Review: Crewel- Gennifer Albin

3.5/5 Stars

Crewel (Crewel World, #1)-Gennifer Albin

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Firstly let me say, I’m not a crafty person, I don’t knit, I don’t crochet or anything like that. So when I read crewel, I thought it was a clever play on words. Then, when I went to type the book into Google it came up with a bunch of knitting patterns and suddenly the whole thing made sense. Needless to say, I felt like a complete idiot. So for those of you who, like me, have/had no idea what a crewel is here’s the answer:

Crewel work – A type of Wool work that first became popular in the early 17th century in Jacobean England, therefore sometimes called Jacobean embroidery.

Crewel stitch – This is the same as Outline stitch or Stem stitch. It is so called because it is one of the primary stitches done in Crewel work. Also used in Jacobean embroidery.

http://www.ancientlight.info/resources/glossary.html

Here’s some crewel stitch embroidery:

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Apart from my lack of embroidery knowledge, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Crewel. Judging by the Goodreads reviews I think several people felt similarly torn. Hopefully, my review will shed some light on why readers feel so conflicted.

 

I weep with him. For his loss and for the confusion I feel. This isn’t the boy with the crooked grin who fed me sweet potatoes, and my grief isn’t just because of what the Guild did to him but because of how different we are. I cry because I’m the stupid girl who can’t curb the jealousy and inferiority I feel towards Rozenn for getting him first. And for the distance that will always exist between us. He was a husband, a father, and I’m nothing and never will be. I guess the Guild assigned us our roles after all.

 

 

“On Earth, a war was fought to end all wars. Many of the regions, once called countries, became involved in the battle. One created a weapon so fearsome that it threatened to destroy everyone. They called this science, but it was merely the creation of men aimed at controlling the world. However, while one country readied to use this weapon, another scientist stepped forward with an alternative idea. Although he had worked on this bomb himself, he was more interested in time and the very matter that made up the world. He called the building blocks of this matter ‘elements.'”

 

 

“I won’t live without you,” he whispers, and his eyes say it all-desperation, betrayal, grief. But even as these emotions flash across his face, he reaches out his hand. He would risk everything-his own life-for us. But I can’t make that sacrifice. The Guild will kill him, too, if they find out about us. I can’t lose him, so I have to let him go.

 

Plot:
Adelice is haunted by the prospects of her future. Unlike normal 16 year old girls, she is not exhilarated by the fast approaching whirlwind of independence, career, and marriage that is required by the government but is horrified by her success at the thing that comes most naturally to her-weaving. In this world, Spinsters and the Creweler can see the strands of matter that comprise reality and are able to alter them to create objects from seemingly nothing. These women(only women) have the power to regulate society, to create food, to change the weather, to make people, to freeze time but what they don’t have is control, despite their abilities. The Guild rules over them and the rest of society, they can end life as easily as they can force the Spinsters to create it. Masters of corruption, they will stop at nothing to maintain their power. To the masses, the Guild is who keeps them safe and Spinsters help them along. It is a great honor to serve as a Spinster even though they are not allowed to marry, the position is glamorous and envied. The reality is far from this. All her life Adelice has shown promise for weaving but her parents have instructed her to pretend to be clumsy so that they will not take her away. For to become a Spinster is to be taken away from your family and to never see them again. Up until now, Adelice has succeeded at being the average girl with no talent for weaving, but in a moment of distraction she slips up. Adelice knows they will come for her and when they do, everything she loves is taken from her and her life is irrevocably changed forever. Crewel follows Adelice on her journey into the Spinster/Creweler world as she becomes more disillusioned to the Guild’s propaganda and learns the harsh reality of being able to alter reality with the simple touch of her fingers.

  • PRO:Crewel is an all consuming force that pulls you in and threatens to never let you go. The concept is fascinating; the idea of a multidimensional universe where time is an ever flowing stream is a common enough science fiction setup. However, the notion of a group of women trained to see the strings of time and it manipulate them into matter is not only awe inspiring but left me speechless. The closest comparison is, of course, to mythology with the sisters of fate who can grant or take away life with a snip of a string. Think Hercules. It is as mind bogglingly awesome as it is mildly nauseating to think that we are made of molecules and how easily these can be moulded into something new. Spinsters and Crewelers have the ability to carefully weave the delicate elemental strands together to create something from nothing, whether it be weather, food, or infants, all by piecing together the right strings. CON:It’s as astounding as it is terrifying that these women have such power yet lack the agency they so deserve. That, and that the Crewelers can rip through the fabric of space and time to other layers of reality. Patches of empty shimmering space appearing out of thin air is not something that sits well.
  • PRO:Jost is wounded, smart, endearing, a little rough, and a lot gorgeous. He has a past that is so tragic it will make your heart hurt and your hatred for the injustice of the Guild soar to new heights.
  • PRO:The depth of the evil and corruption is sickening and so well written that there’s a constant sense of dread and doom for what the future may bring. This also creates an uncertainty that heightens the direness of the situation with the Guild and their twisted dictatorship shadowed cleverly masked by their public advocacy for making sure the world is disease and destruction free.CON:The problem with this is that with all that pessimism surrounding the plot, there’s really no hope for a happy ending and it’s this lack of hope for most of the book that detracts from the wonderful plot.
  • PRO: Tackles the notion that men have positions of power, specifically that Guild rules over the Spinsters and Crewelers because they feel threatened. This is further evidenced by how homosexuality is presented. The Guild presents this as a defect that can be fixed with what is known as remapping. Remapping is a technique that alters the individuals personality by reworking their brain. This is extremely relevant and a thought provoking exploration of how homosexuality is viewed. When the Guild finds out that some women (like Spinsters who are forbidden to marry and have purity vows) are choosing to not marry or have children but to get involved with other women, they decide that remapping is the only way to keep control and save society.
  • CON: Adelice is iffy. As the protagonist she is significantly lacking. What should have come off as bravery felt like self destruction, she didn’t really have any unique qualities except that she had Creweler powers. What she liked, disliked, who knows. While she is devoted to saving her family, she seems to do everything to jeopardize their safety and her own. She constantly protests the system even though she knows her actions result in the death or worse of innocent people. It’s completely selfish and makes her hard to like. It is because of Adelice that I think people are conflicted about whether or not to like the book, or at least some people, including me. This combined with the somewhat confusing complexity of the Creweler/Spinister/Guild world topped off by the science fiction multidimensional manipulation, it’s easy to lose focus on what is important and whether or not to become attached to characters.

If you liked any of the following books, you’d probably like this:

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Happy reading,

-BB

Review: The Elite-Kiera Cass

4/5 Stars

The Elite(The Selection, #2)- Kiera Cass

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Then I kissed the tips of each of his fingers. He slid that hand deep into my hair and pulled my lips to his.

I had missed these kisses, so quiet, so sure. I knew that, in my whole life, if I married Aspen or someone else, no one would ever make me feel this way. It wasn’t like I made his world better. It was like I was his world. It wasn’t some explosion; it wasn’t fireworks. It was a fire, burning slowly from the inside out.

I devoured this book. I think I set my personal best time record plowing through the sheer awesomeness of this sequel. America’s story is one fueled by insatiable passion and hope and The Elite fans the flames ignited by The Selection. At first, I didn’t know how to feel about this book after falling hard for The Selection, I didn’t think a sequel could compete but The Elite is just as enchanting and I’d venture to say even more addictive.

Plot:
The Elite continues right where The Selection left off with 6 girls(the Elite) more eager than ever to capture Prince Maxon’s heart or in some cases, his crown. As the tension mounts and the time winds down, the girls are inspected with even sharper scrutiny. One step out of line and elimination is imminent. But as the uprisings between the violent Southerners and the pesky yet pacifist Northerners heat up, there’s even more political uncertainty at the palace. Maxon is weighed down by responsibility and time is against him as he tries to balance his time between girls. The relations between New Asia are dire and Maxon is pressured to follow his father’s orders. Meanwhile, the Elite are given political reports and diplomatic tasks every Friday, pitting them against each other as each girl struggles to pass these tests or face elimination. With more at stake than ever, America is forced to look deep within herself to figure out where her heart lies and if her love for the country (and maybe Maxon) is enough to sway her insecurities about whether or not she’s cut out to be a princess. Aspen stakes his claim and Maxon has his eyes on another girl, America doesn’t know who to trust or if she can trust her own heart to lead her in the right direction. America is granted a glimpse into the evils of the law and her thirst for justice is an ever present reminder of who she was, who she is as a three, and who she can be satisfied with becoming.

PROS:

  • America and Maxon have a natural, playful chemistry that exudes the giddy, wonderful feeling of first love. Their teasing banter will leave you with infectious smiles and blissful happiness at how right they seem for one another.
  • Aspen and America’s love is fiery, a blur of heated embraces and clandestine meetings. The danger of being caught is all part of what leaved the reader torn. The only problem with having two charming, gorgeous love interests is knowing that one will end up brokenhearted.
  • The secret history that the country was built on is revealed and the infrastructure is laid out in depth. Lies, intrigue, and shocking truths leave one questioning who to side with and whether or not the rebels have cause for their actions.
  • Issues such as abuse and violent punishment are explored.
  • America is even more determined and passionate than in The Selection, she stands up for her beliefs and advocates justice at all costs for the downtrodden and less fortunate castes.

CONS:

  • Several times within the book America is infuriatingly childish and reckless. She flip flops between Maxon and Aspen over and over again because one annoyed her more than the other. Her feelings are entirely based on whim and subject to change at the drop of the hat. This is more than just confusion, it’s immature and frankly her least redeeming and unlikeable quality.
  • The other members of the Elite don’t have as a great a role as they did in the first book and I felt myself yearning for more sinister plots and cat fights. It felt like some of the girls had no role at all and were just there for sake of the number. Celeste is nowhere near as evil as she was and is now more of a spoiled princess than a threat. There’s no real competition and it feels like they just gave up and are basking in the comforts of palace life.

Overall, The Elite was an enjoyable, fun read. If you liked any of the following books you might like this:

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Happy reading,

-BB

Review: The Rising- Kelley Armstrong

2.5/5 Stars

The Rising (Darkness Rising, #3)- Kelley Armstrong

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“…I don’t know if that’s how you really do become a werewolf.”He paused. “It could be kind of cool, though. A werewolf and skin-walker hybrid. Time to shift? You pick your form.”
He grinned and I managed a soft laugh. “My luck, it’d be a mix of the two. A shaggy, brown monster with retractable claws and an irresistible urge to chase sticks.”
“As long as it’s not an irresistible urge to hump legs and sniff crotches.”

Plot:
Picking up right where The Calling left off, Maya, Daniel, and Corey are on the run from two rival Cabal groups who want nothing more than to capture them and make them prisoners to a lifelong series of obligations and medical procedures. As arguably successful recreations of extinct mythological creatures, Maya and Daniel are the greatest asset and highest marketing potential for future investors. Maya and the others who escaped the helicopter charade fleeing from Salmon Creek, now that they know their entire lives were based on lies in order to further scientific experimentation and exploration for warring Cabal groups, want nothing to do with the gilded cage of the Phoenix Project. All these teens want is their freedom and to not have to run anymore. Daniel, Maya, and Corey go on a reckless journey across Canada to meet up with the parents who loved them all their lives but believed them dead. With the risky plan to intercept their parents at their own funeral, all bets are off when Maya’s long-lost twin brother Ash shows up and warns them of the stupidity of their plan. A series of terrible choices and bad luck later, Maya is captured and reunited with the others from Salmon Creek and her biological father Antone, the half-demon. More importantly, Maya is back with Rafe, the hot future skin-walker from the earlier books. What Maya finds at the compound is not so bad. They have everything they could want except that which they desire most, freedom from supervision and to make their own choices without the influence of the Cabal. The Rising follows Maya, the usual crew, and a few new characters on the journey to find freedom, or relatively acceptable living circumstances without sinister Cabal intentions. Maya adjusts to life with her brother, sorts through her overwhelmingly confusing feelings for both Rafe and Daniel, and the possibility that they might actually need Cabal resources to survive, when Maya discovers that like Annie, she too is regressing.

PROS:

  • Ash was just the sort of character this series needed, someone sarcastic, attractive, powerful, with some edginess, and a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He is the perfect counterbalance to Maya’s proud fierceness, and interacts with her in a natural brotherly way complete with fighting and hilarious disagreements.
  • The only redeeming moments belong to the sizzling flirtations, and mounting sexual tensions between characters that will constantly leave you with a smile on your face and a glowing sense of satisfaction.

CONS:

  • I had such high hopes for this book, I expected crazy action scenes, danger, and a lot more magic considering the supernatural elements but surprisingly this book was severely lacking in all of those departments. For a series that is based on scientific experiments connected with the revival of extinct mythological creatures, it felt like more of a teenage drama with half-hearted attempts at supernatural. Adrenaline should have pumped, the speed should have been fueled with uncertainty and fear for their lives but honestly, the whole story was slow, boring, and not at all what I anticipated. Sure there were a lot of dire circumstances, narrow escapes, and even shootings yet somehow the story felt like a series of telling with little description and the pace was not up to speed with the action scenes. I spent more than half of the book hoping something would happen that made me sit on the edge of my seat, gripping the edges of the book for dear life, and I was just so underwhelmed.
  • The story didn’t have a climax. It went in circles with a bunch of nothing much happening. The plot didn’t really fluctuate and there were no surprises.
  • The end was bland and deeply unsatisfying.

As the conclusion to the trilogy, The Rising fell flat and lost some of it’s earlier magic in the earlier books.

If you enjoyed the following books you would likely love this:

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Happy reading,

-BB

Review: The Lying Game- Sara Shepard

4/5 Stars
The Lying Game(The Lying Game, #1)- Sara Shepard

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I was pleasantly surprised by The Lying Game. Ever since before Pretty Little Liars became a worldwide phenomenon for young girls on ABC Family or MTV Russia to name a few, I was a fan of the Pretty Little Liars book series. At first, I was dying to know what happened to Allison, and then it became a chaotic search to uncover the clues that would lead to the discovery of just who the elusive stalker, and tormentor of the Liars, A, is/was. Now that the series is on book 13, it’s become quite boring to be honest. How many A’s can there be, really??! So when I sat down to read The Lying Game(I am also a fan of the show which I think doesn’t get nearly enough attention) I was apprehensive. But once I got into the story, I found that I enjoyed the book even more than Pretty Little Liars and it isn’t just because the tail end of the series is getting me down. Comparatively, The Lying Game has a better writing style. While both series are written in a simple form, The Lying Game has better word choice, a more complex array of emotions, and like Pretty Little Liars, leaves you wanting more.

Plot:
Emma has been shuffled from foster home to foster home since she was eight. Now, just a couple of weeks before her 18th birthday things start to go downhill and fast. Her skeezy foster-brother, Travis, who creepily tries to watch her shower, has found the ultimate way to destroy her life right before she can move out on her own for good; first he plants stolen money in her purse with a signed Bruce Willis bill that her adoptive mother fawns over as part of her wall of celebrity encounters, and although she may have been forgiven for stealing after what he shows his mother next, Emma has no choice but to pack up her belongings and embark on a life of her own before high school graduation. Travis opens his phone to a saved video, it’s of a girl identical to Emma gagged, bound, and tied to a chair, who after a few minutes of the video, is strangled by her own locket. Emma is shocked, nauseated, and a little exhilarated after the video, so much so that her subsequent dire situation is easy to figure out. Emma now knows that she is not alone in the world, that she has her very own long lost twin sister and she plans on finding her. After putting together some clues, Emma finds out her sister’s name is Sutton Mercer, and she appears to have everything Emma did not; popularity, a gorgeous boyfriend, a happy, loving family, and a devoted group of friends. But everything is not always what it seems and if Sutton’s life was the fairytale it appeared to be why the disturbing video? After sending Sutton a Facebook message, Emma hears back relatively quickly and they set up a meeting. With Emma’s dreams of film school shattered and now being virtually homeless, Emma does the only thing that makes sense, she packs, takes her savings, and gets on a bus to meet her sister. Only, when she gets to Arizona nothing goes as planned. Sutton never shows up, her bags are stolen, and Sutton’s friends force her to go to a party because they think she’s Sutton, even though Emma tried to explain the situation. Later on, Emma finds out the Sutton has been murdered, and so begins the hunt for her sister’s killer. But until then, the murderer left Emma a message, Emma is to pretend to be Sutton, or else she’d be next on his/her hit list. Told from Sutton’s ghost’s(maybe) perspective, The Lying Game combines the voices, emotions, and unique perspectives of both sisters as the struggle to find out just what happened to Sutton and if the killer is one of Sutton’s best friends.

PROS:

  • The Lying Game is a terrifying game of lies, sabotage, and danger. It involves twisted stunts that both humiliate, and scare the victim, and very strict rules for its members that if broken result in both expulsion from the club, and a Lying Game as consequence. The Lying Game is more than a bunch of sub par high school pranks, it’s about testing boundaries, about instilling a sense of hopelessness in the masses, and about out doing the other members. No one knows who will be next or what will happen. It’s suspenseful, unique, and really fun to guess what might be coming.
  • Emma was not what I was expecting. If you’ve seen the show, and have never been exposed to the books, you know that Emma is a doe-eyed sweetheart, she is always compassionate, always thinking of others above herself, and is the better of the two sisters. In the book series, Emma is sometimes almost as catty and bitchy as Sutton. Sutton also has more of a conscience, and a lot more heart. Emma likes poetry, film, and is in general a lot more artsy, and less athletic.
  • Ethan is a shunned rebel, with a poetic side, he reads Dickinson, and Plath, and is just the sort of broody mystery boy who a girl can fall in love with.
  • All of Sutton’s friends, Mads, Char, and Laurel, even the two Twitter sisters have a sinister, suspicious air about them. Everyone is a suspect, everyone has motive, and because they are so close to Emma as Sutton, Emma is always on edge, and paranoid that if she falls out of line the killer could easily reach her. This creates  a dark, unsure mood that when combined with the mystery makes The Lying Game a book you can’t really look away from because you are simultaneously praying for Emma’s safety and hoping the Emma can uncover her sister’s killer before it is too late.

CONS:

  • Emma is constantly jumping to conclusions, and making outrageous assumptions about everyone even when the facts are circumstantial at best.

If you enjoyed any of the following books, you might like this:

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Pleasant reading,

-BB

Review: Period 8-Chris Crutcher

2.5/5 Stars

Period 8-Chris Crutcher

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“This might sound a little crude…”
Hannah rolls her eyes.
“…but guys’re hard-wired, man. Look at dogs. You don’t see some female dog breaking her chain and scaling a six-foot fence to get to a dude dog. But a Great Dane will ride across the river on the back of a dog-eatin’ alligator to rub up against a Chihuahua in heat knowin’ you can’t put tab A into slot B. We do that shit ’cause there’s no choice. You never catch me saying ‘The devil made me do it.’ Darwin made me do it.”

 

Plot:
Period 8 is a sort of Breakfast Club in modern times. A bunch of kids from all areas of the high school social food chain come together during Period 8 to talk out problems in a group therapy session with their teacher Logs. All types of crazy issues and suspicions are raised in Period 8 but the main one is about Mary Wells. Mary aka Virgin Mary has been a devote member of Period 8 for years and borderline Merit Scholar destined for the Ivys. When Mary stops showing up for meetings and skipping class the group members know something is up. When Mary’s father reports her as a missing person they’re all thrown for a loop and suspect something dark and sinister is at foot. Meanwhile, Paulie, triathlete and extremely popular is on the outs with his girlfriend Hannah, whom he cheated on with a mystery girl. As the tension mounts and there are more questions than answers, Mary reappears and lascivious secrets are unveiled. Just who is Mary Wells and what dangers does she pose to the rest of Period 8? There are forces of corruption and blackmail lurking behind lies and intrigue plus a little sociopathic fun. Will the Period 8 gang survive when the secrets are revealed?

PROS:

  • The ending was shocking. There were some tiny clues but as the story panned out there was a definite twist.
  • Mary Wells is conflicted. The victim of two warring lives she is a jaded princess slave to her father’s bidding and expectations. Her story is one of broken youth and false promises.

CONS:

  • Apart from Mary, the characters are underdeveloped, boring and hard to root for because they’re just so typical.
  • The plot was stunted and slow. The story was a series of half hearted high school drama and sappy regret that came off as more annoying than authentic.
  • The love story(if you could call it that) was a cliched mess of stupid mistakes and undeserved forgiveness.

Between the slow plot and less than creative characters it was hard to push through to the end. If it wasn’t for the mystery of Mary, I would have given up after the first 20 pages.

If you like somewhat realistic fiction with dark themes like drugs, scandal, and prostitution, then you would likely enjoy this.

-BB

Review: The Scorpio Races- Maggie Stiefvater

3.5/5 Stars

The Scorpio Races- Maggie Stiefvater

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“Tell me what it’s like. The race.”
What it’s like is a battle. A mess of horses and men and blood. The fastest and strongest of what is left from two weeks of preparation on the sand. It’s the surf in your face, the deadly magic of November on your skin, the Scorpio drums in the place of your heartbeat. It’s speed, if you’re lucky. It’s life and it’s death or it’s both and there’s nothing like it. Once upon a time, this moment-this last light of evening the day before the race-was the best moment of the year for me. The anticipation of the game to come. But that was when all I had to lose was my life.

Plot:
Every November the Scorpio Races start on the island. The danger is imminent as men prepare their horses for the violence of the race. This race is not on your average horse but on the mythical water horse(not to be confused with the Loch Ness monster). These water horses are vicious predators that arise from the sea and go on killing rampages around town. The shredded remains of farm animals and people are left in bloody heaps to be stumbled upon by islanders and tourists alike. Many people on the island have lost parents and children to these magnificently deadly beasts but this does not stop hordes of people from partaking in the Scorpio races. Typically a game for men, when Kate (Puck) Connolly gets it in her head to ride in the races, the men are outraged and will stop at nothing to prevent her from riding. When they find out that she plans on racing her normal horse Dove, the animosity only increases. Sean Kendrick, famous horse whisperer and four time winner of the Scorpio Races, takes a liking to Puck and begins training her. As quickly as things start looking up, Mr.Malvern, owner of most of the island and nearly all of the horses, threatens to evict Puck and her brothers from their home and as an employer of Sean, denies him his freedom and the ability to purchase Corr, his red water horse. Malvern’s son is extremely jealous and malicious, and he is unafraid to butcher innocents to get his way. Puck and Sean have many obstacles in their way but as their mutual attraction blossoms, their fate intermingles. Both need more than ever to win the race but will more sinister forces triumph? Find out as Puck and Sean make their way to the races and hopefully survive to see the end.
PROS:

  • Sean and Puck. Their love for one another is as easy as it is natural. They’re made for one another and complement each other perfectly. The simple way they touch and comfort in their collective silence is wonderfully written. There’s no need for a whirlwind of passion and dramatic declarations, like the island it just is the way it is. Pure, a little dangerous, and full of surprises.
  • These water horses are terrifying. They lurk in the water, pouncing and stalking their prey, wickedly sharp teeth and powerful hooves breaking bones and severing limbs. They’re nothing like the water horse of Loch Ness, they’re more like a Kelpie. If you’ve read The Iron Feythen you already are well versed in the horrifying image of these creatures. If not, they’re magical fey creatures who are horse like and live in the water, they drags people to their deaths by drowning or worse, my torturing them for fun. Stiefvater’s water horses are a merge of Kelpie and the real thing.
  • The preparation for the races and the rituals leading up to it are fascinating. A little Druidy, it created the illusion of a higher entity controlling the fate of the islanders. The way they make blood sacrifices, dress in masks, and make wishes for harm by writing them in ash and casting them into the sea is something so foreign and strange that there is an air of fantasy mixed with reality.

CONS:

  • There were several unnecessary characters and plot points. The whole story was flooded by these fleeting, bland characters. The book could have been much shorter and could have used some editing.
  • Because of those aforementioned characters there were many lags in the story that made the plot seem overly slow and boring despite the content. On Goodreads I saw that a couple people didn’t finish. It’s probably because of this, that some couldn’t get into a story as interesting as murderous water horses.

If you liked any of the following books you might enjoy this:

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-BB

Review: Fateful- Claudia Gray

3/5 Stars

Fateful-Claudia Gray

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I’ve been looking for someone to rescue me since I first felt the hunter’s stare on my back when I boarded this ship. Before that, I thought I was so strong and smart, with my little felt purse of money to save me. Now I feel like I understood nothing about the world then-nothing about the true horrors it holds-except for one thing, one I realize is more true than ever: Nobody else will ever be able to save me if I’m not fighting as hard as I can to save myself.

The Brotherhood is the dominant group of werewolves. The ruling pack. There are other groups-smaller, weaker, hunted by the Brotherhood. And there must be lone wolves hiding out, the way I did at first. But the Brotherhood will stop at nothing short of absolute power. They control henchmen in the streets. They control members of Parliament and Congress. There’s no one too low for them to notice or too high for them to command.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I honestly pick books by their covers or spines. I sit down and read them and have no idea what I’m getting into. This way every read is a surprise. It’s kind of fun, though sometimes disappointing. Fateful was nothing like I expected. From the cover you’d think desolate looking girl in the water…tragic love story? Never did I expect a werewolf romance set on the Titanic. Definitely threw me for a loop. Knowing that the iceberg hit was inevitable left an air of suspense, you knew it was coming but weren’t quite sure when it would happen…well unless you know the exact date of the Titanic’s sinking, which I certainly did not. And if you don’t know the date, I suggest you don’t look it up before reading, the sense of impending doom is half the fun.

Plot:
Tess Davies is a maid to the notorious Lisle family. Up until this point she has carried on as a good chamber maid to the youngest child Irene but for 2 years she’s been saving her wages to make an escape from servant life. When the chance to flee to America comes up, Tess latches onto the idea. The Lisle family is bound for the Titanic and the Americas, where they hope to pawn heirlooms to pay off some debts and for Lady Regina to marry off her children to wealthy Americans in the last effort to save their reputation before falling into financial ruin. The night before they embark, Tess rushes to a shop for Lady Regina when she stumbles upon some men in a dark alleyway. All appears fine until one rounds back and threatens her for eavesdropping. That’s when things get weird, she is being chased by a wolf that suddenly appears and is rescued by a handsome young man. This is the first time Tess experiences attraction to another person and she can’t seem to forget her savior. So when they arrive on the Titanic, and Lady Regina like a shark who scents blood spots the Marlowe family(steel owners and very rich), Tess is shocked to discover that they boy who saved her is Alec Marlowe, heir to millions. As Lady Regina runs Tess ragged with chores, Tess can’t help running into Alec many times and someone else she didn’t expect, the man who accosted her in the alleyway back in England. One night while running from Mikhail(the man from the alleyway) who seems to have countless ways to torture Tess, she is locked in the Turkish baths and witnesses Mikhail’s transformation from human to werewolf. At this point Tess learns that the supernatural is a reality and she is horrified by what this means for her. Now that she knows his secret, she is sure Mikhail will murder her. Trembling and scared out of her wits, Tess barricades herself in the changing stall as a second wolf shows up. Mikhail leaves after a skirmish with the second wolf and Tess falls to sleep. When she wakes there is a very naked and injured Alec on the floor. That’s when she knows his secret. From this point on Alec tells Tess of the Brotherhood and their worldwide influence. The Brotherhood is a pack of werewolves with money and political power all over the world. Mikhail is after the Liste family heirloom, an initiation blade that when used with a spell will allow the werewolf to change whenever he pleases. From this point on Alec and Tess team up to fight the Brotherhood, save themselves and their loved ones from Mikhail, and fan the flames of their fiery attraction before time runs out and the iceberg hits.

PROS:

  • Tess is an outspoken, highly opinionated, unbelievably strong young woman. She faces terrible circumstances and murderous werewolves and yet she hold her head high in the face of danger, thinks on her feet, and is not afraid to throw a few punches. Tess risks everything, her livelihood, her dignity, her life, and her heart for what she believes in and the people she loves. If you’re looking for a heroine of natural, unquestionable power look no further, this girl is a wonderful depiction of a woman maintaining her own inner strength in leu of circumstances beyond her control. Tess, despite the time period and her station is unwavering in her convictions to surpass what is expected of someone of her class and to start a new, free life in America. Some would call this foolish and delusional, in Tess it is startlingly brave.
  • Alec is dreamy. He’s a little jaded, but compassionate, kind, and oh so casually romantic. He’s got untamable curly hair and gorgeous eyes, and is the heir to a metal industry in America. However, all Alec wants is to build, to be a great architect, but he cannot because of his condition of the lupine variety, and he is haunted by his past.
  • If you dislike historical fiction or fiction that is written in the language of the time, in this case early 1900s and British English, as well as American English, then you might be slightly irked by this. The writing style is perfect for the time period and the word choice is simply brilliant. You feel like you are in the early 1900s and the depictions of the gaps in social classes are beautifully done. If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you’d appreciate this. 🙂
  • Historically, the treatment of foreigners was spot on. Didn’t matter if you were the heiress of the Norwegian bank or something of the sort, if you couldn’t speak English you were put in 3rd class and the last warned of disaster. Although, Mikhail is a Russian count and he is treated like royalty despite his foreign status.

CONS:

  • Mikhail was not much of a villain, sure he was Russian(cliche) and yeah he was a little more mob than KGB but his creepy stalking and futile threats were a bit bland. There were several times that he could have caused way more damage and it took away from his violent, bad guy image when he backed off simply because Alec showed up. If he would have been a realistically portrayed antagonist than he would have been more inclined to fight than run away with his tail between his legs. Literally. This was so disappointing and not what I envisioned as a serious Russian antagonist at all.
  • The juxtaposition of the Brotherhood threat with the fate of the Titanic diminished the overall direness of the Brotherhood situation. They were all destined for death anyway. Or at least put in a likely deadly situation.
  • There were minor discrepancies in descriptions and actions. And also one mix up of characters in a dialogue scene.

If you enjoyed any of the following books you’d probably like this:

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-BB