Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Significance Series, by Shelly Crane

Significance (Significance #1)
4 out of 5 stars

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Significance, is the first book in this is a YA paranormal romance series.  From the start I was drawn to Maggie, a 17 year old who we meet just as she graduates from high school.  Early on we learn she was a very involved student with excellent grades and for most of high school dated the school's football star.  That is until right before senior year when he decides he just wants to be friends, three days after her mother packs up and leaves for no reason.  After the fallout of being dumped and left Maggie finds herself withdrawing from her friends and school activities, barely passing her classes, while managing to work a full time job at the diner to help put food on the table since her father lost his job and fell into depression.  In a nutshell Maggie's senior year as been anything but perfect and she is glad its finally over. 

Feeling alone and not wanting to be stuck in her house on graduation night Maggie reluctantly agrees to hang out with Kyle, a friend who she has persistently shot down.  Needing an escape and hoping to kill time before meeting up with Kyle, Maggie decides to go out for some coffee.  On her way she notices the guy in front of her is about to walk out into oncoming traffic.  Without hesitation she grabs his backpack and pulls him back onto the safety of the sidewalk.  Having been pulled so hard the guy falls backwards and knocks her over.

Once the shock of what's happened fades and Maggie takes a good look at the stranger, Caleb, she finds herself attracted to him and unable to look away.  As conversation continues Maggie discovers Caleb is Kyle's cousin and he offers to walk her over to Kyle's.  It's clear Maggie and Caleb find themselves drawn to one another, not wanting to leave the other's company and just as she is leaving she introduces herself to Caleb and offers her hand, Caleb takes it and with one touch Maggie's life is forever changed.  .

From this point prepare to be completely sucked into this sweet, beautiful, heart pounding love story.  This is is a story about strangers who are soul mates.  About a girl who's life unexpectedly changes, and while she is faced with a new and very real danger has found unconditional love in a boy and in a family, she is no longer alone in the world.

Significance is not a book about vampires, werewolves, witches or aliens.  The Jacobson's are Virtuoso or Charmed and call themselves Aces.  When a virtuoso imprints with their significant they descend, gain an ability and become an Ace.  Unfortunately for the past 20 years imprints have stopped all together, leaving the clans with no new Aces or abilities and over time they fear becoming more vulnerable.  Virtuoso's desperately want imprinting to resume so their heritage can be protected.  It's obviously is a very big deal when Caleb imprints and while most people are happy there are also those who are jealous and desperate, and will go to extreme measures to prevent Caleb's descent.

Will Maggie be able to adjust to the new world she was thrust into?  In gaining a family will she loose her father and brother in the process?   When danger comes for her will Maggie go willingly or will she put up a fight?

Shelly Crane immediately sucks you into this story filled with love, devotion, heartache and suspense.  While it is a romance, Maggie and Caleb's relationship is not the forefront of the story.  There are plenty of family members, best friends, jealous ex's and sworn enemies whose antics easily fill up the pages only adding depth to this journey.  I was able to get this first book on sale for "free" and found myself so invested with the characters and plot as soon as it was finished I gladly and without hesitation bought the remaining books in the series.  I definitely recommend Significance if you are looking for something new in the paranormal world.  I mean who doesn't want to read about an all encompassing soul mate kind of love where in the couple work together as a team to protect one another, heal one another, never even having the desire to stray.  It may at times feel predictable but overall Significance is absolutely beautiful and Caleb and Maggie are an adorable couple!

Accordance (Significance #2)
4 out of 5 stars

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Accordance picks up with Maggie and Caleb where we left them at the end of Significance, so please don't read any further if you haven't finished reading Significance.  They just arrived in California in hopes of escaping Sikes, Marcus and echo dreams.  They are thrilled for the opportunity to spend some time together alone only to find themselves quickly disappointed when their chaperons Kyle and Bish show up.  

Shelly Crane wastes no time jumping back into the story, the danger and drama surrounding Maggie.  Right off the bat Marcus comes to taunt her in another echo dream.  Although this time he comes to make a deal.  The knowledge of her ability in return for the motivation behind Sikes actions.  She agrees to his offer and learns of a prophecy, one in which Sikes is afraid she will come to fulfill.

It's obvious from the tone of this book Caleb and Maggie came out of her kidnapping ordeal stronger as a couple even though they are still "getting to know one another."  I really enjoyed watching them try to keep their relationship normal, making time for things couples who aren't in danger do on a regular basis.

You can certainly expect to find more danger and obstacles in this book, you also learn more of the history of the Ace world, which I believe is really important to the entire series.  It's no longer just about a human girl imprinting with an Ace after a 20  year dry spell.  Caleb and Maggie's story is shifting and now it's more about Maggie's role in this new world.  As her abilities continue to grow she finds herself overwhelmed, unsure and needing Caleb's support and love more than ever.  I loved watching the two of them struggle individually then working through things, coming together to realize and actually believe that together they are stronger.  They realize the importance of being each other's support system and I love how they value the their relationship, always thinking of the other and putting them first.  What a beautiful demonstration of commitment!

Shelly also takes you further into the stories of the secondary characters.  On the one hand I found Kyle even more frustrating because he doesn't even try to hide his thoughts or feelings, which only ends up making Maggie feel worse.  However, then I think to myself, can you blame the guy?  He has been secretly in love with her for 2 years and now in a matter of weeks he's had to deal with the reality he will never be able to act on those feelings and she will never return them.  It's really kind of sad.

Then there's Bish who you find even more outraged with Maggie's actions and has stepped up the over protective big brother role.  I feel bad for him also because he's the only one in the dark, but at the same time I like it because it brings a sense of reality to the story.  It's like he is the voice of reason.  Why is everyone so accepting?  His actions and questions remind the reader what's going on isn't normal----its paranormal!  You begin to wonder if he ever found out the truth would he be accepting?  

So, Bish and Kyle's story lines deepen and before long you find yourself just as curious about their roles and have your fingers crossed one day they will get their HEA.  There is no doubt in my mind this series wouldn't be the same without the antics and interactions of each supporting character.  Their stories only bring depth to the story.

Finally, I must comment on the ending!  What a cliff hanger!  Just when you think you have it all figured out Shelly throws you a curve ball and you are left speechless.  You won't be able to wait to see what happens in book 3, and I love being forced to stay on my toes and question each and every theory.

Defiance (Significance #3)
4 out of 5 stars

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Defiance is not a stand alone novel and so before you read any further in this review please first go read Significance and Accordance.  The third installment picks up exactly where Accordance left off.  Maggie, Caleb and the Jacboson clan having fought off Sikes and several other Watsons have just arrived in London for the reunificantion.  Upon arrival Maggie is bombarded when she realizes Sikes wasn't her biggest enemy, it is in fact Marla.  So, not only does she have to deal with the council but she must also figure out a way to stay a step ahead of Marla. 

Caleb and Maggie just cannot catch a break.  As it turns out the council seems to have some corrupt members who are trying everything imaginable to keep the two apart, Maggie's father and Bish are being targeted and they must figure out how to help them and Maggie must find a way to convince the others that changes must be made in order to move forward, but how will she do this when it seems no one wants to take her seriously?  Marla definitely plays her part in making Maggie look as though she has no respect for the Virtuoso world and is even scarier than Sikes could have dreamed of being, and let's not forget about the secret of her birth father which will also come to haunt her at some point.  

It seems ridiculous for me to say this but the drama has increased even more with this installment, and there is going to be some serious action and a big show-down, so be prepared.  However, there are plenty of happy and love-filled moments.  As always it's Maggie and Caleb against the world and its so much fun watching these two trail blaze and continue falling more and more in love.  You also get lot's more from Kyle and Lynne and of course it's heartbreaking watching Jen and Bish's bittersweet relationship, fingers crossed that these two can find a way to eventually be together.  One thing I really love about this series is how it emphasizes a strong family core built on love and protection for each other.  It's a beautiful story and I really enjoyed this 3rd book.  I have no idea where the characters will go in the 4th installment, but hopefully we can just watch them live out their HEA!

Independence (Significance #4)
4 out of 5 stars

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So what can you expect from this 4th and final installment?  Lots of love, romance, tying up loose ends and if you can believe it Shelly finds a way to bring back some more danger and drama!  As with the other books this one picks up right where the last one left off.  Maggie, Caleb and everyone else are back from London and are planning some weddings.  Yes, that's right you get treated to more than one!

Before Caleb and Maggie can move forward they must find a way to make sure everyone in their families are safe while also figuring out a way to have the future they so desperately want while still maintaining their respective roles in the Virtuoso world.  An enemy does threaten to take everything away, will this couple prevail or will the enemy win?  

This book seemed much shorter than the others, and the drama wasn't as intense and it felt a little forced but what I enjoyed most was seeing all the loose ends tied up.  When I finished I felt like everything had come full circle and there really wasn't any where else the characters could go.  Everything was tied up nicely.  It was a perfect ending to the series, and of course Caleb is just going to make your heart melt with all of his thoughtfulness and supportiveness.  If you are looking for a quick and fun paranormal series then give The Significance Series a chance, you might also be interested to know Significance has been picked up for a movie and is slated for a November 2014 release.  So, check this series out before the movie releases!