Monday, September 24, 2018

Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Title: Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Format: Hardback
Page Count: 374


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. (taken from

"I am me because I choose to be me. I am what I want.
Some people say you have to find yourself.
Not I. I believe we create ourselves to be what we want."

Woooow. I usually try to start a book without reading too many reviews beforehand so that I'm working with a clean slate, and I'm definitely glad that I took that route with Daughter of the Pirate King. Opinions voiced by my fellow readers couldn't be more divided: it's as though you either HATE this book or love it.

I, for one, fall somewhere between the heated debates. This book is fun, pure and simple. It's got swashbuckling, scheming, smooching, and tons of other great pirate-y words that start with S. Levenseller did an excellent job of taking a pirate adventure and transforming it into a young adult novel with wit and entertainment. Think Pirates of the Caribbean with less Johnny Depp and more red-headed teenage girl.

Alosa, the daughter of an infamous pirate who rules over the seas, has staged her own capture in an effort to steal a piece of an important map from a crew of men. Obviously, things don't go according to plan, and there's plenty of banter and sword-fighting to spice things up. It's an entertaining premise, and I don't really see why everyone picked on it so much.

I will grant that the male characters in this novel are a bit lacking. Even the love interest is pretty meh; his redeeming qualities are basically that he didn't want to kill or assault Alosa. Still, I was able to look past those specifics and acknowledge this pirate novel for the adventure that it is.

If you're looking for a summer read that's packed with ships and sassy heroines, be my guest and give this one a try. Maybe you'll hate, maybe you'll love it, but at least you'll have given it a shot.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Format: Hardback
Page Count: 525


They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. (taken from

"Courage does not always roar. Valor does not always shine."

I know I'm like six months late to this party, but I'm here now! And boy am I glad I came. Despite the hype that surrounds Children of Blood and Bone, I was pleasantly surprised by how thoroughly I enjoyed this story. It's ingenious and riveting, and I can't wait for book two.

Most people have covered the best-selling points about this book, like the diversity and themes of racial inequality, justice, and stigma. I agree wholeheartedly with most of the reviewers who have talked about these aspects, so I won't speak too much on those.

What I found truly remarkable was Adeyemi's ability to create characters with such incredible, realistic moral compasses. She found a way to paint both sides of the story without taking away from her heroine's journey. I was most impressed by Inaan, and although I can't say why without including spoilers, I will say that Adeyemi blew me away with her character development.

Also, that ending? Phew. Imma need someone to get me an advanced copy of book two pronto because I'm not okay.

If you, like me, have been keeping this one at the bottom of your to-read stack, stop procrastinating and pick it up now. There's a reason people are going crazy for Zélie and the rest of her courageous crew.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for! Here's mine for the week.

Title: The Caged Queen

AuthorKristen Ciccarelli
Release Date: September 25, 2018

Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. When they were angry, mirrors shattered, and when they were happy, flowers bloomed. It was a magic they cherished—until the day a terrible accident took Essie’s life and trapped her soul in this world.

Dax—the heir to Firgaard’s throne—was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa’s people had suffered. Roa made him a deal: she’d give him the army he needed if he made her queen.

Together with Dax and his sister, Asha, Roa and her people waged war and deposed a tyrant. But now Asha is on the run, hiding from the price on her head. And Roa is an outlander queen, far from home and married to her enemy. Worst of all: Dax’s promises go unfulfilled. Roa’s people continue to suffer.

Then a chance to right every wrong arises—an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Reliquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa can reclaim her sister for good.

All she has to do is kill the king. (taken from

Why I Need It: 

I read The Last Namsara last spring and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now Ciccarelli's presenting a continuing story in the same world? I'm totally there. Sign me up for any books with dragons and revolutions.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Review: Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

Title: Nyxia Unleashed
Series: The Nyxia Triad #2
Author: Scott Reintgen
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 17, 2018

Format: Hardback
Page Count: 400


Getting to Eden brought Emmett and his crewmates one step closer to their promised fortune. But surviving Eden may be the biggest reward of all. Discover book two in the trilogy Marie Lu called, “a high-octane thriller.”

Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.

Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population.

But Emmett and the others quickly realize they are caught between two powerful forces—Babel and the Adamites—with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late?(taken from

Honestly, I don't really want to write this review because I don't know what to say. So, I've decided I'm just going to word-vomit my stream of consciousness onto this site. Bear with me as I unravel my own thoughts in this review.

Nyxia, book one, was something else. I was shook by how invested I became in the story, even though I'm not a huge sci-fi fan. Reintgen uses diversity, imaginative concepts, and incredible characters to drive an unpredictable story.

Then, in book two, things take a bit of a turn. If you haven't read book one, stop reading this review now.

The Genesis teens have reached the planet they're destined to alter forever, and obviously, the setting changes the feel of the book quite a bit. Suddenly there's no competition and no spaceship. I crossed my fingers and prayed that Reintgen would give us a Pandora-esque alien planet to explore, but in reality, he doesn't dive into this new setting as much as I hoped he would. I mean, it's an entire new world. How can you not spend time deeply developing it and using it as a platform for creativity? I was disappointed that we stuck more to politics and a few mentions of scary creatures.

The characters still shine brightly. I loved watching Emmett and his crew bond as they face betrayal and danger, and I will ship Emmett and Morning for 83,451 years. Even when I got bored with the plot, I was still happy to read about the Genesis members.

The ending left me with mixed feelings. Part of me is desperate to know what happens next, but part of me also thinks book three will be even more different from the first book than Nyxia Unleashed. I guess I'll decide if I want to pick it up once it's released.

Bottom line: This series is real good, but book two seems to be suffering from "middle book syndrome." You know, where the plot is desperately trying to find its way from point A to point B, but it's getting a little lost along the way?

I'd recommend reading it if you LOVED book one, but if you felt kinda meh about this series already, it's probably not worth your time.