Cover Image: Here and Now and Then

Here and Now and Then

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Kin Stewart is stranded in the 1990s after a botched mission.  He marries and they have a daughter and then his rescue team arrives... 18 years too late.  
One of the things I enjoyed most about this book is its portrayal of time travel, as a potentially dangerous technology, rather than a plot device.  I also appreciated the physical limitations of TT.  Kin is a really great character who absolutely adores his family.  He has changed so much in the past, but everyone in the future is exactly the same, so you get a really good idea of the isolation he feels when he returns to current time.  The book as a whole is really well plotted, and the narrative feels really full, but not overcrowded.  The pacing overall was quite good.  The author is good at setting up the scene, but not telling you everything all at once.  Overall, I really enjoyed Here and Now and Then.
Was this review helpful?
This book had so many twists and turns (as one might expect with that title) and I really enjoyed the unpredictability of it. While I enjoyed the sci-fi/actiony bits of the story, I really loved the more quiet moments when Kin was dealing with his situation and trying to find a way to stay connected to his family in the past. I really enjoyed that this book was several different genres rolled into one, from sci-fi to action adventure to spy thriller to family drama. As someone who loves a lot of different genres and often has to find those genres in different forms of media, I really enjoyed having one book that could deliver almost everything I enjoy.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me early access to the book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Here and Now and Then has a strong premise with some good moments, but ultimately this book frustrated me.  The characters & dialogue feel very flat, especially the women.  Kin, our ostensible hero, is particularly wooden and hard to root for.  The plot takes too long to get going, although I enjoyed the small bits of future worldbuilding that snuck in around Kin's repetitive inner monologue about his incessant headaches.  Take some Excedrin, Kin.  The excessively tidy ending robs the story of its emotional weight; I'd have preferred something a little more ambiguous.  Overall, it's not terrible, but not much fun.
Was this review helpful?
Full review published on Booklover Book Reviews website:
Was this review helpful?
I’m disappointed to say that I did not love this book. I had such high hopes for it but sadly, this book was less about people and more about dull sci-fi plotting that is never fully explained or fleshed out. Lots of technical scenes and quite boring protocol explanation.

The only redeeming feature of this book was the characters the author tried to introduce, but even these were flat and lacking in any real depth or emotion. I found it very hard to care about the main character or any of the people in his life.

I expected so much more from this book, I’m very sad to leave such a poor review. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was such an interesting read from start to finish. When I first heard about this book, I was so intrigued. It was lovely, lyrical, surprisingly original time travel tale. Really loved the story and I'm excited to read whatever Mike Chen writes next.
Was this review helpful?
What would you do to protect your child? What would you do if that question was complicated by time travel and simultaneous realities? Around these questions, Mike Chen builds the story of Here and Now and Then. The book is part science fiction adventure and part emotional family story, which makes for an interesting mix. I completely do not expect where this book goes and how the ending brings it full circle. That makes for a most satisfying conclusion to a fun reading experience.

Read my complete review at 

Reviewed for NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
*3.5-4 stars

I have a not-so-secret love for time travel fiction so I've read many. What sets this debut novel apart from others is what happens in the past that ties the traveler to it. 

Kin works for a secret time-traveling law enforcement agency in the year 2142 and travels back to 1996 on a mission where he is attacked by the criminal he is trying to stop and his return beacon is destroyed. 

As far as Kin knows, he is stuck in the past forever, so eventually he builds a new life--falls in love, marries, starts a family. He barely remembers his former life...until the day, eighteen years later, when a strange man appears in his back yard and insists he's there to take him back to the future. 

What will happen to Kin's family? Can he pick up the strings of his life in 2142 and forget about 'the past?' The answers to these questions and others make for some fascinating reading. 

There are flaws in the story, a few in the plot and some in the characters and how they react to each other emotionally, but I still thought this was an entertaining read, not heavy on sci-fi details. Very good for a debut work by this author. 

I received an arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. I apologize for taking so long to read and review it.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely adored Mike Chen's debut novel. Intriguing, poignant and wonderfully written, this is a book I won't forget any time soon.
Was this review helpful?
Time Travel is the axle on which this book turns, but I see it more as a commentary on family and  human needs.  Our hero, a time traveling secret agent becomes stuck in the 1990's.  He makes the best of his situation and marries, starts a family and tries to blend in.  Time travel rears it's ugly head when his team arrives to "save" him, bringing him back to the life he left - and the family!  There isn't a lot of action or suspense in this novel. Mike Chen offers us the chance to say "what if?' along with his hero.  I think this might make a good book discussion selection, because I found myself wanting to talk about it while and after reading.
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
Was this review helpful?
A time travel book with heart! 

I tend to fall to the fantasy side of the SFF spectrum despite having a science background, but this was the perfect balance of tech and character. The story had enough depth to pull me in, and now I recommend it to anyone who will listen. It's not just a time travel book, it's a book about the human condition and the relationships that form us.

A fantastic debut!
Was this review helpful?
Awesome book! The main character, Kin, is a time travelling secret agent from the future who got stranded in the 1990s, and ended up getting married and having a daughter in violation of the agency's non-interference policies, but without ever telling his family the truth about who he is - and then 18 years later, his agency finally finds him. I don't want to give away the plot, so suffice it to say it's a "how far would you go to save your family" story with a time travel twist. I think even non-science fiction fans would enjoy this book, as the heart of the story is really more emotional. I couldn't put it down, and I literally finished the book with my neck wet from the tears dripping down my face. Highly recommend. 4.5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
Time travel! Because what could possibly go wrong? I mean, apparently, a lot? But who knew?

Sci-fi is a little hit or miss with me, especially when it comes to time travel, because my brain is thiiiis big –> . Therefore, paradoxes make it go boom. And there are aaaalways paradoxes. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that.

I picked up Here and Now and Then because it felt like an accessible sci-fi book that would not only give me some action (helloooo secret time travel agent) as well as take me for a bit of an emotional spin.

And it … sort of did? I guess? More than anything, I walked away with a sense that this book just wasn’t for me. I had that thought going in, and I should have trusted my instincts. But hey, my instincts also said it’d be a great idea to get married and have a kid, so what do they know?

Thank you to NetGalley and Mira for an eARC in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. 

My Thoughts:

- I’m not usually a huge fan of time travel (re: tiny mammal brain), but I enjoyed how Chen approached that aspect. It felt accessible. Almost real, or as real as time travel can feel. There were a lot of really nice details about both the time travel, how it’s done, and the future. The Temporal Correction Bureau (TCB) oversees the conduction of time travel and keeps it a secret from the general population … mostly because even in 2142, people can’t handle time travel. I mean, do you blame them? Perhaps what was the most exciting about this is that time travel has *consequences*. You can’t just go floating through time all willy-nilly and only have to worry about not disrupting the timeline, because that mess takes a toll on your body, as it should. You know, because you’re getting hurled through time. And hurling is not the sort of word that’s generally associated with positive things. I just liked the world-building here. I thought it was interesting and wasn’t too far-fetched to believe.

- Markus is delightful and clearly is the most logical, and so I feel terribly sorry for him. I mean, let’s face it, he’s in a no-win situation, caught between his sister and his friend and his job. There’s no way he’s coming out on top, guys. No matter what he does, someone’s going to be upset. It’s just a matter of how dead he’s going to end up. I actually ended up really sympathizing with his plight, because who should he prioritize? His best friend, sister, job, the timeline?

- This was a really light, easy-breezy read, so nice for a beach read or summer read. But I didn’t feel like it held any heft, and it wasn’t particularly sticky. It was engaging enough where I read through it pretty quickly and enjoyed it while I was reading … but I didn’t love it. And once I’d finished and put it down, that was it. No book hangover. No wanting more. No lingering withdrawal from being forsaken by these characters and forced back into the real world.

- The ending was extremely touching, and I’m pretty sure there’s no possible better ending for a book like this. I can’t tell you about it, so I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out. But the ending definitely tied things up nicely, and I thought it was a great way to end a book that is so chock full of character emotions.

Sticking Points:

- The summary pretty much says it all. Roll credits. I mean, summaries are hard. You have to give enough to hook a reader, but leave enough out for them to discover. I felt like this fell down on the latter. The summary is pretty much exactly what the book is. The surprises are minimal and minor. There’s no major plot twists or deviations. It’s pretty much just what it says. Which is great if you want exactly what’s in the summary. I, personally, was expecting something a bit … more.

- I didn’t really connect to the characters, and since this was a very character-driven novel, that was a problem. I can’t even specifically tell you why I didn’t connect to them. I just … didn’t. I have a few theories, though. The book is split between two timelines, which means we spend a bit of time in each. Not enough, though, for me to solidly feel a part of either, which meant that both families felt inaccessible for me. Once he leaves the past, what little connection was there (which I didn’t feel particularly strongly to start with) felt just … gone. Kin was still obsessed with it, as he should be, but for me, I was perfectly fine with leaving the characters in the past and moving on. As a parent myself, I could relate to Kin’s plight and his desperate need to help his daughter. As a non-time traveler, though, it was hard to relate to his situation, and as a logical person, it was straight-up impossible to relate to the actions of half the people in this book.
For some super smart science techy people, they’re really bad at finding obvious solutions. Or successfully problem-solving. Which brings us to …

I’m not sure how the TCB came up with their ultimate solution and why it was deemed as the best solution. Because it wasn’t. I can think of, like, five other solutions that would be minimally invasive, require a fraction of the work, and not upset their current loyal, determined employees. I can’t say much about it, because it’s spoilers, but needless to say, I was disappointed by this, because no reason is really given other than “because we said so.” That didn’t work for my mother, and that ain’t working here, bub. Given that this was the major conflict of the book and everything hinged off this decision, I found it a bit disappointing and underwhelming.

Given that Kin is a secret agent, I expected there to be … well, more adventure. The secret part he’s got down. Kin’s super good at that. Maybe a little too good. But the agenting part? Eh. I’m not convinced. I suppose this arises due to two simple facts:

1. While Kin’s in the past, he’s not an agent. He’s a boring humanoid like the rest of us who just happens to have slightly better reflexes than me. Which really isn’t all that difficult.

2. By the time he is an agent again, he’s on desk duty. Which is harsh, man. It also completely squashes all the hope for some agenty goodness.

I’m not saying that there was no adventure in this book, but it was significantly less than what I expected going in. In the end, I felt like it was a very slow-paced book, which relied more heavily on character interaction and emotion and less things actually happening. So … it was a sci-fi Hallmark movie I guess is what I’m saying. Which is great if you’re into that thing. But I’m not big on emotions, because evil overlords can’t be and I’m in training. I kept reading thinking something big would happen, but it just never really did.
Was this review helpful?
A time travel criminal shot Kin’s Temporal Corruption Bureau retrieval beacon, stranding him in 1996. In the two decades it took his colleagues from 2142 to find him, he built a life with a wife and daughter. Regulations force him back to the future, where he’s been missing for only weeks from his work and his fiancee. His inexplicable disappearance, and her mother’s death, sends his daughter spiraling downward. He breaches protocol, reaching out to her digitally, endangering both. Chen brilliantly maintains time travel integrity, with its possibilities and limitations, placing his main character in an organization enforcing law throughout time, with strict safety policies for agents preventing him from aiding his daughter. This is a family drama that just happens to have a time travel element—a well-written, speculative suspense novel.  I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Mira Books through NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
A unique entry into the time travel genre, debut author Mike Chen creates a memorable set of characters anchored by Kin, a family man hiding the fact that he is also a secret agent with the Temporal Correction Bureau (TCB).
Was this review helpful?
Kin has a wife, a teenage daughter and a job in I.T. in the San Francisco Bay Area. Everything’s pretty good except that he’s been having some dizzy spells, headaches and blackouts — which get worse every time he tries to remember his life from before he got married. He was a time traveler from the year 2142, and when he got stranded on a mission in 1996, he settled in to a new reality. He can remember almost nothing about his previous (future) life.

And then an agent from the future finally does come back to get him. The agent and the time-traveling agency both expect Kin to have avoided contact with others, not done anything to disturb the natural order of things or corrupt the timeline. So the fact that he has a wife, Heather, and daughter, Miranda, causes some consternation. At least they are allowed to live, but Kin has to leave them and return to the future — a life he hasn’t lived for 18 years — and a fiancée he doesn’t remember.

Kin slowly gets familiar with his old life, but he misses the family he can no longer be with. And his efforts to find out what happened to them, and then to stay in touch, eventually lead to serious problems for the agency and even history. His daughter is put in danger. And Kin has to decide if — and how — he can break the rules again to save her.

Here and Now and Then is a story about time travel, but it’s mostly about family and the parent-child bond. The interactions between Kin and his past family and future fiancée and friends feel real and exhibit the mix of fun, closeness and difficulties that exist in any relationship. His love for his daughter is the driving force of much of the story, and how everything plays out is sweet and poignant and fits together so nicely.
Was this review helpful?
If you love time travel books,then this is the book for you. Kin Stewart is a time agent from the year 2142 trying to prevent any timeline corruptions in the past, but when his mission gets botched,he gets stuck in the 20th century and makes a new life for himself and slowly forgets his past life. He eventually gets retrieved but they want him to forget his past and forge on with his future but how can you when you have married and have a child you love dearly and will do anything to protect her future no matter the cost. I enjoyed reading this book and it wrapped up in a satisfying if not slightly predictable way for me. Guess I watched too many Back to the Future movies😄.
Was this review helpful?
Overall this was a great book. It’s not usually what I would reach for but I quite enjoyed it. 
Although it did take awhile for me to get into it.
Was this review helpful?
Kin is a time travelling secret agent from the future. On a mission gone wrong, Kin becomes stuck in the past for eighteen years. During that time, he gets married and has a child. His daughter Miranda is a teenager when he’s finally rescued and forced to return to his own time. There he discovers his forgotten life which includes a fiancé. He cannot keep Miranda from his thoughts and breaks the rules to follow her life. When her life is endangered he must decide how much he is willing to risk to save her. This unique novel hooked me from the start and kept me reading until the end. I liked the ideas the author had about what the future could be like, and the idea of not only the possibility of time travel but time travelling secret agents hired to preserve the past. Ultimately though this was not a science fiction novel but a general fiction novel about family and relationships. I would have liked to have more details about the future itself, how time travel came about and would have liked to see Kin and Markus do a couple of missions before the one Kin had that went wrong. All in all a good story and I give it 4/5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
I loved it. That was perfect. When i read the synopsis, i was so  intrigued. I love time travel stories. Mike Chen did an amazing job. I can't wait to read more of his stories.
Was this review helpful?