Review for Storm (Elemental #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

TITLE: Spark
SERIES: Elemental #1
AUTHOR: Brigid Kemmerer
PUBLICATION DATE: April 24, 2012
PUBLISHER: Kensington Teen, a division of Kensington Publishing Corp
PAGES: 353 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Won from Step Into Fiction
RATING: 5 stars

Becca Chandler was just being a good citizen when she saves Chris who is getting the shit beat out of him one night. But it just might have been the worst thing she could have done. Now, she knows that Chris and his brothers are Elementals and very powerful ones at that. She also knows that they all have people who want to kill them and now, so does Becca. There is an obvious attraction between Becca and Chris, but Chris runs so hot and cold that she doesn’t know what to make of him. Then Hunter, the new kid at school, shows up and she can’t help but be attracted to him. So which side will she choose?

Yeah, that synopsis sucked, but I can’t seem to make it better, so we’ll just have to stick with it. Initially this book didn’t catch my attention. No offense to the cover models, but I just didn’t think they were that attractive and so I never picked it up. Sorry, but you guys just didn’t do it for me. Then I won an autographed copy and decided to give it a try. I am fucking glad I did. It is great.

In a lot of ways this book reminded me of Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout (which is high praise) but I won’t tell you why. ****SPOILER****Okay, so maybe I will. The main way is the basic plot. Girl likes boy but boy is difficult. New boy moves to town and girls dates him. Old boy is untrusting and angry. New boy is really bad guy…or well part of the bad team and things deteriorate rapidly.****END SPOILER**** I will tell you that all the characters felt fully fleshed out and real. Throughout most of the beginning, I wasn’t sure which guy to root for. It’s pretty obvious that Chris is supposed to be the main guy since we get some from his perspective, but Hunter seemed the nicer guy. Plus, he drives a Jeep and has a German Shepard named Casper who follows him everywhere. ::drools:: Sorry, but I’m a sucker for a cute pooch. I knew that he wasn’t exactly what he seemed, but I still liked him. Chris, on the other hand, was a refreshing change of pace from the typical YA guy. He’s quiet and a bit unsure of himself and I adored him. He likes Becca but is too scared to make a move.

Becca, well, I’m on the fence about her. She’s always saving people, but then she pushes her best friend away for most of this novel in favor of boys, which is a quality I hate in females. I get it, your significant other is important, but isn’t my friendship as well? Anyway, I can sympathize with her issues and I wanted her to end up with Chris, but I’m not totally in love with her (or maybe I was for just the moment she punched Gabriel in the face, because that was awesome).

The writing was that amazing kind that sucks you in until all you can think about is finishing this book and nothing else matters. The plot was intense, if a little predictable. I so knew that her dad was the Guide and that Hunter was somehow mixed up in that and that Becca was some kind of Elemental and just didn’t know it.. General, if you like paranormal YA romance this is for you, if you can overlook the love triangle.

Review for Lyon’s Bride (The Chattan Curse #1) by Cathy Maxwell

Lyon’s Bride by Cathy Maxwell

TITLE: Lyon’s Bride
SERIES: The Chattan Curse #1
AUTHOR: Cathy Maxwell
PUBLICATION DATE: April 24, 2012
PUBLISHER: Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 372 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 3 stars

Neal Chattan, Lord Lyon, is cursed. Centuries ago, his ancestor promised to marry a girl, Rose, then reneged on the promise and the girl committed suicide. As punishment for this crime, the Rose’s mother cursed his family. Whenever a Chattan male falls in love, he dies. Every member of his father’s family has succumbed to this curse and he is determined to never fall prey to it, but he desperately wants kids. Enter Thea Martin, a matchmaker. She is hired to find Chattan a bride that he could never love, but when she sees its Neal she’s to work for, she promptly refuses. Neal had been a childhood friend who walked out on her with no warning. Thea quickly realizes that she has no other choice than to help him because there aren’t many options for respectable work for a widow and her sons must be provided for. She starts the hunt for a respectable bride for Neal and, as you can imagine, the two grow closer. But is Neal willing to risk his life for the possibility of love with Thea?

I really am at a loss for words with this novel. I generally try to keep my historical romances and my paranormal romances separate, so I’m not overly excited about the idea of a mythical curse, but since I’ve read HR with a bit of magic before, I thought why the hell not? I have always loved Cathy Maxwell’s work in the past so this shouldn’t be any different. I was somewhat right. The storyline drew me in pretty quickly, though not the witchy parts. What got me was the childhood friends who were separated and are now reunited. I usually hate drama, but I love the confrontation that comes from childhood separations that leave one or both parties confused. Thea’s back-story especially captivated me because I also love heroines who rebel against their families and she definitely did that when she married far below herself. Even Neal was a sweet and interesting character who’s instantly adoration for Thea’s sons had me falling head over heels.

But I just couldn’t love this novel. Neal jumps too quickly over the fence on the whole “I can’t fall in love or I’ll die” argument. One minute he’s terrified of it and the next he’s throwing caution to the wind and marrying Thea. The romance bits felt a bit rushed. Then there is the cliffhanger.

I have never in my entire goddamn life read a historical romance with a cliffhanger and I can’t say that this came as a pleasant surprise. I spent my entire high school career hiding romance novels in my text books so I could read during class and never once did I stumble upon a fucking cliffhanger, NEVER. Neal and Thea’s story has a sort of ending, but the curse is still looming over Neal’s head so nothing was really solved. This novel definitely would have gotten 4 stars if not for that ending, but I can’t fucking overlook that or forget my complete disappointment. Do I recommend it to historical romance fans? Absolutely, just prepare yourself for the fact that it’s not going to be tied into a nice little bow for you at the end and you’ll need the next two books on hand so you can find out exactly what happens next.

Review for Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3) by E.L. James

Fifty Shades Freed by E L James

TITLE: Fifty Shades Freed
SERIES: Fifty Shades #3
PUBLICATION DATE: January 19, 2012
PUBLISHER: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
PAGES: 551 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 3 stars

This book was definitely a rollercoaster ride. There were ups and downs and loop de loops and I think I enjoyed it for the most part. I am going to start off with the things that I found wanting in hopes that it will get it out of my system and then move on to the good bits.

Now, I realize this is an erotica novel. I went into this series knowing that and in the first 2 books, it didn’t bother me at all, but it did in this one. These 2 literally go at it three or four times back to back. They have sex and then 2 seconds later they are ready to go again (and again and again). Then the next night is the same thing. At this point, I just felt like, “hello? Ana? Maybe you should go to bed and get some sleep so that you’ll actually be on time for work in the morning? No? Well, it was just a though!”. Ana’s character flaws really started to show up in this novel. I don’t know if anyone else noticed it because the whole series is focused on how fucked up Christian is, but Ana is no cake walk. She is seriously a completely irresponsible character. I won’t give away spoilers, but some things happened (that I totally saw coming) and I just wanted to scream at her “How could you be so stupid? No, you can’t blame this on your assistant because it was your responsibility!” I really started to feel like she was completely unworthy of Christian.

Now, for the things I enjoyed. For this whole series, I loved watching Christian grow and change and mature. Yes, he may be fifty shades of fucked up, but he is trying to change, and in the end, that has to count for something. His & Ana’s storyline plays out a little predictably, but it still good and engaging (for the most part). I also loved all the minor characters, Kate and Elliot and Mia and Taylor and all the characters you don’t get to see much of because Ana is too wrapped up in Christian to really notice them. It’s not bad, necessarily, it’s just yet another thing that irritated me. I hate it when girls suddenly get a boyfriend and it’s like nothing else matters. You know, those friends tha stuck by you when everything was falling apart and will still be there should this fall apart too? Yeah, they aren’t so important apparently.

Dammit, I was trying to focus on the good. Apparently I can’t. Look, despite all my issues with this novel, it really was good and I do recommend it for anyone who won’t have a problem with graphic sex.

Review for Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1) by E.L. James

Fifty Shades Of Grey by E L James

TITLE: Fifty Shades Of Grey
SERIES: Fifty Shades #1
PUBLISHER: Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc
PAGES: 515 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

I first decided to read this when I read somewhere that Ian Somerhalder had expressed interest in this role should a film be made. Now don’t quote me on that because I most likely read it on some gossip site, but regardless, I wanted to read what had sparked so much internet chatter and Ian’s (possible) interest. After reading it, all I can is YES, PLEASE. Even though Ian doesn’t quite match up with the verbal description in the novel, I had this pretty mug:

In my head as Christian Grey. I think another reason I picture Ian is because alternative is picturing Robert Pattinson and no offense to the rabid Rob fans, but he just doesn’t do it for me. I also went into this knowing that it started out as a Twilight fanfic and because of that, for the first 50 or so pages, I kept picking out the uber-Twilight things and tried to line the characters up. I am also insanely addicted to a well known fanfic called Wide Awake and I kept comparing it to that as well. Was this the wrong thing to do? Definitely. Did I do it anyway? Of course. How did it measure up? Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. Once I got past the first 50 or so pages, the comparing part of my brain shut off and the story took over and I’m left with no real point of comparison between these different works. For those looking for a comparison, this is nothing like Twilight so it’s not worth even talking about. To Wide Awake, it’s very different. Christian definitely reminds me of dark Edward, but he has manifested his issues in a completely different manner so the comparison ends there. That is the only big similarity.

Anastasia Steele is a seemingly normal college student getting ready to graduate and Christian Grey is a millionaire with deep-seated issues. When Ana is forced to conduct an interview with Christian for a sick friend, her world changes and not necessarily for the better. Christian shows obvious interest in getting to know her better even though he repeatedly warns her away claiming that he “isn’t the man for her”. Ana, far from understanding his cryptic warnings, pursues the relationship further only to be completely shocked to discover that the type of relationship Christian desires to have with her is something not even her wickedest fantasies could conjure up. Her world is thrown upside down when he hands her a contact outlining exactly what he wants. In the simplest terms, he wants to be her master….in all things. Ana is beyond shocked and scared by this but she wants a relationship so she swears to try. Meanwhile, Christian is having to redefine what he really wants because he knows he wants Ana and that she doesn’t fit into the role he wants her in. He values control over all things and that precious control seems to evaporate whenever she is around. Will she play the submissive to his dominate? Will he change his mind and settle for a normal relationship? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out since these days I’ve striving for spoiler free reviews.

I think I was blown away by this book. The characters are so well thought out and the novel has so many ups and downs that you really don’t know what is coming next. I loved that Ana really thinks hard about this relationship and negotiates the terms, staying firm on the things she absolutely will not tolerate and caving on the things she thinks he has to have. I felt like this was really a struggle for her, as it should be. It wasn’t just “oh, he wants to torture me in his red room of pain….well, I don’t want to but I really wanna fuck him so okay”. I also like that even though this is all through Ana’s perspective, you can see Christian is struggling to please her. It’s obvious to everyone but Ana that he is smitten with her and will almost anything to keep her. Kate (Ana’s best friend) was also a great character. She is fiercely protective of Ana but understands that she should back off when Ana wants.

And the smut. Jesus fucking christ, the smut. I read romance novels on a regular basis and this damn book had me fucking blushing. Not an easy feat. I guess that’s what I get for reading a book labeled “erotic fiction”. I felt like I was watching a BDSM porno in my head….which brings questions to mind of how they really intend to make this a film. The director is going to have to a genius with camera angles is all I’ll say.

And the ending. I really want to be angry with the ending, but I find that I can’t. Maybe because it doesn’t feel like and ending to me ****SPOILER****or maybe it’s because I know their separation won’t last long.****END SPOILER**** But either way, I was irritated but not upset with it. It truly didn’t feel like an end. It felt more like the author sat down and wrote the entire trilogy and then since the publisher’s are keen on 1500 page books decided to break in down to 3 novels and this was a logical stopping point. Did anyone else feel that way or was it just me?

Anyway, it was a really addictive and enjoyable read and I’ll be going out this afternoon to pick up the sequel. I recommend it to those brave enough to try it, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Review for Thumped (Bumped #2) by Megan McCafferty

Thumped by Megan McCafferty

TITLE: Thumped
SERIES: Bumped #2
AUTHOR: Megan McCafferty
PUBLICATION DATE: April 24, 2012
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HaperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 290 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
RATING: 5 stars

Despite being in a horrible mood when I picked this book up last night to finish it, this book left me smiling. It’s one of those rare books that even though it’s about a world completely different than your own, it leaves you with a bit of hope that one day it’ll all get better. I was a little shocked when I started this series. I’m a huge fan of Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series and when I started this, I was expecting something along the same lines, sarcastic, witty, high school drama with heart. And even though Melody does remind me a bit of Jessica Darling, that is the only real similarity between the two series’.

Thumped picks up eight months after where Bumped left off. Harmony is determined to stay in Goodside and raise the twins with Ram in the same manner she was raised. Melody is on the outside, faking the most famous pregg in history. Jondoe got her a billion dollar belly that realistically simulates a pregnancy. It is realistic enough that when someone touches her fake belly, it starts to move and kick. The only people who know she’s mocked up is Zen, Jondoe, Harmony, and Ram. Melody and Zen are planning a revolution of sorts to be kicked off as soon as Harmony delivers. They are going to fight the government’s rules that abolished condoms and pushes teens to bump in order to keep the planet populated. They both realize that it has been taken too far when 12 year olds are pregnant and nearly die in childbirth but no one really cares. This world is so amazing and different. I can easily see the government taking over and doing this exact thing if there was a virus that eliminates the ability to reproduce after teenage years.

I was completely enthralled by this series. It didn’t end quite the way I expected it to, but it was perfect all the same. I am really having a difficult time expressing my feelings about this novel and reviewing it, so I’ll just say this, if you like dystopian novels and wanna read something completely unique, give this series a try.

Review for Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1) by Bethany Griffin

Masque Of The Red Death by Bethany Griffin

TITLE: Masque Of The Red Death
SERIES: Masque Of The Red Death #1
AUTHOR: Bethany Griffin
PUBLICATION DATE: April 24, 2012
PUBLISHER: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 319 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I was a bit cautious because any time there is a title with the word “death” in it I become aware that death just might occur. It does, but thankfully not to any of our main characters. It starts off following our near suicidal, drug addicted heroine (he he) into a club with her best friend where she promptly takes a drug called oblivion and passes out. I know many people probably can’t stand Araby because they’ll see her put in that same role of whiny self pitying girl and while I see where they are coming from in putting her in that place, I think they are missing what else she has to offer. I found her utterly fascinating. The bond between twins is profound (or so I’ve heard) and to lose a twin is like losing half of yourself and I can completely see why she denies herself things he wouldn’t experience and blame herself for what happened. The event of her brother’s death devastated the family and alienated her from her parents in a way that seemed completely believable to me. I know she was weak in the beginning, but I enjoyed seeing her grow and fight with her addiction to stay clean in order to keep a clear head while trying to help the needy people. I loved her compassion.

Now for the guys…..I’ll go ahead and state now that I am Team Will.

Yes, I know he does something unforgivable, but he has a reason that even our heroine can’t argue with. Plus he is a change from the typical pushy, high-handed male characters that pervade YA right now ::coughs:: Edward Cullen ::clears throat:: He’s sweet and caring and reminds me a bit of Alec from orbidden. Elliot on the other hand was cocky, high-handed, insincere, and completely loveable. Though I prefer Will, I can definitely see Elliott’s appeal. I really liked him as a character, I just think Araby belongs with Will. That’s how this series is going to end dammit!

See, Castiel agrees so it must be so.

The world is also amazing. I’ve said before that I’ve become obsessed with dystopian novels and that still holds true. I loved reading about this insane world where a mystery plague had killed all the horses and a great many people. A world where the act of kissing was the most intimate thing possible because that required removing your mask. A steampunk dystopian love story with rebellion and a bit of humor, what more do I need? Oh and the dress. Holy fuck the dresses.

I worship Bethany Griffin for describing these amazing garments in detail. Much like our world, it is the norm to show as much skin as possible, only this fashion craze is inspired by the desire to show the world that your skin is free of the puss sores and bruises that are signs of the deadly plague. The dresses are pretty much like this, take and 18th century dress, remove the petticoats and take scissors to the bottom and cut it up (in jagged, uneven lines) to above the knee. Or at least, that was my interpretation of them. Either way, I bow at your feet.

The writing was well done and I couldn’t put it down. I literally started this book at 8 one night just to get started and stayed up until well past midnight until I was literally falling asleep on it trying to finish it and rushed home from work the next day to get back to it. I love it so much.

Complaints…um, well it’s the dreaded love triangle, but it wasn’t as bad as some. It also has a horrid cliffhanger, but I guess I’m becoming immune to the anger that normally follows them. Beyond those 2 hang-ups, it was amazing and you should go read it now. Seriously walk away from your laptop, get in your car, drive to your local bookstore, and buy it now….or your local library if that have it.