ARC Review: A Pack of Blood and Lies by Olivia Wildenstein

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A Pack of Blood and Lies by Olivia Wildenstein

Published on the 18th of April 2019

362 pages, YA Fantasy/Action/Romance

Goodreads page

I received a free e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Netgalley, the author and the publisher. Receiving a free copy has in no way affected my opinion of the book. Also, my apologies for the late review!

Three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, Ness is forced to return to Colorado. Even though it’s been six years, and the wolves of her all-male pack don’t recognize her, she recognizes them. People who shun others because of their gender are hard to forget.

Especially Liam Kolane—son of Heath, the crudest and cruelest Alpha to have ruled the Boulder Pack. Liam is as handsome as he is infuriating, as kind as he is punishing, and he makes Ness’s traitorous heart race, which isn’t good. After all, he’s a Kolane. Like father like son, right?

When Heath dies, Liam vies to become the new Alpha and no one dares challenge him.

Except Ness.

Thus begins a treacherous game.

A Pack of Blood and Lies was incredibly reminiscient of Twilight to me. It wasn’t at all perfect, but gosh – it was absolutely unputdownable. Like a 12-year-old in 2007 with Twilight, this book made me giddy and excited. Unlike in 2007, it is not likely that I will build an altar for this book nor will I probably reread this for 15 times, but it was nevertheless such an experience reading it. Twilight is widely criticised, and I have absolutely no idea how I would find it now (I haven’t touched the book for 9 years). But my point is that A Pack of Blood and Lies gave a notch of the intense feeling I had as a 12 year old. To be honest, I didn’t think that would be possible as I thought that Twilight-kind-of-giddiness was a special superpower of a tween. But hey, I can still go a bit unrationally crazy over a story! I’m so excited about that!

https://images.gr-assets.com/hostedimages/1542079877ra/26585930.gif

This review is starting to seem like how a 12-year-old me would have reviewed Twilight as well; It just makes me feel so warm and scared and excited and shaky all at the same time.

Characters

Ness (aka Bella but without all the priviledge and wealth)

  • A fierce character who is struggling to understand what she wishes for herself and what she wants to do and is swept into a lot of stuff due to being very headstrong and emotional
  • Has a bit of an air of ‘no one can understand me’ and ‘I will not trust anyone’
  • Quite judgemental of others, makes some borderline problematic comments at times about other’s appearance or their personality
  • Struggles with lack of confidence and feels like she doesn’t belong

Sidenote: I just realised that Bella’s daughter’s name in Twilight is Ness 😱 Omg it is meant to be!

Liam (= Edward Cullen 100000%)

  • The broody, mysterious and absolutely misunderstood favourite to become the next alpha of the Boulder wolves
  • Has gone through a lot but won’t tell you about it
  • Dominant, possessive and jealous, as in will do the Edward thing of looking at you in the middle of the night when you sleep
  • Super handsome and uh, so strong
  • Judgemental at times and makes loads of problematic comments especially about assuming how some characters are prostitutes
  • The kind of boyfriend I thought I wanted as a 12-yo but now recognise as hella problematic
  • The dude who is super cold but then suddenly takes a bullet for you
  • He is so pale that his face is described multiple times as identical to the moon
    • Have to say that I’m not absolutely certain if that is a compliment or not

I cannot not see Robert Pattinson when I think of Liam.

August (= the sweet boy, Jacob)

  • The werewolf of Twilight as a werewolf
  • Sweet, caring and kind
  • Mostly absent but pops up in the narrative by caring text messages
  • Worried about you and doesn’t want you to get hurt
  • Gets himself deeply hurt instead in the process of protecting you
  • The kind of boyfriend that I should have wanted as a 12-yo instead
  • The dude who will be there for you every step of the way

Evelyn (aka Charlie)

  • The loving family member who will never let you down
  • Tries her utmost to make you feel great
  • Will make sure you eat enough
  • So fricking scared for you, could you please stop getting yourself so super hurt please

Frank (the master of the werewolves, similar to Billy Black in Twilight)

  • Reserved, does not want things to change too much
  • This is how we have always done things
  • In the background does some heroic acts and tells no one about it as if it is not a big deal
  • Tries to seem mysterious but actually comes across as a teddy bear

The writing

I was pleasantly surprised by A Pack of Blood and Lies. I was expecting the writing to be a bit on the young side of YA books but that wasn’t at all the case. It’s pretty perfect for anyone older than 16.

The author is clearly very talented in her craft, and this is something that sets A Pack of Blood and Lies apart from Twilight. The characters are witty and their banter is great, but still realistic. Also, there is little narration in the book and Ness’ thoughts and other characters words dominate the pages. This means that the book is easy to get immersed into but also that any problematic things that the characters say remain unchallenged. The problematic aspects seem like characteristics of the characters themselves, as in they are quite judgemental, but I would have still liked some of these ideas to be challenged further. Especially all the comments and prejudices against prostitution and the expectation that women who happen to go on a date with a guy must be having sex with them.

I have to say that some short scenes were quite cringey. One scene in particular comes to mind, but as it is a spoiler I won’t say anything more about it. If you read the book, you will know what I’m talking about.

The plot

I have talked about Twilight a lot in this review, but do not expect to see A Pack of Blood and Lies to follow a similar storyline to Twilight. This book has a solid plot line due to the Alpha competition and many sub-plots from the many unsolved mysteries of the past. The plot stands on its own without the romance which is probably why I liked this book so much. Also, the romance does not happen all at once and it is nicely paced across the story.

The sequel to this first book in the Boulder Wolves trilogy was published yesterday on the 28th of May! I have to admit that I’m freaking excited to read the next installment in this series because I am predicting that there will be more of August in it. Also, the third and final book in the trilogy comes out quite soon after, in August 13th this year, so this trilogy is a great contestand for a Twilight-nostalgic binge-read.

More wolf please.

Were you a Twilight fan? Are you still? What do you think of it nowadays?

I’m scared to touch that series because it meant a lot to me as tween. It was all I thought about for an entire 2 years of my life! A Pack of Blood and Lies was such a good read probably partly because of my past love for Twilight. I would be super excited to hear from anyone who has read this book and doesn’t link it to Twilight!

I’m currently finishing up a 1-year-blogversary post with a giveaway!! It will be my first giveaway ever so keep your eyes peeled for it, I hope to get it done and published this week 👀 It will be a pretty awesome chance for one of you to win more than one book!

Thank you so much for reading!

-Pauliina

5 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Pack of Blood and Lies by Olivia Wildenstein

  1. Yahhhhhhh, I was gonna comment first on your review but did you say a GIVEAWAY??!!! WOWWWWW, GIRRLLLLL, YOU GENEROUS!! I shall save my well-wishes for that post 😜

    As for the book, omg, I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!! When I read twilight I was 15 and boy did it give me all the warm fuzzy tingles 😂 (lol, sounds gross 😝) I still remember the way I felt reading it, how the world―I was going to write ‘filled my world’ then changed it to ‘expanded in my mind’ and gawd, all of them sound wrong! 😓😂 But I hope you get what I mean, I felt like I was IN that world. I wasn’t aware of the problematic and downright cringey aspects and gobbled up the entire series. Nowadays I can’t gloss over when a character does something questionable or problematic. Over possessiveness sours my opinions of them, for e.g.

    I simply LOVE when a book gives me that warm, tingly feeling! I had that with Failsafe, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Defy the Stars. Oh and I felt it when I read the Mediator series by Meg Cabot, too, but that was when I was a teen(I really want to reread it to see if I still love it).

    Also, God, you’re SO RIGHT with your opinion of August! Somene should write a book where the protag changes her feelings and eventually falls for the 2nd guy(and he should make his 1st appearance AFTER the first love interest).

    And please let’s never mention the moon face. It gets me every time 😆

    Stupendous review, btw! Love the comparisons 👌

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aaaw thank you giirl 😍😍 I reeeally hope you’re taking part in the giveaway!! I have been super nervous about posting it!

      And YOU GOT IT EXACTLY RIGHT!! Twilight gave me the warm fuzzy tingles too and I know exactly what you mean, I was also in that world 😂 I just spotted Defy the stars and Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour in your wrap up and now you tell me they gave you the warm fuzzies?!?! I need to go find copies asap because maybe I can awaken my intense tween feelings again 🤩 I’m ready to be consumed by warm fuzzy tingles 😂

      Omg your book idea is absolutely golden, have the protagonist fall in love with the 2nd dude after already meeting the first guy?? that’s genious! I would definitely read that. Oh someone really has to write that!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Congrats on successfully hosting your first giveaway! I saw that you are now co-hosting Currentathon, or something like that, and good going, girl! I have to see what that readathon is about.

        Hahahahahaha xD I LOVE THOSE WARM FUZZIES!! Puts a stupid grin on my face 😛 DM me if and when you ever finish either of those books! (no matter if you didn’t get the tingles ;P)

        Haha, I am, aren’t I? 😜 I can’t take full credit though cuz I got it while reading a book ages ago. The author successfully made me dislike the 1st guy and I was rooting for the 2nd one at the end, but then I saw some spoiler ir maybe the synopsis for the sequel and I think she goes back to the 1st guy 😭 What a wasted opportunity!

        Liked by 1 person

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