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The Fated Series
By Brenda Drake, Liz Pelletier
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Brenda Drake
All rights reserved.
Having any sort of control seemed elusive lately. Iris Layne fidgeted next to her science project, her eyes firmly set on one person in a cafeteria jam-packed with students, teachers, and parents. Three-dimensional boards, colorful and full of information, kept blocking her view of him as he shuffled among the displays, inspecting the projects.
The cafeteria was hot and muggy.
Iris unscrewed the top to her water bottle and took a long swig, catching another glimpse of him between two tables. His shoulder-length dark hair was pulled back in a man bun. He wore one only after he'd just gotten off his motorcycle, his hair messy from the helmet.
Wade Diaz looked like a typical bad boy, complete with leather jacket and ripped jeans, but she knew the real him. His softer side. They'd known each other since eighth grade when he was scrawny and annoying, but he'd grown up nicely in the last two years. She bit her lip. Would he avoid coming by her display? He'd been dodging her ever since school started several weeks ago. And she hadn't seen him all summer.
They were friends most of ninth and tenth grade, slowly growing into more than friends junior year. When they'd finally gotten together, Iris abruptly ended things and went back to her jerk of an ex-boyfriend. No wonder Wade hated her. But she couldn't stop missing him. He was her best friend. The one she could always count on. If only she could tell him what really happened.
"Hey." Carys startled Iris, and she flinched. "Sorry, didn't mean to scare you." She glanced over her shoulder to where Iris couldn't quite look away. "I wish the two of you would make up already."
Iris had glimpsed him once over summer break during the Fourth of July celebration on the Ocean City boardwalk. After spotting her, he'd abruptly turned and got lost in the crowd. Add that he'd ignored all her texts and calls, even unfriended her on his social media accounts, and she doubted they would ever make up.
Iris gave Carys a slight smile. "Me, too."
"It isn't right that he looks better than me in a bun," she said, scrunching the ends of her dark shoulder-length hair. "I don't know how you gave him up for that."
Iris glanced at her, then to where she was looking. Her heart skidded to a stop. Josh, aka ex-boyfriend, led his pack of idiots down the aisle. Ever since Iris broke things off with him, he'd been a creep. Her once-popular status had plummeted, and now Marsha Simmons was the new queen of the school and Iris had become an outcast.
"Just ignore them," Carys said, pulling a dollar out of her pocket. "Why don't you get me a bottled water? I'll watch your display until they're gone."
"Thanks. You're the best." Iris took the money and made her way through the maze of projects, stopping at the vending machines.
Iris didn't deserve Carys as a friend. She'd been horrible to Carys. Ditching her to hang out with Josh all the time. Despite all the things she'd done, Carys was the first to forgive Iris. Over summer, they'd grown closer in their friendship.
The doors were propped open by kickstands at the bottom, letting in the smell of fresh-cut grass from the football fields. The light breeze felt good against her sweaty skin. Maryland was beautiful in the fall with the leaves on the trees changing from green to vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. Soon the pumpkin patch would open, and it would be strange not going with Wade. It was one of their many yearly rituals.
She flattened out the wrinkled dollar before feeding it into the money slot. The machine whirled before rejecting it. She straightened the corners and tried it again. It slid back out.
Someone held a crisp new dollar in front of her face.
"Try this one." Wade's voice sent her stomach to swirling.
Iris turned to face him. "Hey." She didn't know what to say, the speech she'd memorized for if he ever spoke to her again forgotten. His deep brown eyes made all ability to think difficult.
When she hadn't taken the dollar from him, he inserted it into the machine. "What did you want?"
"Um ... a water," she said.
He pushed the button, and a bottle thumped into the retrieval bin. She bent to grab it at the same time as he did, touching hands, a spark passing between them.
"Oh," Iris said, straightening. Panic fluttered in her chest. It was silly, but ever since Aster, her older sister, revealed her gift, Iris feared even the littlest static charge.
With a simple touch of a tarot card, Aster could change someone's fate. Usually a bad one. The problem was, she could transfer it to anyone she came into contact with, and a shock would pass between Aster and her victim.
Relax already. Aster isn't here. Iris took in a calming breath.
Wade retrieved the water and raised a curious brow at her. "You okay?"
Iris laughed. It was a soft, nervous one and by the look on Wade's face, he'd noticed. "I'm fine," she said, not sure it was convincing.
"There's a lot of friction in here." He winked. The fact that his comment meant more than just the static between them hadn't escaped her. It was clever how he tied it to their uneasiness toward each other.
He held out the water bottle to her. She reached for it, their hands touching briefly again before he let go, sending her stomach into a nervous flurry again. Why did he always do that to her? It used to be comfortable around him. She could tell him anything and not worry that he'd think she was lame. But things had changed.
They had changed.
When she hadn't spoken, he nodded at the bottle and asked, "That's what you wanted, wasn't it?"
"Yes. Th-Thank you." The tremble in her voice annoyed her.
He gave her one of his killer smiles. The one that tilted slightly and exposed his perfectly aligned teeth. He could be the model in a Crest commercial with that one.
There was a sadness in his eyes that matched how she felt. The night he had come to her house after she ended it with him, just before her Sweet Sixteen birthday party, played like a nightmare in her mind. He had looked tortured — eyes rimmed red. He'd begged her to rethink her decision to get back with Josh. Told her that Josh was a loser and he'd hurt her again. And he was right. Josh had destroyed her.
"I should go," he said. "I'm meeting someone. We'll stop by and check out your project later."
"Okay," was all she could manage to say. Jealousy surged through her. Are you meeting a girl? It wasn't her business. She'd had her chance.
As he walked away, all the words she'd wanted to say came to her. I'm sorry, Wade, for breaking your heart and for getting back with Josh. But it was out of my control. My stupid sister changed our fate. Can we start over? I so wish we could. I miss you.
She wished she had Aster's ability. Then she could fix things. Gram and Mom had a tarot reader on the boardwalk, Miri, test Iris along with her twin, Violet, to see if they carried the gene. Both came up negative.
They weren't sure if her younger sister, Daisy, carried it. She'd been too freaked out to touch tarot cards after all the crazy stuff that had happened with Aster shifting them. Death, sickness, and messed-up love lives had been the result. But everything worked out, and Aster was off at MIT with her boyfriend, Reese, studying physics.
Except the damage done by changing Iris's and Violet's fates had remained. Violet suffered bullying courtesy of Josh and his friends. And Iris had lost Wade.
And she had lost her friends after her big blowup with Josh. He was the star of the basketball team. His friends had become hers. When they had broken up, their group all sided with him.
She caught a final glimpse of Wade before he disappeared behind the displays. He was staggeringly gorgeous in tight jeans and Doc Martens with those wide shoulders and toned body. Her heart squeezed with so much disappointment and regret, she could hardly breathe.
With a sigh, Iris shuffled around people through the makeshift aisles back to her project and to Carys. Josh Adams and his squad were only a few tables down from hers. With his perfectly styled hair and his steely blue eyes, he was perfect — too perfect — the fantasy of every high school girl with a pulse. Clutching his arm, Marsha Simmons flicked one big blond curl over her shoulder. She'd won the boyfriend lottery, and she wanted everyone to know. Her laughs at his jokes about other students' works echoed through the cafeteria.
Josh was confident on the outside, but inside, he was a boy in pain. He had suffered horrible abuse from his father. It was so bad that Mr. Adams had been arrested three years ago for doing something Josh refused to tell her. No one at school knew about it. He hid it well, except from Iris. Everyone believed his parents were divorced and his father had moved to Seattle for business.
Had Josh told Marsha about his past? Iris had held Josh many times when he'd been upset after therapy sessions. He was such a mess, and she felt the need to fix him. It was probably the reason it took her so long to realize he was a bully.
Stalking the two lovebirds were Perry, Matt, and Iris's ex–best friend, Lauren. Perry was tall and skinny like a pole — he made a perfect center for the basketball team. Matt played point guard. He was shorter and stockier than his friend was. Lauren, a cheerleader, wore her makeup too light for her dark skin, which made it look ashy. She had been Iris's first friend, before Wade, when her family moved in with Gram.
It made her sick to think she had been a part of their circle. Sucked into the thrill of being in the popular crowd. Thrilled to be Josh's girlfriend. His pain causing her to overlook the mistreating of others. It was Wade who had snapped her out of it, reminding her of who she really was. He'd showed her she wasn't the awful person she'd become with Josh. That she could be better. Be strong on her own.
Iris was so distracted watching them, her hip bumped into a table with a complicated-looking science project on it that had all sorts of gadgets and metal wheels.
"Watch it," a girl peeking through long, blue bangs said. Her name was Jenna or something. A victim of Josh and his group's bullying. She was thin, smart, and a bit awkward. All things that put a target on her back. And Iris should have helped her but hadn't.
"Sorry," Iris said and rushed off, not able to look the girl in the eyes. She stopped. This has to stop. Swallow your fear, Iris. But it terrified her to think of how Jenna, or whatever her name was, would react to it.
Iris turned and marched back to the girl. "Hey, Jenna?"
The girl pulled aside her bangs to look at Iris. "It's Johanna," she said and lowered her eyes.
"That's right," Iris said. "Sorry. Um ... I've been meaning to tell you —"
Damn this is hard. Okay, you can do this. Just say it already. Iris rubbed her nose. Why is this so difficult to say?
Johanna glanced up at Iris, then around the cafeteria, obviously feeling as awkward as Iris.
"Listen," Iris finally said. "I'm sorry for not stopping Josh and the others when they were bullying you. I should have done something."
"You were always nice to me." The corners of Johanna's lips twisted up slightly. "I've stood aside when others have been bullied by them. It's a survival thing. I get it."
"Well, if you ever need anything, let me know." Iris wasn't sure what to do. Should she say anything else? Go in for a hug?
"Thanks. I will." Johanna pretended to adjust something on her project, releasing Iris of her dilemma.
"Okay, so I'll see you around," Iris said and shuffled off to her project.
"How come they're not at their stations?" Carys said when Iris arrived back at her table.
Iris shot a glance in the direction Carys was looking.Josh. I came back too soon. Could this night get any better?
"They were at the beginning," Iris said, handing Carys the water bottle. "The judges must've already seen their work."
Josh's blond hair was shorter than usual and he wore that dark blue shirt he loved so much because it matched the color of his eyes. He had his letterman's jacket on regardless of how hot it was in the cafeteria. Such a show-off.
Lauren fell a few steps behind her boyfriend, Perry. Her dark eyes were sympathetic, but she'd never stand up for Iris. Doing so would get her the same outsider status as Iris. In a way, she felt sorry for the other girl. To fit in, Lauren worked tirelessly, straightening her naturally curly hair and painting her face each morning to pass Marsha's approval.
Iris had been the same way. No matter how hard she tried to reach Marsha's standards, it was never good enough. Marsha would point out that Iris's eye shadow was the wrong color or that her hair was too oily. It really gave Iris a complex.
She was about to excuse herself to go to the restroom when Josh spotted her. Dammit. He's not chasing me off.
As the group approached, Carys spun to face Iris's project, pulling Iris around with her. "Yours is the most artistic one here. The universe you painted looks three-dimensional."
Iris gave Carys a confused look.
"Pretend you didn't see them," she said through tight lips. "Ignore them."
Iris had broken up quietly with Josh over the weekend, not wanting it to happen during school. But instead, he'd spread it across all his social media sites that he was the one who broke up with her. Called her names and said she had cheated on him. Iris just wanted it all to go away.
That horrible laugh of Marsha's sounded behind Iris. "How lame. It looks more like an art project than a science one."
"Don't give her a hard time," Josh said. For a brief second, Iris was pleased that he'd defended her. But then he added, "She's not that smart. Art is the only subject she's good at."
His words made her insides collapse.
"Yeah," said Perry. "Her twin got all the brains."
The chuckles from his group scratched down her spine, and Iris fisted her hands.
Before she could turn around, Carys grabbed her wrist. "Don't feed the animals," she whispered.
Their group continued down the row, snickering and whispering to one another. Iris shifted to watch them, spotting Wade across the aisle from her. He glared at Josh and his delinquents' retreating backs. When Wade's gaze found hers, the scowl left his face. There was something like concern in his eyes, or maybe pity.
Whatever it was, it made a sudden ache hit her heart, and she couldn't breathe. Couldn't look at him. All the regret and longing burned her eyes. She spun back around and stared at her project, grasping onto the edge of the table to center herself and keep from losing it in front of a cafeteria full of judging eyes.
The words perfectly aligned at the top of her project read, Composition of a Comet's Tail Using Spectroscopy. Her eyes followed the brushstrokes of varying blue, yellow, and white hues against a black background. She couldn't understand why they had laughed at her presentation. She'd worked on it for a month with Carys, meticulously painting a comet, its tail trailing behind it as it passed in front of the sun. All the data on the cards, neatly glued off to the side, had passed Carys's scrutiny.
The air adjusted behind her and she stiffened.
She slowly turned.
He just stood there, rubbing his chin and studying her project. It was as if an artist tirelessly worked to sculpt his perfect face — sharply angled at all the right places and perfectly rounded at others. Iris realized she was holding her breath, and when she finally remembered to breathe, it came out in a heavy sigh.
Wade raised an eyebrow at her. "You okay?"
Why does he keep asking me that? Do I look like a mess?
"Yes." She could hardly get out the simple word. Why was he here? Whenever he was around, she couldn't think right. Seeing him so much today would definitely cause her to dream about him later. She'd worked hard to rid her mind of the images of her and Wade together. Ones where Wade held her tight and kissed her so deeply it felt like she was that comet on her project, shooting through space so close to the sun she was sure she'd incinerate.
What does he want?
There was a familiar look on his face. One she knew well. He would press his lips together, focusing on anything but her face when he was gathering up courage to ask her something. Just as he was right then.
She swallowed hard. Is he finally going to forgive me?
Excerpted from Cursing Fated by Brenda Drake, Liz Pelletier. Copyright © 2016 Brenda Drake. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"Cursing Fate" continues the Fated series with the next sister, Iris, but could easily work as a stand-alone. Aster has gone off to college, leaving her fate changer days behind her. Iris's fate had been altered in the first book to break up with the wonderful Wade (her BFF turned boyfriend) and get back together with the jerk Josh. She quickly also broke up with Josh, but the damage had been done. Although the family is in the loop on Aster and how their fates were altered, Iris is unable to tell Wade in order to keep her family's secrets. Iris and her twin, Violet, had been tested and are not fate changers. Violet takes a bigger role in this book, as would be expected for twins. Daisy, the youngest sister, gets a little more screen time in this book, but definitely only in passing. The book begins with Violet returning to town after her fate had also been changed, causing intense bullying and depression. Violet and Iris have never felt further apart. Iris is moving into Aster's old room and Violet is assisting when she finds the items Aster had hidden. When she touches a deck of tarot cards, she notices a black form move into her and begins to hear voices. Although the voice is easy to ignore at first, it soon overtakes Iris's life and seems bent on destruction. At the same time, Iris is trying to navigate the new social system where she and Josh are no longer together (leaving her relatively friendless) and Wade is determined not to fall for her again as he is still heart broken from their previous break-up. The book is told in alternating viewpoints between Wade and Iris, giving some extra depth to the story and situations. Wade is really the nicest guy and Iris is a sympathetic character, so I was really cheering for them. It's a quick read (as part of the Crave collection designed to read in a sitting) and moves fast; as such, it's difficult to stop reading. I wish it was a bit longer so we could have more of Iris and Wade though- they are such fantastic characters and I loved the build up to their relationship. That being said, I am really excited to get into the next books of the series, as Violet and Daisy both have stories clearly just waiting to be told! Altogether it's a wonderful love story with a paranormal twist, and I loved reading the whole journey. This series is quickly growing into one of my favorites! Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are entirely my own.
Don't be like me; read the beginning of the series! This was a decent read. Nice characters with a okay back story. I think I missed the first book, so I was a bit lost but it was still a ok read. Voluntarily reviewing a Advanced Reader Copy. All opinions are my own.
Suggest reading Book 1 FIRST. This is another Fated story revolving around the Layne sisters. In this one - twin Iris is reeling from the after-effects of her older sister's gift. You'll get a lot more out of this book if you know Aster's story (which was a 5-star read imo). This one starts out at the Science Fair and we see that Iris is still pining for Wade. Her best friend who turned into something more before Iris unceremoniously dumped him due to extenuating circumstances (see Aster's gift reference). This one definitely has more high school/teen angst and still keeps the thread of Aster's tarot cards as a key element of the story. The characters are not nearly as likeable this time around. Wade stands out heads and shoulders above the rest. It is nice to have Violet, the other twin, return and her relationship with her girlfriend is refreshing to see in a teen book. Daisy plays an integral role in this one, so all the Layne sisters are involved to try and save Iris from the evil that she unwittingly unleashed. This series is a different kind of paranormal which is enjoyable to read. Received copy from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to Entangled Teen for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! Cursing Fate is the second installment in the Fated series by Brenda Drake and what a fantastic sequel it is! I really enjoyed the first one, despite having some reservations about it, but I absolutely loved this one. This book follows Iris, the sister of Aster from Touching Fate. With Aster and Reese gone at college, Iris has been left to deal with the consequences of Aster changing her fate with Wade. When Violet returns home from her father's house, Iris moves into Aster's old room and discovers the hatbox hidden beneath the window seat. When she touches Aster's deck of cursed tarot cards, Iris becomes possessed by the spirit trapped within the cards. Now, she has to try to figure out a way to get rid of the spirit before she completes her "game" where no one that Iris loves is safe, including Wade. Where to even begin? Let's start with the plot. Not only was the plot really fun and exciting to follow, but it was one where I found myself constantly wondering what would happen next and if it would be good or bad. The idea of the cursed tarot cards containing a spirit was something I didn't expect, but was excited to read about. At the end of the first book, there was a point where Aster heard something whispering to her as she bound and cleansed the tarot card deck, but it was very brief and it wasn't expanded upon very much. I'm really glad the author decided to take that idea and run with it, because it made this book so exciting and creepy! In Cursing Fate, readers get a bit more backstory into the history of the curse on Reese's family, and the Layne sisters ancestor, Crina, who also happens to be the spirit that is possessing Iris. It was nice to have that insight into the origin of the curse and why/how it came about in the first place. Honestly, the reason behind the curse is a bit sad, and I did find myself feeling bad for Crina for just a brief moment. But I loved the plot and how things played out, and now I'm wondering what sister the next book will follow. My fingers are crossed for Daisy, and I'm sure after reading this book, yours will be too! Iris was such a wonderful character to read about and while Wade probably wasn't my favorite, it was still nice to get his perspective on the situation at certain important times in the book. I really enjoyed Iris because she was a very strong character, and aspired to be more like her twin sister Violet who was brave, positive, and very forgiving despite the awful situation she was experiencing involving her and her girlfriend. Also, just as a side note, I loved how instantly accepting all of the characters were (including Aster at the end of the first book) that Violet was bisexual. It was just like, no big deal to them and it didn't change anything about how they saw Violet or how much all of her friends and family loved her. Seriously, such an A+ way to tackle that and I would love to give Brenda Drake a hug for how well she wrote that whole thing! Read the rest at: http://underthebookcover.blogspot.com/2016/11/book-review-cursing-fate-by-brenda-drake.html
Cursing Fate by Brenda Drake involves Iris, Aster's younger sister. Iris and her relationships were thrown into chaos in Touching Fate when Aster learned that she is a fate changer. Now, in the sequel, Iris is being possessed by the young woman that caused the curse that ensured the death of any eighteen year old boy in Reese's family line. I felt Iris's struggle, through the author's creative writing, and also her panic as Crina continually tried to take over Iris' body! The people that care for Iris the most, knew something was wrong. Iris's personality would instantly change, as well as how she spoke and in her lack of modern reference knowledge - such as soda. The story line in the Fate series is complex and contains plot twists and intrigue that pulled my interest to the point of not wanting to put the book down or the series to end! Some swearing and a young adult scene, just a heads up. 4 stars!
I was a bit disappointed that Astrid and Reese weren't in this book except for a few pages. I adored them so much in Touching Fate, the first installment in this series. Touching Fate was one of my favorite books of last year. No worries, though! I quickly became entranced by the other members of Astrid's family. We get to spend more time with Iris, Violet, and Daisy. This book is dedicated to Iris and her story. I felt so bad for Iris! She had her fate changed by the events unfolded when Astrid became a fate changer. She lost the love of her life, and was tortured by the events that unfolded and the mistrust Wade held. Wade, le sigh. *Insert dreamy smile* He was so good and kind, and was heartbroken by the betrayal he felt from Iris. He had the whole sexy, wounded bad boy thing going for her. Wade wanted Iris and had such a hard time staying away. The cursed in this book was great and the plot was well thought out. It seems those tarot cards cause lots of trouble, they won't leave the girls alone. The Van Buren curse is explained from another pov and we get more insight into how it all started. Vengeful spirits, possession, lots of fate changing, and craziness fills this installment of the series. I loved every minute of the book up until the last sentence. We get more character development with Daisy and Violet too. The end was not a cliffhanger, yet I am dying for more. I hope the author writes a book for both Violet and Daisy. I need more fate changing! I highly recommend this series for all older young adults, and adults too. The author is brilliant and I can only hope for more in this fate changing family. This book earned every star I am giving it! Ten glitter stars!!!!!! (Because five just isn't enough!)