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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Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

nightshade cover From Goodreads: Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything–including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Oh Andrea Cremer write me a sequel and do it now! I picked up this book at BEA when every YA reviewer I spoke to asked me if I had a copy yet. It was clear that Nightshade was set to be a huge hit for the fall and was included in Penguin’s big five promotion.

I am happy to report that Nightshade lives up to the drama. Cremer sets the reader up perfectly for a book two. I found myself really invested in Calla as a character. It has been quite a while since a YA paranormal has made me want to do anything besides brutally murder the whiny chick.

Calla is strong, and has a great sense of duty. Although it is hard for her to break traditions to do thing things she needs to do Calla is open minded enough to know she should live for herself and at least try to figure out why the Guardians are working for the Keepers.

The Keepers are magical folk that have been around since before humans existed, they help shape the world and use their magic to take care of everything in it. Calla is an alpha Guardian and it is up to her and the other packs to make sure that the Keeper’s holy lands are safe.

Calla has been promised to Ren (oh le sigh at the literary boi hotness) since they were born on Samhain. All of this is fine with Calla until Shay shows up and threatens to rock her very existence to the core. This is a book begging for the reader to pick a side. Do we choose the strong misunderstood alpha male Ren (oh yes please) or the equally strong mystery boy who has a role to play in Calla’s future as well?

Nightshade kept me guessing to the very end where Andrea Cremer leaves the reader waiting with bated breath for more! I do hope there will be a second book at BEA this year and this time I will know what I am gunning for when I make my way over to the Penguin booth.

If you enjoy L.J. Smith, Christopher Pike or, Annette Curtis Klause you will love Andrea Cremer.

FTC Disclosure: I picked up this book at a conference. I paid to ship it home. Boo to the ya.

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Review: True Blood: Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Series 1 Sookie Stackhouse) by Charlaine Harris

I recently started watching True Blood on HBO on demand and heard about Charlaine Harris and her Sookie Stackhouse novels by watching the show. I thought the show was kind of campy but it had all the elements of great vampire stories from the blood tears to the can’t come out in the day light phenomena. I then decided to pick up all the Southern Vampire Series books and I ordered a box set from Amazon, and got to reading. The first book in the series is Dead Until Dark. I realized almost immediately that the show on tv was very loosely based on the book. If I thought the show was camp, I was in no way prepared for the novel.

Let me start off by saying, the book read easy and flowed well. There is a mystery to be solved and it was written well. I don’t want to give too much away on that, but the mystery was the only reason I could even continue reading this book. Maybe the book is supposed to be like a vampire romance novel, the kind of stuff where Fabio is on the cover only with fangs. If that is it then yes the book was inside it’s genre. I have been reading vampire novels since I was a teen, this had all the old cliche’s and the familiarity of that was great. I was very disappointed in the main character, I thought she was a bit slutty to be constantly throwing this purity thing around. Also as the series continues, Sookie, who doesn’t seem to be the brightest light in Bon Temps has way too many suitors to keep up with. While there isn’t much trashy sex and the word cock isn’t mentioned once (thank the gods) I felt the book had this childish theme.

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