Posted in Guest Reviews, YA

GUEST REVIEW: Storm (The Elemental Series #1) – Brigid Kemmerer

10401084Synopsis

Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys all the ones she doesn’t want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. 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.

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Review by Natasha Bowyer

Storm is the first full length novel in the Brigid Kemmerer’s Elemental series, and boy is it so much more than it says on the front cover. A fact which I truly love.

When The Book Lover’s requested guest book reviews, it was the first book I thought of; why? Because it is just so ridiculously awesome I struggle to put it into words. It was the last book that I had to read three times in a row (without taking a break) and it was the last book I read which I thought about for a long time after.

I picked up the novel thinking it was going to be a quick paranormal romance that I could just whizz through in a couple of sittings, oh how wrong could I be. Firstly it is not paranormal; it is something far more fundamental then that and has a subject matter which leaves you with a small voice in the back of your mind weighing up the odds of whether it could actually happen. I am talking basics – Earth, Wind, Fire and Water i.e. the Elements.  Secondly the quality of writing far outweighs it from other books in the similar YA/NA category. It is fast, it is deep, it is gritty, it touches on subjects that push the boundaries on what is normally considered safe for the genre and target audience, the dialogue is sharp and witty, it uses adult language (good grief teenagers who swear who would have thought of such a thing?!) And it has sarcasm by the bucket load – bet you’d never guess I am huge fan of sarcasm.

More importantly than all the above it is a romance that is so painfully realistic in its portrayal that by the end of the novel you can’t help but sit there and grin like a lunatic as you find out just how it is going to end.

I am not going to deny that the serious smattering of outrageously hot guys did little deter me from the major book crush that developed during my obsessive reading of the novel. The Merrick brothers have well and truly won me over and I live in vain hope that one day I may get stuck in a storm with at least one of them, my preference would be for Chris our leading man in this series instalment.

Told from two points of view this is the tale of Chris and Becca and oh my is it a good one.

Becca Chandler has problems, and they are evident from the first page, the reader does not know that shape or form that they take but finding our main protagonist at a self defense class can only be an opening to a major plot line – which as it turns out ends on the heart rate inducing side of the drama scale.

Becca’s problems only get worse when she interrupts Chris Merrick being beaten up by a couple of menacing youths. Making a split second decision she steps in to help and manages to save Chris from the pummelling and gets him home to his house where we are introduced to the rest of the parentless Merrick brothers, First there is hot but grouchy Michael, then there is hot but short tempered Gabriel, and then hot and kind Nick – do you see where I am going with this?! They all think Becca knows something, which she doesn’t and well neither do we. These boys are paranoid, mistrustful and outright rude and bad mannered which adds the suspense and mystery that Kemmerer starts to build from the very first pages.  The Merrick’s have a secret one that has torn through their family and they don’t want anyone knowing about it.

From the moment we glimpse inside Chris’ head it is acutely clear that Chris has a thing for Becca – or Becky as he likes to call her just to wind her up – and it is in this fact alone that Brigid Kemmerer completely had me over a drooling barrel of chrushness. She completely gets writing from a guy’s perspective, and from being inside Chris’ mind you get to see all the thoughts and feelings which he has but does not show on the surface. What he says and what he does are two completely different things, as the reader in the know you can’t help but enjoy the privileged position that you are in.  At the point in the novel where Chris thinks he has lost in the battle for Becca’s attentions you can’t help but feel the pain of the guy, it  is all there in his thoughts but you watch him acting out with the cool indifference of a teenager and it makes it all the more poignant.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, because I truly can’t ask you enough to read it for yourself, you won’t regret, it but let me just give you a little low down without any spoilers.

There is an amazing support cast, not only the (hot) brothers, but Becca’s best friend Quinn plays a role, there is the arrival of the mysterious and aloof boy with the tattoo’s – Hunter who takes an instant liking to Becca much to Chris’ concern, there is Becca’s Dad who pitches up at a strange time and then there are the baddies who are quite frankly menacing.

The story line itself is complex and clever. Becca has a rep and you feel you kind of know why but it is never spelt out for you. Everyone talks about her but she just ignores it and carries on with everything. When you find out exactly what happened to start the rumour mill churning it makes you have to re-read it just to make sure you got it right the first time, especially when it becomes clear that it is going to happen again.

It is a story about family bonds and that even the most dysfunctional family have emotions that tie them together one way or another.

It is a story about regret and remorse and how you live with it.

It is a story about facing your demons and defeating them.

And most importantly it is about accepting someone into your life and setting out to save them no matter what the cost.

Read it. You won’t be sorry you did.

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Natasha has a book out in the Fall under the name ‘Anna Bloom’ which is titled ‘The Uni File – Year One: The Art of Letting Go.’
The synopsis of the book goes as follows:

Lilah McCannon is determined to prevent history from repeating itself.  Already well on her way to reliving her mother’s life as a bored upper class housewife—privileged, yet still somehow pathetic—Lilah shocks her parents and her fiancé with an abrupt change in course:  enrolment at Roehampton University.  Although it’s not quite the institution she would have hoped for, it is the only one to accept a desperate application from a young woman in the throes of a mid-twenties breakdown.

Lilah’s diary the “Uni File” follows Lilah’s pursuits throughout the academic year and chronicles her search for independence and identity, her connection with young and charismatic roommates, and her attempts to abide by a set of self-imposed rules, each of which is broken in one hilarious fashion after the next.

When Lilah catches the eye of the lead singer of a popular local band, he forces her hand on her “No Boys” rule.  Romance and true soul searching ensue, as do a string of comically embarrassing episodes and poignant encounters with family, friends and fellow students as Lilah studies “The Art of Letting Go.”

You can find Natasha at:-
http://annabloomwrites.com/
Twitter – @Annabloombooks

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