Book Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Summary from Goodreads:

One hour to rewrite the past . . .
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.


Now for my review:

Myra McEntire’s Hourglass caught my attention largely due to the intriguing cover.  After reading the storyline blurb that promised a mix of paranormal and science fiction, I plucked the novel off the library shelf.

It took me a week to read the book–a very long week to get through the almost 400 pages of sexy lips and abs descriptions.  Gah! I think McEntire was channelling Twilight’s Bella when creating the character of Emerson.  She was described as ‘tough’ by being independent, and having martial arts skills, but she quickly turned into a boy obsessed stereotypical teen.   Also, Michael and Emerson’s ‘romance’ was never really described–just that they had‘electricity’ between them and a love at first sight moment.  Psh. I didn’t buy it, and I never felt like their love was truly believable.  There was also a lame attempt at a love triangle between Michael, Emerson, and Kaleb that fell flat.

So where was all the real action with the time travel storyline, you ask? I was wondering the same thing reading Hourglass. The good stuff didn’t really come into effect until the last 100 pages of the book. I know my thoughts on Hourglass would have been different if McEntire focused more on the time travel aspect.  McEntire’s inclusion of exotic matter, bridges, time ripples was really unique and interesting!  I also thought that the introduction of Emerson’s best friend Lily’s gift could have been better explained and further explored. Lily’s disclosure of her special ability was sort of pointless because McEntire ceased to develop it further.

Another aspect I felt was strange was her brother’s and sister in law’s lack of concern when Emerson tells them she will be dangerously travelling through time to save a man’s life she has never met. For a family that is so close and very involved, you would think that they would show that they cared a little more for her well-being.

I also have to point out the worst line I’ve read in a while— ‘My ass was grass, and big brother was the lawn mower (pg.185)’. I literally read this line to coworkers in the lunchroom for a laugh!  Overall, I give this book 2 out of 5 for all the reasons above and for tricking me to believe this book was more sci-fi than paranormal romance.

Book Review- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

 From Goodreads:

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

I picked up Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children for several reasons. First, the title alone is intriguing. Paired with vintage photos and an endorsement by one of my favourite YA authors, John Green, I had high expectations.

Well, I must admit that I was severely let down. I have about 20% left and I just can’t finish the book. For weeks, I carried it around with me and tried reading it whenever I could.  It started off amazing. It captured my attention and I thought the premise was very imaginative and clever. It follows 16-year-old Jacob as he sets out on a quest to better understand whether his deceased grandfather’s stories were fact or fiction. It also has the most intriguing creepy vintage photographs throughout. However, I think that Riggs laid all the photos out and tried to create a story based on the photos. In my opinion, it didn’t work because the photos came first and the story second. Sometimes the photos felt out of place and didn’t really add anything to the story.

Other aspects I didn’t like:

-although the book is classified as a Young Adult book, it definitely reads younger.

-super creepy romance between Jacob and Emma

-not enough information about the children’s peculiar abilities. Would have enjoyed to read more about them.

-predictable storyline. Although I didn’t finish the book, I quickly read reviews with spoilers and wasn’t surprised to find out the outcome of the highly predictable ‘mystery’.

It’s no secret that I haven’ t been super impressed with my picks lately. Any recommendations?

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