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The End of a Drought

Lover Enshrined

It has been 48 days since I last posted a book response.

Now, it has not been for a lack of reading on my part. On the contrary, I have read story after story, page after page of online fanfiction, but there has been no dent put into the stack of unread books residing upon my bedroom floor. Back in April, my goal had been to finish the Black Dagger Brotherhood series so that the blog's book of the month could have been Ward's latest release. Obviously, this didn't happen. Granted, I was extremely busy with school last semester, but I always make a little bit of time to read each and every night before bed, and, for the past near two months, that time has not been spent reading Lover Enshrined as it should have been. Last week, however, I decided enough was enough, and I forced myself to finish this novel. Yes, forced, because I did not enjoy this sixth installment of the series. Consequently, I will be taking a break from the Brotherhood series, though I do promise to finish reading (and responding) to them eventually. For now, though, let's delve into why I didn't enjoy Lover Enshrined.

As I have mentioned before with these books, if I do not enjoy the lead characters and their relationship, then the novel doesn't make the grade for me, and that proved to be the case with Lover Enshrined. I had no patience with Phury's addition. Yes, in the past, I stated that I believed he would become more interesting if he did progress his drug habit from red smoke to heroin... which he did but just once. However, at that point in the book, I was already bored and, quite frankly, annoyed. Plus, I have little patience for those with addictions. In addition, I do not enjoy the character of Cormia, his mate, either. Maybe she wanted to be an individual, but it took her an entire novel to finalize just a few character traits specific to her own personality. Essentially, for much of the tome, she was a blank slate. There was nothing to identify with, and it was no wonder that she was unhappy. If I didn't voice my own opinions and allowed everyone to walk all over me, I'd be unhappy, too. Although she had a legitimate excuse, for she was a member of the Chosen, this didn't translate into her being dynamic enough to read about.

Another aspect of Lover Enshrined which frustrated me was Phury's poor attitude, his insipid 'Wizard' which spoke to him, taunting him about his life and choices, and the gigantic chip that rested upon his wide yet, apparently incapable of handling such a heavy burden, shoulders. Yes, life had dealt Phury a terrible hand. Not only was his twin brother kidnapped, but his parents were wastes, and he lost a leg saving that brother, but get over it already. Despite all these things, he had a really good life – friends and family who loved him, an important position in vampire society, and all the money a person could ever hope for. Love, honor, and financial means, that's not a combination to take for granted, yet Phury did to the point where he almost threw everything away.

Next on my roster of complaints is Rhevenge's... lover?... I guess I would call her. I like to think that I have a broad curiosity and a pretty open mind, but his sex scene with his symphath queen was disturbing. With the references and comparisons to a scorpion, the chapter detailing their intimate relations bordered on bestiality, in my opinion. At the end, I didn't feel sorry for Rhevenge; I was just disturbed, and, knowing that there is an eventual novel devoted to him and his future relationship, I fear having to read yet another scene (let alone several) between him and his blackmailer.

Finally, I must complain about all the slang and abbreviations used in the books. I swear, with each novel I read in the series, Ward includes more and more of this. While I understand that it is supposed to set a mood and add to the characterizations – creating veracity where the characters are concerned, all it does is distract me, especially if I have to stop in the middle of a sentence and figure out what exactly the characters are actually saying. Yes, maybe there are people who talk the way these vampires do, but I don't, and no one that I know personally does either. It's called moderation. Use it. Please.

I'll admit that this is a lot of complaining. There are a few things that I can speak positively about as far as Lover Enshrined is concerned: I appreciated Lash's reveal and transformation into the Omega's son (though I must say that I think these novels and the war between the vampires and the lessers would be more entertaining if the lessers weren't so clearly the bad guys, if there was a little gray in this war rather than just strictly black and white, but that's an entirely separate matter), I was glad that Tohr was found and returned to the Brotherhood, and I think that there is some promise with the Lassiter storyline. He was amusing.

Anyway, the bottom line is this: if this novel stood alone and was not a part of a series, I would not recommend it. However, Lover Enshrined is smack dab in the middle of an ongoing series, which means, if you want to read some of the books – the good ones, you're going to have to read the bad ones as well or risk being confused and lost the next time you pick up one of Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. So, if you want to read the series, be warned that you'll have to make it through this sixth book, but don't pick it up expecting it to become your new favorite novel. At least, that's my say in the matter.

Dusting Off One More Book of Bite

 

Lover Unbound

As Lover Revealed left off, I was analyzing Vishous's character. I was partially right. He was confusing affection for love and sexual attraction, having never felt such emotions before. It took him actually falling in love to realize that his feelings for Butch were confused and not what they appeared. However, I was wrong about his sexual orientation; he was bisexual. Technically. But sex wasn't about pleasure or love for Vishous before Lover Unbound; it was about domination. He didn't pick the individuals he slept with based upon attraction or anything more than them being a willing and able body. This is why I really liked the fact that, when he first experienced sex for more than just the need to control, he equated it to losing his virginity. In a way, he did.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

First, let us meet Dr. Jane Whitcomb, Vishous' love interest. There were three things that made me appreciate and like her character. First of all, despite the fact that she was a human, her backstory was compelling, leaving her haunted and damaged as an adult. Secondly, she didn't take anyone's crap. She stood up for herself, possessed extreme intelligence, refused to back down and take lip from anyone, and she was extremely independent. These are qualities that I can appreciate in not only a woman but any person – male or female, human or vampire. Finally, she was an interesting character because the conflict which should have proven to be insurmountable between her and Vishous was not solved easily, predictably, or in a cliched manner.

My demands for these characters are not difficult – being strong individuals whose problems are not resolved too easily, but, unfortunately, they are not met in every novel. However,
Lover Unbound did meet my demands. I enjoyed it quite immensely. I didn't have to force myself to keep reading it like some of the past books in the series. Unlike some of the other novels, I would recommend this book for more than just continuing a set of books already started. Coincidentally enough, it is the oddly numbered books which I have enjoyed so far and the even ones which I have not. We'll see if this pattern continues but first...

Lover Unbound also introduced the next story... just like the previous books have. The sixth book is going to focus on Phury, and, in the fifth book, he becomes the Primale of the Chosen – the male warrior vampire responsible for mating with and breeding all the Scribe Virgin's Chosen in the hopes of repopulating the brotherhood. We're also introduced to Cormia, his first mate. Where Phury believes that he has feelings for his brother, Zsadist's, mate, Cormia is both frightened of Phury's world and her responsibilities but also intrigued by and attracted to the Primale. So far, their biggest obstacle is communication – she's extremely timid and he's extremely dense and slow where women are concerned, but it's inevitable that further complications will arise in Lover Enshrined.

Finally,
Lover Unbound also focused on Vishous' past, and, in doing so, readers were informed of the fact that the Scribe Virgin is Vishous' mother. That is why he has the powers that he does. However, due to the deal she made with his cruel father, he was only with her until he was three and then raised by the terrifying Bloodletter. Understandably, he's bitter and wants nothing to do with his mother, especially when she tries to force the role of Primale upon him. He agrees, only for the benefit of his race, but things become even more complicated once he meets and falls in love with Jane. Finally, Phury steps up and replaces him but not before Vishous' relationship with his mother is permanently damaged.

Or is it?

Once she makes the ultimate sacrifice – giving up her own happiness for her son's, allowing him to, in a way, remain with the woman he loves, returning Jane, in a new and different form, to him, he starts to thaw towards her. And, in return, he offers her a gesture of affection and appreciation as well. Though, by the end of the novel, their relationship is not perfect – far from it, in fact, they at least are on their way to having one.

But will it continue?

Because, at the end of the book, it is revealed that Vishous has a twin sister and that their mother has her frozen and locked in stasis because she does not fit in with the other Chosen, because she is a warrior at heart. As the Scribe Virgin contemplates freeing her daughter to live the life that she wants, the idea has the potential to set in motion yet another Black Dagger Brotherhood adventure. First, though,
Lover Enshrined and Phury's story is next.

 

Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

To be perfectly upfront, I hadn't been sure what to expect from this fourth novel in the series when I started it. How could a series about a warrior group of vampires contain a novel where the lead is a human? Granted, he was one of them... as far as he could be, considering the fact that he didn't fight, didn't drink blood, and wasn't virtually immortal. And, truth be told, human or not, Butch really didn't appeal to me. Sometimes he could make me laugh, but I wasn't emotionally invested in his character or curious about his backstory. To make matters worse, I absolutely loathed his love interest, Marissa.

Frankly, I found her too weak for the Brotherhood... even a member who was just a human hanger-on. Raised to be a lady without a thought of her own, she was quiet and shy, regal and absolutely repulsed by violence. Granted, she had been dealt a bum hand because Wrath did not want her, causing her to be mocked by her own people, but, for me, if she was going to belong in the company of the males and females associated with the Brotherhood, then she needed to grow a tougher skin. So what if the other members of the elite vampire society laughed at her behind her back? So what if they refused to look at her? Be confident in yourself and ignore them. She was a beautiful, smart woman; she shouldn't have needed the validation of others to feel worthwhile, and it was this lack of self-esteem and insecurity which annoyed me with her character, further alienating me before I read this fourth book in the series.

It turns out that, though not my favorite – so far – of the four novels, Lover Revealed wasn't my least favorite either. I'd rank it third. While Marissa still frustrated me (even after leaving her brother and the glymera – vampire high society – behind, she still was too prissy and whiny for my taste) and while Butch will never be my favorite character, there were aspects to the book which were enjoyable. Butch's transformation was interesting, though I would have liked to have actually read about the ancestor regression, and his interaction with the Scribe Virgin amused me. It was nice to see an increase of Wrath and Beth's presence, though I still missed Zsadist, and some of John's moments were... entertaining.

However, the part of the novel which I keep going back to in my mind, the aspect of it which nags at me, is the relationship between Butch and Vishous. Prior to reading the book, a friend – in fact, the very person who recommended the series to me – said that their friendship was her favorite part of
Lover Revealed. I can't say the same. And this is why: it left me confused, and I'm not sure that it could completely be called a friendship. On Butch's side, yes, it could be. I don't think that he has any feelings for his best friend beyond platonic love. However, Vishous is an entirely different story. Though obliquely, he makes it clear that he has other feelings for the former cop. Don't get me wrong – if Vishous was gay, then he was gay. Whatever. But the problem is that, up until this point, he had never been portrayed that way and, in fact, didn't believe himself to be attracted to men. This is where I would argue that, though Vishous' feelings for Butch are different than Butch's for him, I actually don't believe he is attracted to Butch per say; I think he's attracted to the intimacy and love that the two of them share.

By his own admission, Vishous has revealed that he has never really been close to another person or being before. Butch is his first real friend, which, of course, means that he's never been in love before either. I would wager that he really doesn't know how to love, and, now that he's learning, it's confusing for him. Add on the fact that he's extremely lonely and haunted beyond measure by his past, his recurring dream, and his lack of visions, and it's no wonder that the man is tripping. The question becomes, though – will he be able to figure this out on his own before its too late? Seeing as how book five –
Lover Unbound is Vishous' book, it looks like we're going to find out.

Back momentarily to
Lover Revealed, though, in general, it's worth reading, especially if you've already read the first three books in the series; definitely keep reading them in order. However, I will say this: once more, like with the second book – Rhage's, I'm glad that this novel wasn't the start of the series, because I'm not sure if I would have continued reading the others.

P. S. Sorry that I haven't been around much lately to update the blog. Real life and all that jazz. It's also sapping my free-read time, too. :-( Unfortunately, I don't see anything improving at all in the near future.

Waking Up a Series

Lover Awakened

Well, hello there, Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, and welcome back. After the second novel –
Lover Eternal, the third book – Lover Awakened – was a much needed jolt to the J.R. Ward series. As I suspected, Zsadist was exactly what I needed to reinvigorate my interest in the Brotherhood books. What can I say? Those misunderstood bad boys with the deeply buried heart of gold underneath a gruff, harsh exterior? They get me every time.

Zsadist, a former blood slave who was used for more than just his vein, was the darkest of the Black Dagger Brotherhood warriors. He not only enjoyed but also needed pain. Refusing to drink from a member of his own race, he half starved himself, subsisting on the weakened blood of humans and apples. He also refused any comforts. He slept on a pallet on the floor beside the skull of the vampire who had kept him bound and chained as her blood slave for so many years, he didn't use heat in his room, and he only possessed the necessities; no extras, or hobbies, or trinkets for Zsadist. He did all of this because he thought he was ruined – beyond damaged goods.

So, when he met Bella and realized that he was drawn to her, that meant that, of course, he needed to stay away. He was dangerous, and she was too good for him. Despite his resolution, though, he couldn't quite shake the hold she had on him. And then she was kidnapped, and Zsadist became a man possessed, determined to find her. Even once she was safe, he couldn't quite let go. And it didn't help his cause that Bella fought him at every step of the way. Despite his belief that she deserved better, he was the only one she wanted, the only one she felt safe with. Zsadist tried to block bonding with her, and he tried to push her onto his brother, a warrior he felt was worthy of Bella, but she wouldn't let him go, and then her needing arrived. (In the series, the female vampire's equivalent to a human's menstruation cycle, particularly the ovulating stage – a time when she is extremely fertile and driven out of her mind with lust and sexual urges, so much so that he literally calls to all the males around her like a siren.) Although Zsadist offered to drug her, she chose him instead. It wasn't smooth sailing from that point on for the couple; they still had several roadblocks to break through, most of which were Zsadist's fears preventing him from committing to Bella, but, eventually, they were able to surpass his past. They bonded formally, he was able to start connecting to his fellow warriors and even the trainees, and they had a little girl together.

Obviously, as the focus of the story, Zsadist and Bella's relationship had to be entertaining for
Lover Awakened to work. And it was. Unlike with the second book, their obstacles didn't feel as contrived or as predictable. Readers knew in advance about Zsadist's issues, although the details about them were still hazy, and, despite what others had said about him, there had been brief flashes of hope to support the idea that he could be healed if someone took the chance to love him. Yes, his brother – Phury – had been loving him for years, but the affection and devotion of a lover is different than the love of a sibling. Even with this said, don't think that Phury didn't play his part in rehabilitating Zsadist. It's just that the evolution of the character, of Zsadist's relationship – not only with Bella with all the characters in the book, wasn't contrived like it was between Rhage and Mary.

There were other aspects of the book which lent it more of an entertainment factor as well. Although I'm not thrilled about John's backstory – though I know that rape does occur whether between a man and a woman or two men, that doesn't necessarily mean that I want to read about it unless it serves a larger purpose in the book and, so far, John's rape just seems to be an unnecessary plot point, I am enjoying the fact that he is Darius reincarnated. While readers know this, the characters in the books do not, and I think it will be interesting to read about them discovering the truth... as long as its not drawn out for too long. With that said, though, so far so good. I especially look forward to how this reveal will play out with Wrath and Beth, considering Beth is Darius' daughter.

In addition, I was definitely not expecting Mr. O to shoot and then kill Wellsie. That was totally a shocker. And in a good way, too. Don't get me wrong. I didn't dislike her character, want her dead, or want Tohr to go through such anguish as to lose his shellan and unborn child; however, because her murder was so unexpected, it made the war between the vampires and the lessers seem more real. Anyone could die at any point. No one is safe. I can appreciate adding such gravity to the situation. Plus, it should prove to revitalize Tohr's storyline. Before this happened, he wasn't haunted by anything. Of all the Brothers, he was the most well-adjusted, the happiest. His life was set, so there was no reason to tell his story. Now there is.

Phury was yet another interesting aspect to
Lover Awakened. I found his inner turmoil and torment to be quite compelling. Though self-imposed, he is another anguished soul, perhaps even more so than his brother. By taking care of Zsadist for so many years, Phury extinguished all of his own personality. He existed, first, to find his brother, and then he existed to save his brother. Once Zsadist turned that corner and didn't need his twin any longer, Phury lost his purpose. And he also admitted that he was a junkie. Though he didn't take the heroin, the confession of his addiction, even if only to himself, further crushed him. I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed that Phury didn't take the H. It's not so much that I want to see him destroyed; I just think it could have added yet another level of desperation to his story whenever it is eventually told in the series.

Finally, the last two notes are more about Bella. One, I'm not sure how I feel about her brother's increased role in the story. Before, when she was first introduced, he was simply in the background. But now we know him. He's interacting with other characters. And he's a sympath who is less than fond of the Brotherhood. Do I want to read more about him? I'm not sure. But it is obvious that he's a dark and twisty soul. I suppose he could be interesting, but, right now, he just comes across as far too self involved. Secondly, there's the fact that Bella killed Mr. O. After what he did to her, not only did she deserve that retribution, but I liked the fact that Ward didn't make her a hand-wringer; she didn't stay at home, lamenting the fact that the menfolk were out getting their hands dirty while she knitted... or something else as equally asinine an and inane. She got her own revenge. She fought. She saved herself
and two of the most powerful warriors her race has ever seen. Best of all? Her heroic moment was believable. Smart and resourceful women only compliment the Brotherhood, the focus of the series. It wouldn't make sense for any of them to be with someone weak and incapable.

So, that's that.
Lover Awakened revived the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series in my eyes and, as a result, rejuvenated my interest in the books and characters contained within them. The next up is Lover Revealed. It focuses upon Butch – the former cop and now human companion of the Brotherhood who, in the previous book, drank the blood of one of his warrior friends – and Marissa, two characters which, up until this point, have not been among my favorites. But we'll give it a whirl, and, as always, I'll report back my findings. Until then....

A Rhaging Disappointment

Lover Eternal

Lover Eternal is the second book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. In this novel, another member of the brotherhood falls in love. Rhage, a vampire with dangerous, Hollywood good looks and an equally dangerous curse, meets a shy, quiet woman who is merely grateful to be alive... for now. Already a cancer survivor already once, Mary realizes that her disease is back just when she meets the most temptingly attractive man, a man she feels is way out of her league. Plagued with fears that she will be a burden to him, she pushes him away, just as he has to battle to keep his beast at bay whenever he's near her.

To round out the storyline, there's also Bella – Mary's friend who is also a vampire – and John, a sickly young man who can't speak and is having strange, recurring dreams. While Bella is drawn to Zsadist, the most tortured and haunted of the warrior vampires, John is discovered to be a vampire who hasn't turned yet, a vampire who, in a few years time, will be extremely powerful.

Just as
Dark Lover was Wrath's story, Lover Eternal is Rhage's. The focus is intensely centered upon him and his relationship with Mary, with the other storylines tossed in for variety and to help guide the overall plot forward into the next book. However, Lover Eternal did not succeed in capturing my attention as easily and as well as its predecessor. In fact, for a book that is only 441 pages long, it took me an exorbitant amount of time to finish reading it. Upon reflection, it wasn't so much that I was bored with Rhage. In fact, I found the concept of his inner beast – a dragon which would break free from the constraints of Rhage's form whenever he lost control – rather interesting and compelling. No, what I wasn't sold on was the character of Mary, and that's where the story lagged for me.

As previously stated, Mary had cancer – a very aggressive, debilitating case of it. Barely, she had managed to survive it the first time, but her body had been ravaged, and it was highly unlikely that she would pull through a second time. In fact, eventually it was revealed that she couldn't even handle the chemo treatments that she would need in order to fight the disease. Knowing how sick she was, though, it made me wonder why Ward would pair Rhage with her... if she was only going to kill her off at the end of the book, especially in light of how the series is set up – one warrior vampire's story (and eventual romance) per book. Because that – Mary dying – is what would have been realistic. In the back of my mind, however, I worried that, instead of dying, Mary would somehow receive a miracle and would be granted a permanent reprieve, making the entire cancer battle a waste of my time. Either way, though, I knew that I was going to be disappointed with the conclusion of the book.

I wasn't wrong.

Now, I'm not going to spoil the very ending, because, even though it wasn't my favorite book ever,
Lover Eternal is certainly readable. I can definitely say that I'm excited for book three in the series, though I won't be reading it right away. Plus, I've been assured that I'm not the only one who didn't like this second novel in the series as well as some of the other Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Bottom line? Read it if you want to read the entire series. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it.

And that, my friends – this sense of apathy – is what happens when an author names a main character Mary. It just... yeah, it shouldn't be done. Talk about a maddeningly boring omen for a book.

Three New Book Responses

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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