Time Untamed by Lily Morgan

Cover photo provided by the author
Cover photo provided by the author

Title: Time Untamed
Author: Lily Morgan
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age: Adult
Is This Part of a Series?: Yes (Book 2 of the Time Series)

*I received an e-Copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

Summary:
The second book in the Time Series follows Butch, a member of the TSCAA, and Savannah, a member of an ancient order of assassins. Although they are married, circumstances have lead to Butch believing Savannah (and their son) are dead and Savannah spending her life trying to keep her son’s existence a secret from Butch and her family. Now there is a plot against Jack Evans (the lead passenger staging the counter attack inside US Flight 93 on September 11, 2003) and their paths have crossed again. Will they be able to get past the lies and secrets of their past and save Jack Evans, their son, and history as we know it? Or will the mysterious Mr. X, the powerful man behind the plot, get his wish to unbalance the world and the powers of good and evil that fight for it?

Overall Impressions:
Much like the first book in the series, Time Untamed was an enjoyable read with a fun premise. I really enjoy the world that Ms. Morgan has created for the Time Series.

The Nitty Gritty:
I would like to start by saying that one of my issues with the first book (typos) was much less pronounced in this book. There were a few, but not enough to be distracting from the story. There was also an improvement in the amount of “over-sharing” that the characters did. So this book has some definite improvements over the first one (not that the first one was bad; I did give it three stars after all! It was enjoyable!). However, there were also a couple of things I didn’t like that were new to this book (most likely because of the needs of a new set of characters).

Most notable were the flashbacks. They provided some good information, but I sometimes had trouble transitioning with them. They also had a repetitive quality to them–there were several times where the reader got the same flashback from both Butch and Savannah’s point of view, with almost no new information provided. While there were certainly some well-written flashbacks that provided information I was glad to have as a reader (information that provided a greater emotional connection to the character(s), character development, and/or plot advancement), the majority of them were superfluous to at least some degree.

Another issue I had was connecting to Butch. There was a certain amount of residual connection from the first book, however, I found him to be a bit off-putting, especially with his insistence to refer to the women around him as “hellcats”. Once or twice would have been telling about both Butch and the women, but using that descriptor just about every time that he mentioned these women made him seem more chauvinistic than anything. I got that he did actually admire them, but the fact that he had to label them anything other than valuable members of his team made me feel as if he didn’t expect women to be valuable in his world.

Once Butch and Savannah’s son came into play, however, my connection with all of the characters snapped into place. Not only could I relate to the parenting side of Butch and Savannah, but their son also opened up the soft, gooey center at the heart of them, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. Once that happened, I very much liked both characters, the journey they were on, and the relationship between them.

Perhaps one of the best parts of this book, though, was the foreshadowing of the larger picture: more is revealed about Mr. X, and there are several other characters which Ms. Morgan hinted at being more important than they first appeared. More importantly, these revelations came in a surprising manner at a point in the book when I was not expecting them. It was very well done and has me excited to see how it unfolds.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars (1 Rating)
Amazon Rating: 5 Stars (2 Ratings)
My Rating: 4 Stars
Once again, I found myself not quite sure where to rate this book. It was not as skillfully and seamlessly written as I would like for a four or five star rating, generally, but it was also more than just a book that I “liked”. When it came down to it, I decided that the improvements from the first book to the second, as well as the skillfully enticing foreshadowing that helped close out the book, rated the bump up to a four star. However, I would have to say that a third book in this series would most likely require a continued improvement in writing technique–namely restraint–in order to “maintain” a four star rating. (I like the books a lot, world, character, and plot-wise, but my four star ratings are “reserved” for books that I like -and- have good writing. For me, improved writing qualifies as good writing. Continually improving writing is some of the best writing there is, really.)

Time Eternal by Lily Morgan

image2

Title: Time Eternal
Author: Lily Morgan
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age: Adult
Is This Part of a Series?: Yes (Time Series–Book One)

*I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Summary:
Skyla is a highly-trained member of a secret government agency involved in time travel missions meant to keep the world from falling out of balance and into World War III. Her carefully ordered life falls into chaos, however, when she meets a mysterious man while on a mission. Her body reacts as if she knows the man, but she has no memory of him. To make matters more confusing, he “pushes” her back to her time–without the use of the time machine! When he later shows up inside the secret, highly-guarded government facility, what she knows of her life begins to fall into question. Why is this man interested in her? Who is he? More importantly, who is she?

Overall Impressions:
I found myself enjoying this book, although it was sometimes difficult to know why (due to a few elements of the book that I found distracting). The premise is great, the characters are fun, and when it comes right down to it, I kept going back to read more.

The Nitty Gritty: 
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, there were some (for me) distracting elements to this book. First and foremost was Ms. Morgan’s tendency to over describe thoughts and emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to know what characters are thinking and feeling, but I don’t necessarily want to be told all of it. Tell me some, when it makes sense to. Show me some–maybe even a lot. And occasionally leave a little bit of mystery there too, to help build tension and make the surprises bigger. This was especially noticeable in the first half or so of the book, when the action was a bit slower and there was more time to share character thoughts. I would like to point out to positive things here: first, this “over” description came in handy in describing the landscape of the book–the scenery and furnishings and costuming, so to speak. Secondly, this desire to let us know so much about Ms. Morgan’s thoughts led her to switching point of view characters to those most able to share the appropriate information. It was never constrained by the fact that the character wasn’t the main character. That is a technique that I, personally, enjoy. The story should always be told by the person best suited to tell it, even if that changes from one chapter to the next.

Secondly, there were a several times that the wrong word was used in a story simply (I believe) because of a typo that resulted in a correctly spelled word (which therefore was not caught by spell check) or by a switch in approach mid-sentence (resulting in words like he and his being switched around). In a related issue, there were some word choices that I just plain felt did not fit. Some of the time there were too many words, slowing down the scene at an inappropriate time. Several times there were words that were technically right but didn’t seem to fit with the voice of the character, resulting in a jarring sensation that pushed me out of the story somewhat. And a couple of times there were words that gave details I did not feel were truly necessary–like mentioning that Skyla pulled out her Glock. There was a sentence early on mentioning how weapons needed to be time-appropriate and, in fact, another one later where there was a discussion on how they would not even work if the material components and technology to make them did not exist in the time period being traveled to. These two details combined to make me stop every time technology was mentioned and think about what time period they were in, whether or not the weaponry was appropriate for that time, etc. I don’t want to stop and think–essentially doubting the author–when I am reading. I want the world to be obviously cohesive and consistent, my author to know what he or she is talking about, and the characters to know that they can do X but not Y. I am not saying that anything that Ms. Morgan wrote was wrong–but, I was wondering about it, rather than just sinking into the book and flipping pages as furiously as I could. And all of that thinking could have been stopped by the omission of certain details. Omission can be as important as inclusion, sometimes.

As for the good…it was easy to get on board with Skyla, Rei, Knox, and the others. The antagonists were creepy, slimy, and powerful–and at least one of them was well-hidden for a good portion of the book. The idea of the TSCAA (the time-traveling government agency Skyla works for) is intriguing and fun, and I really like the premise that the time machine was invented during the 1500s, but due to a mishap was lost until present day. I also like the ideas Ms. Morgan plays with when discussing which events the TSCAA and Mr. X have been “fighting” over–some are big moments in history that are easy to imagine as history-altering. Some are smaller. Growing up on shows like Sliders, this is a concept that appeals to me. As a romance, there are sex scenes involved–both on and off screen–and I believe these were well done, with probably some of the best writing (for my tastes) in the whole book, with just the right amount of information, consistent and appropriate pacing, and a balance of sparks and character (and plot) development.

Goodreads Rating: 3.8 (5 Ratings)
Amazon Rating: 5.0 Stars (6 Reviews)
My Rating: 3 Stars
This was a tough one for me to rate. There was such a pull between things I liked and things that distracted me. What it finally boiled down to, though, was the idea that I did keep going back to the book. The premise and characters are a 4 or 5 star crew. I finished it. I would like to read at least one more book to see where the series and Ms. Morgan’s balance-in-writing go from here. But the distractions, well, distracted me. A lot. It kept me at the surface of the book rather than allowing me to really sink into it. Still while the typo/editing type errors are not a personal opinion type of issue, most of the other negatives are more of a personal pet peeve and, I believe, difference in stylistic approach than a strictly good or bad approach to the writing craft. So. I liked it a fair amount, but it felt rough around the edges.