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review 2017-07-25 02:33
Quick Thoughts: The Pretender
The Pretender (Liar's Club, #1) - Celeste Bradley

The Pretender
by Celeste Bradley
Book 1 of The Liar's Club



Rule #1: Never fall in love.

She had a secret she'd do anything to hide.
Agatha Cunnington, a headstrong beauty from the country, has come to London in search of her missing brother James.  The only clue she has is a cryptic letter signed The Griffin.  Agatha decides to disguise herself as a respectable married woman so that she can go about the city unnoticed.  But for her charade to work she needs a suitable "husband," preferably someone tall, elegant, and rakish—someone like Simon Montague Raines.

He had a secret he'd do anything to hide.
Simon Montague Raines, also known as The Magician, is a member of The Liar's Club, a renegade group of rogues and thieves in the service of the Crown.  When someone begins murdering members of the undercover cabal one by one, Simon is given the mission to bring in The Griffin, one of his comrades who is suspected of betraying his brothers.  Simon goes undercover and infiltrates the home of "Mrs." Agatha Applequist who he believes is the Griffin's mistress.  Before Simon knows what's happened, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to Agatha's soft, feminine charms--and he is tempted beyond reason to break the first rule of The Liar's Club: Never fall in love.

The Pretender started off really rocky, and I'll have to admit that there were moments in the beginning that I thought I'd end up frustrated with the book.  Our couple, as is typical of most romance novels, move from initial surprise meeting to insta-lust so quickly that I sort of got whiplash.  And then the lust continued to dominate most of their interactions and conversations and thoughts for a time.

Needless to say, I was definitely feeling a bit irritated with it.

But then, I can't quite pinpoint when, the story started getting interesting when things began to balance out.  Agatha started working with Simon in a strange little spy and investigation partnership rather than just issuing him his orders.  Simon started taking Agatha's abilities a little more seriously and the two sort of, unofficially accepted their strange partnership.

It was only all the more intriguing that Simon had false impressions about Agatha, and that Agatha was working under false impressions of Simon.

And while I would have loved for this weird tango of deceit and secrets to continue, I have to admit that the reveals and the twists in the middle of the book worked out quite well.  Nothing else seemed to change between the two save for a better understanding of each others' roles.

And as I was fully invested in both character's stories by then, I didn't care to nitpick too much more about the book as a whole.  Though I must admit that there were some moments (such as Agatha's multiple attempts to seduce Simon) that actually came out more comical, even in spite of the more serious tone of her own thought processes.  In creating these scenes however, I actually came to admire some of the more inelegant behaviors and actions of our two main characters (the scene where Agatha is unceremoniously thrust out of Simon's room in the nude is quite unforgettable, as I think about her having to make a stumbling sprint back to her own bedroom to avoid awkward discovery).

On a side note, Simon's attempts at evading seduction (a la the aforementioned scene where he extricates Agatha from his immediate quarters) were commendable.  But really, with Agatha's head-strong determination, the poor guy really didn't have a chance in the world of resistance.

I think this is what sort of made the book a bit more enticing to me--not the seduction process, no.  The characters were unique and interesting in their own ways, but their actions and antics were quite entertaining to follow.  Well, okay, it was really Agatha's antics I really enjoyed the most, what with her managing to make so much headway into ferreting out secrets and investigating her brother's disappearance within days, while Simon admits that it had taken him and his men much longer to even come up with some inkling of what might have happened to James Cunnington.

Agatha was a study in contradictions, really.  She believes herself to be ordinary and not a beauty.  But during her investigations, she tactfully uses her larger than average bosom size (a not so ordinary trait) to extract information from many of the salivating lords and gentlemen she interacts with.  She's written as a character who doesn't really have a deceitful bone in her body... and yet all of her behaviors are contradictory because she begins the book as a liar who creates a fake marriage and husband as part of her investigation strategy.

And yet, she's a readily likable character.  In contrast, Simon was rather ordinary and standard for a romance novel.

Other characters in The Pretender were also wonderfully crafted as well, and I can't wait to see if any of them play a role in following books.

Meanwhile, there were a few things about this book that didn't quite work out for me, thus the rather mediocre to blah rating.  But I can't deny that I enjoyed myself enough to want to continue on with the series.

The Pretender isn't the best book in the world, and definitely didn't start off all that well.  Others who would expect a great book within the first few chapters might get impatient, but I'm quite satisfied that it felt like our author seemed to find a direction and better footing in her writing process as the book itself progressed.  Though, to be honest, I can't help but note that the book DOES seem to feel like it could have been two, or maybe even three, different anecdotes when you get to the second half, even while the ending manages to tie things together well enough.



Roll #30:  "Read a book where a main character is in STEM, or where the author's first and last name contain all of the letters in 'Tesla'."

Authors first and last name = Celeste Bradley

Page Count:  384
Cash Award:  +$6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $227.00



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/07/quick-thoughts-pretender.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-21 21:43
Liar, Liar - TA Moore,TA Moore (ID: 4826269)


Dear T.A. Moore,

I remembered trying your book about the shifters and putting it aside simply because I was not in the mood for the post apocalypse setting, but I also remembered really enjoying your writing and when I saw this book I happily one clicked because it sounded like my cup tea and mostly the book did not disappoint.

The blurb mostly describes the set up very well. We meet Jacob when he is pretty much in the middle of trying to steal some computer related information from a bioengineering firm where Jacob is cleaning offices while being part of the cleaning crew. His cleaning gig was a part of his master plan to get into the bioengineering firm in the first place of course.

As an aside, I cannot exactly tell you what specific information Jacob was stealing except that it was called code that was supposed to help other program run better and do a whole lot of good things. Honestly to me it read as a mumbo jumbo but I am not a computer person – it could be that the author did a lot of research and the computer people will find it believable. In any event the story itself did not really depend on whether the information that Jacob was stealing made any kind of sense or not in my opinion.  Except one thing which I think you should know – supposedly Jacob’s client wanted to prove that Simon’s boss stole this code from him in the first place and this information would confirm it or not.

Jacob’s plan goes a little wrong, actually a lot wrong and he has to run away from the place even if he managed to steal what he needed. Simon who is the chief of security at the firm tries to apprehend him but fails. Needless to say it leaves Simon very pissed off, knowing that he got involved with the spy at their firm. And as much as Jacob is trying to tell the reader that Simon does not matter to him very fast we learn that it is not true either.

The action continues to unfold very fast from now on and the reader rarely gets a chance to catch a breath. Jacob is meeting with his client to give to him the stolen information (whatever that information was), but out of nowhere he is attacked, beaten and his client ended up dead.

Now not only Simon and his boss want a piece of Jacob, but he is also framed for murder. Jacob though manages to give Simon a call somehow and Simon saves him from nasty people.

Now Simon and Jacob are stuck together (by choice no matter how much they want to deny it) and trying to figure out what is really going on and how Jacob’s job was connected to the murder if it was connected at all.

You would ask me readers, what about romance? I will certainly say that the book has romantic elements, but in my opinion it is first and foremost a thriller/mystery and the author did a really good job with those, especially with the thriller part of it. I may have figured out who was behind the unfolding events a little earlier than our heroes, but it was first and foremost because of the limited cast of the story, not of anything obvious our main villain did till the really big clue fell in my lap. And this was the clue which meant to clue Simon in, so it was *really* obvious, but even when I knew who I had no idea about “why”.

Romantic storyline was definitely there, but first and foremost we do not see the men falling in love when the story begins they are already involved and have pretty strong feelings for each other (once again no matter how much they want to deny it and one of them even learns to say “I love you” by the end of the book. They are also pretty busy trying to figure out what is going on, even if they manage to have some sex amongst all the action. And because we do not see the relationship evolving much; I thought that even at the very end it was clear that it could use a lot of work (their relationship that is).

Both guys also have pretty big character flaws. This is the case when I thought that author made flawed characters work very well for me, but if you do not want to read about liar and manipulator who fell in love with alcoholic, this book is probably not for you.

"He was a liar. He was a criminal. Simon glanced to where Fozzy was lying on the backseat. He was possibly a dognapper. And he was leaving. None of it mattered. Simon still wanted to drag him into his lap and kiss him until he stopped being an idiot. Although that would probably take more time than they had. “Let me get this straight.” He averted his eyes and scowled out the window at the perfectly manicured gardens and expensively uninteresting houses. Christmas decorations that side of town were apparently minimal—just twinkling lights in the garden and tasteful wreaths on the doors. The gaudiest was a neighborhood anarchist who had a wreath of red, green, and gold baubles on the door. “Your plan is to walk up, try the door, and hope no one stops us?”

Don’t worry, they are together and in love when the book ends, but at most it felt like HFN ending and even for HFN it felt a little shaky. NOT because I doubted their love, but because I would have liked the other guy to be able to communicate something stronger than “We know I am not good for you”. He stayed, so fingers crossed they would work on the communication skills.

"It wasn’t funny. Except it was. Simon snorted out a laugh that hurt and managed to convince one arm to cooperate enough to reach for Jacob. He grabbed hold of his hand, squeezed the fingers roughly, and dragged him down into a hug. Relief filled his chest like warm air and bubbles and pushed the pain out to the corners."



Grade: B+



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text 2017-04-09 18:08
Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren $1.99
Wicked Sexy Liar - Christina Lauren

When three college besties meet three hot guys in Vegas, anything can—and does—happen. Book Four in the New York Times Wild Seasons series that began with Sweet Filthy Boy (the Romantic Times book of the year that Sylvia Day called “a sexy, sweet treasure of a story”), Dirty Rowdy Thing, and Dark Wild Night.

For two people ambivalent about dating and love, they sure get naked around each other an awful lot . . .

London Hughes is very content to surf daily, tend bar, hang out with her group of friends, and slowly orient herself in the years after college. Everything’s going great and according to the non-plan.

But when a wave knocks her for a loop one morning, then Luke Sutter’s flirtatious smile knocks her for another that evening, she veers slightly off course…and into his path. Sure, he’s a total player, but the Why not—it’s only one night is a persistent voice in her ear.

For his part, Luke’s been on hookup autopilot for so long that he rarely ever pauses to consider what he’s doing. But after an amazing time with London, he realizes that he hasn’t been moving on from a devastating heartbreak so much as he’s been drifting to wherever—and whomever—the current takes him. With London he wants more.

Every relationship involves two people…plus their pasts. And as much as she enjoys her fling with Luke, when London learns about his past—more specifically, who’s in it—everything becomes the brand of complicated she strives to avoid. It’s up to Luke then to change some things in order to try and ensure he’s not something she’ll outright avoid as well.

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review 2017-03-21 10:13
Review: The Liar (#1) by Jennifer Wells
The Liar - Jennifer Wells

Published by: Aria (6 October 2016)


ISBN: 978-1786691071


Rating: 5*



It's 1935 and housewife Emma glimpses a face in a crowd – a little girl with a very unique birthmark. Transfixed by the sight of a stranger; Emma becomes convinced that the girl is her long-lost daughter taken from her at birth. There is only one problem: Emma's daughter is dead. So who is the stranger? The Liar follows Emma's journey as she tries to find out what really happened to her daughter - a journey that unearths secrets from the past and ends in obsession. . .



I'm so pleased I got the opportunity to meet the author and find out about this book, because if I'd seen it in a book shop I'd probably have walked straight past; it just doesn't look like the sort of book I'd usually enjoy. I'm not into historical or family saga or even romance particularly, which is where you'd find The Liar on Amazon. The back cover blurb hinted at the mystery inside and piqued my interest enough for me to buy a copy there and then. I think it would work really well if it was re-branded...I'd describe it as a psychological thriller, and a pretty damn good one at that! 


This is a tale told from two perspectives - Emma's and Ruby's, the little girl who resembles Emma's daughter. The author's clever use of vocabulary and writing style drew me in from the outset and made the environment come alive. I really felt as though I was there beside Emma as  tried to find out what had happened to her daughter.


The complex characters are well written, and the relationships sensitively conveyed. I pretty much read this in one sitting, I just couldn't put it down! Just when i thought i had figured out what was going to happen next, along came another twist. What happened at the end is truly shocking! For a first novel, this is fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough! Jennifer Wells is one to watch!




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review 2016-12-22 22:57
Liar & Spy
Liar & Spy - Rebecca Stead

I liked this book, but everything felt a little too quirky this time around. Like there are no "normal" characters that I can remember (except maybe Safer's mom and even she was a little weird). Some readers might find that annoying.


I liked the story though. The twist felt abrupt to me, but about halfway through I kind of remembered that a twist was coming, so I think that was just my own brain sabotaging my rereading.


Liar & Spy is not my favorite Stead (I mean, she'll have to work really hard to top When You Reach Me), but if you're a fan of her other books you'll probably like this one too.

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