Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











SacrificeFrom Goodreads: 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?

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Kemmerer’s Elemental series has been my guilty pleasure for a few years now. And with this novel, Kemmerer has technically closed the story with this final chapter of the Merrick brothers, giving readers Michael’s story as it all comes to a head. And yet… I’m not certain it’s really over.

Let me explain.  Kemmerer has always woven a tale that pulls readers in from the get go.  Sacrifice is no different.  By this point in the series, the Merrick brothers and their friends are like a part of my family.  I know them so well because Kemmerer really knows how to create realistic, beautiful characters, and Sacrifice is no different on this end.  The brothers, who I’ve come to love, are again faced with hardship–perhaps the worst yet, and it tore my heart in two as I read.  The emotions are real, and I just adored everything about it.  Everything, except the ending.  The ending, while a resolution that works, comes on quite fast, leaving readers with questions. Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting the antagonist to be who it was, and I liked how Kemmerer threw me for a loop with the big reveal, but I didn’t understand all the aspects that went in to it. I reread it twice, but in all honestly, the ending was too neat; everything wrapped up much too quickly once all is said and done. And I still have questions. I have questions about the bad guy, about newcomer Irish, Hunter’s grandparents, the guides reactions to it all, and what’s going to happen next for the Merricks. Yes, a resolution is there, and I loved it, even though it happened a touch too fast for me and not everyone gets out unscathed, but even so, the potential for more chaos is there, too, and I’m waiting for more–for the other shoe to drop. This is a wonderful novel, and I truly enjoyed it… but I need a spinoff series…

Of course, Kemmerer did leave me stunned with one aspect that I knew was coming from the title, SACRIFICE, but still didn’t expect. I spent the next few pages hoping it’d be undone, but alas, it’s not. You might want some tissues. I think I was stunned enough that I didn’t even blink. No tears for me, it just… can’t be. Right? And it happens so fast that if you do blink, you’ll miss it. I really have no words. Except that you must read it. If this is really the end, then you just have to read it, but I’m still waiting. For more. I need more. The Merricks are a part of me now, and… I just need more. Four stars.

 

4 stars

I received this novel from Kensington Books, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This title releases on September 30, 2014.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble

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Brigid Kemmerer HeadshotBrigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland. Brigid started writing in high school, and her first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years. (Though sometimes that just makes her sound nuts.)

Brigid writes anywhere she can find a place to sit down (and she’s embarrassed to say a great many pages of The Elemental Series were written while sitting on the floor in the basement of a hotel while she was attending a writers’ conference). Most writers enjoy peace and quiet while writing, but Brigid prefers pandemonium. A good thing, considering she has three boys in the house, ranging in age from an toddler to a teenager. You can learn more about Brigid and the Elemental boys at www.brigidkemmerer.com.

Follow Brigid:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Kemmerers Books____________________________________________

READ THEM ALL (I’ve given 5 stars to nearly every one)

Elemental Kindle | Nook (Book #0.5)
Storm Kindle | Paperback | Nook (Book #1)
Fearless Kindle | Nook (Book #1.5)
Spark Kindle | Paperback | Nook (Book #2)
Breathless Kindle | Nook (Book #2.5)
Spirit Kindle | Paperback | Nook (Book #3)
Secret Kindle | Paperback | Nook
(Book #4)
Sacrifice Kindle | Paperback (Book #5)

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Book Depository | iBooks | IndieBound

Pre-order your copy of Sacrifice today!

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Two Moons of SeraFrom Goodreads: Finally, the complete Two Moons of Sera novel in one edition! Read all four volumes in one collection.

In a world where water and earth teem with life, Serafay is an anomaly. The result of genetic experiments on her mother’s waterborne line Serafay will have to face the very people responsible to discover who she really is. But is she the only one?

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Two Moons of Sera—Omnibus, is the complete four part series all in one book. For me, it was like the element world met fantasy, complete with land dwellers–Erlanders, water dwellers–Sualwet, and even a fire dwellers–A’aihea. Segregated and at war with one another, Serafay knows little of any world. Half human and half Sualwet, and despised by both races, she’s lived her life in seclusion for her sixteen years. But today, everything she’s ever known is going to change.

This four part volume takes place over the course of about a week, beginning with Sera as she hems and haws about her mother not allowing her to go anywhere aside from their beach, however, a sighting of a strange Erlander piques her interest and is the beginning of the end of life as she knows it. Meeting Tor is a godsend in a way, because soon after, the war between Erlanders and Sualwet takes a turn for the worst, and Sera is forced to flee. Hand in hand with Tor, the strange Erlander she met on the beach, her adventures begin as they find themselves in many a precarious situation.

I loved learning about the different people of this world Tyler has created. The Erlanders are just like humans as we know them, living within the confines of cities, believing themselves superior, starting wars. But the difference here is the dystopian aspect—Erlanders are at the mercy of their government; they are matched with others, are given three chances to reproduce within their match, are assigned jobs, and are unable to make their own choices about basically everything. The Sulawet live underwater and are the equivalent to merfolk in my mind, but they also have the ability to walk on land. Their eyes and webbed feet give them away, and because land is foreign, most do not tread the ground often. They have their own distinct language, live in underwater cities, and disown/dislike any foreign object, people included. And the A’aihea are fire dwellers. The closest equivalent I was able to make in my mind was those who live near the equator. While the A’aihea people of Tyler’s story dwell in the mountains and deep underground, their lack of clothing due to heat, and their vast hatred of any and all foreigners, Erlander or Sulawet alike, made me think of a more tribal type of group.

Overall, the vast similarity between these groups is their hatred for any and all foreigners. And it is this was Tyler speaks about in her writing, though it’s more of a theme than a direct admonition of the world today.

I found the beginning of this novel to be a bit slow, but when Sera met Tor, the storyline began to pick up. As events unfolded, I found myself engrossed in the story, rooting for Sera and Tor and becoming quite protective of them as they found themselves on some fairly wild adventures with both Erlanders and A’aiheas alike. However, I must say that the very last volume left me wanting; there is minimal closure, and so I am sure that Tyler must be planning a sequel of sorts. While an epilogue does exist, it creates more questions than it answers, with the biggest of them all still left unanswered: what is Sera’s purpose the A’aihea spoke of? Overall, this is a great fantasy serial that I highly recommend, but know going in that this isn’t the whole story. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon Paperback | Kindle



WhirlFrom Goodreads: Outspoken and independent, Kendra Irisavie has always played by her own rules.

She’s an ondine, a water elemental gifted with the powerful magic of Empath Virtue and trained to be a fighter. Pursued by Aquidae demons, she and her mother remain Rogue, hiding among humans to avoid becoming casualties in an ancient war.

Everything changes when violence erupts on Kendra’s seventeenth birthday. A dark stranger appears, promising answers to her mysterious past and stirring unexpected feelings in her fiercely guarded heart.

But as Kendra uncovers the truth about her heritage and future, she realizes just how deep the lies and deception run.

Now, in the face of unthinkable odds, she will need all her wits, skills, and magic to fulfill an extraordinary prophecy.

The first in a sweeping urban fantasy series, Whirl is the beginning of a young woman’s exhilarating journey for survival, love, and hope as she fights for her place in a world where she doesn’t belong.

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If you’re a fan of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, or HalfBlood by Jennifer L. Armentrout, then I think you might really like Whirl.  They are all very similar in style and even story line, yet each have their own flares and originality based on the author’s strengths.

Now, to be fair. Whirl actually came out at the same time Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Half-Blood did, give or take a month depending on the publication site you peruse, but due to different marketing and publishing houses, Half-Blood took off as Whirl remained lesser known.  However, they are virtually one in the same, which makes me believe both were modeled off of Vampire Academy, which came out in 2007.  But in the end, does it really matter?  If the characters have different abilities, personalities, and issues, does it matter if the plotline is similar to other novels?  Some are going to say “yes, definitely,” but I’ve found that, for me, it all depends on the author and how they spin their story.  Personally, I enjoyed Half-Blood just as much as I enjoyed Whirl, but I distinctly disliked Vampire Academy, which I read a very long time ago (and probably need to re-read).  And the reason for this is that they’re all different in their own rights, with different elements, be they vampire, deamon, or ondine, and the mythology surrounding them all is what gives the books their own originality (along with author flare and the ability to write).

Whirl focuses on the ondine—water elementals and selkies—a group I’ve never read about until now, and it was really interesting to learn all about this group of people. And I love novels about elementals, so it is no surprise that I really enjoyed this novel, regardless of it’s similarities to others I have read.  Raveling gives her story life through her own words, and I really liked both Kendra and Tristan, especially as their worlds collided and the tensions mounted.  Filled with intense scenes and non-stop action, Whirl grabbed my attention from the very beginning and I found myself wrapped up in Kendra’s life.  The characterization was realistic and, though Kendra can definitely be a bit annoying at times, I see a little of myself in her, and so I was able to bond with her and her antics right away.  She’s a free spirit set on fighting for those she loves, and I loved that she didn’t back down from a fight, regardless of danger.

Reader beware, there are tons of terms and names in this novel that you’ve most likely never heard of before.  Luckily, the text explains it fairly well, but there’s also a glossary in the back for those of us who need it (like me) to keep everyone and everything straight, because there are a lot to remember.

Overall, I personally enjoyed this novel.  But if you’re adverse to similar plotlines and you’ve read either Vampire Academy or Half-Blood, then you may want to skip this one.  On the reverse, if you haven’t read either of those other novels, then pick up Whirl novel stat and check out the awesomeness that is the ondine.  Four stars.

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



12322282From Goodreads: Jen is looking forward to spending an entire summer studying abroad on a cruise ship and she knows the experience will change her life. Then she sees something she wasn’t supposed to see, something she can’t explain. Jen finds herself thrust into a world she never knew existed and her life will change more than she imagined. That is, if she can survive the dangers lurking on the ship.

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I have always wanted to experience a semester of schooling aboard a ship.  But, because I have a fear of the ship sinking, I’ve never followed through—I’ve never even been on a cruise, to be honest.  Instead, I opted for educational semesters in Europe, Asia, and South America, so I can’t complain in the least, but… the semester aboard a ship—that’s the one that got away.

Kirke presents a magical world aboard this ship, one of vampires, merfolk, water and fire elementals, witches, and werewolves… and I can only imagine how much fun it would be to be on a ship with all these colorful characters.  However, Jen herself put a damper on my mood when it came to all the festivities and issues: Jen always seemed to need saving.  She didn’t listen to others and, on many an occasion, got others hurt because she wouldn’t listen and then wouldn’t be able to take care of herself. I’m more of a strong female lead enthusiast than a damsel in distress one, and so I held some animosity towards Jen and her inability to do anything throughout much of the text.  The other characters were great, and I enjoyed them very much, but Jen just wasn’t my favorite, which is a shame as she was the main character.  However, by the end she does learn to take care of herself a little bit—she’s growing, as it were—and I think she’ll be a much stronger character in the next installment.  Three stars.

3 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.



Secret by Brigid Kemmerer

Kensington Books

Release Date: January 28, 2014

ISBN: 0758294379

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Summary:

Nowhere is safe. Not even home…

Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point.

Keep his grades sky-high or he’ll never escape his hometown.

Keep his brother’s business going or the Merricks will be out on the street.

Keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his own twin—or he’ll lose his family.

Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who’s supposed to be his “girlfriend’s” partner.

Of course there’s also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. There’s a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.

Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?

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Brigid Kemmerer HeadshotBrigid Kemmerer is the author of The Elemental Series, about a family of four brothers who control the elements, and their battle with those who want them dead. Storm, Spark, and Spirit are available now wherever books are sold. To read the novella introducing Nick’s story, be sure to check out Breathless available as an e-book only from major e-book retailers. You can learn more about Brigid and the Elemental boys at www.brigidkemmerer.com.

Follow Brigid:

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Where to buy:

Amazon

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Book Depository (Free International Shipping)

 



13494365From Goodreads: 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…
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Brigid Kemmerer whisked me away in her first novella, Elemental, making me a fan of Michael Merrick from the get go.  In the first full novel of the series, Storm, I fell in love with all the Merrick’s, learning about their abilities and just how difficult their life was trying to be mainstream.  In the novella, Fearless, I was able to see what made Hunter Garrity tick, and I glimpsed a deeper side of him I hadn’t seen before, changing my overall perspective.  Then, in the second full novel, Spark, Gabriel Merrick stole my heart, and I was forever transfixed by his brooding nature as his deep-rooted goodness shown through.  When I read Breathless, the third novella, I learned that looks can be deceiving and Nick’s yearnings and desires follow a different path than that of his brothers.  And now, in Spirit, Hunter Garrity once again takes the forefront, opening his heart and bleeding red among the pages.  And I loved it.  I loved every last minute of it, and of all the books that came before.  Kemmerer is a sheer writing goddess, and her Elemental series is absolutely to die for.  Her characters come alive off the pages and endlessly live among the memories and dreams of her readers. At least, they do in mine.  And I am already eagerly awaiting the next segment in this amazing series.

Hunter Garrity has been a constant in Kemmerer’s fabulous stories since the first full novel, Storm.  We all know him, and at one time or another, we all loved to hate him, but things change, truths are laid bare and, in Spirit, we learn the deep truth about Hunter, about his family, his upbringing, his fears, wants, needs, desires… we learn it all.  And, it’s heartbreaking.

Hunter Garrity is very real.  Yes, the story is fiction, but the way Hunter carries himself, his heartbreaks, and his disposition are all real attributes that bring him to life in a very real sense.  On multiple occasions, while reading, I cried for Hunter—his life is brutal, and to know his background is to understand his past transgressions.  If it were possible, I would reach through the pages and give Hunter a hug because, as those of you who have read this astounding novel already know, this boy needs it more than anyone else.

Kemmerer, the master storyteller that she is, weaves a tale that forces readers to feel deep emotions for Hunter, as well as many of the other characters as the events unfold.  From unbridled love and passion to the deepest regret, fear, and depression, we feel it all right alongside Hunter, and it takes a true literary genius to really take the reader that deep into the story, to make them one with the characters, and that is exactly what Kemmerer does.  I have loved every single one of Kemmerer’s novels to date, but I do believe that Spirit takes the cake.  It’s so poignant and breathtaking that I believe I just might have to sit down and read it again.  Five stars.

5 starsI received an ARC of this novel from Kensington Publishers, via The Midnight Garden Blog Tours and Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy it:

Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Kensington Books

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Want to preview this awesome novel BEFORE you buy?  READ THE FIRST CHAPTER NOW:

Spirit – Chapter One – Brigid Kemmerer

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FREE NOVELLA:

Haven’t read any of the books in the Elemental Series?  Want to whet your appetite?  Kensington Publishing Corp. is offering the first novella in the series, Elemental, for FREE through May 31st!!!!! The promo code is: VCARD

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4629194Author Bio:

Brigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland.

Brigid started writing in high school, and her  first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in  the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages  of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage  boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years!

Connect with Brigid:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

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A Poll and Giveaway:

TMG blog tours

Visit The Midnight Garden for more information and to follow along with the tour!

ALSO, enter the poll to vote for your favorite Elementals guy, and the one with the most votes will be  featured in a short story written by Brigid!

The poll is located on The Midnight Garden’s Page!

An awesome INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY is also running on The Midnight Garden’s Page, so be sure to hop on over and check it all out!



et cetera
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