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review 2017-11-17 17:04
The Good Liar
The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily - Laura Creedle

An explosion has just taken down a building in Chicago, killing 513 people. Cecily Grayson was supposed to be inside that building but was running late. She watched the explosion knowing her husband and her best friend were both inside. Kate escaped disaster and is now living thousands of miles away, praying her past won't catch up with her. Franny is a young woman who is searching for her birth mother. While watching the morning news that day she knew that the woman she was desperate to meet was inside the building. The tragedy once again dominates the news now that it's the one-year anniversary. And these three women have their own secrets and lies that are becoming impossible to keep hidden.

Another five star read by Catherine McKenzie. She's one of those authors that I don't really have to read what the book is about because I already know it's going to be great, whatever it is. She creates such vivid characters and lives for those characters that it's impossible for me not to feel as though I'm part of. Her writing is so effortless that I can't believe how many pages I've read when it's (sadly) time to put the book down. I loved it!

Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC.

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review 2017-11-05 21:25
For lovers of clever and witty dialogue, geeks, sci-fi, popular culture and Oscar Wilde. A great YA story.
Not Now, Not Ever - Lily Anderson

I read and reviewed Lily Anderson’s first book The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You (you can check my review here) last year. I loved it and I mentioned that I would be watching out for more of the author’s books. When a publicist from St. Martin’s Press got in touch with me offering me to take part in the blog tour for the author’s next book, I had to check it out. When I read that this time the author’s inspiration was Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest I knew I’d fight tooth-and-nail to take part if necessary. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that, but it would have been worth it.

Elliot/Ever (if you know Wilde’s play, you’ll know that there are several people using false identities for a variety of reasons, mostly to live a different kind of life away from prying eyes) is a seventeen year old African-American girl, who lives in California, with a somewhat complicated family background (the Lawrence, on her mother’s side, have a long tradition of joining the Air Force, and her mother, in fact, teaches at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, while she lives with her father, a lawyer of French descent. Her step-Mom, Beth, is an estate agent, white, and an amateur actress, and she has a half-brother, Ethan). Her mother and all of her mother’s family expect her to join the Air Force, while her father wants her to do anything but that (mostly go to College somewhere nearby). And Elliot… Well, she wants to study Science-Fiction Literature. She is a geek. Her step-mother is about to play Gwendoline for the sixth time in an amateur production of The Importance of Being Earnest (that Elliot knows by heart from so many performances and rehearsals) and she decides to take control of her life and avoid another farcical summer. She lies to everybody around her, creates a fake identity (inspired by Wilde’s play), and after passing a genius exam to enter a summer programme (to win a fantastic scholarship to the college of her dreams, mostly because they have an amazing sci-fi collection in the library and they offer a degree in Science-Fiction Literature) she sets off to Oregon, determined to win no matter what.

Elliot/Ever soon discovers that you cannot outrun Wilde and that there’s nothing more farcical than a camp for geniuses. She has a few surprises (she’s not the only one to use a fake identity or lie), meets wonderful people (and some not quite so wonderful), finds love, and discovers what’s really important.

Like in Anderson’s previous novel, we have a first-person narration, this time by Elliot, who is a clever, witty, and determined girl. In this case she was not aware she was a genius (another member of the family was always considered the clever one), but the summer camp is not that dissimilar to the high school in the previous novel, although in this case everybody, apart from the college students who facilitate the camp, are new to the place, they don’t know each other and are thrown together in pretty stressful circumstances. We have, again, many pop culture and bigger Culture references (some, I must admit went over my head, but I didn’t mind that), a diverse group of students, but all clever, studious, dedicated, nerdy, and quirky. I loved Leigh, Elliot’s roommate, Brandon (a guy who carries a typewriter around. Come on, I’m a writer too. Who would not love him), and most of the characters. The dialogue sparkles and the quotes from Wilde’s play, that keep popping up into Elliot’s head, are sometimes humorous (I particularly like the ‘A tree!’ ‘A handbag!’ comparison) but sometimes the author chooses quotes that reflect the serious matters at hand. Although at first, it seems the furthest possible setting for such a play, the summer camp works well, as we have many restrictions, a lockdown, rules that can be broken and people hiding secrets, overhearing things they shouldn’t, and getting into all kinds of problems.

There is cheating, friendships, betrayals, bizarre but vividly portrayed contests (Star Wars based fights to the death, The Breakfast Club themed memory tests…) and young romance.

I don’t know if it was because of the build-up and the identity changes but it took me a bit longer to get into the story than it did the previous novel, but once at the camp and when I got used to Elliot/Ever’s voice and her accurate descriptions of people and things, I felt as if I was there and could not put the book down.

The ending… Well, you’ll have to read it. It’s probably not what you expect but it’s good.

Once again I’ve highlighted many bits. A few random ones:

And he was wearing loafers. I couldn’t get my swoon on for a guy who didn’t wear socks.

Two narrow pressboard wardrobes that were less Narnia, more IKEA.

She sounded as though she really meant it, but that could have been because everything she said sounded vaguely like it was licensed by Disney.

He was cute and presumably very smart and, unlike so many other white dudes, he’d never told me how much hip-hop meant to him like my melanin made me a rap ambassador.

Another great YA novel that I’d recommend to people who enjoy sci-fi and pop culture references, people who love books and libraries, and who appreciate young female characters that have interests beyond school balls and boyfriends. And of course, if you love witty dialogue, farcical plots, and are a fan of Oscar Wilde, you are in for a treat. I’ll for sure be waiting for Anderson’s next novel.

Thanks to Wednesday Books (St. Martin’s Press) and to NetGalley for providing me an ARC copy of the novel that I freely chose to review.

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review 2017-11-02 01:37
The White Lily
The White Lily - Juliette Cross

In the northern Varis Empire, Friedrich Volya, the Duke of Winter Hill is the one in charge. His uncles are Dominik (the most ruthless of the Queen's sons) and Marius (he married the leader of the rebellion and "betrayed" his family). Friedrich is on the side of the rebellion. Someone in his land is spreading a pamphlet of support for the rebellion and is called "The White Lily." Dominik is on a quest to find and bring down this person. 
Brennalyn has lived in Terrington for the last 3 years. She works as a school teacher, taking in orphans who have no where else to go. She also is an agitator and is actively working for social change. 
I've enjoyed each book in this series. Each is a fairy tale retelling. This one is Snow White. Brenna has 7 orphans (Helena, Emment, Caden, Beatrice, Jack, Denny, and Izzy) that she is mom to. They think of her as mom and I loved Friedrich's reaction to them too. I liked, although it's brief, reading about Arabelle, Marius, Sienna, and Nikolai again after their stories. The underlying story is progressing and I like where this is going. 
No description is out for book 4 (assuming there will be a book 4), but I'm guessing it will be Dragomir Vilhelmina of Arkadia's book, aka Mina. I hope. I suspect maybe Mikhail (Blood Guard) or Dane as the love interest. I'm interested to see if I'm right.

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review 2017-10-25 15:02
ARC Review: The White Lily (Vampire Blood #3) by Juliette Cross
The White Lily - Juliette Cross
The White Lily

Vampire Blood #3
Juliette Cross
Paranormal Romance
Entangled Publishing, Amara
October 23rd 2017
eBook
326
NetGalley

 

To the north of the Varis empire, a mysterious faction spreads propaganda against the vampire monarchy. Friedrich Volya, the Duke of Winter Hill, seeks to discover who they are before his uncle finds them first. King Dominik will punish the traitors with brutal force.

 

Local schoolteacher, the raven-haired Brennalyn, is on her own mission—to spy on the duke and discover what she can for the Black Lily. She longs to help the commonwealth and bring justice to the many orphans left behind from the ravages of the blood madness, like the children she lovingly keeps in her care. What she doesn’t plan for is the heart-pounding attraction she feels for the duke, enemy to the Black Lily.

 

But when Brennalyn’s secret puts her life and the life of her children in danger, Friedrich steps in as her protector, she finds out there’s more to the duke than she thought.

 

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

 

 

The White Lily was another compelling read in the Vampire Blood series.

 

I have to say I absolutely love the prologues and epilogues in this series. Ms. Cross writes such gripping and enticing, beginnings and ends, that I’m blown-away and hooked immediately.

 

This one is a loose retailing of the fairy tale, Snow White. Brennalyn Snow is a school teacher. She’s got a big heart, is a mother to seven orphaned children, and wants to aid the rebellion against the aristocracy vampires that rule over all humans. Friedrich Volya, Duke of Winter Hill is secretly helping the rebellion and has been keeping an eye on the raven haired school teacher for sometime now.

 

It took me a little while to get into this story. I felt the romance and plot where a little slow going, but once I got into the story, things moved quickly. A few things where easy to spot, but the danger was strong and enticing. Near the end we get a little surprise. Which made me giddy and shows that things will soon be coming to a head in the war against the crown.

 

“It was no longer a war of humans against vampires. It was a war between justice and tyranny.” 

 

For the romance I wasn’t fully falling into it and I didn’t fully love it like I have the previous two couples in this series. Their romance was still good. The passion and attraction where their and very strong, but something was lacking with Friedrich and Brennalyn’s romance. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just felt something was missing.

 

As a last note, even though each of the books in the series are about different couples, the series is best read in order. There is a plot that continues thorough out the series and recurring characters.

 

The White Lily was a riveting read. I’m fond of Ms. Cross’s writing. She just has a way of pulling you into the story and characters and keeping you hooked. I can’t wait for the next installment in the Vampire Blood series. 

 

Rated: 4 Stars

 

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy provided by Entangled Publishing, LLC via NetGalley with the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

 

Challenge(s): Pick Your Genre (PNR) | New Release (2017)

 

 

 

 

I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/10/arc-review-the-white-lily-vampire-blood-3-by-juliette-cross
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review 2017-10-23 13:05
Book Review For: The White Lily by Juliette Cross
The White Lily - Juliette Cross

'The White Lily' by Juliette Cross is Book Three in The "Vampire Blood" series. This is the story of Friedrich Volya, the Duke of Winter Hill and Brennalyn. I have read the previous books (and loved them!) but feel this can easily be a standalone book.
Brennalyn is the local school teacher but she has a secret that she is hiding that puts her is very real danger if found out. Brennalyn has a soft heart too and has taken in some of the unwanted children who have become like her own children. Brennalyn's friend works at the Duke's house and one day while there 'talking' to her good friend, she looses her way and ends up in front of the Duke, Friedrich. Brennalyn pretends to be interested in being one of his blood women but he calls her out. Brennalyn then reports she wants the school to have a better stove. Brennalyn doesn't know if she can trust Friedrich and doesn't want him to know why she was really there. Friedrich knows that Brennalyn is lying to him but he not sure yet if he can trust her....but he does know he wants her.
This whole series has been great! This book just added to my love of this series. I cannot wait for more books to come by Ms. Cross!
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