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Cuddlebuggery

Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

Humorous reviews of Young Adult, Middle Grade and Romance titles.

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Storm - Brigid Kemmerer Occasionally, my husband and I will discuss books that I am reading at the time. It mostly depends on if the cover sparks his curiosity enough to find out what it's about. In this case, he saw me putting together the Elemental Virgins post a few weeks ago (which may or may not have led to a few awkward questions. "So you're a virgin, huh?"), so he knew this was one of the books in the series. One day, I was minding my business, cracking up in my little Reading Corner at some witty banter between the Merrick boys, and hubby and I had an interesting exchange:

"So, what's going on in your book? You liking it?" he said.

"Yeah, it's pretty funny. I like some parts more than others," I said.

"That's good, I guess?" he asked.

"Well, it's just this one character named Gabriel that's being a total douche," I replied.

"Uh oh. That doesn't sound good. Are you going to anger the internet gods and write a scathing review?" he asked.

"What? No. I like this book far too much to do that," I said. I mean, really, hun, is that what you think-- okay, fair point.

"Alright, so tell me what it's about."

"It's about these guys that can each control the elements. See the man-child on the cover? This book is Chris' story. He can control water and his brothers can each control fire, wind and earth," I explained.

*cue laughter from the hubby*

"What? What's so funny?" I asked.

"The fact that you're giving your V-card up to Captain Planet's Planeteers," he says.

*insert my unimpressed face here*

"'We're the Planeteers! You can be one too! 'Cause saving our planet is the thing to do!'" he sung. Badly.

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Ha. Ha. Ha. Everyone's a comedian.

But my hubby is totally wrong, it's nothing like Captain Planet, minus the whole element wielding thing, of course. But it does tell the story of four orphaned guys, living in a house together, struggling to stay out of trouble. Well, I should really rephrase that. Sometimes they manage to stay out of trouble. Other times, they welcomed it.  But the thing with Storm and I is that we developed this weird love/hate relationship during our courtship. For every one thing I absolutely loved about it, there was always something else that I hated. So here are three things that I loved/hated about Storm.

The Merrick Boys

I'd be lying if I said I didn't love this group of guys. While this book does primarily tell Chris' story and jumps between his and Becca's PoV, the other brothers' personality are not neglected what so ever. Each brother has such a distinct personality that comes through the pages loud and clear (except for Nick. He's kinda quiet). I loved seeing the dynamic between them, which of course came with lots of witty banter like this:
“If you want me to fix your homework, you need to leave me alone.” Then he spotted her. “You’re back.”
“Yeah.” She glanced between him and Gabriel. “You do his homework?”
“Just the math. It’s a miracle he can count to ten.”
“I can count to one.” Gabriel gave him the finger.”

You could also tell how much they cared about each other. Since losing both parents in a tragic accident, the oldest brother Michael forgoes college and any other personal aspirations to stay home and raise his younger brothers. Sometimes he's very over-protective, but that was totally understandable given what they've all gone through. The Merrick boys are virtually outcasts from their own kind and hunted for their powers. Their relationships and fierce protectiveness reminds me of how my siblings and I interacted.

But you want to know who I really thought the Merrick boys reminded me of?

Four-Brothers-Promo-mark-wahlberg-24958641-317-400

The Mercer boys! Okay, so before you start giving me strange looks, hear me out! I mean, think about it. You have Bobby (Michael) who's the one in charge, keeping the others in line. Angel (Gabriel) who is always getting into it with the leader and he's the most volatile. Jeremiah (Nick) is the calm, responsible one. And finally, Jack (Chris) who is the younger, brooding member of the family. Now just picture Mark Wahlberg threatening someone while saying:
“Good.” Michael wrapped his hand around the hilt.
Then he lifted it, cocked the hammer, and put the barrel against Hunter’s forehead. “Now where the fuck are my brothers?”

Guys, tell me this is not a YA version of Four Brothers! And in case that wasn't clear, that's a compliment because that movie was awesome, filled with a lot of action and it has great chemistry between the brothers. Are you seeing my vision here?

So what was the thing that I disliked about the characters? Gabriel. I honestly was not feeling this guy. He came across a bit sexist to me when he kept commenting on Becca's sexual ventures. He'd say things like "she's been around the block" and how she slept with half the soccer team, etc. But I found that to be very unfair considering how he mentioned to her that it wasn't unusual to find different girls in their house on a regular basis. BUT I do think that even though Gabriel felt like he was slut shaming to me, he DOES seem like a redeemable character. From what I hear from my other reviewing peeps, he does just that in his book, Spark.

The Story

I really appreciate the creativity that Brigid used in Storm. This could have easily turned into a run of the mile "boy saves girl, boy and girl fall in love, the universe is trying to keep them apart... oh noz!, happily ever after." But it didn't. Instead, the book starts off with the heroine, Becca, saving Chris from getting his ass handed to him on the parking lot. That one interaction causes her to continue to cross paths with the Merrick boys over the course of the book and from that moment on, there is very little downtime for the reader. When people say this is an addictive read, they aren't joking. I stayed up well past my bedtime because I couldn't seem to put it down.

I also loved how the story takes place somewhere that is very familiar to me. Thank you, Brigid! There are not nearly enough books set in this awesome town. ;)

The downside?

-I found the plot to be fairly predictable in some parts. I had seen the mystery surrounding Hunter and Becca a mile away. The good thing is that it didn't bother me in the slightest. The story is way to engaging for that.

-In the beginning, I felt that the Merrick boys were way too willing to share certain things with Becca even though they were trying not to tell her their secret. For example, Chris would make comments hinting at his powers to the point where it was painfully obvious, but Becca remained oblivious until Chris finally told her. Becca finding out the mystery felt a little too drawn out for my tastes and didn't seem very organic.

-The writing style was a bit of an adjustment for me. I don't think it was bad, I just dislike 3rd person PoV because I am a strange person and it usually takes me a lot longer to connect with characters. This is just a personal pet peeve, so that probably wouldn't bother most people who have a heart and soul. Unlike me... or so Kat tells me.

Becca

Becca was a very interesting character and I felt that Brigid took a risk with her. Mostly this was not a bad thing. Becca is sexually harassed throughout most of the book and is labeled the school slut. I think that was a very realistic portrayal of what happens to some girls and overall I did like Becca as a character. She's spunky and does hold her own up against the Merrick boys since they are not the most accepting bunch of people.

My issues?

-I feel like Becca made a few decisions that were illogical, like say, going to a party thrown by a guy who started the rumors about her and who continued to harass her only to get drunk there. Given what her past was with this guy, that made so little sense to me. Also, in the end where she goes outside of the dance to talk with the guy (Drew) alone, was so not smart on so many levels. Why not have Hunter just stand at a distance while she had the convo and be nearby just in case douchey McDouchey Pants tried to try anything. And you can believe that Drew did intend to try something. It was like watching a character in a horror movie opening That Door and you're yelling at your TV, (as if they can hear you) telling them not to, but they don't listen and they die. That is how I felt with Becca.

-The moment where Becca finally stood up to Gabriel and his snide comments, was awesome for me... right up until he decided to get revenge on Drew by beating him up. It felt like the scene's focus shifted from Becca being the victim and having her moment to Gabriel being the hero. The problem I have is that every time Becca was being sexually harassed, it was one of the Merrick boys that came swooping in for the rescue. Becca wasn't exactly a pushover since she did stand up to the Merricks on countless occasions. I would have liked to see Becca be her own hero when it came to standing up to Drew.

-There is an almost rape scene between Becca, Drew and a group of other boys (and it was more graphic that what I thought it'd be). To me, it felt conveniently placed just so Chris and Becca would end up on the field during that lightning storm. One of my pet peeves is when a heroine's gender is used to further the plot. It's like, she's a girl and so the worst possible thing that will happen to her is rape, so let's throw in a rape scene. But more than that, this one didn't seem authentic to me because Drew essentially says, "Everyone thinks I raped you. So even though I didn't and could possibly plead my case, I'm going to commit the crime everyone thought I did... just because." Really, Drew?

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And then, of course, that was Chris' cue to step in and save Becca. I wasn't very impressed with that scene.


 

But despite my issues, I would still recommend this book. It's addictive and a really entertaining read that appears to get better with every book. As for me? Weathering this Storm proved to be very rewarding. How do I feel about losing my Elemental V-card? Well, you know what they say. You never forget your first time. Heh.


A copy of Storm was provided by KTeen for the Spirit blog tour, hosted by The Midnight Garden! Thank you!

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I'm ready to lose my Elemental V-Card. Are you?

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Join Jen and I for a mass read along! On April 28th, come back here and let's swoon over the Merrick boys discuss the story! ;)

Tweet at us with #evirgins!

@starryeyedjen
@Cuddlebuggery

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Anyone up for a mass read along?

Check out the details for the read along here and enter for a chance to win Storm, Spark and Spirit (they are totally signed)!