Review: Timekeeper by Alexandra Monir

Timekeeper Timekeeper
by Alexandra Monir

ISBN-13: 9-780385-738408
Series: book 2 in Timeless
Publication: January 2013 from Delacorte
Source: Authors on the Web
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
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When Philip Walker appears as a new student in Michele Windsor’s high school class, she is floored. He is the love she thought she lost forever when they said goodbye during her time travels last century. Overjoyed that they can resume the relationship they had a lifetime ago, Michele eagerly approaches him and discovers the unthinkable: he doesn’t remember her. In fact, he doesn’t seem to remember anything about the Philip Walker of 1910.

Michele then finds her father’s journals, which tell stories of his time-traveling past. As she digs deeper, she learns about his entanglement with a mysterious and powerful organization called the Time Society and his dealings with a vengeful Windsor ancestor. Michele soon finds herself at the center of a rift over 120 years in the making, one whose resolution will have life-or-death consequences.

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Spoilers for Timeless!

Timekeeper by Alexandra Monir begins right where Timeless left off and dives right into the mystery of how Philip is in the future. We also get the reasons why her grandparents seem mysterious and tumble head first down the rabbit hole with Michele’s father and find out why Michele can travel in time.

I really enjoyed the background story we get in this book about the time traveling and the mysterious Time Society. Alexandra Monir has interspersed passages from the Timekeeper Handbook with the chapters, as well as entries from Irving’s (Michele’s father) journal. These passages add the background we need without having the characters talk it out in dialogue, which I liked. The villain of Timekeeper is Rebecca, a creepy character who comes from the past but has dire effects on Michele’s 21st century present. And while I did enjoy how diabolical Rebecca is as a character,I found her timeline confusing! I’ve so far been able to keep Michele’s, Philip’s and Irving’s timelines in order, hers I just found odd, and the ending scene when the same event seems to play out in multiple times really made me scratch my head for a moment.

Michele definitely does a bit more growing up through this book, though the action is still so fast paced that I feel we really don’t get to see as much of her inner characters as I’d like. Philip’s presence in Michele’s original time is a great mystery to solve and I liked the explanation for it. Caissie, Michele’s friend, also has a bit of a bigger role to play this time around and lends a new facet to the whole Rebecca plot line and unwittingly manages to help Michele discover more about her father, her time traveling, and some answers to the big old “why me” and “what’s happening”.

3.5 heart

Timekeeper by Alexandra Monir is one of those sequels that really pick up from the first book and keep the ball rolling. Everything is changing for Michele, and not always for the better. There are hints of things to come that could be very bad, and I definitely don’t think we’ve seen the last of Rebecca. I’ll be interested to see where the series goes in relation to Michele’s time traveling and her relationship with Philip. And while I’m not a fan of the insta-love, at least Michele’s and Philip’s relationship has some obstacles to overcome in their course of true love. I’m looking forward to a book three.

e-ARC provided by Authors on the Web through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Review: Timeless by Alexandra Monir

Timeless new Timeless
by Alexandra Monir

ISBN-13: 9-780385-738392
Publication: January 2011 from Delacorte BYR
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s family, she is forced to move from Los Angeles to New York City to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their historic Fifth Avenue mansion, filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers the biggest family secret of all – an ancestor’s diary that, amazingly, had the power to send her back in time to 1910, the year it was written. There, at a glamorous high-society masquerade ball, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life. And she finds herself falling for him, and into an otherworldly romance.

Soon Michele is leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – and to complete a quest that will determine their fate.

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Timeless by Alexandra Monir is one of those rare time travel books that manages to keep my head from hurting too greatly. The concept is intriguing, well-done and suits the tone of the story. Michele Windsor, after a tragedy strikes her small family, is forced to move across country from California to New York City to live with grandparents she has never met. It’s there, in their breathtaking mansion, that Michele makes her time traveling discovery and has her world once again turned upside down.

I found Michele a tough character to get to know. Yes, she likes composing music, loves her family, is a kind person and seems genuinely nice, but that’s really all you know. You can tell from the beginning and meeting Michele’s grandparents that there are buried family secrets that will hopefully be revealed throughout the course of the novels. Michele’s absent father is one such secret, and the slow reveal for that one is tantalizing. The method of time travel is very neat, as are the descriptions of old New York and the fashions of the time. Music plays a huge part of the story and I liked reading the lyrics that Michele creates for Philip’s music – oh Philip. I think the one part of the story I was a little wary about was the Michele and Philip storyline (crazy, I know, since that’s really the main part of the book). It’s very insta-loveish which I am not a big fan of. As well, at one point Michele leaves Philip for his own good (being separated by time and all) and yet through time travel manages to still see him frequently in his future. It was all very quick. But thankfully, I liked Philip. Nice guy, musical, strong and marches to his own beat. H and Michele fit each other.

3.5 heart

Timeless by Alexandra Monir is a love story that transcends time. Despite the family secrets, the mystery of how Michele can time travel and why, the base of the plot is a love story – how can Michele and Philip beat Time and stay together? Despite my hesitation of insta-love and a lack of deeper connection with the characters, I have to say – Timeless has one crazy ending! Talk about your cliffhangers. I was thankful I had a copy of the sequel to read right after because I needed it. This series is a relaxed, enjoyable and perfect to quench the need for some romance.

Paperback received from Authors on the Web in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Review: Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Juliet Immortal
by Stacey Jay

ISBN-13: 9-780385-740166
Published: August 2011 from Delacorte
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it

Juliet Capulet didn’t take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, who made the sacrifice to ensure his own immortality. But Romeo didn’t anticipate that Juliet would be granted eternal life as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light.

For seven hundred years, Juliet has struggled to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent, while Romeo has fought for the dark side, seeking to destroy the human heart. Until now.

Now Juliet has found her own forbidden love, and Romeo, O Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy their happiness.

Being a Shakespeare fan, I was immediately drawn in to Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay. A twist on the star-crossed lovers where Romeo murdered Juliet and now they are both technically immortal? Definitely an interesting plot and had my attention held enough that I read it in one sitting.

There are two factions warring against each other – the Light and Dark, of course. After Juliet is murdered by Romeo to secure his immortality, she is offered the chance for the same from the Light. For over seven hundred years she has been placed into bodied on Earth to help the course of true love and soul mates. Romeo and his brethren are there to disrupt her at every turn. Juliet is a wonderfully developed character. She was horribly betrayed in life, and though she’s running around saving true love and helping sort out the lives of the people she inhabits, she’s still angry and a little bit vengeful. She has dimension to her, and it’s refreshing to see. Romeo is full on creepy evil in the beginning of the story, and even by the end when he seems redeemed or what have you, he’s still kind of creepy. You know it’s written right when you actively dislike a character in a manner you’re meant to.

The concept in Juliet Immortal is unique and very intriguing. The book is well written – the pace, action and romance all mesh into an absorbing story that will keep you turning the pages. A bit of the ending was confusing at times, but as you keep reading it evens out and leaves a nice segue into the upcoming sequel. Although the romance is of the insta-love variety (something I am not a fan of), I didn’t mind in this one. The whole idea behind Romeo and Juliet is how they fell in love so quickly, and Juliet is returning to Earth to ensure soul mates have a chance to thrive, after all. Aren’t soul mates the definition of insta-love? Definitely worth a read, especially if you enjoy re-vamped stories, and I’ll be sure to pick up the sequel.

Review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

The Dark and Hollow Places
by Carrie Ryan

ISBN-13: 9-780385-738590
Published: March 2011 by Delacorte (Random House)
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it!

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister’s face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah’s world stopped that day, and she’s been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn’t feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.

But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it’s up to Annah – can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return’s destruction?

Oh my gosh. Ok. Third book in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I’m still so much if love with these books. In the first one, we have Mary as our narrator. In the second, Gabry, her adopted daughter. In this one, we have Annah, Gabry’s sister. Annah and Elias had left the Forest of Hands of Teeth when they were young, leaving Gabry behind in the trails. Making their way to the Dark City they lived there together until Elias left to join the Recruiters. Annah has been on her own for three years, and in one day everything changes. She finds her sister, Elias returns, and Catcher arrives in her life. But the Horde also arrives, and Annah’s home is gone in hours. Living on the island Sanctuary of the Recruiters, Annah, Elias and Gabry are kept prisoner – safe from the Horde, but not the Recruiters – as insurance that Catcher, immune to the disease of the Unconsecrated, will always return.

The Dark and Hollow Places is a bleak look into the life of areas overrun by the Unconsecrated. The hope that the Return did not seep into every spot on the world is slowly dwindling, and Annah is losing faith that everything will be ok. I think Annah’s story, and this third book, is actually my favourite. Annah is one tough cookie. She’s smart, resourceful and doesn’t know the meaning of giving up. She’s survived the Dark City on her own, and she’ll survive the oncoming Horde. Her interactions with the returned Elias and new-found sister Gabry were very well done, and I really connected with her character. The only aspect of the relationships in this book that I didn’t really get is how quickly Catcher and Annah felt so strongly for each other. An easily looked past detail, but still. It was very quick, and a little odd.

There’s a point near the end when I was just holding my breath, praying that she make it. Oh, and the small parts that seem insignificant but really pulled at my heartstrings because they are small drops in the bleak reality that is the life lived by these characters, that show how much they have to sacrifice and yet it’s just necessary to them. I don’t know if I would survive in Carrie Ryan’s zombie-ridden world. But, no matter how much things may seem dark and bleak, there is still a glimmer of hope. And that’s the part that makes me love apocalypse plot lines. When everything seems at its worst, there’s the small inkling that things will get better. And this book delivered that in spades. Love this trilogy, I highly recommend it for everyone.

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

The Dead-Tossed Waves
by Carrie Ryan
ISBN-13: 9-780385-736848
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥

Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She’s content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. Home is all she’s ever known and all she needs for happiness.

But life after the Return is never safe, and there are threats even the Barrier can’t hold back.

Gabry’s mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but like the dead in their world, secrets don’t stay buried. And now, Gabry’s world is crumbling.

One night beyond the Barrier…
One boy Gabry’s known forever and veiled in mystery…
One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.

Gabry knows only one thing: if she is to have any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother’s past.

 

I love this book so hard. The Dead-Tossed Waves is a companion novel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth – one of my Top 5 picks of 2009 – and just as wonderful.

In The Forest of Hands and Teeth, we met Mary. We fled with her from her village when it was invaded with Unconsecrated, through the forest and to the ocean, where she would begin a new life. Now, we meet Gabry, Mary’s daughter. Gabry has never known the harshness of the Forest the way her mother did. She is content to live in their lighthouse on the edge of their town, Vista, helping her mother keep back the Mudo that wash up on the beach. She has never gone across the Barrier surrounding their town until one night she caves to her friends and joins them. After that night, nothing is the same. We follow Gabry as she is turn between two boys, learns the secrets of her past and follows her mother into the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Although I found many themes and plot points the same as the first book (Gabry torn between two men, wandering the Forest paths, etc), this one gave us so much more world building it was crazy. We learn more about the world outside the forest and more about the Return. We learn some pretty interesting things about the Unconsecrated/Mudo and and the zombie factor is jacked way up in this one.

Gabry is a well-developed, likeable character. She’s far from perfect and makes some mistakes along the way, but she’s earnest and though often scared she’s full of courage. As in quite a few first person POV books, I didn’t connect quite as well with the secondary characters of the novel. I didn’t mind with Mary, since I already knew her from The Forest of Hands and Teeth – I actually enjoyed getting to see her through Gabry’s eyes. I would have liked to know a bit more about Catcher and Elias, the two boys Gabry is torn between, so I hope we get to know them better in the sequel (the way The Dead-Tossed Waves was left, I’m hoping for a direct sequel instead of another time-skip).

As with The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves led me on a rollar coaster ride of happiness, despair, worry, anger, love, hope and faith. The writing was wonderful, the plot engaging and imagery breathtaking.

 

 

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen
by Lauren Kate
ISBN – 13: 9-780385-738934
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at Sword & Cross boarding school in Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Except Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret…even if it kills her.

 

Sword & Cross is not just a boarding school, it’s a reform school. Luce has been sent there after a horrible accident at her old boarding school. Once there, she encounters Daniel Grigori – and is immediately hooked. Feeling as if she has met him somewhere before, Luce and her friend Penn set out to find out everything they can about Daniel’s background. Meanwhile, Luce has to contend with the seductive Cam, a fire, and the hot and cold attention of Daniel. Oh, and those mysterious shadows Luce has been seeing all her life? They’re still around.

I absolutely loved this book. Fallen contains the kind of plot-line that draws me in so completely, and makes me want to know everything, right away. Thankfully, the next book comes out next Fall (though earlier would be nice). Fallen starts off with a “flashback” chapter that sets up the story perfectly – as soon as we meet Luce and Daniel, we realize they have something to do with that first chapter. I was constantly guessing at plot details while I was reading. Yes, it’s easy to figure out the main plot from the first chapter and the references to the bible and angels, but the details? The exact whys, hows, whens and whats are a mystery. One that we only get brief explanations of, since the main character can’t know everything right away, after all. She’d have nothing to find out in the next book!

Luce was really the only character that is explored to any kind of depth, even though the book is not told in first person. Through most of it, I was sure that Penn had some kind of ulterior motive and that Arianne was the normal one (but knew something was up), when really, it was the opposite. Maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be, to throw us off the scent, and if so – well done. Daniel and Cam were explored to an extent, but once I closed that back cover, I still felt as though I didn’t really know them. I’m positive that’s the way it was supposed to be, since more of their story will no doubt show up in book two. Still, it would have been nice to find out some more of what makes these two boys fighting over Luce tick.

I was perfectly happy with the pacing of the book, and with the rate (and how) information was revealed to us, even though I wanted more of it, and with Lauren Kate’s writing style. I will definitely be purchasing the sequel, and I think I may have found another author to add to my “automatic buy” list. I feel safe in recommending Fallen to anyone who likes a bit of the fantastical in their books.

 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
ISBN – 13: 978-0-385-73794-4

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is blank.
But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Glader’s don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.
The Glader’s were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up – the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home…wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.
And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Smething is telling him that he just might have some answers – if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

I really enjoyed The Maze Runner, and I cannot wait for the sequel! There were only minor issues keeping this book from being a five heart rating for me, but let’s start with the good.

The idea that teens are being sent to live in a maze, with no memories of who they are, why they’re there, or what they’re supposed to do (other than solve the maze)? Brilliant. I loved it. The fact that these kids are surviving as best they can, while knowing that they are most likely just an experiment is amazing.
Thomas, our main character, was awesome. I felt connected with him almost right away, from his first moments of terror (he has no memory, remember. I’d be terrified too if I had no idea what was going on), to his slowly growing fear that he has something to do with the maze and the Gladers being there, and his eventual resolve to get them out, and safe, at all costs.

Dashner’s writing was overall engaging, fluid and smooth, though there was a moment in the first few chapters where I didn’t know if I’d actually enjoy this book. The writing in the first chapter is a bit choppy and abrupt, but I figure that was to help set the mood of the fear and uncertainty that Thomas is going through since the rest of the novel read fine for me (thank God. I really dislike too many ubrupt sentences in a row). The other thing that almost threw me off was the language. And no, it’s no vulgar. The Maze Runner is one of those books that utilizes ‘made up’ words, the two most notable being klunk (which you realize almost right away refers to fecal matter), shank (which I’m still fuzzy on the meaning of) and shuck-face (likewise, still fuzzy, though you understand the general meaning from the way the words are used in dialogue). Thankfully, their use became few and far between as the book continued and Thomas became used to his new home.

The blurb on the book jacket references the mysterious girl that gets sent to the Glade the day after Thomas. I thought her character would be much more prominent than she was. I didn’t really end up feeling much for Teresa, besides acknowledging that she’s important to the plot, Thomas, and hopefully the sequel(s). Besides Thomas, the character I connected with the most was Minho, the leader of the runners. His personality is electric and I got a sense of him immediately. Unlike Teresa and a few of the other more main characters, Minho was quite three dimensional and well developed. I hope we get to see more interaction with some of the others in the next book.

I felt the plot had a good pace, with a fast and sharp climax at the end and a small twist that good readers will have seen half of coming, and a larger twist that made me feel incredibly sad for our Gladers. Can I be any more vague? I just don’t want to give away spoilers because to spoil this book will ruin it.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Maze Runner, and I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel(s). I highly recommend this for anyone, especially if you like dystopias.

heart 4

This book is also part of the dystopYA challenges.