Fateful

First Lines: It’s not too late to turn back, I tell myself.  As a group of sailors leer at me, I cross my arms in front and wish my coat weren’t so shabby.

If you don’t know anything about this already, I’ll tell you that it’s a paranormal take on Titanic.  Yes, you read that sentence right.  And since I’m a big fan of both (well, “enthusiast” would probably be a better word than “fan”), I had to give this a try.

Tess Davies is a ladies maid to a rich family, a family that happens to be taking the Titanic to America.  Tess dreams of nothing else but making a new life for herself their, away from the family.  The ship is more magnificent than Tess could have hoped, but it brings with it dark secrets.  Onboard, Tess meets Alec, a man whose secrets are dangerous enough to get Tess killed before she knows what hit her.  But the more Tess falls for Alec, the more enmeshed she becomes in these secrets.  Is there any hope for her to survive this ill-fated voyage?

I’m really not spoiling anything by saying that the “paranormal” I referred to is werewolves.  Werewolves on the Titanic.  I never thought I’d see the day.

Ok, so being a Titanic enthusiast, I really wasn’t sure how I would take to this being added to such a tragic and captivating tale.  I’m still not exactly sure how I feel about it all.  Something about it just still doesn’t sit right with me.  I didn’t exactly appreciate the changes, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good story.  Tess is a strong girl determined to make her own way.  Alec is handsome and mysterious with a kind heart.  But perhaps the minor characters were the most colorful.  Characters like the kind-hearted Mr. Marlowe and the fierce Myriam were great additions to the story.

I just felt from time to time that the plot line about werewolves was a little rough.  There were times when I was disappointed by the lack of details about a scene or the mythology involved.  Even the Titanic itself didn’t feel like more than just a piece of scenery for most of the story.  It felt like a tree scenery piece in a high school play: it’s there, it’s pretty to look at, and for the most part characters don’t interact with it.  That is one awesome metaphor, if I do say so myself.

It’s an interesting read, but I wasn’t overly impressed with it by any means.  And I’ll probably stick with more traditional Titanic tales after this.

Spotlight Friday (46)

Hey guys!  As we do every Friday, let’s take a moment to see what new books are coming out next month!  And as a forewarning, there may not be a new Spotlight next week as I will find myself away from internet connections on that day.  So let’s enjoy today, shall we?

The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt

Release Date: July 10, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads)In this humorous love story from the author of Two-Way Street, an unlikely romance is the best sort of surprise—but the wrong secret can ruin everything. Kelsey’s not going to let one mistake ruin her life. Sure, she got kicked out of prep school and all her old friends are shutting her out. But Kelsey’s focused on her future, and she’s determined to get back on track at Concordia High.

Isaac’s been kicked out of more schools than he can count. Since his father’s a state senator, Isaac’s life is under constant scrutiny—but Concordia High’s his last stop before boarding school, so Isaac’s hoping to fly under the radar and try to stay put for a change.

When Kelsey and Isaac meet, it’s anything but love at first sight. She thinks he’s an entitled brat, and he thinks she’s a stuck-up snob. So it surprises them both when they start to fall for each other. Kelsey’s happy for the first time in months, and Isaac’s never felt this way about anyone before…But nothing’s ever completely perfect. Everyone has secrets, and Isaac and Kelsey are no exceptions. These two may have fallen hard, but there’s one thing that can ruin it all: the truth.

What’s To Like: Ok, admittedly, the cover creeps me out just the tiniest bit.  I think it has to do with her eyes, but I can’t confirm that.  Something’s just slightly off.  But anyway, I’m interested in this because I love a good love story where the characters try to fight love off.  I can’t explain it really, but I think it’s the inevitability of it all that I like most.  And Barnholdt has a good track record with me for her books.  Two*Way Street was really good.

My Heart Be Damned (Damned, #1) by Chanelle Gray

Release Date: July 15, 2012 (or…er, maybe Sept 15?)

Summary (from Goodreads)If you’re a Hunter, there are only three things you must know about the Damned. The Damned can’t lie, can’t live without a body, and can’t leave you alone.

Amerie Carter has the blood of a Hunter, unfortunately. She is one of a rare line of women who, upon her sixteenth birthday, will come into extraordinary powers used to hunt the Damned; escaped souls from Hell who take up residence in human bodies. It’s supposed to be her sweet sixteen, but Amerie has never dreaded a day more, and her worst fears are confirmed as the celebration turns tragic when her mother is killed.

Grief-stricken, Amerie vows to never hunt a day in her life. She’s determined to hide behind normalcy, attending school, hanging out with her friends and working an after-school job at The Hut. All Amerie wants is to be left alone. But try telling the Damned that. The harder Amerie tries to ignore her powers, the more the Damned come looking for her.

When an attack leaves one of Amerie’s friends in the hospital, and endangers the lives of her fellow students, she knows she has no choice: Hunt or Be Hunted. Thankfully, the gorgeous, secretive, and so-off-limits Marshall offers to train Amerie to take out her supernatural enemies. But training with Marshall means lying to her friends, her family, and confronting the mysterious circumstances surrounding her mother’s death.

Amerie soon discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide, Marshall’s secrets might kill her before the Damned get the chance.

What’s To Like: Oh, goodie!  I love a good story with dark, deadly secrets and super hot guys!  I’m very interested in this because of the impending fights.  You know they’re coming from the summary alone.  I am so ready for another story with a take-no-prisoners female heroine.  This totally looks like it could be just the thing for me.

Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3) by Kiersten White

Release Date: July 24, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads): Evie’s paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate.

The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie’s hands.

So much for normal.

What’s To Like: Time to hyperventilate!  This is the end of Evie’s journey and I’m sure it’s going to be fantastic!  I love being able to wrap up a series, but at the same time, it can be somewhat heartbreaking.  Still, at least we’ll figure out what happens to her!  In just a smidgen over a month’s time, we will know what Evie’s fate is and if she can change it.  Ugh, now I sound like that trailer for the new Disney movie, Brave.

My review of Endlessly.

The Wicked and the Just

First Lines: Tonight at supper, over capon and relish, my father ruined my life.

When it comes to historical fictions, I find that they fall into one of two categories: history that I am familiar with and history that I’m not.  I do very much enjoy the history that I am familiar with, like the Revolutionary War or Queen Elizabeth I, but I also enjoy learning new things from books.  This definitely falls into the latter category.  I promise you, I knew nothing about 13th century Wales before this.

Cecily is a young girl who is set to inherit what was her home until her Uncle came home from the Crusades and she had to give it back.  But now, her father wants to move to occupied Wales, away from society and any chance Cecily had of marrying.  She’s livid.  But she doesn’t have a choice.  Gwenhwyfar is a Welsh girl who wants nothing more than to have the English leave her homeland.  Once, she could have had everything.  Now she has nothing except a bratty English girl to serve.  Cecily wants to fit in; Gwenhwyfar just wants to survive.  And outside the city walls, tensions are rising…until they hit the breaking point…

Ok.  As I said, I knew nothing about 13th century Wales before this, so I didn’t know how the story was going to end.  I mean, like, when you read a story about Titanic, you know the ship is still going to sink at the end.  I had no idea what could even happen in this.  I find that thrilling.

The story itself was good, if a little slow and slightly…plotless?…at times.  No, plotless seems too strong.  It was more that we mostly follow Cecily doing her “womanly” duties around the house or in town and market day got old after a while.  It would slightly stagnate until like, the end of the chapter and the POV switched.  Oh, forgot to mention that, but you may have picked up on it.  The story switched narration between Cecily and Gwen.

As for reading the story, that probably slowed things down more than Cecily’s pettiness.  It throws in 13th century influences (obviously), and I really struggled to understand some things. I’m not exactly familiar with Medieval Christian holidays like Assumption Day and Michaelmas.  I have no idea where these fall on the calendar.  I actually looked up Michaelmas in my dictionary to figure it out.  There’s also quite a lot of Welsh names that I cannot even hope to pronounce.  Even Gwen’s name up above, I’m going, “Um…let’s go with Guinevere, shall we?  Like King Arthur’s wife.”  It was so hard to try to figure out how to read it in my head, let alone if I had had to read this out loud.  Oh, and there were words and slang that I was unfamiliar with as well.  Cecily kept saying “certes”.  It didn’t take me too long (using context clues) to figure out this was her way of saying “certainly”.

The ending is totally worth it, though.  And the things Cecily learns along the way.  There’s quite a good lesson to come out of it.  A good read, if a little hard to read.  Not exactly one of those beach reads you can just breeze through.

Shattered Souls (Souls, #1)

First Lines: The voice of a small child called out from somewhere behind me.  “Please.  I need your help.”

As organized as I am when it comes to my books, you’d have thought this would have been one for me to read right after it came out.  I even had it in the top 20 of my to-read list for months and just never picked it up.  Finally, I realized I wasn’t actually getting the books in my top 20 and went to change that.

Lenzi is fairly certain she’s going crazy.  Hearing voices isn’t normal for anyone, but it’s even worse when your father was a diagnosed schizophrenic.  Lenzi fears she’ll end up just like her dad if she can’t get them to stop.  Her boyfriend Zak is worried about her, but he doesn’t know how to help.  Then Lenzi meets Alden, a boy that’s been popping up in her dreams lately.  Alden tells Lenzi that she’s a reincarnated Speaker (well, glorified ghost whisperer, really) and that he’s been her Protector for centuries.  Lenzi has a choice: try to maintain some semblance of a normal life, a life she has with Zak, or follow her destiny with Alden.  Lenzi has to choose quickly because there’s a Malevolent spirit biding his time until he can kill her…

I was pretty well blown away by the story.  I got a later start in my daily reading that I usually do, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be a one-day read.  It was.  I couldn’t put the thing down!  By page 30, I knew I was hooked.  It was almost pointless for me to be like, “Ok, after this next chapter, I’ll stop.”  It was more like five chapters later when I could finally put it down.  By midnight, I knew I was staying up to finish it.

The storyline is quite intriguing and compelling.  Lenzi’s in the dark about a lot of things, so it was interesting to learn everything about this world along with her.  It’s such a captivating world, too!  The Speakers and Protectors, the Hindered (the ghosts), and so much else.  I very much believed this was a real world as I was reading.  So very compelling.

The characters were great as well.  Lenzi’s a strong female heroine with a fierce resolve and a little pigheadedness.  She’s smart and careful, yet impulsive and daring.  Alden is also an interesting character.  He’s a bit like a tootsie-pop: harder on the outside and softer on the inside.  And boy, does he have a soft spot for Lenzi!  I just loved reading anything that had to do with either of them.

Apparently, this was only supposed to be a stand-alone novel.  Now it has a sequel/companion novel set for release in 2014.  I’m a little disappointed I have to wait that long to see what happens next with whoever the story is set to focus on, but I’m definitely going to keep my eyes on this author.  She’s one to watch.  Very wonderful writing style.

Never Eighteen

First Lines: I had the dream again.  The one where I’m running.  I don’ know what from or where to, but I’m scared–terrified, really.  I wake drenched in sweat.  Jumping out of bed, I immediately head to my computer.

Apparently, I’m a complete sap when it comes to books about teenagers who know they’re gonna die.  Which is really odd, honestly, given my optimistic outlook on things.  Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to them.  I don’t know.  I just know that I keep finding them.

Austin knows he’s never going to see his eighteenth birthday.  He’s known this for a while, actually.  So Austin plans to give his friends and family the one thing he can’t have himself: a life to live.

Really, that’s like the whole summary, right there.  90% of the book is Austin trying to be Mr. Fix-It with everyone else’s relationships and lives.  He spends one weekend going from house to house, friend to friend, trying to get them out of whatever rut they may happen to be in.  Most of the time, it’s some kind of relational conflict, like a mother and daughter who never talk anymore.  He wants to make them happy before he dies.

It was an admirable try, but I think the book fell a little flat and short of its mark.  It’s only 200 pages, so everything was condensed to begin with.  On top of that, I just couldn’t sink into the story.  I couldn’t get a good feel for the characters or the setting.  There was nothing about Austin’s appearance until halfway through the book and you don’t even find out what exactly he’s sick with until the last 20 pages or so.  It was just frustrating that Austin seemed…almost better than everyone else.  Not quite “holier than thou” but close sometimes, even with all the mistakes he made.

I just didn’t really like it.  Every chapter was short and every chapter focused on a different person or conflict Austin was trying to help or get through.  It gave it a choppy feel that I wasn’t particularly fond of.

There are so many other cancer-themed books that tackle this so much better.  The Probability of Miracles, The Fault in our Stars, etc.

Character Interview with Shiloh Ravenwolf! #MMBlogTour

Hi everyone, I’m Sherry Soule—waving from Castro Valley, California, where it gets pretty foggy even in the summer. And even with the fog burning off by afternoon, I’m chilling on my laptop and chatting on Twitter about my favorite books and movies.

Thank you for letting me hang out today as part of my epic Moonlight Mayhem Blog Tour this summer. It’s a thrill to get to be a guest and meet all these awesome booklovers.

My tour has been so much fun and it is nice seeing the familiar names in the comment section of each guest post. For those of you who haven’t heard about my blog tour it’s not too late to join the fun!

To celebrate the release of author, Sherry Soule’s new paranormal, romance novel, MOONLIGHT MAYHEM, we thought it might be entertaining if she did an interview with one of the the main characters from her recent release, MOONLIGHT MAYHEM. Sherry has decided to interview the heroine, Shiloh Ravenwolf.

If a snarky, kickass, and vibrant type of heroine, who can rival the darkest of evils, aided by her quirky fashion sense, appeals to your inner bad girl, then you’ll love Shiloh. She’s a unique teen witch.

If you’ve already read the novels, this interview should be amusing and insightful. If you haven’t read the series yet, hopefully the character interview will pique your interest.

 

Please state your name:

Shiloh Nahimana Ravenwolf

Astrological sign:

Leo

Age:

16

Height:

5’6”

Weight:

120, slim yet curvy

Hair /Eye Color:

Long hair, which is as black as a raven’s wing and bronze-colored eyes

Job:

High School student by day / Heritage Witch and Amateur Demon Hunter by night

Vehicle:

Used Black Jeep Wrangler

Dog/Cat:

Ah, do shades count? Okay, then I have three little supernatural-like pitbulls named, Bakaz, Kasha, Zrekam, and Azeri.

Favorite food:

BBQ Chicken Pizza! Yum

Describe yourself in three words:

Out-spoken, hopeless romantic, survivor

Wardrobe/Personal Style:

I have my own quirky style. I like to wear hoop earrings; several chunky bracelets, a cropped pink top that sits above my navel and shows off my sparkly bellyring; low-rise jeans, and to finish my unique look, I put on my favorite boots: patent leather hot pink Doc Martens. The boots are my security blanket. They remind me who I am: Shiloh Ravenwolf. Badass Witch. And if I was gonna kick ass and take names, I needed my boots.

Where do you live? Are any other people living with you? Who are they?

Whispering Pines, California with my dad, Jackson and my mother—Jillian.

What were three things you liked to do when you were younger?

My friends and I would sneak onto the Ravenhurst Manor estate (long before the Donovan family moved back to town) and dare each other to stand on the porch for five minutes. I won twice. Although, my gaze caught eerie shadows swooping menacingly within the shrubs and trees. Super freaky.

Favorite Pastime:

Love to shop (fashionista), enjoy gossiping with my friends, and reading romance novels. And, ah, kissing my hot BF, Trent. *major swoon*

What makes you happy?

Being with my supercute, and may I add—very buffed boyfriend, Trent Donovan

What is your greatest fear?

I’ve suffered from Nyctophobia—it’s a phobia of the dark—practically since birth. I even sleep with a nightlight. I know, a demon hunter afraid of the dark. Don’t judge.

What would you change about yourself if you could?

Uh, I would not blurt things out so much. Then I wouldn’t have to keep inserting my foot in my mouth. Feet taste nasty.

What is it that you have never told anyone?

Wow, tough question. About the demon blood tainting my humanity.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? Why?

I lied about my gift of Sight. Only my Aunt Lauren And my mentor, Evans (he’s like my watcher.) know my secret.

If you could be an animal, what would it be?

Oh!—I’d like to be a black panther—sleek and powerful.

Signature Move:

Power of telekinesis. Moderate kickboxing skills. Launch fireballs. Spell casting.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Now go feed your mind and read a book! Preferably mine. 🙂

About the Author:

Sherry Soule is a writer blessed with a vivid imagination and lives in San Francisco, California. She writes supernatural tales of romance, magick, and demon slaying. Her debut novel, Beautifully Broken was published August 2011 and is nominated for best paranormal romance (Wizard and Witch 2011) by The Romance Reviews (TRR).

MOONLIGHT MAYHEM Synopsis:

 

Shiloh Ravenwolf thought she was getting used to the supernatural events of Whispering Pines, but the full moon has brought another surge of threats to her coastal town. Ferocious wolves, deadly necromancers, and shambling zombies have descended upon the neighborhood, and Shiloh must gain control of her magical abilities—fast! But it sucks that Shiloh has a crippling fear of the dark. For a demon slayer, this can be an epic problem.

When her classmates are attacked by a mysterious animal and her father is murdered, Shiloh vows vengeance. Forcing her phobias aside, she forms an unlikely coven of supernaturally gifted teens to help her eradicate this menace, but Shiloh’s battling a different monster within herself. She’s struggling not to become the very thing she fights: evil.

But with demon blood inside her—anything can happen…

Moonlight Mayhem is the second novel in the unforgettably epic Spellbound series.

 

Hashtag on Twitter #MMBlogTour

 

Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:

Official Blog: http://www.sherrysoule.blogspot.com

Official Spellbound Series Universe: http://thespellboundseries.blogspot.com

Twitter @WriterSherry: http://twitter.com/writersherry

Awesome Book Trailers/YouTube: http://youtu.be/5uqVXKygvUs

  and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o44sW-gFtvA

goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11634793-beautifully-broken

Radiant Darkness

First Lines: “Stay here, Persephone,” says my mother.  “I have some work to do.”  As if I could go anywhere.

Ok, so this is actually a reread of mine.  It’s one of my favorite Hades/Persephone stories and probably the one that kicked off my fascination with it all.  I try not to read too many new books in a row (so I can keep the stories straight), so I throw in a reread every now and again.  That’s what this was.

A prison is a prison, no matter how pretty.  Persephone has been trapped inside the vale her entire life.  Her mother sees her as a child, even though Persephone knows she’s old enough to be going with her mother to festivals and celebrations.  Then Persephone finds a man in the vale, the first man she’s ever seen.  She knows he’s powerful, but she doesn’t know who he is.  But much more is at stake than Persephone’s heart…

This is one of the first books I can remember reading that dealt with this myth.  This came out in 2009, way before these new trilogies and stories that change the myth.  This is pure, 100% Hades and Persephone myth retelling.  She was born a goddess and he has always been Lord of the Underworld.  Does that make sense?

Admittedly, some parts of the story are slow or really have no relevance to the overall plot.  And since I’ve read this before, I just tend to skip over those parts.  I read it because I love the myth and the characters.  Persephone is strong-willed and caring, curious and innocent.  Hades is dark and mysterious, just as you would expect from a ruler of the dead.

I just like reading this story when I feel the need for a little Greek in my life again.  There are funny moments in the story and some characters it’s always fun to see.  Like Cerberus and Hermes.  Well, particularly Hermes.  He always seems to show up in Greek stories, yet no one really focuses on him.  And he’s always so different because of this.

Anyway, it’s not maybe the best Hades/Persephone retelling, but it is one of the only ones I’ve read that stays true to the time period and the myth.