Secrets and Shadows

Spoiler alert!  If you haven’t read 13 to Life by Shannon Delany, proceed with caution!

If you follow this blog at all, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a fan of the supernatural–vampires, werewolves, fairies, unicorns, etc.  It should come as no surprise, then, that I love Shannon Delany’s 13 to Life series which features a family of Russian werewolves.  Earlier today, I finished reading the second book in this series, Secrets and Shadows.  (I would have finished it earlier, but I was at a librarian conference for the past three days where, oddly enough, I didn’t have any time to read.)  Secrets and Shadows, like many second books in series, was frustrating and even infuriating at times, and it ended with such a shocker that I can’t wait to see how the series proceeds.

Not too long ago, Jessie Gillmansen’s eyes were opened.  She discovered not only that the boy she loved was a werewolf but also that her town is overrun with the Russian Mafia and the CIA.  Not so normal for a teenager, right?  Well, things are about to get even more abnormal for Jessie.  After a dangerous encounter with some unsavory types, Pietr, Jessie’s sort-of boyfriend (even though he’s actually dating Jessie’s often-psycho friend Sarah), begins to pull away from Jessie.  He makes it clear that he no longer wants to be around her.  He doesn’t want her involved in his life or the lives of his family.  Jessie doesn’t know what’s going on, but she’s not going to let Pietr push her away that easily.  She still cares for him despite his insistence on being a jerk.

Jessie is also dealing with another boy–Derek, the popular football star, who Jessie had a major crush on before Pietr entered the picture.  Suddenly, Derek is always around and makes it clear that he’s very interested in Jessie.  But there’s something not-quite-right about Derek.  Why the sudden interest?  What is he really after?  And what could he possibly be hiding?

Jessie doesn’t know who to trust anymore.  Should she stick with the struggling Rusakovas, a family of werewolves who are trying to remain strong while searching for their mother and dealing with startlingly short life spans?  Or should she follow the path that everyone seems to be pushing her toward–a “normal” life with the popular Derek?  Is normal even possible for Jessie anymore now that she’s glimpsed the darkness that lives in the hearts of monsters and men?  Join Jessie on her journey, and find out who she can truly trust in Secrets and Shadows by Shannon Delany.

Even though this book was frustrating at times, I really enjoyed it.  It reminded me a little of Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon, especially the push-pull relationship between Jessie and Pietr.  It definitely mirrored the struggles that Bella and Edward endured in New Moon–but with a little less whining.  I think Jessie is a strong character who wants to protect those she loves and will do everything she can to make sure they’re safe, even if the cost is her own happiness.

Secrets and Shadows definitely ended on a cliffhanger, so I’m eager to see where the story will go from here.  The next book, Bargains and Betrayals, is scheduled for release this August, and I am definitely eager to get my hands on it!

For more information about the 13 to Life series and author Shannon Delany, visit  I hope you enjoy this new series as much as I do!

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