[REVIEW] Carnelian

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Series: Chalcedony Chronicles #1
Author: B. Kristin McMichael
young adult, romance, fantasy, time travel
February 1, 2014
Lexia Press
Carnelian (Chalcedony Chronicles, #1)

Everyone has a past, but for most it isn’t as long ago as Seth Sangre. His past is literally thousands of years ago. Seth’s life led him to the present seeking something that might help him save his country from destruction. He has been in the present for over three years now and just found exactly what he has been looking for. 
Mari had dreams that college will be a fresh start, one where she would start over and not fall for the good looking player like high school. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what ends up falling into her lap on the first day she moves into the dorms. Now she has to hold to her promise to herself and not fall for the handsome Seth. But he doesn’t plan to make it easy for her. Seth has already marked her as his next conquest. As the semester progresses, Mari learns that Seth might just have a life of his own that’s actually from the past. 
Suddenly Mari finds her future along with her past put into question. She’s connected to Seth far more than she ever wanted to be and maybe the player isn’t who she thought he was. If Mari can trust her heart enough to follow him, Seth will lead Mari on an adventure of a lifetime and reveal family secrets she never knew existed.

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There are many options for you, and your life will change greatly each time you choose. Each decision is different and will lead you to a different point.

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I picked up Carnelian because of the mere mention of Seth Sangre coming from the past. I’m generally interested in stories that involve the past and time travelling.

Carnelian opens with Marcella “Mari” Navina’s first day in college and Seth Sangre aka Mr. Underwear Model guy falling asleep in her lap (and I was like seriously!?). Seriously. Being the nice kid that I am, I let it slide but it did bother me because it was just… I don’t know… It sounds so weird or something… it just didn’t pleased me in some ways. But yeah, I just set that aside and go on with the story.

The first half (as in literally the first half – first 100 pages of the ebook) goes on and on about Mari’s routine in college, her friend Sim Singh (her insta-friend! Seriously when they first saw each other it’s as if they’ve know each other for years), her continuous encounter with the Sangre brothers, Seth’s Mr. Charming routine, and Mari’s growing suspicions on the boys. It was amusing if you like contemporary romance (perhaps) with a kind of passable insta-love.

I really just have mixed emotions on the first half of the book.

Generally speaking, I like Mari as a character. She’s kind of that honest heroine – she admits that she actually likes Seth because of how good-looking he is (for me, how she likes him in the beginning is basically like crushing on some celebrity. So I didn’t took it as an insta-love) but she still tries to stay away from him because she sees him as the ‘player’ type of guy. I really like she tries to stay away from him and how serious she is at doing that (hahaha).

It actually feels odd how Mari repeats a couple of things and how quickly she jumps into suspicions. It kind of bothers me that she keeps on saying that her grandfather does a lot of business with rich people and how her mother always goes with him (she doesn’t have to tell me that like 10 times just for me to take note of that idea – I’ve taken note of then after the second time). There is a couple more out there. She likes repeating things as if I easily forget -__- Looking at it another way, it does solidify things well so that's probably a good way, in a sense.

There was this part of the book that made me ask, why do you have to be suspicious of every single thing? Like seriously! There are times you can overlook things but there are times that you don’t have to do that. Mari’s is seriously over thinking things.

I hate Melissa but I think she's generally written to be hated (LOL)! She’s too shallow and perhaps her character is a bit forced on playing her role. Melissa is supposed to stir the relationship between Mari and Seth and well… She successfully stirred Mari’s thoughts on Seth that’s for sure just for being the most annoying character in here. At the same time whenever Seth would just give in to her (well not completely give in), it makes me want to punch both of them in the face. I mean seriously – there’s a difference between letting someone kiss you and not kissing back, and stopping someone from kissing you to shut her down. If he really just wants to make her stay away from him, he can always stop her from advancing in the first place.

“If my only way into your life, at this point is as your friend, then that’s what I’ll be, but just know that what I really want is more than that. I’ve been searching for years for you.”

Seth is that perfect guy. It’s annoying because I hate perfect guys but I do have to admit that that makes me want to read more of this but I'm still not a fan of his insta-love on Mari. Yup, he’s all insta-love on her, it makes me roll my eyes whenever he talks about looking for her for three years although Seth’s continuous stalker-ish pursue of Mari kind of made me like him (he’s kind of funny, especially during his being 'friends' part) but at the same time it was a bit annoying. I totally have mixed feelings on this (but I admit that Seth is quite totally swoon worthy :3)

The second half of the book allowed the story to move into more interesting things – generally the interesting parts of this book. Let me tell you something VERY important in here (and I don’t think it’s so much of a spoiler). The Sangre brothers (Seth, Ty, and Dee) came from ancient Egypt (I searched and particularly they’re from the 18th Dynasty under Pharaoh Horemheb as mentioned in the book). I LOVE how this involves real ancient characters (well for now we only have Horemheb and Seti – at least I’d like to believe Seth is based on Seti I).

“Just know that playing with time can have consequences you can’t predict. Be careful, and know that by going back you will inevitably change the future.”

I’ve seen a few fictional time travelling and I love seeing more. Carnelian is more of a magical time travelling than a scientific one which isn’t usually the case (at least on those I’ve encountered). The magical side is packed with a fairy, gate keeper and a time travelling stone (Chalcedony stone which is a real stone, by the way). Carnelian also mentioned about changing the past will have an impact to the future which is generally typical. What I didn’t like in here is how everything seem so convenient or how some things were left out – like how they have no idea in WHERE and from which time period they came from (okay not knowing the time period is a bit acceptable in my opinion, but serious WHERE?), and when they landed in the present they can already speak in English (like ooohh, how convenient is that?). But still, its time travelling concept is quite unique for me :)

“He has to go back to his time to die. If Seth stayed here and got married, the children he had would be from two different times, yours and his, where would that child belong?”

What’s more interesting and perhaps unique for Carnelian is the whole they-cannot-die-in-another-time-period idea and the concept of having a child from two different times (that never really occur to me before because people were busy not playing with the course of time especially when they go back to the past but generally there’s just this whole parallel time concept if we’re talking about scientific time travelling). Mari being a “child of time” really made things a bit more interesting in my opinion. It basically tells you that there’s more to know about her family than I what I expected. More things to explore, my friends :D

It’s a bit of a disappointment but ancient Egypt only came out around half of the second half of the ebook (did that made sense? hahaha). It means I only get a glimpse of it. Carnelian left me on the edge when it came to its world. I wanted to see more of Seth’s time, more of their culture, the current condition of their period, why is there a war going on? But maybe we'll expect to see more of that in the second book.

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What I like: (1) ANCIENT EGYPT!, (2) magical time travelling, (3) “child of time” concept, (4) Mari and the Sangre brothers (especially Ty!), (5) Seth’s smooth talk (especially the ‘friend’ part, that was funny and full of swoon moments), (6) the nice amount of quotes, (7) the CRUSH event (I didn’t mentioned it in the review because it’s more of the romance development especially on Mari’s part)

What I didn’t like: (1) the first half that involves Melissa, (2) Melissa, (3) Melissa’s shallow character (okay, I should really stop this), (4) Seth’s insta-love, (5) how Mari and Seth first met, (6) the lack of ancient Egypt (like why did we just get to see it for like around 10-20 % of the book?)

fantasy time travelling + Ancient Egypt + perfect guy = nice read.

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About B. Kristin McMichael 
Originally from Wisconsin, B. Kristin currently resides in Ohio with her husband, two small children, and three cats. When not doing the mom thing of chasing kids, baking cookies, and playing outside, she is using her PhD in biology as a scientist. In her free time she is currently hard at work on multiple novels. Every day is a new writing adventure. She is a fan of all YA/NA fantasy and science fiction. 
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