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Series Review: Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Young Adult Series, Sad to See Go Series 2014
Series: Elemental Series
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
# of Books: 5 (Storm, Spark, Spirit, Secret, Sacrifice)

There are novellas: #0.5 Elemental, #1.5 Fearless, #2.5 Breathless

Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I found these series online at my local library and was intrigued enough to pick up the first book. I loved the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender (and Legend of Korra is AMAZING) so I’m always excited to read series that focus on the elements.

This is one of those series were reading the novellas is key to understanding what is going on in the book–but you don’t have to necessarily read them before you read the next full length book. For example, while the very first novella, Elemental (#0.5), does setup the story and provide some background context, but I think I would have gotten more out of it and saved myself from some minor spoilers if I had read it after Storm. Fearless (#1.5) should definitely be read after Storm (#1) BUT I would actually read Breathless (#2.5) after Spirit (#3) (though you can totally read it before, it does take place right after Spark (#2) chronologically time-wise) just because Breathless (#2.5) is part of Nick’s story and his book is Secret (#4).

So in short, my recommended reading order for the series is: Storm, Elemental, Fearless, Spark, Spirit, Breathless, Secret, Sacrifice.

Overall, this series truly rocks my socks! It’s great and so refreshing. Ms Kemmerer is not afraid to go places in her novels. The twist we get in Breathless truly left me gasping for air and what she does in Spirit left me in disbelief. She also tackles every issue from abuse to sexual assault to bullying to first loves to the tough choices in life. For a book that is based on supernatural elements, it is so realistic at times and I think a lot of readers will appreciate that.

The characters are great as well. I love all the Merrick brothers–especially Gabriel and Nick. While I’m not the biggest Hunter fan, he really grew on me in Spirit (#3). All the girl characters have been fantastic as well but I’m glad that the focus is mostly on male characters for once.

So far, Spark (#2) is my favourite book but I’ve enjoyed all of them and I’m expecting my new favourite to be Secret (#4) once I get a chance to read it.

UPDATED (June 19/14): And I was right, Secret has definitely become one of my favourites in the series. It’s hard to say what one was my favourite between Spark and Secret because they deal with completely different things but Secret was fantastic. It was really refreshing to read Secret because I don’t think a lot of books discuss what happens in this one with such grace and realism. Most of the book deals with the personal issues of the characters but we get a great plot spin at the end that has me counting down the days to Sacrifice. This series has definitely become a favourite of mine!

UPDATED (November 10/14): Sacrifice wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be. My need to read Michael’s story has grown throughout all the books and novellas so I was really excited to read his story and see what was next for the Merrick brothers after that major cliffhanger in Secret. I thought there would be some more physical action than there was but, I found the plot kept moving at a really good pace that I finished it before I knew it. However, nothing really wowed me like in the previous books. I also wish there was an epilogue–I really felt like so many things about everyone’s personal lives were left unanswered and after growing to love these characters so much, I was really dissapointed in that. But, all in all I like how things wrapped up and I really didn’t know how everything was going to wrap up so bonus points for always keeping me guessing.

Conclusion:

A unique and refreshing read for young adult readers (even for 20-somethings!). Girls AND boys will appreciate this series for its realistic take on high school life while adding elements of the supernatural. One of my favourite young adult series in a long time!

FYI: I tried to hard not to use the word “elements” in this review in case people thought I was trying to be PUNny but it’s so hard to do!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux Series #1)

Synopsis for Storm (from Goodreads):
Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn’t want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming . . .

Series Review: Madison Avery by Kim Harrison

Series: Madison Avery Trilogy
Author: Kim Harrison
# of Books: 3 (Once Dead, Twice Shy; Early to Death, Early to Rise; Something Deadly This Way Comes)

There is a prequel novella in the Prom Nights from Hell anthology

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool

Thoughts:

I can’t remember how I came across these books. I have a feeling it was recommended to me by Chapters but I could be completely wrong. I do remember loving the covers so I probably saw the picture of the cover somewhere and decided to grab it 😛

The premise was super interesting to me and at the time I was reading more action/paranormal young adult reads so it seemed like a good fit. Unfortunately, this series just didn’t do it for me.

The first book, Once Dead, Twice Shy, was alright. Madison was likeable and so were the other characters but nothing wowed me about them. The plot was also blah as well–I just kept waiting for something big to happen and nothing ever did.

I also got confused about the whole reaper situation. I’m not sure if it was because I skimmed over it or if I was getting it confused with other novels but either way, I just felt like I never had a full grasp of what was going on.

To be honest, I’m not sure why I read the next two books in the series based on my lackluster experience with the first one. I think it was because I had the rest of the series out from the library and they weren’t overly long books to read so I decided to finish them. I also think that I was holding out for some big plot twist that I kept expecting to happen–but it never came. I read the rest of the series and found that I felt the same about the rest of the books: they were ok but nothing really blew my socks off.

Conclusion:

If you like books that don’t have a great deal of action and have a paranormal twist then this is a series to look into. Otherwise, it’s dry for those who like a lot of action and plot twists

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Shadowland by Meg Cabot (The Mediator Series #1), Everneath by Brodi Ashton (Everneath Trilogy #1) and Swoon by Nina Malkin (Swoon #1)

Synopsis for Once Dead, Twice Shy (from Goodreads):
My name is Madison Avery, and I’m here to tell you that there’s more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I’m there. Seeing it. Touching it. Living it.

Madison’s prom was killer—literally. For some reason she’s been targeted by a dark reaper—yeah, that kind of reaper—intent on getting rid of her, body and soul. But before the reaper could finish the job, Madison was able to snag his strange, glowing amulet and get away.

Now she’s stuck on Earth—dead but not gone. Somehow the amulet gives her the illusion of a body, allowing her to toe the line between life and death. She still doesn’t know why the dark reaper is after her, but she’s not about to just sit around and let fate take its course.

With a little ingenuity, some light-bending, and the help of a light reaper (one of the good guys! Maybe . . . ), her cute crush, and oh yeah, her guardian angel, Madison’s ready to take control of her own destiny once and for all, before it takes control of her.

Well, if she believed in that stuff

Series Review: Games by Nyrae Dawn

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Charade by Nyrae Dawn | Games Series

 

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Games
Author: Nyrae Dawn
# of Books: 3 (Charade, Façade, Masquerade)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Really Warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: October 2012 – January 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

I was really excited to read this book. Despite my hate of predictable books, I really enjoy romance books where people accidentally fall in love while “playing a game.” Weird, I know, but I think in the New Adult genre when this happens you really see the connection between the two people (in most cases!). It’s not just the sex or physical attraction between them because they actually talk to and get to know each other and from there, love develops. It makes the relationship that touch more realistic to me and let’s me enjoy the story that much more.

This book started off on shaky ground initially for me because it seemed to me that it was going to be a little “high school-y”. The drama between Cheyenne and her ex-boyfriend could have been really juvenile–and to a degree it was–but once you get past that (just a few chapters in) it starts to get deeper into the characters and their past and becomes much more mature. (Also, no love triangle!)

The story with Colt’s mom broke my heart. I did cry because it was very well done and made you feel what Colt was feeling. I really liked Colt because he was relatable and understandable. You could clearly see why he was struggling. Same with Cheyenne’s story. She started off a little weak in her convictions but she really grows into a strong, independent woman. Everything was well connected and I really enjoyed that.

I really don’t have anything negative to say about this book only that I didn’t like how quickly they switched from a fake relationship of holding hands to “friends-with-benefits”. It just seemed a little out of character for Cheyenne given her background story but it’s not an absolute deal breaker for me–and given the circumstances they find themselves in, I let it slide.

To end on a positive note: one thing I really liked about this book is that Colt and Cheyenne’s story ends in Charade. The next book is about Colt’s friend Adrian who appears throughout the book enough that I am excited to see what his story is.

updates

–May 24, 2014– Book #2: Façade

This was such a refreshing read for me!

I really liked the story and I loved the characters! I simply devoured it and I really didn’t know how everything was going to go down. I loved the moments we get with characters of the past and I really fell in love with the new set as well.

I’m super excited for Masquerade and can’t wait to finally read it!

–November 19, 2016– Book #3: Masquerade

Gah! Nyrae Dawn has made me believe in soulmates with these two!

This is what I want to see in a romance: two people who compliment each other so well that is is simply a blast to watch them fall for each other!

Yes, they had great physical chemistry; the sexual tension was off the charts from the start. But at the same time, it was a slow burn type of romance. One that took its time and made it 100% believable.

And the character development! Perfection! Watching these two come to terms with their pasts was a beautiful thing to see. You don’t get any unnecessary drama in this plot at all. It sticks to the story of two people finding love when they never thought they could.

This book was just awesome! Exactly what I wanted and what I needed to read.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Charade 4/5 | Facade 4/5 | Masquerade 5/5

overall

This is one of those character centered series that you will fall in love with. It’s amazing how quickly you get attached to them. I definitely shed some tears in each of these novels! It’s a great series for anyone who doesn’t want all the unnecessary, soap-opera-esque drama New Adult stories often have.

Read if You Like: character development, new adult romances
Avoid if You: want lots of drama

similarreads

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Charade (from Goodreads):
Nineteen-year-old Cheyenne tries to portray the perfect life to mask the memories of her past. Walking in on her boyfriend with another woman her freshman year in college threatens that picture of perfection.

Twenty-one-year-old Colt never wanted college and never expected to amount to anything, but when his mom’s dying wish is for him to get his degree, he has no choice but to pretend it’s what he wants too.

Cheyenne needs a fake boyfriend to get back at her ex and Colt needs cash to take care of his mom, so they strike a deal that helps them both. But what if Cheyenne’s past isn’t what she thought? Soon they’re trading one charade for another—losing themselves in each other to forget about their pain. The more they play their game, the more it becomes the only thing they have that feels real.

Both Cheyenne and Colt know life is never easy, but neither of them expect the tragedy that threatens to end their charade and rip them apart forever.

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