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The Pretenders (Pretenders, #1) by Lisi Harrison

Title: Pretenders
Author: Lisi Harrison
Series: Pretenders, #1
Pages: 293
Publisher: Poppy
Date: October 1, 2013

 

Summary:

It takes place at a high school in New Jersey. Summer is over. Sophomore year begins tomorrow. Outfits are being planned. Lunch buddies are being secured. Texts are flying. All seems normal when…ping! Everyone in the sophomore class gets an email.

SUBJECT: The Phoenix Five: License To Spill.

Attached is a mega document.

A letter from a mysterious student starts the book. It explains that at the end of each year the school yearbook- The Phoenix- names the five most outstanding freshman. She (or he) always suspected that last years’ five (3 girls, 2 boys) were phonies. She (or he) always thought they tried too hard to be popular. But she (or he) never had the proof. Until now. She (or he) stole the secret diaries they were asked to keep by their English teacher. She (or he) has compiled them into a book.

This is that book.

Review:

I don’t even know where to start. There are so many things I didn’t like about this book that it’s hard to pick one.

Let me say first: the book is YA. I can see the appeal to teenage girls and if I was still a high school librarian, I would probably add it to the collection. However, personally, I had a hard time finishing it.

Now, why don’t I like it.

It’s written in first person which I generally don’t like.
Not only is it first person, it is first person from multiple viewpoints. Five to be exact. I never was able to keep everyone straight.
I was waffling between giving it a two or three-stars until I got to the end. It has a cliffhanger ending which I ALWAYS hate. Two-stars it is.

Anyway, as an adult reading this book, I can appreciate the idea that people hide things from others. Whether it is to impress or to stay unnoticed, people rarely if ever tell the truth about themselves. In this book, which is supposed to be a compilation of five students’ private journals, all those truths come out.

And that is the one thing I like about it. I like the idea that teenage readers (and yes, I am talking primarily about the girls) will see that everyone has something to hide. No one’s life is perfect no matter how it looks on the outside.

So, yes, I would put this in a school library, but I am not in the least tempted to read the sequel even though there was a cliffhanger ending.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Blogger Shame

I was supposed to have reviewed this book when it was released and did not.  I am trying to clear up my back log of reviews owed.

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The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1) by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden, #1
Pages: 485
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date: April 24, 2012

Summary:

To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for… again.

Review:

This is my first Julie Kagawa book, but it won’t be my last. I have gotten tired of the entire Young Adult vampire genre and delayed reading this book for years. I thought to myself, been there, done that.

I was so wrong.

Kagawa brings an entirely different plot to the many, many vampire books that have saturated the market. Is there a romance? Yes, but barely and it certainly isn’t the focus of the book. Are there vampires? Yes, of course, but although she has kept many of the standard vampire themes, the world itself is completely different.

No, I’m not going to tell you how. Spoilers are not your friend. You really will have to read it for yourself.

I will share one passage that I got a kick out of. It’s almost a throwaway part, but because I know the traditional vampire tropes, it struck me as funny.

“At one point, I stepped in something soft like mud, and looked up to see the ceiling crawling with what looked like hundreds of winged mice. I didn’t mention this to Zeke as we hurried forward, though for some bizarre reason I felt a strange kinship with the tiny grotesque creatures.”

And no, she can’t turn into a bat and fly away . . . at least not in this book.

I am a high school librarian and I really only read this book so I could discuss it with my students. I never intended to read the sequels. Well, I am now. I have to know what happens to Zeke, Ally, and the rest of the characters. Some of them I want to be sure survive and others I want to make sure DIE!

I am so glad the next two books are already published. I would hate to have to wait to find out.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Giving In (Surrender, #2) by Maya Banks

giving-in

Title: Giving In
Author: Maya Banks
Series: Surrender, #2
Pages: 320
Publisher: Penguin Group
Date: May 6, 2014

 

Summary:

Kylie sees the way Jensen looks at her. The dark promise in his eyes. That rough edge of dominance she knows he possesses. But dominance is the one thing that frightens her above all else. She and her brother barely survived a childhood steeped in violence and abuse. She could never give up total control and submit to a man. Especially a man like Jensen. Could she?

Jensen sees the shadows in Kylie’s eyes. Knows he has to tread very carefully or risk losing any chance he has with her. All he wants is the opportunity to show her that dominance doesn’t equal pain, bondage or discipline. That emotional surrender is the most powerful of all, and that to submit—fully to him—will fulfill the aching void in her heart in a way nothing else ever will.

Review:

I thought I would like this book better than I did. I read it when it was first released and had so-so feelings about it. I still gave it four stars, but I thought Jensen was just too good to be true. He was just too noble and in touch with what Kylie needed. Perfection is unnerving, don’t you think?

Anyway, I re-read it a few days ago, so I could give it the review it needs. My opinion didn’t change. If anything, Jensen annoyed me even more this time around than he did originally. The only time he reacted as a human was when

SPOILER ALERT!

 

 

 

he had a nightmare and hurt Kylie. Even then, he was giving up what he wanted most in the world to protect her.

Of course, it all works out in the end and my opinion did not make me dislike the book. I think it was saved by Kylie. If ever there was someone who let her emotions, especially the hidden ones, affect her relationships with everyone around her, it was Kylie. I actually liked her the most because she seemed the most real.

Read this book, but read Letting Go first. This trilogy is tightly knit and you don’t want to miss out on anything. There are any number of great lines, so I’ll share a few.

“Some things are inevitable, Kylie. You and I are inevitable. No matter how much you fight it. No matter how much you deny it. We are inevitable.”

Yes, it’s sappy, but it is sweet.

Kylie, Joss, and Chessy are best friends with really distinct personalities. Joss and Chessy know Kylie is keeping something from them and she is determined to find out what.

Without Joss, the peacemaker, as a buffer, Chessy would latch onto Kylie’s ass and wouldn’t be able to be pried loose with a crowbar.

And regardless of how I feel about sappy, this is an absolutely wonderful description of Kylie’s and Jensen’s relationship.

But she didn’t want to exist without him and therein lay the truth. Loving him, leaning on him, didn’t mean she was helpless or hopelessly dependent on him. It just meant she was better with him.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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The Cursed (League of the Black Swan, #1) by Alyssa Day

The Cursed (League of the Black Swan, #1)The Cursed by Alyssa Day
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: The Cursed
Author: Alyssa Day
Series: League of the Black Swan, #1
Pages: 282
Publisher: Berkley
Date: May 7, 2013

Summary:

Bordertown private investigator Luke Oliver’s beat is the dimensional fold in Manhattan between the human and supernatural realms. But now a secret from his past—the League of the Black Swan—has surfaced. Because Luke isn’t any ordinary P.I. He’s the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, and he never backs down from a fight.

But this time the fight threatens his life and his heart. Rio Jones, the only woman he loved, needs his help against a deadly menace. Luke pushed her away once before, so she’d never fall prey to the curse that threatens to destroy him. He swore he’d never let her go again.

Luke and Rio, with the help of the newly reformed League, must keep evil forces from taking over Bordertown—all the while battling a passion on the razor’s edge between danger and desire. And going to take everything they have just to stay alive.

Review:

I read this book when it was released and gave it five stars. I decided since I had not yet reviewed it to read it again to see if I felt the same way. Yep. I was right. It is definitely a five star book.

The setting is New York City . . . or at least it is New York for the humans. It is actually an area where the worlds of human, demon, and Fae intersect. In other words, it is the border, so Bordertown. Anyway, Bordertown is where you go when you don’t fit in anywhere else, OR you’ve been kicked out of everywhere else.

Luke Oliver is a good guy. He’s been around for years, think hundreds, not decades. He is the strongest wizard in Bordertown and “people” keep hounding him to take the sheriff’s job. He is not interested in the job at all, but that doesn’t keep people from bringing it up.

Rio is human, mostly, and can read most people’s minds. As you can imagine, that can be an ugly gift to have. Now, the bad guys are after her and she has no idea why. All she knows is it has something to do with her twenty-fifth birthday which is coming soon.

Throw in a child’s kidnapping, a Fae lady, and a demon prince. Not to mention, Grendels and goblins. Obviously, things get exciting fast.
And they stay that way.

Alyssa Day does an excellent job of worldbuilding without overwhelming the reader with too much detail. The secondary characters are described well enough to serve their purpose in the plot, but there are not so many of them that I felt like I needed to take notes. That has happened to me before with other books.

I have been reading Day’s Warriors of Poseidon series since its beginning and I love them. Every time I re-read them, I am amazed at how good they are. Based on this book, The League of the Black Swan series is going to be the same.

There is an in between book out titled The Curse of the Black Swan which can be found in the anthology Enthralled. I contacted the author on Twitter and she said the next book, The Unforgiven, will be available for free to her newsletter subscribers in either January or February of this year. I cannot wait.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Filed under Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance