Always forever maybe book cover

Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #2) by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #2) by Tricia LevensellerDaughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King, #2) by Tricia Levenseller
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 27, 2018
Pages: 352
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Alosa's mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he's under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father's justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.


We learned a lot more about sirens. We got to deeply explore the mind of a siren when Alosa started practicing her abilities with Riden’s help.

We learned more about the women and men in Alosa’s crew. There wasn’t a lot of details, and we didn’t learn about all of them, but we did get little tidbits on a few crew members, their backstories and what skill they possessed that caught Alosa’s eye.

The reality and acceptance of death. These are ruthless pirates. They may be a family on the ship, Ava-Lee, but there’s still plenty of villainous pirates in the pirate king’s crew who show no remorse or hesitance in cutting a person down. This book may have many lighthearted and funny moments, but it’s still about murderous pirates. Characters die even ones we care about.

The bad:

The story moved too damn fast! Months at sea consisted of a few pages. I wish Alosa’s journey to Isle of Canta had taken longer with more emphasis on crew life.

Riden and Alosa… facepalm. Will they or won’t they. Alosa spends this book, once again, questioning Riden’s motives. Why does he compliment her, why does he want to protect her, why does he stare at her like she’s the only girI in the world. I was so over Alosa’s angst after the first 100 pages of this book. I started not even caring if they would end up together which was super depressing, because their relationship sizzled in book one.

In conclusion:

I’m glad this series is a duology because the story played out as far as I think it could have gone. Book one was great and book two was “okay”. I look forward to any new books this author publishes in the future.

 

three-half-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia LevensellerDaughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1) by Tricia Levenseller
on February 28th 2017
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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.

 

Pirates aren’t really a big sell for me, but I figured what the hell, I might as well try this book out. I’m so glad I did! Daughter of the Pirate King was exhilarating, hilarious, and fun!

The characters – Alosa is quite frankly, amazing. She’s so funny, chaotic and resourceful, and has a big ego. Alosa’s clever and knows exactly how to push people’s buttons, and I loved when she pushed Riden’s, because he pushed right back. Riden is one of her sexy “captors” and I loved seeing the two of them snipe back-and-forth. The tension between these two pirates was electric. So lusty. There’s also a handful of secondary characters I enjoyed, like Kearnan, who I’m really interested in learning more about in the book(s) to come.

The setting – left something to be desired. The majority of the book takes place on the open sea, which obviously makes sense, because this book is about pirates, but I still would have liked more information about the sea’s location, the surrounding continents, islands, its’ people. Is it located in our world or another? I hope the author gives us more details in book two.

The pacing – was great! Daughter of the Pirate King is a quick, action-packed read that flows smoothly.

Overall, minus the lack of setting details, I really enjoyed this book. I’ve already ordered book two from my local library.

People are comparing Alosa to Jack Sparrow, which yes, I can understand why, because they’re both hilarious, reckless, and get themselves out of nearly-impossible binds. But they’re also very different. Jack is always doing random stuff and hoping for a good outcome, and Alosa is calculated and equipped with some… unique abilities that often tip the outcome in her favor.

 

four-half-stars
the assasins blade

The Assasin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-0.5) by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on March 4th 2014
Pages: 448
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

If you haven’t read the Throne of Glass series (at least book #1) you shouldn’t continue reading because there’s big spoilers!

These novellas were already published by the time I finally read Throne of Glass (2016), however I wasn’t really interested in reading them. I knew that the budding romance between Sam and Celaena wasn’t going to last because I knew he was going to die, so I figured, what’s the point? Well, with Tower of Dawn wrapped and sitting under my Christmas tree, I decided to re-read the whole series again. When I originally read these books I devoured book after book until they all started to blend together. I could barely remember what happened in which book.  I’ve got a bit of a binging problem.. so this time I decided to read slower and savor each book. I also decided it was time to finally read the novellas. When the pirates and the desert assassins showed up at the end of Empire of Storms I wanted to know how the heck Celaena a.k.a. Aelis was able to make it happen. I’m proud that I finally read these novellas.

I’m going to briefly comment on each story –

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
This novella was definitely entertaining but far too short. There’s no real backstory on the pirate lord, and Celaena and Sam miraculously free 200 slaves within less than 100 pages. Everything felt rushed and not fleshed out. This novella disappointed me the most out of all of them because it was the one I was most eager to finally read. 3 stake rating!

The Assassin and the Healer
This was my least favorite of the 5 novellas. It was dry and not as exciting as say, The Assassin and the Desert. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Celaena in these first two novellas because she was so aloof and miserable, and well, a bitch. Even though she saves slaves in the first novella and empowers a girl in this novella, Celaena’s still so devoid of emotions. This is a Celaena that I wasn’t used to and one that I didn’t really like. I realize it was all a plot device to show how Celaena changes but… meh. 2 stake rating!

The Assassin and the Desert
Even though this novella was also far too short, it was my favorite one. Celaena finally begins to thaw out after the events in The Assassin and the Healer and even more so when she begins a friendship with Ansel. Celaena has never had any girlfriends. She’s the only female assassin under Arobyn and therefore has never been able to relate to girls. There is such heartbreaking moment in this novella for Celaena and it really hit me too. However, I can’t wait to see Celaena’s interaction with the desert assassins in future book(s). 4 stake rating!

The Assassin and the Underworld
This was an interesting story but not very twisty. I could tell right from the start that Arobyn was playing Celaena. He doesn’t tell full truths, and finds interesting ways to punish those that don’t obey him. Sam and Celaena finally get together in this book after they admit their true feelings. There’s sweet moments between the two that break my heart because I know they are not headed towards a happily ever after. 3 stake rating!

The Assassin and the Empire
This was by far the hardest novella to read. If you’ve read Throne of Glass you know how Celaena and Sam’s story ends and it’s not happy. Reading this book was like watching the Titanic. You have a hard time enjoying the sweet moments because it’s only a matter of time until Sam and Celaena’s relationship is shattered. 4 stake rating!

three-half-stars
Lady Midnight Book Cover

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 8th 2016
Pages: 698
Goodreads
four-stars

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

I highly suggest you don’t read this review if you haven’t at least read the Mortal Instruments series. There’s spoilers in Lady Midnight from all previous book series – TMI, Infernal Devices, Shadowhunter Academy, etc..

After I finished City of Heavenly Fire back in June of 2014, I was super pumped for Lady Midnight. The introduction of Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn got me really excited for their story. Emma was fierce and precocious and I loved her immediately. In a way, Emma reminded me of Jace because she was fiercely loyal and reckless, but in other ways, she was so different. Jace was often brooding which irritated. Emma had the qualities I loved about Jace and none of the ones I didn’t.

Lady Midnight takes place five years after Sebastian Morgenstern was defeated in book six of the Mortal Instrument Series, City of Heavenly Fire. Five years ago during what’s known as the Dark War, Emma’s parents were murdered. Julian Blackthorn and his siblings also lost their father Arthur to a demon possession.

Julian Blackthorn is officially one of my all time favorite characters in the Mortal Instruments World. With the support of his parabatai Emma, Julian has fathered his four younger siblings ever since he was 12. Julian never got to be a pre-teen or teen. He became a father-like figure the moment he was forced to kill his own father during the Dark War. I really connected with Julian. Although I never had younger siblings that I had to look after, I was forced to grow up too quick. I related with Julian because we both hold resentment because of missed opportunities.

In Lady Midnight, Emma is harboring a deep secret. She is head-over-heels in love with Julian, something that is absolutely not allowed in the Shadowhunter society. Emma doesn’t know why you can’t be in love with your parabatai, just that “the law is hard, but it is the law”. Besides impending punishment, Emma is afraid that Julian will find out that her feelings go deeper than just parabatai and that it will ruin their friendship. With the exception of Jem, the Blackthorns are the only family Emma has left and she also doesn’t want to jeopardize that.

The story really picks up when Emma and the Blackthorns discover that a bunch of bodies are being dumped around LA. All the bodies have been found with demonic carvings on the skin, similar to how Emma’s parents’ bodies were discovered five years prior. Emma, who has never once believed her parents were killed by Sebastian, is thrilled when the bodies start showing up. In five years, it’s the first real clue that Emma has discovered that could prove her parent’s weren’t a victim of Sebastian.

I really enjoyed Lady Midnight. It took me a year plus to finally sit and read it, but once I got past the first 50 pages or so I really got into it. I can’t give the book 5 stars because I feel like it was a little bumpy at times. However, I feel like Lady Midnight is setting up to be something really great and I have high hopes that the books to follow will be amazing.

 

four-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

Angelfire (Angelfire #1) by Courtney Allison Moulton

Angelfire (Angelfire #1) by Courtney Allison MoultonAngelfire (Angelfire, #1) by Courtney Allison Moulton
Published by HarperCollins / Katherine Tegen Books on February 15th 2011
Pages: 453
Goodreads
three-stars

First there are nightmares.
Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories.
When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie's power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie's memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Now she must hunt.
Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.

In the beginning I didn’t particularly have high hopes for Angelfire. When it comes to gauging my possible like of a novel, I stick to a core group of bloggers and their reviews. Not only do I and said bloggers have similar tastes and opinions, I also can trust that their reviews won’t spoil the story for me. I cannot tell how many times I’ve quickly browsed Goodreads and had books ruined for me because a user had posted blatant in-your-face spoilers. Grrr!! *shakes fist* So the reviewers I trust, had for the most part shown no interest in Angelfire, or disliked it greatly.

However, between an e-copy sale, out-of-the-blue receiving of an ARC of book #3, and my general love of angel-centrique books, I decided to wing it and start Angelfire this past weekend. Below I’ll break down the main parts I liked and disliked.

LIKED

Story – Moulton did a great job of taking random bits of angel-myth, mixing in some original-myth and creating a unique story. Out of all the angel series I’ve read now which is like 6 or 7, Angelfire establishes its own identity.

Romance – Most of us, if not all of us, despise the “insta-love” and dread the “love-triangle”. I’m glad to report that neither occur in this book. The love that does develop is literally centuries in the making, although, also reasonably paced in the current time. You can tell where the main relationship is/will be right away in this one, and although a tiny fork in the road pops up here and there I promise that you won’t be declaring #team *who-evers*.

Action – This particular element I found to be both positive and negative. Positive: Instead cowering in the corner, waiting for a big strong man to come to her rescue, Ellie does A LOT of butt-kicking. It was great having a strong female lead that could handle herself.

DISLIKED

Characters – Although I liked Ellie for her butt-kicking ways, I really didn’t connect to her. I felt like her relationship with her parents was too weird. For instance, in the beginning, Ellie was quite bitchy towards her mom and dad. She was pretty much plain rude, not really wanting anything to do with them. Half-way through the novel her dad seemed to exhibit a monstrous-behavior which definitely would explain the earlier coldness, but it still felt out of the blue. 2 and 2 just never connected. The relationship felt whole-y, like there were parts to the story that I missed (weren’t there) and I couldn’t understand why she’d act in *that* particular way.

Information Overload – EEEK attack of the 50-foot info overload!!! *STOMP STOMP* I loved the story and the information given, but too much was given at a time. At one point we were hit back-to-back with new info and I had to reread the section like 4 times. AND I’m still not entirely sure what it all means or how it will play out.

Action – (The negative side) Sure, there was a lot of great action scenes, which I didn’t mind, however, I felt like the storyline suffered because of it. The story didn’t feel as strong because Moulton focused too much on the action and not enough on the emotions and world-building. I would have liked a nice balance.

So there ya go! I give Angelfire 3 out of 5 stars. From reviews I’ve read, book two seems to be better received. I plan on reading it early-January.

three-stars