Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Stars Across Time

Stars Across TimeStars Across Time by Ruby Lionsdrake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About 3.5 stars.

This was a cute book, though I found the first half more exciting than the second half. I appreciated the strength and general kick-ass know-how of the protagonist, Andie. Her confidence and determination constantly kept me from feeling depressed or sorry for her, even when she was in predicaments that were truly bleak (such as being stripped down naked in a cave with a bunch of horny scumbags). Sometimes Andie struck me as a little too strong (unrealistically so), but overall she was likable, so no real complaints there.

The love interest, Theron, was adorable. I appreciated how the author chose to give him some sweet boy-like charm, instead of pigeoning him into the larger than life "bad boy" category the whole novel. Moments where Theron was nervous and wanting to impress Andie rang with a lot of sincerity.

One problem I had deals with the technicalities of time travel and a big contradiction that is present in this story. Near the beginning of the book, it is mentioned (I believe through Theron's narration) that kidnapping women from the past is illegal, because it can jack with the future's timeline. That is, a man might kidnap a woman from the past and return to his own timeline to discover that his best friend no longer exists...that whole conundrum. I agree with this premise 100%. This is one of time travel's more universal laws. Yet later in the book, one of Theron's lieutenants discovers that Andie, in her own timeline, (view spoiler) But how on earth could the lieutenant find this information about Andie's yet-to-occur past when she is STILL in the FUTURE with them? This was such a huge time travel violation that it was hard for me to overcome it enough to enjoy the rest of the story. Andie was stolen from her own time period. She disappeared from a campground at the age of thirty-something and was never found. Until she returns to her own timeline, any records concerning her should reflect that fact.

I did enjoy the dystopian world Lionsdrake created. It was an interesting mix of old and new, swaying from never before seen technology to horse drawn carriages. If a sequel to STARS ACROSS TIME were to come out, I'd give it a chance.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Fifteen Minutes to Live


Fifteen Minutes to LiveFifteen Minutes to Live by Phoef Sutton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I downloaded this book for free from Bookbub and it turned out to be one of the best (if not the best) freebies I've ever read. I couldn't put it down. The plot is downright's like a darker, more intense version of "50 First Dates."

The story begins when the protagonist, 36 year old Carl, is visited one fateful night by his high school sweetheart, Jesse, who is acting like no time has elapsed since high school and is behaving like she's seventeen years old (though her face and body reveal her true age). Carl, believing she is perhaps going through a midlife crisis and playing some kind of game with him, allows himself a night of frenzied passion with her. But when Carl discovers that Jesse supposedly died three months earlier in a boating accident, and realizes she is losing her memories of recent events every 15 minutes, Carl is forced to weed through a web of secrets to figure out the truth about Jesse.

I can't say anything beyond this without giving away juicy spoilers, so I'll just state that the novel continues to navigate the reader through all sorts of twists and turns, and every time you have that "a-ha" moment where you think you've learned the truth, another layer is peeled away.

I love the characters. Carl, the MC, isn't perfect, which I find refreshing. He's self-deprecating with amusing quirks like trying to befriend a raccoon...he just comes across as very human. And his love for Jesse, though not always noble or logical, is fierce and moving. And then you have Jesse, who manages to shine with strength and determination, despite the fact that her memory resets ever 15 minutes. Not to mention all of the supposed antagonists--whether it's Martin, Ryan, or even Frank, aren't your cookie cutter "bad guys." They're complex, with redeemable qualities that make it difficult to hate them outright. Frank's character is hands-down the most beautifully conceived/written.

The only reason I would even knick half a star from 15 Minutes to Live is because of a few spelling errors (i.e. spelling the word "hand" as "band," etc.), and because of dropping Kit. I realize Kit is a secondary character who didn't have a huge role to play in moving the plot forward, but I feel that Sutton spent a lot of time developing Kit's character into one that the reader falls in love with, and I wish there had been at least a short scene near the end reconciling him with Carl.

Otherwise, 4.5 stars to an intriguing and gripping read, and I look forward to seeing what else Sutton has out there.

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