected her to just lose all my respect. Gideon had just broken her heart and I figured she would curl up into a ball and have a weeklong pity party. I was wrong. The pity party lasted a few hours while she cried on the phone to her best friend before she got to work trying to find the message her grandfather left before he died. Being in love with Gideon didn’t make her weak like the Count expected. It made her strong. Yeah, her heart’s broken and she still has to look Gideon in the face everyday but instead of being pathetic about it, she’s mad. It reminds me of the quote “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. I loved the fact that everyone kept underestimating Gwen because it just gave her chances to prove them wrong.
Gideon. Irritated. Me. I loved him for the second half of the book once he finally decided to stop being an idiot. However, the majority of the time before that point he was just being a stubborn asshole. If he’d just talked to Gwen everything would have been fine. Maybe something like, “Hey, Gwen, I’m only pretending to hate you because the Count thinks he can use our relationship as leverage against us.” She probably wouldn’t have been particularly happy about it but she would have understood. Half the events of the first two books probably wouldn’t have happened if Gideon had just tried working with Gwen.
Lesley is Gwen’s best friend. I’ve loved her since the beginning. She’s really outgoing and funny and always throws herself into situations in order to help Gwen. She’s really smart and comes in handy decoding the many cryptic codes and prophecies that Gwen comes across. She was also Gwen’s rock throughout the entire series. Whenever Gwen had any kind of problem Lesley was there to help her through it.
Raphael is Gideon’s brother. He came in during the second book and played a small part. He was more important in the third book and although he’s funny, I’d mostly ignored him until he became a love interest for Lesley.
Xemerius is the ghost of a demon in gargoyle form. (Gwen can see ghosts.) I adored him. He was hilarious, sarcastic, and very overdramatic. He wasn’t particularly helpful most of the time. He would occasionally find something that was hidden or keep lookout for Gwen but for the most part he only added comedic relief.
Lastly, there are the Guardians and the people at the Temple. I hated all of them. They were ridiculous. They hated Gwen just because they’d always thought her cousin would be the Ruby and were pissed they were wrong. They don’t trust her, they ignore her and they underestimate her. If those assholes just got over themselves and decided to work with Gwen instead of against her everything would have been much easier. The fact they refused to listen to her over and over again only allowed the Count to continue his evil plans.
Overall, I loved these books. I would recommend them to anyone who likes romance, scifi/fantasy, and young adult. They are directed slightly more toward the younger side of YA but not so much to be childish. Please tell me what your own thoughts are.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!