Goddess in Time

Warning! You MUST read Tera Lynn Childs’ Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp before reading Goddess in Time! And if it’s been over three years since you read the last book, a refresher may be in order. (Seriously, I spent the first couple of chapters really confused, and I had to look to previous blog posts, Goodreads, and the author’s website to re-familiarize myself with the main characters.)

If you’re still reading, I’ll assume you’re caught up with the Oh. My. Gods. series. Goddess in Time, a 14-chapter novella, kind of continues things with Nicole’s story. (If you don’t remember, Nicole is one of Phoebe’s best friends, and may be best known for getting into trouble and her sarcastic manner.)

When Nicole was a child, she and her friend Griffin (now Phoebe’s boyfriend) did something that altered their lives forever. One tiny prank on Mount Olympus, and everything changed.  As punishment, Nicole’s parents were stripped of their powers and banished, and Griffin’s parents were smoted. Seems harsh, right? Well, not when you’re dealing with the Greek gods, especially when one of those is Hera.  If only there were some way for Nicole to make things right…

Well, Nicole may have stumbled across something that could work. It’s something that no one has tried for centuries. Chronoportation. In other words, time travel.  It’s dangerous and highly illegal, but this power could be just what she needs to undo her mistakes.  She’ll need to travel to the palaces of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, and contact her godly ancestor to make this happen, but Nicole is determined to right her wrongs and bring her parents back where they belong.

But things may not be quite as simple as Nicole had hoped. (They never are when in comes to Greek deities!) Nicole will come face-to-face with her own past on this journey, and she may not be totally prepared for what she finds. What will Nicole learn about her heritage and, more importantly, about herself in this quest for justice? Discover Nicole’s secrets when you read Goddess in Time, an Oh. My. Gods. novella by Tera Lynn Childs!

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Even though it took me a little while to step back into this world, I did enjoy Goddess in Time. (It could be because I’m a little time-travel crazy right now. The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special is just two days away!) Nicole learned a lot about herself in this story, and she’s just an all-around fun character to read about anyway. (I do enjoy my fair share of snark and sarcasm.)

If you want even more stories from the Oh. My. Gods. series, check out Tera Lynn Childs’ website at http://teralynnchilds.com/. There are three more really short, sweet stories right there on the site:  Phoebe’s Fair Valentine, The Twelve Days of Stella, and Nicole’s Labyrinth.  I read them all last night, and, from what I could determine, all of them take place after Goddess Boot Camp but before Goddess in Time. Enjoy!

Published in: on November 21, 2013 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Timeless

This post is going to be a short one.  Why, you ask?  Well, because it’s my birthday, and I want to spend the rest of it having a Big Bang Theory marathon.  Anyway…I finished reading Timeless by Alexandra Monir earlier today.  If you follow this blog at all, you probably know that I’m not a huge fan of time travel fiction.  That hasn’t changed, but I will say that I enjoyed this story.  I also enjoyed the glimpses I received of New York City life throughout the past century.  So much has changed while so much has remained the same…

After a horrible tragedy turns Michele Windsor’s whole world upside down, she is sent to live with her wealthy, estranged grandparents in their Fifth Avenue mansion in New York City. Michele is not sure why her mother chose these people–who’ve never shown an interest in Michele or her mother–as her guardians. Michele just knows she’s not ready for this huge change in her life. Well, an even bigger change is on the horizon…

After Michele receives an mysterious key and finds an old diary, she is somehow transported from 2010 to 1910. Michele can only be seen by certain people in her travels through time…and one of them will totally capture her heart.

Philip Walker is just as enraptured by Michele as she is by him. But how can their love exist when neither belongs in the other’s time? Is there a way? And what force is allowing Michele to travel through time anyway? What family secrets will Michele uncover on her journeys, and can she find a way to stay with the love of her life? Read Timeless by Alexandra Monir to discover that real love can cross all boundaries…even time itself.

I truly enjoyed this book (and I honestly didn’t think I would). I was pleasantly surprised by how the timelines in the story connected, and I appreciated the discussion of Albert Einstein’s theories of time travel contained within the book. As I said previously, I loved the glimpses of old New York, and I also liked how history and music played into how events unfolded for Michele and Philip. (I was a music major for a while in college, and I started my career in education as a history teacher, so this was even more awesome for me.)

If you think you’d enjoy Timeless as much as I did, I invite you to check it out. You can also look forward to more of Michele’s story in the sequel, Timekeeper, due out in December 2012. To learn more about Timeless and author Alexandra Monir, visit http://www.alexandramonir.com/. You can even download some of the music featured in Timeless! Pretty cool!

Published in: on March 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Torn

Warning!  Torn is the fourth book in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series.  To have any hope of understanding this book, you need to read the first three:  Found, Sent, and Sabotaged.  (If you’re anything like me, though, even reading the first three books may not help much.  This series deals with time travel, a concept that totally messes with my head.)

It is rare for me to get through four books in a series and stop, knowing that more books are on the way…but I might have to make an exception in this case.  When I first read Found, I was totally intrigued.  It was like Lost for kids.  I became less impressed with the next two books, and, now that I’ve finished the fourth—Torn—I’m ready for this series to be done.  (And I know there’s at least one more book on the way.) 

I put off reading Torn for a while simply because I wasn’t a huge fan of Sent and Sabotaged, and I knew I would be in for more of the same in the fourth installment.  In this series, Haddix combines elements of historical fiction and time travel.  In essence, the series revolves around the missing children from history and the struggle to return them to their places and “fix time.”  We were introduced to this story line in Found; in Sent, we traveled to England in the time of Richard III; in Sabotaged, we journeyed to the lost Jamestown colony with Virginia Dare; and in Torn, we make our way to the icy waters around northernCanada with the notable explorer Henry Hudson.

Like the previous books, Jonah and Katherine are trying to fix time and get back home.  This time, Jonah must pretend to be John Hudson, Henry’s son, and Katherine has to become invisible.  After all, they’re aboard a ship filled with less-than-pleasant sailors, and a girl on the ship would be considered odd, to say the least.  As Jonah and Katherine struggle to make sense of things in 1611, they’re also trying to figure out why and how time is being manipulated in the first place.  Can they fix things in this time, rescue their friends stuck in 1600, and return home without making a total mess of things?  I’ll leave that for you to figure out when you read Torn by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

It should go without saying that I wasn’t a huge fan of this book.  I have issues with time travel, and I’m not one to read much historical fiction (despite my previous life as a social studies teacher).  I did, however, appreciate the lengthy author’s note which detailed how much of this book (a lot) was based on fact. 

If you like mysteries, time travel, and historical fiction, you might want to give The Missing series a try.  For more information on the series and author Margaret Peterson Haddix, visit http://www.haddixbooks.com/home.html.

Published in: on February 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to the book I finished yesterday, Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  It was weird, creepy, and it messed with my head.  For the most part, I avoided reading it at night because I didn’t want to have nightmares.  (I think I’ve established in earlier posts that I am a wuss of the highest order.)  The photos (which are totally real) interspersed throughout the book moved the story along, but most of them also gave me a serious case of the willies.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is unlike any book I’ve ever read, and I have a feeling you’ll feel the same way if you decide to pick it up.

Jacob has always known that his grandfather, Abraham, was a little “out there.”  Abe was always making up stories about children with strange abilities, and he talked about fighting monsters in the past.  When Jacob was a kid, he accepted these stories as absolute truth, but, as he grew older, he came to believe that his grandfather was just telling tall tales.  As it turns out, however, Abe might have been telling the truth.

When Abe is killed in a horrifying and gruesome manner, Jacob comes face to face with his grandfather’s mysterious past…a past that centers around a home for “special” children and their caretaker, Miss Peregrine.  Jacob then makes a long journey to find the place that meant so much to his grandfather…and hopefully find the truth behind the stories and photos Abe left behind.

As Jacob explores the isolated island in Wales where Miss Peregrine’s home is supposed to be, he comes across some strange things…a house that is in ruins one minute and pristine the next, kids dressed in clothes that seem to be right out of a history book, seemingly impossible feats, and a connection to the girl who once loved his grandfather.  Jacob travels through time itself to uncover the mystery surrounding his grandfather’s death, and he soon realizes that he and the people he’s coming to care about may be facing an even greater threat…a threat that could wipe out their very existence.  But what can he do?  There’s nothing special about him…or is there?  Could he have the same “gift” as his grandfather?  Is he one of the “peculiar children” too?  Join Jacob and a motley crew of outcasts from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children as they fight an evil that could destroy everything they hold dear.

Mere words cannot express just how creepy this book really is.  This is definitely one you need to see for yourself.  The photos alone are worth picking up this book.  I found myself anticipating which strange photograph I’d be seeing next and how it would play into Jacob’s story.  And even though I’m not usually a fan of time travel fiction, it worked in this book…and, even better, the photos made it even seem plausible.  (I know it’s weird, but work with me here.)  I look forward to seeing more in the next book in this series (which is currently untitled and due out in 2013).  I know we’ll find more creepiness to enjoy!

If you’d like to learn more about author Ransom Riggs and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, visit http://www.ransomriggs.com/.  You also might like to know that a movie adaptation of this book is in the works with Tim Burton set to direct.  What an absolutely perfect pairing!

Published in: on December 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm  Comments (2)  
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Always a Witch

Spoilers ahead!  If you haven’t read Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, stop right there.  Read that book before you continue with this post.  Always a Witch will make absolutely no sense if you read it without the background provided in the first book.  Seriously.  No sense at all.

Well, I’ve finally finished the sequel to Once a Witch (which I read way back in March).  Always a Witch continues the story of Tamsin and her newly discovered Talent.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you obviously didn’t heed my warning above.  Shame on you.)  Tamsin and her family are getting ready for a very special celebration when things get weird…and that’s really saying something in a family full of witches.

Just days before Tamsin’s sister, Rowena is to be married, an enemy returns to wreak havoc on the Greene family.  The evil Alistair Knight warns that he will stop at nothing to restore his family’s power…and he means it.  When Tamsin learns that Alistair has Traveled back to 1887 New York, she knows she must follow him.  She must warn her family (ancestors, really) of what is to come so that they can prevent the dismal future that could await them.  But things aren’t really that easy.  Then again, they never are when it comes to Tamsin.

When Tamsin Travels back in time, she almost immediately finds herself employed…by the Knight family.  She is to be lady’s maid to young Jessica Knight.  But Tamsin may just be able to use this unexpected circumstance to her advantage.  She uses her position to learn more about her enemy, and she’s truly horrified by what she discovers.  The Knight family is the epitome of evil, and they must be stopped.  But can Tamsin convince her family to stop them when it could mean the loss of their powers and even their lives?

With or without help, Tamsin is determined to do what she must to ensure that the Knights lose their power.  But is she really willing to make the hard choices?  Choices that could impact the past as well as the future?  What will she do when she realizes that the future of her entire family rests on her shoulders?  What would you do?  Read Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough to discover how far one will go in the name of family.

Even though this book was heavy on the time travel (which I believe I have mentioned seriously messes with my head), I think Always a Witch was even better than its predecessor.  I was (figuratively) on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book.  Tamsin grew up and began to really think about how her choices would impact not only herself but also everyone around her.  I also kind of like that the villains of the book were the Knights.  That’s just awesome.  I’ve kind of always wanted to be a villain (but a good, misunderstood one like Darth Vader).  Even though the Knights in this book were pure evil, I still think it’s pretty cool that we share the same last name.  I know that’s incredibly juvenile of me, but, let’s face it, sometimes I am incredibly juvenile.

If you’d like more information on Once a Witch, Always a Witch, or other books by author Carolyn MacCullough, visit her website at http://www.carolynmaccullough.com/index.html.  As for me, I must get ready for the first day of school tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Passion

Danger, danger!!!  Proceed with extreme caution if you have not read Fallen and Torment by Lauren Kate.  You must read the first two novels in this series to understand this one.  (Even if you have read these books, you may want to skim over them to refresh your memory.)  Passion is definitely not meant to stand alone.  You’ve been warned!

If you’re still reading this, I will assume that you’ve read the first two books in Lauren Kate’s Fallen series.  Passion is, obviously, the third book and is primarily a transition between the second book, Torment, and the final book in the series, Rapture.  A lot of what happens in Passion is repetitive and involves Luce traveling through time trying to find answers about her relationship with Daniel.  The time travel in this book bothered me a little.  (Of course, time travel fiction usually messes with my head.  I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a linear thinker and possible changes to the space-time continuum make me anxious.)  I kept waiting for Luce or Daniel to make one little misstep and change the entire world as they knew it.  As it happens, they weren’t the ones I needed to worry about…

Luce is on a mission.  She’s determined to figure out just what is so special about her relationship with Daniel Grigori.  She knows that her soul has loved him all throughout time, but she wonders if there is any way to break the curse that causes her to die, lifetime after lifetime, just when her love is the strongest.  Luce decides to observe her past selves in action to get some answers, so she uses an Announcer (weird, shadowy portals through space and time) to revisit her former lives.  (Confused yet?)  Unfortunately, Luce doesn’t really know what she’s doing.  When a guide in the form of a little, flying stone gargoyle named Bill shows up, Luce decides to follow his lead through time.  Luce and Bill go back centuries in the hopes of discovering just what it is about Luce and Daniel that makes their love so timeless and if there is any way of breaking the curse that binds them.  But Luce may be in for more than she expected…

Meanwhile, Daniel is racing after Luce.  He always seems to be a few steps behind her.  He knows that he has to find her quickly before the fabric of time is altered forever.  But even Daniel soon realizes that he can use his trips through time to change the future, particularly his relationship with Luce.  Has he found a way to break the curse that tears Luce away from him?  And what could it mean if he has? 

As Daniel and Luce attempt to find each other and a way to be together, other forces are also at work.  Darker forces that seek to destroy not only the love between Daniel and Luce, but the entirety of human existence.  It’s not just about Daniel and Luce anymore.  It seems a war is brewing, and Daniel, Luce, and all of their friends will have to work together before the world they know is simply erased.  Can they fight the evil that is coming?  We’ll just have to wait and see…

Although it took me a while to get into this book, I will say that I liked it.  Again, the time travel thing bugs me a bit, but it definitely provided insights into the relationship between Daniel and Luce, and we got a couple of history lessons as a bonus.  I also enjoyed seeing just what made Cam go dark.  It was enlightening.  All of the time travel stuff, while anxiety-inducing, led to an unexpected ending that will play a major role in the final book in this series, Rapture.  (The title really says it all.)  When you’re dealing with stories about fallen angels, you just know that it’s going to come down to a war between Heaven and Hell, and that’s just what we’ll get as this series draws to a close.

Rapture is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2012.  Until then, visit Lauren Kate’s website, http://laurenkatebooks.net/, for more information on the Fallen series.

Published in: on July 7, 2011 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Once a Witch

I picked up my latest read, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, primarily because it is a 2011-12 South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominee.  I served on the Young Adult Book Award committee for three years, and, even though I work with much smaller mammals now, I still like to keep up with what teens in my state are reading, and I think they will really enjoy Once a Witch (especially girls who are fans of the Twilight saga and similar books).  Once a Witch is the first book in a tantalizing new series, and I think it takes readers to places that they never expected to go…

Tamsin Greene is an oddball in her family, and that is definitely saying something.  You see, Tamsin comes from a family of witches, all of whom have special Talents…except Tamsin.  She’s ordinary.  No Talent, no special powers, no hint of anything magical about her.  So, when a mysterious man comes into her family’s bookshop and mistakes Tamsin for her older, extremely gifted sister Rowena, Tamsin plays along and agrees to help him find a lost family heirloom.  If she can find what this man is searching for, maybe she won’t feel so much like an outsider in her own family.

What Tamsin didn’t count on, however, were the strange man’s intentions when he asked her to look for his lost heirloom.  It seems both he and the object of his desire are far more dangerous than Tamsin could have possibly known, and the search for the heirloom will take Tamsin and everyone close to her down a path fraught with peril at every turn.

What will happen when Tamsin locates this mysterious object?  What is the strange man really after?  Can Tamsin stop the storm that is brewing before it is too late?  And, most importantly, is she really as Talentless as everyone has always led her to believe?  Join Tamsin on her quest for answers when you read Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough.

I, for one, really related to the character of Tamsin.  No, I don’t come from a family of witches (that I know of), but I have felt like an outsider in my own family.  (Mom, if you’re reading this, try to chill.  You know exactly what I mean.)  I’m not loud, I don’t really like to talk all that much (and trust me when I say that is odd in my family), and I’d rather escape into the pages of a book than deal with people.  I’m just not like most of the other people in my family, so I found it very easy to sympathize with Tamsin, and I think many teen readers will as well.

I highly recommend this book to young adult readers.  (It may be a little much for the middle grades, though.)  Once a Witch is a wonderful first book in what promises to be a captivating series.  The sequel, Always a Witch, will be out on August 1, 2011.  I look forward to seeing what trouble Tamsin will get into this time.  For more information on this series, author Carolyn MacCullough, quizzes, and facts about witches, visit http://onceawitch.com/.

Prada & Prejudice

You may have noticed that the titles of my last two books are very similar.  Prom and Prejudice was a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice.  I thought I was in for more of the same with my latest read, Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard.  Alas, I was sadly mistaken.  The book was good, but, when you’re expecting Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy in a title that ends with and Prejudice, it’s a bit of a downer when they don’t show up.  That being said, our main character, Callie, does take a journey to Regency England, but not in the way you might think…

Callie is a bit clumsy.  She’s kind of nerdy.  And she’s tired of the other girls looking down on her because she doesn’t always have the best of everything.  So, when she’s on her school trip to London, she takes her “for emergencies only” credit card and purchases a stellar pair of Prada heels.  (And really, isn’t needing a pair of great shoes kind of an emergency?  Right?)  The only problem is that Callie can’t really walk in them.  (I believe I mentioned she’s clumsy.)  As she’s stumbling along in her new $400 torture devices shoes, Callie trips, falls, and it’s lights out…

…and she wakes up in a forest with absolutely nothing familiar around her.  Where is she?  What happened to the busy streets of London?  Why is there absolutely no one around her?  Well, the answers to these questions are a little more complicated than Callie counted on.  You see, she’s somehow gone from modern London to an English country estate in the year 1815!  What?  How is this even possible?  She must have hit her head harder than she thought if she really believes she’s traveled through time.

But as Callie enters this strange world and is taken in by people who believe her to be a long-lost friend, she begins to wonder if this could be real.  And if it is, does she want to return to her old life, where she was a nobody, or should she stay here with people she’s grown to love and cherish?  Does she even have a choice in the matter?  Find out when you read Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard.

While this was a cute book, it reminded me a lot of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, and I was always searching for a connection to Pride and Prejudice.  I think a different title would have served the story better and not given any false hope to Austen fans.  That being said, this was a fun, light read that will appeal to middle grade girls on up to adult readers.  Prada and Prejudice will definitely delight those readers who have always wished to live in a different time.  (I am not one of those people…unless we’re talking about “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”)

For more information on author Mandy Hubbard and her other books, visit http://www.mandyhubbard.com/index.php/books/.  Enjoy!

Published in: on March 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm  Comments (2)  
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Sabotaged

Proceed with caution if you haven’t read the first two books in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series.  (Of course, given how confused I was through most of the third book, I don’t know that reading the first two books really helped all that much.)  On with the show…

I may have mentioned before that the thought of time travel really messes with my head.  Too many “what if” situations pop up, and I feel like my brain will explode trying to unravel all of the possibilities.  I even had issues with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because Hermione used a time-turner to take more classes.  The potential for catastrophe was huge, and I can’t handle that kind of stress.  Well, as you may imagine, my latest read has my head spinning.  Sabotaged is the third book in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series, and it is just as confusing, if not more, than the second book, Sent.  I honestly don’t know if I’ll stick with this series simply because my brain cannot take that kind of pressure.  (That’s probably not true, by the way.  Those that know me realize that I have to finish a series once I’ve started.  I need closure.)

In Sabotaged, Jonah and his sister, Katherine, are once again trying to fix time.  This go-round, they’re attempting to help Andrea, one of the missing children from history, get back to her original time to fix whatever needs fixing.  And who is Andrea, you ask?  She’s really Virginia Dare, presumably the first child born in the Americas to English parents in the “lost colony” at Roanoke Island.

Jonah, Katherine, Andrea/Virginia, and a dog named Dare begin their journey back in time with the help of their guide, JB.  Almost immediately, however, things begin to go wrong.  Their only source of communication with JB disappears, they seem to land in the wrong place and time, and things are just not going the way they’re supposed to.  What has happened?  How can they get back to the 21st century?  What are they supposed to do?

As events unfold, it becomes clearer and clearer that JB may not be the one “guiding” Jonah, Katherine, and Andrea/Virginia.  There is a more sinister plot afoot, a plot that could impact the flow of history.  Who has sabotaged this mission?  Does JB know anything about it?  If not, how can Jonah and the gang possibly get out of this predicament?  Read Sabotaged by Margaret Peterson Haddix to find out.

Like I stated previously, this book was very confusing, but the author’s note at the end did shed a lot of light on the subject matter.  (I probably should have read this first.)  Haddix really did her research on Virginia Dare, the Roanoke colony, and early settlements in North America.  For more information on Sabotaged and the other books in The Missing series, visit http://www.haddixbooks.com/home.html.

Published in: on October 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sent

Yet another spoiler alert!  If you haven’t read Found, the first book in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series, skip this post.  This is one series where you must read the first book to understand the second (and so forth).  Proceed at your own risk!

Today, I finished reading Sent, the second book in The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  The entire concept of time travel mixed with famous missing children throughout history is an interesting one, and I think Found did an awesome job of leading readers into this series.  (I still don’t think most elementary school students will understand a lot of what’s going on, but what do I know.)

In Sent, Jonah, Katherine, Chip, and Alex are sent back to fifteenth century England.  Why, you ask?  Well, as it turns out, Chip and Alex are really Edward V, future king of England, and his brother, Prince Richard.  The two boys were stolen from this time just before their uncle, Richard III, ascended to the throne.  Why did their uncle become king instead of Edward?  Why does no one know what really happened to Edward/Chip and Richard/Alex?  It’s up to Jonah and crew to find out and make things right before it’s too late.  Can they do it without screwing up history?  I’ll leave that for you to discover.

I don’t really know what more I can say about this book without giving everything away, so I’ll keep this post short.  I will say that I spent a lot of my time reading this book in a state of confusion.  Keeping track of Edward/Chip and Richard/Alex was mind-numbing, and I’m sure I’ll experience the same thing throughout the rest of the series.  I’m a linear thinker, and contemplating time travel really messes with my head.  I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.  I may take a little break, though, before I begin reading book three, Sabotaged.  I need to give my brain a rest.

For more information on The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix, visit http://www.haddixbooks.com/home.html.

Published in: on September 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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