Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

From Hicklebee’s: Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.

Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

In Fateful, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray delivers paranormal adventure, dark suspense, and alluring romance set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic’s first—and last—voyage.

I love when historical meets fantasy and Claudia Gray did such an amazing job with Fateful. We all know the fated story of the ship Titanic, but Gray’s imaginative retelling of what really happened on the ship is masterfully told and incredibly fun to read.

Tess is a maid in a good family household. Like most servants she is treated horribly and hates every moment of it. When she finds out she is going on the Titanic to America, she devises an plan to leave service and start a new life on American soil.

Tessa is a hardworking, smart, and interesting character. While the family she is in service too isn’t very fleshed out, I think that most of the peerage were concerned with flippant things at this time period and Gray showed their lack of passion well.

When Tess meets two werewolves on board things get extremely interesting and steamy. Alec tries to protect Tess while protecting himself from the Brotherhood. A society of wolves that believe they are gods, they need Alec and his family money and influence on their side and they will stop at nothing to get it. They turn Alec on Tess, then on the general population while he is in wolf form. It seems he has no choice but to join the Brotherhood and leave Tess behind, even though they have began to have feelings for each other.

The book continues at a break neck pace, here’s a spoiler for you – the ship sinks – but who makes it off alive? Who makes it to American soil to start again, and who is lost to the tragedy?

While I think the ending of the book was way too easy, and far-fetching I did enjoy the other 95% of the novel. I understand that the ending was there to coax a possible sequel but it didn’t jive with the other part of the book. I was wholly disappointed by the conclusion, but wouldn’t be averse to picking up a second and seeing what trouble Tess can get herself into next time.

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Tour Review: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Goodreads: This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended–Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer–one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack–and the man–she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

In this second book set in Cremer’s Nightshade Universe Calla is even more bad ass than before. We immediately started off straight into the action and the ending of this book sets up the next book Bloodrose perfectly.

The only criticism I wish to give is HEY WHERE THE HELL WAS MY REN. By my Ren I mean Ren in general. There was a sad lacking, and Cremer focused on the relationship that might developing between Calla and Shay (whom I loathe with the fire of a thousand suns) and her guilt for leaving her pack behind.

We learn more about those who oppose the Keepers that enslave her Guardian pack. We learn more about Calla as a person and I think in Wolfsbane her personality really shines through. Which is why I really dig the new covers. I really think they express the Calla I have come to know while reading Nightshade and Wolfsbane.

I felt Wolfsbane was a solid sequel and I am very interested in reading the third book. I have a feeling there will be more Ren. The big reveals are insane and Cremer’s plot pace was steller. If you haven’t read Nightshade pick up a paperback now!

I reviewed this book as part of the blog tour that Mundie Moms organized. There is tons of other cool stuff happening this week on other blogs so check it out!

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Review: Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda

From Goodreads: New enemies, new romance, and new horrors,

Billi’s back, and it seems like the Unholy just can’t take a hint.

Still reeling from the death of her best friend, Kay, Billi’s thrust back into action when the Templars are called to investigate werewolf activity. And these werewolves are like nothing Bilil’s seen before.

They call themselves the Polenitsy – Man Killers. The ancient warrior women of Eastern Europe, supposedly wiped out centuries ago. But now they’re out of hiding and on the hunt for a Spring Child — an Oracle powerful enough to blow the volcano at Yellowstone — precipitating a Fimbulwinter that will wipe out humankind for good.

The Templars follow the stolen Spring Child to Russia, and the only people there who can help are the Bogatyrs, a group of knights who may have gone to the dark side. To reclaim the Spring Child and save the world, Billi needs to earn the trust of Ivan Romanov, an arrogant young Bogatyr whose suspicious of people in general, and of Billi in particular.

Let me just get this out of the way: OMG WTF YAY FTW!

Sarwat Chadda’s second book in the Billi SanGreal series is mind-blowingly epic. So epic in fact that I just want to download a list of praising adjectives from a thesaurus and just put all of those in a text and call that my review. Sarwat is a master at mixing lore and handing them to you in a mash up that will literally have you anticipating each sentence. Usually when I am inundated with a mash up of different lore I immediately dislike the book *cough*CharlaineHarris*cough* and am unable to enjoy the work.

In Dark Goddess Billi is faced with life after Kay’s death. She is in a depression and resents being forced into the life of the Templar. On a random patrol she is surprised by a Werewolf and saves a small child from being eaten and that is where the book takes off at a break neck pace to the finish and oh my what a finish.

"Baba Yaga"

In this book we have Billi starting a flirtation with a Romanov Prince, saving a Spring Child from the epic witch Baba Yaga and learning to become the Templar she wants to be. Sometimes books suffer from what we call the Sophomore Slump but Dark Goddess if anything improved the story of Billi and Chadda’s writing was tight. I am a visual reader and a motion picture plays in my head as I am reading and with Dark Goddess at no point did I have to stop and assign the movie playing in my head characteristics.

These books are so well written and fascinating that I know whenever I start one that I will be incapacitated until I can finish. I only hope there will be more in the Billi SanGreal series. I can’t press upon you enough to read these books. If there is one set I am going to be pushing this year it is this.

Billi SanGreal and her battle are important on so many fronts. Not often do we get a YA character that is not white, that the cover hasn’t been white washed, and more than that Billi is a beacon for feminism: she is strong and needs no one to survive. A true to life self rescuing princess.

Have you read the books or are planning to?

Find out how to get copies of Devil’s Kiss and Dark Goddess signed, personalized and shipped to you!

FTC Disclosure: I picked this up in ARC form at a conference.

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Review: Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson

From Goodreads: Torn between two destinies?

Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she’s the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: she’s a werewolf.

As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire’s new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will change her forever?

Claire de Lune is a fantastic updated version of classic werewolf lore. Johnson didn’t try to do anything fancy like have her wolves chant Latin as they changed, or have them changing in a puff of glitter madness to be unique. Johnson was able to be unique without tearing apart the meat of the wolf lore.

Character development is the true arc of this story and the characters were written well. Claire is a very likable character albeit a bit on the whiny side about her mother’s secrets. You change your views on Claire’s mother several times throughout the novel and I really enjoyed the back and forth.

Matthew as a love interest was believable and very Romeo and Juliet in it’s forbidden nature. I quite enjoyed watching Claire and Matthew discover each other and themselves as each plot twist unfolded.

I have only one complaint and that is at times the development of the story seemed a bit choppy. The train of thought broken up a bit but not enough to turn me away from the book or upset my reading pattern.

Claire de Lune was a book one and book two Nocturne comes out in May. I am highly anticipating the sequel.

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book at my local indie at full jacket cover price.

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Review: Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

Beware of a kiss under the full moon. It will change your life forever.

Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend’s Run is famous for them. She’s used to everything in the small town until Brandon Maddox moves to Legend’s Run and Celeste finds herself immediately drawn to the handsome new student. But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and gorgeous, enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight.

Her best friends may never forgive her if she gives up her perfect boyfriend, Nash, for Brandon, who’s from the wrong side of town. But she can’t deny her attraction or the strong pull he has on her. Brandon may be Celeste’s hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend’s Run.

Psychic predictions, generations-old secrets, a town divided, and the possibility of falling in love with a hot and heroic werewolf are the perfect formula for what happens . . . once in a full moon.

Possibly the most disappointing read I have ever had from my favorite imprint which is Harper Teen. Ellen Schreiber managed to illustrate possibly everything that is wrong in the YA market in the pages of this one book. The characters were neither well thought out or executed well, the ‘legend’ was generic and not interesting at all and the love triangle angle is getting a bit more than stale.

Spoilers be ahead:
Celeste is your average popular girl, dating the hot guy who pays her no attention, two besties and dreams of writing books, scribbling in a journal like all the cool characters need to do now. There is an East Side and West Side to the town and never the twain shall meet so when Celeste sees a hot West Sider she decides that she def. can’t risk her coolness factor on him.
She decides to do a school paper on werewolves and goes to a psychic in the West Side who gives her some boring doom prophecy about snow, wolves, and kissing under a full moon. Like all dumbass heroine’s she does all the things the prophecy says not to and turns poor West Side boy she is dating but not in front of her friends because that would be too embarrassing into a werewolf. So he has to be all ‘no don’t come near me I might hurt you” and she has to be all ‘but I haz to I lurve you but only when my friends aren’t looking’ through half of the damn book.
The prophecy comes to a head when Celeste who hangs out at the old folks home realizes that her wolf boy is actually a descendent of one of her old folks who’s grandpa was the first werewolf of the town and guess what!? The wolf gene runs in his veins DUN DUN DUN.
In the end she kisses him in the woods and super hot athlete boy sees it and runs away and she’s all like whatevs and I am guessing that will be setting up for the next book.
I have never read a book that had such a poor story line, sickening characters and such unbelievable teens. Oh wait I have it started with a T and ends in light…

FTC Disclosure: I downloaded this book from Netgalley.

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