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64 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
At thirteen, Emerson "Em" Cole began seeing ghosts. Or, at least, she *thought* those people she saw were ghosts. Shortly after, her parents died in a tragic accident.

Four years later, while living with her older brother Thomas and his wife Dru, Em is introduced to Michael Weaver, who Em believes is just another con artist hired by her brother to help her with her visions. But, it turns out that Michael understands Em, and her "gift", better than she ever expected.

This is one of those stories which could easily be spoiled with too much information, so I'll only mention that there's more sci-fi than supernatural--a nice break from the genre--and it had a definite X-Men vibe. In fact, I truly loved the premise; it was dripping with potential, but beleaguered by unnecessary melodrama and uneven pacing.

Em, who narrates, would be easy to empathize with because of her lot in life: deceased parents, feeling like a burden in her brother's and sister-in-law's lives, and on top of that, seeing things which aren't there to the point of needing heavy medication. However, she spends a good chunk of the book painting herself as a gritty badass, but not actually supporting it. Her character felt forced and other characters, with the exceptions of Lily and Kaleb, felt one-dimensional with little subtlety or nuance.

Also, every single woman had 10-mile-long legs and was gorgeous compared to Em's tiny stature (of which she reminded us constantly), and every single man was traffic-stopping in his hotness. As icing on the cake, all of these men shirked the tall beauties to fawn over Em, much to her surprise. Unfortunately, the instalove romance and weak love-triangle steals some oomph from the amazing premise.

Where this book shines is in the plotting and intrigue. The plot had a few unexpected twists, some working more than others, and the book did an excellent job piquing curiosity about Em's visions and each of the characters' abilities and the Hourglass society, not to mention setting the scene for future installments, and rather than leave you hanging, there is a resolution to the story, with the hint of another story to come.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's not too often that I'm surprised by a book, but Hourglass did just that. Pleasantly so.
I admit that I was initially intrigued purely by the cover and title. I've been burned by that rational when reading many times so I usually guard against such things but that cover kept calling to me. The ARC popped up as a selection on Amazon Vine - I caved and picked it for review.
The summary led me to believe that Emerson sees dead people. Not so much. This is a time slip/romance novel. Something I usually don't enjoy. I find that this premise is used mainly to manipulate the characters and the plot making for an anything goes - nothing is real - type of story. Not with Hourglass. McEntire has laid out a very well planned mythology for this time travel series.
Emerson starts seeing what she believes to be ghosts shortly before her parents death in a horrific car accident. Since their death, she has been sent to a mental institution where they basically drugged her into a stupor and then to a boarding school. After a while, Em doesn't stop seeing these "ghosts" but she does become better at hiding the fact so she can appear normal. She has lost all but one friend, Lily, after her public displays of craziness.
After losing a scholarship to the boarding school she goes home to live with her brother Thomas and his wife Dru. Her brother has tried to find help for her with various experts, but mostly they are quacks. Em takes this in stride to pacify her brother because he means well and gives him one more shot when Thomas mentions a boy named Michael who belongs to an organization called the Hourglass. After meeting Michael everything changes for Em. Michael gets it. He truly believes her and he may have the answers she's been looking for.

There are so many things to love about this book. Myra McEntire takes the basic premise of most YA books out there and then spins her story in a way that overcomes all the annoyances that I have been having of late with this genre. There is just so much to like I don't know where to start. How about here....

Family: For one, their present. When Em has to go live with her brother and his wife, she of course has the natural feelings of intruding, feeling like a third wheel. What's different about Hourglass is she's not. Both Thomas and Dru are involved parental figures. They provide love, structure and understanding. It is such a rare occurrence in YA these days that I wanted to yell out "see it CAN be done"!! Emerson has her rebellious moments as any teenager would but Thomas is not some clueless overprotective dork. He acts as a guardian, fair but firm. Again - I can't even tell you how much this particular aspect of the story impressed me.

Friends: Friendships were very important to all the characters in Hourglass, which I loved. They weren't disregarded when things got tough or used as a convenience when facts had to be revealed or when a plot twist was needed.

World building: As I pointed out earlier, time travel isn't used as an excuse to contort the plot. It drives everything forward rather than hindering it. Besides the time travel element, the Hourglass organization consists of other people with gifts like Emerson. Think X-Men. You can use your power for good or be persuaded to the dark side.

Insta love: Hate it. Michael and Emerson have it. We find out that Em is not seeing ghosts but can time travel into the past. Michael has the gift of traveling to the future. Together they can do both. There are very few matches like this and they feel an instant electricity and attraction when they meet. BUT - where Hourglass impressed me is that Em and Michael know it's insta love and they question it!! They want to be sure they know each other as people. Sure, it's hard to fight that type of attraction but I give them an "A" for effort.

Dum dum dum - Love triangle: Hate them more than the insta love....lol This is not a big plot point in Hourglass but there is an element of a triangle (or maybe even a quadrangle) but it was handled really well IMO. Two very nice guys....and while Em was impressed by looks, (and believe me you will be too - hoo-boy - these guys were off the charts!) she definitely wasn't some hormonal chick going back and forth from guy to guy leading everyone on. (personally, I would like to see Kaleb with a certain best friend....)

Villain: The bad guy was BAD! He could really hurt Emerson and everyone else! The author underplayed him early on so when he is revealed the impact was greater.

Can't leave without describing the boys........holy crap! I am not even kidding when I say there are some seriously swoon worthy boys in Hourglass. If you're not drooling over Michael right off the bat then you may need to be checked out by a Dr. He is wonderful and kind, sexy, protective, and self sacrificing. Then we have Kaleb - he's got the sexy bad boy with a heart of gold thing covered!

It wasn't until I finished Hourglass that I realized I didn't really learn much about the Hourglass foundation but it was ok. Since this is the first book in a trilogy, the ground work had to be laid, characters introduced. Myra did an awesome job.

If I have one complaint it would be about 2/3 through the story lagged a bit for me as it delved more into teenage angst and misunderstandings as Em and Michael worked through their feelings for each other. Em tended to run away whenever things got uncomfortable and Michael danced around a few issues. I was ready for some action! Just a minor blip in an otherwise great story.

Hourglass is a story with fantastic characters - both main and supporting with plenty of room for future development. There is excellent world building and enough twist and turns to keep you guessing. I thought I knew what was happening but I was never quite right in my guesses. Add in a realistic protagonist who doesn't whine about her abilities and you have yourself a winner!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 8, 2011
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Egmont, 2011
397 pages
YA; Time-Travel; Paranormal; Romance
4/5 stars

Source: Received an ARC through Amazon's Vine Program.

I was intrigued to receive this book as I hadn't heard much about it beforehand. The mention of "time-slips" caught my attention because I love time travel and it's my not-so-secret dream to someday travel back in time (that's why I'm a history major and I read a good deal of historical fiction). And I loved those aspects, even if the time-travel was significantly different than I had anticipated.

See, Emerson has long been seeing people who no one else can see. This combined with the death of her parents resulted in her institutionalization for a period of time. However she feels that she maybe has a grip on the visions. Until she meets Michael who has the same ability except he sees people from the future while Em sees them from the past. Together they have extraordinary power that enables them to move through time (to my disappointment they only go back in time about six months rather than to the late nineteenth-century).

And in fact, I really enjoyed all of these paranormal aspects. Michael was hired by her brother from an organization called Hourglass, which has been involved in exploring and researching such abilities that deal with manipulating time. Everything about this was fascinating from the other characters introduced including the villainous Jonathan Landers and his associates to the only barely glimpsed powers of the other people. I'll admit that sometimes the explanations confused me but re-reading them cut through the fog. I still have questions but I'm content to wait for the next book.

However while the paranormal aspect was great, I was less thrilled with the personal aspects. Emerson has basically one friend who has stuck by her even through her psychotic periods. Lily and Emerson are supposed to be close but Lily barely appears as Emerson quickly becomes absorbed in Michael and Hourglass. I would have liked this friendship developed more especially as Lily seems to have her own paranormal ability.

The other aspect is the romance, of course. Emerson and Michael seem to fall for each other right away, which is too bad as they are not supposed to get involved: her brother doesn't want his employee with his sister and Michael knows they shouldn't fall for each other. Additionally Michael knows a lot more than he tells Emerson and she repeatedly has to call him out on that. He keeps thinking she can't handle it and she keeps demanding the opportunity to know more. There is also a bit of a love triangle with Kaleb, another Hourglass member. I didn't really like either guy as I found them both too overbearing and alpha toward Emerson.

Overall: Fascinating creation of paranormal aspects and pretty good heroine.

Cover: Quite accurate; Emerson actually wears the exact dress in an early scene in the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2012
Hourglass is the story of Emerson Cole, just a typical 17-year-old girl, with the pesky exception that she sees dead people.

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.

The secondary characters were mostly well-developed. I loved Thomas and his wife Dru, and their sweet relationship with each other and with Emerson.

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.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2011
From my blog, Never Gonna Grow Up! Reviews:
Oh "Hourglass" how I love thee... let me bullet point the ways.
- Smart - It's obvious that Ms. McEntire is a smarty pants and I mean that in the nicest way.
- Rich, real characters - I fell in love with these characters.
- Unique plot - This book kept me on my toes - THANK YOU.
- Cliffhanger free ending, but yet I am dying for more - THANK YOU x 2.

"Hourglass" is one of the best books I've read this year. It's a time slip romance, but it's so real. Em (short for Emerson, which is an awesome name and I may steal it if I have a little girl next time around) is probably my favorite YA heroine of all time. She's snarky, yet tender hearted. She is definitely a brave and strong young woman, yet she's vulnerable and has lived her teen years being troubled by her ability and the death of her parents. You see, Em can see (and talk to) images of the past. So, she may strike up a conversation with someone only to find out that she's the only one who can see them. So, it's hard to get close to people when most of the world thinks you're coo coo for Cocoa Puffs. Em lives with her brother and his wife, who are kind souls who just want to help Em. Her brother hires consultants to try and deal with his sister's ability. Most of the time, they turn out to be whack jobs, but this time... he hires a hottie who also sees the things Emerson does. To steal questions from the goodreads.com summary, "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?"

This book was addictive and I am sure it will become a big hit. I see it appealing to nerds like me (come on, she makes a reference to Star Trek AND Doctor Who!) and to girls like my sister who love a good addictive YA romance. All the characters are easy to relate to and very real. I love the relationship dynamic with Em and her brother. It's adorable and so heartfelt. I honestly cannot rave enough about the authenticity of Ms. McEntire's characters. So often in YA fiction, the character development is sacrificed in order to keep the plot moving and keep teens interested. Ms. McEntire was able to keep the plot moving at an engaging pace and create real, genuine people that we come to care about. (Be sure to have a tissue box handy. She had me sobbing!) She tops it all off with creating a lovely atmosphere for each scene. Seriously, this author is amazing. I cannot say enough nice things, so I think I'll just shut up now.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 4, 2011
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Wow! My mind is still reeling from this book of intrigue, suspense, romance and mind blowing action! Not only is the story a compelling and emotional read, but the cover itself was amazing! I can't believe it took me so long to even notice that the girl on the cover is walking on the wall and not on the floor!

It starts out with us getting to know Emerson and is told from her point of view. She is living with her brother and wife after losing her parents in a horrible accident. Not only is she recovering from a deep depression and mental ward vacation, she is also seeing things. Are they ghosts or could they be something more? When her brother Thomas employs the help of Michael, questions arise and things happen that only Michael can explain. The problem with it is how little Michael is willing to explain and what Emerson must do in the future.

It turns out that the apparitions that Emerson has been seeing, are actually Rips. Rips are part of time traveling either to the past or into the future. Emerson has the specific gene that can pick up on them and actually travel to the past. Michael has the gene as well and can travel to the future. Together they compliment each other and can save the one man who died trying to help the people with this ability.

Are you confused yet? Don't feel bad if you are. I was confused through out most of this book. Time travel is not a thing my mind can seem to grasp I guess. Yet, as confused as I was, I had the compelling need to finish this book. I was into it so much, that I might have missed a chunk of time myself focusing solely on the story! The characters were great, the story was paced perfectly, and the mystery of who-did-what was gripping. I learned that if I didn't try to work out the time travel thing in my head and just enjoy the book, it was written perfectly! I loved all of the characters and I loved trying to figure out who was wrong and who was right.

Just as an hourglass represents the flow of time, the author represents the fresh new read this genre was needing! After all the supernatural creatures that are done over and over again, the author has now sucked me into the vacuum of time travel! If you only pick up one new author to read this year, be sure to make it this book! If not, we might have to travel back and change your mind and reality!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Right before Emerson's parents died, she started seeing ghosts, or at least what she thought were ghosts. No one else could see them and it caused her a lot of grief and even got her institutionalized. Now she's out and living with her older brother, Thomas and his wife Dru. She has slowly weened herself off the meds, without telling anyone, even though it makes the visions come back. Her brother is very understanding and always trying to find someone to help Emerson. That's when she meets Michael. He's from a company called Hourglass, that helps people with abilities like Emerson's in coping adn using their abilities. If Emerson can start belieing that she has a gift rather than a curse, she may be able to help save lives. Michael wants her help, and she can't deny the connection between them, but the more she finds out about everything, the crazier it all begins to sound.

This book was very awesome. I loved Emerson. Some may find her too catty, but it's all a defense mechanism, because she feels alone in her ability to see things that aren't really there. This story sort of reminded me of X-Men in some ways, just because a bunch of misfits end up coming together and finding each other through the Hourglass, that was made by someone like them for people like them. I loved the dialogue in this story; the back and forth between the characters was wholly realistic and awesomely cutting. Michael was also quite swoon-worthy, so that helps. The dynamic between Emerson and Michael showed that they were connected by something bigger than themselves, the tension and electricity between them was tangible within the words. I am very interested to see more with Lily, Emerson's best friend, in the next book. The town that Emerson lives in sounds really fantastic, even if there is something evil lurking in the background. This book was wonderful on it's own, but I am excited to continue with the characters in book two. I appreciate a book that can wrap up it's story in one, but then still leave enough for a sequel (or two). Myra McEntire made a stunning debut that you would be a fool not to pick up.

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

Favorite Line:
"Not only is this woman a saint, but she makes killer Cuban espresso and apple empanadas that taste so good they'd make a nun cuss."
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2012
I love this book! This is making my favorite list!! From the very first chapter I was hooked! Of course, I am a sucker for time-travel stories and this one is the best I've read so far! Wow! The plot was so original, intense and enjoyable!! Everything about this story had me captured, from the mysteries surrounding the time-traveling and the Hourglass, to the dynamic and delicious characters and their tragic stories!

What makes a book great? When you feel like you are part of the story and everything else around you is blocked out because you are 100% invested in what is happening. I felt like I was a part of this story and felt the raw pain and emotions of the characters. I literally had tears in my eyes during the later part of the book!

The main characters Emerson and Michael are both strong and well developed. I got a kick out of things Emerson said and thought! This book is packed full of some great quotes!

As the story progresses I thought I was figuring things out but was wonderfully surprised towards the end learning new developments. I love it when the book is unpredictable! The ending was also great, I'm left wanting more but not ticked off because it doesn't end on a cliff-hanger!

Content: This is probably best for an older teen due to the few (maybe 3) swear words and the sexual references. For the most part though it is very clean and just great!

I highly recommend this book to fans of Young Adult paranormal and time-traveling fans!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2012
This novel has a great combination of things-- romance without being too mushy, a group of kids with random powers (without trying too hard to seem cool), and time-travel. This could have gone horribly wrong and not made any sense, but this was very well written. I thought the author did a great job portraying all of the characters because they made me laugh and made me root for them to date. When Emerson is let down waiting for Michael to kiss her, I felt let down. If you need a fluffy, yet well done read this is it. I wanted to hate it, but I loved it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The cover of this book is so neat looking. It is unlike anything I have ever seen. I believe that the description gives a good idea of what the book is about. With maybe some things left out. But, that doesn't take away from the book but adds to it.

This book started out so well! With witty banter and wonderful characters.

Yet as it went on it just got boring. It lost my attention and didn't do anything to grab it back. It just kept dragging on and on.

I did finish the book and towards the end it started pulling me back in.

I was disappointed a little that the book just went on and on and on. I don't like books that drag. Authors/Editors could cut it down and take out some of the nonessential crap and make such a better book with fewer pages.

I did enjoy the ending of the book. I think it ended with a somewhat cliff hanger but not such a big one that you would be pulling your hair out until book 2 came out. So thats very good.

There are so many books out there about time travel. I LOVE that in this book it takes more than one person to do it. I have never liked that books like Tempest, and tv shows like the Time Travelers Wife. Where they can travel alone without help. It never set very right with me. (I don't know why- Maybe I was a traveler in another life)

This book again is about Time Travel but also toward the end it turns into a love trio. I think that could have been skipped all together. With the connection that Em and Michael have trying to add another person to that love is just plain stupid if you ask me. I understand why it was added. But it could have been ended before the next book. It added an extra element that it just didn't need.

Ok Characters! I LOVE EM! She is awesome! She will kick your ass if you mess with her or her family! I love that. You don't get a lot of female characters that know how to use what they have. With Em its martial arts and yes she kicks some ass.

Michael he is a great male lead. I do think that he was kinda of stupid towards the end of the book. But it all works out so thats fine. But again it kind of adds an extra twist that the book just didn't need.

So all in all I did like the book. I think that this is one of those books that could go either way.
So Ill give it two rating.
3 stars it could go either way and 4 stars it made me ripple with excitement

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