Review for Vortex (Tempest #2) by Julie Cross

Vortex by Julie Cross

TITLE: Vortex
SERIES: Tempest #2
AUTHOR: Julie Cross
NARRATOR: Matthew Brown
PUBLICATION DATE: January 15, 2013 / January 15, 2013
PUBLISHER: St Martin’s Griffin / Macmillan Audio
PAGES: 352 pages / 10 hours 51 minutes
FORMAT: Hardback / Audio
SOURCE: Purchased / Borrowed
RATING: 4 bows

Jackson Meyer dedicated himself to the role of Tempest agent. Sometimes training is a pain in the ass, but at least it keeps him busy so his mind doesn’t wander to Holly. Once he gets out in the field, things go well…until he accidentally runs into Holly at a bookstore, making his heartbreak over her impossible to ignore. Then Eyewall, another division of the CIA, starts poking around and suddenly Jackson and his fellow agents are in trouble. Jackson is in even more trouble because it appears that someone knows about his alternate timeline relationship with Holly. Someone out there knows how much she means to him and has put her in danger all over again. With the fighting between the two divisions becoming more common, can Jackson pull it together enough to save Holly again?

I liked Jackson just as much here as I did in Tempest. He’s still smart and charming and totally head over heels for Holly. Even though I’m not a fan of the whole star-crossed romances (because those don’t tend to end happily), I can’t help but respect Jackson for manning up enough to let Holly go because it’s the only way to save her. He’s trying so hard to do the right thing that I just wanted to hug the poor guy. Adam and Holly are here as well, though in smaller amounts. Adam is exactly the same, but that’s not necessarily true for Holly. I won’t spoil it for you, but she’s changed just a little. We get more of Jenny Stewart (Stuart? Listening to audios really makes spelling things properly difficult!), as well as a few new characters. Kendrick is probably my favorite new addition.

Real talk for a moment here, if you don’t mind.
Big Bang Theory Penny Thinking Gif
I have spent the last few days trying to write this review. I honestly don’t know what to say. I enjoyed listening to this book. It was smart and entertaining and just a little heartbreaking, but when I try to come up with eloquent ways to say that and other things to comment on, my brain just refuses to compute.
I Got Nothing New Girl Gif
I thought stepping away from it for a few days would help, but here I am again, staring at a screen, fingers poised to let out a review with no words in my brain. It’s not just this book either. I have 3 other drafts to finish and I don’t know what to say for them either.

With that being said, here is what I can say. This book is very entertaining. If you enjoyed the first one, you’ll like this one. You definitely want to have the third book on hand for when you finish because we get a massive cliffhanger. Be warned, there is character death that will make you sob, so have some tissues. I also wouldn’t recommend trying to read this without reading Tempest first. This is not a series where you can just jump in willy nilly. It has a proper order and that needs to be adhered to. Cross does a great job of building the tension on where this whole thing is going and even at keeping me in the dark on how it’s going to turn out. I’m pretty good at guessing the outcome of novels, but I didn’t have a clue with this. I still don’t know where the series is going to end up taking me and that is a great feeling. There is a certain comfort in knowing where things are going, but there is also great fun in being kept guessing. Cross does a great job at straying from a predictable story line. I’m really excited to see how it all wraps up!

Audio Notes:
Matthew Brown has grown on me a bit. I really liked his narration in this one. Naturally, just as I start to really appreciate him, we run out of material. There is no audio version of Timestorm, so I’ll be forced to read it the old fashion way with Matthew’s voice weaving in and out of my head as I go. It’s funny that once you start an audiobook, that is forever how the character sounds to you. Regardless, I definitely recommend listening to these two on audio, even if it does send you into audio withdrawal when it comes time to read Timestorm.

4 bows
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Tempest Challenge – Review for Tempest (Tempest #1) by Julie Cross

This month I signed up to do the Tempest Challenge. I have to read all 3 books in the series by March 31st and so far, I’m enjoying them immensely. Below is my review of the first book in the series and check back later this month to see my dream cast for it as well!

The Tempest by Julie Cross

TITLE: Tempest
SERIES: Tempest #1
AUTHOR: Julie Cross
NARRATOR: Matthew Brown
PUBLICATION DATE: January 17, 2012 / January 23, 2012
PUBLISHER: St Martin’s Griffin / Macmillan Audio
PAGES: 352 pages / 10 hours 51 minutes
FORMAT: Hardback / Audio
SOURCE: Won from A Dream Within A Dream / Purchased
RATING: 4 bows

Jackson Meyer is just a normal 19 year old guy in 2009. Well, as normal as you can be when you can travel through time. It’s not like in the movies where you have to be super careful not to change things. Even when Jackson does change things, everything is normal when he comes back. That is until he and Holly are attacked, ending in Holly getting shot. The panic caused by that moment sends him into a jump to 2007 and no matter how hard he tries, he cannot seem to get back to Holly in 2009. After exhausting himself with attempts to get back, Jackson decides to get comfortable in 2007 and see what he can learn about his abilities. The more attention he pays to his surroundings, the more he learns about the Enemies Of Time. It seems they have one goal: recruit him. They are hellbent on achieving that goal, even if it means slaughtering everyone he cares about. Jackson must decide exactly how far he is willing to go to save Holly because her fate rests in his hands.

I’ll be honest, this book has been setting on my shelf for a very long time. I’ve been interested in it since it came out, partly because it sounds good and partly because I love the cover. I’ve also been avoiding it for quite some time because time travel to save a girl sounds like a recipe for a cliffhanger from hell. I’ve been on that whole, I want to read them, but I’m kinda scared of them kick for a while. Then I saw they were doing a read-a-thon for March for the entire series and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to read these. Plus, you know, I’m on Julie’s street team so these really must be read.

It took me a few chapters before I could really get a hold on Jackson’s character. The whole time travel thing seems to be his main focus and, naturally, he hasn’t let his girlfriend in on this ability. That irked me a little. I get that he can’t go running around telling the world about it and that he hasn’t professed his love for Holly (yet), but I felt like he should confide in her anyway. Especially considering that he already told her bestie and is doing time travel experiments with him. Then she gets shot and Jackson does his farthest time jump to two years in the past and I really started to like him. He’s determination to do whatever was necessary to save Holly won me over pretty quickly. Then we start seeing his sister and learn about her heart-breaking death due to cancer and I just wanted to hug the poor guy. What I really loved most about him, though, was how normal he was. He’s an attractive, intelligent college boy who isn’t beating us over the head with his pretty face. He’s also a book nerd and that had me (and every other bookish girl) drooling over him.

Part of what I enjoyed about this was how realistic Jackson felt. Obviously I, a twenty something woman, have never been inside the head of a teenage boy, but Cross did a great job of making Jackson feel male without making it over the top. It is usually pretty difficult for me to really believe I’m inside the mind of a male character unless there is excessive swearing or innuendos running around his mind. That’s a terrible stereotype on my part, but it doesn’t make it any less true. This is one of the few times where the character felt male without descending to that level. Not that there is anything wrong with that level! My brain is forever stuck in “excessive swearing” mode. I also loved Cross’s version of time travel. Jackson can jump without changing anything or creating a paradox or breaking the space time continuum. I generally don’t do many time travel novels because they seem like a recipe for disaster. Not only do you have to keep up with all the characters in the many timelines, but make sure the rules you set for this power stay constant. The rules mean nothing if they are constantly being broken. We don’t have that problem here. This is time travel with a very contemporary feel, for me at least. The main thing here is Holly. Saving Holly, find Holly, spend time with Holly…and I’m a sucker for that. All the while, Cross is weaving in bits of information for later reveals and setting the ground work for twists and turns, while I’m just enjoying the tension between Holly & Jackson.

The mystery was also a pretty compelling reason to continue reading even when I was supposed to be doing other things. Who are these men that shot Holly? What do they want? Why can’t Jackson get back to his own time? What’s up with his dad? Is there anyone else on planet Earth with these abilities? Can someone explain them to me? I needed to know the answers.

The only reason this gets four stars instead of five is because I wasn’t in love with the ending. I know this is the first book in a series and I’m actually pretty far into book 2 already, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want it to end well. Which is does end well. Everyone is alive and happy, but not as happy as I’d like them to be. I think we all knew how this would end, I could certainly feel it going in this direction. I’m pretty sure it will be fixed later, but it still left me with a sad face. I’d probably give it 4.5 stars, if the majority of places I will post this review would allow for half-star ratings, but Amazon and GoodReads have yet to jump on that, so I try to always keep it at even numbers!

Audio Notes:
Matthew Brown does a decent job of bringing all the characters in this world to light. There was nothing about him I didn’t like, but he wasn’t quite as awesome as my favorite narrator ::cough cough:: MacLeod Andrews ::cough cough:: He has good pacing, voice differentiation for different characters, and a generally good presence. I definitely plan on listening to more of his work.

4 bows
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Review for Erasing Time (Erasing Time #1) by C J Hill

Erasing Time by C J Hill

TITLE: Erasing Time
SERIES: Erasing Time #1
PUBLICATION DATE: August 28, 2012
PAGES: 368 pages
RATING: 5 bows

Sheridan & Taylor are far from home with no hope of ever getting back. They were yanked 400 years into the future and now must work together to find a way out of the city before the new controlling government can orders the crystal tracking implants to be surgically implanted or, worse, decide they can’t risk the liability of the girls and order their memory erased. The only way out of the city is to trust Echo, a future boy with more secrets than they can ever hope to uncover. Without him they are lost, but with him, they may end up in worse trouble. Can they trust him?

Though this book has vaguely caught my eye in the past, it wasn’t until I learned that C J Hill is a pseudonym for Janette Rallison that I really grew interested in it. I have only read one of her books, but it was full of sparkling wit that kept me giggling the entire novel, yet somehow still managing to be heartfelt. Once that little tidbit was revealed, I was super-excited to see what she did in this dystopian. Would her humor translate to the new genre? The answer is yes! It really does, so, even though this is a serious dystopian, with all the serious issues that entails, Hill’s/Rallison’s humor still shines through. We get much more than her humor here, with a depth to the story that I wasn’t entirely expecting. I knew the writing would be competent, but I wasn’t quite expecting the world to pull me in the way it did.

Something else I loved was that the main character was the “normal” twin. Sheridan is not stupid by any stretch of the imaginations, but her sister Taylor is overly intelligent, graduating from college before her eighteenth birthday. Sheridan is still in high school with plans to pursue a degree in literature when they are pulled into the future. Feeling even more out of place because she doesn’t have the scientific mind of her sister and she isn’t pestering people with questions, just trying to take it all in. She is the one who comes up with the majority of the ideas and she is the one they end up relying on in the end. Something that should have bothered me but didn’t was how religious Sheridan is. Somehow Hill manages to write a preacher’s kid who is devote in her belief without coming off as pushy. Imagine my surprise, right? From the moment Sheridan mentions her beliefs, I prepared for the inevitable push of religious beliefs onto the audience. It was almost like I could feel it coming, but it never really did. Bravo, to say the least.

Then we had Echo****SPOILER****Or should I say Joseph?****END SPOILER**** He was a bit of a conundrum before we learn his big secret. He claims to not be part of the local gang, but knows all about them, even the deep secret stuff. He swears to protect Sheridan, but doesn’t really back it up in the beginning. He tells them one thing in his translations, but says something completely different when he speaks to everyone else in the new English. He is a big part of the humor element because of his mistake beliefs and ideas of the 21st Century. When he asks about the talking animals, I almost feel in the floor laughing so hard. Once you learn his secret, one that I really didn’t see coming by the way, you can’t help but empathize with the guy. ****SPOILER****All the lies to pretend to be his brother, stepping into the gang role his brother had played out and deceiving his father. Not to mention having to live with the fact that his brother died for him, right in front of him, and he has to live with that.****END SPOILER**** I just wanted to give the poor guy a hug, not to mention hug the author for the ability to keep the charade up until the very end. The light romance between him and Sheridan was so sweet, especially because she is never the twin that gets a date, they always prefer Taylor.

Taylor is a character I both loved and hated. The bond between the twins is obvious, but sometimes I became really irritated at how she reacted to Sheridan. She looks down on her desire to study literature, believing that science degrees are much more important and the way she treats Sheridan’s attraction to Echo ****SPOILER****::coughs:: Joseph****END SPOILER**** was highly irritating. The fact that she is the “smart” one but can’t come up with the answers in the end is what redeems her and her anger at Sheridan for always taking her place in dangerous situations.

There are several side characters that all play a role, but really it’s all about these three. This was gloriously free of a love triangle, no playing the sisters off each other for their affections or an additional male lead. No major cliffhangers, just the knowledge that the fight to save civilization isn’t over, and no insta-love. Sheridan and Echo ****SPOILER****::coughs:: Joseph****END SPOILER****are very attracted to one another, but they don’t go beyond the liking phase. It was amazing and refreshing and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one. I have added all of C J Hill’s/Janette Rallison’s books to my wishlist….well all the ones that weren’t already there and I now truly want to get my hands on Slayers!

That’s a bit off the subject. If you are looking for a dystopian a little off the beaten past, this is for you. You are looking for a story to make you smile, this is it as well. If you are looking for a twist you don’t see coming, well, do I really need to say it again? This has something for everyone and manages to bring in religion without it being overpowering! What more can you ask for?

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Review for Infinityglass (Hourglass #3) by Myra McEntire

Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

TITLE: Infinityglass
SERIES: Hourglass #3
AUTHOR: Myra McEntire
PUBLICATION DATE: August 6, 2013
PAGES: 336 pages
FORMAT: E-ARC / Hardback
SOURCE: NetGalley / won from Rex Robot Review
RATING: 4 stars

Dune has been obsessed with the Infinityglass ever since he was a child. He’s collected every scrap of data possible to help Hourglass find this mythical object that can theoretically fix the rip in the space time continuum. Now, it appears that the infinityglass is a person, not an object and Dune is off to New Orleans to help her understand how important she is. Hallie has never been normal. Being the daughter of a gangster who specializes in acquiring items that were lost in time keeps her pretty isolated. Dune somehow manages to keep pace with her and notices what she says more than her looks or what she is trying to project. Can the duo save the world or will the rips take over for good?

I was a little skeptical when I learned that this final installment of the Hourglass trilogy was going to have a new character. Hallie is a completely new character and I don’t remember much about Dune from the previous books so it almost felt like I was starting something completely new. It was an interesting juxtaposition between familiar and unfamiliar because there were some characters from the previous books and familiar aspects, everything also felt new and shiny. I think Hallie and Dune are great leading characters, but I definitely didn’t love either of them the way I did Emerson. You don’t get much out of Em for this entire book, except a tinsy epilogue from her perspective. Even though I enjoyed the new characters, I felt a little cheated out of getting more of my favorite character. Em is really what hooked me into the series, with her spunk and vulnerability; without her, I would not have loved Hourglass as much.

Regardless of how much I missed Em, this story is still very captivating. It’s fast paced and you don’t get much down time, with something always running amuck. It lulls a bit between the action, but it’s all very entertaining. I had a minor issue with the ending. It all went almost exactly as I had imagined, but it felt just a bit rushed. This are going and going and going and then you realize that there are about 30 or so pages left and things still haven’t wrapped up. I felt like it deserved a bit more explanation or time to let it settle. The book wasn’t even 300 pages so there was definitely room to make a few more pages to let everything sink in before ending it forever.

I can truly say that I am saddened to see this series end. These characters and the witty writing are unique in a world of carbon copies. McEntire has managed to create wholly original characters that are easy to love and even easier to miss once it’s all over. I hope everyone else enjoyed this series as much as I did and I cannot wait to see what’s next for Myra McEntire.

****Thank you to Egmont USA for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Timepiece (Hourglass #2) by Myra McEntire

Timepiece by Myra McEntire

TITLE: Timepiece
SERIES: Hourglass #2
AUTHOR: Myra McEntire
PAGES: 336 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

First off, I was super excited when I found out this book was written in Kaleb’s perspective. I adore him in the first novel and even though I knew there was no way for him to end up with Emerson, I was still pulling for him. This book picks up not far after Hourglass leaves off, with a very drunken Kaleb hitting on a random girl at a party who turns out to be Lily, Em’s bestie. At this party, they receive a threat that if they don’t find and stop Jack, time will be unwound. They have until Halloween to accomplish their mission. This sends them searching the world for Jack and the normal chaos ensues.

I loved Kaleb’s point of view. I was already head over heels for this character in Hourglass, so this made it so much worse. I gotta give the author props for being able to write in another perspective. Normally when I read a novel told entirely through character A’s viewpoint, then book 2 is written through character B (or maybe alternating between A & B), I either hate the new perspective (like in Dark Reunion by L.J. Smith) or feel like the two character’s voices are too similar (like in Crossed by Ally Condie), but This novel gets it right. Kaleb is clearly troubled, but cares deeply about those around him and is always putting them first.

I was a little on the fence about the romance between Kaleb and Lily. At the end of the last book, I knew that they would push him and Lily together and since I was Team Kaleb throughout Hourglass, I still held out hopes for Kaleb & Em to get together. While reading this, one minute I was so annoyed that Em was stupid enough to stay with secretive Michael and the next I was rooting for Lily to get over herself and just kiss Kaleb already. By the end, I was rooting for them, but it definitely took some time for me to come to that.

The story in this is just as intriguing as Hourglass was. Though we now know a bit more about the world, everything is still a bit of a mystery because Jack is tearing the space time continuum apart (paging Dr Who!).

It was well written and I like that everything wasn’t tied up into a neat little bow. There are some questions that they just don’t know the answers to.

It does have a cliffhanger, but I can’t find it in me to be angry about it. I saw it coming so I just feel more resigned than upset. It also obviously has a love triangle, but it was one of the rare few that I didn’t despise.

****Thank you to Egmont USA for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Hourglass (Hourglass #1) by Myra McEntire

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

TITLE: Hourglass
SERIES: Hourglass #1
AUTHOR: Myra McEntire
PAGES: 390 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 5 stars

For whatever reason, when this book came out, it never really caught my attention. I read a lot of good reviews on it but since my to be read pile is so large, I never took the time to add it. I have recently signed up for netgalley and when I requested Timepiece, I didn’t realize it was the sequel to this novel. I quickly learned that and then downloaded Hourglass. Boy am I glad I did. I loved it! It was one of the very few novels I’ve read where I was okay with the love triangle. Maybe that is because for once I want the other guy to win, but more on that later.

Emerson has known she was crazy since she was about 12 years old, when she started seeing things that weren’t there. She has been to every type of shrink, been institutionalized, drugged beyond cognitive abilities, and yet none of it works. The only thing that makes these visions go away is the drugs, which turn her into a zombie. Her brother has recently arranged for someone new to come and help her, someone a little different from the others. Someone who sees the same things she does. So either he is crazier than she is or he can help her. Thus begins their adventure into discovering her abilities.

This novel really sucked me into it’s world in the best possible way. In fact, it’s killing me to write this review instead of immediately jumping into the next novel.

I loved Emerson. She’s so plucky and tough and oddly vulnerable. She’s stubborn and refuses to back down when she knows she is right. Sometimes she does the stupidest thing possible, but always because she believes it is the right thing. I, however, am not the biggest Michael fan. I can see why Em is attracted to him and I can understand her reactions, but he’s just too damn secretive for my liking. Sorry dude, but if you want me to follow you through this possibly deadly plan, then you need to be brutally honest with me. He never felt honest, he always felt like he was playing an angle to me. I loved Kaleb though.

Flirty, cocky, and completely head over heels for the heroine, Mr Sexy had me from his first line. And even though I know that Em will always be with Michael, that doesn’t stop me from wanting her to live happily ever after with Kaleb. He is pretty much Michael’s complete opposite (as well as his best friend), honest where Michael is secretive, open where he is closed, flirty where he is serious, and so on. But I digress.

The plot is engaging and I definitely didn’t see the twist coming. Well, let me rephrase that, I definitely didn’t see all of the twist coming. I knew part of it, but I was completely shocked by the other part. I just loved it so much!