A Passage in Time by Cidney Swanson

The seventh book in this (Thief in Time) series that includes characters such as the Wright Brothers, Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare, Alexander Hamilton, and Maxfield Parrish, this one focuses on Walt Disney. Well, sort of.

I grew up on Sunday night Disney shows. I went to the World’s Fair in Flushing NY where the original exhibition of It’s a Small World enchanted me (I made my folks take me several times). I went to the  movie theater 13 times to watch Mary Poppins (pre VHS and DVD). I had a fit when my Dad wouldn’t buy me Disney shares (his mistake!). And sadly, I’ve never been to Disney World (but I really want to go).

I can’t imagine a world without Walt Disney.

In a Passage in Time that might be what happens.

In this installment of the time travelers  adventures DeVinci and Quintus are front and center, hoping to correct a potential incident of slander to Julius Caesar’s name. Somewhere in that visit to 1935 things go wrong and they have no idea why, it all seems so unrelated. Somehow Disneyland (or any theme park for that matter) doesn’t exist. 

In writing about events that may have changed the dreams of almost every child in the world Cidney Swanson did her homework and found one small incident in the Disneys life to mention. I find it fascinating to learn about a moment in Walt Disney’s life. And though this is peripheral to the main action in the story, it is the key to it all.

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Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

This review is of an uncorrected galley proof from NetGalley.
I loved Code Name Verity so much that I was excited to see that this book was a (sort of) sequel. The subject matter was even more disturbing than Verity (if possible), but all the more so because every part of it Could Have Happened, indeed probably Did Happen to many people. It broke my heart, but the story is presented in such a well written way that I had to keep reading. I can’t wait to have a paper copy to actually re-read and mark up with my thoughts and comments. (I find the Kindle just isn’t what this book-lover prefers, though it does offer the ability to read ARCs, etc!!) I only hope the end section is tightened up a little, it seems to drift a bit after the intensity of the earlier parts.
I think I would read Anything Elizabeth Wein writes because she has a way of bringing the reader right into the story and being a (vicarious) part of it.
I would recommend this to Everyone.

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A THIEF IN TIME by Cidney Swanson

Cidney Swanson moves from traveling in space to traveling in time.

In this new adventure a modern girl, Halley, manages to briefly travel to the 16th century via a secret time machine. When she returns, she is not alone. The rest of the book concerns rectifying this. At the same time, Halley must also try to figure out what to do about her own past and her future.

Halley’s whole life has centered around her mother’s whims and lifestyle. Her own needs and wishes are continually brushed aside by her mother’s immediate concerns. Even the one event in her childhood that has been her guiding star was orchestrated by her mother. Halley manages to work around all this to find the life she so desires. All while trying to deal with the time traveling problem. I don’t want to go into details of this, I want you to read the book!

(mini) Spoiler Alert:                                                                                                                         Everything works out okay in the end.                                                                                                 But it is an (enjoyable) roller coaster ride to get there

One element of the book that took a while to appreciate: 16th Century speech.                        It was jarring initially (but then so it would be if one was thrust into such an unexpected experience, which becomes evident as the story progresses). While it seemed a bit artificial at first, as the book developed it dovetailed right in. Very cleverly, I might add.

This seems to be the first in a series, so I am looking forward to the next episode.

I enjoy reading Cidney Swanson’s books and appreciate the ARC. Thank you Cidney!

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The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

First off: While it was a refreshing rendition of Rapunzel, I was unaware of the Christian author and while it was subtle (actually incorporated gently into the story) I was a little put off by the religious additions. That said, I was glad it wasn’t overbearing, just part of the story that seemed mideaval enough to ignore. Still, I wish I’d know ahead of time. I don’t usually read Christian fiction as I am generally put off by the tone.
That bit aside, I felt it was well written, the characters had some fullness and the storyline developed smoothly. I probably won’t read any of the others in this group of books though.

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A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House) by Kathleen Baldwin

There are several excellent series of books that focus on a school for girls that is a other that it seems. Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls and  Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series are two that come to mind. And now Kathleen Baldwin’s Stranje House series can be added to the list.

This book (A School for Unusual Girls, the first of a promised series) takes place in a time of Napoleon’s exile to Elba. Only it isn’t strictly historical. What-If things were a bit different. How can one person’s action change the entire history as we (think we) know it?

Georgiana Fitzwilliam gets packed away to the Stranje House as punishment for her unlady-like behavior (burning down the barn while trying to create invisible ink, for example) and an interest in science. Stranje House is presented to her parents as a school where torture is the method of behavior modification. Her parents abandon her there, glad to be rid of her.  Georgie is rightfully terrified and wants out. Until she is showed into a laboratory that has been arranged just for her to perfect her invisible ink. And her preconceptions are dislodged. It seems that her special talents (and ink) are a key aid in secretive politics. As are those of the other girls that are at Stranje House. Together they make a formidable team.

A plot to kill King Louis XVIIIof France,  newly returning from exile now that Napoleon is banished to Elbe, must be stopped and Georgie and the other members of the Stranje house seem to be the ones best suited (with their special abilities) to help undertake this task.

My interest was held continually and I only stopped reading last night when I found it difficult to keep awake after a long day of dealing with 2 feet of snow. I finished up as soon as I awoke this morning. Not many books can claim this honor. Looking forward to the next installment, Exile for Dreamers.

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The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood

I’ve been enjoying reading the Phryne Fisher series and watching the TV series. Interesting to see the ways they differ. They don’t spoil each other, which is nice. I’ve just read the 5th book of the series and discovered it ended too soon.

So disappointed, as the book I read must have left out the final chapter since it never reveals the result of the murder. Apparently it was a publishing error. Where can I find that chapter?

That said, as a pilot I loved reading about Phryne’s fllight over the Australian Alps. Ms Greenwood has a lovely way of combining words to create lovely images.

I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a bit of camp mysteries with flapper fun.

Edit: I borrowed an audio book from the library and listened to the ending.  Satisfied!

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Knavery by Cidney Swanson

Since it has been a while since I’ve read any of the Rippler stories it took me many pages to figure out who was who and their relationships. I’m still not sure I’ve got it sorted out. I think if anyone picked it up without having read any of the other books it would not have made much sense. Well, the story line of Katrin and her admirers was obvious, but I did spend a lot of the reading trying to remember who everyone was.

That being said, I think this was a good introduction of a new character, and some closure on an old one as well as a continuation of the overall story arc.

Cidney’s books are always a welcome read, I just think it would have helped me if I’d re-read the previous books to keep up with the action.

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Mars Rising by Cidney Swanson

I am not so good with suspense. I clearly remember when I was young having to leave the room during an episode of Lassie because it was too much to handle. I don’t really do well with unscheduled changes either. It takes me a while to change gears, so to speak. That said, I must tell you that I had to take several suspense-driven breaks while reading Mars Rising, the sixth and final book of the Saving Mars series by Cidney Swanson. 

Like the rest of the series, the action is full of twists and turns. With each apparent resolution to the conflicts presented, some small incident or reaction pulls the story to another level of suspense (insert a Break here to get a cup of tea, do some laundry, and take a deep breath).  

Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t wait to get back and find out  What.Happens.Next.  

(In fact, during a break I started writing this review.)  

In this final book it becomes clear that Jessamyn and company will have to face the Terran Chancellor Lucca Brezhnaya and right the wrongs she has created. One of the crucial issues is knowing how to deal with her (such an annoying villain), and I will say that she is dealt with in quite a suitable way. Saving Mars is of course the main issue and our cast of characters manages to find a way, though not without some losses. Also, don’t forget, Jessamyn stole the Red Galleon and will have to stand trial and someone will need to be the Mars Ambassador on Earth

Read this final book of the series and find out if they can all live Happily Ever After. 

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Striking Mars by Cidney Swanson

Striking Mars is the fifth book in the SAVING MARS Series by Cidney Swanson.

This book is a chance to catch one’s breath after the ongoing activities in the previous one. Take some time to see how the Marsians were coping with the aftermath of attack from Earth, some time to see how Jessamyn, Paval and company deal with being in hiding (again, still) and what new schemes Terran Chancellor Lucca Brezhnaya has brewing. (You didn’t think she’d given up, did you? Well, no, she has not!)

Back on the moon, Jessamyn and friends struggle to find a way to keep in touch with Mars without calling attention to themselves by anyone on Earth. Oh, and running a campaign against Lucca using covert smear tactics.

How long can they keep it up? What will happen when they are discovered?

You know they will, but by whom and how will they escape?

It’s all in there.

I was glad for the respite, and glad to have a glance at Jessamyn’s family back on Mars.  Not a lot (in comparison) seems to take place at first, but what does moves the plot along. This is not a standstill, just a filler for the action to come in the final book (I hope).

Thanks for the ARC Cidney!

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Frozen by Mary Casanova

Set in the 1920s in northern Minnesota, Frozen incorporates historical fiction with mystery and coming-of-age. Throughout the book are references to the early wilderness preservation movement, prohibition and the suffragette movement. Sadie Rose comes in contact with them all through the people she encounters and befriends. Having lost her voice in a childhood trauma she regains it again after the discovery of some photographs that trigger her memories. As she finds her voice  she also finds herself, with the help of these friends who unconsciously guide her by their own lives. Little by little she pieces together her past and finds the way to begin to build her future. The pacing of the story is slow to begin but proceeds steadily, letting us get to know the story and characters before it tumbles to the ending.

ISSUES: A little more development of the relationships between the characters would make the transition from “just met” to “best friends” a little more believable. Fleshing out the characters would help as well, especially Owen Jensen who comes and goes throughout the book despite being someone of importance to Sadie in the long run.

Thank you to University Of Minnesota Press for letting me review this as an ARC.

first reviewed on Goodreads,  August 20, 2012

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