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review 2016-10-02 14:41
Review for Tempest by Julie Cross
Tempest - Julie Cross
This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

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.
 
 

 

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review 2014-07-22 17:37
Review for Born Of Illusion (Born Of Illusion #1) by Teri Brown
Born of Illusion - Teri Brown

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

Anna Van Housen is a very gifted magician. She is the opening act for her mother's mentalist show, but sometimes she wishes she owned the stage. There is something amazing about being up there and causing people to gasp in wonder. Anna also has a little secret, she has a few unusual abilities. She can senses peoples emotions and see the future and keeping that information from everyone can be a bit tricky. Lately, her powers are getting stronger and she keeps seeing her doomed future loom before her eyes. Can she figure out who means her harm and save the day or is she cursed to live out her vision and perish?

Anna is amazing. She's clever and determined, but somehow manages to come off as completely vulnerable and maybe just a touch naive. For someone with the ability to sense people's emotions, not to mention the years of picking people out of the crowd for her tricks, she's still a bit blind to others. She completely misjudges several people and she doesn't see the bad guy coming until the very end, despite the mixed emotions she gets from him constantly. She is a completely interesting character and the question of is she or isn't she Houdini's daughter is one I was begging to be answered. There are so many clues leading either way and I WANT TO KNOW! I NEED TO KNOW!
Tell Me Loki gif
Besides the obvious mystery of who is out to get Anna, that's the biggest conundrum of this tale and, like I said, I need to know!
Staring Castiel gif tumblr
You're not going to tell me, are you? Damn.

Cole, my dear sweet Cole, is so adorable cute that there aren't words to describe him. Maybe a GIF will help....
Shrek kittens gif
See how cute that is? That's Cole. He's spent his childhood in a boarding school for boys and he's so easily embarrassed around Anna that I just want to hug him. It's clear from moment one that he is hiding something, but it's equally clear (at least to me) that it's not something malicious. He tells her quite frankly that they aren't his secrets to tell and that's the truth. He could have cleared a lot up if he had just let her read him so she could feel his honesty, but alas, things can never be that simple. I just loved how squeamish he was around her, how much he wanted to be around her, but he didn't know what to say or how to act and kept blushing over every fumble. Like I said, adorable.

There is also a host of well formed side characters, everyone from Marguerite (Anna's mother), to Cynthia (a soon-to-be friend of Anna's), to Houdini himself.  I especially loved Mr Darby, Cole's uncle.  He's that crotchety old man who seems mean, but is really a big softie.  I love (love love) him.  I wish he was real and would be my neighbor so I could harass him good-naturedly.   Cynthia surprised me a bit because I wasn't expecting her to become such a big part as she was.  I was expecting her to play her role in the beginning and then leave, but she doesn't.  She sticks around and becomes fast-friends with Anna.

The writing and world-building are just as amazing as the character development. I am not an aficionado of the Jazz Age, but I feel like Brown put a lot of research into making this world as realistic as possible and it shows. The language, the old words I knew anyway, felt spot on and authentic. There were even terms I'd never heard of before, such as four-flusher, that I enjoyed learning about. The plot was a bit predictable to me, but it was predictable in that way that I'm not sure if everyone will find it predictable. I saw several twists coming and I faintly suspected who would be the villian early on.****SPOILER****I knew the minute the cleaning woman for Mr Darby didn't show up that she was in on the scheme, that she was the woman's voice Anna recognized. As soon as the love-triangle angle started up, I was sure that Anna would end up with Cole and I thought maybe Owen would be a bad guy, so I was pretty accurate there.****END SPOILER****

I have been dying to read this for quite a while. Both the title and the cover have called my name. Normally covers with chick's faces on the cover are a bit overdone, but the contrast here is just so striking that the result is lovely. And the book is just as good as the gorgeous cover promises.  I think everyone who enjoys historical YA or mystery YA or just a good novel that's a bit different than what you were expecting will love this.  It's blessedly cliffhanger free and that just makes me want the next one more!

Tabitha's signature

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text 2013-10-21 17:00
Book Covers I Love ~ The Books . . . Not So Much! * * * * 2nd Book
The Luxe - Anna Godbersen
Rumours - Anna Godbersen
Envy (Luxe, Book 3) - Anna Godbersen
Splendor: A Luxe Novel (The Luxe) - Anna Godbersen

I admit it, I started reading this series because of the beautiful dresses on the covers. So much gorgeous material! Could anyone really wear a dress like one of these? They look like they would be so heavy.

 

The first book was great. A good love story surrounding the glittering set, and those who want to be part of it, in 1899 Manhattan. The trials and tribulations, successes and failures, machinations and comeuppances were enjoyable to read. For the first couple of books, at least.

 

Eventually I realized that these were nothing but soap opera in book form and no one was going to have a true HEA. By the time I got to the fourth book the most I could force myself to do was skim through to see how everything was resolved. Not the way I want to end a series, by any means.

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text 2013-10-14 17:01
Book Covers I Love ~ The Books . . . Not So Much! * * * * And so we begin - 1st Book
The Year of Living Scandalously - Julia London

Is that seductively dangerous look in his eye not the most delicious thing you've ever seen?

 

Too bad the book wasn't as seductively dangerous. Or delicious.

 

The story was good, but not great. I gave it ★★.

 

One of the reasons I didn't love this book is that it didn't end end. It only ended sort of. It's a cliffhanger book and I HATE cliffhanger books. Just tell me who did it. Don't tease me. I don't like being teased.

 

Actually, that hot guy on the cover could tease me just a little bit and I wouldn't mind at all.

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text 2013-10-14 17:00
Don't Judge A Book By The Cover?

WHY NOT?

 

It's happened to all of us, right?

 

Loved the book cover, hated the book.

 

Author didn't live up to the potential of the cover.

 

You see a cover and drool. Then you start reading the book and suddenly you're no longer drooling.

 

There's nothing I love more than seeing a really awesome book cover. Except one thing.

 

A really awesome book cover with a really awesome book inside.

 

Thus begins my periodically-recurring series:

 

Book Covers I Love ~ The Books . . . Not So Much!

 

In my next post.

(spoiler show)
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