I was provided a free e-book ARC of this novel via NetGalley and Random House Children’s Delacorte Press in ex...moreOriginal review posted on PopCrunchBoom
I was provided a free e-book ARC of this novel via NetGalley and Random House Children’s Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are mine and not affected by any outside sources.
Emily Beam’s boyfriend Paul walked into the high school library not intending to die. He threatens his girlfriend and then takes his own life. Emily is thrown into grief, confusion, and numbness. Her parents insist on Emily transferring to a boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts so she can “heal.” While here, Emily encounters Emily Dickinson–the past poet whose hometown now includes the boarding school. With the help of some interesting friends and caring teachers, Emily learns about herself, how to make friends, and how to fix her damaged self. Hubbard takes readers on a journey through verse and prose as we witness the before, during, and after of Paul’s death.
With this novel it is clear to say that some will hate it and others will really like it. It’s hard to say if there will be much middle ground when it comes to this novel. It’s told in third person point of view and Hubbard doesn’t take us inside the minds of the other characters and barely into Emily’s mind. Some find it hard to connect with Emily and without that connection it’s hard to like the novel. Personally I think the mix reviews on this novel is because of different readers’ life experiences. The novel overall deals with loss and grief. I connected to this immediately. I connected with Emily. I understood her pain as I’ve personally gone through loosing someone close. I don’t think it’s an age issue as some have said the older you are the more you’d might like it. I think age wouldn’t matter, just your experiences in life and then the ability to connect those with this story and with Emily.
When I was only a few pages in, I knew this would be one of the best books I’ve read in awhile, if not for this year. Hubbard’s writing style is beautiful. The way she interwoven poetry and prose is wonderfully done and a hard skill to possess. The poems are “written” by Emily which is another great feat that Hubbard has accomplished. The writing style is definitely what I really fell in love with in this novel. Hubbard also seamlessly shifted from past into present–taking readers through the events before, during and after Paul’s suicide. It was gracefully done.
Emily as a character I can see being hard to connect to unless you were able to insert your own feeling and experiences into her character. Being able to bring yourself into the novel helps bring the connection between you and Emily. I understood Emily and that let me connect with her. I do know that this will be a struggle for most and will turn some away.
Another struggle some might come upon is the pacing in the novel. Where I found the pacing to be fine others might find it slow. This isn’t an action novel or a novel with any subplots. It’s focused on Emily’s character development in the wake of tragedy. It’s Emily reflecting on the moments leading up to Paul’s suicide, the day of Paul’s suicide, and the present she’s living through now. Without any connect with Emily as a character, this novel might even turn unbearably slow for some.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I enjoyed reading Emily (and Paul’s) story. I loved Hubbard’s writing skill and her ability to take me on this journey. I connected with Emily’s story and loved the interwoven poetry that appeared throughout the novel. Some might disagree with my rating, but this is honestly how I feel about this book. I really connected with it and thought it was a fresh, emotional, and beautiful read. (less)
I was given an e-book ARC of Secret in exchange for an honest review, so here is my review! All of my opinions are my own ;)
This review originally ap...moreI was given an e-book ARC of Secret in exchange for an honest review, so here is my review! All of my opinions are my own ;)
This review originally appeared on PopCrunchBoom! Stop by for more reviews!
We’ve read about Chris, Gabriel and even Hunter. Now we get a glimpse into Nick’s mind. Nick Merrick is drowning. He’s the perfect brother who’s counted on to do the right thing, get good grades, and always say ‘yes’ when asked a favor. He’s got a great “girlfriend” who’s just a little rough around the edges. But everything’s closing in. Nick is holding a secret. One that he Secret by Brigid Kemmererdoesn’t want to tell anyone. Once his “girlfriend” Quinn knows things are a little easier, but barely. She starts hanging around his sworn enemy, Tyler. Even though he told Quinn his other secret – that he can control Air — in order for her to stay away from Tyler, she doesn’t. On top of that, Nick just wants to spend all his free time with Quinn’s dance partner and sneaking out at night puts a strain on his relationship with his twin Gabriel. Now add in a Guide that’s come to town to kill him and all his brothers because they’re full Elementals. Nick is more than treading water at this point. Can he come up from air? Release the secrets? the tension? Will he finally stand up for himself? And will they all survive?
So I’m just going to fangirl over Brigid Kemmerer’s writing. Be prepared. I seriously have writer’s envy. She has created a fantastic cast and world. Her characters are what drives these novels and their stories are what brings readers back each time. I know I said Spirit was my favorite in my last review, but right now Secret is right up there with it. Each novel gets better and better in this series. I cannot wait for book 5!
Nick’s story really touched me. His struggle is one that a lot of people can identify with, especially in today’s world. He’s not only torn about who is he and his acceptance of who he is, but he’s also in fear of telling anyone. It’s a secret that ways heavily not only on him, but also on the people who know his secret. It’s a secret that can destroy people if it’s not shared or fully accepted. It was understandable for Nick to feel fear in revealing it, but I’m happy about most of the actions and reactions that took place after it was out. This novel definitely had me loving Micheal. I feel like Micheal has been such a strong but silent stronghold throughout all these novels, but especially in Secret.
Kemmerer also did a great job of weaving two stories into this one. Although it was mainly Nick’s story, we saw a great deal of Quinn’s story as well. Quinn is Becca’s best friend who has a very troubling family life. Readers will definitely feel for her once they read through some of her family history and interaction in this novel. Even though I felt a lot of sympathy for her and even rooted for her relationship/friendship with Tyler, she still was a bit of an annoying character. It just might be that Kemmerer wrote her like that too. Sometimes characters are supposed to be annoying or hated. I didn’t hate Quinn, but some of her actions definitely rubbed me the wrong way. However, in the end I did appreciate her as a character and can see where she picked up some of her less than likable qualities.
This novel touched on a lot of issues faced in the world by teens. A main issue being about identity and sexuality. I think Kemmerer does an amazing job of interweaving these issues into her story and her characters. It makes her characters more real and identifiable. It’s what brings the readers back. I honestly can say that I love these characters. Not just the main character or the swoon worthy love interest — but every single character (minus a Guide or two). They’ve been artfully crafted and we as readers can identify with at least one of the brothers’ stories. Strong characters make strong stories, but Kemmerer’s also built a great world for these characters to interact in. That’s what makes this series so great and Kemmerer such a great writer.
Although there was some elemental action and another Guide to fight off, this novel was mainly about Nick’s struggles. It was a great time to bring his story into the series. I think this novel is one of her best so far in the series and hope many people pick up this great read. Nick’s story should definitely be read by as many people as possible. I truly applaud Kemmerer for writing it and introducing us to not only Nick’s story, but Quinn’s as well. (less)
If you read my reviews on Storm and Spark, you know a little bit about the Merrick brothers already. If you haven’t let me introduce you. Micheal, Nick, Gabriel, and Chris are four brothers who can control the elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The Elemental series follows their story as each brother finds what they need and they all try to survive from the Guides–the people sent to kill full Elementals. Enter Hunter Garrity, the new kid in town who wanted to see the Merrick brothers dead. NowSpirit by Brigid Kemmerer he’s not sure if he’s friend or foe. Hunter lands on the fifth point of the star: Spirit. Not only can he control all four elements, but he draws people to him and can feed his power to any other elemental. On top of that: he’s supposed to be a Guide. But as he grows closer to the Merrick brothers, especial his on-again, off-again best friend Gabriel, Hunter’s confusion grows. Should he continue in his father’s footsteps as a Guide or should he join in friendship with the Merrick brothers? Plus, Calla is out causing more trouble trying to start a war with the Guides. When Kate Sullivan comes to town and Hunter’s grandfather starts ragging on him, Hunter’s life gets more complicated. His inner battle between siding with the Guides and siding with the Merricks consumes him. In the end which side will he be on and who really is Hunter Garrity?
Brigid Kemmerer does it again with her third installment of the Elemental series. Each book gets better and better each time. I really fell in love with her writing style and her ability to make each character’s voice so clear. Although I was reading from Hunter’s point of view, all the secondary characters were just as on point as they were with the first two novels.
I think I loved this novel the most from the first three books because of Hunter’s struggle. There was an element of romance, but it wasn’t the full focus of the novel. Hunter was torn. He was trying to find out not only what side he should be on, but also who he was as a person. He felted alienated — the outcast — and he wasn’t getting the support (or even sometimes the love) he really needed. It didn’t help that Hunter didn’t trust anyone. This lack of trust definitely spurred a lot of the tension with the Merrick brothers. It was almost like Gabriel’s story at first, but a lot worse. Gabriel story was all about not letting his brothers in, but Hunter’s is about not letting anyone in. I definitely connected with Hunter as a character and enjoyed watching him grow.
I also really enjoyed how Kemmerer used Kate Sullivan as a character. Her and Hunter’s relationship was spot on. Kate’s ability to crack Hunter’s shell and offer the support when Hunter didn’t think he had any really helped the plot along as well as Hunter’s growth as a character. Kate was a bit of kickass kind of girl, but we also saw elements of vulnerability. She was the perfect match for Hunter and as we learned more about her we were able to see her grow as well. Kate was a great supporting character and was well written.
What I really love about the Elemental series is that although each novel is telling one of the brothers (or Hunter’s story) they’re also moving the bigger plot — them trying to survive against the Guides. This novel, like the two before it, was full of action. It had the great scenes involving the use of the elements. It also introduced a continuing enemy – Calla. She was first introduced in Spark and continued through Spirit as an enemy against, not only the Merricks, but in a sense the Guides as well. Alongside Calla we saw a new Guide come to town and then Kate’s secrets also posed a threat. Kemmerer does a great job of writing each novel as individual stories, but also as a continuous series. Her writing skill is awesome and is something I don’t see in every author/series.
Overall, Spirit was another great Elemental novel. It definitely keeps making it harder to choose my favorite male lead. The Merrick brothers are just swoon worthy and so is Hunter. I’d definitely recommend getting hooked on this series!(less)
Let me be straight with you. Yes, yes I did become a Lux series obsessor. (maybe even a member of...moreFind the full review on PopCrunchBoom.com!
Let me be straight with you. Yes, yes I did become a Lux series obsessor. (maybe even a member of the Luxen Army…maybe…I’m not admitting to anything ;) )
Before I read Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout, I was hesitant. Although other people’s opinions might draw my attention to a book, I don’t let their opinions influence whether or not I will like a book or even if I will read a book. Sometimes a book has great reviews, but it just doesn’t fit my mood or even the genre I like to read. Anyway, with Obsidian I wasn’t sure how I felt about aliens. I mean aliens are supposed to be tiny green men right? Or maybe tiny little people hanging out in a fake human body’s head (Men in Black anyone??). But, I was drawn in by the clear romantic relationship arc of the story. I am such a sucker for those. I was just praying that this would be good and not a corny love story. I’m glad my prayers paid off!
Obsidian had chemistry! The two main characters Katy and Daemon were perfectly written. I loved the way the scenes felt every time the two characters interacted–you could feel the sizzle and sexual tension. It wasn’t cheesy or a romance novel. It was just written well and I was an instant fan.
The story didn’t just focus on the love interest, it also brings in the whole world of the Luxen. The Luxen are the alien race living on Earth and Daemon just happens to be one. And trust me he is no tiny green man! He’s beautiful in and out of his human form. I really enjoyed the way Armentrout created her alien race. The Luxen are believable and that is important to me as a reader. I say it a lot, but if I can’t buy into an author’s idea or world then I won’t enjoy the story. Armentrout introduces the readers to an Earth where the Luxen are known by the government, where Luxen can assimilate and are really just better at being humans than we are, and where the general populous are mostly unaware of the Luxen’s existence. I only found a few faults in this world she built, but some of those were explained later on in the series.
When we are first shown the “villians” of the story–an evil alien race–I was instantly thinking Transformers (because my mind works in Pop Culture references). But that thought was quickly gone and replace with just a pinch of disappointment. The enemy as an alien race is a little predictable. So is the secondary “enemy” which was the government (again Men in Black flashback–another obsession of mine!). I do have to give Armentrout some leeway since there isn’t too many options when it comes to enemies for an alien race. The interactions between the opposing sides were well written and full of believable action. What made me feel a little bit better was what we find out about the government enemy in books two and three. This make the enemy more unique.
What I found really creative was what happens to Katy when she is around a Luxen using a lot of their “powers.” This is just another unique aspect of the Luxen world and an interesting plot mover for the novel. This also becomes more interesting as the series continues!
I believe Armentrout did a wonderful job writing the character Katy. I identified with her which helped a lot in persuading me to read on. She was a typical teen girl character, but through the novel she grew. Eventually, we as readers saw Katy become more bold, stronger, and truer to her self and her abilities. Katy didn’t want to become just a human in the way, but wanted to help and fight back. I like strong female leads, but I like watching them realize their strength more than already seeing it there. Armentrout wrote this character development really well. I also like Katy’s obsession with blogging about books (hey that’s me too!) and her relationships with her mom and Dee.
In the end, I couldn’t put the book down! I fell in love with the series and would recommend it to anyone into paranormal romance. I think I fell so fast because Obsidian is a great series that didn’t involve vampires and werewolves. I’ve mentioned it before in previous posts. Even though I love vampires, werewolves, faeries, and fallen angels, I just need a break from them. This was a refreshing series for me and I can’t wait to continuing reading it! I’m also looking into reading Armentrout’s other books. She is actually coming to a bookstore near me in November, so I’m hoping to talk with her and get a book signed! I’ll most likely follow that up with a post.(less)
I wasn’t exactly sure how much I would end up loving this story when I decided to read it. Time-trav...moreFor this review and more check out PopCrunchBoom!
I wasn’t exactly sure how much I would end up loving this story when I decided to read it. Time-traveling stories never really piqued let alone kept my interest. However what kept me reading with Ruby Red was the mystery and the main character. Most time-traveling stories have some puzzle that needs solving, but this mystery was in the middle of a wonderfully believable world that Geir created.
Set in London, England, Gwen is a somewhat regular girl growing up trying to bare her family’s oddities. They have a secret gene passed down to certain females in the family that allows them to time travel. This isn’t by a device that’s created, but an ability in their blood. The hard-part: they can’t control when they time travel without a device. What’s more weird is that there is a prophecy along with it all. Cue in Gideon the second half of this puzzle. His family has a connection with Gwen’s over multiple generations. Both families have learned to deal with this gene and have tried to some how complete the prophecy.
But Gwen wasn’t supposed to be the last time-traveler, her cousin Charlotte was. Unprepared and confused, Gwen is quickly thrust into her family’s secrets and past worlds. Soon she finds her self falling for Gideon, trying to survive surprise attacks in the past and wondering how to keep her ability to see ghosts a secret. Luckily her best friend Lesley is right alongside her trying to make sense of it all and helping her figure out who to trust and who is actually dangerous.
Clearly, this story could become cliche real fast. However, Geir’s writing was superb. She made this time traveling world come alive–allowing me to believe a lot of research when into writing it. When there’s reach involved, it shows the author really cared in making this story as accurate and as real as possible which keeps me as a reader interested and thankful. So many stories lack accuracy which can kill the believable factor for a reader.
Aside from the setting, Gier also created an interesting villain. Gier sets up two possible evils, but the reader gets a somewhat clear idea of who the real villain is of this story by the end of the first book. What is left a mystery is how many people are helping the real villain and just like Gwen, readers are left questioning who to trust.
A small problem that I had was how quickly Gideon turned his attention to Gwen. I’m always a realist when it comes to how quickly characters fall-in-love with each other. However, by the second book their relationship develops on a more realistic level and certain things are explained to help make their relationship for me more believable.
The end of the first book left me craving more and I instantly got my hands on book two. Gwen, the main character, was very well written and had me rooting for her during the whole novel. If this story gains more popularity, I can see it being as hot off the shelves as The Mortal Instruments or even The Hunger Games. If you’re in the mood for a story filled with adventure, some humor, romance, and a little mystery than pick up this story right away. It’s a definite recommend from me!(less)
This left me really loving the memoir genre. I loved Jeannette Walls' writing style and it was an easy read that left me glued to the pages. I really...moreThis left me really loving the memoir genre. I loved Jeannette Walls' writing style and it was an easy read that left me glued to the pages. I really felt like I came to understand the different personalities of her family members and the story really was heart-wrenching in some instances. I wouldn't say I hated her parents, but I don't think I ever really thought of them positively throughout reading the story. In my opinion The Glass Castle is definitely a must read if you're looking to sink your teeth into something. The memoir was a great read and truly humbling. I loved reading every page of it.