Genre: Time-Travel

Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

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I received this book for free from Roaring Brook Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay SmithA Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith
Published by Roaring Brook Press on October 25th, 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Time-Travel, YA
Source: Roaring Brook Press
Buy on Amazon

A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.

I don’t write in books and have become too lazy to keep an actual notepad by my side while I am reading but recently I decided that I wanted to do a better job of keeping track of my feels so when I write a review two weeks after I’ve read the book, I have something to jog up my memory. Sticky Notes were the answer. And while I did not tab the shit out of this book (or really any book because I am more of a reader than a note taker), I did tab a scene in this book and write OMG!!!

You were probably wondering where I was going with the whole insight into my reading process thing weren’t you? I AM SORRY. I felt like backstory was important just so you could kind of begin to understand the kind of book A Darkly Beating Heart is. One that inspires OMG!!! stickies.

Reiko is an unlikable MC. I did not like her for most of the book because she is not a nice person. She does not do nice things and has hurt people in the past just because she believed it was justified. To be fair, she has been wronged a whole lot in her short life but her approach to making things ‘even’ is NOT the best. The thing is, Reiko IS a well-written character. Even when it seems impossible to support or justify her cruelty, it is easy to understand her and see that underneath all the awfulness, she is just a girl who has been hurt by people who she should have been able to count on.

This however is not the story of how Reiko realizes that she needs to deal with her feelings in a healthy way, at least not at first. Reiko’s parents ship her off to Japan to stay with her relatives for the summer and hope that the change might help her feel less hatred in her heart. That doesn’t quite work because when Reiko and a bunch of people are visiting the village of Kuramagi, Reiko gets transported into the life of Myu, a girl living in 1862 who has even more anger issues than Reiko does. Instead of being a tad terrified by Myu, Reiko is comforted by the anger and finds herself seeking out this alternative life more and more until well… that would be a spoiler.

A Darkly Beating Heart does have a PNR element to it and the transition into ‘believing’ is actually beautiful. Reiko is completely thrown off when she is transported in time but she connects the dots little by little and in a realistic manner so it was easy to believe her and even easier to get behind the whole time travel aspect (because the way it works in this book is a little odd). For those of you who like a little bit more sci-fic in your time travel and less paranormal, you might have that aspect of the book a tad unsatisfying because it isn’t really explained. It kind of just happens and to immerse yourself in the book you have to let go of the fact that there is no real reason for why she is being transported in time (there is a pnr explanation but not anything more grounded in science.)

There is a slight romance factor to the book that is important in some ways. Reiko has a crush on a girl who works at their bed & breakfast and when Reiko is Miyu she is in love with this dude (I am so good with names. I remember everythingggg.) BASICALLY Reiko has a love interest but no real romance which makes sense because Reiko really isn’t ready to be in a relationship since she really cannot relate to other people.

The best part about this book is the plot. I say this as a plot person though and there are LOTS of things to appreciate about this book. I love that A Darkly Beating Heart doesn’t necessarily fit into one genre category. Its got time travel, a little bit of a mystery, a coming of age, HORROR! The various elements work well  together without losing their essence (I totally feel like I am judging food right now) and are combined perfectly. I LOVE the nail-biting, fast-paced nature of this book and I love the horror aspect that makes me want to curl into a ball but most of all, I love the journey of Reiko as a character (does this make me a character person? WHAT? I am a confused banana).

I do feel like this review is turning into a rambling mess so I am going to stop BUT you should definitely check this book out when it is out in the world and hopefully you’ll love it as much as I did.



4.5 Hot Espressos

Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Posted by on 01/20/2016 • 9 Comments

Passenger AKA the much awaited, highly anticipated time travel romance. I had hoped it would be everything I wanted, I had hoped I would swoon and die because cuteness, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Passenger was by no means a bad book, I just had a hard time relating to the character and getting behind the romance (which is kind of a big deal given that it is a time-travel romance.)

Etta is really my biggest problem with the book. It isn’t that she is fundamentally flawed, I just couldn’t get behind her as a character. Her privilege, growing up the way she did and in the century she did, is so blatant and her ignorance of it really bothered me. Being with Nicholas did make her realize that she was…

Review: The Next Together by Lauren James

Posted by on 10/09/2015 • 11 Comments

Wow… just wow.

When you hear the word “time-travel”, the first thing that comes to mind (usually) is “science fiction”. You think of the technology and machines that make this feat possible; you think of the physics involved, of subatomic atoms transferring from one place to another (or however that is supposed to be done); you think of action-packed plots, of conspiracy theories, that push our heroes and heroines to time travel in the first place.

But… romance? With time-travel? To be quite honest, the cynic in me long believed a time-travel with romance in the center would be hard to pull off without it being too cheesy. With a different audience in mind, it would also be hard to talk about the technicalities of how time travel works in the…

Review: Because You Exist by Tiffany Truitt

Review: Because You Exist by Tiffany Truitt

Posted by on 12/23/2014 • 5 Comments

So this book was good, but a bit odd. I don’t mean that in a bad way though. The whole way the time travel happens is just weird with no real explanation about when or why. I get that there is some other entity or something that causes it, but it was not explained well. There is also a kind of typical people that hate each other, and now have to work with each other thing going on. And *gasp* they begin to care for each other. Really though, it was pretty enjoyable and I liked it.

Logan is a popular kid. On the football team, good looking, and has a super nice and hot girlfriend who happens to be a cheerleader. He also happens to be a “Shifter”…

Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Posted by on 03/21/2014 • 25 Comments

What a disappointment. And an unexpected one since I was such a fan of her Sisterhood in the Traveling Pants series (which rocked my socks off!). I didn’t dislike this one right away; at first I was very much into it. We start by learning of their dystopian-like community that has formed in the past (our present), after having escaped from a plague ravaged future. A future that is, quite frankly, not at all unrealistic, making it all the more terrifying. Once we get down to business, though, things go downhill fast. From underdeveloped characters, to random – often boring – plot detours, to unemotional insta-love romance.

Prenna starts out as a great character – stubborn and determined. She’s from a future where touching meant death, and is now controlled…

Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

Review: Vortex by Julie Cross

Posted by on 01/10/2013 • 22 Comments

This review contains no spoilers of either Vortex or Tempest

As much as I get fascinated by time travel–especially when it’s created as well as in this series–it can get extremely complicated. Like Tempest, this novel is not to be read with a wandering mind, or you will find yourself in the middle of a complex story with no idea where you are–or when. For this reason, it may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy reads that are as intelligent as they are fun, then this series is for you!

When we left Jackson in Tempest, we had learned just how intricate this whole time travel business was. Not to mention how heartbreaking to see Jackson’s heart torn apart over a girl that has no clue who he…

Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Posted by on 01/21/2012 • 28 Comments

Time travel is a very tricky subject to get into. (Look at the epic failure of Lost for example). There is the usual paradox of, if we go back in time then what happens must already have happened to make us go back. As well as the endless time loop theories. Tempest battles this with separate timelines. So now my questions are: if we change timeline, then what happens to our self in the original timeline? Does a fake us keep living there? If not, is it as if we never existed there, or do people think we’ve just disappeared? And what happens to our other self that existed before we got to the new timeline?… Yes, my brain hurts too! These were the sort of questions running through my…