Book Review: Independence

review-cover-independenceTitle: Independence [Significance 4]

Author: Shelly Crane

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy, Contemporary

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

In the fourth and final installment, Maggie and Caleb must tie up all the loose ends of their lives and make a way to be together completely on their own. With everything that happened with Bish and Maggie’s father, she’s almost reluctant to move on and move out. And now she must figure out all of this…stuff…with Haddock. But of course, nothing can stay simple for the Jacobsons. Enemies who were thought to be dissolved have decided to not go down so easily. And old flames come calling for more than just Maggie. Caleb is torn between leading his family and personal wants. Maggie is torn between Caleb and being the leader of their people. But neither will let what they need most to be pushed to the wayside. They are determined to make it all work, design a plan toward destiny, and make everything right again for themselves and their family.

And then there’s a wedding…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Meh. That about sums up my feelings about Independence by Shelly Crane. I adored the previous three books in the series—absolutely loved them. So, going into Independence, I was certain that I was going to love this book equally as well. I didn’t. In fact, I’m not even sure I liked it (hence the meh.)

This book took me weeks to finish. For someone who reads 1-2 books a day, that’s a little crazy. I just couldn’t get into it. The format had changed from the previous books. Instead of one POV (Maggie’s), the book was written in a strange back and forth of Maggie/Caleb, that in my opinion, didn’t work. Caleb’s POV chapters were boring, and his voice was honestly a little irritating. Maggie’s were okay, but the narrative seemed to skim. A lot. Events were barely touched upon, and conversations that should have been delved into, were peeked at and set aside. The whole thing seemed incredibly rushed, and it made it very hard to follow.

By the time I was half way into the book, I was over it—but I pushed on. By 80%, I was done. I wanted desperately to set the book aside (and did, for three weeks), but I kept thinking “I’m almost done. You can do this.” I pushed on. Honestly, I can barely remember what the book was about at this point. Nothing seemed to happen. The tension and mystery of the previous books was sadly lacking from this one, and the narrative was overly sappy and lovey-dovey throughout. There were two epilogues (2 1/2 and 5 years after the story), neither of which added anything new to the story except the typical “and they lived happily ever after with children” ending that is so stereotypical of the romance genre.

Am I glad I read this book? Yes, because it was the last book in the series, it wrapped things up in a nice, neat little bow, and I was genuinely curious to see what was going to happen to the characters from the previous three books in the series. Did I like it? Not really. I don’t know what happened between the last book and this one. The previous three books were so good… but this one just…. lacked. It lacked engagement, tension, an in-depth plot… If this hadn’t been the last book in the series, I probably wouldn’t have gone on to read the next after this one. It just didn’t resonate with me.

Book Review: Defiance

cover-review-defianceTitle: Defiance [Significance 3]

Author: Shelly Crane

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

In the third installment of the Significance series, we begin with Maggie and Caleb in the clutches of a new enemy; the Virtuoso council. Not only do they have to deal with the consequences of taking the lives of the Watsons and the council attempting to take Maggie away to keep their precious Visionary safe, but they must deal with Marla as well. All are determined to undermine, control and use Caleb and Maggie’s rare gifts for their own uses, some wish to destroy them entirely. Then Maggie’s father and Bish are threatened but the council forbids the presence of humans. Peter and the family fight and stand beside them every step of the way to save Maggie’s father, to keep Caleb and Maggie together when the corrupted council is so set on keeping them apart and to stop Marla and whatever she has up her sleeve. Then Maggie has the shock of her life when she discovers something about her real father. It may change everything for everyone. Stay tuned as the story continues.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Defiance, by Shelly Crane, was a great addition to the Significance series. While the first book lacked a lot of tension and drama between Caleb and Maggie, the further I’ve gotten into the series, the more tension seems to arise—and I love it! What started as an instant love relationship between two teenagers has become a full on, real relationship, complete with all the messes that seem to inherently stem from them.

As with the previous books, I found that Caleb and Maggie made a fantastic couple. Their relationship isn’t perfect—they still fight and have doubts despite the paranormal aspect of their bond, but regardless all the drama, it is easy to tell that they belong with one another. It was nice to see a couple that fits so perfectly together.

As far as the technical aspect of the book went… well, I’ll be honest: the editing left something to be desired. The book contained multiple misspelled words, missing words, punctuation mistakes, and other typos. That being said, the typos were relatively small, and, for the most part, not jarring to the story. Otherwise, both the narrative and the dialog were well put together, flowed at a decent paste, and were easy to understand.  The writing wasn’t bad… it just needed to be cleaned up.

I think my favorite part of the book though, was watching Maggie come into her powers as the Visionary. Throughout this series, Maggie’s been pushed and pulled through her new life as Caleb’s significant other. From the very beginning, she’s accepted who she’s meant to be and didn’t put up much of a fight. It was nice to see that change as the story wore on. Yes, she did step up and take over the role she was supposed to play… but she did it her way, and she didn’t let anyone tell her what to do. I enjoyed watching her finally step up and stand up for herself, as well as for the rest of the Aces.

Overall, I loved the book. It was a solid edition to the Significance series, and I’m glad I read it. I’m excited to move further into this series. If you like paranormal YA romances, you’ll probably enjoy this series. If the first book doesn’t grab you, give the second or third  try.

Book Review: Accordance

cover-review-accordanceTitle: Accordance [Significance 2]

Author: Shelly Crane

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

In the sequel, Maggie learns much more about all the strange things that happened to her, and has to face new ones. She rebels against it, but ultimately, must face it for her new families sake and maybe even her life. Bish went from being her biggest supporter to her biggest pain in the butt and Kyle’s intentions to attract her interest may not be so innocent. Caleb and Maggie face many new obstacles together and fight to work through them but will one that should be a good thing be too much for Maggie to handle?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

After quickly reading through the first book in the Significance series, I went ahead and picked up the second, Accordance, right away. I was a little worried going into this story that I wouldn’t like it as much as the first book; it’s pretty common for series to go through the second book slump, but I wasn’t disappointed.

Like Significance, Accordance was well written. There were quite a few typos in my copy of the book, which was unfortunate, but other than one or two stumbles where a letter or word was left out, most of the errors were tiny and didn’t jar me out of the reading. The narrative was decently paced, easy to follow and engaging. I was sucked into the story right away and sped through to the end of the book in just a few hours.

Luckily, where the first book failed in the series, Accordance excelled. The story was rife with tension, both between the rather large cast of characters, the different families of the Aces, and more importantly, between Caleb and Maggie. Things certainly weren’t easy for the couple, and Marcus, Bish, and Kyle once again didn’t make things any easier.

I was glad to see the changes to Maggie and Caleb as they started to come into their powers, and even more so to see some of the other characters start to find their Imprints. My only problem was with the exceedingly slow pace at which Maggie figured things out. I’d guessed at the outcomes of some of the relationships and uses of their powers long before Maggie caught on, and it felt a little like I was waiting for her to catch up throughout the book.

Still, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Now that the Instant-Love aspect of Maggie and Caleb’s story was a book behind me, I was able to sink into their relationship a little easier, and of course it was nice to see that they were beginning to run into obstacles with their relationship. If you liked the first book in the series, or you’re a fan of heavily romance-influenced paranormal YA stories, you’ll probably love this book. It isn’t going to be for everyone, but personally, I can’t wait to continue on with the series!

Book Review: Significance

cover-review-significanceTitle: Significance [Significance 1]

Author: Shelly Crane

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal

Rating: 4 Star (4.5)

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Description/Synopsis:

Maggie is a seventeen year old girl who’s had a bad year. Her mom left, her dad is depressed, she’s graduating, barely, and her boyfriend of almost three years dumped her for a college football scholarship. Lately she thinks life is all about hanging on by a thread and is gripping tight with everything she has.

Then she meets Caleb.

She saves his life and instantly knows there’s something about him that’s intriguing but she is supposed to be on her way to a date with his cousin. But things change when they touch, sparks ignite. Literally. They imprint with each other and she sees their future life together flash before her eyes. She learns that not only is she his soul mate, and can feel his heartbeat in her chest, but there is a whole other world of people with gifts and abilities that she never knew existed. She herself is experiencing supernatural changes unlike anything she’s ever felt before and she needs the touch of his skin to survive. Now, not only has her dad come out of his depression to be a father again, and a pain as well, but Caleb’s enemies know he’s imprinted and are after Maggie to stop them both from gaining their abilities and take her from him. Can Caleb save her or will they be forced to live without each other after just finding one another?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I wanted so badly to give this book five stars. In fact, I very nearly did. I picked up Significance by Shelly Crane on a whim…. several months ago—but I never read it. I thought it looked cute, and it was free on Amazon, and I thought, “Why not?” I set it aside, and never went back to it—because let’s face it, my TBR pile is huge. Then, I came across a BookTube review of the series, heard that it was good, and thought, “You know what? I’ll give it a try.” I wasn’t disappointed.

The writing was nearly flawless. though I’m sure there was a typo somewhere (there always is), I can’t remember any. The text moved along at a nice pace. It was well structured, grammatically correct and punctuated (okay, I just remembered a typo) decently. I got sucked into the story from the very first page, and I hardly wanted to put the book down. In fact, I forgot to do anything but read until well into the wee hours of the morning (okay, so it was almost breakfast by the time I set it down). I absolutely loved it.

The characters were heartwarmingly endearing, fun, and funny. I adored Caleb and Maggie as a couple; they were undeniably perfect for each other. In equal parts, I was irritated with Kyle, Bish, and Marcus most of all. There was some definite tension between the couple and the other characters of the book, and at times it was frustrating to watch the story unfold for Maggie. The girl didn’t seem to catch a break.

Here’s where things got tricky (and why this lost a star for me). The love between Caleb and Maggie was the very definition of Instant-Love. Literally, they were madly in love after the very first five minutes of meeting each other. It’s not a huge problem for me, but I know that for a lot of readers, this is going to make them cringe. On one hand, the instant love was well explained.. that’s just how these soul mates/aces work. I understand that… but I’ll admit, it was really cheesy. I think I would have swallowed it a little better, except there was very little tension between the couple. I understand—again, they’re soul mates… there are paranormal forces at work that make them never want to be a part. I seriously get it—but I think I needed there to be tension between them anyway. Maggie was thrown into an impossible situation. She was just learning about these paranormal beings, finding out she was going to become one of them, basically betrayed by her own body to crave this guy she’s never met.. and she’s hopelessly naïve about real relationships. It felt like there should have been more doubt, more fight… and there wasn’t. As adorable as they were, their relationship was a little too easy.

I also had a problem with the end. It felt like the end came out of nowhere. One second a new chapter and location had been revealed, and then BAM, the story ends mid-action. I hadn’t expected that. I wish the chapter had gone on for a little longer, and I wish some of the things that had been interrupted in that chapter had been finished before moving on to the next book. It wasn’t a big drawback for me, but it did bother me.

Overall, the book was great. I loved the characters, the romance, the plot, the world building… but I recognize that this isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re not a huge fan of romance, you’ll probably be annoyed at this book. The romance is everything to this book, and it gets pretty cheesy and squee-worthy. If you’re more into the paranormal aspect of the story, the romance is probably going to bother you. If, however, you are like me, and a true romance reader at heart.. you’ll probably appreciate this book a lot more. The book isn’t perfect, and it isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes, but if you like YA Romance with some paranormal thrown in, give this a chance. It’s a solid read. I will definitely be heading on into the rest of the series.