Brainstorm (Elements of Mind: Book 1) by Nissa Harlow

Publisher: Nimble Hope Publishing

Date of publication: May 2nd, 2023

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Elements of Mind

Brainstorm—Book 1

Dreamflare—Book 2

Mindquake—Book 3

Headrush—Book 4

Purchase Links: Kindle | Kobo

Trigger Warnings: Vomit

Goodreads Synopsis:

What’s worse than nearly puking in front of a cute guy? Zombies. Definitely zombies.

I’m not feeling so great. I don’t know if it’s something I ate, or if it’s from flipping through one too many teen paranormal romances, trying to find inspiration for an obnoxiously backward creative writing assignment. (Seriously. What kind of teacher asks their students to write a story in their least favourite genre?) But I’m determined not to barf in this stupid vampire book I’m holding, especially not in front of the cute guy who’s checking out the library’s pitiful selection of DVDs. So I make a run for the bathroom… only to have the guy follow me in there. Can you believe it?

But that’s just the first unbelievable thing that happens. When we come out of the bathroom, the library appears to be closed. Weirder still, it’s surrounded by a strange, supernatural storm that definitely wasn’t there a few minutes ago.

Being trapped in a library with a new friend (or enemy—I haven’t decided yet) might not be the worst thing in the world. But it might not be the best thing, either… especially once that weird storm starts spitting out characters that are only supposed to exist in stories, and we find ourselves trying to figure out how to take on a horde of zombies with nothing but our wits, the Dewey Decimal System, and some very strange bookish magic.

Elements of Mind is a metaphysical fantasy quartet that celebrates the power of stories… and the people who create them. Join Sadie on her elemental adventure today!

First Line:

Don’t barf in the book. Don’t barf in the book. Saliva floods my mouth.

Brainstorm by Nissa Harlow

Sadie is not having a good day. First, she has to do a writing assignment on teenage paranormal romances (which disgusts her); secondly, she’s feeling sick to her stomach (which might be partly due to what she has had to read). There is a super cute guy the next aisle over that Sadie keeps checking out. But her stomach gets the better of her, and she barely reaches the bathroom before she throws up on the toilet, her shoes, the floor, and the wall. Sadie wasn’t expecting the super cute guy to follow her into the bathroom to ensure she was OK. And she wasn’t expecting the library to be surrounded by a strange storm that trapped her in the library with the cute guy or fictional characters to appear when the wind ripped out pages of books. When one of the characters throws a zombie manga’s pages into the wind, Sadie and Lincoln know they need to find a way to beat them. But Sadie has so many questions that she doesn’t have the time to get answers for (because of zombies). Will Sadie get her answers? Will they outwit the zombie horde and save the other book characters? Or will they be stuck in the library forever?

Generally, I try not to review short stories or novellas when reviewing books. I always feel that the books are too fast, and some don’t have enough plotlines for me to whip up a good review. But, I was intrigued by Brainstorm. I loved how the author wrote the blurb, and oddly enough, I wanted to see how Sadie and Lincoln ended up in a weird storm that spits out book characters.

Brainstorm is a fast-paced book set in an unknown town in the United States. The entirety of the book is set in the town’s library. Brainstorm is also a short book, more like a novella, with only 66 pages. But it is worth the read.

There are trigger warnings in Brainstorm. There is one, and I went back and forth on putting it here. The trigger warning is:

  1. Vomit: Sadie starts off the book puking in the library bathroom. It was a tad graphic, and if you have a sympathetic stomach like me, you would want to puke too. And guess what? I almost did. I had to put the book down and take a Tums to settle my stomach.

If this trigger warning triggers you, I suggest not reading this book (even though you would miss out!!)

The main storyline in Brainstorm centers around Sadie, Lincoln, the storm, the characters, and them trying to outwit the zombies. I loved it and couldn’t get enough of it. The author puts a different spin on the story by having Jane Eyre, Adele, Gage the vampire, and the zombies appear. It made the book more exciting. I got a giggle from Sadie and Lincoln’s interactions with the characters (minus the zombies).

I loved Sadie. She wasn’t happy about doing her writing assignment and wasn’t afraid to let people know about it. I also liked how she was not so secretly checking out Lincoln (before she got sick). Once she exited the bathroom, she tried to take charge and discover what was happening. And when Jane and Adele showed up, she was determined to protect them. The best lines in the book were when Gage the vampire turned up and started doing his broody thing (think Edward from Twilight), and Sadie was like, “Just get away from me.” I cracked up laughing at that. I also liked that she forgot to tell Lincoln something significant at the end of the book. She, again, made me laugh.

The end of Brainstorm had me wondering what happened. The author added a neat twist to the storyline, and of course, it made me wonder what exactly happened!! She did leave the storyline wide open with the ending. And because of that, I can’t wait to read book 2.

I recommend Brainstorm to anyone over 13. There is mild language, violence, and no sexual situations. Also, see my one trigger warning above.

Many thanks to Nissa Harlow for allowing me to read and review Brainstorm. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Brainstorm, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Nissa Harlow:

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