Storm Portal (Quantum Touch Book 1)
History teacher Fritz Russell walks through his classroom door to find Robert E. Lee resting in the woods on the day after the surrender at Appomattox. Fritz loves history, and entering the past seems a gift, the chance for a great adventure. He’s been bored teaching the same old stuff year after year, and here’s a chance to make it new. But when the classroom door opens to the Oval Office, he realizes that his time portal might also be put to serious purpose. The president wants his help on behalf of national security.
Fritz does not believe he will be endangered by using his door to travel across time and space. And the president appears to be a great guy. But will Fritz’s own government consider him expendable if he cannot solve the mystery of the portal? He doesn’t have much time.
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Ribbon Reviews for Storm Portal (Quantum Touch Book 1)
(These are similar to our Bookworm reviews, but they are
not submitted by our in-house reviewers. Each Ribbon Review corresponds to the matching color of our Bookworm reviews.)
This was a little different than I had expected, having read many time travel stories in the past. It was almost more of a mystery, and I found the tale quite enjoyable. The author has a great way with storytelling and kept the pace moving along nicely. Suspense was doled out very expertly, and it kept me reading and wanting to know what would happen next. All in all, a very good story and enjoyable read.
The only problem I really had was when the author transitioned from First Person to Third Person, or basically when scenes within the story changed. Without any visual indication, I found several times that I had to go back and read again, because the next paragraph was a complete change of scene and perspective. This was a bit confusing, but once I got used to how the author was writing, it became less of a problem. Still, from my personal point of view, a visual indication of a such a change would have been more helpful, but that is my personal opinion. Something like a line of asterisks or some kind of representation that the scene was changing.
Even with that, this is a great story, and I am looking forward to the next installment of the series. I also enjoyed the historical aspect, bringing up details one does not normally find in textbooks or school classes. I found the historical elements quite fascinating. I recommend this book to any mystery or time-travel readers. It is a great read and definitely worth the cost. You can’t go wrong.
Submitted by Tom Fallwell
Time Travel is my favorite sub-genre in the realm of science fiction and Stern puts an interesting twist (which was a new one to me) on the vehicle used to transport someone to a different time. Fritz Russell, a public school teacher of 9th through 12th graders, survives a lightning strike which (along with other key ingredients discovered along the way) allows him to step through a portal (wormhole?) to another time. The initial experience is a visit with Robert E. Lee shortly after his surrender to Union forces. Fritz takes an entire classroom of students along for an in-depth history lesson (serendipitously unplanned). A second trip puts another class in danger as they pop into the 1911 Triangle Fire. This particular incident escaped my history education, perhaps because I grew up in the Midwest. The third trip through the portal (wormhole?) did not take us to the past but delivered us into the (present day) Oval Office much to the surprise of the president. Perhaps I’m a little too cynical regarding how the government works, but I think in real life, the Secret Service would have gunned Fritz down and asked questions later.
From the description of the classroom and mannerisms of the teachers portrayed, I assumed that Stern had been a high school teacher, but when I read his biography, there was no mention of that as a vocation. I thought the classroom scenes were very rich in detail and very believable. As a Time Travel fan, I also found the Robert E. Lee portrayal very believable. I had more trouble suspending disbelief with all of the comings and goings involving the president and first lady.
I suspect the president will be back in the second book, Sand Storm, and I imagine the government will be attempting to manipulate Fritz to assist with foreign policy. I’m looking forward to reading the second story, already purchased and sitting in my reading queue.
If you’re a Time Travel fan, I think you’ll like Storm Portal.
Submitted by Les Lynam
As the pages unfold, the political power game ensnares the small town educator and his closest friends and teaching staff as he struggles to get this randomly occurring power under command.
Will he accidentally change the past and thus, his own present? Will the president or his protectors decide to eliminate the security threat? Only the race to discover how to control his power will tell!
As a History teacher accidentally opens a time portal within his classroom, the author leads us into a twist-filled, well-paced and intelligently written story, with characters that grow on you, starting from the teachers and students, to the amazing presidential couple and detail team. The setting of the school and lessons as crucial turning points can be discussed on a metaphorical level to infinity, but suffice it to say that most people I know would love history taught this way (even only at discussion level, time portal excluded), and most students I know would love learning from someone who genuinely cares what they think.
The language is simple and not distracting from the events, but only seemingly simple on the surface, because the author has a cunning way with words, and/or has worked with an excellent editor who applies the 'less is more' principle perfectly. Character development is great and seamless, and (spoiler alert) Ashley keeps question marks blinking in my mind with his yearbook; great way to entice readers to sequels. Dialogues are clever, witty and often deliver exactly what the reader wonders about. The history parts revolve only on U.S. history (this time), but the author does not fail to point out the connection between world events.
What impressed me was the pace - a somewhat playful, lingering initial rhythm gains in strength, drama and intensity as the plot thickens, and using the storm as the trigger to time travel, with its possibly dangerous aftermath, reminiscent of ancient tragedies, adds to the ominous power and the vast potential of all the what-ifs that ensue. By the end, I forgot I was actually (only) reading:). History became an action/spy thriller!
As a reader, don't you love a book which makes you want to meet the author and ask him tons of questions? A book which makes you feel as if you'd crawled inside it or at least leaves you wanting to read more? A story which even makes you want to meet the characters? Well, if you like all that, plus history and time travel, dig in! Good to know there are sequels.
As a reviewer for the Readers Review Room, it gives me great pleasure to award this book the gold bookworm. Congrats, Michael R. Stern. It takes guts to tackle time travel, and you aced it!
I love books that bring out facts of history and love the way the author does this in the book. All the characters were real to me.
But if I'd had a teacher like Mr. Fritz Russell, the main character in this book, I would have not only stayed awake, I would have passed that class with flying colors. Aside from bringing history to life through a secret time-travel portal, he truly cares about his students and encourages them to think of all possibilities. The teacher in me connected with that character quite well.
I was intrigued by the way the author incorporated everyday classroom items as keys for opening the portal, and the way it was discovered toward the end was quite creative. And the characters Fritz encounters in his time-travel adventures added even more excitement and uniqueness to the story.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great sci-fi adventure. I will definitely be reading the other two books in this series to see what Fritz and his students get into next.
This is pretty much The Magic School Bus series for grownups :-)
Fritz, a high school History teacher is struck by lightening one afternoon and it changes everything for him, and leads him to an interesting relationship with the president, (yes POTUS).
I only have 2 complaints about this novel and the first is the formatting issues I encountered. I'm 99% sure it was just the way the version was sent to me, but it was still annoying. There wasn't an obvious space shift for changing scenes- example- it went from Fritz in his classroom to the president in the Oval Office without so much as a space between paragraphs. I'm *hoping* that this was just issues specific to my ecopy, and that you don't come across similar issues. The second is the dialog. Never having been a teacher myself, I can't imagine inner dialog containing the students first and last names. I was also bothered by the amount of time students referred to their teacher as Mr. R or Mr. Russell. Yes that is how I spoke to my teachers, but not in every sentence I used. Other than those two issues I loved this novel.
Now, talk about this book, Storm Portal. I loved it. Without giving away too much (I hope) the book focuses on the time travel, which is awesome in and of itself, but the time and places are truly fascinating.
If learning history in high school had been more like reading this book I'd have been a much better student. This novel is historically informative (for the most part, I believe) and was really quite an interesting way to learn about some of the historical events that occurred here; many events I did not know about!
I think that if Michael was to tweak the information to ensure that it would match the textbooks that this book could be used to teach in history classes all over the US. I also think teachers everywhere need to start utilizing the game Baseball in their classrooms. (Because, dude! so much fun).
Anyways, this book was a really quick, intriguing, and captivating read. I highly suggest it to anyone who likes fiction, and doesn't mind a fun twist in learning some history!
The event that followed when his next class passes through the portal horrifies many of the students. Observing a building on fire on a busy city street they are suddenly confronted with women jumping from the windows and landing heavily on the sidewalk in front of them. Fritz hurries his upset students back through the portal and into the safety of the classroom. However it is the third event of the day that not only grabbed my attention but also involved the President of the United States. By now I was hooked on this well-written book.
As Fritz attempts to explain the strange events to students, his good friend and fellow teacher Ashley, school principal George McAllister, and even his own wife, Linda, he is also faced with trying to understand how this strange portal opened and what it could mean to the world. Stern has created characters that are realistically fascinated and confused by the things that are happening, all surrounding the popular high school teacher.
I loved Fritz and his friend Ashley; their relationship is solid and believable. The plot is compelling; I couldn’t wait to see where the story would take them. All in all I highly recommend Storm Portalas an enthralling and fun read. Suspend disbelief and dive into the adventures of Fritz Russell.
I’m delighted to give this book a Gold Bookworm for its rich characters and creative plot. Plenty of action and accurate historical detail will keep any reader engrossed. I have the sequels on my Kindle and ready to read!