When a Book Just Wows You

This month I was luck to be transported to my happy place two books that really “wowed” me. You know the type; the books you just can’t put down until they’re finished. Then, when you reach the end, you’re sad because there’s nothing left to read. There are the books I want to share with you.

Many thing in my life this month have not gone to plan this month. So it isn’t surprising this was not the review I was going to write for September, but it is the review that was clamouring to be written. This month I was lucky to be transported to my happy place two books that really “wowed” me. You know the type; the books you just can’t put down until they’re finished. Then, when you reach the end, you’re sad because there’s nothing left to read. These are the books I want to share with you.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I reviewed on of Matt Haig’s books last month. I really enjoy his quirky story lines. even so, I did not expect to be so blown away by The Midnight Library.

The blurb starts off , “Between Life and Death There is a Library”, and went on to tell of Nora Seed who is stuck in that moment between life and death where she had the opportunity to live her life if she had made different decisions at different points in time. I was hooked. I brought it, and I couldn’t put it down.

Nora is disappointed in herself and always believed she could have lived a better life, been a better person, if only she had made the most of the opportunities she had squandered. In the Midnight Library she is able to see the lives she has missed out on.

It’s funny, because Nora is not the most likeable person as a main character in a book, to be honest she comes across as a bit of a loser, and that is because that is how she portrays herself. Her lonely life is one where she is isolated and focuses on the regrets she has for not taking chances.

I started off feeling sorry for her, but as I lived through her other lives where she took different paths, I understand her more, and began rooting for her—hoping she would find a life where she was truely happy.

This is a great piece of story writing, growing from a really interesting concept, but what I loved about this book (apart from my inability to put it down), was all the thinking I did after I had finished. It had me mulling over how little we realise the impact we have on the lives of those around us, and also how often we interpret our relationships with others from our own perspective, especially when we are depressed.

Although this is not truely a Teen/YA book, it is one I believe many older teens would benefit from reading, as it might actually help them understand what some of their friends are dealing with. And I defiantly recommend it for parents, just because it is a great read.

Buy A Midnight Library from Amazon

Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle 2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

So I finished The Midnight Library and moved on to the next book in my kindle, Aurora Burning. This is the second book in the series, I reviewed an Amie Kaufman co-write some time ago, and I have read more of her books in the meantime, including Aurora Rising, the first book in the Aurora Cycle. I loved the book but didn’t get round to reviewing it, and I am not going to make the same mistake with Aurora Burning.

I have been waiting patiently for the second book in the series to come out. The only problem was, in the meantime I had forgotten how much I loved the characters, and how fast paced the actions is, and how you get caught up in the story then you find it is three am on a school night and its only three hours until you have to get up. I curse you Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

By far my favourite character in this book is the super brain Zila. She is slowly coming our of her shell and learning to have a sense of humour. Still, Finn’s sarcasm and surprising heroism is quite cool. Then again, super-sexy Scarlett shows there is more to her than meets the eye, and her brother Tyler—if I was a boy I would want to be him, the all round hero. Though, if I think about it, Aurora now has super-powers, and a super-cool boyfriend who adores her in Kal. And Kal, the war machine is a super-being, who wouldn’t want to be him? So many great characters, and every time the chapter changes to a new point of view I want to be that one.

In Aurora Rising a crew of military misfits rescue a girl lost in space, thence across a scary hive mind wanting to take over the galaxy. In this book they are trying to find the weapon Aurora, the girl they rescued, has been told she must use to to save the universe. In the mean time, Kal’s family life starts to get in the way and places them all in peril.

This book is almost non-stop action, but still manages to expand on the characters backstories, and take us through a political minefield that is not as straightforward as it seems. When I finally did finish the book, I was unable to sleep, wanting to know what happens next, and imagining all sorts of scenarios.

I have it now, I want to be Amie Kaufman or Jay Kristoff. I mean who doesn’t want to be a writer who produces mesmerising books? Scfi fans will really enjoy this offering, but so will those who like a little romance, or action adventure books. So many people will like this book it is probably a waste of time my writing a review as you’re probably all read it, and like me are waiting with baited breath for the next book in the series.

Buy Aurora Burning from Amazon

Looking for More Book Ideas? See Below.

Available Until 16 October
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Time Travel Adventures

Stephen Hawkins wrote, ‘If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?’. Realistically we know time travel isn’t feasible, but we love to imagine that it is.

Stephen Hawkins wrote, ‘If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?‘. Realistically we know time travel isn’t feasible—yet, but we love to imagine that it is. At the moment my family is watching the final series of The Agents of Shield, which has the main characters going back through time, and with the release of my second Time Guardians book I have been rather obsessed with reading other books in the genre.

This week I am reviewing two Jodi Taylor novels; one perhaps more adult focussed, but one that YA readers will enjoy. The third isn’t strictly a Time Travel book, but it is a unique look at history and time through the eyes of someone who lived through it

Just One Damned Thing After Another – Jodi Taylor

My perfect job growing up would have been travelling back in time, experiencing history and writing about it. Unfortunately we all grow up and realise our dream jobs are not achievable—or are they. What I attracted me to Just One Damn Thing after Another, apart from the title, was historian Madeleine Maxwell (Max) applying for a job at The St. Mary’s institute, not realising they are actually able to take here into the past so she can see history happen. My dream job!

Not only did Jodi Taylor’s concept excite me, but her characters captured my heart. Max is brave and foolhardy, Leon Farrell is forever practical, and Tim Petersen is dashing and just the person you would want to go on mad-cap adventures wth. They, along with a cast of more than interesting characters, carry a great story line back in history, causing chaos and mayhem wherever they go—but, of course, it’s never their fault. While the team is busy recording history, there is another team bent on destroying St. Mary’s at all costs.

I loved the premise, the characters and the story line of this entire series. Some of the content is best for older YA readers, but if you enjoy a good laugh thrown in with a touch of history, then this is the read for you.

Buy Just One Damned Thing After Another (Chronicles of St. Mary’s) from Amazon

Doing Time by Jodi Taylor

When you have mayhem running through the timeline there is always a risk time could collapse, that is unless you have Time Police. In Jodi Taylor’s universe, the Time Police are almost as bad as the bad guys and are St. Mary’s natural enemies. So you can imagine Madeleine Maxwell is not too happy to find her son has joined them as a cadet.

His St.Mary’s origins make him an outcast. Along with two other recruits with equally unusual backgrounds no one else wants—Jane and Luke, Matthew must help form a team to pass his final test before becoming a Time Policeman. Of course they not only have to over-come their own handicaps, but they must also survive a political situation that is bigger than all of them.

This is a fantastic YA coming of age read in a Time Travel environment which has all of the craziness of the St. Mary’s Chronicles, without the adult content. The three main characters are quirky, and I think most people would find at least one they identify with, but my favourite is Jane. Unassuming, she is the quiet achiever no one should underestimate—she just doesn’t know it yet.

I listened to this book on audible and Zara Ramm as narrator really made the story. Perhaps this is one to consider for your next road trip.

Buy Doing Time: Time Police, Book 1 from Amazon

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

So, straight up, this book isn’t about time travel, but it sort of is. Told in the present, Tom Hazard has returned to London years after having left—many, many, years after, and it has brought back memories from his first visit there after his mother had been drowned … as witch.

Moving back to London has awakened his memories of not only losing his nothing, but the one great love of his life who he was forced to abandon when people began to notice he didn’t age. When he left his wife, he also left his daughter, who he has been searching for ever since.

Tom is one of the long lived. So he may look like any man in his forties, but he is more than 400 years old. Helped by the Albatross Society he has been able to blend in by moving from country to country, meeting some of history’s great and good. They have only one rule—don’t fall in love and don’t make connections. This has been easy to follow until now. Back in London he finds himself slowly connecting again with the world, and this places him in danger.

This book was initially difficult to get get into because of the way it jumped between past and present, but I stuck with it and was rewarded with an amazing read. The concept of a person surviving through centuries of history, but not really living after his twenties was a twist that really made me think about the benefits of long life. When Tom begins to awaken he also begins to question whether survival is enough.

Such a great read, but really for the older YA readers.

Buy How to Stop Time from Amazon

Some More Time Travel Offerings

This hasn’t been The Bookbubble’s first dip into reviewing time travel books. If you are interested, I also review A Wish After Midnight and Sam reviewed The 1,000 Year Old Boy.

If you are looking for some YA Time Travel Reads, why not have a look at some of these. My book the Swagman the first book in The Guardians of Time Series is included.