Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review – Out of Time: A Time Travel Mystery

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I’m not a person who can travel back in time. If I could, I’d go back and write some posts for the past three months. I was sick for a month and then playing catch-up for two months. Now it’s August and I’ve no new posts here since April. Ugh, as they say on Trollhalla.

But now I’m back and I have a brief book review for you. While I was sick, I managed to read Out of Time: A Time Travel Mystery by Monique Martin and I enjoyed it immensely. I mention some specifics from the book in the following review which some might consider spoilers. I don’t give away any big items in my opinion, but if you don’t want to know any details of the story until you’ve read it, don’t read below this paragraph. Just know that I give this book 5 stars and my highest recommendation. Read it if you enjoy time travel tales, historical fiction or paranormal romances, but especially if you like all three genres.

Simon Cross is a slender but not lanky professor of the occult. Elizabeth West is Simon’s beautiful teaching assistant, twenty years younger than he. They both have feelings about the other, but don’t act on them. Simon has a premonition that Elizabeth is going to die, but there’s not much he can do about it.  They live their lives, helping students learn about the occult as best they can. They probably could have continued like this until Elizabeth graduated and went elsewhere to seek out her own career. But something happens, as it usually does in novels, and the two are thrown back in time to 1929.

When they discover they’re in 1929 and can’t go back to their own time right away, they have to adjust quickly. They need clothes to match the period, they need shelter and food. For these things, they need to earn, find or steal money. So they get jobs in 1929. They pretend to be married for appearance’s sake and to prevent other men from hitting on Elizabeth. If they’re married, they ought to share a room, right? You can see where this might lead.

The first half of the novel after the first couple of chapters reads much like historical fiction set in the late 1920s. But then something else happens, and the story turns 90 degrees into the occult and paranormal realm. There might be a vampire that shows up. I don’t want to say too much about the last half of the novel, because that’s where the plot gets thick. Suffice it to say that Simon fears for Elizabeth’s life due to the premonition he’d had before they were flung back in time. So not only does he need to ensure her safety, even when she doesn’t exactly make it easy for him, but he also needs to make sure that when the right time comes, they are ready to catch the time travel train back to the life they led as professor and teaching assistant.

The story is expertly written and edited. The pace was a bit slow for me in places in the first half of the novel, but that’s because I’m not as interested in historical fiction as I am in time travel tales and paranormal romances. The story ending was worth the occasional slow patch for me. It could be worth it for you too.

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Book Review: Knot in Time

Knot in Time cover art

Knot in Time cover art

Darius Arthur Heisenberg “had been adopted as a baby into a relatively famous — at least in scientific circles — family. [His] great, great uncle, Werner Heisenberg, had come up with one of the fundamental ideas of modern physics: the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.” This we learn early on in Alan Tucker’s time travel novel, Knot in Time (Tales of Uncertainty, Book 1). Darius, whose friends call Dare, isn’t stupid, but his grades in school haven’t reflected it. He’s often in trouble, so his prospects in life aren’t great. That is, until he meets Bob.

Bob is an alien who recruits Dare to work for the Keepers, a secret society of aliens who have made it their job to  protect the threads of reality from unraveling. There are many different threads, each representing a different reality. Dare forsakes his current thread to help protect the entire tapestry of threads. So what exactly does the job of protecting the threads of reality entail? Time traveling, of course! Dare has to jump around in time (and space) to thwart whatever mischief other time travelers attempt.

Now I don’t want to give away too much here. I can say that the book kept my interest all the way through, but then I’m partial to time travel stories. Beyond that, I’ll have to get into some details of the story, so some of what follows might be considered spoilers.

There’s not just one thread of reality. There are many threads. The threads all influence each other, so that they all are very similar, even though different. A change in one might change the others. A corruption of one could corrupt all of them.

The Keepers have this nifty little trick of tying off threads in a knot — hence, a knot in time. When they knot a thread, they insert a time traveler into a thread, and the time traveler can’t be taken out of the thread until the end of the knotted section of thread is reached. Whatever happens in the knotted section of the thread becomes reality across all threads, and it can’t ever be changed. At least, that’s how I interpreted it.

So Dare gets inserted into a thread that’s being knotted. He has to make sure he does everything right — knotting the thread means he won’t get a second chance. It’s through this knotting mechanism that author Alan Tucker maintains suspense in his time travel novel. He allows jumping around in time and changing history, but then he also invents the ability to put a knot in time to prevent changes in history when it suits the Keepers. It’s not believable as something that would ever work in the real world, but it works for the story.

The one thing that bugged me the most came at the very end of the story. After the thread is knotted, there is some debate as to whether to do something that might change it. Huh? I might be nit picking, but if you can tie off a thread to ensure that what happens in that knot can’t be changed, then why tie the knot and then turn around and talk about trying to change something in it? (What I’m referring to has to do with altering the course of a comet five hundred million years ago, in case you’re curious.) Like I said, that business comes at the very end of the story, and it might not even be noticed by many readers.

The story overall is entertaining. It has time travel, alternate threads of reality, adventures that occur on a planet other than Earth, aliens, and sexy women who make Dare blush. If you like that sort of fiction, you should enjoy Knot in Time. I’ll give it 4.5 stars out of 5.

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