"Transcend Time Saga": A Review of Book 1
Two star-crossed lovers from the Regency period are given a second chance at a happily ever after when they are reincarnated as present-day teenagers.
Book 1: Remembrance
The cover art of this book is attractive and so is the synopsis of the plot, but the story was lacking in execution.
Liz and Chelsea have been best friends since childhood. Chelsea was the popular girl and Liz was the sad, friendless child. Chelsea's mom dies and her friends treat her differently, so she starts being friends with Liz. Jeremy becomes Liz's friend through her association with Chelsea. Liz and Jeremy begin dating, even though Chelsea harbors a secret crush on Jeremy, unbeknownst to all.
The "It" Couple
Jeremy and Liz are the "it" couple, but it's never clear as to why—considering Liz isn't portrayed as popular. Even as her boyfriend is moving up in the food chain, he becomes the co-captain of the Varsity Soccer team, she shows no interest in befriending the soccer dudes and their groupies, well, except for Keelie the only nice one amongst them.
The New Kid
Cue the new boy in school, Drew, who walks into class, meets eyes with Liz, and its destiny! Drew already knows he is reincarnated as his memories were triggered long ago, but he doesn't want history to repeat itself so he treats Liz poorly and dates her best friend Chelsea to deter her advances, though he does a bad job of sticking to his plan of keeping away from Liz.
Meanwhile, Jeremy who was supposedly a "nice guy" treats Liz like crap so that we can all get on board the Liz/Drew train, and the reader is told that Chelsea is a flake and flits from guy to guy so that the reader feels that the relationship with Drew won't be a lasting one and to justify the later crappy actions of the main characters.
As the story progressed, I had already made up my mind not to read the rest of the books because there was a lot of disconnect between some of the things that the author incorporated and a huge lack of progression and believability.
The Rare Books
For example, Liz is required to read Pride and Prejudice for school and then she becomes obsessed with it and then we are suddenly shown in a flashback that Liz lived a previous life in the Regency era. Apparently, the only purpose of this obsession was for her to be given a rare original set of the books that belonged to her in a previous life. Inside the book, she finds a music piece hidden. After discovering the sheet music for Minuet in the books, she learns to play the piano in a week, which she could play in her past life. The piece ends up being the same music she danced to with Drew in a Regency flashback, "their song." The author makes sure to remind us that in the beginning of the book Liz was lamenting that she and her boyfriend Jeremy never had a song. I'm not sure why this was made a big deal. I guess if you're meant to be, you have a song.
And, let's go back to those rare books she received. Liz goes to a store in the mall to have a mask custom made for her. An old man owns the store, which sells all kinds of oddities. She not only gets a mask, but a Regency inspired dress and a necklace from the old man who owns the store. He gives her the dress at half off, and the necklace for free, for no apparent reason. When she comes back later on, he gives her a first edition set of Pride and Prejudice for free. Who does that? It's later revealed that he is some type of guide who, after being reincarnated himself and fixing his past mistakes, decides to become a guide to help other reincarnated people fix their past mistakes. After he gives her all this stuff and explains who she is, he just disappears from the rest of the book. In my experience, don't guides do a bit more than this? I just don't see the purpose of this character other than the author couldn't think of any other way to get Liz "in the know." Actually, this series is riddled with random characters that awkwardly advance the plot and then disappear.
The Secret Love Affair
Liz breaks up with Jerky Jeremy so Drew breaks up with Chelsea and they begin dating in secret, staying up all night on school nights putzing around on Drew's boat on the lake behind his McMansion. Of course, Shannon, the queen bee of the soccer girlfriends, lives two houses down and sees their nightly canoodles on the lake and suddenly takes a huge interest in Chelsea, who was never her friend, and discloses what she knows to her. Chelsea pretends she has no idea and gets Liz to go to a party. She piles makeup on Liz's face, it isn't really clear why, and then forces her to play darts with her ex, his groupie Amber, and her friend Keelie so that she can get Drew alone in a room to demand an explanation or to get him back or something. Liz goes looking for Drew, finds him standing close to Chelsea and freaks out because she sees a flashback to the past where she walked in on a similar scene of Drew kissing a girl who looked a lot like Chelsea.
Chelsea rushes from the room. Drew chases her. Jeremy offers to take Liz home. He drives really fast and scares the crap out of Liz, who we are told a million times throughout the book "hates speed." Jeremy tells her he knows about Drew, but will still take her back. Why? Who knows? Liz remembers that in the past she was in a carriage going fast and the carriage turned over and she died. She manages to get Jeremy to stop the car and avoids certain death. Drew pulls up; he had followed them in his car. Liz leaves both guys and gets a ride from Keelie who also pulls up.
Liz and Drew work things out because, really, Drew didn't do anything wrong.
Final Verdict: The End?
The end. Or not? I wondered how this was going to be stretched out into one more book, let alone two more. I really feel like this disaster could have just ended here. I wasn't really interested in continuing with the series, but I had a morbid curiosity about how this story could possibly develop any further.
See how the author kept the story alive in book 2. It gets even more ridiculous and unbelievable.