Infinityglass

Caution: Read both Hourglass and Timepiece before proceeding. This post focuses on Infinityglass, the third and final book in Myra McEntire’s Hourglass series, and I promise there will be spoilers for those who are not caught up…and maybe some for those who are.

So…I finally made the time to finish the fantastic Hourglass trilogy this week, and this final book totally delivered. Infinityglass continues the intriguing story introduced in the first book, but it keeps things fresh with two all new narrators. In this book, readers see events through the eyes of Dune, a vital part of the Hourglass organization with his own tragic past, and Hallie, a sheltered girl with the potential to change everything.

The Hourglass, an organization made up of people with time-related abilities, is working tirelessly to find a way to repair the damage done to the space-time continuum. The ripples in time are getting worse, and they’re starting to take over the present. But there may be something out there that can help–the mysterious Infinityglass. This object could fix everything, but the Hourglass must figure out what it is and find it before their enemies do. There’s just one huge issue…

The Infinityglass is not a what. It’s a who.

More specifically, the Infinityglass is Hallie, a girl living in virtual isolation in New Orleans. Her only escapes come through dance and in the missions she takes on for Chronos, the secretive organization founded by her parents and the more nefarious counterpart of the Hourglass.

Hallie has always possessed the ability to manipulate her cells–transmutation, regeneration, etc.–but lately, things are becoming more intense. Her energy levels are off the charts, she no longer needs to eat or sleep, and she’s being pulled into the increasingly common rips in time. Her only real help in determining what’s going on comes from Dune, an Hourglass member posing as her new bodyguard.

Dune has been studying the Infinityglass for years, but he never imagined that he would find it in a person, especially a girl so magnetic that he can’t stay away from her. Almost from their first meeting, Dune and Hallie connect, and they each reveal things about themselves that they’ve never shared with another person. They work together to combat the danger facing them, and Dune provides Hallie with more love and support than she’s ever encountered in her young life. And Hallie’s going to need that support when she learns the horrifying truth about herself, her abilities, and what may need to happen to fix the very fabric of time…

Dune, Hallie, and the other members of the Hourglass are quickly approaching a showdown with those who started this mess, and none of them are truly prepared for what will be revealed…or who is really pulling the strings. But can these young people, all of whom have very special abilities, work together to defeat the evil among them and repair the damage done to time itself? What will Hallie, the Infinityglass, have to do–or sacrifice–to heal time? Do she and Dune have any hope of a future together when the past and present are trying so hard to tear them apart?

Time will tell…

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I must say that Infinityglass is a very satisfying, if somewhat confusing, end to this wonderful trilogy. I didn’t always fully grasp what was happening with the ripples in time, but that’s okay. Confusion is often a given when you’re dealing with time, and this entire series made me feel like I was watching an episode or two of Doctor Who (arguably the greatest show in all of time and space). Both the Hourglass trilogy and the good Doctor make me think, and that’s never a bad thing.

The relationship between Dune and Hallie was probably the highlight of this book. Dune was a good guy, a self-professed geek who worked to overcome his own issues with his abilities, and he was a perfect match for Hallie, a sheltered girl who took every chance she had to escape her suffocating existence. Eventually, Hallie came to realize that no matter how scandalous she acted or what she said, Dune would always be there for her. That gave her a freedom to be her true self that she never had before. Similarly, Dune was able to let down his guard and reveal his deepest secrets and fears to Hallie. In a complicated quest for truth, Dune and Hallie found each other and a connection that transcended all of the chaos around them.

(For those wondering if Dune and Hallie had “sexy times,” yes, they did. There wasn’t anything explicit or gratuitous in the book, but it was apparent that they had a sexual relationship. The same could be said for the couples in both Hourglass and Timepiece as well. Those who are recommending these books to middle grade readers may want to take that into consideration.)

To wrap things up with the Hourglass series, I just have to say that if you’re looking for a series that combines romance, teen angst, unexpected humor, and all of the “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” goodness of Doctor Who, then this is the trilogy for you. I hope you enjoy seeing how Michael and Emerson, Kaleb and Lily, and Dune and Hallie work to build their relationships while dealing with their abilities and what they mean for the circumstances at hand. It’s a pretty wild ride, but it’s one that I think you’ll like. I know I did.

For more information on Infinityglass, the other Hourglass novels, and Myra McEntire, check out the author’s websiteGoodreads, and Twitter. Have fun!

Published in: on June 19, 2015 at 9:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Timepiece

Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t already read Hourglass by Myra McEntire, stop right here. This post is all about the second book in the series, Timepiece, and I will definitely spoil the first book for you if you keep reading. You’ve been warned!

Sometimes, second books in series leave much to be desired. They often seem like filler until we make it to the big finale. I’m happy to say that I didn’t feel that way with Timepiece, the second book in Myra McEntire’s Hourglass series. Yes, a lot happened that carried over from the first book, and that stuff will likely be resolved in book three, but Timepiece, thanks largely to an entirely new narrator, felt like a book with its own important story.

In this second installment, we see the action unfold through the eyes of Kaleb. You may recall that Kaleb is the son of Liam, the leader of the Hourglass, an organization devoted to those with special abilities related to time (and time-travel is just a small part of that). When we left Kaleb in Hourglass, we saw a young man who was dealing with a great deal of turmoil–the return of his father, his mother’s precarious mental state, his growing feelings for his best friend’s girl, and his own devastating personal demons. In Timepiece, Kaleb is facing all of those issues and many more…

Kaleb Ballard may seem sure of himself on the outside–kind of cocky, tattoos and piercings to emphasize his tough-guy image–but he’s really a whirling mess of self-doubt. His ability to feel the emotions of others makes him seek numbness at the bottom of a bottle, but circumstances are unfolding that will require Kaleb to maintain laser-like focus.

Jack Landers, the very man who attempted to destroy Liam, Kaleb’s father, and took his mother’s memories is back once more, and now the stakes are even higher. It’s made perfectly clear that Jack, the fiend who is ripping time apart, must be stopped before he can inflict anymore pain.

Kaleb want to do his part to bring Jack to justice. Kaleb’s dad, though, wants to keep Kaleb out of this fight. Liam confides in Michael and seeks out his assistance, and that grates on Kaleb. Why can’t his dad trust him with everything that’s going on? Is he that much of a disappointment? Surely there’s something Kaleb can do to prove to his father that he can help in finding Jack and fixing whatever damage has been done to the splintering space-time continuum.

Soon enough, Kaleb finds himself embroiled in the quest to find the elusive Jack Landers. He’s not alone, though. He receives support from Michael, Emerson, and, oddly enough, from Emerson’s best friend, Lily (who has her own supernatural abilities). Not too long ago, Kaleb was plagued with feelings for Emerson, but Lily is changing everything. She doesn’t buy into his bad boy image, and that allows Kaleb to actually be real with a girl for the first time. But it’s hard to build a future with a girl when time itself is unraveling around them.

Time is ripping apart all around Kaleb and his friends. If they don’t do something fast–find some way to stop Jack in his mad dash for power–everything they know will be torn to shreds. Can they foil Jack’s plans and restore the memories he’s stolen from so many? Or will their search for truth put them in even more danger? Read Timepiece, the thrilling second book in the Hourglass series, to find out!

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I’m the first to admit that time-travel fiction messes with my head, and Timepiece is no different. It confused the crap out of me, and I have to say that it wasn’t an entirely unpleasant feeling. Anything that makes me think is good in my book. Also, I love the “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” quality of this entire series. It’s all very Doctor Who (which makes sense because the author is a fan of the show). I am a die-hard Whovian myself, so anything that reminds me of The Doctor is simply fantastic.

Even though Timepiece had a fair amount of resolution at the end, questions still abound. The final moments of the book indicate that things are going to get much more confusing before any clarity shines through. The search is now on for the mysterious Infinityglass, the one thing that could stop Jack’s machinations and finally repair time once and for all. I’m confident that the search will not be an easy one, and things will get much worse before they get better for Kaleb, Lily, Emerson, and Michael. I can hardly wait to see how everything plays out!

Luckily, I don’t have to wait long to see what happens here since Infinityglass, book three in the series, is already out. I’ve just got a few other books to finish, and then I’ll devote some time to wrapping up this intriguing series.

For more information on Timepiece, the other Hourglass novels, and Myra McEntire, check out the author’s website, Goodreads, and Twitter. Happy reading!

Hourglass

Last year, at YALLFest 2013, I heard a charming, entertaining author speak*, and I’ve been meaning to pick up her books ever since. That author is Myra McEntire, and I finally made time to dive into Hourglass, her first novel, this weekend. It didn’t take long for me to get sucked into the world created by Ms. McEntire, and I can hardly wait to read more. (There are now three books in the Hourglass series, and I plan to devour the others during my upcoming holiday break. Woohoo!)

*I should also note that Ms. McEntire was so entertaining that I recommended her as a guest author at the annual conference of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians. Wonder of wonders, she accepted SCASL’s invitation, so I’ll get to see her once again in March!

Emerson Cole is not exactly a typical seventeen-year-old girl. In fact, almost nothing about Emerson is what one would consider “normal.” When her name pops up, “crazy” is the word most often used to describe this troubled girl.

And why is Emerson so troubled? Nothing big, really. She simply sees ghosts of the past nearly everywhere she goes, she’s traumatized by her parents’ deaths, and she’s recently decided to go off her meds because they make everything feel all fuzzy. Emerson has tried nearly everything to help herself cope with the strangeness that is her life, but she’s never really thought about embracing what makes her different. At least, not until Michael enters her life…

Michael Weaver, a guy not much older than Emerson herself, works for an organization known as the Hourglass, and he’s been hired by Emerson’s older brother to help her through some of her issues. What her dear brother doesn’t know, however, is that the mysterious Michael hasn’t come into the picture to make Emerson “normal;” he’s here to show Emerson the true depth of her power.

Soon after meeting Emerson, Michael explains that her encounters with ghosts are much more than what they seem. They are, in fact, ripples in the fabric of time, and Emerson has the unique ability to actually travel to the past, even change things if she wishes to. Michael wants to help her do just that.

Emerson is soon dealing with some fairly unbelievable information, things that make her question everything she thought she knew about herself and the universe. And as if that’s not enough, she’s also confronting some pretty inconvenient feelings for Michael. There’s this weird electrical charge whenever they touch, and their pull toward each other is undeniable, but Michael rebuffs her at every turn. Why? Is it simply because her brother hired Michael to help Emerson? Or are there other things–other people–getting in the way of a possible relationship between Emerson and Michael?

As Emerson learns more about herself, her abilities, her past, Michael, and the secretive Hourglass organization, she comes face-to-face with some truths that are at once horrific and seemingly impossible. Does she really have the power to change her fate and that of those around her, or have other forces already manipulated Emerson’s life and abilities to achieve their own ends?

Well, as they say, time will tell…

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Hourglass really puts a different spin on the whole time travel concept, and it’s one that I think a lot of readers will enjoy. There’s way too much time travel fiction out there that just glosses over the physics behind the concept. This book doesn’t do that. It actually takes a look at things like the space-time continuum and how changing one thing in the past could have devastating consequences in the present and future. The science nerd within me is rejoicing over this…and trying to decipher what the book’s conclusion could mean for time itself.

Aside from all of the time travel stuff, Hourglass has a flawed, totally relatable protagonist. Emerson is far from perfect. She has huge errors in judgement all the time, but I truly believe that her heart is in the right place. She wants to do the right thing, but it’s not always clear how to do that. And when she finds herself floundering, she does what so many YA characters don’t–she talks to the adults in her life, tells them the truth about her situation, and listens to (even if she doesn’t always follow) their advice. Also, she’s like a mini-ninja, so that makes me like her even more.

So, we’ve got time travel, and we’ve got a likable main character. What am I forgetting? Oh yeah! The totally infuriating (in a good way) love story! The push-pull between Emerson and Michael was both wonderful and exasperating. Every time I thought they were about to confess their feelings for each other, I was thrown for a loop. (So was Emerson, by the way.) I didn’t know which way to turn, or even which way I wanted to turn. And when another swoon-worthy guy entered the picture, I was even more confused. Who should Emerson really be with? Should she be with anyone? It’s all very confusing…for both Emerson and the reader. And the book’s resolution, while it does kind of resolve this one big thing, also makes it clear that Emerson’s immediate future will likely be anything but moonlight and roses.

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If you’re looking for a riveting YA read, I urge you to give Hourglass a try. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

For more information on Hourglass, its sequels, and Myra McEntire, check out the author’s website, Goodreads, and Twitter. Ms. McEntire is also a contributing author in the holiday anthology My True Love Gave to Me, so you may want to give that fabulous book a read as well!

Goddess in Time

Warning! You MUST read Tera Lynn Childs’ Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp before reading Goddess in Time! And if it’s been over three years since you read the last book, a refresher may be in order. (Seriously, I spent the first couple of chapters really confused, and I had to look to previous blog posts, Goodreads, and the author’s website to re-familiarize myself with the main characters.)

If you’re still reading, I’ll assume you’re caught up with the Oh. My. Gods. series. Goddess in Time, a 14-chapter novella, kind of continues things with Nicole’s story. (If you don’t remember, Nicole is one of Phoebe’s best friends, and may be best known for getting into trouble and her sarcastic manner.)

When Nicole was a child, she and her friend Griffin (now Phoebe’s boyfriend) did something that altered their lives forever. One tiny prank on Mount Olympus, and everything changed.  As punishment, Nicole’s parents were stripped of their powers and banished, and Griffin’s parents were smoted. Seems harsh, right? Well, not when you’re dealing with the Greek gods, especially when one of those is Hera.  If only there were some way for Nicole to make things right…

Well, Nicole may have stumbled across something that could work. It’s something that no one has tried for centuries. Chronoportation. In other words, time travel.  It’s dangerous and highly illegal, but this power could be just what she needs to undo her mistakes.  She’ll need to travel to the palaces of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, and contact her godly ancestor to make this happen, but Nicole is determined to right her wrongs and bring her parents back where they belong.

But things may not be quite as simple as Nicole had hoped. (They never are when in comes to Greek deities!) Nicole will come face-to-face with her own past on this journey, and she may not be totally prepared for what she finds. What will Nicole learn about her heritage and, more importantly, about herself in this quest for justice? Discover Nicole’s secrets when you read Goddess in Time, an Oh. My. Gods. novella by Tera Lynn Childs!

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Even though it took me a little while to step back into this world, I did enjoy Goddess in Time. (It could be because I’m a little time-travel crazy right now. The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special is just two days away!) Nicole learned a lot about herself in this story, and she’s just an all-around fun character to read about anyway. (I do enjoy my fair share of snark and sarcasm.)

If you want even more stories from the Oh. My. Gods. series, check out Tera Lynn Childs’ website at http://teralynnchilds.com/. There are three more really short, sweet stories right there on the site:  Phoebe’s Fair Valentine, The Twelve Days of Stella, and Nicole’s Labyrinth.  I read them all last night, and, from what I could determine, all of them take place after Goddess Boot Camp but before Goddess in Time. Enjoy!

Published in: on November 21, 2013 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Timeless

This post is going to be a short one.  Why, you ask?  Well, because it’s my birthday, and I want to spend the rest of it having a Big Bang Theory marathon.  Anyway…I finished reading Timeless by Alexandra Monir earlier today.  If you follow this blog at all, you probably know that I’m not a huge fan of time travel fiction.  That hasn’t changed, but I will say that I enjoyed this story.  I also enjoyed the glimpses I received of New York City life throughout the past century.  So much has changed while so much has remained the same…

After a horrible tragedy turns Michele Windsor’s whole world upside down, she is sent to live with her wealthy, estranged grandparents in their Fifth Avenue mansion in New York City. Michele is not sure why her mother chose these people–who’ve never shown an interest in Michele or her mother–as her guardians. Michele just knows she’s not ready for this huge change in her life. Well, an even bigger change is on the horizon…

After Michele receives an mysterious key and finds an old diary, she is somehow transported from 2010 to 1910. Michele can only be seen by certain people in her travels through time…and one of them will totally capture her heart.

Philip Walker is just as enraptured by Michele as she is by him. But how can their love exist when neither belongs in the other’s time? Is there a way? And what force is allowing Michele to travel through time anyway? What family secrets will Michele uncover on her journeys, and can she find a way to stay with the love of her life? Read Timeless by Alexandra Monir to discover that real love can cross all boundaries…even time itself.

I truly enjoyed this book (and I honestly didn’t think I would). I was pleasantly surprised by how the timelines in the story connected, and I appreciated the discussion of Albert Einstein’s theories of time travel contained within the book. As I said previously, I loved the glimpses of old New York, and I also liked how history and music played into how events unfolded for Michele and Philip. (I was a music major for a while in college, and I started my career in education as a history teacher, so this was even more awesome for me.)

If you think you’d enjoy Timeless as much as I did, I invite you to check it out. You can also look forward to more of Michele’s story in the sequel, Timekeeper, due out in December 2012. To learn more about Timeless and author Alexandra Monir, visit http://www.alexandramonir.com/. You can even download some of the music featured in Timeless! Pretty cool!

Published in: on March 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Torn

Warning!  Torn is the fourth book in Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series.  To have any hope of understanding this book, you need to read the first three:  Found, Sent, and Sabotaged.  (If you’re anything like me, though, even reading the first three books may not help much.  This series deals with time travel, a concept that totally messes with my head.)

It is rare for me to get through four books in a series and stop, knowing that more books are on the way…but I might have to make an exception in this case.  When I first read Found, I was totally intrigued.  It was like Lost for kids.  I became less impressed with the next two books, and, now that I’ve finished the fourth—Torn—I’m ready for this series to be done.  (And I know there’s at least one more book on the way.) 

I put off reading Torn for a while simply because I wasn’t a huge fan of Sent and Sabotaged, and I knew I would be in for more of the same in the fourth installment.  In this series, Haddix combines elements of historical fiction and time travel.  In essence, the series revolves around the missing children from history and the struggle to return them to their places and “fix time.”  We were introduced to this story line in Found; in Sent, we traveled to England in the time of Richard III; in Sabotaged, we journeyed to the lost Jamestown colony with Virginia Dare; and in Torn, we make our way to the icy waters around northernCanada with the notable explorer Henry Hudson.

Like the previous books, Jonah and Katherine are trying to fix time and get back home.  This time, Jonah must pretend to be John Hudson, Henry’s son, and Katherine has to become invisible.  After all, they’re aboard a ship filled with less-than-pleasant sailors, and a girl on the ship would be considered odd, to say the least.  As Jonah and Katherine struggle to make sense of things in 1611, they’re also trying to figure out why and how time is being manipulated in the first place.  Can they fix things in this time, rescue their friends stuck in 1600, and return home without making a total mess of things?  I’ll leave that for you to figure out when you read Torn by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

It should go without saying that I wasn’t a huge fan of this book.  I have issues with time travel, and I’m not one to read much historical fiction (despite my previous life as a social studies teacher).  I did, however, appreciate the lengthy author’s note which detailed how much of this book (a lot) was based on fact. 

If you like mysteries, time travel, and historical fiction, you might want to give The Missing series a try.  For more information on the series and author Margaret Peterson Haddix, visit http://www.haddixbooks.com/home.html.

Published in: on February 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to the book I finished yesterday, Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  It was weird, creepy, and it messed with my head.  For the most part, I avoided reading it at night because I didn’t want to have nightmares.  (I think I’ve established in earlier posts that I am a wuss of the highest order.)  The photos (which are totally real) interspersed throughout the book moved the story along, but most of them also gave me a serious case of the willies.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is unlike any book I’ve ever read, and I have a feeling you’ll feel the same way if you decide to pick it up.

Jacob has always known that his grandfather, Abraham, was a little “out there.”  Abe was always making up stories about children with strange abilities, and he talked about fighting monsters in the past.  When Jacob was a kid, he accepted these stories as absolute truth, but, as he grew older, he came to believe that his grandfather was just telling tall tales.  As it turns out, however, Abe might have been telling the truth.

When Abe is killed in a horrifying and gruesome manner, Jacob comes face to face with his grandfather’s mysterious past…a past that centers around a home for “special” children and their caretaker, Miss Peregrine.  Jacob then makes a long journey to find the place that meant so much to his grandfather…and hopefully find the truth behind the stories and photos Abe left behind.

As Jacob explores the isolated island in Wales where Miss Peregrine’s home is supposed to be, he comes across some strange things…a house that is in ruins one minute and pristine the next, kids dressed in clothes that seem to be right out of a history book, seemingly impossible feats, and a connection to the girl who once loved his grandfather.  Jacob travels through time itself to uncover the mystery surrounding his grandfather’s death, and he soon realizes that he and the people he’s coming to care about may be facing an even greater threat…a threat that could wipe out their very existence.  But what can he do?  There’s nothing special about him…or is there?  Could he have the same “gift” as his grandfather?  Is he one of the “peculiar children” too?  Join Jacob and a motley crew of outcasts from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children as they fight an evil that could destroy everything they hold dear.

Mere words cannot express just how creepy this book really is.  This is definitely one you need to see for yourself.  The photos alone are worth picking up this book.  I found myself anticipating which strange photograph I’d be seeing next and how it would play into Jacob’s story.  And even though I’m not usually a fan of time travel fiction, it worked in this book…and, even better, the photos made it even seem plausible.  (I know it’s weird, but work with me here.)  I look forward to seeing more in the next book in this series (which is currently untitled and due out in 2013).  I know we’ll find more creepiness to enjoy!

If you’d like to learn more about author Ransom Riggs and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, visit http://www.ransomriggs.com/.  You also might like to know that a movie adaptation of this book is in the works with Tim Burton set to direct.  What an absolutely perfect pairing!

Published in: on December 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm  Comments (2)  
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Always a Witch

Spoilers ahead!  If you haven’t read Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, stop right there.  Read that book before you continue with this post.  Always a Witch will make absolutely no sense if you read it without the background provided in the first book.  Seriously.  No sense at all.

Well, I’ve finally finished the sequel to Once a Witch (which I read way back in March).  Always a Witch continues the story of Tamsin and her newly discovered Talent.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you obviously didn’t heed my warning above.  Shame on you.)  Tamsin and her family are getting ready for a very special celebration when things get weird…and that’s really saying something in a family full of witches.

Just days before Tamsin’s sister, Rowena is to be married, an enemy returns to wreak havoc on the Greene family.  The evil Alistair Knight warns that he will stop at nothing to restore his family’s power…and he means it.  When Tamsin learns that Alistair has Traveled back to 1887 New York, she knows she must follow him.  She must warn her family (ancestors, really) of what is to come so that they can prevent the dismal future that could await them.  But things aren’t really that easy.  Then again, they never are when it comes to Tamsin.

When Tamsin Travels back in time, she almost immediately finds herself employed…by the Knight family.  She is to be lady’s maid to young Jessica Knight.  But Tamsin may just be able to use this unexpected circumstance to her advantage.  She uses her position to learn more about her enemy, and she’s truly horrified by what she discovers.  The Knight family is the epitome of evil, and they must be stopped.  But can Tamsin convince her family to stop them when it could mean the loss of their powers and even their lives?

With or without help, Tamsin is determined to do what she must to ensure that the Knights lose their power.  But is she really willing to make the hard choices?  Choices that could impact the past as well as the future?  What will she do when she realizes that the future of her entire family rests on her shoulders?  What would you do?  Read Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough to discover how far one will go in the name of family.

Even though this book was heavy on the time travel (which I believe I have mentioned seriously messes with my head), I think Always a Witch was even better than its predecessor.  I was (figuratively) on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book.  Tamsin grew up and began to really think about how her choices would impact not only herself but also everyone around her.  I also kind of like that the villains of the book were the Knights.  That’s just awesome.  I’ve kind of always wanted to be a villain (but a good, misunderstood one like Darth Vader).  Even though the Knights in this book were pure evil, I still think it’s pretty cool that we share the same last name.  I know that’s incredibly juvenile of me, but, let’s face it, sometimes I am incredibly juvenile.

If you’d like more information on Once a Witch, Always a Witch, or other books by author Carolyn MacCullough, visit her website at http://www.carolynmaccullough.com/index.html.  As for me, I must get ready for the first day of school tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Passion

Danger, danger!!!  Proceed with extreme caution if you have not read Fallen and Torment by Lauren Kate.  You must read the first two novels in this series to understand this one.  (Even if you have read these books, you may want to skim over them to refresh your memory.)  Passion is definitely not meant to stand alone.  You’ve been warned!

If you’re still reading this, I will assume that you’ve read the first two books in Lauren Kate’s Fallen series.  Passion is, obviously, the third book and is primarily a transition between the second book, Torment, and the final book in the series, Rapture.  A lot of what happens in Passion is repetitive and involves Luce traveling through time trying to find answers about her relationship with Daniel.  The time travel in this book bothered me a little.  (Of course, time travel fiction usually messes with my head.  I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a linear thinker and possible changes to the space-time continuum make me anxious.)  I kept waiting for Luce or Daniel to make one little misstep and change the entire world as they knew it.  As it happens, they weren’t the ones I needed to worry about…

Luce is on a mission.  She’s determined to figure out just what is so special about her relationship with Daniel Grigori.  She knows that her soul has loved him all throughout time, but she wonders if there is any way to break the curse that causes her to die, lifetime after lifetime, just when her love is the strongest.  Luce decides to observe her past selves in action to get some answers, so she uses an Announcer (weird, shadowy portals through space and time) to revisit her former lives.  (Confused yet?)  Unfortunately, Luce doesn’t really know what she’s doing.  When a guide in the form of a little, flying stone gargoyle named Bill shows up, Luce decides to follow his lead through time.  Luce and Bill go back centuries in the hopes of discovering just what it is about Luce and Daniel that makes their love so timeless and if there is any way of breaking the curse that binds them.  But Luce may be in for more than she expected…

Meanwhile, Daniel is racing after Luce.  He always seems to be a few steps behind her.  He knows that he has to find her quickly before the fabric of time is altered forever.  But even Daniel soon realizes that he can use his trips through time to change the future, particularly his relationship with Luce.  Has he found a way to break the curse that tears Luce away from him?  And what could it mean if he has? 

As Daniel and Luce attempt to find each other and a way to be together, other forces are also at work.  Darker forces that seek to destroy not only the love between Daniel and Luce, but the entirety of human existence.  It’s not just about Daniel and Luce anymore.  It seems a war is brewing, and Daniel, Luce, and all of their friends will have to work together before the world they know is simply erased.  Can they fight the evil that is coming?  We’ll just have to wait and see…

Although it took me a while to get into this book, I will say that I liked it.  Again, the time travel thing bugs me a bit, but it definitely provided insights into the relationship between Daniel and Luce, and we got a couple of history lessons as a bonus.  I also enjoyed seeing just what made Cam go dark.  It was enlightening.  All of the time travel stuff, while anxiety-inducing, led to an unexpected ending that will play a major role in the final book in this series, Rapture.  (The title really says it all.)  When you’re dealing with stories about fallen angels, you just know that it’s going to come down to a war between Heaven and Hell, and that’s just what we’ll get as this series draws to a close.

Rapture is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2012.  Until then, visit Lauren Kate’s website, http://laurenkatebooks.net/, for more information on the Fallen series.

Published in: on July 7, 2011 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Once a Witch

I picked up my latest read, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, primarily because it is a 2011-12 South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominee.  I served on the Young Adult Book Award committee for three years, and, even though I work with much smaller mammals now, I still like to keep up with what teens in my state are reading, and I think they will really enjoy Once a Witch (especially girls who are fans of the Twilight saga and similar books).  Once a Witch is the first book in a tantalizing new series, and I think it takes readers to places that they never expected to go…

Tamsin Greene is an oddball in her family, and that is definitely saying something.  You see, Tamsin comes from a family of witches, all of whom have special Talents…except Tamsin.  She’s ordinary.  No Talent, no special powers, no hint of anything magical about her.  So, when a mysterious man comes into her family’s bookshop and mistakes Tamsin for her older, extremely gifted sister Rowena, Tamsin plays along and agrees to help him find a lost family heirloom.  If she can find what this man is searching for, maybe she won’t feel so much like an outsider in her own family.

What Tamsin didn’t count on, however, were the strange man’s intentions when he asked her to look for his lost heirloom.  It seems both he and the object of his desire are far more dangerous than Tamsin could have possibly known, and the search for the heirloom will take Tamsin and everyone close to her down a path fraught with peril at every turn.

What will happen when Tamsin locates this mysterious object?  What is the strange man really after?  Can Tamsin stop the storm that is brewing before it is too late?  And, most importantly, is she really as Talentless as everyone has always led her to believe?  Join Tamsin on her quest for answers when you read Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough.

I, for one, really related to the character of Tamsin.  No, I don’t come from a family of witches (that I know of), but I have felt like an outsider in my own family.  (Mom, if you’re reading this, try to chill.  You know exactly what I mean.)  I’m not loud, I don’t really like to talk all that much (and trust me when I say that is odd in my family), and I’d rather escape into the pages of a book than deal with people.  I’m just not like most of the other people in my family, so I found it very easy to sympathize with Tamsin, and I think many teen readers will as well.

I highly recommend this book to young adult readers.  (It may be a little much for the middle grades, though.)  Once a Witch is a wonderful first book in what promises to be a captivating series.  The sequel, Always a Witch, will be out on August 1, 2011.  I look forward to seeing what trouble Tamsin will get into this time.  For more information on this series, author Carolyn MacCullough, quizzes, and facts about witches, visit http://onceawitch.com/.

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