Guest Post: On Writing Strong Female Characters and Other Musings by Jennifer Siddoway

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As Rory Gilmore once said, “I live in two worlds, one is a world of books.” I have never felt more connected to a character than in that moment, because I too, have lived a hundred different lives through the beautifully crafted pages of a novel. An author’s ability to paint a world with words is something that amazes me to this day, and will continue to do so for years to come.

I never thought that I would become an author, not even in my wildest dreams. Sometimes it still feels like I’m an imposter who has infiltrated this community and has not yet been discovered for the fraud she is. Yet, here I am about to release book two in the Earthwalker Trillogy and it finally feels like I’m treading water.

The heroine in this series, Wynn Hendricks, is a headstrong, fiery redhead who desperately wants to finish high school when a Demon Lord shows up in her bedroom and declares her soul his property. To regain her freedom, she must conquer the seven deadly sins. In doing so, she finds herself caught between the realms of Heaven, Hell, and Earth, with the angel Caleb as her only ally.

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I’m a big fan of strong female characters, and in Wynn’s story I really wanted to show her rising above this terrible situation and coming out on top. She doesn’t need a knight in shining armor to protect her, but would rather have someone love and support her while she rescues herself. Her journey covers a three-book arc that I’m hoping will show growth and depth of character over time. Each of the Demon Lords are unique and come at her in different ways, which I found fascinating to write about. I didn’t want the straightforward, hand over fist, showdown that you’d expect. They’re clever and come at her sideways, hoping that Wynn will become overconfident or make some fatal mistake. One of the things I like about them is that they do not make idle threats. Aidan and the other Demon Lords follow through on what they promise and that is terrifying, especially when they don’t play by the rules – nothing is off the table.

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After tragedy strikes the Hendricks family, Wynn leaves for college, hoping the Demon Lords follow her. She is reunited with Caleb after his fall from grace. Now, they no longer have to hide their feelings for one another. Together, they prepare for Wynn’s three remaining trials and encounter another demon who has infiltrated the Mortal Realm. Charlene is strong and beautiful, with complete control of her demonic powers – everything Wynn hopes to achieve one day.

The Demon Lords aren’t holding back, but they’re not the only ones who are conspiring against her. Maya is on the warpath and blames Wynn for Caleb’s decision to leave. Wynn learns that to defeat Aidan once and for all will come at a terrible price, taking her away from the ones she loves most.

With the help of some unlikely allies, can Wynn defeat the Demon Lords and finally make Aidan pay?

ExcerptHis lips broke from mine and left a trail of kisses down my neck, sending a jolt of hot confusion coursing through my body. Electric tingles ran up and down along my spine in a delicious need to hold him and have his body pressed against me. I tilted my head to give him better access and let out an involuntary sigh. “Caleb …” l breathed out dreamily.

“I love you.”

He cradled my face in his hands and pulled away briefly so that he could whisper, “You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to hear you say that.”

I breathed out a ragged laugh before kissing him again and losing myself completely in his touch. My body ignited beneath his hands and I all I could think about was this magnificent creature had pledged himself to me. His lips were on me once again, and I wrapped myself around him like a snake in another one of his passionate kisses. A moment later, I felt myself being lifted off the ground as he carried me back into the apartment.

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authorJennifer SiddowayWebsite/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter

Jennifer is an author from Tallahassee, Florida who writes paranormal romance and fantasy novels for young adults. She is a member of both Gulf Coast Authors and the Florida Writers Association.

After receiving a degree in theatre and working as a scenic artist for twelve years, she changed careers to do what she really loves—writing. Jennifer believes that part of her job as an artist and story teller is to create a narrative that explores a fresh perspective and leaves the audience thinking.

Even as a child, she has always been intrigued by Grimm’s Fairy Tales and particularly enjoys a twist on an established plot. When she’s not busy writing or burying her nose in a book, Jennifer enjoys doing medieval reenactment with her husband and two children.

 

 

Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Stacey Rourke

Meet Stacey Rourke! She is an award winning, best-selling author, yet her quirky writing style and personality has her better known for her irrational fear of garden gnomes and her insistence that pretty shoes actually call out to her as she shops. That said, if you like books with a heap of action, a swirl of suspense, a dash of romance, and a slathering of snappy one-liners, Stacey’s books might be the right recipe for you! Without further ado, let’s explore the works of this twistedly, fun ginger!
 
In the literary world, Stacey is probably best known for her Legends Saga. This suspenseful literary adventure dares to ask the question; what if the best fiction had dark roots of truth? It kicks off with Crane, a modern day spin on the Legends of Sleepy Hollow. Things delve into the macabre in Raven, book 2, where the works of Edgar Allen Poe are weaved together into an intricate tapestry. The third book, Steam, combines the writings of HG Wells and Nathaniel Hawthorne into a backstory filled with witchcraft and time travel.
Spiral into madness with this series today!
Crane: Amazon/Audio/B&N
Raven: Amazon/B&N
Steam: Amazon
 
In between writing the Legends Saga, Stacey admits to needing a “mental health” break from the dark and maniacal.  Her pallet cleanser came in the form of the light-hearted romantic comedy, Adapted for Film.
Set in Hollywood, we travel along with International Best-Selling Author, Aubrey Evans, as her blockbuster book is made into a major motion picture. But when she and the director begin butting heads over how to bring the book to life the studio takes drastic measures to save the flailing film. Will Aubrey find her happy ending in the City of Angels? Or will the credits roll on all she has worked for?
Stacey entered the literary world with this YA fantasy series filled with shapeshifters, dragons, pirates, demons, and the horrifying image of grandma in a leopard print bikini! Yikes. The lives of three siblings are turned upside down when they suddenly find themselves linked to the mystical creature known as the Gryphon; oldest brother, Gabe, takes the form of a lion, the youngest of the trio, Kendall, grows the wings of an eagle, and middle child, Celeste, becomes his Conduit—the Celtic warrior fated to save us all.
Together, they must battle the forces of darkness, all while getting on each other’s last nerve.
 
Conduit #FREE: Amazon/B&N
Embrace: Amazon
Sacrifice: Amazon
Ascension: Amazon
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Now that you’ve learned about Stacey, Check out this amazing giveaway prize pack that she has put together! Fill out the Rafflecopter for your chance to win!! GIANT PRIZE PACK! One insulated tote, signed copies of The Conduit, Adapted for Film, and Crane, an acrylic “Can’t Do Chores, I’m Reading” tumbler, “Books I like, You Not So Much” notebook, “Just One More Chapter” pen light, Steam keychain, Stacey Rourke pen, and assorted book swag! All for ONE lucky winner!
CHECK OUT MY STACEY ROURKE REVIEWS:
Happy reading, 
Jordan

Spotlight & Giveaway: Spelled-Betsy Schow

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Available: June 2, 2015

cooltext1889161239 copyTalk about unhappily ever after. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving Dorthea with hair made up of emerald flames and the kingdom in chaos. Her parents and everyone she loves are stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed-off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

Advance Praise for Spelled

“A cute adventure with romance set in a world full of fairy-tale mash-ups. Readers will love Dorthea’s evolution from spoiled princess to strong, confident heroine… For Oz fans, this work is a great clean-read alternative to Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die.” -School Library Journal

“This wickedly funny, fast-paced adventure has it all: brains, courage, and heart. (Plus a kickin’ pair of heels.) .” –Jen Calonita, author of The Secrets of My Hollywood Life and Fairy Tale Reform School series

“Fairy tale survival rule #1, do NOT read this book late at night. You will wake up your entire family with loud laughter. Fairy tale survival rule #2, if you love the Wizard of Oz, clever fairy tale mash-ups, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what will happen until the very end, you MUST read Spelled.” –J Scott Savage, award winning author of Farworld, Case File 13, and the Mysteries of Cove series.

“A hilarious and snarky reimagining of the world of Oz, along with many other fairy tales injected throughout, “Spelled” is one fabulous read…Kick off those silver slippers and tuck in with this wonderful tale!” —Senator Sipes, Lil Book Bug (Palmdale, CA)

cooltext1921345213 copyMost of the crowd had dispersed. The final few stragglers looked at me with the all­too-common look of fear mixed with trepidation. Pix ’em. They were just servants. It wasn’t like their opinion mattered.

Only one remained, watching me with open curiosity. He looked to be in his late teens or was magically enhanced to appear so. He could have been a hundred for all I knew. I’d never seen him before in my life.

He was handsome enough, for a commoner, even in his worn leather pants and cracked work boots. A foreigner, his hair was unruly and dark auburn, which complemented his tanned but dirt-smudged complexion, though the tall, dark stranger vibe was ruined by his piercing pale blue eyes.

Well, I’d had enough of being a sideshow for the day. “If you’re the new gardener, the hedges are overgrown and in need of a trim.” I pointed in the direction of my father. “While you’re there, you can help the king with the wisps.”

The young man’s expression clouded over, but he didn’t move.

I stamped my foot and pointed more forcefully. “Off with you. Courtyard’s that way. Be sure to clean those awful boots before coming back in.”

“Someone told me I’d find a princess of great worth here. One with the strength to be the hero this realm needs.” He stared at me with those unsettling blue eyes. They were cold, like ice water—made me shiver from head to toe. Then his gaze seemed to search even deeper. Finally, he looked through me, like I was nothing.

In brisk steps, he strode across the marble to the courtyard. But before crossing the threshold, he turned back to glare at me with his lip curled ever so slightly. “It seems she was mistaken.”

Just like that, I had been sifted, weighed, and found wanting.

I felt my own lip curl in response. How rude! Who the Grimm was this peasant to judge me? I was wearing a Glenda original. Original! Not some fairy-godmother knockoff worn by those servant girls turned royal. I was a crown princess, for the love of fairy, and no one dismissed me.

Before I could put the boy in his place—down in the dirt, where he belonged—a clatter came from behind, making me nearly jump out of my shoes. I checked and was relieved that Sterling had simply dropped his sword. By the time I looked back, the gardener was gone.

After stowing his blade, Sterling held up his shield, not in defense of the entrance but so he could look at his reflection. “Clearly he’s blind and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

I didn’t ask for Sterling’s opinion, but it made me feel better.

Until he opened his mouth again.

“Worth, pffft. I mean, look around at all the jewels. Your palace has everything you could ever want. Honestly, I don’t know what you’re fussing about. Why would anyone want to leave?”

Because a cage is still a cage, no matter how big or glittering the bars are.

And I would find a way free, no matter the cost.

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Enter for your chance to win a Spelled Fairy Tale Survival Guide Gift Basket (1 copy of Spelled, 1 copy of Flunked, 1 Land of Awes Ring, 2 Wizard of Oz charms, and gourmet chocolate)

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cooltext1889178114 copyBetsy Schow is the author of the memoir Finished Being Fat, and has been featured on The Today Show and in The Wall Street Journal. She lives in Utah, but travels the country with Color Me Rad 5k, and partners with nonprofits to teach kids creative thinking and how to reach their goals.

Website/Twitter

Keep reading,

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Release Day Blast & Giveaway: A Cold Legacy-Megan Shepherd

Pub. Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins
Pages: 400
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After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.
 
Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.
 
With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity. 
A COLD LEGACY excerpt
p.21-24
 
Montgomery stopped the horses outside a tavern. He came to the carriage door, opening it just a crack to keep the rain from drenching us. “I’m going to ask directions. We can’t be far now.”
 
We watched him saunter over the muddy street as though he didn’t even feel the bite of freezing rain. A face appeared in the tavern window. The door opened and he spoke to a woman in a wool dress for a few moments, then stomped back through the mud. “This village is called Quick,” he told us. “The manor’s only five miles from here.”
 
“Did you hear that?” Lucy murmured to Edward, still stroking his hair. “We’re almost there. Just hold on. Everything will be all right once we arrive.”
 
Montgomery’s eyes shifted to me. Neither of us wanted to remind Lucy that the prospect of Edward’s fever breaking—and the Beast’s reappearance—was almost more frightening than the fever itself. Delirious, he was less of a threat.
 
“Let’s go then,” I whispered to Montgomery. “And quickly.”
 
He closed the door and in another moment we were moving again, passing through the rest of Quick. Then all too soon the village was nothing but fading lights. The storm grew and the road became rougher, and all the while Edward’s eyes rolled back and forth beneath shuttered lids.
 
Thunder struck close by, and Lucy shrieked. Montgomery whipped the horses harder, pulling us along the uneven road impossibly fast, trying to outrun the storm. I twisted in the seat to look out the back window at the pelting rain. A stone fence ran alongside us.
 
“We must be getting close,” I said.
 
“Not soon enough,” Lucy breathed. “We’re going to crash if he keeps driving like this!”
 
The road widened, straightening, letting us travel even faster. Lightning struck close by, blinding me. The horses bolted. Lucy screamed and covered her eyes, but I couldn’t tear mine away. The lightning had struck an enormous oak tree, twisted from centuries of wind. The oak took flame, blazing despite the rain. A smoking gash ran down the trunk—the lightning’s death mark. I watched until the rain put out most of the flames, but it still smoldered, billowing hot ash into the night.
 
The horses pawed the earth, and I grabbed the window to steady myself. At this wild speed, just hitting a single rock at the wrong angle would send the carriage shattering to the ground. It was madness to go so fast. Couldn’t Montgomery calm the horses?
 
Just when I feared the carriage would careen out of control, it stopped short, throwing me against the opposite wall. I tangled in Lucy’s limbs as the chains around Edward’s body clinked. Balthazar grunted, jerking awake at last. We scrambled in the bottom of the carriage until the door flew open.
Montgomery stood in the pelting rain. I feared he’d say we’d broken another strut or the horses had gone lame or we’d have to spend the night in the harsh storm.
 
But then I saw the lights behind him, and the night took shape into a turreted stone manor with bright lamps blazing and gargoyles on the roof vomiting rain into a stone courtyard.
 
Montgomery’s eyes met mine beneath the low brim of his hat.
 
 
“We’ve arrived,” he said.
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Hello!  I’ve been many things, like a professional exchange student, park ranger in Montana, and LOST enthusiast, but what I am now is a writer.
 
I think it’s fair to say I was born into it. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, raised behind the counter of my parents’ independent bookstore, Highland Books in Brevard. Ah, so many free books. But I never thought being a writer could be a real career. After college I thought I’d end up as a foreign service officer somewhere dashing and exotic, like Canada. I studied French, Spanish, German, and Russian and still speak a few of those. Then I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Senegal, where I learned a few more languages I’ll never speak again and lived in a mud hut with no electricity or running water. You can probably imagine how that experience went, but if you’re curious, here are the dirty
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It wasn’t until a chance aquaintance read something I wrote and said, “have you ever considered being a writer?” that something clicked and I realized it was possible. My husband encouraged me, and I quickly fell head-over-heels in love with writing and children’s literature in particular. I started out writing articles, which have appeared in Faces, Appleseeds, and Calliope magazines, and stories for younger children. I soon realized I wasn’t sweet enough to write fiction for that age and found myself writing young adult literature instead, which doesn’t require nearly as many tender moments and includes a lot more cursing.
 
When I’m not writing, I can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops, or hiking in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. I love to hear from readers, so please drop me a line!
 
I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams LiteraryAuthor Photo by Kristi Hedberg Photography
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1 winner will receive a signed copy of A COLD LEGACY and swag! US Only. Ends on February 6th at Midnight EST!

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Happy reading,

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ARC Review: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant-Joanna Wiebe

3.5/5 Stars

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant (The V Trilogy, #1)-JoannaWiebe

***I received this ARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and BenBella Books.  17675434

Yes, that means I’m that girl. I’m the weird mortician’s daughter. The creepy girl the kids at school call Death Chick or Wednesday Addams. The eerie girl they shy away from whenever I wear black or look unusually pale. The poor girl raised with dead bodies in the basement, zombies scratching at the cellar door, and ghosts around ever corner. I’m that girl. 

***

If the tally of notches in your bedpost was any indication of your likelihood of finding love in the future, I’d be doomed to a life of collecting cats, culminating in death-by-suffication-under-a-hoard-of-creepy-china-dolls.

***

“I am not fiction. Hell does not cease to exist because you fictionalize it. No more than dark ceases to be because you flick on a light,” he growls from above. “It’s time you started believing in Hell and all of its demons, Miss Merchant. You’re separated by the thinnest layer. You’re so close to them-” he throws himself down, directly at me, halting inches over me “-they’re practically touching you.”

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is a profound glimpse into the human heart and the motivations that drive it. The greed, power, and ruthless desperation that pits good against evil, man against his best friend, and the strong against the weak is explored in a colorful and imaginative setting. The true horror is not in the demonic or the shadowed and sinister evils of the island but in the souls of those who have the ability to forsake their humanity to get ahead and eagerly sacrifice anyone and anything without a second thought. The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is a dark and twisted tale of the purest love and the gravest sins, those that straddle the same fine line and can easily topple over the edge from great good to the most vile of evils. 

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So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drum beats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks. One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why. As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.

-via Goodreads


Anne Merchant gets a new lease on life. For years she’s been the outcast at her school in an infamous California zip code, the only poor girl, known daughter to a mortician, and with a dark story that everyone has been privy to. Anne has the opportunity to attend a boarding school, Cania Christy, where no one knows about her past, where she can reinvent herself as someone fabulous and envied, where no one knows her secrets and tainted background, here she could be free to be herself. But not everything is as it seems. Turns out that there’s no escape from her past, everyone knows her story and they’re rude and heartless enough to throw her circumstances in her face. Cania Christy is just like any other high school, complete with cliques, snobby rich kids, and the resident it girls but Anne has decided to rise above her situation and stick to her goal of becoming valedictorian and insuring a spot at her dream school, Brown. The only problem with this is that everyone at Cania Christy is gunning for the Valedictorian spot and it seems the rules are way more complicated than Anne ever imagined. Valedictorian at Cania Christy is the most coveted and important goal in the school and there are several guidelines that need to be followed to reach it. Anne is assigned a guardian, a goal, and given a list of forbidden activities to help her on her way. What Anne doesn’t count on is the creepy factor. Everything is monitored, every interaction, reaction, sleep pattern, body function, everything is examined and reported in a complex system to make sure students are on track. Anne’s every move is watched, just like the other students at Cania Christy and yet, Anne senses something is being deliberately hidden from her. Everyone looks at her as an outsider, hinting at things Anne can only guess at and shunning her from their close-knit group. As weird things start to happen on the island, disappearances, strange screams, lascivious relationships, and maybe even murder, Anne knows that this boarding school is a cover from something but can’t quite put her finger on it. As rules are broken and the threats mount, Anne realizes there’s more at stake than her academic future, her life is on the line and unless she can figure things out before she’s caught, she might not make it to graduation.

PROS:

  • Anne is a vibrant, wonderfully written protagonist with no filter. She’s bold, honest, intuitive and asks questions regardless of the risks. She puts her all into her goals and sifts through clues, digging beneath the surface to uncover mysteries that are unbelievable and tinged with sinister intentions.Anne’s artistic eye allows her to look at the world in a unique way, zooming in on superficial beauty, dissecting, and capturing, making off the cuff assumptions and interpretations. Her greatest strength is her biggest flaw, because she is so used to looking for perfection, she only sees her negative features and her scrutiny of the delicate Cania world is what gets her into trouble. Anne brings light and laughter to the doom and gloom of the story, though a tad perverse, her internal dialogue is hilarious, immature in an endearing and ridiculously fun way, and her confusion in social situations is always worth a few chuckles. Anne’s willingness to sacrifice everything, to fight against all odds for love is foolhardy but crazy admirable.
  • The atmosphere at Cania Christy is haunting, fueled by sickening bouts of pressure and adrenaline to make Valedictorian, the deadly dangers of breaking the rules, and the cryptic hints that nothing is what it seems, an ominous feeling carries throughout the story. The uneasy sense of dread and certainty that something terrible is going to happen will plague you throughout the read, leaving you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails in anticipation, afraid to turn the page. It’s fantastic.
  • Vilicus is a lecherous, vindictive, and irrefutably insane character. He preys and threatens, he’s downright terrifying. The power and wickedness rolls off his character but at the same time, his creepy roving eyes and despicable comments are enough to make him the most hated and disturbing of all.
  • The village is that perfect blend of rustic shamanism and The Hills Have Eyes. It’s secluded, built on mysteries, and eerie enough to rattle even the strongest. The rituals, barters, the strange dance of good and evil between the school and the villagers tosses everything up in the air, spurring more questions and even fewer answers. The red line between the two sections of the island, the rules forbidding association with the villagers, the lack of children, and the odd gatherings complete with paint and frantic chanting make the village a place of intrigue, excitement, and curiosity that borders on horror.
  • Molly is a sassy enigma of a character. She’s reckless, inquisitive, eager to embrace what life throws at her and take monumental risks because she’s bored. Molly is charming, energetic, and one of the few positive female characters.
  • An unexpected and wickedly shocking ending that will leave you reeling and unsure.
  • As a retelling this story is ingenious. Unfortunately, it’s not marketed as such because it would take away from the shock value and hinder the foreshadowing but still, what a creative, epic venture into an already fascinating story. The concept encompasses the insane pressure to succeed in high school, to make parents proud, and to fight to the death for class ranking. Wiebe really gets at the heart of just how far people are willing to go to get what they want and what they’re willing to sacrifice to get them there, whether it be personal or utter devastation for humanity.

CONS:

  • Some scenes were lewd and awkwardly written. The general skeeviness of some characters was off-putting and repulsive. While these were powerful aspects of the character’s overall nauseating personality, the lines read as weird, random, and ill-timed.
  • The Model UN from Hell was cliché and vulgar. The popular girls are bitchy, slutty, monstrous vixens who use their bodies to corrupt and get what they want. They’re lackeys headed by one main girl and the other members of the crew fade into the background, lacking in defining personality traits or as a part of the overall plot.
  • Anne’s back and forth insecurity and obsession over Ben is slightly annoying and diminishes the strength of her character. While this does reinforce her place as a young high school girl, concerned with how boys perceive her, it increases her naiveté and makes her seem a little shallow at times.Sometimes Anne is pretty delusional to the point where you’ll want to smack her. She’ll say things like…hmm, I wonder what that means, when it’s extremely obvious. Especially when it comes to Ben and Pilot, she’s completely blindsided.
  • Everything is revealed in the last 10% of the book making it feel a little rushed and convoluted.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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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