Monday, September 22, 2014

ARC Review: Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer

Goodreads summary:

Earth. Fire. Air. Water.

One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.

Michael Merrick understands pressure. He's the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he's all that stands in the way.

His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She's got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.

But there are people who have had enough of Michael's defiance, his family's 'bad luck'. Before he knows it, Michael's enemies have turned into the Merricks' enemies, and they're armed for war.

They're not interested in surrender. But Michael isn't the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.

Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?

My review:

I can't believe this series is now over!  I'm going to miss the Merrick brothers so much.  Sacrifice was a gripping, fast-paced ending that totally gave me all the feels.  Brigid Kemmerer has done it again!

Michael is my favorite character besides Gabriel, and this book just made me fall in love with him even more.  He's hardworking and cares for his brothers so deeply - as the title suggests, he's willing to sacrifice literally anything for them.  My heart broke for him in this book because so much crap happens and Michael is at a loss as to how to protect his family.  It's interesting yet fitting to see the way Michael views his brothers, because they come across as much younger than they did in the previous books.

Hannah, Michael's girlfriend and the other narrator in this book, was also a well-developed character.  She'd only appeared briefly in the other books, so I was excited that we finally get to learn more about her.  She's a strong character, but...well, let's just say she doesn't handle stress as well as Michael.  I liked her, but didn't love her - she threw tantrums and argued so much instead of just acting her age.  I will say I adored the way the tense relationship between Hannah and her father played out, though.  Very well-done.

The plot was action-packed, as always - lots of fires and explosions!  Kemmerer packs a lot into a fairly short book (and for anyone wondering, the actual book is less than 300 pages - the Kindle and paperback versions are longer because there's previews of the other books/novellas).  I was always on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen to poor Michael next, and I liked the way a couple subplots were intertwined.  My only quibble about this book is that it's almost too much crammed into too short an amount of time.  I believe the whole book only covers the span of a week, and I felt like it should take place over a longer period of time. 

But aside from that and Hannah's sometimes immature attitude, I quite enjoyed Sacrifice.  It's a wonderful, heartfelt conclusion to the Elemental series, and I'm going to miss the Merrick brothers more than words can say.  It goes without saying that I'm picking up Brigid Kemmerer's next book the instant it hits shelves!

*I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

~ Kaitlyn

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Book Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Goodreads summary:

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

My review:

I wanted so badly to love this book, especially since I've loved Angelini's other books and everyone else has nothing but glowing praise for this book.  While I certainly enjoyed it, I just could not get completely into it.  I found the main character hard to root for and annoying.

One of  my problems was the pacing.  I was constantly checking to see how many pages were left.  I don't know why, but it seems like I keep stumbling on books that have strong plots and should be impossible to put down, but something about the pacing - long paragraphs or overdone descriptions, I guess? - makes them seem never-ending.  Thankfully, with Trial by Fire there really was a strong storyline and great writing, so that helped make up for the pacing.

This book is fun and unique...and also a bit confusing.  The basis of the plot is centered around alternate worlds, which is the main reason for the confusion.  It's a lot to keep track of!  But if you pay attention, you'll appreciate the complexity of the story and the way Angelini writes out every detail of the culture she's created.  And the writing was good - yay for entertaining dialogue!

But I just did not like Lily.  She didn't click with me.  I think part of it is that she seems like too much of a martyr.  Not only that, but she's extremely naive.  She thinks she's in love with her friend Tristan, but then in the alternate universe she was falls for a guy Rowan.  The romance just seemed jumbled and all over the place.  

I might read the sequel, but it's not going to be high on my priority list.  Although I appreciated the creativity and detailed world-building, the slow pacing and unlikeable main character ruined the book for me.  But if you're interested, I definitely think it's worth checking out - nearly everyone else seems to have loved this book!  I guess it just wasn't for me.

*I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  3 out of 5 stars

~ Kaitlyn

Saturday, September 6, 2014


I'm sure you've all noticed that I haven't been posting as frequently for the last few months.  To put it simply, life has just gotten crazy, and it's going to be even crazier for me in the upcoming months.  The reason why?  I've started college!  I'm a senior in high school, but I'm doing dual enrollment classes at my local community college.  So things are pretty busy.

Unfortunately, since school takes priority over blogging, my posts are going to be even more sporadic than they have been.  I don't want to abandon my blog completely - I've enjoyed the experience of blogging too much to just quit! - but it's definitely going to be taking a backseat.  I still want to post at least 2 or 3 times a month, probably a book review or two and my usual monthly reading update.  But I felt like I should post an update just so everyone officially knows.  I may not have time to post very often, but I'm still here. :) Thanks for sticking around, guys!

My Top 5 Books of August 2014

Here's my slightly belated post for my August reads!  Of course, once school started, it got harder to squeeze in time to read, but I still managed to get a decent amount of reading done.  Here's the books I read in August:

- Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
- Gilt by Katherine Longshore
- Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
- The Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
- Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard
- 16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler
- Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
- The Osiris Curse by Paul Crilley
- Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
- Faces of the Dead by Suzanne Weyn
- On the Fence by Kasie West
- Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
- Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Here's my top 5 favorites:

1. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater.  This is my favorite book of Maggie's yet.  I couldn't get over the gorgeous prose.  The writing is just so dang perfect.  I can't count how many lines I highlighted on my Kindle.  Plus, the love story is so poignant and heartbreaking, and the character development is outstanding.  Sooo good!

2. Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead.  I'm loving this series so much.  I was thrilled that part of the story was from Adrian's point-of-view.  He and Sydney are both amazing characters, both on their own and as a couple.  Even though they were separated for a good deal of the story, you could feel the love between them.  And the action?  Ahh!  So may great scenes.  I nearly had chills in some of them!

3. On the Fence by Kasie West.  The best word to sum up this book is adorkable.  I squealed and giggled and swooned an embarrassing number of times.  As always, West wrote a sweet love story that will tug on your heartstrings and make you smile.

4. Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones.  I was so surprised by how much I loved this book.  I'd hoped it would be good, since the awesome tagline said "X-Men meets Ocean's Eleven," but i loved it way more than I expected to.  It blew me away, from the fascinating world-building to the witty dialogue to the original characters.  And don't get me started on all the amazing twists.  Such a fun read!

5. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis.  It took me a while to get into this book, mostly because it's been two and a half years since I read the first two books in the series.  Thankfully, it wasn't too confusing once I got into it, and I ended up really enjoying it!  It's a great ending for the series, full of danger and thrills.

Did you read any good books this past month?

~ Kaitlyn