Category Archives: Book Review

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: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

the-darkest-mindsTitle:  The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre:  Young Adult Science Fiction

Release Date: December 18th, 2012

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.’

Summary from Goodreads.com 

My Review:  I picked up the Darkest Minds because I saw the news that is was going to be made into a movie, which always intrigues me, and I loved Passenger by Alexander Bracken, and wanted to see what some of her other books were like.  The concept is quite interesting and heartbreaking at the same time.  All of these poor children, who have survived a massive plague, only to be ripped from their families and put into camps where they are tortured and killed is not an easy thing to read about.  Our main character, Ruby, was an amazing heroine.  She has been put through hell, and when she comes out of it, she reacts realistically to situations.  She does not magically transform and become better, but slowly comes into her own and gets her strength from within.  I loved her, I loved how she matured and grew through this book and came to understand how strong she truly is.

There is a slow building romance in this book between Ruby and Liam, which was pretty adorable.  I loved Liam, he tries so hard to take care of everyone around him first, but he has it bad for Ruby.  It is pretty apparent from the beginning, but she is just too traumatized from everything going on to let that fire burn too quickly, which I appreciated.  Ruby has been through a lot, and she needed to sort through many issues on her own before she could let someone else in to her world.

I absolutely loved the secondary characters as well, Chubs and Zu, they added comic relief in very tense moments, but were also well developed.  I thought they made such an impact on the story and I loved all the page time that both of them got.

The only thing I would say negatively is that I thought it was a little too long.  At almost 500 pages, it is a longer book and I do not think it needed to be that long to get across everything that was portrayed.  I will be interested to see what it looks like when it is made into a movie, because I think it will speed up the plot and help move things along at a better pace.

Overall, I liked the Darkest Minds.  I thought it was a good read and honestly I have already finished the series, so while I may have minor issues with it, I did enjoy the series as a whole.  I wish someone had picked out a better cover for this series though, because you really have no idea what kind of book you are getting with this cover and it does not do the contents of the book justice at all.  Now that I have finished with this series, I will be anxiously awaiting whatever Bracken will be writing next.

 

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Book Review: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Of Beast and BeautyTitle: Of Beast and Beauty

Author: Stacey Jay

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Fairy Tale

Release Date:  July 23rd, 2013

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

-Summary from Goodreads.com 

My Review:  I am a sucker for retelling and fairy tales. I read Princess of Thorns by this author and loved it, so after I finished that I immediately got my hands on this book. Of Beast and Beauty puts a sci-fi twist on Beauty and the Beast that I found fascinating. It took place in a world where the god, for lack of a better way to describe it, is split in two, one good and one evil. Interestingly enough, the evil spirit watches over the “smooth skins” who are people without blemish (for the most part) and live within the only cities left surrounded by walls to keep others out.  There are monarchs that rule in these lands and every so often the queen must sacrifice herself to keep their lands prosperous. The good half of the spirit has been suppressed for far too long and has left for the lands outside of the walled cities to live in a wasteland.  The “monsters” who live in those desert lands starve and perish very quickly. To break the curse in this world a smooth skin has to fall in love with a “monster” and after that happens all the lands will be prosperous again. Too bad neither of them ever see one another and hate each other fiercely. Enter, Gem and Isra.

Watching the two interact together and slowly learn not to hate one another was so sweet. These two have centuries of embedded hatred for each other’s people to overcome. Once they can start to get past that and slowly appreciate each other is when it really starts to get interesting. I loved the slow build of the romance and how the two of them learned more about themselves as they got to know one another.

I loved the world itself and all of the legends and interesting mythology that came with it. Overall, just a great read.

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