Review ♡ The Pretenders by Rebecca Hanover

title ♡ the pretenders
author ♡ rebecca hanover
genre ♡ young adult; science fiction
pages ♡ 416
publisher ♡ sourcebooks FIRE
series ♡ the similars, book two
release date ♡ december 10, 2019
♡ ♡  ♡ ♡ [ 5 out of 5 ]

In this conclusion to The Similars duology, Emma must figure out who she really is, decide between two boys with the same face, and stop a dangerous plan based on revenge.

Emma is still reeling from the events of her junior year at Darkwood. Not only is her best friend, Oliver, shockingly alive, but the boy she loves—his Similar, Levi—is still on the island where he grew up, stranded with his deranged creator.

More importantly, she is grappling with who she really is. Emma can’t accept the hard truths she learned last year and refuses to share her secrets with anyone, isolating herself from her friends and Ollie.

But when more of the Similars’ creator’s plot is revealed, Emma and her friends will have to try to stop him from putting a plan into motion that could destroy everyone she loves. 

Rebecca Hanover has absolutely blow me away again with the stunning conclusion to The Similars. We return to Darkwood with Emma not long after the end of the first novel, to see how life has been unfolding following the shocking twist at the end of the first novel. As per usual the book is full of mystery and intrigue and had me hooked for the entire book.

It was great to see that Emma continued to develop in the second novel as much as she had in the first. She retained her headstrong, feisty persona but also began to develop her logical capabilities. I enjoyed how she stood up for her friends, even though society had now abandoned the clones and stripped them of their rights. Emma really made the series a great read because she was so genuinely real that I would have though the book was being based off of a real person.

Hanover delivered on her usual promise of twists and turns, and the book is absolutely teeming with them. There was a lot of action in the book, and the plot didn’t run dry because it was always interesting. At no point did I consider pausing: I was transfixed for three hours in which I knew I had to finish reading and know what happened at the end. The pacing of the story made this increasingly easy read as each chapter helped unfold story without thrusting everything on you at once.

I welcomed the romantic elements of the book as they were a nice breather from the serious-nature of the events unfolding around Emma and her friends. I’ll admit it was a little hard to choose between Levi and Oliver, simply because I had grown to love them both in their own way. (But Levi won in my opinion because Levi was always bae.)

I seriously need to get my hands on physical copies of the books because my digital editions just aren’t good enough. This was hands-down once of my favourite book duology to read ever, and I look forward to any further work that Rebecca Hanover releases in the future.

♡ ♡  ♡ ♡
dee x

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But don’t just take my word for it! Every one on the internet has an opinion, so please remember to check out a few others before you decide to buy or discard this book!

Jennifer says “I did like the ending. There was nice twists in it. Wish there was more to the ending…..”

Jackie says “If you like sci fi I’m sure this will be a good ending for you but for me it was like they tried to cram the entirety of Orphan Black into a half hour and for me it just didn’t work.”

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At time of writing this review, the Hardcover version of the book is available on Amazon is available for £13.57 ($17.99).

Personally, that’s a lot of money to payout but the paperback version of novel will be released August 2020, with a RRP of £8.29 ($7.69) on Amazon.

I haven’t been able to find the prices for a Kindle version of the story unfortunately, so if you do know please let me know in the comments below!

♡ amazon ♡

Rebecca Hanover

Rebecca Hanover is the NY Times bestselling author of THE SIMILARS series. She earned a bachelor of arts from Stanford University in English and drama and won an Emmy as a staff writer on the CBS daytime drama Guiding Light. (It’s surprisingly heavy, and has scary sharp wings).

Rebecca lives in San Francisco with her husband and three kiddos, where she enjoys matcha lattes, hoodies, and a complete lack of seasons. She aspires to attend an actual hot Pilates class one day.


Book Review ♡ Sleeper by Mackenzie Cadenhead

title ♡ sleeper
author ♡ mackenzie cadenhead
genre ♡ young adult; science fiction
pages ♡ 272
publisher ♡ sourcebooks FIRE
series ♡ none
release date ♡ august 1, 2017
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ [ 4 out of 5 ]

As if surviving high school wasn’t hard enough, Sarah Reyes suffers from REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, a parasomnia that causes her to physically act out her dreams. When she almost snaps her friend’s neck at a sleepover, Sarah and her nocturnal habits are thrust into the spotlight and she becomes a social pariah, complete with public humiliation.

When an experimental drug comes onto the market that promises nighttime normalcy, Sarah agrees to participate in the trial. At first, she seems to be cured. Then the side effects kick in. Why does a guy from her nightmare show up at school? Are the eerily similar dreams she’s sharing with her classmates’ coincidence or of her making? Is she losing her mind or does this drug offer way more than sleep?

Admittedly, I have not been in the reading state-of-mind since before Christmas now. So Sleeper had a lot to live up to in order to bring me out of the reading rut I’ve been in for so long. I must admit, this book was definitely out of my comfort zone. However, the fact I have finished the book – something I have not done for a while – is an achievement on its own. Perhaps I could describe Sleeper as interesting. Yes, let’s start with interesting.

In other words, don’t be an idiot like me.

What I adored about Sleeper was the sheer thrill of the whole story. The wonderful concept of a drug which enhances Sarah’s REM Sleep Behaviour Order was absolutely brilliant – and truly original. Pitched as a combination of Inception and Heathers (both things I haven’t got a bloody clue on), the book was a pleasant retreat away from the modern YA literature based around romantic adolescent adventures. Sleeper is gripping. The first chapter is a hook, and like a fish on a line, you are sold into what is going on. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll understand this is something I adore in literature.

I would also like to shine a line on the tone of the novel. It was an incredibly easy read, and had it not been I probably would have struggled to read it all the way to the end. Despite having no communication with books over the past four months, I kept to my usual time of six to seven hours. There was no difficulty in reading it, making it a perfect read to give to a younger, more mature reader. Sleeper is also incredibly fast-paced. I like that. MacKenzie Cadenhead did not drag out any part of the book, and all chapters were relevant and interesting to read. This is a rare trait to find within a story, as there is so much emphasis on the building up on specific events.

”I mean it, Sarah. This is way better than a sex tape.”

Ah, that wonderful point in my review where I can mention characters. Sarah is ultimately a flawed character. I had a deep sympathy for her at the beginning of the story – partly because she has absolutely no control over her actions or the consequences. But as the story developed and she found power, the consumption turned her into a creature which did sicken me. Her actions were despicable, no matter how much they could be justified. The world would be a horrible place if we lived by the idea of ‘an eye for an eye’. I’m hoping that Ms Cadenhead was going for this affect. Of course, every character in the wrong seeks redemption, but I found it hard to award it considering her foolishness and behaviour.

Wes was a much harder pill to swallow – and yet, was a refreshing addition to the plot. There is a very British swear word I would love to use in describing Wes. But I’m above that, at least orally. The bad vibes were incredibly strong – intention, I know. And while I really, really, didn’t like Wes, it was nice to see the main guy not seen as some kind of hero. His flaws are laid out on the table, and are tackled quite maturely. Hats off Ms Cadenhead!

I want to know the instant he comes back to life. Because sooner or later, he will.

Summarising Sleeper, it was definitely an odd book. It has pulled me from my hangover (both book and physical) and has surprisingly given me a lot to consider. While I still feel quite unsure as to whether this was a book for me, I do still feel it deserves high praise.

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡

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“Nothing gets fully addressed in this book and most things just get glazed over and not mentioned again unless it is to cause some form of emotional trauma to get the victim to comply.”

Reading With Wrin

“Other readers may believe this to be “triggering” due to the nature of the contents.”

CC @ Charmed Book Haven Reviews

“Sarah and her new love interest are despicable on so many levels, and neither one has the charisma or character development to pull off the evil villain vibe while remaining interesting.”

Michelle @ That’s What She Read

Book Review ♡ Follow Me Back by A.V.Geiger

title ♡ follow me back
author ♡ a. v. geiger
genre ♡ young adult; mystery, thriller
pages ♡ 370
publisher ♡ sourcebooks FIRE
series ♡ follow me back, book one
release date ♡  june 6, 2017
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ [ 5 out of 5 ] 

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

A.V. Geiger’s Follow Me Back is a twisted tale of lies, deception and stalking – told through the lives of Eric and Tessa, and multiple police reports. Lemme just admit right now that this book was an emotional roller-coaster. And I’m not talking about tears and stuff, oh no. I’m talking about mild heart attacks with every twist! If I had one word to sum up this novel? Brilliant.

The story is partly told from the point of view of Tessa, a teenage girl who suffers with agoraphobia. Let me just applaud the author right now, for slipping in awareness on phobias and anxiety. Much like A Quiet Kind of Thunder, anxiety awareness is on the rise this year, making Follow Me Back all kinds of relevant in the mental health and general illness bracket. However, it is rare to come across a book that openly discusses phobia. Very few authors encounter it, and it takes a special kind of person to be willing to discuss it. Some people do believe that those with serious phobias such as agoraphobia are just looking for sympathy. In reality, this is not the case. I adored how Follow Me Back shone a light in that direction – something that really puts this book on the map.

“I never meant for it to go the way it did. I swear. I just wanted to talk to someone. I didn’t mean to fall in love.”

Plot wise, this story is original as hell. I have NEVER come across a novel, published or drafted, that has a style like this. It’s unique, it haunting and it had me guessing at every turn. Frequent readers of my blog will understand that this is my kind of book off the bat, and I could not be more proud to have read it in advance. Thank you, SOURCEBOOKS. But seriously, the year has only just kicked off, and while Follow Me Back is not released until June – it is already running for a top spot on the year’s best releases. How is that even possible?!

Major shout-out to the author, who started their writing journey on Wattpad. Yes, much like A Proscriptive Relationship or TextrovertFollow Me Back has received millions of reads online before being approved to be published in real life. That takes major dedication and hard work. And considering the quality of the writing, I only hope that the author has more in the works. Because I’m eager to see more!

“We always made each other feel better—even when it seemed like everything else in our lives was going straight to hell.”

A brilliant thing about this story is the mystery element the story has. You have absolutely no idea what is going on or what has happened – but you’re immersed into a world of police reports and hidden meanings. Also, it was brilliant to read a novel that didn’t glamorise fame and fortune. Eric was real in his paranoia, and it really made my heart go out to him. I feel that too much of today’s youth have this idea that with fame comes all these fabulous perks, at the same time you get to avoid responsibility and retreat into your own little private bubble when you want to. Follow Me Back puts this to bed, through a smaller internal story (a cautionary tale of some sorts). It was interesting to read a book that understood both sides of fame, only making me like it even more.

Now I hope for my own sake that I can pick up sequel to this in the near future. Everything you discover through-out the novel is thrown into question within the last few chapters, making you feel dazed and confused. My head hurts, my heart hurts and quite frankly, I’m a little angry about the ending. But that doesn’t make it any less brilliant – it makes it even better. I feel I have no other option but to award this story a hot five out of five. When this book hits the shops in June, it is sure to make a killing!

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡

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“Follow Me Back is one of those books that you really need to like the main characters as they’re basically the only characters that you get to really know. “

The Book Thief Without Words

“The ending was insanity – in a good way. Trust me, every single review will be going WHOA.”

Mandy @ Princess Book Reviews

“Follow Me Back gives me creeps, made me question myself if I’m still fangirling or already stalking a celebrity but overall I like this book!”

Shaine @ Wanderer in Neverland