Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Ratings: PG-13; 3 1/2 stars
Summary: Emerson Cole sees ghosts. Sort of. Turns out they're actually rips—bits of the past washing through into the present. Which means that Emerson isn't nearly as crazy as she thought she was. How does she know all this? Her brother hired someone from the Hourglass agency to explain her powers to her. The problem? He's totally hot and nice, and totally off-limits. So now Emerson isn't crazy, she's just crazy in love. Oh, and she can time travel. Just what you need when you're 17 and still coping with the loss of your parents. Yup, totally normal. Not.
Opinions: This book is rather odd, for me. It's the first book I've read in a long time where I truly didn't know what I thought of it for the majority of the book. Certainly, the concept is intriguing and unique. I've read plenty of ghost stories, but none about “rips.” Time travel was definitely not something I saw coming. But at the same time, the writing was quite flawed, and the book seemed to give off distinctive Twilight vibes. And even on those last two points, I'm torn. A book does not have to be a magnificent literary achievement to be enjoyed, and as much hate as Twilight gets, people do enjoy it for the fluff that it is (they are just overshadowed by the twi-hards).
So yeah, I'm of mixed opinions on this book. Conceptually, it was great. The paranormal elements were different. The relationships between the characters, while certainly not unique, were not nearly as common as some. Example: the orphan angle is done a lot. The orphan-raised-by-adult-sibling-and-spouse angle is not common at all. In general, Hourglass is your run-of-the-mill paranormal romance.
However, my opinion on this book changed drastically at the very end. There were no less than three slap-you-in-the-face plot twists in the last twenty pages. These were so dramatic that I found my jaw dropping, and I wound up yelling at the book. They were also well-done enough as to fit in with the plot and characterization and not stand out awkwardly like “Hey! I'm a plot twist!” I'm sure none of that makes sense. In any case, I consider it to be a very positive quality when a book makes me react emotionally, and holding in tears while eating lunch in the school cafeteria is definitely an emotional response.
If only the last 20 pages of a book could make up for a rather mediocre beginning, this book would be at least a four. However, in my opinion, they can't. They did bring the overall rating of the book up from my original opinion of 3 stars, so yay for that. I rated Hourglass PG-13 to be on the safe side. There are a lot of rather frightening images/scenes/concepts (whatever you want to call it in a book). There are also some unintentional (I think) sexual innuendos. I don't remember much swearing, but again, that doesn't mean that there wasn't any.
Overall, if you want a fluffy, paranormal romance with mystery elements, this is a very good read. It's a little slow to pick up, and the characters can be rather bone-headed at times, but it really is an enjoyable book.
Note: My apologies if this review doesn't read well. I was a little off my game in writing it, but I do like my reactions to books to be genuine (thus written as close to the time I read the book as possible).