Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Hourglass
by Myra McEntire
Egmont USA
June 14, 2011
400 pages
Source: Purchased

Synopsis
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. (Taken from Goodreads.)


Opening Line:

"My small Southern hometown is beautiful in the haunting way an aging debutante is beautiful."

My Take On It

I love that opening line. It really gives you a visual doesn't it? Beautiful decay and all that. I thoroughly enjoyed Myra McEntire's 2011 debut, Hourglass. From the opening line onward, I think the YA world has found a great new talent and voice. I wanted to also share her epigraph (that's the fancy term for a quotation, phrase or poem found at the beginning of a document, in this case a work of literature. I know this, because I looked it up at Merriam Webster online:)

"What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside you."

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that and it is one of my favorite motivational quotes. Very popular at matriculation ceremonies. And it is the perfect epigraph for this book, which on the offset looks to be about ghosts, but is really a book about time travel. 

Our heroine Emerson (hmmm...perhaps a connection?) is no ordinary girl. She first began seeing "ghosts" at the age of thirteen.  A few months later, a horrific accident claimed the lives of both her parents. At this point Emerson fell apart and spent the next few years rehabilitating (whilst heavily drugged up) until her older brother and his wife are able to bring her back home with them. Unfortunately, Emerson's talent (or in her mind, affliction) has only gotten worse over time. As the story begins, Emerson has (unbeknownst to her brother and sister in law) stopped taking all her meds which helped control the frequency of her visions. She feels clearheaded for the first time in years even though she is starting to see her visions more often. The boarding school she had attended pulled the funding from her scholarship, so she is unclear where she will be completing her senior year. She has one close friend, Lily, the only one who she didn't estrange after having a full on "hallucinatory episode" in the cafeteria of her hometown school.

 In what is a refreshing departure from the norm, Emerson has fully disclosed her "condition" to her brother Thomas and his wife Dru. This is nice to read, because we know Emerson is not completely alone. Thomas has hired someone from a mysterious firm called the Hourglass to meet with Emerson and see if he can help her with her ability. Enter Michael who, it turns out, can help Emerson in more ways than she imagined.

So what I love about this book is Emerson's voice. She is fiesty, plucky, and a bad ass all wrapped up in a petite little frame. She reminds me of Evie in Paranormalcy and Supernaturally, she's got great wit and lots of snark. So, of course, she is entertaining to read. But more than that, she has soul. She's been through a lot of bad, bad stuff in her life. Between her parents death and her crazy abilities, normal is not a word she would ever call herself. She has crafted so many walls and defenses to keep everyone at a distance. She's just trying to get through her day to day, always wondering if she's just a vision away from being sent back to psych ward. 

Michael, the agent from the Hourglass enters her life and right away I know he's a keeper. Why? Here, let Emerson explain:

“Funny, gorgeous, and a genius. What a package." He backed out of the parking space, smiling as he drove away. 


I loved that he left crazy off the list. 


I loved it even more that he would never think to add it.” 

And another example of the awesomeness of Michael:

“No matter what your reality looks like...not just because of who you are, but because of who you were. It's all part of your story, Em. And I want to be a part of your story, too.”

Or for a visual example, let's have Mr. Marc Darcy explain it:

video


So Michael is definitely a good guy. He's got the looks, all  tall, dark and handsome with broad shoulders, full lips and smoldering eyes.  There are great, steamy, tension-inducing moments with he and Emerson, and you know I am all for THAT. 

But wait! Before you put all your eggs in one basket, we are also introduced to Kaleb. The resident bad boy. (Oh, how I love a bad boy...) He too, is easy on the eyes, in a ripped, muscular, tattooed , lady killer kind of way.

"Melted butter and diced onions bubbled in a sauté pan on the stove. “You cook ." 

 Kaleb was so pretty I was jealous. Pretty with ripped muscles and a tattoo of a red dragon covering most of his upper body. “Yes ” he said. “I cook.”

“Do you usually wear a wife beater and, ” I pushed him back a little by his shoulder “an apron that says ‘Kiss the Cook’ while you’re doing it ”

He leaned so close to me my heart skipped a couple of beats. “I’ll wear it all the time if you’ll consider it."

Sha-zam! Let's stick to Bridget Jones's Dairy and roll another clip. In honor of Kaleb I'll turn it over to Mr. Daniel Cleaver (Okay, so Hugh Grant isn't ripped and tattooed but he does have the bad boy vibe working here)

video


And I love this one too (don't worry it's only like 3 seconds long)

video

That's Kaleb. Fun, flirty,and not so serious (except when he IS.)  He is also Michael's best friend. Ouch.  It seems like a set up for a love triangle, but without spoiling, let me just say it's not exactly that simple. However, as this is the first of a two novel deal (and possibly more according to the author)  I'm certain we will have more Michael and Kaleb tension in the future.

I had to hit the romantic angle first, because I really enjoyed it, and because I think Emerson is such a cool character. I'm invested, I want her to end up with the right guy. But that's not all there is to Hourglass. We are introduced to a time traveling villain who is pretty warped in his methods. In addition, the Hourglass Agency has several more characters that McEntire briefly touches on, laying the groundwork for  future books. Lily, Emerson's best friend plays a minor role, but there are certain aspects revealed regarding her and McEntire leaves the door wide open there. Time traveling is  involved, but it's very user friendly. I like to think of it as "time traveling lite" for those who may not go for super heavy detailing and explanations. Some may think that it wasn't as overt as the romance and should've played a bigger role but, to me, it was just the right amount for this book. I think McEntire may delve deeper into the specifics of time traveling in future installments as well.  

But if I am being honest, while the time travel (sci fi)/ ghost (paranormal) aspect hooked me, it WAS the romance that reeled me in. Which is funny, because I recently read a book, that was a paranormal, and VERY heavy in the romance department, and it was an utter fail in my opinion. The difference between the two you ask? I identified better with the characters in Hourglass and felt more of a connection to them and their story. And I really like McEntire's writing. She's southern and it shows. She's not shy about laying on the metaphors, and as a southerner myself, I like it. While there were a few moments that were a bit predictable, there were also moments I didn't see coming at all.  And these characters had some heat, friends! I wasn't left hanging all the time, just enough to make me want to read more. 

So the bad news is I  have to wait 4 months for my fix! June 12 is the release date for McEntire's followup titled Timepiece. The good news? It will be told from Kaleb's  point of view (Score!) I can't wait to see what is in store for Emerson, Kaleb and Michael in the future (or past:)

4/5 Stars

Cover Thoughts

Love it! At first the model kind of looked like a Barbie doll to me, set up in her Barbie Dreamhouse. But now not so much. I really think it's a good match for the story inside.

Check out Myra McEntire's blog here!

Here's what other reviewer's had to say about Hourglass:



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8 comments:

  1. tnx 4 reviewing
    hoping 2 read itsoon
    don't 4get you're awesome

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    1. Why thank you! I hope you can get to it soon too!

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  2. Oh! I hadn't heard of this but now I want to read it! I love stories about people who can see ghosts but nobody else can. Nice review, definitely adding to my tbr pile (though I might wait a while until the sequel is closer, I am SO IMPATIENT when it comes to waiting for book series).

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    1. Well the book doesn't end with a humongous cliffhanger, but yeah, it might be wise to wait until June:)

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  3. I've been considering reading this, and now I might give it a try! (: Thanks for the great review!!

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    1. You should! Great book! Thanks for stopping by Sara:)

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  4. I LOVED this book! I can't wait for Timepiece! I think Emerson is such an amazing character and I'm so glad you enjoyed her as well.

    Thanks for linking to my review!

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    1. I couldn't agree more, I loved Em! I want to be Lily so I can be her BFF:)

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