Aug
26

Title: Demon Road (Demon Road #1)
Author: Derek Landy
Published: January, 2015 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
Pages: 507
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Full of Landy’s trademark wit, action and razor sharp dialogue, DEMON ROAD kicks off with a shocking opener and never lets up the pace in an epic road-trip across the supernatural landscape of America. Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers: they’re all here. And the demons? Well, that’s where Amber comes in…Sixteen years old, smart and spirited, she’s just a normal American teenager until the lies are torn away and the demons reveal themselves.

Forced to go on the run, she hurtles from one threat to another, revealing a tapestry of terror woven into the very fabric of her life. Her only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be…

Final Thoughts:
Initially I thought I’d found plenty to love about this one, but with just over five hundred pages, I found my interest lagging midway, not feeling the pull to devour it. I think it comes down to the structure. Basically a road trip story, a bunch of mini plots were compiled together, leading towards the main issue plaguing main character, Amber. New characters kept being introduced at each different town they visited, and then dropped as they went on to the next. It got to the point where I just wanted the main plot resolved so I could move on to something different to read.

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Jan
02

Title: The Rest Of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Published: August, 2015 by Walker Books
Pages: 352
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Final Thoughts:
Now this is a paranormal contemporary done right. I’ve read enough paranormals over the years that get caught up in the teen angst (bitchy girls, annoying best friends, romances with the broody angel/demon/fae/whatever) for most of the book until somewhere around the three-quarter mark when they suddenly remember there’s a world that needs saving. Here, that’s not an issue—the paranormal stuff is going on in the background to a bunch of characters we only learn little blips of—while we get to immerse ourselves in the lives of a bunch of seniors in the month leading up to their high school graduation.

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Feb
13

Title: Sacrifice (Elemental #5)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Published: September, 2014 by Kensington
Pages: 324
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

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?

Final Thoughts:
This is the book I’ve been waiting for. It’s no secret that Michael’s been my favourite of the Merrick brothers throughout the series, so coming into his book I was ready for it to hook me, and it did. Actually, I think I’ve been hooked since Spirit, but with this being the final instalment, it just brought so much more to the table. Whereas the books teetered around their troubles with the Guides—assassins sent to kill them—tending to focus more on the romantic struggles of the main couple each book, Sacrifice slammed right into an angsty mess of constant danger as Michael tried to keep everyone he cared about alive.

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Jan
22

Title: Secret (Elemental #4)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Published: January, 2014 by Kensington
Pages: 328
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Nick Merrick is stretched to breaking point. He’s trying to keep his grades sky-high or he won’t get in to college. He’s trying to keep his brother’s business afloat or the Merricks will be out on the street. He’s trying to keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his twin brother Gabriel – or he fears he’ll lose his family. And he’s trying to keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who is his ‘girlfriend’s’ partner.

And then Quinn takes to hanging around his sworn enemy, and an Elemental Guide is counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. Storms are brewing. On all sides.

Final Thoughts:
This series has me hooked. I’m dreading finishing it off, but I can’t wait to start Sacrifice. There’s just something about these characters and the way they interact that gets you so invested. I know I bitched about book two not advancing the plot, but I’ve changed my tune. When I realised the Elemental stuff wasn’t making much of an appearance again this time, I had already become engrossed in the characters that I didn’t care. So much happens with them in these three hundred or so pages that I can see how a paranormal plot heavy book could have torn away from all of the great revelations and personal growth that came through in this book.

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Jan
17

Title: Spirit (Elemental #3)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Published: May, 2013 by Kensington
Pages: 301
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

With power comes enemies. Lots of them.

Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.

He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…

Final Thoughts:
Any doubts I had about this series are gone. Hunter hooked me right back in, and he wasn’t even one of the brothers. His perspective wasn’t one that I expected to enjoy, him being one of the characters I didn’t particularly enjoy in Spark. I guess I just didn’t know him well enough. He was easily more likeable than Gabriel, leading me to fly through this book picking it up at every chance I got. I think a main drawcard was the addition of Kate. She wasn’t the standard, plain-Jane love interest. She was an assassin. When I read that, I knew this book was going to be different.

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Jan
05

Title: Spark (Elemental #2)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Published: August, 2012 by Kensington
Pages: 345
My Rating: ★★★½☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

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…

Final Thoughts:
Gabriel Merrick is one angsty guy. There were times where I was grunting in frustration at some of things he was doing. He didn’t seem to like being isolated from his brothers yet his short temper would get the better of him and he’d do more and more to wedge the distance between them wider. There was very little time spent with the other Merrick boys because of this. Most of it came down to his lust for fire…and the girl in his Math class, Layne. Bickering, romance, fist-fights and self-doubt ensued. While it took me a while, say a hundred pages, to get back into the story, once I did, I found it a heap of fun. The Elementals is a series I’ll certainly be continuing. I’ve got Spirit sitting in front of me right now.

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Nov
24

Title: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1)
Author: Kasie West
Published: February, 2013 by HarperTeen
Pages: 352
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

Final Thoughts:
I have wanted to read this one for a while now. I’m a fan of time travel and stories with alternate timelines so I thought this would be just the thing for me. While it may not have lived up to the self-imposed hype I’d given it, Pivot Point was still enjoyable in its own contemporary romance kind of way. It has a mystery and a bit of suspense, but for the most part, it plays out very much like a lot of other YA romances. I guess the real point of difference comes from the fact that there were two stories running parallel to each other that we switched back and forth between every second chapter.

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