Tag «pirates»

Fresh Fridays: These Rebel Waves (Steam Raiders) by Sara Raasch

Fresh Fridays: These Rebel Waves (Steam Raiders) by Sara Raasch

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Steam Raiders Series

Other books planned to be in the series:


Synopsis for These Rebel Waves (from Goodreads):

Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.

Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.

As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.


Series: Steam Raiders
Author: Sarah Raasch
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, These Divided Shores to be published August 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: August 2018 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ve been looking forward to Sara Raasch’s next work ever since I finished the Snow Like Ashes Trilogy. And this new series sounded like something I would love. Pirates, magic, deception, a kickass heroine? Those were just many of the reasons why I added this series as a pick for my 2019 5 Year 5 Book Reading Challenge.

What I Liked:

–Lu and Vex’s Chemistry–

I loved the tension between these two from the moment they meet. Both deny any true feelings but there is something palpable whenever they are together. In a lot of ways, they reminded me of June and Day from the Legend Series where the odds against them to ever meet but when they do, something magical happens. Their banter was top-notch!

–Magic, Science and Religion–

I enjoyed the concept of this series a lot when it comes to the magic properties of plants. It’s a cool fantasy spin on real world concepts like the clashing of science and religion.

–The Politics–

I loved the political dilemma of this series and how all our leads are stuck in the middle of it all. It added a great air of tension.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Lagged a Little in the Middle–

I was really invested for the first half of the story (though a lot of info is thrown at you) and then just past the middle, the excitement died for me a little. I’m not sure what it was that made it seem that way. Perhaps the physical action just simmered out a bit.

We do get some great twists at the end (though one I thought was super obvious) that have me eager to see how it’ll all wrap up.

My Audiobook Experience:

The audio version was very engaging considering it is told in third person. I often struggle with third person audio stories but not here. It was very well done!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Very excited to see how things will come together in the finale now that some major truths have been uncovered!

My Rating: 3/5

These Rebel Waves 3/5 | These Divided Shores TBP


I’m waiting to see how things will wrap up because there are some great leads to build the sequel on!

Read if You Like: following multiple leads, fantasy with politics
Avoid if You: want lots of action, want more romance


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Series Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenselle

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for Daughter of the Pirate King (from Goodreads):

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav 2018
Series: Daughter of the Pirate King Duology
Author: Tricia Levenseller
# of Books: 2 (Daughter of the Pirate King, Daughter of the Siren Queen)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Adventure, Pirates, Romance
Heat Rating: warm **suggestive content**
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: February 2017 – February 2018
Source & Format: Public Library & Own–Audiobook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw this book a lot in 2017 and it sounded like something I would enjoy. I love a good pirate story; I’m usually not a fan of the adventure story but with pirates, something just works for me. So while the hype around this scared me a little, I was very excited to pick it up and dive right in!

The Concept / The World:

I loved the ordered chaos of this world. The whole hierarchy of the pirate world here was fascinating and very straightforward to follow. It has all those elements you expect when it comes to pirate tales, including the sword fights and death. It’s not overly violent by any means but you do have some blood and life loss so I liked that it didn’t sugar coat those aspects.

The Plot:

I think I ended up liking Daughter of the Pirate King more than I thought I would because it wasn’t your typical pirate adventure. Instead, it felt like more of a battle of wits between Alosa and Riden as Alosa tries to complete her mission. It’s a pretty stationary setting (as opposed to sailing from destination to destination) and things happen quickly as a result so I was never bored. Even if the plot seemed a little slow, Alosa’s sass or scenes with Riden had me eager for more. I easily became addicted to the story.

But that wasn’t the case for the sequel and finale, The Daughter of the Siren Queen. I had the hardest time getting invested into this story. Honestly, if it wasn’t the sequel I would have likely DNF’d it. It isn’t because it’s bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I found things got off to a slow start and we kept rehashing the same sentiments again and again (mainly Alosa struggling with her true nature). Which is fine but I needed more to keep my full attention. The last quarter does pick up and there was some great romantic development but this definitely wasn’t the sequel I had anticipated.

The Characters:

I immediately loved Alosa because she is exactly the type of sassy pirate I want to read about. Her wit and kick-ass attitude had me from the start. She also had a surprising amount of character growth later on in the book (and series) and I liked that a lot (even if it did get a little dry in the sequel).

Riden is a great adversary for her as well. He’s her match in every way and I loved every scene that they had together. I love battles of wit and banter and these two don’t disappoint.

Everyone else is what you want them to be. You’ve got your villains and the shifty crew members and they all add to this fantastic atmosphere and story.

The Romance:

Clearly I was a fan. Like I said, these two had great chemistry from the start and I loved all their scenes together. I felt like the romance only got stronger in the sequel and it really became apparent to me why these two were such a great match.

My Audiobook Experience:

I think I enjoyed this more as an audiobook than I would have as a physical book. Actually hearing Alosa’s sass and witty remarks aloud had me laughing out loud throughout. But it also allowed her emotion and conflict to show too which made her a more complex character than I originally thought. Highly recommend the audiobook!

Series Rating: 4/5

Daughter of the Pirate King 5/5 | Daughter of the Siren Queen 2.5/5


Despite my less than stellar experience with the sequel (I really think it was just a “me” thing), this is a great series for those who love pirate adventures. It’s got a strong heroine who does have her own flaws but learns along the way who she truly wants to be. It’s a great duology!

Read if You Like: pirates, kickass heroines, banter
Avoid if You: dislike adventure stories, want more romance



2018 Take Control


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Series Review: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Blackhearts Series


Synopsis for Blackhearts (from Goodreads):

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave Read 2016, New Must Watch Author, Sad to See Go 2017
Author: Nicole Castroman
# of Books: 2 (Blackhearts, Blacksouls)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Retellings
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2016 – April 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book was EVERYWHERE when it first came out. But before I saw it gracing my WordPress Reader feed, I first read a review on Bookishness and Tea in early January and Ava’s review convinced me to read it.

But, I admit, the hyped scared me a lot and so I was a little hesitant to pick it up when it was actually released. Until, I noticed my library’s eCatalogue had one last copy left to read one Tuesday. I figured it was fate and picked up the book despite the numerous other novels I should have been reading.

The Concept / The World:

The best thing I got from Ava’s review is that this story isn’t a “pirate” story like Never Never or the like. I think she explains it best below:

Before you go into this book, know: it is NOT a pirate book. The author has called it a “pre-pirate book”, and that is entirely accurate. The book mostly revolves Teach and Anne’s romance, which means it is slower, but not non-enjoyable. It’s more of a historical fiction than a pirate book.

~Ava @ Bookishness and Tea

It isn’t some swashbuckling pirate novel taking place on the high seas and I think if you are expecting that, you will be disappointed. It’s a story about two people trying to find their place in the world and them finding each other while they do it.

So essentially, it is an historical romance.

The Plot:

Despite the fact that there isn’t that much to the story when it comes to the plot, this story is highly addicting. This story has a “less is more” attitude about it. It doesn’t try to overload you with too much conflict or unnecessary drama. It keeps the story focused on Anne and Teach by making their character development the main focus of the story. And the bits that are added to keep the plot moving do exactly that; they add a little layer at a time to make this story rich for the reader…and super addicting.

The Characters:

Anne and Teach really are the story for this one. On their own, they were both very intriguing characters. They each had a complexity to them that makes them seem so real and full of life. I found their reactions to events were natural and I never felt like their character development was strained as the story progressed. They also had great chemistry together and that really is what drives the story.

The Romance:

The slow burning romance really is the heart of the story (pun soooo intended). Anne and Teach are one of my favourite couples because they matched each other so well! They had their differences but they also had this kindred bond of understanding that draws them together. I thought Teach was so swoon-worthy in some of his actions to show his affections that I honestly melted at times. Totally a new book boyfriend.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

When I first read this book, the sequel had not been announced. I talk about my reaction in tomorrow’s SERIESous Spoilers but I’m going to brief and say that I am very, very happy there is a sequel. I can’t wait to return to this world and see what happens next!


–June 2, 2017– Book #2: Blacksouls

This was easily one of my most anticipated reads of this year. I had no idea what to expect but I was dying to find out. Which is probably why I spent most of the book feeling like this:

I’ll admit that the first quarter of this book was slower than I wanted it to be. I wasn’t as into it as I had hoped but that quickly changed a few chapters later. I found that latter have of this book to be very captivating and I could’t put it down. It reminded me why I adored that first book so much and that’s exactly what I want in a sequel and grande finale (?).

Series Rating: 5/5

Blackhearts 5/5 | Blacksouls 4.5/5


It really is important to know that this book has nothing to do with pirates! It’s a prequel in every sense of the word. I actually think it is best described as an “origin” story for Blackbeard. But I will be the first to admit, I am loving this YA pirate trend that is starting to happen this year!

Read if You Like: retellings of history, historical romance, slow burn romance
Avoid if You: want a pirate focused adventure book


  • Victoria and the Viscount by Meg Cabot
  • Never Never by Brianna Shrum


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Movie Monday: Stardust

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Stardust by Neil Gaiman | Movie: Stardust (2007)

Which did I read/see first? the MOVIE

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Adventure, Science Fiction


Neil Gaiman is one of those authors that everyone seems to have read and enjoyed. I myself had never read one of his books before so I decided to give it a shot.

I will admit that my reading of this book is skewed as I saw the movie before I read the book. I think I was expecting a novel more like the movie and that isn’t the case. While the two do share some similarities, there are also some key differences and because of this, I was a little disappointed in the novel.

I liked it enough, but I often felt like it was a little too out-there for me. I didn’t connect with the characters as well as in the movie and I didn’t really like the plot twists as well either. I also thought it was missing out on some of the charm the movie had as well.


Overall, the book didn’t do much for me. It was an interesting story but didn’t capture my attention all that well.

Rating: 3/5
Similar Reads:

The Movie:

I was skeptical about seeing this movie. When the trailers were playing on TV, I thought “this is going to be a weird movie”. However, I was watching Much Music (the Canadian MTV) and one of the VJ kept raving on and on about how excited she was for this movie and then proceeded to play a few clips from the movie. After seeing these additional clips, my interest was peaked and I waited until it was available on DVD to watch it.

I loved this movie–which slightly shocked me I think. There was so much more to it than the trailers had given me reason to believe and I liked the quirkiness to it. I liked the whole adventure that Tristan and Yvaine go on and the banter between them & the other characters. It was adorable to watch the romance between them. The cast was fantastic and I have to say that Robert De Niro made the movie for me. There is something about the characters in the movie that I like so much more than in the book.

The movie reminded me a bit of The Princess Bride in that it has this charm to it that makes you love it (but be warned, it isn’t nearly as funny). I have since seen it numerous times and every once and a while I just get a hankering to watch it (like as I write this review :P)

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the MOVIE. This is definitely just a personal preference and completely subjective. I don’t think it has anything to do with watching the movie first–I think it is just because I enjoyed the plot path the movie takes more so than the novel. I certainly won’t begrudge anyone who disagrees with me as the novel is beautifully written and so creative and unique but I enjoy the movie a lot more.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Stardust (from Goodreads):
Catch a fallen star…

Tristan Thorn promised to bring back a fallen star. So he sets out on a journey to fulfill the request of his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester – and stumbles into the enchanted realm that lies beyond the wall of his English country town. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one of master storyteller Neil Gaiman’s most beloved tales, and the inspiration for the hit movie