The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

Published in: 2010
Pages: 280
Edition read: Paperback

Book description:
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

My review:
Sooo.. I found I couldn’t put down this book once I had started it. Something about Bianca and Wesley’s doomed romanced was just too good to not keep reading. In saying that, it’s cringey and full of cliches. The uncool girl hooks up with the popular hot boy, they hate each other but oh wait, they actually love each other? Very highschool.

Bianca is not a likeable character at all. She’s bitter and mean, she pushes her friends away for something they have no control over, she refuses to let people help her, and she swears like a sailor- the first sentence in the book is Bianca dropping an F bomb. I’m not adverse to swearing, but there is a time and a place for it, and this feels more like a child discovering a naughty word for the first time and using it liberally because they don’t understand how to swear. It really annoyed me throughout the book.

Somehow, even with a terrible main character, it was a good read. The book is easy to follow, there isn’t a lot of deep thinking required, it hooks you with the predictable but still hoping it will end up how we want it to plot. For a quick read, it served it’s purpose. I also then had to watch the movie adaptation straight afterwards, because I was curious to see how it translated to the silver screen. Badly is the answer. I preferred movie Bianca as she was way more likable, but basically the movie is completely different from the book to the point where there’s even a completely new main character put into the movie to drive the plot. Ah well, we all know the book is always better than the movie.

Final review:
The DUFF rating:
7.5/10
Would I re-read it? hmmm… if there was nothing else around, then I’d read this again.
Who would I recommend it to? Young adults interested in trainwreck romances with a happy ending.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6931356-the-duff
Author’s site: http://kodykeplinger.com/duff.php
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/DUFF-Designated-Ugly-Fat-Friend/dp/0316084247

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Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson, #8)

Published in: 2014
Pages: 341
Edition read: Hardcover
Series: Book 8 in the Mercy Thompson series

Book description:
An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right. Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.

My review:
Gah why is every book in this series so damn good? Christy, the dreaded ex, comes back into the picture and drags along with her a slew of problems, including the fact that she’s being stalked by a psychotic volcano god (which she doesn’t bother to tell them about) and it’s what you’d expect- lots of fights, chases, action and violence, and it’s soooo good.

There’s also the issue of an old Fae searching for the walking stick that Mercy gave to Coyote- so she has to try and hunt him down to retrieve it back, resulting in the usual Coyote madness (he is honestly one of the greatest characters recently introduced to the series, as anything can and will happen when he turns up and it’s awesome) and it also brings Mercy a brother she didn’t know she had.

Yet another brilliant installment in this series, I don’t know how many more books we can get out of the series but they haven’t yet started to get boring or repetitive, so that’s promising!

Final review:
Night Broken rating:
8.5/10
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series, of paranormal romances featuring werewolves, vampires, and Fae, of action mysteries.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17562900-night-broken
Author’s site: http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/nightBrokenChapter.shtml
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Night-Broken-Thompson-Patricia-Briggs/dp/042525674X

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Dead Heat (Alpha & Omega #4)

Published in: 2015
Pages: 324
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 4 in the Alpha & Omega series

Book descripton:
For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal–or at least it starts out that way… Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.

My review:
With every book in this series, it just keeps getting better and better- I swear after reading each book, I declare it to be my favourite book in the series- until I read the next one.

So in this book, Charles and Anna travel to Arizona to purchase Anna a horse as a present, and to see Charles’ best and oldest friend, who is dying. Charles doesn’t know this until he gets to Arizona, and it’s really sad to see him interacting with his friend who has aged and is near death, while Charles hasn’t aged at all because he’s a werewolf.

There’s also the storyline about a Fae stealing children and replacing them with a “fetch”, which is a mannequin made of sticks that looks like the stolen child. So there’s this big mystery happening about the stolen children and the hunt for the Fae who is responsible, and that was really interesting as the mythology was vaguely familiar to me- I swear I’ve read up on this before but I had completely forgotten about it until I read this book. So that was really interesting to read about.

Final review:
Dead Heat rating:
8.5/10
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series, of paranormal romances, books featuring werewolves, mysteries.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22571699-dead-heat
Author’s site: http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/deadHeat.shtml
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Alpha-Omega-Patricia-Briggs/dp/0425256286

 

Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz

Lost in Time (Blue Bloods, #6)

Published in: 2011
Pages: 342
Edition read: Paperback, which did not appreciate being semi-dunked in the pool and now has curling pages…
Series: Book 6 in the Blue Bloods series

Book description:
The stakes have never been higher for the young Blue Bloods of Manhattan. After their brief yet beautiful bonding ceremony in Italy, Schuyler Van Alen and Jack Force depart for Egypt, desperate to find the elusive Gate of Promise before Jack must face his twin, Mimi, for a blood trial. A blood trial that only one of them can survive. But everything Schuyler thought she knew about the gate turns out to be a lie, and they soon find themselves ensnared in a deadly battle against the demon-born. Schuyler and Jack take up arms, only to realize that there is a much graver threat simmering in the Kingdom of the Dead.

Meanwhile, determined to save the only vampire she still loves, Mimi has followed Kingsley Martin into Hell. With the help of her new human Conduit, Oliver Hazard-Perry, Mimi makes a bargain with the Queen of the Dead that she may soon regret. When the time comes to choose between love and revenge, both Mimi and Oliver will learn the true meaning of sacrifice.

My review:

Boy, this book took me forever to read. I wasn’t really feeling this series, but had to get though to at least this book, because I had this paperback sitting on my literal to-read shelf for like 6 years, it was time to read it already. And drop the edges into the pool, because I primarily read this book while lounging in the pool in the leadup to New Years.

So, as per the rest of the series, the book is told from multiple viewpoints- from Schooler’s, as she and Jack attempt to be a normal couple living in Egypt and searching for Catherine of Sienna (whoever that is, I am still not clear on that), from Mimi’s as she and Oliver travel through the underworld to find Kingsley Martin (and this was the most interesting of the three viewpoints, just FYI), and from Allegra’s view, 20 years in the past, telling the story of how Allegra and Ben came to have Schooler.

As stated, Mimi’s story about travelling to the underworld with Oliver was the most entertaining by far. I enjoyed Allegra’s storyline because it filled in all the information we were missing about Schooler’s parents, but the storyline about Schooler and Jack just bored me to tears and made me wish I could reach into the book and drown Schooler instead of just the poor pages of the book. If only she wasn’t such a bland, boring, unimaginative lead character. What Jack sees in her I will never understand.

Final review:
Lost in time rating:
5/10
Would I re-read it? Probably not… if I did, I’d read the Allegra and Mimi chapters and skip over Schooler’s entirely.
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series, or of young adult vampire fantasy.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9578590-lost-in-time
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Time-Blue-Bloods-Novel/dp/1423134133
Author’s website: http://melissa-delacruz.com/book/lost-in-time/

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, #7)

Published in: 2013
Pages: 342
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 7 in the Mercy Thompson series

Book description:
Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman – the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack – has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…

After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam – or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.

Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. But she fears Adam’s disappearance may be related to the political battle the werewolves have been fighting to gain acceptance from the public – and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outmatches and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.

My review:
Damn, this book was good. Adam and the pack have been kidnapped, and Mercy is hurt and mad, so you know it’s gonna be a bloody good book. Asil has been sent down to help, so that adds an extra element to the mix – as Asil is my favourite character in this series (closely followed by Tad and his angry father), and speaking of Tad and his father, the older Fae is stuck in Fairyland as a result of the actions of the previous book, meaning only half-Fae are left outside of Fairyland. Meaning Tad is one of the few people Mercy can call on to help her track down Adam and the pack.

There’s a bit of German thrown into the book, which, as a language I am studying/learning, was immensely amusing and frustrating to translate. There was also a sad unexpected death, which I’m wondering how will affect things going forward as although it was a minor character, it was a big character in terms of pack dynamics- so that will have interesting and long-reaching effects. There was also a massive battle at the end with Mercy and Marsila on the same side- I know, shocking, but actually really good to see a human-like side to Marsila.

Overall, it was a non-stop action packed book filled with so many twists and turns that it was hard to put down, and hard to see how Mercy managed to keep on her feet throughout it because I was exhausted just reading it!

Final review:
Frost Burned rating:
8.5/10
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series and author, of paranormal romances, werewolves and vampires, action packed mysteries.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13413589-frost-burned
Author’s site: http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/frostBurnedChapter.shtml
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Frost-Burned-Thompson-Patricia-Briggs/dp/044102002X

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

Fair Game (Alpha & Omega, #3)

Published in: 2012
Pages: 308
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 3 in the Alpha & Omega Series

Book description:
They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…

My review:
This was a gnarly case for Anna and Charles. There’s this serial killer out there who kills 4-6 people each year, at the same time, over the period of a few decades, and the recent ones appear to be Fey or Weres, and then it turns out that holy crap, they are all supernatural of some kind. Like, a serial killer targeting the big bad nasty things that go bump in the night, and not getting taken out in the process. That’s mental. That means there’s a scary SOB out there who can take down werewolves. Luckily, Charles and Anna are on the case.

Although the mystery itself isn’t that hard to work out, it’s the way that the team come to work out everything, and solve the mystery, that makes this a good read. Charles and Anna together are amazing as always, and there’s the twist at the end that spells disaster- or at the very least, some great storylines coming up, for both this series an the Mercy Thompson series.

Final review:
Fair Game rating:
8/10
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series and author, of paranormal romances featuring werewolves, mysteries, action books.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7942786-fair-game
Author’s site: http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/fairGameChapter.shtml
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fair-Alpha-Omega-Patricia-Briggs/dp/0425256189

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

The Mark of the King

Published in: 2017
Pages: 416
Edition read: Paperback

Book description:
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on? With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

My review:
So I was intrigued by the book description when I picked this up at the library, and then feared I’d grabbed one of the preachy christian fiction books by mistake (yuck). Thankfully, this was not the case, despite what many people tag this book as, or the even the author may say. The religion is low in this book, but the history is rich.

This book is about the history of the early days of the colony of New Orleans and the practices that were put in place, from shipping over convicts (hey, no judgement here. My country was populated the exact same way!) to the forced marriage between convicts to the fake dowries, rampant stealing, war with the native peoples, food shortages… it was a hard life for anyone coming over and with little support from France, they were basically left to fend for themselves.

Julianne is a strong character and I quite liked her throughout the book. She faced a lot of hardships that a weaker person wouldn’t have been able to, and there is hope at the end that maybe, things might start to get easier. This is a period of history I know little about, but found to be very fascinating. This book has led me to want to learn more, and read more, about this time and place and the people who came to live in such a strange land. Back to the library I must go!

Final review:
The mark of the kind rating:
7/10
Would I re-read it? Surprisingly, yes.
Who would I recommend it to? People interested in historical fiction and American history

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30259051-the-mark-of-the-king
Author’s site: http://www.jocelyngreen.com/books/fiction/the-mark-of-the-king
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mark-King-Jocelyn-Green/dp/0764219065

Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, #2)Published in: 2009
Pages: 286
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 2 in the Alpha & Omega series

Book description:
Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son — and enforcer — of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn’t know how dangerous it could be either…

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran’s controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan — and it seems like someone else might be too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all — or risk losing everything…

My review:
This series just keeps getting better and better. Anna and Charles travel out of the comfort of the Marrok’s pack area to the big city, and they are there to meet with foreign wolves about the possibility of the wolves making themselves known to the world. The foreign wolves were fascinating to me, as well as their dynamics. Anna also manages to meet another Omega wolf, which is good for her.

The betrayal of one of their own was fascinating, but the mystery became rather obvious after a certain point. I hated that part as I had really liked that wolf, but it made for a good story indeed. It was one of many storylines within this book, which made it such a good read. Plus there is the growing relationship between Charles and Anna that is coming along nicely, given how fragile both parties really are, and the way they work together makes the story that much better, as you come to really care for the characters.

Final review:
Hunting ground rating:
8/10
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series and author, of paranormal romances, werewolves and vampires

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5292853-hunting-ground
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Ground-Alpha-Omega-Book/dp/044101738X
Author’s site: http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/huntingGroundChapter.shtml

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1)

Published in: 2008
Pages: 294
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 1 in the Alpha & Omega series

Book description:
Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack… and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna’s inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.

My review:
I think I may prefer Charles and Anna to Mercy and Adam (GASP!) because their story is so… different. I’ve read a lot of these kinds of books and not come across an Omega before, so this was new and different, as the reader learns with Anna exactly what an Omega is and what it is capable of.

We are set up in Bran’s pack, the Marrock of the werewolves (think of it as the boss basically, the Alpha’s alpha) and this brings a new cast of characters and difficulties. We have Asil, who is a crazed older wolf who wants to die but nobody will have the decency to kill him, as well as a witch hunting him down; a war veteran who I would like to have seen more of; Bran and Charles, being dominant wolves who butt heads; and poor Anna in the midst of it all.

The story was interesting throughout, moved at a decent pace, and had a lot of great detail that really made the picturesque landscape come to life. Asil cemented himself as one of my favourite characters of this series, and his history was fascinating as hell to me. I have hopes that the author will create a series just for him, because I’d love to see either his past or his current struggles, in great vivid detail.

Final review:
Cry wolf rating:
8.5/10
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the series and author, fans of her other works, fans of paranormal fiction featuring werewolves.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2355575.Cry_Wolf
Author’s site: http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cry-Wolf-Alpha-Omega-Book/dp/0441016154

Alpha & Omega by Patricia Briggs

Published in: 2007
Pages: 61
Edition read: E-book
Series: Book 0.5 in the Alpha & Omega series

Book description:
Anna Latham never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack… and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the Chicago pack, she’s learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But when she discovers wrongdoing in her pack, she has to go above her Alpha’s head to ask for help.

Charles Cornick is the son — and enforcer — of the leader of the North American werewolves. Now his father has sent him to Chicago to clean up a problem there. Charles never expected to find Anna, a rare Omega wolf — and he certainly never expected to recognize her as his mate…

My review:
So I started in on Patricia Brigg’s other series, linked to the Mercy Thompson series, but in order to do so, I needed to read this novella first. Believe me when I tell you, you HAVE TO read this book first. I tried reading book 1, and was completely screwed. The first three pages refer entirely to events that happened only in the novella, meaning I had to switch to the novella ASAP before I tried to struggle through book 1 any further.

The novella is short, but full of detail and action as it goes through Anna’s poor history as an Omega wolf, wrongly thought to be submissive by her abusive first pack. Charles, the son of the Marrok, leaps in to save Anna from this pack, and help her begin to heal from her many abuses under this pack.

Although short and quick, it is a good read. I had foolishly started this about 5 minutes before my normal bedtime, and then stayed up another hour to read the novella because, priorities yo. Who needs sleep in order to get through a day at work when there’s werewolves to read about?

Final review:
Alpha & Omega rating:
7.5/10
Would I re-read it? Yes
Who would I recommend it to? Anyone who wants to read the Alpha & Omega series, as this is the essential background you need so you aren’t launched halfway into Anna moving for some reason that you don’t understand because you haven’t read the novella first.

Links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5393637-alpha-omega
Author’s site: http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/onthepowlChapter.shtml