Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Today I’m featuring new author Tiffany Pitcock and her contemporary novel, Just Friends. The book releases tomorrow, August 1st, 2017, so don’t forget to grab your copies.

But before that, Tiffany answers few questions for me about the book and writing. Then following the interview is Tiffany’s bio, along with places where to find her online, as well as the book‘s description and where to get copies of Just Friends. And if you are in the US or Canada and you’d like the chance to win a copy of the book and other fab items, just enter in the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.

Interview with Tiffany Pitcock

What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose the genre to write? What inspired your debut novel Just Friends?

My first introduction to YA was Meg Cabot’s All-American Girl which led to my first love, her Princess Diaries series. It was the first time I encountered a heroine who reminded me so much of myself. Not the secret-princess part, obviously, but a heroine who overthinks and stresses. Who wears her emotions on her sleeve, and shamelessly loves pop culture. Her books made me so happy, and I wanted to do that for other people. I wanted to write something and have someone see themselves in it. I wanted to give back the gift those books had given me.

I came up with the idea of Just Friends when I was sixteen, after a disastrous relationship with my “best friend”. I wanted to explore and subvert the friends-to-lovers trope I found in teen movies. I wanted to explore the dangers of crossing that line. What if the friendship it was built on wasn’t real? What if it was all a lie? Could something still blossom there?

Just Friends is out tomorrow and I’m sure you are more than excited. How was the experience writing the novel and going to publication process?

I started JF when I was sixteen, wrote three chapters, then dropped it for three years. The original concept was not a romance. Like, I’m talking Jenny and Chance sleep together once and don’t speak for ten years and Chance has a kid. Like what even? It never saw the light of day. I finished the first draft for my Sophomore creative writing final, and it was still a completely different book than the one coming out tomorrow. I stayed up all night and finished it in a month. It was such an emotional thing for me. I got to the halfway point of my draft and just stopped to cry because I never thought I’d get that far. It was a year later when Swoon Reads contacted me.

I had to rewrite the entire novel for them, and honestly? That was a really good call. The rewrite of JF was the easiest thing I’ve ever written, it flowed so naturally. Also, no tears this time! It took about a year to transform Just Friends into what it is today, and it was worth it.

Jenny and Chance relationship basically started with a lie. What’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

When people come up and ask me if I went to high school with them I always lie and say I went somewhere else.

Okay, I don’t do that, but sometimes I really want to.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

I met Kevin Bacon at Comic-Con a few years back. So, my gift to everyone I meet is that they’re now one degree from Kevin Bacon.

If Jenny and Chance could say one thing to you about the direction of their story, what would they say?

Probably “Why can’t we just talk to each other?”. Or, maybe, “Thank you for letting us develop a friendship first.”

What’s next for you after the release of Just Friends? Are you working or planning to work on any project right now?

I can’t talk much about it (mostly because I don’t want to jinx anything), but I’m working on a few new projects that I’m super excited about.


Tiffany Pitcock is a young writer from Benton, Ar. She studied English at Henderson State University, but has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Besides reading, she is a fan of cats, staying indoors, and tv dramas.

Find Tiffany

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram|Goodreads



Book Details:

Title: Just Friends
Author: Tiffany Pitcock
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 01, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback, eBook

A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Debut author Tiffany Pitcock delivers a spot-on depiction of first love and the high school rumor mill in Just Friends, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads.

Book Links

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What’s up for Grab?

  • signed finished copy of Just Friends By Tiffany Pitcock
  • bookmark, sticker, and various other goodies

The Rules:

  • Open to US/CA
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends August 21st, 2017
  • Prize will be sent via book depository

To enter fill out the form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Today I’m thrilled to feature new author Chelsea Bobulski and her debut fantasy/mystery novel, The Wood. The book will hit the shelves in three (3) days, and I can’t wait for everyone to get the chance to read this riveting book.  If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet you still have time to place your order from your favorite book store.

If you’d like to know more about the book, check out the book’s description. If you’d like to catch up with Author Chelsea Bobulski online, her social links and author bio follow the interview. And if you would like the chance to win a copy of the book, just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post to be enter on the giveaway which is open international.

A huge thank you to Chelsea for taking the time to answer all my questions, I hope you guys enjoy!

Interview with Chelsea Bobulski

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as a new author?

My journey has honestly been a dream come true. It took me five years and five books to get my first book deal after deciding I wanted to pursue traditional publishing (before that, I only wrote for my own amusement, never daring to dream that I could someday walk into a bookstore and see one of my books on the shelves). My full publishing journey up until getting that first book deal was a very long process, with a lot of twists and turns that would take waaaay too long to detail here, but if you would like to read more about it, you can check out my blog post, My Journey to Publication. Post-book deal, my journey has been everything I could have ever hoped it would be. My editor and my entire publishing team have been so supportive. THE WOOD would not be the book it is now, the book I intended for it to be all along, if it weren’t for their expert guidance.

The Wood has an intriguing premise – enchanted woods, time travel, portals, and guardians. Where did you get the inspiration for the story?

I would definitely say the main inspiration came from two of my favorite things (the history nerd in me that hopes for the possibility of time-travel, and a lifelong connection to the woods that I can only describe as a primordial and ancient urge to return to nature whenever I can—Side Note: I’m a big hiker, but not a big camper, to which my husband will attest. I enjoy the woods so much more if I can go home, or to a nice hotel with a shower, at the end of the day). Both of these pieces of me must have come together subconsciously in my brain, crafting this story and my main character, Winter, while I was off doing and writing other things. I have no other way to explain how Winter’s voice came to me fully-formed one day while I was free-writing for fun. It was like she’d been there all along, waiting for me to tell her story. I free-wrote the first fifty pages of THE WOOD just listening to Winter’s voice, letting her guide the story (pages that have not changed much at all from first draft to final product, other than the inclusion of a new scene). It was at fifty pages that I stopped and realized I should probably plot out the story my main character was trying to tell me before I totally lost track of it. But at its heart, THE WOOD is a mixture of all my favorite things, blended with a very deep and urgent need to escape to the woods from time to time and bask in its beauty.

How did you maintain the atmosphere of mystery throughout the story?

Maintaining the atmosphere of mystery throughout the story was very easy for me because I didn’t even know what was going on half the time. It was as if Winter and I were discovering the mystery together. Of course, I knew the most important things, but there was a lot I didn’t know. Both of my main characters, Winter and Henry, were very sneaky, only showing me their secrets on a need-to-know basis. I remember getting really frustrated one time and shouting at my computer, “Just tell me what you’re hiding!!” (Really glad no one was around to see that). There were plenty of times when they would reveal something important to me mid-drafting that I didn’t see coming, as if they were throwing a bone to the poor writer trying to tell their story. This isn’t typical of how I write—usually I plot out quite a bit of the story, leaving just enough wiggle room for unexpected surprises (because if I plot out the entire book point by point beforehand, there’s no more discovery inherent in the process and I lose all of the excitement and passion for writing it)—but THE WOOD was not a typical book for me from the moment I wrote the first page. It definitely took on a life of its own, which may also be why there is such an atmosphere of mystery surrounding it!

Do you have a method for creating your characters, and what do you think makes them believable?

Character is the most important part of a book to me, both as a reader and as a writer. As a reader, I need to connect with the main character on a deeply personal level in order to enjoy their story. It’s the same for me while writing. I have plenty of plot ideas for future books swimming around in my head, but until their characters step forward and really show me why their story is important, I can’t begin to write them. I need to be able to get under the skin of my characters. I need to analyze them and figure out their deepest desires and fears, their goals, their motivations, the past hurts that define their internal conflict, the situation they find themselves in that defines their external conflict—I think it’s just so important to know your character inside and out as much as possible before you start writing, because it’s amazing how discovering things about your character can really affect the plot, and vice versa. If you’re like me, there are things you will continue to discover about your character as you’re drafting, but it’s so important to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing and how they feel about it. I tend to find that it’s only when you understand your characters on this deeper level that they reveal even more of themselves to you. This is also what makes a character believable, what makes them feel fully-formed in the reader’s mind. The other extremely important thing that makes a character believable is giving them flaws. No one wants to read about a perfect person doing perfect things, never failing, never growing, never changing. It just doesn’t make for an interesting story. Even if a character is a perfectionist obsessed with doing everything perfect, digging deeper may reveal the dark past that has inspired these tendencies, the stains that continue to bleed into her current life—that’s where the story is. Not the perfect things the character tries to do, but why she’s doing them, and why she won’t be able to keep up the façade for much longer.

Love the cover art of The Wood. It looks dark and sinister. Did you have any say in the cover and title of your book? How important do you think they are?

As much as we try to not judge a book by its cover, I do think it’s very important that a cover convey everything the reader will find in your book in an eye-catching way—that is, after all, what’s going to make a reader curious enough to read the description of your book and/or the first page. I was so, so fortunate to get the cover of my dreams right off the bat. My editor sent me the concept, and the second I saw my cover, it took my breath away. Rich Deas, Feiwel and Friends’ creative director, came up with the perfect cover to convey the tone and atmosphere of THE WOOD in that single leaf, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. Seeing this story become an actual book and flourish under such an amazing team has just been a total dream come true.

If you could go back in time and tell young Chelsea one thing, what would it be?

“I know things aren’t easy right now, little one. I know there are days when you feel like your whole world is crashing down around you. Like you’re alone in a limitless ocean, barely treading water. Hold on, keep breathing, because all of those dreams you’re praying for, the life you someday hope to live, it’s all going to come true. You are going to be blessed beyond your wildest dreams. You are going to be a published author, and you are going to be blessed with an amazing husband and a beautiful daughter. You are going to be living your best life, and it is going to be amazing.”

And this is definitely what I would tell anyone going through difficulties, especially as a teen or as an adolescent, since that can be such a hard time when you don’t have any control over your situation, whatever it may be, and when you can feel very lost or alone, especially as you are trying to discover who you are vs. who other people expect you to be. Just know that it does get better, and that if you work hard for it, you will be living your best, most amazing life. So keep your chin up, chase your dreams, and don’t look back. You’ve got this.

Where do you see your work going after the release of The Wood? Any other project we should look forward to?

I have a few secret projects I’m working on right now. One is a YA in a similar vein as THE WOOD, and the others are fun, new age groups and genres for me that I’m really excited to be working on. No news I can share yet, but I hope to be able to soon! 🙂

Thanks for having me!!


Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on Disney movies, Broadway musicals, and Buckeye pride. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, and promptly married her high school sweetheart. As a writer, she has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and obstacles they must overcome for a brighter future. She now lives in Northwest Ohio with her husband, her daughter, and one very emotive German Shepherd/Lab mix. Her debut young adult novel, THE WOOD, will be published by Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan on August 1, 2017.

Find Chelsea

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: The Wood
Author: Chelsea Bobulski
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: August 01, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can’t help but think there’s more to her dad’s disappearance than she’s being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Bobulski’s eerie debut is filled with friendship, family, and the responsibilities we choose and those we do not.

Book Links

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What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

The Rules:

  • Open to International where Book Depository Ships
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends August 19th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.


The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig

“…whenever you try to change something, you sacrifice something else.”

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. The sequel—and conclusion—to the indie darling The Girl from Everywhere will be devoured by fans of Rachel Hartman and Maggie Stiefvater. Includes black-and-white maps.

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | BD | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Heidi Heilig sailed once again in this sequel of her time travel series, The Girl from Everywhere. Amira/Nix and her crew are back in The Ship Beyond Time for more journey, searching for the biggest question of time travel about changing history and fate – Do we decide our own fate or is it simply a predetermined path?

Can Amira change her destiny to save someone she love?

I come aboard reading this sequel with less expectations especially with all the issues I have from the first book. If not for Kashmir and the hope to get answers or explanations to at least few of my questions from the The Girl from Everywhere I’m not sure I’ll be coming back for more. But my curiosity win as usual.

The best part of this book (aside from Kashmir and his point of view) is how all the events are interconnected. Sometimes I view those events as circle or loop which are all linked to each other in some way. And analyzing them just form lots of questions (more on that later) than answers. The events are all interconnected, every decisions counts, and they are all part of a grander plot. Which makes me appreciate the intricacy of all these connections. Heidi Heilig must have done lots of research and outlining, not only weaving the imaginary world to the real ones but also interlacing each events.

Remember the main conflict from the first book? About the possibility or erasing Amira’s very own existence if his dad tried and save her mom. Well, that conflict doesn’t really work for me because of Kashmir – an imaginary character from mythical land who exist as real and living boy in the story. (Check my explanations from my review of the first book here for more details.) I did wait for some explanations for that in this second installment, and Kash actually have some thoughts about it but there was never a clear answer. Just one of the many unanswered questions I have from this series.

“If you can create a myth, why not a man? Am I merely a figment of some cartographer’s imagination? Or did you make me up when you arrived?”

Then there’s also the time traveling part. I won’t go into details about the rules of time traveling. I cover more than enough of those from my review of the first book, The Girl from Everywhere. Instead, let’s discuss the classic question I mentioned above, about fate and destiny. Are we the masters of our own fate? Amira travel the length of mythical land looking for answers about changing her destiny with the belief of saving Kashmir. She cannot accept a future where she will lose Kash, to the point of losing the time she was supposed to enjoy with him.

“That’s why you want to know you can change things before you commit.”
“You watched your father chase your mother for years, and you wished he didn’t love her. What will you do to my memory when I’m gone? Will you chase it like a dragon? Or will you banish it like smoke?”

Amira dreaded the future that she forgot to enjoy the present. Unlike Kash who even doubting his very own existence manage to appreciate what he has.

“I won’t let fear of tomorrow steal joy form today.”

Heidi Heilig challenged her characters about the cause and effect of our choices, the ramification of our actions, and how destiny play a huge role in all of these. Amira went to this mythical utopia to find answers in saving Kash, but in doing so she actually triggered the events that led to her loss. Which is just one part of the connections I mentioned above. If only I can enumerate all them here without spoiling. But trust me, those parts are the best, especially in the end where everything is laid out.

“Every choice has a cost, Miss Song. The real question is whether or not one is willing to pay it.”
“No, Blake. The real question is whether it’s worth the price.”

So, Amira doesn’t actually changed her destiny. In the end she still lose someone she love. Which means destiny cannot be altered. If that’s the case, then it brings conflict to Kashmir and Blake’s dream. During their stay in the mythical utopia, there are events that explain Kashmir and Blake’s dream which are actually altered reality – something that happened but was altered somehow. And only navigators remembers what really happened in those events. Those parts are contradicting. They bring more conflicts than answers. Which means we are back to square one. Is fate can really be altered or are we just treading the same line where our destiny ends? Unfortunately, The Ship Beyond Time cannot answer that question. I guess, it’s really up to the  readers what they want to believe.

Back to Amira and Kash. These two went through a lot. Their internal struggles, relationship issues, and overall character development is really the heart of The Ship Beyond Time. Though I missed the other characters who all take a few steps backward in this last adventure, I still enjoyed Kash and Amira’s story. Surprisingly, there’s no love-triangle involved. Blake is not much of a competition as I expected him to be, especially with how the first book ended. So we only have Amira and Kash trying to navigate their own sea of issues both as a couple and individual. Kashmir is questioning his own purpose and existence. While Amira is struggling not only with her destiny of losing someone she love, but also becoming like her father. She is afraid of losing control, of giving in to love and end up like her father – whom we see from the first book as someone obsess in getting his wife back.

Overall, The Ship Beyond Time is imaginative, exciting and entertaining read. Not everything is explained, but that matters very little especially when you are lost enjoying sailing with characters like Amira and her diverse crew aboard the time-traveling ship, Temptation.


The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Girl From Everywhere

“Sometimes a person has to let go of something to take hold of something else. You always have to choose what’s more important.”

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

Personal Thoughts:

The Girl from Everywhere is a richly imaginative tale that not only offers thrilling adventure of time travelling but also likeable characters to sail along with the readers.

The story introduced us to Nix as she sails to different time and place with her navigator father, Slate and the whole crew of the ship, The Temptation. They can travel to any place and time, both real and imagine as long as they have a map for it. They’ve visited a lot of maps except for 1868 Honolulu, the one map that Slate is obsessing. It’s the place and time where Nix’s mother exist before she give birth to Nix and then died. Slate will do anything to get his hand on this particular map that will bring him back to the woman he love dearly and save her from death. But Nix is worried that if Slate try to save her mother before Nix was born, it may change the past. And changing the past may have effect to Nix existence.

Heidi Heilig used a lots of ideas and concepts in this book. Not only she combine time-travel with fantasy and history, she also throw a diverse cast of characters, pirating, and creatures from myth and legends. It’s a very promising mixed which if done well could have been an epic read.

The main character Nix is easy to sympathize. Right from the start I feel sorry for her. She has a father but it feels like she doesn’t have one. Slate is more of a ship Captain and navigator than a father to Nix. And with Slate obsession to save his wife without considering what will happen to Nix, Nix is not sure if her father love her or even care for her. The other member of the crew is more concern to her than her own father.

Just like Kashmir, the Persian guy who clearly care for Nix. Readers will be glad this thief is on board. Not only he took care of Nix but mostly because he provide the most needed entertainment to the story. Kashmir is easily charming who will surely make readers notice him. He is witty, smart, cunning and smooth talking. And did I mentioned that he is a thief? Oh yes, I did. He is a thief which is a weakness of mine, especially those smart-mouted and wise one like Eugenides of The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen-Turner. Here are some memorable lines from Kashmir.

“I never knew you had such a fine eye for fabrics,” I said as we continued up the street. “You should have been a tailor instead of a thief.”
“I have a fine eye for all things, amira, which is why I’m a thief and not a tailor.”

“The last thing we need is for you to go to jail.”
“For treason?” he said, running a comb through his touseled hair. “We wouldn’t go to jail.”
“We’d be shot.”

“When I was young, I learned to expect loss. Every time you slept, something disappeared. Whenever you woke up, someone else was gone. But . . . I also learned that every day, you created everything anew. And whatever you had, you enjoyed as long as it lasted.
Spend money when it’s in your pocket.” …“Eat fruit while it’s ripe…“Paradise is a promise no god bothers to keep. There’s only now, and tomorrow nothing will be the same, whether we like it or not.

This book is not without flaws – there are some plot holes or intricate concepts that I think didn’t really work smoothly, particularly the time traveling part. I’m not sure if I’m just over analysing things or what, but I don’t think it was explained better or justified how really Slate and his crew can travel in different times and places, both real and imagine. Basically it said that they only need a map that is completed on the date they want to travel, and for some vague reason only Slate can navigate those maps. When it was revealed in the end how can he do it, I’m so disappointed. I wish Heidi explained that one better or put more thoughts about it.

Also, there are dates of Slate’s travels that didn’t fit (or I just misunderstand them). When Slate is teaching Nix how to navigate, it was revealed that he was in New York public library and the year is 1981 when he first time travel, but there’s also a reference that say 2016 is Slate’s “native time and place”, which can be translated to Slate’s origin right? But then it was also mentioned that Slate in 2016 is fifty one years old which means he was actually born in the year 1965, and if we compute from there, it means his first time-travel was when he sixteen years old. I’m not exactly sure how time flows when he was time traveling, but lets assume that time flows the same fluid motion as our regular time, so my question is, is Slate and his crew time travel to the future when they landed to May 2016? If that’s the case, where Slate did get a map of the future, if the map isn’t even made by then? I’m not sure if I’m making sense here, but it just really confusing to me.

And for the imagined places like legends and myths, the only restrictions that I remember is as long as the maker of the map believe in the places he/she drawn in the map then Slate and his crew can time travel there. So let say, I draw a map today which I set in the past and Slate will use that map, what date will they actually land? The date I made the map or the date I set in the map of the imaginary land, which I also believe is real? Also, in the book it said that maps can be only use once, thus it means that Slate has tons of maps at his disposal? Where and how did he acquire all those maps? And assuming that he can acquire those maps easily how come 1868 Honolulu map is so hard to find, while legends and mythical land seems easy to obtain and travel?

Also, the main conflict of the plot doesn’t work for me. Nix doesn’t want for Slate to travel back in 1868 Honolulu, the year before her mother died because of the possibility that it may erase Nix very own existence. But if that’s the case, why they can’t recreate Nix? Kashmir is from an imaginary world but manage to exist like a real person, so why Nix who is real cannot exist like Kashmir? I’m sure, if Slate can bring an imaginary character like Kashmir he can also pull his own daughter from some of his time travel right? Is it too much for him to create a map where he believes that her daughter, Nix exist and alive?

Despite the few drawbacks with regard to the time travelling part, The Girl from Everywhere is an imaginative, utterly gorgeous, and mesmerizing tale. There so much promise that we can only hope to be develop more or explain better in the next installment. I hope Nix next time-travel sailing will be more smoother than this one.


Vortex (Tempest #2) by Julie Cross


“… I could never undo it. Ever. I could erase her memories of being with me, take myself out of the relationship over and over again, but I’d never be able to change what it did to me.”

Jackson Meyer has thrown himself intunko his role as an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. Despite his heartbreak at losing the love of his life, Jackson has proved himself to be an excellent agent. However, after an accidental run in with Holly—the girl he altered history to save—Jackson is once again reminded of what he’s lost. And when Eyewall, an opposing division of the CIA, emerges, Jackson and his fellow agents not only find themselves under attack, but Jackson begins to discover that the world around him has changed and someone knows about his erased relationship with Holly, putting both their lives at risk all over again.

Personal Thoughts:

Vortex blew my mind. It is simply an amazing read.

The story follows Jackson Meyer and his life as a CIA agent. After changing time and history itself to save the girl he love, Jackson is trying to continue his life without Holly and Adam. He join Tempest, a CIA division that focus on studying time-travel with a mission to preserve the natural and ethical state of humanity. He undergo intensive trainings while trying to prove to everyone his worth – that he isn’t there because of his father nor because of connections, but because he has something to offer. All that without actually revealing to anyone his ability to jump through time. And with all the EOT’s continues effort to change the future and a new CIA agency trying to take down the Tempest division, Jackson needs to figure out everything and everyone intentions.

“One thing I had learned after three months of training was that almost every task or assignment revolved around mind games. Question everything and everyone.”

As Vortex focus on the inside of CIA training and operations, the plot focus more on the action and thrilling side of the story, which only means lesser Jackson and Holly’s romantic relationship. Personally, I found this route effective and much enjoyable as a continuation of the story. In Tempest, we already know the length of things Jackson will do for Holly. The big decision he made in the end of Tempest prove everything he needs to prove. So going back to their relationship fighting the unknown will not be as engrossing as this one. Because in here, Jackson is actually fighting from the inside and not only for Holly but for all humanity. He isn’t saving one person anymore, but is trying to save the world or universe in general. I think the story actually go well even without touching much Jackson’s romantic life. His life as an agent, all the extensive trainings, missions, discoveries about time-jump and his relationships with his Dad and other agents alone are intriguing enough to pull the whole plot. I’m glad that Julie Cross doesn’t make this book about Jackson’s love life, instead she pulls just enough Holly-Jackson interactions and even used it as part of the action-packed plot.

“But all you can do… all anyone can do… is love who you want to love, while they’re here. Whatever obstacles come with that. Even if you know what happens in the future. Take the time that you’re given and enjoy it.”

What I really like best about Vortex is the intricate time-traveling concept that Julie Cross created. I love how complex and elaborate it is. I thought I already understand the concept of time-traveling that Julie Cross wanted to project in Tempest, I was wrong, because Vortex reveal a lot of complexity I didn’t anticipate. It thrown everything into the ultimate level.

Vortex shares a lot of information that it almost feels too much to take in in one reading. So many time-traveling concepts, technical terms, scientific explanations, histories, and secrets keeps on popping out as I read. I almost want to stop for a while so just I can grab a pen and take some notes to make sure I’m still following everything, but my eagerness to know more and the fast-pace plot doesn’t give me a chance to pause much more to leave the story.

The different concept of timelines and parallel universe alone keep my mind busy and absorbed in the story. Add the constant revelations I can’t help but get focus on reading more and more. I love how this book makes me think, work out some logic, and analyzed everything that is happening while fully enjoying the story and eagerly anticipating what will happen next. Definitely an engrossing read for me.

Another thing that I like are the characters. The major characters (if not all of them) were complex and well developed. Jackson grown a lot since the last time I met him in Tempest. He isn’t clouded anymore by his love for Holly. After sacrificing so much and undergoing to extensive training, Jackson is more focus, more guarded, and more determined to make things right. He still doesn’t fully understand everything, especially those things that are kept from him by higher ranks of CIA, but Jackson now finally grasping the fact that he can do something for the humanity. He is now willing to do his part and serve for a higher purpose, but the problem is he still needs to know what he must do and who to trust.

Other than Jackson, two characters that really stood out for me are Kendrick and Stewart. I like the friendship they form with Jackson, and the fact that it doesn’t started all too well. Though these two girls are total opposite, I like that they both provide a chance for Jackson to developed his trust to other people.

If there’s one thing that I think didn’t fit much is Agent Meyer Sr. in 1952. I think that version of him is too kind to give so much information to someone he barely know. Jackson do the half-jump and met Agent Meyer Sr. in that year, which is the first time of that version of Agent Meyer Sr. meeting Jackson. All he know about Jackson is that he comes from the future. With that little span of time I think that he gave too much information that he’s not supposed to give to anyone. It is good for the plot as it reveal a lot of things, but if I am a CIA agent like Agent Meyer Sr., I’m sure I’ll held any information to myself.

Other than that I think Jackson’s Dad fairly do well. He supports Jackson in his decision to join the Tempest, he helps him in everything he can even to the point of making sure that Holly is safe. He will do anything for his family.

“You and Courtney won’t have to do anything. Won’t have to make any sacrifices because he’ll fill that role for you. He’s quite determined.”

With intricate time-travel concept, complex characters, fast-paced and unpredictable plot, Julie Cross concocted a complex story that makes time-travel genre more than entertaining. Be prepared to be blown away by this fascinating and highly imaginative adventure.


Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Time Between Us

“I don’t stay anywhere. I visit. I observe. I leave. I don’t ever stay.”

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

Personal Thoughts:

I’ve read a bunch of time travel stories before not only in fantasy or science-fiction genre but also in a contemporary like this one. With that I proceed reading Time Between Us with some expectations. Like some of my latest time travel reads I expected an intricate time travel plot where I have to concentrate with the year and time of each time travel jumps. Time Between Us is not as intricate and complicated as I expected it to be, which makes the book easy to read. Majority of the story happens in the past year and not in the present so you don’t need to puzzle your mind so much in thinking what timeline are you reading. Personally, I prefer an intricate version but still a simple and nicely plotted story has its own charm.

Anna as a character and narrator is likable but I wasn’t able to really connect with her. I don’t agree with her every decisions, not only because I feel that they are selfish and not the best but also because she isn’t making her own stand. Even her belief and view of things are a bit contradictory. Like her stand in altering past events. She was the one who begged Bennett to go back in time in order to save Emma and Justin without giving the two any choices. She basically decided the fate of her friends without consulting them. But when she found out that Bennett actually used his time travel ability to omit one kiss they shared she become so furious and even called Bennett a hypocrite. She’s angry because according to her Bennett changed part of her life without giving her a choice but in fact few days ago she asked Bennett to changed Emma and Justin’s life without even thinking of asking permission first from Emma and Justin.

“I’ve spent the whole night thinking about how it will end, but right now, there’s only one thing I want to think about: there will be a middle.”
“Maybe Bennett was right–testing fate, toying with it, may not have any obvious impact at first, but eventually something has to backfire.”

As for the time travel concept, nothing much is new in here. As I’ve said earlier, I’ve read a bunch of time travel stories and if I’m going to base this to those books I already read, I can’t see something that seems to be new. The author used only the basic and most common concept of travelling through time. I’m not saying that it is a bad thing, if anything else it pushed the story to the contemporary genre than the fantasy. It’s like The Time Traveler’s Wife but not as epic romantic though.

Like the other time travel stories there are some rules and limitations with Bennett ability to time travel, and with that comes more unanswered questions for me. The author seems forgot to include some necessary details about time traveling, like the theories and explanations for Bennett ability. How he get this ability? Did he developed it? What’s so especial or unique in him that can make him travel through time? Is it a special gene like in? Is he the only one who can do it? I wish the author explore those things too.

There are few flaws in the story’s time travelling rules or at least not clear enough for me. Bennett is supposed to be able to time travel only in his own life time. But for unexplained reason he was able to time travel back in 1994 with his sister, a year where he isn’t born yet. Even if he was actually push back to his present time after they landed in 1994 and left his sister in that year, it still not clear why he was able to land to that year where in the first place he shouldn’t able to. The restrictions don’t properly play nor explain.

If there is one rule that I appreciate in this version of time travel is the basic rule of altering events – that there are possibilities and consequences in changing and playing with time. Playing God is not something we can just pull even if we have the ability to do so. We are not supposed to change the course of history, test fate, or mess around with time. It is not a choice for anyone to make, even the person whose life is involved. That’s not what life is. Sometimes we need to learn to accept things as they are and stop messing with what God intended for us. We have our chances and if we failed there’s should be no going back and undo what we did. Instead, we can try to do better next time, and correct things in the present and not in the past. Past is past we should leave it that way.

“I’m not saying it’s right. Or that I agree with it. I’m just saying that it happened. And whether it was supposed to or not, it’s not my place to change it just because I can.”

The ending is a bit feel contrive, not that I don’t like happy endings but I think the author made a mistake in choosing the happy ever after path. If she go to the sad but realistic end, she may actually leave a deeper mark to the readers. This is one of the story that I think will be brilliant with its sadness and emotional ending. Not only the author will play her readers emotions but also can leave a better stand about the consequences of playing God and changing things we are not supposed to.

Time Between Us is a contemporary romance than a fantasy novel that tells a sweet story of two teenagers who not only challenged the distance but also the timeline between them for the sake of love. A story that has an unrealistic premise of time travel but manage to sounds believable in all cases. It is about making connections and making choices in life.


Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

Sapphire Blue

“Those who believe in coincidence have not understood the forces of destiny.”

Gwen’s life has been a roller-coaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

Personal Thoughts:

Let me get straight, I stay all night just to finished Sapphire Blue and I was rewarded by another abrupt ending. After reading the first book, Ruby Red I am utterly frustrated by how it ends, so I immediately bought a kindle copy of this second installment from amazon instead of ordering a physical copy from book depository just to be able to read the next part of the story right away. But again I am thrown to another mid-sentence kind of ending, which makes me more frustrated than the first book. Specially now that I don’t have a way of reading the last book because it isn’t translated yet to English. Now I’m wondering which would be faster, me getting to learn how to read and understand German or waiting for the final installment’s translated version to be released?

In Ruby Red we are introduced to Gwyneth Shepherd one of the time travelers in a circle of twelve who will fulfill an importance prophecy for the secret society. In this sequel, she is still learning her roles and responsibilities while trying to discover the mysteries that surrounds her family and the secret society. With the help of her best friend Lesley and her unseen friends, James and Xemerius she is determined to find out everything she needs to know while also dealing with the ever confusing hot and cold behavior of her fellow time traveler and companion, Gideon.

I did expect from the title, Sapphire Blue that there will be additional key character in the story which will represent another time traveler just like Gwyneth being the Ruby Red. But I was wrong, Sapphire Blue doesn’t represent any character in particular, instead it is just a dress that Gwyneth wear in one of her time travel to the past. As Gwyneth continue her participation with the secret society, fulfilling her task as a time travel, visiting the old London, dressing in old costumes and acting like someone who belong to the old-time, she were also trying to work her way in discovering the truth about the closing of the circle of twelve. She finally learned why Lucy and Paul stolen one of the chronograph, and some background and history about the Count. With the help of her grandfather, she is now one step closer in opening the secret. But the question is how many more steps she still needs to take to finally unfold the mysteries of circle of twelve? Though there are more prophecy lines and more hints and revelations, it is still unclear how far the history and revelations can go. There are lots of build up but not enough resolutions. And for a story that is set in different era with lots of histories, this may go in different ways. There are so may possibilities and theories that can easily pulled for the plot. So basically, most of the important details are still unknown to us.

Other than the secrets of the time traveler organization and Gwyneth family history the story also focus on Gwyneth and Gideon’s relationship. Basically, it is a hot and cold relationship, which most of the time vary from Gideon’s personality swings. As much as I enjoy reading the interactions between these two characters, their constant misunderstanding is just too much to take. It eating too much space of the plot which should have been focusing more in discovering the real deal of the Count and the circle of twelve. Gwyneth is so wrap up with Gideon’s hot and cold treatment to her, which makes her missed a lot of important things going on around her.

While Gwyneth is busy with Gideon, her friends are busy helping her in digging more information about the secret society and feeding her information about the past. Her best friend Lesley is spending a lot times in researching more about the Count and information that will be helpful to Gwyneth. She is feeding Gwyneth with lots of information and research that are really useful for Gwyneth. In fact, she knows more about the time travel histories and stuff than Gwyneth. James, Gwyneth ghost friend is also helping Gwyneth how to adopt in the past. Then there is Gwyneth new friend, Xemerius who is helping Gwyneth in fishing information to other people in the secret society. This little talking gargoyle who James said looks like a cat can go through walls and follow others without noticing. Beside helping Gwyneth, he also offers comic relief in the story. I enjoyed reading all his antics and witty comments. His banter with Gwyneth and side comments about almost everything is simply hilarious.

While the plot moved a bit forward, it still feel that nothing much actually happened. Most of the questioned raised in book one were unanswered and more questions were added together with my so many theories about what really is happening inside the secret organization, the circle of twelve, Gwyneth family and Gideon. I am just hoping that the final book, Emerald Green will handle all those revelations properly, without pushing everything into rush or limiting the details to readers.

Overall, Sapphire Blue is a quick entertaining read that continue the intriguing edelstein trilogy. With more actions, mysteries and suspense than the previous book, the story becomes more compelling and addicting. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the next and final installment of this series.