If you could turn back the clock, would you choose a different life?
Ben’s always loved the month of December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. And then his old friend Alice gets back in touch. Ben’s always thought of Alice as the one that got away, and he can’t help but wonder: what if he’d done things differently all those years ago?
He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.
Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The festive season crystallises memories good and bad for most people and Christmas 2020 proves to be a memorable one for Ben. At a low point in his life, he has a serendipitous meeting with a man who gives him a watch and food for thought. What follows, defies belief but at such a magical time of year, anything is possible, right?
Ben, his wife Daff, best friend Harv and Alice the what-if lover are all well-described, relatable characters in this engaging story. The festive twist comes from the December time frame and the contemporary interpretation of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.
This story focuses on the turning points of Ben’s life when he makes life-changing decisions. Given the opportunity, should he change them? Revisiting the past forces Ben to see things differently, not everything is as he remembers it, and this is important for his future actions.
There’s a new adult romance, coming of age, loss, love and magical time travel in this reflective story.
Ancient civilizations, parallel worlds, aliens, time travel, epic fantasy, dragons and college! The Everville series can be read as stand-alone novels and have it all for teens, new adults, and all ages alike.
Two very different worlds, Easton Falls University and the magical realm of Everville are in dire need of a hero. Owen Sage embarks on an epic journey of monumental proportions to save these worlds all while fighting to keep the world within himself intact. This quest is not for the faint of heart nor is it for the weak of mind—only the bravest will succeed. Discovering the well-kept secret of The Fourth Pillar of Truth is only part of the feat. Owen will have to outwit the ever-powerful villain Governor Jahal and overcome countless other challenges along the way.
Excerpt -Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone Roy Huff
In a realm surrounding Everville, beyond the land of the Fron, Rathlar the dragon made Brackenbone his home. He was no ordinary dragon, he was an Alarian, a shape-shifting species from an alternate universe, and he was capable of great feats. He stood tall like a sulfur-tinged mountain, and strong like the roots of an ancient oak tree. The scales on his body shimmered like an emerald with a thousand facets, and his wings held the power of countless soldiers.
Brackenbone was the perfect home for such a magnificent beast. Its city walls were smelted from the ore found beyond The Walls of Vermogen, and its villages rivaled even those found in Vortmore during its prime.
Hidden behind the rear city gates, Rathlar stood guard over all the land. Should any power-hungry foes attempt to charge The Walls of Vermogen or capture the powerful element stored within, Rathlar would be there to stop them.
The sun hung low on the horizon, dusk about to smother the fading light. This was Rathlar’s cue to depart the city and make his journey to Vermogen. He rested, nestled by the gate in a curled position, calm but alert.
As Rathlar was about to embark on his daily trek, two small figures crept up behind him. Beads of sweat dripped from their faces. Step by step, they made a slow and deliberate approach. They eyed the dragon’s position and timed their motions to coincide with the turns and departure of the massive creature. Armed with a cache of special tools and weapons, they inched their way toward the back entrance of the city, hoping to secretly enter.
Despite their stealth, Rathlar caught a glimmer of the two soldiers in the corner of his eye and sprang into action. He used his powerful legs to thrust his body high above the ground then spread his massive wings, turning in midair to face the trespassers and let forth a deafening roar and a fiery breath that scorched the clothing of those who were too close, filling the air with the smell of ash.
Rathlar lunged towards the group of Ubaloo soldiers and used his shape-shifting power to make the most intimidating face and fiercest growl any of them had ever seen.
Several of the Ubaloo warriors’ knees buckled as they shrieked in fright and fell to the ground. The dirty water raced up the soldiers’ legs, soaking them completely, washing away the stink of sweat and replacing it with the smell of wet mud. In that instant, terror seized the Ubaloo and for a moment they forgot why they were there.
Rathlar calmed his frightful face and allowed his features to melt into a genuine smile. His impenetrable leather skin lifted over his large sharp teeth as the broad grin morphed into a hearty chuckle.
The dragon’s sudden transformation mesmerized the Ubaloo soldiers, who had frozen in place. A chorus of cheerful laughs soon followed.
“Excellent, Rathlar!” shouted the officer in charge of the dragon’s training. “I don’t think any creature stands a chance against such a mighty dragon.”
Rathlar had begun his training right after he’d parted ways with his former master. Now fully mature, he was an expert of his shape-shifting and fighting capabilities.
Although the notorious Mallory had trained him for the last great battle, Rathlar no longer possessed the immense power of the element that had once occupied his body. It was necessary to train again—taking into account his new limitations and the unique needs of Brackenbone and its inhabitants— protecting the city built around the Ubaloos’ small stature, and defending The Walls of Vermogen. It was The Walls of Vermogen that prevented the element from falling into enemy hands.
Several small Ubaloo soldiers walked behind Rathlar and stared up at him, allowing the dragon’s presence and immense stature to comfort them. Rathlar’s training with the soldiers had been extensive and long. It lasted years in Everville time, but it wasn’t until today that the Ubaloo general felt satisfied with the dragon’s training.
“Break off. Time to eat,” one of the officers said in the distance after an exhausting day of training, smelling of sweat and satisfaction.
Hundreds of miniature Ubaloo swarmed around Rathlar, waiting for their hefty rations of food. He welcomed their presence as they all rested and feasted upon the spoils of a hard fought day.
Excerpt from- Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone Roy Huff
Roy Huff is a Hawaii-based author, research scientist, and teacher. After a difficult childhood, he moved to the islands and hasn’t looked back.
He’s since earned five degrees, worked on projects forecasting Kilauea volcanic emissions, and trained on geostationary satellites for NASA’s GOES-R Proving Ground. He stumbled into writing, but what he didn’t stumble into is his love for all things science fiction and fantasy. Later, he contributed a series of fiction and non-fiction books as well as widely shared posts on how to design life on your terms.
Despite early challenges, he embraces optimism, science, and creativity. He still dreams of traveling into space and circumnavigating the globe. But until then, he makes Hawaii his home, where he creates new worlds with the stroke of a pen. And he hopes you’ll come along for the amazing ride.
Life, Death and Time Travel on the Glasgow Subway…
When selfish student Daisy trashes her stepdad’s funeral, she gets blind drunk and wakes up on the Glasgow subway to find she has travelled back in time. To make amends for her behaviour, she must save a life—but she doesn’t know who, how, or where to begin. She’ll have to find out fast if she wants to make it back to her old life and avoid being trapped in the wrong timeline forever.
This novel was awarded one of the first Scots Language Publication Grants funded by the Scottish Government and administered by the Scottish Book Trust.
Publication Date: 5th November 2020
ISBN: Paperback 978-1-911279-77-8
Ross Sayers grew up in Stirling and now lives in Edinburgh. He’s still finding his way around. His debut novel, Mary’s the Name was released in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book Award. He’s currently working on a sequel to one of his books… You can tweet him @Sayers33
In the far future, a convicted criminal is given a chance at redemption.
Her mission? To save the crown of France by convincing a young noble not to join the ill-fated Eighth Crusade.
But nothing goes as planned, and Isobel finds herself accompanying a hot-headed youth on his way to fight the infidel in Tunis: a battle Isobel knows is fated to be lost.
From the rainy villages of medieval France to the scorching desert of Tunis – Isobel faces her destiny and tries to fulfil her duty, knowing she can never return to her time, knowing that a wrong move can doom the future, or doom her to be burned as a witch.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
I haven’t read any previous books in this series. The concept of time travel and the future world, Isobel comes from, is understandable. The historical setting has a good sense of place and time. It is atmospheric and vividly described.
Isobel is a corrector, sent back to the correct history, inadvertently altered by another time traveller. She has nothing to lose. Emotionally damaged after she killed a child in a car accident, she knows that failure means death. Success means life can continue, but in the time zone where she is. Isobel can never go back.
The story is told from her first-person point of view, but even when she witnesses the horrors of the time, her reactions are superficial. Her lack of emotional depth is apparent. Possibly due to her past life experiences. She is hard to empathise. Many of the relationships, whilst acceptable in the middle ages, seem wrong from a 21st-century viewpoint, but they do make the story authentic, despite its fantastical premise.
The sense of adventure, albeit misguided comes across well in this story. The plot cleverly interweaves fact and historical fiction. A considered and well-written time travel story with strong, vibrant characters and a fast-paced plot.
Jennifer Macaire is an American living in France. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.
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When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists!
Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…
But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.
Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I was intrigued by the ideas behind this story, and after reading it, I can confirm it fulfils its potential.
It begins conventionally with Rose who lives in Bath, loves Jane Austen and doesn’t realise what a lovely person she is. Hardworking, she is appreciated by her boss and her long-distance Californian friend Morgan, who is finally coming to Bath. Rose has a long term crush on an archaeologist, she only sees briefly in a professional capacity once a year. She dreams of a happy ever after but doesn’t have the self-belief to make it a reality.
Then everything changes, and you have to suspend belief, but if you do the fictional adventure with a historical legend is fun. The setting in Bath is well described and the characters are believable, even if the scenario they are playing is pure fantasy.
This is a good story of friendship, romance, self-realisation and time travel, something for everyone in this tale.
A proud bookworm since childhood, Cass writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.
She has an over-active imagination, is prone to crying with happiness as much as she is at sadness, but when it comes to her writing she leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.
Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine, and enjoys them in any combination. She currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.
Ada has lived all her life in Southern California, which makes her intolerant to any weather above or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She grew up much more fond of reading than sports or socializing and still tends to ignore everyone she loves, all her responsibilities and basic life needs when she’s in the middle of a book.
She is luckily married to a handsome and funny man who doesn’t mind that the laundry never gets put away and she has three amazing children. Ada spent over a decade as a photographer before dedicating herself to writing, though she still believes that life should be documented well and often.
There is nothing she loves more than a good, subtle love story whether it be in real life, tv, movie, theatre or book form… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.
What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen?
Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to Edward III in 1348.
Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo is targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them.
Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
A delicious fusion of conspiracy, crime, history and time-travel science fiction.
Science fiction is not a genre I read, but this story focuses on an intriguing conspiracy theory. It is easy to understand, and if you open your mind to the fantasy, plausible enough to hold your interest. A quirky duo of historical detectives takes on a menacing ominous power that is at war with human history.
The historical connections and flashbacks, give the story its depth and kept me reading. The dynamic between the history teacher and the history graduate is believable. They are complex and flawed, and very much the underdogs. You want them to find out the truth, and as the story progresses you want them to survive.
Engaging, intelligently written and page-turning.
C.R. Berry caught the writing bug at the tender age of four and has never recovered. His earliest stories were filled with witches, monsters, evil headteachers, Disney characters and the occasional Dalek. He realised pretty quickly that his favourite characters were usually the villains. He wonders if that’s what led him to become a criminal lawyer. It’s certainly why he’s taken to writing conspiracy thrillers, where the baddies are numerous and everywhere.
After a few years getting a more rounded view of human nature’s darker side, he quit lawyering and turned to writing full-time. He now works as a freelance copywriter and novelist and blogs about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness.
He was shortlisted in the 2018 Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Storgy, Dark Tales, Theme of Absence and Suspense Magazine. He was also shortlisted in the Aeon Award Contest, highly commended by Writers’ Forum, and won second prize in the inaugural To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition.
He grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere in Surrey.
What would you change if you could go back in time?
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early-onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story – translated from Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot – explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?
I received a copy of this book from Pan MacMillan – Picador Books in return for an honest review.
Where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, in a nondescript coffee shop in Tokyo. This story has only a few characters. Everyone in the coffee shop has a story, and this follows four individuals as they travel back in time, not to change the present, but to understand someone they care about better. Or, to make themselves understood. The time travel has many rules, but for those who follow them, there are surprisingly positive results.
This story is beautifully translated, and the ambience and culture come through the characters and the setting. This is an emotional, quirky tale of discord, misunderstanding, loss and love. The time travellers are ordinary people, they want the opportunity to do something different, in the past. This makes them authentic and relatable, and the story engaging.
The rules of the unexpected time travel are fixed, and give a sense of reality, in a fantasy situation. I understood this world, and therefore enjoyed the story.
Enchanting and original, but strangely believable, because of the authentic characters and the contemporary urban setting.
1960’s Somerset is no fun for cousins Polly and Annabelle Williams. Mourning their non-existent love lives, and the mundanity of village life, their only pleasure is baking – until a chance encounter has them magically transported to the bright lights of London… in 2019!
Promised a chance of love, first they must teach the people of the future about the simpler pleasures of life by becoming Cake Fairies. Over the course of a year they set off on a delectable tour of the UK, dropping off cakes in the most unexpected of places and replacing the lure of technology with much sweeter temptations.
But will their philanthropical endeavours lead them to everlasting love? Or will they discover you can’t have your cake and eat it?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The iconic late 1960s meets technology-obsessed 2019 with cake. Bizzare? Well, only if you try to rationalise it. If you accept the fantasy, filled with magical time travel and enjoy Polly and Annabelle’s quest to get people talking face to face again, and stopping to smell the flowers, this story is fun.
The opening section, which outlines the women’s lives in 1960s Somerset is detailed and slows the pace, but the younger age group, this book is targeted at, may need the detail, to see why life in 2019, is so amazing and terrifying for the intrepid time travellers.
The gem of this story is Polly and Annabelle’s adventure in 2019 and the good they achieve there. The humour is plentiful, there are romance, cake and food in abundance. It’s the perfect book for romantic foodies, who have unending imaginations.
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.
Cake, cocktail, churros, ice cream and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s rules.
I enjoyed this tale of courage, dogs, family, friends and time travel. Although, it’s many years since I was the age this book is aimed at. I can remember the types of books I read then and this would have been one.
Georgie and Ramzy are lovely characters, their friendship is strong and means everything to them, as friends do at this age. They both have distinctive, realistic voices and give this story its heart.
Dr Pretorius is a strange woman, seen through the children’s eyes, she is the person their parents warned them not to trust but she has a magical quality that draws them in. Although Georgie and Ramzy disobey their parent’s rules it is clear from this story they understand the value of them.
The time travelling element of the story is fun and frightening for the intrepid pair and is entertaining reading. Family life as perceived by children is explored and again gives the story its humour and poignancy.
Georgie’s love of animals and particularly dogs makes this story relatable to most children. The prospect of losing your doggy best friend and dogs disappearing from the earth is a sobering thought. Not surprisingly the children are courageous, and sometimes foolhardy to stop this horror becoming reality.
There are adult issues alluded to and explored in this story, some of which children and most adults may find disturbing and sad, but these are seen in news programmes daily and this book deals with them sensitively and allows a positive conclusion with the introduction of fantasy and time travel.
I enjoyed this book and I will enjoy reading it to my grandson when he’s older. It is fun, realistic and full of exciting imagery that allows you to see the problems of today in a futuristic way.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins Children’s Books via Net Galley in return for an honest review.