Book Review of Freeks by Amanda Hockings

FreeksTitle: Freeks

Author: Amanda Hocking

Release Date:  January 3rd, 2017

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

In a world of magical visions and pyrokinesis, Mara just wants to have a normal life. But is that possible?

Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future.

She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about—and change the future forever.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review:  I was interested in this book, because I liked the idea of the whole carnival side show lifestyle.  I find that kind of thing fascinating and thought it would be interesting to see what life was like from the perspective of someone living in that life.  The book is classified as Young Adult, but I think I would amend it to be New Adult.  The protagonist was an older teen and dealt with issues that would keep younger teen from easily relating with Mara.  I did like Mara, I thought she had a good head on her shoulders and was interested to follow her on her journey.  She made smart choices and I liked that she stood up for what she wanted and believed in.

From the summary of the book, I thought we would follow the carnival and there would be a little mystery about an animal or something that is causing problems in the town they travel too.  And for three fourths of the book that is what we are lead to believe, but the last fifty pages or so, the story just starts getting strange.  It veers off in a direction I did not see coming and not in a good way.  Don’t get me wrong, I love paranormal and mysteries, but this book just took a detour that did not really fit with the rest of the story and actually made me dislike it by the time I reached the end.  There were too many things happening and the core of the story is lost in all of the random side directions the plot took.

The writing was okay, but not the best.  I felt like issues were skimmed over that could have been flushed out more and the ending wrapped up too quickly and with too many unanswered questions.  I really wanted to like this book, and for a while I was enjoying it, but the ending just left me disappointed.  I don’t think I will be looking into this author anymore after this simply because I did not enjoy her style or book as much as I had hoped.  The material for a good book is there, it was just not executed well.

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FTC: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

 

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Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

daughter-of-a-pirate-kingTitle:  Daughter of the Pirate King

Author: Tricia Levenseller

Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: February 28th, 2017

17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

If you want something done right . . .

When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there’s only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who’s going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it’s down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review:  Daughter of a Pirate King is a book that keeps coming up on my friends Goodreads pages as a great book and I was lucky enough to get a copy through NetGalley, yay!  Before I review the book can we talk about that cover?  I like the concept behind it, but the execution I think is off.  To me, this cover looks like a middle grade book and it most definitely is not.  It is more an upper high school level to me just because of the content and some of the things that going on throughout the novel.  However, as the phrase goes, don’t judge a book by its cover and you should listen in this case, because the cover does not do this book justice!

Now onto the book itself, which was awesome.  The main character, Alosa, is the daughter of the pirate king (hence the title) and is one kick ass heroine.  She is smart, sassy and resourceful.  I loved how she could take care of herself and never made foolish or reckless decisions that would just not fit with her character.  Too many heroines in YA books seem to make stupid, out of character, decisions as the plotlines unfold, which becomes annoying, but not Alosa.  She knows exactly what needs to be done, analyzes the best way to get there and follows through.  She is easily one of my favorite heroines of all time.  She was always surprising me, making me laugh out loud and I fell in love with her.

We also get to know Riden, the first mate on the ship that Alosa lets herself be captured on.  He was pretty great as well.  He has a fierce loyalty for his brother that seems a little misplaced, but he is the only family he has left so he will defend him at all costs.  Riden is torn between that loyalty and the feelings he is developing for Alosa.  He is also a heck of a fighter and gives Alosa a run for her money when they are sparring, both verbally and physically.  I really enjoyed the banter between them and watching them try to cope with how they feel for one another.  They are on opposite sides, each trying to get information out of the other, but they have a slow burning romance that builds naturally and is very sweet.

The plot itself moves along very quickly and as a result, I devoured the book in just one day.  I was so engaged with the storyline that I never even looked to see how much longer I had to read, which is rare for me.  I love the descriptions of a pirate life, the folklore in this world and how Alosa fits into all of it.  She really makes the story worth reading.  The plot itself was very clever, but she was just an outstandingly well written character who made the book the standout novel that it was.

I am hoping this is part of a series since the ending is open ended with a lot of questions still unanswered.  I want to learn more about the girls is Alosa’s crew and more about the other pirates that sail that same seas as her.  I am also eager to learn more about Riden and this connection that he and Alosa share.  I am hoping to see much more from Alosa and Riden in the future and will be interested to see how they tackle the obstacles that are now laid before them.  Daughter of a Pirate King is in my top three of favorite books this year, it was clever, funny, has an amazing female lead and drew me in from the very first page.  I absolutely loved this world and all is had to offer.  It was original in a world where many of the books seem to blend together.  I will be recommending this book again and again and eagerly look forward to when I get to spend more time with Alosa and her crew.

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FTC: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review of A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

A Perilous Undertaking.jpgTitle: A Perilous Undertaking

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Release Date:  January 10th, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

“London, 1887.” Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman’s noose in a week s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer.
But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. From a Bohemian artists colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed….”

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review:  I had the first book in this series, A Curious Beginning recommended to me by a friend and while it is not something I would normally read, I ended up devouring it quite quickly.  I was therefore thrilled to get my hands on the sequel to see what Veronica and Stoker were going to be up to next.

One of the reasons I love Veronica so much is that she says what she thinks no matter the consequences and she is just funny.  I never thought I would laugh out loud as much as I do in this series, but I am constantly laughing.  Part of that was also due to Lady Wellie, who Veronica meets in this book and is just as funny as Veronica.  She and Veronica are both very direct and are not afraid to speak their minds, which I admired about both of them.  Her first meeting with Veronica over dinner was a hysterical conversation that was by no means polite for the time period, but I thoroughly relished every second of it.

In A Perilous Undertaking, Veronica and Stoker are tasked with trying to prove a man innocent of murdering his mistress. Veronica is hesitant to take the job, but the royal family who have never claimed her, practically dare her to prove this man’s innocence.  Veronica plans on doing exactly that if only to prove to the royals that she can.  She and Stoker are not officially on the case and there are many that want to see them fail, therefore there are many challenges and obstacles thrown their way as the novel progresses.  One of the aspects of this book that has ensnared me is the respect that Veronica and Stoker have for one another.   No matter what may happen, and no matter how they bicker with one another, Veronica and Stoker genuinely admire and have high esteem for one another and always have each other’s backs.  While there is definitely some romantic tension between these two, they have a pretty solid friendship to build more upon which I am sure will continue to be explored in the future.

While I very much enjoy the relationship between Veronica and Stoker, I also enjoyed the mystery of this novel.  I really had no idea who the killer was.  Was it the man that was accused of it, or was there more devious work behind the scenes?  Looking back, I see the clues that were dropped throughout, but I enjoyed trying to guess at who was genuine in this book and who was trying to let another man hang for their crimes.

I am sure this is not the last we have seen of Veronica and Stoker and I am eager to see what adventure they will go on next and if they will finally admit that they actually care quite deeply for one another.  Whenever the next adventure is released, I will be anxiously awaiting my copy of the book to go on more adventures with them.  Until then, excelsior!

FTC: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  No goody bags, sponsorship, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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