Mini-review Monday (4) - 11/22/63 & Ruby Red

Welcome to the 4th edition of Mini-Review Monday, our abridged review feature inspired by Entertainment Weekly's Quick Takes. This feature will be posted every Monday and will include 1-3 short reviews. Both adult and young adult books will be included in this feature.

Title: 11/22/63 by Stephen King 
Published on: November 8th, 2011
Page count: 849 (hardcover)
Rating: 5/5 Crystal balls
Summary: On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed forever. If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be worth it? Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk. Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life —a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time. 
A truly, truly remarkable and intense book. The early 60s and the JFK assassination/conspiracy theories have been a fascination of mine for some time, so this became a must-read for me. I also love time travel and all of its possibilities. Stephen King did an AMAZING job painting a picture of the past and the future(s) that could emerge if we're not careful to keep reality in check; that time is a fragile entity and something human beings should not mess with no matter how much we think things COULD be better if we do. The climax of the book had me crying because no matter what happens life is bittersweet; a careful mix of triumph and tragedy that balances everything and we need to respect that.

"The past harmonizes." ~ Stephen King

Title: Ruby Red #1 by Kerstin Gier (Anthea Bell - Translator)
Published on: May 10th, 2011
Page count: 324 (hardcover)
Rating: 4.5/5 Crystal Balls
Summary: Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the eighteenth century and in contemporary London, they can trust. 

This was one of the most delightful and charming reads I've ever come across. Ruby Red is the most splendid mix of action/adventure, romance, humor, with plenty of time travel and supernatural goodness. The writing is truly spectacular and the story is just such a blast all the way through, it's impossible to put down. This is the perfect read if you are looking for something light and fun but still want a story with depth and smart characterization. The sequel, Sapphire Blue, comes out October 30th, 2012!


  1. Ruby Red sounds really fun. I just ordered a copy. Thanks for the mini review :)

  2. I have really been wanting to read Ruby Red, and even moreso since it got four and a half! Awesome! I know I'm supposed to like the original cover, but I love the pretty dress covers for this series!

  3. Great reviews! Haven't read either but hope to get to them soon! :D

  4. Love the look of the cover for Ruby Red :)

  5. I adored Ruby Red! I'm so exited for Sapphire Blue :)

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction


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Once upon a time, there were two sisters -Susan and Shauna - who were moved and mesmerized by stories through any medium, since they were teeny tiny. This passion stayed with them throughout adulthood, and after becoming even more enthralled with Young Adult fiction in recent times (and some Adult & MG!) they decided they just had to open up their own book blog and share their enthusiasm with the world, or well, to anyone who would listen.

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