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Three New Book Responses

P&P - Elizabeth - standing in breeze on
Dark Lover

Though not traditionally considered a young adult novel, considering the fact that Dark Love: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward is the first book in a supernatural series featuring vampires, (and it's good!), it is a work that I know many young adult readers would appreciate. In this series, vampires are not turned; they are bred. And they are not invincible... though it's not the traditional foibles such as crosses, holy water, and wooden stakes which pose a danger to them. Rather, the vampires are hunted by a society of soulless, former humans called Lessers. To defend the race, there is the Black Dagger Brotherhood, an exclusive group of strong vampire warriors, one of which is their reclusive, reluctant king, Wrath.

Then there's Beth - a beautiful, young, family-less reporter... who just so happens to be the daughter of one of the brothers, but she doesn't know of her vampire father and is about to enter her transition - where she'll change from human to vampire. Hell, she doesn't even know that vampires exist. Though her father goes to Wrath and asks him to help her through this process, the leader turns his friend down, only to change his mind after Darrius is murdered by a Lesser. Changing his mind, he goes to her, only to be immediately drawn to her. Now, this might become cliche at this point, but Ward keeps things fresh and interesting by making it so that Wrath is nearly blind. While Beth might be gorgeous, he can't see her. Oh, he knows that she's beautiful, simply by the way that other men react towards her and by touching her, but his initial attraction is chemical, instinctual.

There's love and sex, violence and intrigue, but this is not a book for the weak of stomach or maturity. With an attempted rape scene, numerous fight sequences, chokings, supernatural transformations, shotguns, throwing star, wicked knives, and so many other dangerous situations and weapons, there's quite a bit of bite with these vampires. So, if you prefer your supernatural creatures harmless kittens, this book is not for you, but, if you like blood and gore, Dark Lover will entertain you.

Love the One You're With

Changing paces, Love the One You're With delves into the life of a recently, happily married career woman who accidentally runs into an past love and almost instantaneously starts to question the decisions she has made in life. Though she doesn't doubt the fact that she loves her husband, she starts to ask those dangerous 'what if' questions. At first, she merely keeps a harmless run-in and then a more than harmless but less than harmful spur of the moment coffee date from her husband, but this quickly escalates into a secret work assignment, lustful thoughts, and a very meaningful cross-country flight between the former couple. Things only go from bad to worse when she agrees to move away from New York City to her husband's hometown of Atlanta, leaving behind not only her life in the Big Apple but also the ex she's starting to wonder if she was meant to be with all along.

Told from the perspective of Ellen, Love the One You're With is lighter on the plot and heavier on the character analysis. It delves deeply into the main character's frame of mind, her thoughts, her feelings as she explores the ups and downs of a marriage's first year, temptation, and confronting an unsettled past. This wasn't the first novel by Emily Giffin that I've read ((previously, I've read Something Borrowed and liked it quite well), but I found myself rather annoyed with the main character in this story. Though I'm not someone who would ever claim that cheating is something that is as black and white as it is often portrayed, I felt as though Ellen's dilemma in this book was clear cut and straight forward. Without a doubt, I wanted her with her husband. For me, there was nothing likable about her ex, which meant that I wasn't torn at all about who she was supposed to be with. However, because Ellen was torn, I found myself annoyed with her at times, even somewhat disliking her, a character who, otherwise, was quite likable.

Bottom line, though? Did I like this book... overall? Yes. Would I recommend it to others? Yes. However, with that said, I think it could have been better.

Blue Bloods

Recommended to me by some of my AP Senior English students, Blue Bloods is the first novel in the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz. Once more, this is a supernatural work which focuses upon vampires. (If you haven't noticed yet, I like both of these types of books.) Also, like with Dark Lover, vampires are not turned in this series but, rather, a select set of 400 individuals whose essences are, after a cycle, passed on over and over again so they live multiple lives but their souls are immortal. At least, they're supposed to be immortal. The problem is that there is something attacking and killing the seemingly indestructible vampires.

Literally blue bloods - the most wealthy, most prestigious, and most famous of New York society, those who are fanged in this book are also fabulous... mostly. There is one vampire - Schuyler, one of the main characters and narrators - whose family, through a series of unfortunate events and had investments, have lost their fortune. But this isn't the only reason why she is different than all the other new transitioning teens being inducted into their elite group; she's also a half breed, the product of a pure vampire's union with a human. Perhaps it is because of her differences, though, which make her less likely to do what she's told, to swallow blindly the lies that she is fed, so, when she is told by the most popular boy at school, another blue blood, that a friend of his who died was really murdered and when she finds herself, someone who is supposedly immortal, attacked and nearly murdered as well, she starts to investigate, no matter what anyone says to try to distract and change her mind.

Tossed into the mystery is also the intrigue of high society - private schools, fancy parties, and designer clothes - and the pettiness of high school. There are cliches and jealousies, rivals and first loves. There is also the characters' past lives which linger at the periphery and give slight clues into who these vampire are now and what is to happen to them in the future. Though there is death, there's also almost always the constant hope of new life... or is there? There's pure evil out there, stalking and preying upon those who are supposed to be invincible, and, quite rapidly, Schuyler finds her interest in uncovering the mystery... which has led to a conspiracy and cover-up just one more thing that alienates her from everyone else. Will she unravel the lies and deception surrounding her in time, or will she die trying to?

Blue Bloods is a fun, entertaining, yet still intriguing read, one that I would definitely recommend. My one complaint, though: Mimi Force. Schuyler's rival is the ultimate debutant, Schuyler's complete opposite. The only problem is that, while Schuyler is a flawed yet likable character, Mimi is not. She's just downright unpleasant and doesn't have a single, redeeming quality, making their conflict too one-sided. Still, though, even with this in mind, I've just started book two (so far there are four) of the series, and I'll be back soon a response for it. Keep your eyes peeled.


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January 2014


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