Title: A Pack of Blood and Lies
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Publisher: Twig Publishing
Rating: 4/5 ****
Release Date: April 30th 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and Twig Publishing for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! This book isn’t coming out until the end of April but if it is up your alley, check it out and consider pre-ordering!
Ness is a teenage werewolf living in LA. After her mother dies of cancer, her aunt and uncle decide that she should come back to the rest of the family (and the pack) in Colorado. Ness, as the only female born to the pack in generations, was originally not allowed to join. They are definitely sexist and manly-men, and the warning excerpt states that the book contains Alpha males. Anyway, Ness is understandably frustrated and unwilling to return.
Once there, she is thrown into life at the family inn, which is also pack headquarters. The old pack alpha, Heath Kolane, was a truly terrible man who is now dead. His son, Liam, is in line to become the new Alpha until Ness decides to challenge him, assuming that he is also a terror like his father.
Enter a slightly favored competition for alpha, angsty romance, bromance, and lies upon layers of lies (and misunderstandings) as Ness fights for her place among the men.
The world and story:
The world is modern day Colorado and Wildenstein did a good job describing pack history throughout the book. This is my first werewolf/changeling book and I still had some questions about their motivations, but I was satisfied with the amount of “world-building” for now. I read the whole thing in about two sittings, the story definitely kept me going. The little murder mystery aspect was as interesting as the competition, but I also had no problem staying involved when she was describing the friend outings or building relationships.
Solid writing! The book flows well in first person and is well edited. Even when writing text messages from phones, it flows smoothly enough and I can always tell who is talking. There are a lot of flowery examples at first but I like the point of view when I feel like I am there.
I really liked Ness. Main characters that are passive drive me nuts. She doesn’t let the boys intimidate her, doesn’t back down from the competition despite being taunted, waylaid, and eventually blackmailed. A true strong female lead! Liam is everything an alpha should be, and has a soft spot for Ness. He doesn’t let her preconceived notions of him stop him from being a decent guy, and he saves her life at least twice. These two have a slightly cringe worthy hate – to – love relationship, for half of the book I was saying “just get together already!” Typical young adult angsty miscommunication nonsense!
The other main characters are Liam’s friends in the pack, a generally decent group of guys even though they come across as pigs sometimes. I liked the “bromance” element. Sarah was a wildcard, as were some of the other characters mentioned, but most of them ended up being pretty generally good people. A few of them seemed to act out of character at times, like Matt towards the end, it all worked out though.
I cringed a few times during the relationship parts, but it was overally clean and appropriate for young adult. I would probably let 16+ read it if it were my kid, but the warning states 14+. It really was hard to put down, kept me interested, and makes me want to read more books by Olivia Wildenstein, because this is my first by her and I like her style! Recommended for fans of YA, werewolves, with a romance bit. There may be more in the next books. 4/5 stars and looking forward to the next release!