The Fall Time Cozy Book Tag

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It’s the weekend, which means it’s time for a new Book Tag. In searching for tags I came across The Fall Time Cozy Book Tag on A Novel Glimpse. Fall is my favorite season – even if Ohio only likes to give us a couple of weeks of it before starting Winter early.

Crunching Leaves: The world is full of color. Choose a book that has reds, oranges and yellows on the cover.

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This cover just screams fall to me. Despite the couple kissing, I like this cover. And this book was adorable.

Cozy Sweater: It’s finally cold enough to don warm cozy clothing. What book gives you the warm fuzzies?

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Pretty much anything by Kristan Higgins!

Fall Storm: The wind is howling and the rain is pounding. Choose your favourite book OR genre that you like to read on a stormy day.

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I don’t necessarily pick out a genre based on the weather, but when I think of the elements, I think of the Elementals series. (Again another cover you shouldn’t judge the book by!)

Cool Crisp Air: What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?

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Jessamin from Illusions of Fate

Hot Apple Cider: What under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

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I love the Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta. I think Leotta is such a great author and one of my favorites of her genre.

Coat, Scarves and Mittens: The weather has turned cold and it’s time to cover up. What’s the most embarrassing book cover you own that you like to keep hidden in public?

I avoid this by mostly reading on my Nook. But I would probably say almost any Romance book. Those covers are just awful!

Pumpkin Spice: What’s your favourite fall time comfort food/foods?

Hmm this doesn’t have anything to do with books? But I’ll go with Pumpkin flavored coffee drinks and Pumpkin pie!

I tag whoever loves Fall

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: September

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1)

Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks. Read September 3-11. 2.5 stars.

Not as good as I was expecting. Much of it was clichéd and predictable, but I’ll still probably check out the next book. 

This is What Happy Looks Like

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. Read September 11-13. 3 stars.

This book was ok. It was cute, but not as cute as I was expecting it to be. The characters weren’t always likable and I really disliked Ellie’s mother. Surprisingly, I was ok with the open ending (I usually despise them), it was probably the most well done part of the book.

Ten

Ten by Gretchen McNeil. Read September 19-20. 2.5 stars.

2.5 stars, I think. For awhile I thought this was a 2 star read. All but the three central characters were forgettable and it seemed really predictable. While I entertained the possibility of others being the killer, I was pretty sure who it was. However, I was wrong. So I was going to give it 3 stars, just because it surprised me. But then the end… *SPOILER* *SPOILER* *SPOILER* In the end Meg lives and TJ survived being shot (which was so very clichéd) and Meg is like, “My best friend and 9 other people died, but at the end of the day it’s ok because I got the guy.” Ugh.

Open Road Summer

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Read September 19-21. 3 stars.

This book was both cute and frustrating. The main character was not very likable and I think too much time was spent on her trying to draw deep, emotional conclusions about life that really weren’t that deep. I wish Dee was a little more developed because she was likable yet lacked substance. I, of course, loved Matt Finch, though he had a few moments that annoyed me. Overall, a cute book, but I think it would’ve been better if it focused on being cute instead of trying too hard to be something more serious.

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy #3) by Sarah Rees Brennan. Read September 23-24. 3-ish stars.

One day a full review will be coming for this book. While I wouldn’t say it was disappointing, it didn’t live up to my expectations. I think I’m going to re-read it before I try and review it.

Rule (Marked Men, #1)

Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover. Read September 26-27. 2 stars.

2 stars is being generous. The characters were mostly unlikable. The plot was often ridiculous. I don’t know why I continue to try and read New Adult books. It’s obviously not my cup of tea. 

Stay with Me (Wait for You, #3)

Stay With Me (Wait for You #3) by J Lynn. Read September 25-28. 2 stars.

I love JLA and that’s the only reason I’m giving this book 2 stars and not 1. The story of Jax and Calla were pretty similar to Cam and Avery (Calla even calls Jax “Cam 2.0” at one point) and the rest of it was pretty ridiculous. I seriously need to just stop with the New Adult genre. It’s all the same and this series, that I started out liking with the first book, just seems like repeat with slightly different characters and slightly different “big horrible problems”. 

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BACK ON THE TBR SHELF

Resisting the Hero (Accidentally in Love, #3)

Resisting the Hero (Accidentally in Love #3) by Cindi Madsen. I really liked the first book in this series, but the second wasn’t quite as good and I couldn’t really get into this one. I’ll probably go back and try again later, though.

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RE-READS

Storm (Elemental, #1)  Spark (Elemental, #2)  The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)  The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2)

Storm (Elemental #1), Spark (Elemental #2), The Best Man (Blue Heron #1), The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2). In honor of Sacrifice (Elemental #5) and In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4), I started a re-read of the first couple books of each series.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books About Friendship

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is: Top Ten Books about Friendship.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Blue!

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

2. The Vampire Academy Richelle Mead.  Lissa and Rose!

Attachments

3. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Beth and Jennifer!

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

4. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. Kami, Jared, Angela, Rusty, Holly, and Ash!

Storm (Elemental, #1)

5. The Elemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer. – The Merrick brothers!

Well, I’m going to stop at a top 5 for today! What books about friendship are missing from my list?

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer – 3.5 stars (out of 5)

Spark (Elemental, #2)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own…

Spark is the second book in the Elemental series and it did a good job of avoiding the sophomore slump. While I didn’t like it quite as much as Storm, it was interesting and built upon the Elements and the Merrick family.

This time we focus on Gabriel, my previously least favorite Merrick brother. In Storm I thought he was basically just annoying, but seeing things from his POV makes him more sympathetic and relatable. I was still a little annoyed by him at times, but overall really like him. The other perspective we get is from Layne, a girl in his math class that helps him out. Like Becca, she’s a bit of an outcast. But she’s kind and funny and doesn’t take Gabriel’s crap.

Layne also has a little brother who is deaf. My mom works with the deaf and hearing impaired so I’m always interested to see how deaf characters are treated in fiction. I felt like it was a pretty realistic portrayal. People incorrectly assumed Simon was retarded because of his speech, but he’s really just a normal kid, trying out for basketball and dealing with his parents divorce. I liked his interactions with Gabriel and the other Merrick brothers.

I liked that there were more positive developments in Michael and Gabriel’s relationship, but I wish we would’ve seen more of the Merrick brothers all together. We mostly only saw Chris and Nick when Gabriel was fighting with them. (And I hated that Nick was always with Quinn, who I basically hate.) I also didn’t like that Becca was almost non-existent in this book. I’ve mentioned this before, but I hate when series focus on a different person (or couple) each book and the original ones we fell in love with kind of fall by the wayside.

I also liked Hunter a lot more in this book. I liked his bromance with Gabriel. We are left with some unanswered questions about him towards the end of the book that I hope gets resolved soon – and I hope the bromance survives.

I felt like I got a little better understanding in this book in how the Elements speak to the Elementals. I find it interesting that unlike most books that deal with nature being peaceful, this series shows the potential of damage and chaos the elements can cause- and seem to want to cause. I also liked the plot developments that promised more insight into the Elemental politics to come in future books.

Overall I enjoyed Spark. The character development of Gabriel was great and I enjoyed his growth, but also his sarcastic humor. (“Then I’m going to need another fifteen minutes.”) I would recommend this book to those who have started the Elemental series and to those who enjoy YA sci-fi/fantasy.

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer – 4 stars (out of 5)

Storm (Elemental, #1)

Synopsis from  Good Reads:

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 . . .

I read the prequel, Elemental, and wasn’t all that impressed with it, but I decided to read Storm anyways. I’m glad that I gave it a chance because I really enjoyed it.

*Beware of mild spoilers*

The story is told in 3rd person POV between Becca and Chris. I felt that both of these characters were well-developed and I really liked them. Though I always feel that 1rst person gives a better emotional connection to characters, I think that 3rd person worked well here and still gave me the connection that I look for.

I loved the Merrick brothers. Michael, the oldest (and the focus of the prequel) is the guardian for his brothers and puts up with a lot of crap. He’s also trying to find the balance between parent and brother and is resented for it. I felt bad for him for most of the book, but got some hope at the end that they’ll all get along better with him. And even though I didn’t care for the prequel, without reading it I probably wouldn’t have liked Michael much in this book.

I liked one twin and was annoyed by the other. Nick is the peacemaker in the family. He’s sweet and strong and I would’ve liked to have seen more from him. Gabriel is surly and impulsive. He also has that sarcastic bad boy thing going for him that’s usually reserved for the male leads in YA. I’m usually into that, but here he mostly annoyed me. He’s the one that really butted heads with Michael all the time and it got old after awhile. But as the book goes on we see that he’s not such a douche. And I believe that the next book is focused on him, so I’m hoping he stays a little nicer.

Chris is probably my favorite of the Merricks, but that might just be because he was the most developed. He’s struggling with learning to control his element, water, and also with fitting in with his brothers. He grows up a lot throughout the story. He became more confident, but also remained sweet and protective. I really liked him and Becca together.

Hunter, the “mysterious” new guy was a little clichéd. There was never a time when I didn’t think he knew way more than he let on or that he wasn’t using Becca in some way. He reminded me a lot of Blake from the Lux series, but better. Even though he lied a lot, I did mostly like him – and his dog. I also thought that Becca’s father was a little too predictable. Though there are still answers I want from him that we didn’t get – like what he did to Becca on the bridge and in the field.

One thing I really could’ve used more of was explanation of the Elements. We know that they each have some power to manipulate an element (Michael – Earth; Nick – Air; Gabriel – Fire; Chris – Water; Hunter – Spirit – flashbacks to Vampire Academy, anyone?), but not really the how. Chris talks about feeling the power of water and that it can lead him to danger, but I would’ve liked more explanation on how exactly it worked. Or a better description of it when they were using their power. I also don’t completely understand the Spirit element, but hopefully that will be explained more later.

Overall, I enjoyed Storm. I loved the relationship between the Merrick the brothers and look forward to reading more of them. I would recommend this book to fans of YA with sci-fi elements (ha, see what I did there).