Teaser Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

I am going to an author event tonight with Myra McEntire, Amy Plum, and C.J. Redwine. I could NOT be more excited about it. I have read and loved both of Ms. McEntire’s books (Hourglass, Timepiece) and read and enjoyed the first of Ms. Plum’s books (Die for Me, Until I Die). I actually won copies of both Revenants books in a HarperTeen giveaway, which is really exciting, but I won’t have them for the signing tonight. Sad ūüôĀ Hopefully she’ll have bookmarks or something I can ask her to sign. I do have my paperback copy of Hourglass all ready for a signature, though!

The third was a little trickier, since C.J. Redwine is a debut author, and her book Defiance won’t be out until August 28.¬†I really wanted to read her book before meeting her (even though I knew most people at the signing would not have read it), so I figured I should at least attempt to get my hands on a copy. First, I emailed C.J. herself, since she is a Nashville author and I live in Nashville. She was extremely kind and gracious, and offered to lend me an ARC to read before the signing. But of course, she was also working hard on the sequel to Defiance and up against a deadline, so it was going to be tricky to meet up.

Plus, she has no way of knowing I’m not a psycho-stalker. I mean, I’m not, but you never know about people you meet on the Internet.

However, in a funny twist of fate, after finishing Hourglass I read the¬†acknowledgments, and realized I knew Myra McEntire’s agent. We went to college together. And upon further investigation, I realized she also represented C.J. Redwine. So I sent her a Facebook message, and lickety-split, she popped an ARC of Defiance in the mail for me.

Well, not quite lickety-split. She had to go to Utah first. Because she’s a big-time book agent who gets sent to Utah for the weekend. But she mailed the book (along with a couple other surprises!) out the day she got back. Because she is awesome.

I on the other hand, was sent to two birthday parties last weekend, by my children. And trust me, that was enough. I’m not cut out for the big time.

So to make a long story….slightly less long, Defiance arrived on Saturday. I didn’t tear into it immediately (I had promised my husband a movie night, and we watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and it was fun and action-packed and exciting), but my Mother’s Day request was that my husband watch the kids so I could read Defiance.¬†And it’s a good thing I had an excuse to read all afternoon, because I could not put it down.

Since Defiance will not be released until August 28, I will be posting a full review (along with an author interview!) closer to release. But I just wanted to post a bit of a teaser, in case you have a chance to get your hands on an advance copy and wonder if it’s worth your time, or if you’re considering pre-ordering a copy and wonder if it’s worth your money.

Just to be clear: it is.

The Plot: I usually write my own summaries, but this one has such a complex plot, I don’t know how to summarize it in a¬†concise¬†manner. So this is the synopsis from Goodreads:

“Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city‚Äôs brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father‚Äôs apprentice, Logan‚ÄĒthe same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father‚Äôs survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can‚Äôt be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.”

My Thoughts, In a Nutshell: This book was amazing and fantastic and fantastically amazing. It took me a couple chapters to get into the writing style, just because it’s a tad more detailed than lots of other YA books I’ve been reading lately. But once I adjusted, I was hooked.

Defiance is absolutely chock-full of action, suspense, tingly romance, bitter heartbreak. The setting is unique and intriguing – kind of medieval-meets-steampunk-meets-fantasy. There are monsters and gadgets and swords and dungeons.

I literally gasped and cried and hunched up in a ball because it was just making me feel ALL THE FEELINGS during parts of this book. And normally, I am a pretty stoic reader.

The characters are incredible (Rachel and Logan immediately became one of my favorite fictional couples), the writing is vivid, and the story is intricate and beautiful. I don’t want to say much more, because this is just a teaser review, and if I’m not careful it’s going to turn into a full-blown all-out Review.

Suffice it to say, I loved this book. If you have a chance to read it, or if it’s within your means to buy it, do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Review: Timepiece by Myra McEntire (@MyraMcEntire @EgmontUSA)

Timepiece is the sequel to Hourglass, which is awesome and crazy and a wee bit over-the-top but not so much that I can’t love it anyway.

Whereas Hourglass is told from the point-of-view of reluctant time-traveler Emerson Cole, Timepiece‘s narrator is her boyfriend’s best friend, the dark and brooding Kaleb.

The Plot

[Spoilers from Hourglass ahead. Skip down to My Thoughts if you haven’t finished it yet. Then GO FINISH IT.]

Timepiece picks up shortly after the conclusion of Hourglass. Emerson and Michael have been¬†reunited, much to Kaleb’s dismay. They have succeeded in their mission to rescue Kaleb’s father, Liam, the director of the Hourglass. The devious Jack Landers is still on the loose, and no one has any idea what his endgame is.

Additionally, Kaleb and the other young members of the Hourglass are starting to be able to see rips, something that only Emerson and Michael could do before. And the rips are getting bigger.

No sooner have we digested this information than a new, mysterious baddie shows up and hands Kaleb an ultimatum in no uncertain terms: Deliver Jack Landers, or life as he and his friends know it is over.

Soon Kaleb, Emerson, Michael and the entire Hourglass crew — complete with some new recruits — are searching for Jack, using every trick in their arsenal, both technological and supernatural. But Jack always seems two steps ahead. And time is running out.

My Thoughts

Timepiece starts with a bang. New, bigger bad guys are immediately introduced and the stakes are promptly upped. We were introduced to the basic mechanics of this time-slippy world in Hourglass; this time we get into details. We find out more about most of the secondary characters. The action increases significantly.

Bottom line: If you thought Hourglass was fun, Timepiece is going to blow your socks off.

I’ve got to admit, I was a little tentative at first about the switch to Kaleb’s point of view. I felt like I had developed a good relationship with Emerson in the first book, and I was comfortable viewing the world through her eyes. Plus, the Kaleb we meet in Hourglass, and at the beginning of Timepiece, is a crass, womanizing drunk. Charming, sure, but I spent a good portion of the first few chapters wanting to smack him upside the head.

[Also, as a side note, add some tattoos and piercings, and I was totally picturing Kaleb like this:

I know, Kaleb’s not a football player and probably doesn’t go around telling anyone “Texas forever,” but his personality screamed Tim Riggins to me. Anyone else?]

Okay, sorry, just had to throw that out there.

Luckily, while I can’t say that I wound up agreeing with all of Kaleb’s choices, I was able to understand him, sympathize with him, and really like him. Even when he was being a womanizing drunk. He was a great narrator, and it was really interesting viewing this crazy world through his eyes.

It was also fun to see Emerson and Michael from someone else’s point of view. In Hourglass, their relationship is all fluttery feelings and absurd chemistry and sparks of electricity. In Timepiece, we can see how that gets a little annoying to the people around them.

We get to know the secondary characters better, especially Emerson’s best friend Lily, which made me super happy. I was really hoping we’d find out more about her, since I really enjoyed her character in Hourglass. There’s still a few characters I would like to know more about. Maybe the third book will use one of them as narrator?

Jack Landers is a great villain. He’s evil and scary and dark, but not cartoonish. He’s given a solid back story, so that you understand him but still don’t like him. He’s smart and cunning and not given to extensive monologuing or pointless vendettas. You can really understand why he would be two steps ahead of our group of heroes, without making him ridiculous or them stupid.

As far as the story in Timepiece, I was riveted from the first chapter through the last page. There is a ton of action in this book. The stakes are higher, the powers more developed, the craziness heightened. Like Hourglass, it had a few twists that I absolutely did not see coming, yet none of them felt contrived.

There is a love story in Timepiece, but it is not a love triangle, thank goodness. I was scared, going in, that I was going to have to put up with Kaleb and Michael being all angsty and territorial about Emerson throughout the book (as Kaleb obviously has feelings for Emerson in Hourglass), but that fortunately did not happen. As it was, I really like the way the romantic angle was handled. It felt real. It wasn’t all sparks and sighs and fluttery feelings, which is nice, because I don’t think that’s the way romance normally happens.

Overall, Timepiece was a fun and exciting story. I really enjoyed the characters and was never quite sure what was going to happen next. The book ends with an obvious setup for a third book, but while I am itching to read more about the world of the Hourglass (which will probably be a while, since Timepiece hasn’t even been officially released yet),¬†I still felt completely satisfied at the conclusion.

Content Guide: Contains some violence, mild sexual content/innuendo, mild language

Note: I received Timepiece as a digital review copy from NetGalley. Timepiece will be released on June 12, 2012. You can pre-order yours on Amazon now!

Top Ten Tuesday (May 1): Books I’d Like to See Made Into a Movie

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish, so that we can all make and read lists to our hearts’ content.

Ahhh, lists. Why are you so much fun?

This week’s top 10 is a topic near and dear to my heart, because I spend way more time than is (probably) healthy thinking about this very subject. And the topic is:

Top Ten Books You’d Like To See Made Into A Movie

[Disclaimer: I know several of these have already been optioned for movies. However, until I see that casting is occurring and a production schedule is out and a release date is set, I don’t see any of them as sure things. Hollywood is a fickle mistress.]


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. This would either have to be a heavily edited version to fit into a movie, or a show on cable. I’d prefer a show on cable (as long as it’s a channel I get!), so we could really explore the developing relationship between Claire and Jamie, as well as all the incredibly intricate plot surrounding the clans and the war.

 

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. Actually, the entire Farseer series, followed by the Tawny Man series (throwing Liveships in the middle would probably just be too confusing). But this one would have to be a cable series. It is way, way too complex for a movie. Even with a Peter Jackson 3.5 hour Lord of the Rings treatment. It would be an amazing series, though.

 


Hourglass by Myra McEntire. This one would be a really fun movie, appealing to both the teen crowd (because of the teenage protagonists and the love story) and the sci-fi crowd (because of the time travel and powers). It’s got a good amount of action, but also really interesting story. I picture some pretty nifty special effects too.

 

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. If they could somehow get around the difficulties in casting, especially for Tally and Shay, this would be a really exciting movie. Lots of running and flying and explosions and craziness. Plus, it would surely draw big crowds, what with all the pretty (or Pretty) people in it. And, as a bonus, it has sequels and even a spin-off ready to go.

 

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I know this would be tricky, watching Sam relive the same day seven times, but I really enjoyed Groundhog Day, so I think it can be done. Plus, I just saw this one as a movie in my head while I was reading. I want to see Sam transform. I want to fall in love with Kent. I want my heart to break for Juliet. This is one that I know has been optioned for film, and I really, really hope it happens.

 

Delirium by Lauren Oliver. (Yes, I do love me some Lauren Oliver books. Why do you ask?) I am fascinated by this world where love is a disease. I want to see how it works, how these families function. And of course I want to see Alex, and watch him break through Lena’s defenses. Movies about a sweet love story with some action and sci-fi thrown in are my cup of tea.

 

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu. This one takes inspiration from all sorts of things that did well at the box office — X-Men, Hunger Games, Twilight — as well as several books that I imagine would do well at the box office, like Delirium and Divergent. It is heavy on the sci-fi and action for the guys, and of also has the teen love triangle to draw in the girls (although, I’m a girl and I’d be drawn in by the sci-fi action).

 

Divergent¬†by Veronica Roth. Talk about a book that was written to be turned into a movie! Everything about this book seemed cinematic to me, from the trains to the Dauntless compound, to the initiation challenges and the fear landscapes, to the behemoth finale. I’m pretty sure this one has also already been optioned, and I am really excited to see if it happens. It will be a pretty awesome action movie.

 

Ender’s Shadow¬†by Orson Scott Card. I know that Ender’s Game is already well on its way to the big screen, but I hope they keep going and make this one too. Yeah, it will be even more challenging casting Bean on the streets of Rotterdam than Ender in Battle School, but Bean’s backstory is fascinating. Also, I think the rest of the Shadow series would translate better to film than the Ender sequels.

 

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. I know that theoretically, this one is going to be the next Narnia movie, but I’m more than a bit skeptical that it will actually get made (the IMDB page is woefully blank right now). However, considering this is my favorite of the Narnia books, and also completely different from all the others, I really hope I’m wrong. I want to see the creation of Narnia and all the different worlds that can be accessed through the magic pools!

 

Of course, if I had my druthers, I’d probably see a movie made from every book I ever enjoyed, since I love movies and books so much. And then I’d probably complain that most of them didn’t do the book justice. Such is the nature of the beast.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (4/30)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by BookJourney. It’s a great way to plan your reading week and see what others are reading!

On my plate for this week:

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I know, this was on my list last week. I know, I still haven’t finished. I know, I’m still in essentially the same part of the book. I need to just plow through to the end. I’ll probably be glad I did.

Timepiece by Myra McEntire. Really excited about this one, as I loved the first book in the series, Hourglass. You can read my Hourglass review here, or you could probably just scroll down. I mean, it was my most recent post. So far I am really enjoying experiencing this world through Kaleb’s eyes.

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I received this one in my goody box from Scholastic, and I’m super-stoked about it. I’ve heard nothing but good things.

And, last but not least….

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. The wait is finally over! This will arrive at my doorstep sometime on Tuesday (probably around dinnertime, as we are notoriously late on our UPS guy’s route). Super-psyched to find out what Tris and Four have planned after the √ľber-craziness that was the end of Divergent. If I’m being realistic with myself, I probably won’t sleep much on Tuesday night.

There’s another couple I’d like to squeeze in if I have time, but really, four (well, 3.5-ish since I’m already nearly finished with one of them and partway through the next) books is probably plenty for me to be tackling this week.

That’s it for me this week, unless I am way more on top of my game than usual. Happy reading!

Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire (@MyraMcEntire @EgmontUSA)

I found out this weekend that in about two weeks, a trio of authors will be doing a book signing in Nashville (I live right outside of Nashville), and that a bunch of book bloggers will be attending. I’m really excited to attend. Not only will this be my first signing and therefore my first opportunity to meet some of my fellow bloggers in person (which, I have to admit, kind of terrifies me. I’m only extroverted on the Internet. In real life, I tend to want to hide behind things and be socially awkward), but I actually really enjoy the authors.

The three authors are Amy Plum, Myra McEntire, and C.J. Redwine. So leading up to the event, I will be posting reviews for Hourglass, Timepiece, Die for Me, and (hopefully) Defiance¬†and Until I Die.¬†Still working on getting my hands on those last two, although I have high hopes for¬†Defiance. I’ve been in communication with The C.J. Redwine herself, and awesomeness is in the works. Stay tuned.

I will also post other things in the coming two weeks. No fears. I may also post a review of The Wise Man’s Fear or a really old book that I just feel like reviewing. Maybe a Farseer book, since I keep referencing them as The Awesomest Ever. Maybe The Princess Bride, because it is mortifying to me that so many people don’t realize it’s a book. Maybe something else. I don’t know. I’m flighty. We’ll see. But there will be other stuff.

Anyway. Ahem. For today:

The Story

Hourglass is the story of Emerson Cole, just a typical 17-year-old girl, with the pesky exception that she sees dead people.

 No, not like that.

[Side note: Is the character’s name, Emerson Cole, after Haley Joel Osment’s character of Cole in The Sixth Sense? Questions for Ms. McEntire when I see her!]

Ever since her parents died in a tragic accident, Emerson has been going through life, minding her own business, when all of a sudden someone from the past will show up. A Scarlett O’Hara look-alike. A poodle-skirt-clad group of teenagers from the 1950s. An century-old baseball team. Only Emerson can see them, and if she tries to touch them, they pop like bubbles.

Under the care of her brother Thomas, Emerson has been to every form of therapist, ranging from Freudian men with glasses to bone-shaking witch doctors. No one has been able to help her.

Until one day, Thomas hires Michael, a mysterious young man representing a company called the Hourglass. Michael is certain he can help Emerson; but even more intriguingly, he believes she can help him.

Soon Emerson is introduced to a world she never knew existed. A world where normal people can have extraordinary powers. A world where time travel is possible. And a world where she is more powerful than she ever dreamed.

My Thoughts

I love me a good time travel story, and this had all the trappings of a great one. I liked Emerson. In spite of her 17-year-old-girl-ness (a plague among YA heroines, considering they are inevitably 17-year-old girls), she was¬†likable. She was obviously attractive yet a bit insecure, but not one of those narrators who’s constantly lamenting her ugliness while every guy around her proceeds to walk into telephone poles as they are stunned by her beauty. She had a quick wit and dry sense of humor that I enjoyed. She actually used her brain a good chunk of the time (not all the time, but I dare you to name a main protagonist who always makes well-informed and fully considered decisions).

I also liked the sci-fi elements of the story.¬†I liked the premise and the structure. I liked that a “scientific” explanation was given for how all their crazy abilities worked individually, and how they worked in tandem. And of course, a major sticking point for me is always if the “rules” of the world made sense. In this case, I think they did.

We drifted a bit into X-Men territory for a little while,¬†but I forgive Ms. McEntire for those small similarities. I kind of think X-Men has such a large scope that it’s kind of hard¬†not¬†to call it to mind when writing anything about people with powers. Also,¬†like with almost any time-travel book, there were scenes reminiscent of other time-travel stories (the one that came instantly to my mind was¬†Back to the Future II). But again, it’s hard to have a time-travel story without talk of paradoxes and the space-time continuum. There was no mention of flux capacitors, so I’m good.

The love story between Emerson and Michael was a bit heavy-handed at parts. It was obvious that was where the story was headed from the first moment they laid eyes on each other. But I honestly mean it was only a bit heavy-handed, and only in parts. She talked about his superhuman gorgeousness a little too often for my liking (although it was probably toned down for what an actual teenage girl would have been thinking). Her descriptions of her reactions around him were occasionally a tad over the top. But overall, I enjoyed their chemistry and their interaction.

I will also give Emerson credit for not turning into a complete pile of mush, a la Bella Swan, every time he was around. He may be super-pretty and she may have a tummy full of butterflies, but at least she still spoke her mind and stuck to her guns. She even got annoyed with him on occasion. That was refreshing.

Buffy is hard-wired into my brain. It’s a sickness.

The secondary characters were mostly well-developed. I loved Thomas and his wife Dru, although throughout the entire book, I kept picturing Dru like this:

Emerson’s quintessential gorgeous BFF Lily was also fun. She wasn’t ridiculous and annoying like gorgeous BFFs so often are in YA lit. She was actually loyal and funny and I could understand why she and Emerson were friends. Plus, her character had some intriguing twists that I hope and expect to see developed in the sequel(s).

Michael also had a likable best friend, which is something I find a little rare in these types of books. Normally the male love interest either has no friends or his best friend is a jerk. But I really enjoyed Kaleb. He was charming and interesting, and the more I found out about him, the more intrigued I became.

I guess that’s a good thing, since Timepiece is all about Kaleb.

Another bonus: for once, there was a twist at the end that took me completely by surprise. I am very rarely taken by surprise in a YA book, and when I am, I even more rarely feel that the book really earned the ending. Sometimes I feel like a twist ending is dropped in simply for the sake of a twist, with nothing else in the book backing it up. It feels forced and awkward. This one I totally didn’t see coming, but it also didn’t feel random just for the sake of having a twist.

Anyway, this review has gone on long enough. Bottom line: I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun, exciting read that put its own spin on the special powers/time travel theme.

Content Guide: Contains descriptions of past violence, and teens being amorous.