Storm by Brigid Kemmerer blew me away (awful pun intended)

Storm (Elemental, #1)Title: Storm
Series: Elementals #1
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publication: April 24th 2012, Kensington
Pages: 320 Pages, Paperback
Rating: 4/5 Cupcakes!
Source: Thank you to Netgalley for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake.
Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn't want. When she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot, everything is about to change. Chris is different from the guys at school... really different. He can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. The brothers are powerful and dangerous. And now that Becca knows the truth, so is she.
When the mysterious new kid, Hunter, turns up, Becca thinks she can trust him. But when he goes head-to-head with Chris, Becca's left wondering who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The Elementals series has always been a series that piqued my interest as, ever since I was a little girl, I've loved the idea of being able to have "powers" that would enable me to harness certain elements. So this book with it's paranormal components combined with four hot brothers, secrets and sizzling romance  did a marvelous job of sweeping me away and allowing me to get a taste of my long-lost childhood dreams.

Storm isn't apprehensive to dive headfirst into action and drama. As soon as you get past that enchanting cover you're immediately sucked into a whirlwind of adventure that'll leave you breathless. Storm centers around sixteen year old Becca who after leaving her self-defense class hears a fight breaking out and chases the instigators with her car, inadvertently saving the life of Chris Merrick, a boy in her school. After driving him home to the house he lives in with his three older brothers and being rudely interrogated by them, Becca begins to sense there's more to the brothers than meets the eye. As she begins to form a friendship with Chris and with the new boy at her school, Hunter, and danger begins to attack her from all directions, a paranormal sort of danger, Becca is adamant to get to the bottom of things. Learning things about not only the Merrick brothers, but herself, that her wildest dreams couldn't have contained.

I really enjoyed Storm, more than I thought I would! The characters were real and fleshed out and they each had their own distinct  personalities which was vital as there were quite a few main characters.

I really liked Becca, she was sweet and caring but that didn't make her any less eager to jump into the action and uncover the mysteries beginning to surround her. What I really liked about Becca was that she wasn't always this strong, confident fighter that many YA books unrealistically contain. She often felt insecure, uncertain and afraid but that didn't stop her from chasing away enemies with her car or throwing a punch when need be. She was realistic, she wasn't your typical bold and devil may care kind of character which was brilliant! I also felt so bad for her as she was a victim of slut-shaming due to vicious rumors spread by her ex-boyfriend and I can just imagine how awful it is to be in a situation where everybody believes you're something you aren't.

I absolutely adored Chris Merrick, one of the love interests. He was so kind and respectful and sweet and GAH I JUST UTTERLY ADORED HIM. You could see he felt quite insecure and left out by his brothers and I just wanted to hug him because it felt like he wasn't very confident in himself and I just felt so sorry for him. I also love how Chris tried to protect Becca but at the same time he wasn't overbearing about it.

I also really liked Hunter. For most of the book I was absolutely in love with him but towards the end...well, I'm not exactly sure where I stand with him anymore. He was incredibly charming and sweet and I loved how protective he was of Becca. As I said previously, there's loads of false rumors circling Becca and I appreciated the fact that he looked past that, he respected her, he saw her for her and didn't allow his view on her be jaded by malicious words that had been spat by unsavory characters. But… like Becca, I question how much of their relationship was genuine. If you read the book, you'll see what I mean.

The four other characters who frequented the novel were Michael, Nick and Gabriel (Chris' brothers) and Quinn, Becca's best friend. The brothers are all very guarded and secretive and therefore quite snappy so it took me awhile to warm up to them, but by the end of the novel I did view them in a better light. The way they protected each other, the banter and just the general brotherly love between the four put a smile on my face. Each brother was so different from each other and I'm so happy that their voices were so distinctive. The only thing I didn't like about the brothers was that they made a couple of statements about girls staying the night and such that hinted at them being players. Nick and Gabriel also listened to the rumors about Becca and made comments about them to her, which made me quite angry but by the end of the novel, they understood things better.

I didn't really hold affectionate feelings for Quinn, Becca's best friend, she often made derogatory, slut-shaming comments towards Becca which really irked me. If your best friend comments things suggesting that you're something you're not, or makes petty comments about a subject that weighs you down, then they're not exactly your best friend, are they? I also felt like Becca and Quinn's relationship wasn't that great, they both made comments to each other and they described each other with quite negative adjectives but they did show that they really cared about each other despite that so...I'm not sure? I wasn't sold on their friendship.

NOW LET'S SPEAK ABOUT THE ROMANCE BECAUSE HOLY CUTENESS. So, at first I was worried that most of the brothers would fall in love with Becca and it would be a catastrophic mess but luckily only one of the brothers fell for her and I am SO GLAD that that brother was Chris. Like I said he's a really lovely guy and all though his brothers told him about the rumors and warned him to stay away due to what they believed was true about Becca, he didn't care about the rumors. He, like Hunter, saw her for her and not the false image that people had constructed of her. THEY WERE SO FREAKING CUTE. I haven't flailed and squawked about two characters for quite a while but these two had me smiling and flapping my hands like a demented chicken because they were just so adorable. We have Chris who is insecure and lovable and just an adorable character and then we have Becca who is afraid to trust and fall in love, but when these two meet you can just see how great they'll be for each other. The boy who wants to love and the girl that is afraid to love, it was so wonderful. MY HEART.

There is a love triangle but it's mostly resolved by the end of the book. The other love interest was Hunter. The new boy in town whose arms are adorned with crystal bracelets, who has a snow white streak running through his blonde hair, who has extreme knowledge on several self-defense arts and who has a calm, silent disposition that emanates secrets, danger and intrigue. I really adored Hunter. I loved the way he handled people who threatened him, I LOVED his dog and his relationship with his dog, I loved how he was (mostly) always there to protect Becca and I just loved how unique his character was. He'll have you swooning, that's for sure! Most of the book I could hardly decide who I shipped Becca with. 

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But the answer is Chris. Because I love him. Him and Becca are just so great together. Ahem.

The plot was great too! It was action-packed, it was fast-paced and there wasn't a singular dull moment. There were plot twists that left me with my mouth hanging open and I look forward to seeing how the characters deal with certain revelations in the following novels.

The only two things I didn't like about Storm was that I thought Becca's reactions to certain things weren't very realistic and the offensive comments made in this book. Regarding the former issue, there's a couple of things revealed to her throughout the book that would cause most people to near faint in shock but she barely acknowledged it and was generally like "Okay. Cool." whenever something happened and I was thinking HOW CAN YOU BE THAT CALM?! HOW?! It wasn't realistic at all and I'm pretty sure it would've evoked more emotion in her than the author allowed there to be.

Another thing, there is slut-shaming in this book and some of the guys, especially guys we're supposed to feel affectionate to, make some comments that seem to, well, not quite objectify women, but not exactly hold them with high value either. Although the comments said about Becca and some of the guys' comments were highly realistic, there were unnecessary sentences that could have been avoided.

Overall, Storm was an exhilarating story that was a fantastic start to what I believe is going to be an explosive series. With an adorable romance, attractive guys with the ability to control the elements, plot twists laced throughout and witty one-liners, Storm will blow you away.

I give it: 4/5 Cupcakes!

- There's an almost rape scene
- Underage drinking
- Car accident

- A few swear words scattered through out ("f" word being one of them)
- Violence between some male characters