Saturday, August 13, 2011


If I could travel back in time, I would happily go back just a few hours ago when I accidentally wiped clean my camera's memory card, before I had transferred the pictures. So, yes, feel like an absolute idiot but I just wasn't thinking (and really didn't realize that by pushing "okay" I would wreak such havoc). Lesson learned.

But, has Gabi learned her lesson about messing with the time travel continuum (trust me, I know all about that as I did a special research project on it for my high school physics class)? Perhaps not. Luckily for the reader, that means that she has yet another adventure in medieval Italy! Yes, I am talking about Cascade the sequel to Waterfall. (As an aside, the titles in the River of Time series: Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent remind me of the three titles Tom Stoppard used for his Coast of Utopia series: Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage, as they go in a sequence.)

At the end of Waterfall, Gabi and Lia have traveled back to the present, promising Marcello and Luca that they will hopefully return someday (if Gabi has anything to do about it). The two are immediately embroiled in the battle between their mom and Dr. Manero, the Italian rival archaeologist, who would have clearly been on Florence's side had he been born a few centuries earlier, over control of the site. Despite her misgivings, their mother is convinced that they had actually traveled back in time and she convinces them to take her along. Because, really, who wouldn't want to go back to medieval Italy when there are some guys out there who want you dead?

Oh wait. What was that? People want you dead?


Although Gabi and Lia have been away from the past for a very brief amount of time, months had passed since their departure. Things have changed. Well, not everything since Marcello is still waiting for Gabi's return. Counting the days, actually. Fortino is hale and, as Lord Forelli, has worked out an agreement with Lord Rossi of Siena that he will marry Romana Rossi instead of his brother Marcello. And they are to bed wedded in just a couple weeks.

But, treachery is afoot, and with the help of the plague, it isn't too long before Gabi and Lia are matching wits and weapons with old and new foes. As word has spread about the Lady Betarrinis' fame, so to has the bounty on the She-Wolves of Siena's heads. It may take a miracle to survive this trip to the countryside.

This book is completely action packed from beginning to end. Though don't worry, there is also a fairly strong heaping of romance (my favorite bit of that was actually in the vineyards back when things were simple and happy for just that brief moment). I couldn't believe how few days had passed in the storyline compared to all that happened. I was happy to be reunited with old characters (hehe, Luca+Lia), was delighted to make the acquaintance of new ones (more Lord Greco, please, and their mom!), and saddened to see the departure of some others (it is a war, but don't worry, I won't tell you who). There was, I feel, a distinct lack of Fortino throughout the book. Mere mentions won't satisfy me. I am hoping that he is more present in Torrent. Fingers crossed!

My one quibble would be that Luca recovered remarkably quickly. Though, I fear I know as much of the plague as Lia does (a lot of what I know comes thanks to reading Connie Willis's Doomsday Book, another time traveling favorite of mine).

I came away from this book thinking there ought to be a new book in that "You Wouldn't Want to Be a..." series. This one entitled: "You Wouldn't Want to Be a She-Wolf in Medieval Italy".

Here is the trailer for Cascade. Enjoy!

And I leave you with my favorite line:

"Yuk it up, fellas. I'm all LOL myself."

Why is it my favorite? Just because it sounds so typical modern teenager, yet there she is stuck in 14th century Italy. It made me LOL a bit myself (and that is something I rarely do when reading a book).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'll let you go. If you stay.

It wasn't until last December when I was flying home to upstate New York that I picked up Gayle Forman's If I Stay. If I had to tell you why, it would be because I knew it would be a slightly depressing read and that I wanted to be in the right frame of mind for it. Of course, I then went on to read it in one sitting and was impatiently awaiting the sequel, Where She Went. Of course, once I finally got it into my hot little hands, I waited a bit to read it. Perhaps I wanted to draw out the suspense.

Where She Went is told from Adam's perspective and begins several years after the accident that claimed the lives of Mia's family. Like If I Stay, the plot jumps from the present action to flashbacks to life before the accident, which helps the reader to understand where Adam is coming from.

If you remember from the first novel, Adam promised Mia while she was still in a coma (and deciding if life was worth living) that if only she would stay he would do anything, even let her walk out of his life. And that is precisely what Mia did after leaving the west coast to go to school at Julliard. Her departure left Adam a complete mess; he even quit college and moved back into his parent's house. But after a year of mourning, he turned his anguish into song. When the novel begins, we are introduced to an Adam who is seemingly at the top of his game: he's a very successful rock star who is about to embark on an European tour. But instead of feeling like he is living a dream life, he can't sleep and is taking medication for his nerves. Not to mention an inquisitive report just asked him about the one topic he refuses to answer: his relationship to Mia Hall.

On his last night in NYC, he stumbles across a concert that Mia is giving and ends up meeting with her after the show. They end up going on a whirlwind trip around the city as Mia shows him the "hidden" city she has come to love. They are given this one night together before each one departs the city to go their separate ways: Adam to Europe and Mia to Asia. Will they be able to finally talk about what happened and learn the truth about what separated them?

Gayle Forman wrote another wonderful book exploring how one accident can cause entire lives to implode and then be rebuilt. I enjoyed how she wrote this from Adam's perspective because you really got to feel how much he hurt, despite the fact that it wasn't his immediate family who had died in the accident. In their own way, they were his family, too.

And, I quite love the cover. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is the colours.