Molly Reviews, Guest Post and Giveaway: In the Present Tense by Carrie Pack

Miles Lawson goes to sleep dreaming of a future with his boyfriend Adam, but wakes to find he is married to Ana, an acquaintance from high school. When he learns he has been time traveling, Miles is consumed with finding a cure for his rare condition—and finding his first love. But will he be able to convince Adam he is telling the truth before it’s too late?

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I’m really torn how to review this book. There are aspects of this book that get all the starts ever in existence. And some that made me want to yell at my Kindle and throw it. Other aspects were just meh. The book didn’t really start to go downhill until the last quarter or so and then it just kind of unraveled for me. By the end I was frustrated and wanted the fabulous book I had started to love to come back.
I loved Miles. I loved how he handled the time traveling (not well at first until he learned more about what was happening towards the middle to third quarter), and how he keeps trying to do the right thing for everyone. He was sweet in his younger side. All wide eyed optimistic and so desperately in love with Adam. I just wanted to shelter him from what was coming. The scenes we get of the far older Miles was fascinating because you want to know what he’s leading middle age Miles to uncover or change. Or if he’s leading him to where he should be. The way all three versions of Miles are feeling as he travels around his own timeline are so well written. You  can feel his frustration at the situation as a whole and his lack of knowledge about things where there’s gaps in his memory or things that hadn’t happened yet. You feel the same wonder at what he’ll find when he wakes up and which version of himself is opening his eyes. The rollercoaster with Ana, Adam, Winter Haven and if he’ll make it and who he winds up with long term. Those emotions are so vivid and I loved feeling them with all the characters as I read.
I didn’t feel for Ana in this story. At all. I sort of empathized with her right at the beginning because she was in a rough spot having a husband she didn’t know if he was seventeen or seventy at any given moment. But that was fleeting and gradually went downhill from there. She was too self centered and had no real compassion for anyone else’s feelings. It was all about her. Which to some degree I get because living with Miles, or someone like him, is so damn draining. But she either needed to go all in supporting Miles or walk away.
I liked Adam up until the end. He was so solid in who he was as an adult. He’d overcome some huge obstacles that I wish would have been discussed and referenced more. I felt like it was an important part of the story from the few snippets we get. But it’s not really fully explored. By the end I wanted to smack Adam because I didn’t believe his emotions towards Miles. And the way he treated Anthony wasn’t right. Even if an excuse was thrown out towards the end, it doesn’t excuse his behavior and there was no knowledge of it before the bad choices. It’s like Adam was looking for justification for his actions rather than owning up to them.
I really liked the scene where Anthony and Adam were discussing Miles’ bisexuality. It was so perfect and well written. Anthony totally smacks Adam metaphorically. His line (that I’m loosely paraphrasing and you NEED to read for yourself because it’s wonderful!) that just because Miles dated Adam and then dated a girl doesn’t mean he was secretly straight and just pretending OR truly gay and hiding in the close now. He’s bisexual and it’s a real thing. Adam’s response is so good. You can see the lightbulb going off in his head.
The science fiction aspect of the story was sooooooooo good! I loved how the reasoning for the time travel is explained. I loved the suspense of if Miles and Bethany are going to survive and get away from the evil corporation or if they’re going to be lost forever. The way the timeline itself is describe is so well done. We jump back and forth between past, present and future. But events flow logically and you just get lost in Miles, Ana and Adam’s timeline because you’re so fascinated.
The ending made me mad. It’s like there had to be a happy ending of sorts but it just didn’t fit. Plus the emotions between Adam and Miles I just didn’t buy at this point. You could see in the story how they were building towards being together again. But to have it where they’re magically in love and going to be together no matter what just didn’t fit the rest of the story up to that point. The story also didn’t feel complete. There’s all these loose ends left open and things you’re still unsure about. Sadly they didn’t feel like a purposeful leave you wanting more for the next story in the series type of a feel. Or in a cliffhanger nail biting kind of way either. It’s that awkward in between feeling that just leave you let down.
Three and a half

Guest Post:
While Miles travels around his own time line, he writes notes and journal entries to himself so he can help discern where and when he is, or was, as he jumps around. We get to see one of the journal entries he wrote to himself. It’s a little heartbreaking but if you read the story, you’ll find out more about what happened and I definitely recommend you do. Read and enjoy!
I hope when you read this you’ll be happy. Right now you’re not. Everything is a mess: Adam and I just broke up. He came up to me at graduation and wanted to talk, but I couldn’t even look at him.

You’ve been time traveling more. Mom says it’s just stress and an overactive imagination, but I don’t think so. When I get that money from grandpa, I’m going to hire someone to figure it out. There’s something seriously wrong with me, and I want to know what.

I woke up this morning in a hospital. At least I think it was a hospital. There were machines and one of those beds that lifts you up and down. If you read this and figure it out, just write in the margins where I was. I’d like to know. I wasn’t there long and I was by myself, so I couldn’t ask anyone what year it was. I could tell I was older because I had a beard, like a full-on thick beard on my face. I wonder how many years it will be until I can grow a beard like that? Dad would freak. He thinks all those guys with the beards look homeless. Maybe I do it just to piss him off.

I saw another entry yesterday that I didn’t write, but it was in my handwriting, so another version of me must have come along and done it. It said I should trust Bethany. I don’t even know anyone named Bethany. One day I’m going to try to put all my journals in chronological order. Maybe I should start writing the date in them whenever I write. That way I’ll know if an older version shows up. Just write the date it is where you came from, okay? Today is Sunday, June 9, 2013. I’ll be eighteen tomorrow. I hate my life.

Miles sat there and tried to make out shapes and colors in the dark room as he searched his brain for a memory of anything.

Nothing looked familiar. His desk, his drum set, the sheets—all gone. Not one thing looked the way it had when he’d fallen asleep, and Ana certainly hadn’t been in his bed.

He tried to replay the previous day’s events, but everything seemed fuzzy, like a fogged bathroom mirror that he couldn’t wipe clean.

Why was everything so fuzzy?

Last night… What happened last night?

Adam had come over and they were watching TV together, and Adam had given him a small stuffed giraffe because Miles was scared about having surgery. He reached for his left arm, expecting to find the cast that had been there for the last two months, but it wasn’t there. His heart began to beat so loudly he glanced over at Ana to make sure she was still asleep.

Unable to determine what had happened to his cast, Miles resumed his tally of the previous evening’s chain of events. At around ten-thirty, his mom said Adam had to leave because they had to get up early to go to the hospital. He had taken his pain meds and gone to sleep with the phantom of Adam’s goodnight kiss on his cheek. He’d been happy.

He’d gotten a text from Ana earlier in the evening, but she was only wishing him luck with the surgery. She hadn’t come over. In fact, as far as Miles knew, Ana had been several hours away in her dorm room.

So how had she gotten into his bedroom? And who had changed his sheets?

He threw off the covers and stood up, noticing he was only wearing a tight-fitting pair of boxer briefs instead of his usual basketball shorts.

He looked around the room for anything familiar, but it was still dark out, and all he could see were shadows and vague shapes. On the dresser opposite the bed, he found a few framed photos. Squinting to see without turning on a light, Miles studied the images carefully.

As his eyes focused, he recognized a couple of the photos. One was from last year’s prom: Adam wearing that ridiculous corsage Miles had bought him, Ana being dipped by her date, David, as all four of them smiled widely in front of a cheesy faux tropical scene. One of the frames held a collage of photos of his and Ana’s friends. He recognized Adam, Lucky, Antonio, Dahlia and Brienne. But the last one, the largest of all the photos, was of him and Ana—her in a flowing white dress and him in a black suit, both wearing broad smiles and flanked by Miles’s parents and a woman Miles had only seen once: Julia Espinosa, Ana’s mother.

A loud clatter echoed through the bedroom as the frame hit the edge of the dresser and fell to the hardwood floor. This wasn’t his room, and he didn’t remember that photo being taken.

“Go back to sleep,” Ana mumbled, her voice muffled by the pillow.

“Ana,” he whispered, risking her full anger, but unable to stop himself, “we’re married.”

“Thanks for the update. Now go back to sleep before I divorce your dumb ass.”

He dropped to the floor on his knees, barely even noticing the sharp pain of bare skin hitting the hard surface.

Married. To Ana?

What the hell had happened?

About Carrie:
Carrie Pack is the author of Designs On You and a part-time college professor who recently left her job in marketing to actively pursue her writing career. Carrie lives in Florida, which she fondly calls America’s Wang, with her husband and four cats.

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4 responses to “Molly Reviews, Guest Post and Giveaway: In the Present Tense by Carrie Pack

  1. Pingback: VBT: Day Ten – Carrie Pack

  2. Pingback: In The Present Tense By Carrie Pack | Pride-Promotions

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