Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

I’m constantly looking for recommendations from other readers/bloggers that enjoy the same things as me, and I heard about the Elementals series by Brigid Kemmerer from Stephanie at Stephanie’s Book Reviews. Where has this series been all my life??

10401084Earth, 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 . . .

I absolutely adored this series. The characters were so realistic even though they had supernatural tendencies and I loved the dynamics between the four Merrick brothers. They each had their own issues, for a lack of a better term. They all struggled differently with the loss of their parents and it tugged violently at my heart strings.

Becca was such a fun heroine. She was brave, compassionate and caring. I loved how she always wanted to help others, but had the guts to stand up for herself. She was also hilariously snarky and I enjoyed her witty comebacks.

As someone who enjoys multiple love interests, Becca’s back and forth between Chris and Hunter was realistic, sweet and respectful. It wasn’t a girl going back and forth trying to decide, the story flowed nicely where her feelings ruled where her heart landed. I thought it was beautifully done. The more romantic scenes were electrifying but clearly within the bounds of the Young Adult genre. I was impressed that I didn’t crave more during those scenes to be like a New Adult, so I think the writing and character development had me sufficiently wrapped up in the character’s emotions.

The author gave glimpses into the lives of all the brothers and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, which centers around each brother. They all deserve love, peace and happiness. *sigh* I’m going to devour this series, and you should too.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan was a unique treat amongst the pile of romance novels out there. This story was special. It was moving. It was simply fantastic.

20639274When Bree Prescott arrives in the sleepy, lakeside town of Pelion, Maine, she hopes against hope that this is the place where she will finally find the peace she so desperately seeks. On her first day there, her life collides with Archer Hale, an isolated man who holds a secret agony of his own. A man no one else sees.

Archer’s Voice is the story of a woman chained to the memory of one horrifying night and the man whose love is the key to her freedom. It is the story of a silent man who lives with an excruciating wound and the woman who helps him find his voice. It is the story of suffering, fate, and the transformative power of love.

I’m usually not one to go for stories based on mythology, but this book is a must read. The writing was great, sucking you into the story immediately. The mystery behind Bree and Archer’s pasts had me flipping pages deep into the night. I had to see what would happen next.

Mia Sheridan created something beautiful with her character Archer. In the beginning, he was like a boy stuck in a man’s body and the way Bree opens him up was so much fun to read. I felt every emotion: curiosity, hesitance, determination, warmth, love, joy. The way Archer and Bree filled the holes in each other’s lives was beautifully done. The blossoming romance between them was a slow burn but once the spark was lit, it was like fire. The pages burned in my hand and I couldn’t put it down.

I can’t describe how great this book is. It was an amazing experience, and it was an experience. The reader goes on the journey with Bree while she faces her past, connects with Archer and ultimately finds herself. I highly recommend this book. It’s one of my top reads for this year!

STARS: 5 out of 5

Cursed Beauty by Dorian Tsukioka

“Is anything ever worth doing truly safe?”

The fairy godmother’s enticing words perfectly sum up the tone of Cursed Beauty by Dorian Tsukioka. This story is a fairy tale retelling with very unique twists on the original Cinderella story, creating a darker tale filled with romance and treachery.

23556821A pair of glass slippers that can change her life? When something is too good to be true, it usually is…

Adelaide has lived her entire life cursed with a birthmark that makes people shy away. When an invitation to the Elder Prince’s ball falls in her lap, she knows attending would only cause people to shun her more.

A fairy godmother feels her pain and offers her a pair of glass slippers that not only transform her ragged dress to an elegant gown, but also removes the mark that covers her face. However, Adelaide soon learns that the beautiful slippers can steal away more than just her birthmark, leaving her cursed in a far worse way.

This retelling of the classic Cinderella story will resound with readers of young adult fiction who love paranormal fantasy, fairy tales, and a splash of romance.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a huge fan of fairy retellings but I really enjoyed this one. I think the fairy godmother as the villain was a unique take on the classic Cinderella story. The main character, Adelaide, was the perfect protagonist with a strong moral compass and bottomless compassion. I loved how complex the two princes were, each was uniquely lovable. I also thought the truth revealed about the stepmother was a great connection to the original story but with a distinctive twist.

This story was a short read but very well-written. I got lost in it and was surprised at how well I felt I knew the characters even though it wasn’t very long. The plot was well-developed and I wasn’t expecting the twists at the end of the story. The pacing was great even though it was a quick read and really there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it. It could only be more enjoyable if the story was beefed up a bit more, making it a full-length novel.

Tsukioka shows great promise as a writer for Young Adult fantasy. She brings a fresh perspective with her fairy tale retelling,  one I wasn’t expecting. I would definitely be interested in reading more from her.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Thank you Dorian Tsukioka for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

All Things Pretty by M. Leighton

I’ve enjoyed M. Leighton’s work in the past, and All Things Pretty sounded super intriguing.

20742912Pretending to be something they’re not, afraid to trust anyone completely, destined to tear each other apart– this is the story of unlikely love and unbearable consequences.

Sig Locke is a cop. He was raised by a cop and all his brothers are cops. He bleeds blue, believes in right and wrong, and sees in black and white, never in shades of gray. But that was before he met Tommi.

Tommi, with her long legs and bright green eyes, she captured Sig’s interest from the moment he saw her. Even after he discovered who she was–the girlfriend of a drug dealer, the beauty behind a criminal–he still found her utterly irresistible. What Sig doesn’t know, however, is that she has a secret even a cop can’t uncover.

Tommi Lawrence hasn’t had an easy life, and it only got more complicated the day she met Sig. She learned long ago that she can’t trust anyone. Her gut tells her that Sig is no exception, her heart tells her that he is. But that was before she found out his real identity.

Can love be forged in a fire of lies? Or will the truth destroy them both?

NOTE: This book was published in two parts, and this is significant because you’ll want to download part two to finish the novel. This is also the first book I’ve read of the Pretty series, but this is book number three. I think it can be read as a standalone.

The overall theme of this novel was fun. Sig is an undercover cop falling for his target’s girlfriend. The element of danger during their ever increasing alone time was exciting and their forbidden romance raised the level of steam when they finally got to be with each other.

Sig was such a good guy. I really liked him. Tommi was more complicated with a dark past and a turbulent present, but she was easy to love and sympathize with. It was clear these two were perfect for each other and there were some really intriguing scenes, such as the one where Tommi is dancing in a club to the song Don’t Tell ‘Em by Jeremiah. Every time I hear that song I can’t help but think of Sig! I was clamoring for part two by the time I finished the first half.

This story was resolved nicely with a bit of heart-pumping action and danger but the truth behind Tommi’s secrets was a bit unbelievable. Overall, I enjoyed it. If you like forbidden romances, undercover stories and the New Adult genre, give this one a try.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Best (and Worst) Books I Read in 2014

I thought I’d share the best and worst books I read in 2014 according to me. Going through all my posts, I felt like I surely missed a few gems from 2014, but hopefully I captured the good ones!

Best Books (In no particular order because I couldn’t possibly choose!!)

1. Heir of Fire (review to come) and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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I love this author! These books are so epic. I can’t wait for more.

2. White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout

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I LOVED this book! The love triangle was really well done and I thought it was really awesome that Jennifer let her readers vote on who would be the “winner.”

3. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski

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This book blew my mind. So. Good. I can’t wait for The Winner’s Crime.

4. The Forever Song by Julie Kawaga

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What a wonderful end to this series. I will remember these characters forever.

5. Prince of Wolves series by Quinn Loftis

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I fell head over heels in love with this wolf series. I want to go back through and read them all over again. Plus, I got to meet Quinn at the UtopYA conference and she was really sweet!

6. Upside Down by Lia Riley

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This book surprised me and was so good I was dazed for days. I really need to get around to reading the rest of the series.

7. Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

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This book really got me into New Adult. It’s another book I absolutely loved and need to finish the series.

8. Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott

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I’m always in the mood for a good dystopian and this one called to my sense of adventure.

9. The Timber Wolves trilogy by Tammy Blackwell

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I’m a sucker for werewolf stories and this was amazing!!

10. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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This book was amazingly beautiful. Review to come!

 

And now the Worst Books I read in 2014!

1. Dire by Alyssa Rose Ivy

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I was so disappointed that this novel didn’t deliver on it’s intriguing premise.

2.Fire of Stars and Dragons by Melissa A. Petreshock

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This book broke my heart because it was so unfortunate. I was SO excited to read it and it was a huge combobulated mess.

3. Crewel by Gennifer Albin

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It had great originality and world-building but the characters weren’t worth my time.

4. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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I don’t get it! People love this book and I’d rather have a mass book-burning. I didn’t enjoy it. It was confusing and really strange.

 

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my choices?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Year Blogoversary and Resolutions!!

Birthday-cupcakeToday is my three year blogoversary! Note To Selph Book Reviews started three years ago when I made a new year’s resolution to finally start a blog. I can’t believe it’s already been three years! I’ve been MIA recently because of the holidays but I’ve been reading up a storm so be looking for many reviews in the near future.

Last year, I made resolutions for my blog, let’s see how I did.

1. Participate in a book challenge.

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So…I didn’t really accomplish this one. Technically, I could say I completed a To-Be-Read Shelf challenge but I didn’t really try so I consider this resolution a complete and utter failure. However, I don’t think I like the structure and pressure of a challenge. I’m a mood reader so it’s difficult to force myself to read something I’m not in the mood for. Plus, I tend to give books I’m “just not in the mood” for a worse rating, so I don’t try to push it.

2. Attend a book event.

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I attended the UtopYA event in Nashville, which was the BEST EXPERINCE. You can read about it HERE. I met so many new authors and bloggers. I got to meet Sylvia Day! Plus, it inspired me to try writing my own novel which I attempted during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I got 37,000 words written on an epic undertaking that can only be described as the Hunger Games meets the Bachelor with Shifters. (I know, crazy right?) Not sure what I’ll do with it when I’m done but it was sure fun to write!

3. Get more into the blog community.

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Okay, I tried. I didn’t comment nearly as much as I wanted to and I didn’t get to explore as many other blogs, BUT I did start following a few really cool blogs, such as Stephanie’s Book Reviews and Maf’s Crazy Book Life. I trust these two ladies opinions whole-heartedly since we share similar tastes. If they say to read it, I usually do. I also enjoy Tsk, Tsk, What to Read because she always has tons of new book releases with excerpts and I end of buying the book. As always, I have to read my daily dose of book reviews/posts every morning, without them I can’t function.

4. Review More.

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I kind of stayed the same this year. I averaged the same amount of reviews, but I was really bad about binge-reading and forgetting to write reviews and forgetting what I liked/didn’t like about the books, so I’ll try harder in 2015.

5. Host a Giveaway.

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Last year, I hosted a giveaway when I presented last year’s resolutions. CRUSHED IT!

 

This Year’s NEW Resolutions:

1. Keep my Goodreads Updated. I really wanted to put together an end-of-year survey but I couldn’t figure out how many books I actually read and I couldn’t keep track of what I read but didn’t review. For an organized person, my reading habits are very unorganized, which really doesn’t make sense because my actual bookshelves are organized not only by genre but by author and whether they’ve been read or not. I want to update Goodreads so I know what books I’ve read.

2. Update my blog. I am not as tech savvy as I wish I was, but I really want to update my blog at some point. It just takes so much time to do the research and figure out how to actually do it. Let me know if you have any tips!!

3. Review More. I want to review every book I read. It doesn’t have to be a full-size review but it would be nice to remember what I actually thought of the books.

4. Apply for more ARCs. It makes my day when I receive an ARC (especially if it’s a physical copy). I want to have that feeling more often. It’s always awesome to read the book before it’s officially published. I’m going to do my best to prowl NetGalley for books I’m interested in reading.

5. Post more Discussion Posts. I LOVE to talk about books, so I’m hoping to discuss my various bookish problems/habits when the mood strikes. I’m thinking of starting a monthly/bi-monthly discussion post, but I struggle with juggling my time with Grad School and work.

There you have it! If you are reading this, THANK YOU SO MUCH. It means the world to me that people read my blog. I’m always looking for fellow book lover friends so feel free to leave a comment or hit me up on twitter! (@notetoselphbook)rdj_thanks