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Sacrifice (Elemental #5) by Brigid Kemmerer

Sacrifice (Elemental #5) by Brigid KemmererSacrifice (Elemental, #5) by Brigid Kemmerer
on September 30th 2014
Pages: 324

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?

Thanks KTeen, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Because Sacrifice is the fifth book in the Elemental series, this review will be relatively spoiler-free. If you haven’t heard of this series, I recommend checking out Book 1, Storm. Although I felt like some were stronger than others in this series, as a whole, the Elemental books are solid, and addicting.

Each book in this series has been narrated by a different set of characters. Sacrifice is told through the dual point of view of Michael and Hannah. I enjoyed getting to know more about Hannah in this last book, but in comparison to the past female main characters, Hannah’s story just wasn’t as compelling to me. I think it’s because the ladies in the past really overcame something intense, especially Quinn in the fourth book.

After following the story through the eyes of the three youngest Merricks, Chris, Gabriel, and Nick, Sacrifice finally gives us a complete Michael Merrick-centric story. Like the rest of his brothers, Michael is super complex. Ever since they tragically lost their parents (years before Storm begins), Michael has been raising his three younger brothers. Michael simultaneously works crazy hours to keep food in the fridge. He doesn’t have much of a social life. You could say he’s sacrificed his whole childhood/young adulthood to raise his family.

Sacrifice was high stakes, and intense, which I totally expected, given it’s currently the last book planned. Nothing is sugarcoated in this installment. There are a lot of casualties, including the loss of a pretty important character. I didn’t see this death coming! I’m so heartbroken because of who it is and how they go. But I also accept it. In terms of where the story went, it logically made sense. But still… so sad!

I really hope Kemmerer continues writing in this world. There are plenty of other supporting characters that I’d love to learn more about. If you like supernatural contemporaries with a lot of action, and emotion, definitely give this series a shot.


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Secret (Elemental #4) by Brigid Kemmerer

Secret (Elemental #4) by Brigid KemmererSecret (Elemental, #4) by Brigid Kemmerer
on January 28th 2014
Pages: 328


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.


An ARC of this book was provided by KTeen in exchange for a honest review.

Warning: This is the 4th book in the Elemental series. The spoilers will be kept to a minimum.

Kemmerer has done it again!

I loved the first book in the Elemental series, Storm. It gave us our first taste of the Merrick brothers by introducing the youngest Merrick himself, Chris. When book two, Spark came out we got inside of the mind of middle child, Gabriel. I loved Spark even more. Book three Spirit, which featured a non-Merrick but still compelling character, Hunter, I felt was not quite as amazing as its’ predecessors, but nonetheless still a great read. Secret, which focuses on the second middle child, and Gabriel’s twin brother Nick is fantastic! And dare I say, my favorite book yet! At least, it’s seriously competing with my previous favorite “Spark”.

Nick has always been the quietest brother and not because he has yet to be featured, but rather because of this docile nature. Until he got his own novella, I never realized how wound-up and truly “secretive” he was. Besides hiding his feelings of sexual preference, Nick also hides his everyday desires and wants. He has trouble saying no, especially when it comes to his brothers. He’s too busy worrying about everyone else and not enough about himself.

Like Kemmerer’s previous novels, we have split POV. One boy (Nick) and in Secret’s case, one girl (Quinn). Quinn has never been a favorite of mine. Pushy and dramatic, Quinn has irked me since her debut in book one. Now that we’ve gotten insight into her violent and heartbreaking home life, it’s easier to understand and accept the type of person she is. A lot of her annoying qualities can now be seen as methods of coping and survival. Like Nick, she has quite a story line in Secret, every bit as emotional and compelling. After reading Secret, I now have a newfound respect for Quinn. She grows immensely has a person.

I definitely see why Kemmerer paired Quinn and Nick together in this book. Although different scenarios, both characters have brutal secrets that eventually become too large to manage. Together and with old and new friends, Quinn and Nick overcome a lot in Secret, but not without emotional hiccups along the way.

With plenty of action (like always) and tense emotional situations (also, like always) Secret knocks it out of the park. The Elemental books are one series that I can’t recommend highly enough. They have everything – dense characters, incredible arcs, intricate story lines and exciting supernatural twists. If you haven’t yet, checkout book one Storm – you won’t regret it!

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Spirit (Elemental #3) by Brigid Kemmerer

Spirit (Elemental #3) by Brigid KemmererSpirit (Elemental, #3) by Brigid Kemmerer
on May 28th 2013
Pages: 301

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…

Hunter has never really trusted anyone. He’s also never been one that the others felt like they could trust. Much like Gabriel, Hunter has a tough exterior. He guards his heart and doesn’t let anyone get too close. He’s got daddy issues, mommy issues and grampa issues. Basically he has a lot of issues. He struggles with doing what he’s been told, what he thinks he’s been told, what is right, and what his heart feels is right. From my analysis I’m sure you can gather that Hunter is a very conflicted guy. His conflictions and flaws are always what attracted me the most. From the moment Hunter entered the picture in Storm I was intrigued. Regardless of his attempt at centering himself you could tell that there was a lot brewing beneath the surface.

Spirit reminded me once again how in love with the Merricks I am. Like the saying goes, the Merricks give dysfunctional a new meaning. But regardless, at the end of each day they’re still a strong and compact unit. A great deal of Spirit focuses on Hunter and his rocky relationship with not just Gabriel, but the rest of the Merricks as well. Through his continual interaction with the Merricks, Hunter makes realizations and does a lot of growing in this novel. He’s always been on the outside looking in when it comes to family. Spirit lets him see that there’s more to life, and that letting people in is a risk worth taking.

Kate is the co-MC in Spirit. I loved Kate from the moment she sauntered in. She’s a firecracker with a super confident exterior and a pretty secretive interior. One of the perks to Kemmerer’s writing style is that, because we get multiple POVs the readers learn right away what Kate’s agenda is, or at least, what it starts off to be. Like every character in the Elemental series, Kate is fully dimensional, unique and not easy to read.

Each and every Elemental story has pulled on my heartstrings in some way or another. Spirit is no exception. A tear ran down my cheek as I read the last page of Spirit‘s bittersweet ending. Two big themes in this latest Elemental story were redemption and sacrifice.

I wouldn’t say that I loved Spirit more than Spark but I definitely loved it to around the same level. All three, Spirit, Spark and Storm have different tones and feels. Their main characters have different personalities and problems. None are greater or lesser. The plots in each Elemental novel and novella never feel like a been there, done that scenario. They’re always fresh, full of twists and standout.

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Spark (Elemental #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Spark (Elemental #2) by Brigid KemmererSpark (Elemental, #2) by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Kensington on August 28th 2012
Pages: 345

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...

Reading Spark was like falling in love all over again, with the Elemental series story line and even more importantly, with the Merricks. You can clearly see where my priorities lie Although we got a decent introduction to Gabriel Merrick in book one, Spark takes us on a deeper journey into the inner workings and musings of our favorite pyro. Gabriel is hot-tempered and unpredictable, much like the flames that he has the ability to manipulate. He’s very “fists flying” first, “thinking” second. I was initially worried about Spark. After completely loving Storm book one, I feared that a complete character POV switch would leave me either bored or let down. That was not the case! I loved Spark SO MUCH. Perhaps even more than Storm!! (haven’t fully decided yet…) So my initial thought and the accumulation of the review to come is this: If you loved Storm than you sure as heck will LOVE Spark. And well, if you didn’t particularly love Storm (there’s something wrong with you! HAHA just kidding… maybe) there’s still a good chance you’ll love Spark regardless. Although set in the same world and around the same characters, the atmosphere and overall story is just completely different and intriguing due to Gabriel’s and newcomer, Laney’s POV. You really get a different look at the Merrick brothers – Nick, Gabriel, Michael and Chris along with the other characters introduced in Storm. Plus! There’s a whole sleuth of new characters to love and get invested in.

Out of all the Merrick brothers, I think Gabriel has suffered the most. There may have been various incidents caused by all four Merricks brothers that led to their parent’s tragic death, but in the end it was Gabriel’s uncontrollable emotions and rampant fire that killed them. Between guilt over his parent’s death, disfunction and overall disagreements with his brothers and consistent struggles in math class, Gabriel has more than enough fuel to feed the emotional fire in his mind. On a daily basis he struggles to keep his temper down and not unintentially cause his surrounding to go up in flames. His one solace has always been his twin brother, Nick affectionately known as “Nicky”. However, after a silly fight the two are at odds for a good chunk of the book leaving Gabriel feeling truly alone. Then enters Hunter. In Storm Hunter never truly made a great impression with the Merricks due to certain circumstances (that I won’t spoil). I really enjoyed the new interaction between Hunter and Gabriel along with their budding bromance. I never in my wildest dream thought that these two would so much as become friendly acquaintances, so you can imagine my surprise when they truly begin to hit it off. We’re talking regular xbox sessions, daily jogging and general hanging out.

Spark was a fabulous book. Not only did we get a continuation of the story we loved SO much in Storm we also got a better look at who Gabriel truly is. Although from the surface he seems ill-mannered, hot-tempered, and overall jerky (which he definitely is at times) there’s more to him. He’s filled with sorrow over his parent’s death and uncontrollable anxiety over not being able to fully control the fire that constantly beckons and calls out to him wanting him to “play”. He struggles with not only reigning in his anger but also finding a place in the world. He longs for purpose.

Then there’s Laney who we meet for the first time in Spark. Although her first appearance is quick, she sure as heck makes quite the impression. From the outside she look’s meek, quiet, and shy or in other terms “a nerd”. However, that is not the case. Although it takes her a while to truly stand up for herself, we find out that she’s incredibly smart and strong all along; just needing that extra boost of confidence. Although she doesn’t really affect much of the Elemental story line, she does affect Gabriel’s.

Once again I am satisfied yet still thirsting for the next Elemental book. If you have or plan on starting this series make sure to checkout the novellas as well. They’re just as good as the full-length novels!

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Storm (Elemental #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Storm (Elemental #1) by Brigid KemmererStorm (Elemental, #1) by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Kensington on April 24th 2012
Pages: 407

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 . . .

Storm was one of those “spur of the moment” instant-click purchases. That in which I’ve been known to make quite frequently lately and will surely kill the remaining dollars in my bank account. What can I say. Everything about this book drew me in. I don’t know what appealed to me more, the intriguing synopsis or the four cuties on the cover. Hah! Of course it was the cuties. The thought of one boy controlling an element was appealing, but four boys, and brothers ta’ boot? HELLO. I’m so there. Lets just say that the cover doesn’t do justice to Chris, Michael, Gabriel, and Nick Merrick. If you think they’re scorching on the cover – wait to you read about them. Each brother leaps off the page with their own unique and swoon-y personality. I’m still not quite sure which team I’m on. Can I just have all four + Hunter? Pretty Please? 😉

But besides drool-worthy characters and awesome powers, Storm touches on something deeper. There’s a lot that goes on in Storm because it reaches a darker and meatier place with components that really affect your emotions while reading. Besides being filled with action, romance, and mystery, this book also touches on loss, redemption, and prejudice (to name a few). Even though the story contains some unbelievable aspects such as elemental abilities, on another level it maintains a very realistic ideology. Although there are many cute and funny moments, the dark and intense moments aren’t sugar-coated. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a thriller-far from it, but it’s also not one of those books where the good guys always catch a break. The characters have and continue to suffer emotionally and physically throughout the story. I really like the way Brigid Kemmerer wrote the characters and their backstory. Sometimes bad things happen in life and you can’t stop them from happening. By maintaining this level of realism throughout the book, Kemmerer succeeds in tying us emotionally tighter to Storm’s compilation of characters.

I think a big theme throughout Storm is the age-old “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” idea. There are multiple characters throughout the book who have been labeled pretty harshly. For instance, Becca, our main character, has had to suffer through a lot of ridicule from her peers. An old boyfriend has tarnished her name by spreading nasty rumors suggesting that she’s as they say “easy”. He’s a jock and quite popular and therefore unfortunately has a lot of influence over fellow classmates. Because of his influential power, the majority of the student body regards Becca as a leper while a small chunk make vulgar suggestions insisting she’s a sl*t. Basically we see High school at it’s worst.

I found Becca to be a very appealing and instantly-likable character. One can only imagine the pain and suffering she’s gone through since her boyfriend basically turned the entire school against her. Although I don’t condone an entire group believing the word of one or two individuals; I understand the need to blend-in with the student body herd. This is especially true in High school where your peers tend to judge you superficially and harshly. Regardless, Becca is a pretty amazing girl in the sense that even though she’s been sentenced to social-siberia she hasn’t completely fallen apart. Although she has now encased herself in a thick shell in order to protect herself from more harm, her true self still shines through. In a way she may seem damaged, but that doesn’t stop her from being totally kick-ass too. As it plays out in the first chapter, paired with only with a cellphone case and water bottle, not to mention a heaping amount of courage, Becca holds her ground against two dangerous boys who she finds pummeling a classmate named Chris Merrick. This first courageous act leads Becca on a road of unbelievable discovery. She learns that the impossible is definitely possible, and that in the end she may never have had a choice when came to getting involved with what appears to be a grander scheme.

When it comes down to it; I absolutely (times ten) recommend Storm. It’s an easy read with a lot of heart and emotion, yet balanced out by action and mystery. It’s fast-paced and filled to the brim with extremely likable, real, and 100% relatable characters. It’s easy to jump into Storm, and never want to jump back out. You will not be disappointed. I should also mention that the narrative switches off between a couple characters but don’t fret! This switch-off definitely works in favor of the book.