This is a book that I was excited to read because of the fresh plot idea and the romance referenced in the summary. After debating between a few books I decided on Hourglass and jumped right in. I was hooked immediately. Once Emerson first confronted a not-from-this-time phantom, questions and predictions started racing through my mind. Is she really seeing them? Why are they there? How will these play into the story? My interest took off from there.
Emerson is living with her older brother, Thomas, and his wife, Dru. I love these characters. They are everything you’d want an older brother and his wife to be in this situation, and any time, really. They’re supportive, understanding, caring, etc. I love their career choice as well. They’re trying to renovate all the old buildings in their town to revive the town. This ends up playing an important part in the story. Also, Thomas is who introduces Emerson to Michael. Michael is part of the Hourglass and says he can help Emerson deal with seeing the phantoms.
Michael is the mysterious, sometimes brooding, protective heart-throb often found in paranormal YA. Emerson has an unusual and powerful connection/attraction to Michael, but Michael won’t do anything about it because he can’t “mix business with pleasure.” This introduces our heart-throb tension. I will point out that Emerson isn’t the typical “damsel in distress.” She has a brown belt in karate and knows how to defend herself. These elements between Michael and Emerson, while a different twist on the usual paranormal storyline, caused some problems for me. I love Emerson’s character and how strong she is. But after a while I grew tired of how often she assured us that she’s tough. We’re so often hearing about how bad it is to write female characters who are weak and need their male counterpart, but in this case I grew tired of constantly being reminded of how tough Emerson is. There’s not much middle ground here. I wanted to see Emerson show more emotion and even some vulnerability. I know this is a conflict she admits to as a character, but it still irked me. Reading Michael in this story really made me think about paranormal heart-throbs in general. Michael is in college, so he’s written as being a bit more mature than the average high school guy. But I still didn’t buy into him being a college student. I know not all guys are immature and want to party and all of that. But Michael, and his friend Kaleb, are simply too adult. The way they’re written, I pictured them as guys in their late 20s. I had no problem reading Emerson as a teenage girl, however. Why is this happening so much in this genre of YA?
The story itself is fun and different. Many people are interested in the idea of time travel, so this book will go over well with my students. There are some holes in the story, but maybe they’ll work themselves out in book two. I just wish that we would have gotten to the actual time travel part of the story sooner. Is anyone else getting tired of all of these 400+ page novels? I appreciate attention to detail and world-building, but I’m still searching for reasons why Hourglass needed to be almost 400 pages long.
I know this isn’t a raving, I give this five stars review, but I did enjoy it. I just didn’t love it. I’d love to know what others who have read this think. I’m also looking forward to what my students this school year will think....more
The Future of Us is a fun, quick read that many of my students will enjoy. I'll admit that I was hoping for something edgy considering this is Jay AshThe Future of Us is a fun, quick read that many of my students will enjoy. I'll admit that I was hoping for something edgy considering this is Jay Asher's second book, but it's good to see that he can write something lighter after the continued success of Thirteen Reasons Why. I read a couple of Mackler's novels and liked those, so I'm not surprised that these two authors are a good combination.
The premise is a fun spin on the idea of Facebook, and will generate lots of discussion. I'm looking forward to talking about this one with the students in my book club. My biggest critique is that even though the chapters are labeled according to Emma's or Josh's point of view, neither of their voices are distinct enough for me to tell the difference. Other than that and a few minor slow points, this is humorous and also sweet at times. Full review to come. ...more
The theories behind time travel are often discussed and debated; they’re also the basis for novels and mReview originally posted at Y.A. Love
The theories behind time travel are often discussed and debated; they’re also the basis for novels and movies. I was excited to receive a copy of Tempest, especially when I realized that it’s told from a guy’s point of view. My attention was grabbed from the very beginning and found it to be an enjoyable book. Even though I liked Julie Cross’s debut novel, I think I’ll be able to express my thoughts best if I break this review down into what worked and what didn’t work for me.
◦I love that the time travel and action started right at the beginning of the book. Some novels need to take their time with introducing action and setting, but Tempest was an instant hit with it’s beginning. Reluctant readers will be hooked right away, which is often what they need to stick with a book. ◦Jackson’s character–he’s well-developed and has a true-to-life guy’s voice. Some female authors are better at writing from a guy’s point of view, and Julie Cross is one of them. Jackson thinks and says things that I can easily imagine a teenage guy thinking and saying. ◦Jackson’s age–It’s not that common for Y.A. novels to have protagonists in college. Granted, not that much time is spent in Jackson’s current time period with him experiencing college, but the reader knows and understands him as a nineteen-year-old guy. I’d like to see more Y.A. novels breaking away from the 12-18 age group, especially as Y.A. becomes more popular across age groups. ◦Jackson’s character growth–This goes along with Jackson’s voice being believable. Thinking back to college, Jackson’s actions and feelings about Holly early on in the novel don’t surprise me. He’s really into learning more about time travel and figuring this out with his friend Adam. Jackson’s problem is that he really cares about Holly, but his actions say differently. He often breaks plans with her and really doesn’t seem that invested in the relationship. Part of Jackson’s growth as a character is how he begins to understand the problems with how he treated Holly. Part of this focus will be what didn’t work for me, but as a whole I appreciated this area of Jackson’s growth. WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
◦I know this has nothing to do with the author, but I need to mention it. I’m not a fan of the cover. Julie Cross has written a cool novel about time travel using an authentic male voice. So why is the title in a pink font?! And although I understand that Jackson wants to save Holly, I really don’t think that the girl on the cover should be center. This book could/should be marketed as an excellent book with guy appeal. I’m sure many of my boys will pick this up once I tell them about it, but I’m sure many of them wouldn’t expect it to be a “guy book” based on the cover. We need to be realistic, many teens pick up books based on the covers. Even I do it. It’s a cool cover, but even being more on the gender-neutral side of things, it still has more girl appeal than guy appeal. ◦I wanted more time travel and mystery. After Jackson jumps to a new time period when Holly is shot, he soon discovers that his dad might know more and be more than he’s letting on. Jackson starts wondering if his dad works for the CIA. The scenes when Jackson is trying to uncover some answers were taut with mystery and suspense and kept me turning the pages. And then they’d stop. So much of Jackson’s focus is his love for Holly, yet I didn’t believe his love for her was real at the beginning of the book. Slowly this love Jackson has for her feels more authentic, but too much time was devoted to scenes between the two of them. He starts to get to know Holly at different time periods which didn’t seem that important to the plot development. The history and science behind Jackson’s life is much more interesting and should be a stronger focus in Tempest. ◦The ending–The ending of Tempest is full of action which is great, but after pages and pages of Jackson getting to know younger Holly, the ending felt rushed. There’s a cliffhanger leading us into the second book which I plan on reading, but some of the new elements introduced at the end could have been fleshed out a little more. I already know that I’ll need to read the ending of Tempest again before reading the second book because so much was introduced in the last couple chapters....more
My interest went back and forth when I was reading Timeless. I was intrigued for the first half because it was mysterious with all of the time traveMy interest went back and forth when I was reading Timeless. I was intrigued for the first half because it was mysterious with all of the time travel and romance, but after a while the book really slowed down for me. Michele meets and falls for the man from her dreams, but it's tough to make it work considering he's from another time period. I enjoyed their scenes together, but eventually it felt like the story stalled and wasn't moving forward. I needed more from their relationship and from the mystery behind the time travel. I set the book down for a bit and eventually came back to it after debating whether I was going to finish it. Once I picked Timeless up again, I started to change my mind about quitting because the story changed pace and the romance and mystery became more intriguing. I started getting more answers as more questions developed. In the end, I'm really happy I finished reading Timeless because the story fleshed out. If you enjoy reading historical fiction, time travel stories, romance, etc. then I think you should give Alexandra Monir's novel a try. ...more
Sigh. Time Between Us is a wonderful debut! It’s romantic, fast-paced, and time travel done right.
In all honesty, it’s been a few months since I’ve reSigh. Time Between Us is a wonderful debut! It’s romantic, fast-paced, and time travel done right.
In all honesty, it’s been a few months since I’ve read Tamara Ireland Stone’s debut, and I didn’t write my review right after I finished it like I should have. For that reason, I’m making a list of everything I loved about it.
**Time travel has been a popular plot element in YA lately, but most of the ones I’ve read have been lacking. The time travel has been interesting, but there’s usually something missing. That’s not the case in Time Between Us. I loved the pacing and the format. **I hope this is chosen as a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers because I know I’ll be able to hook my reluctant readers with Time Between Us. The boys, maybe not, but the girls will definitely love it. They’ll be intrigued by the mysterious beginning set in 2011 and the transition to 1995 in the next chapter. I read this chapter and couldn’t help but wonder how it was going to tie in later. I was so excited when I made the connection! **Anna is immediately drawn to Bennett because he appears mysteriously when she’s running and then shows up at school, but denies being at the track. This is intriguing and kept my attention. What I really appreciate about this set up is that there isn’t insta-love. Sure, Anna wants to know more about Bennett, but their attraction and romance builds. Their romance is sweeping and sweet. It isn’t over the top and unbelievable. **This quote is a good example of how the relationship starts & how Anna feels about Bennett’s time traveling abilities in regards to their relationship: “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.” Isn’t that how many of us feel about relationships? We don’t know where it will go, but we know there’s a middle to enjoy. **Anna is dynamic and a character readers can look up to. She’s forced into tough situations that require her to be independent and make decisions she normally wouldn’t make. There’s one decision I was afraid she was going to ignore, but I ended up being impressed with the action she took. It’s one that some girls might not make in fear of what could be missed, but she does what’s right for her as an individual.
I read Tamara Ireland Stone’s debut in a day. It’s romantic, exciting, mysterious, hard to put down, and at times heart breaking. It’s a must read that I’m most definitely buying to share with my students. I’m looking forward to reading more of her books....more
After reading The Obsidian Blade, I think it's safe to say that I enjoy sci-fi novels. I'm not sure how I feel about the focus on religion, but it's cAfter reading The Obsidian Blade, I think it's safe to say that I enjoy sci-fi novels. I'm not sure how I feel about the focus on religion, but it's certainly something to think about and discuss, so I'm considering adding this to my YA II sci-fi unit as a choice book. The audio is done well; I like Joshua Swanson as the narrator of this story more than I liked him narrating Out of the Pocket. ...more
The premise for So Close to You held so much promise and really piqued my interest, it ultimately disappointed meReview originally posted at Y.A. Love
The premise for So Close to You held so much promise and really piqued my interest, it ultimately disappointed me. I love the recent time travel trend happening in YA because it acts as a stepping stone to more solid science fiction, at least some of the “lighter” time travel novels like Hourglass and Tempest do. The blurb on the ARC of Rachel Carter’s novel claimed it has a “compelling romance like The Time Traveler’s Wife” and “imaginative suspense like Before I Fall.” Those are pretty big comparisons, so I had high hopes going into reading this.
I was interested when I first started reading So Close to You and really thought I was going to like it. The first 60-80 pages flew by and held my interest. Not long after that I was wondering where the story was going and what was going to happen. I kept wondering when the romance was going to come into play. Was Lydia going to fall in love with Wes, the guy who follows her back in time? Was she going to fall for Lucas, the guy living in a different time? There wasn’t any real romance to speak of until 200 pages in, and even then it wasn’t remotely believable. Lydia had maybe a few scenes with this guy and all of a sudden she was “falling for him.” Even then, the relationship (if we can really call it that) didn’t mean anything to me as a reader since it was so instant. The book is barely over 300 pages long, so waiting 200 pages for a dull romance was really disappointing.
The other bummer about Rachel Carter’s book is how nothing really happened for the entire book. Lydia is living in a different time trying to help her grandfather by keeping her great grandfather from making a bad choice. But she doesn’t really do anything until the last 80 pages or so. The rest of the book is her getting to know her distant relatives in a different time period and thinking about how she needs to save her family. And then there was Wes constantly reminding her not to change anything in the past because of the butterfly effect. Over and over again Lydia is reminded of this, and over and over again she ignores the warning.
I didn’t find anything about So Close to You as “imaginative.” I found it really boring and predictable. None of the characters meant anything to me; I couldn’t find a way to relate to or connect with any of them. I finished it because I wanted to know if my opinions were wrong. There’s a cliffhanger ending setting us up for the next book, and I’ll admit it’s interesting. I might read the second book because I’m optimistic and hoping this entire book was like a prologue to the actual story....more
I don't know if it was the audiobook or what, but I had a difficult time enjoying this sequel to Tempest. Although I had some issues with Tempest whenI don't know if it was the audiobook or what, but I had a difficult time enjoying this sequel to Tempest. Although I had some issues with Tempest when I read it traditionally. I'm sure there will be a third book, but I honestly don't know if I'll continue with the series. I'm not really that interested in where it's going or the characters....more
I read a review that compared Thin Space to Through to You by Emily Hainsworth, which I didn’t really like, sFlash Review originally posted on YA Love
I read a review that compared Thin Space to Through to You by Emily Hainsworth, which I didn’t really like, so I was hesitant to read this. I ended up really liking Jody Casella’s debut novel. The comparisonn to Through to You is a good one since both books deal with grief and loss, but the execution and story is so much better in Thin Space. I was completely absorbed in Marsh’s story. For a large part of the book I wondered if a Thin Space was some kind of coping mechanism or if it would turn out to be an actual place. I’ll let you find out when you read it! There’s a great twist in the story and wonderful character development. I understood Marsh and his profound grief. This is an excellent book that I know my students will love. Better yet, it released in paperback so it’s easy on the wallet!...more