Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Release Date: June 11, 2011 (Sorry, guys...)
Amazon Says:

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there; swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back. 

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past. 

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? 

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

I say:
Guys, I have a confession. I pretty much want to be Myra McEntire.
She helped to found Do The Write Thing For Nashville. She has one of my favorite blogs. She put up an amazing post when Speak was banned. She even did an interview with me, late last year. When my awesome librarian asked for requests from ALA, I asked for Hourglass. (It wasn't out yet. However, Sarah is magic and got it somehow anyway. Moment of Sarah love entered here.)
So I wanted to like this book, and I was scared to read this book, because I didn't want to be disappointed.
I brought it to school. By second hour, my teacher had to pretty much take the book away. (It was math. Who needs math when you have fantastic books?)
And Hourglass is literally fantastic. It's full of sparkles (seriously, the cover is going to sparkle) and has magic and science and yumminess  boys and I am going to marry it.
It's paranormal without being truly paranormal. It's the first 'magic' book I've read in a while that felt new.
It's got a boy that I really, really liked. Actually, it had two boys that I really, really liked -- but I also really liked that Emerson, the MC, was pretty dang solid in which one she wanted. It made me like her that much more.
Plus, Hourglass surprised me. The novel isn't predictable; in fact, several times I sat there blinking and going 'Wait, whaaaaat?' (Which, seriously, dude -- it's an attractive face to pull in the middle of a crowded classroom.)
I love her family. It was a real unit, a family that had problems and issues and still managed to be one that you'd be happy to join. I cracked up through the entire book. I liked how the reader gets to watch Emerson grow. That said, I enjoyed how flawed Emerson is; she was easy to relate to. She has a great best friend. And the connotations that are set up for Book Two? Yeah, I'm excited.
I liked how I was reminded of A Wrinkle In Time but at the same time, felt like I was reading something totally new.
Basically, I just loved it. I handed it over to my mother, and plan on going to rant at my librarian about how much I liked it, and probably am going to send Maggie a long rambly email later about it. It didn't just live up to my expectations; it exceeded them in the best way.
Anyway. This is turning into a love letter, and I am resolutely against love letters. Unless they are written to me from very pretty boys, and even then, they'd better be more articulate than I usually am.
 More later, folks!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Coming up

Okay, so it's spring break. This means barbecues, and trips to the park, and lots and lots of movies. It also means that I have become nocturnal and have spent several hours online. Beyond finding these --
--and realizing that Cinderella is showing at a local theater this summer (ZOMG I want to go so baddddd!!) I've also spent way too much time on Amazon. So, this is me, sharing me list of upcoming loves.
First up.
I love this cover. So much. Like, I know nothing about this book. The cover, plus the author, have me sold.
Plus this. It looks all stalkerly and awesome.
And this, because I love these books so much.
This too. Jace is my eternal love.

And finally, this. Holy crap. I want my cover to look like this someday. It's so freaking beautiful.

Okay, that's it for now. Well. It's like, half of the books I want, but I also realize that I have a tendency to ramble forever, and so I'm being nice. See? Manners!
....Yeah. I know.
Anyway. I'll have a review up later. Until then, ciao! Stay awesome.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Help for Japan

Everyone knows what happened in Japan. It’s been a week. A week of hell for that country, a week of fear for the world, a week of misery for those people affected.
When it comes down to it, Japan needs our help. Our hopes, our prayers, our wishes — heck, even just our time. 
Every little bit we do helps. Here — — a bunch of authors have gotten together to hold an auction, trying to help Japan. Not only does this stuff end up being really, really cool, but it’s for such a good cause.
I have a friend who lives in Japan. She's been talking about it on facebook. It's scary, she says. Terrible and horrid, and as if the world is ending. I ... can't even imagine. 
The pain in the world is real. It’s more real than our petty drama or slight injustices. Than any boy drama or high school nuance or really, anything that most of us face. And anything we can do can make the real pain easier to deal with, even if it's not much. Heck -- we can't do anything much. But there's strength in solidarity. Strength in banding together. 
And anything helps.
More later.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lessons Learned

Things I've learned this year:

We can't force people to be who we want them to be. We can push and prod them into the vision we've had, the idea we've conceived, but that won't them make them the ideal. We'll just be disappointed when we realize that we've been clinging to a dream.


Dating is messy. Enough said.

I shake when I'm mad. Seriously. I physically shake. I had to pull over the car at one point. Poor Maggie can attest to that. I made her sit in the parking lot of an ice cream parlor for literally an hour, blasted the heat, and had to be talked down before I could drive again.


I have awesome friends. Dude. I had no idea how awesome they all were. I had no idea how much my team -- yes, I am a debate nerd, whatever -- means to me, and how much they can be there for me. How much I fit with the people I love. It's kind of cool.

Ice cream cannot solve everything. However, writing is like, the best therapy ever.


People are way crazier than I thought. And they aren't all like me. I based what people would do off of what I would do, and then was shocked when they did something different. When sometimes, they did scummy stuff. It's interesting. I'm not perfect, but I'm relatively grounded. It's freaky how many people really, really aren't.

When something is poison, it's always going to be poison. And pretending it might turn into nectar or gold or hell, even diet coke, is just naive.


Someone called me whimsical today. It's funny, though. I'm really not. I talk about pandas and monkeys and sparkles, but I'm fully aware of the hurt in the world. I didn't win districts by giving speeches about sequins. I think it's just about learning to cope and moving on; dwelling on the pain is just gonna make more darkness.

Books get a lot of things right. I just didn't realize how real a lot of emotions are.


But more than anything?
There's always light at the end of the tunnel. There's always green grass and shiny skies, and there's always sparkles in the future. Life is what we make it. We can't be happy unless we move on. We can't move on unless we keep our eyes on what's in front of us, and not stuck on all the crap that we've been trenched in.  Sometimes we just have to be -- well, whimsical. Jump around, listen to music, dream about tomorrow.


Closing doors opens windows. It forges new hallways and busts down walls that had been so long, we'd just grown used to the fact that they were blocking off new worlds. Worlds that are just as good and maybe better than the ones we live in.

Someday, the crap that has been this year will be a great book. And until then, it's made me stronger. It's hurt and it's sucked, but it's over -- I'm making it be over. And I'm going to relish Nationals in debate, relish writing, reading, relish my library and my friends and all of the great, great things in my life. I'm worth more than how I've been feeling. How I've let myself be treated. But the only way to write great books, I guess, is to live a little bit of crap.

More later. Promise, it won't be gushy or personal. I just kinda felt like putting this out there would make it more real. Basically, you are my bouncing board. Be proud. :P
What about you? Adversity teaches us things. What have you learned?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Full Steam Ahead

Well, debate isn't over. I just qualified to Nationals.

That's a pretty accurate representation of how I felt -- for about, oh, an hour. And then the feeling of doom hit. 
There's stupid drama going on, because it's high school. My grades are not as good as normal. Nationals is going to be way hard. And all of a sudden, my mood dropped.
But I just got something I've wanted for two years, and something I've tried really, really hard for. So, I vote screw Chemistry and move past the drama, and go pet the pretty trophy.
It happens with writing, too. You work really hard; sometimes, you finish a novel, or you write a difficult scene, and it still doesn't feel good enough. We forget how hard we've worked and get too caught up in what's coming next -- until, well, we don't actually enjoy what we just achieved.
And gosh dangit, I am not doing that this time. I've worked way, way too hard to let anything poison the sparkly thing sitting in my kitchen, or the fact that I get to go to Dallas this summer with my team. And you've worked way too hard on your novel to get caught up in dreading writing the sequel -- or really, however this applies to you.
Full steam ahead. But only after we lolly-gag awhile and relish what we've done. Otherwise, what's the point?

I wanted a picture of a steam engine, but this is the Hogwarts Express. Really, I don't care that it doesn't fit perfectly. Life always needs more Harry Potter.
Anyway. Rant done. I'm going to go play with one of my stories now -- or I could -- WAIT HOLY CRAP. I'm on spring break.
I can actually read!
More later. If I ever get my nose out of the stack of books that Chem has been stealing away.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Day

Several reasons:
First, Playing Hurt comes out today! Holly did an interview here with me, and you can pre-order Playing Hurt here.

I can't wait to read it.
Also, debate is over as of this weekend. I have national qualifiers, and then I am DONE for the year. Well, unless I make nationals. My partner and I got fourth at State Qualifiers...Yeah, third qualified.
-_- But happy day, because hey, still hope for Nats.
Happy day because things are good with friends and me and boys and books -- YAY BOOKS, YAY SPRING BREAK. The two are directly related. I have not read nearly enough lately, except for Great Gatsby. And yeah, happy, because I'm actually enjoying that.
Also, this is coming out.
I love these books with somewhat pathetic passion. Just saying.
Anyway. Enough happy for now. More happy later. MWAH.