Daughter of the Pirate King

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca RossThe Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
Published by HarperTeen on February 6th 2018
Pages: 464

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

I’m so glad I got this book from the library, and didn’t buy it outright like I originally considered, because it was a huge letdown.

The world was too big and not properly introduced. The characters overcame incredible feats and developed deep emotions too fast to be believed. The concepts in this high fantasy were too fantastical to be contained in one book, and because of that, all the characters were luckily and conveniently able to overcome their own hurdles quickly and easily.

For instance, Bri gets about 5 lessons of swordsmanship, and then they say she’s great enough to fight in a battle. Whaaat? A lot of things in this book didn’t logically make sense.

The worst part though, was the fact that the first couple chapters basically outlined the entire story.  I was easily able to figure out who Bri was, what she was going to face, and where her journey was going to go.

The only thing I enjoyed about this book was the demure relationship between Bri and her Master, Cartier. Unfortunately it was fleeting.



Daughter of the Pirate King

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy by Kiersten WhiteParanormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1) by Kiersten White
Published by HarperTeen on August 31st 2010
Pages: 335

Discover the first book in a sparkling paranormal romance trilogy from Kiersten White, #1 New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken.

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through supernatural glamours.

She’s also about to find out that she may be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Paranormalcy was one of those books that I kept seeing popup on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble; basically the sites I visit on practically a daily basis. Although the synopsis perked my interest a bit, it was truly the great reviews I kept seeing that urged me to purchase Paranormalcy. I’ve hit a streak of gold lately when it comes to great books. The last few I’ve read have been phenomal, and although I was a tad iffy I still went into Paranormalcy with high hopes. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t let down–not a bit. Paranormalcy is a very cute, engaging, and unique YA book. The story concept was fresh and very likable. Per usual when I get addicted to a good book I’m up wicked late to finish it, and Paranormalcy was no exception.

I’m a HUGE Buffy fan and therefore I think one of the reasons I loved Paranormalcy so much is because I could drawn lines connecting the two. Midway through the Buffy TV series we learned about a secret government sector called the Initiative whose job was to monitor and exterminate lethal supernatural beings. Their commando-agents were responsible for bagging and tagging the various supernatural they encountered such as vampires, demons, werewolves, etc. In Paranormalcy, Evie our heroine, works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (ICPA) by ferreting out various supernaturals and banding them with trackers. In Paranormalcy all supes are considered dangerous and therefore are carefully monitored and put to work for the ICPA. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book, besides television, I’ve never read a story that features a government agency like this. With a the cool gadgets and protocol; I was completely engrossed.

Evie is at the center of the story. As an orphan with an extremely-unique as one would say “paranormal” gift, she’s been with the ICPA for quite sometime. She’s recently been able to handle bag and tag cases on her own. Paired with the ability to see through any supernatural glamour and a pink taser covered in rhinestones named “Tasey” she’s one girl you don’t want to mess with. I felt like throughout book I had a very love-hate relationship towards Evie. On one hand she’s super funny, quirky, and brave. She definitely “beats to the sound of her own drum” and therefore I found her to be a very compelling character. However, as much as I love Evie, at times I still wanted to take her by the shoulders and give her a good-solid shake. Sometimes she makes really bad decisions. Although her heart is always in the right place she has a tendency to jump in first and think it out later. She gets put in quite a lot of bad positions because of her fly-of-the-seat reactions.

Besides Evie, Paranormalcy has a strong group of characters. For instance, Lend *be still my heart* is a great male lead. Although he’s very guarded in the beginning his character really opens up throughout the book. I loved seeing the teamwork between Evie and Lend. When I think of the two them together I picture “ying” and “yang”. At one point during the book, Lend’s mother remarks ”What a lovely balance. Lend shows whatever he wants the world to see and you see through whatever the world wants to show you”. I think that Kiersten White had a spurt of creativity genius when she decided what abilities Evie and Lend would have. Not only are they super-cute together, they also complement each other fantastically.

Overall Paranormalcy was a very enjoyable read. I was extremely entertained throughout the entire novel. The pace is perfect and the story is full of action and great dialogue. All the characters leap right off the page whether it be goofy and strong-willed Evie, cute and determined Lend, stern and motherly Raquel or devilish and cunning Reth. With 4 stars I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves YA fiction with romance, action, and of course paranormalcy.

Daughter of the Pirate King

Epic Fail by

Epic Fail byEpic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
Published by HarperTeen on August 2nd 2011
Pages: 309

Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail?

At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:

As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.

As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.

When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

In the beginning I was a little weary. As a huge fan of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice I figured that this book could either be totally suckish or totally awesome. I’m glad to say it was the latter of the two. Epic Fail was a cute book. The first couple pages sucked me in with their charismatic characters and charming dialogue. Claire LaZebnik has a fantastic writing style. All of the characters are described and portrayed perfectly. The style isn’t as heavily detailed as the original Pride and Prejudice, but nonetheless it’s enjoyable. I’d call Epic Fail the perfect beach book, or even a sitting-in-the-gazebo read, with a glass of ice tea by your side, you’re all set for an enjoyable couple hours.

Now here’s the part where I talk about why this book got 3 vs. 5 stars from me. Everything I’ve said so far makes it sounds like the perfect read, you’ve got great characters, witty dialogue, and a fast-paced plot that keeps you interested. However, what this story lacked was “surprise”. I get that it’s a modern-take on Pride and Prejudice with familiar plots and elements, but from the beginning I basically knew which character to suspect and how the finale would play out. Some say there are few similarities between Pride and Prejudice and Epic Fail, however I’d say there is big honky and blatant ones. Basically Epic Fail IS Pride and Prejudice except the story and characters have jumped from the 19th to the 21st century. Elizabeth Bennet Elise Benton comes from a family containing a wacky mom, a no-nonsense dad, and three sisters. One sister, the oldest is reserved and two others are younger than Elise, one of them being easily influenced and slightly out of control. Out of all her family members, Elise is not easily swayed, with her witty-comebacks and stubborn nature she’s basically Elizabeth Bennet reincarnated. Then you have Mr. Darcy Derek Edwards, the standoffish, angst-y, and doubly-stubborn son of a famous actress-mother. Basically all the original characters from Pride and Prejudice are here playing their usual and recognizable roles.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Epic Fail. I really did. All through the book I was hooked, the characters were appealing and likable and the plot was fun and interesting. However, about 3/4 through the book I realized what I had originally feared was coming to fruition. The good guys in P&P triumphed in the same way and the bad guy likewise, lost. I realize that re-tellings are big these days, old stories, fairy-tales, etc. however I think they should be achieved in a certain way. I feel like if you’re going to put a new-spin on a well-known and well-loved tale you should really add some new aspects to it. I know there’s the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but who wants to spend time and money reading something that you basically already read and possibly own. Overall, I do recommend Epic Fail. Even though it left me slightly disappointed it was a fun read nonetheless.

Daughter of the Pirate King

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh FallonCarrier of the Mark (Carrier, #1) by Leigh Fallon
Published by HarperTeen on October 4th 2011
Pages: 342

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

I’m going to go right out and say it: I was very disappointed with Carrier of the Mark. I admit, perhaps I went into this book with too high of hopes, but I had good reason to. A good chunk of reviews that I came upon praised this book and it’s unique story.

Basically, I’d been craving to read this book. The synopsis promised romance, mysticism, and adventure–all taking place in the beautiful rolling hills of Ireland. For once, our main character was going to arrive at a new place and instead of feeling like an outsider, immediately find their niche. Our male lead was going to be scorching hot and mysterious (just how I like ‘em). All these plot-building ingredients were going to be mixed into a bowl in order to make one yummy dessert. Unfortunately when the timer went off and the creation was complete, it was not the satisfying treat I had hoped it would be. Carrier of the Mark had started out with great characters and an imaginative plot–all taking place in a richly historical and magical place. I may have finished this book in a quick fashion, but I never truly felt satisfied. I felt it started out with so much potential, and like a souffle, once out of the oven, fell completely flat.

Besides certain paranormal aspects that I’ll keep on the D.L. so as to not spoil a big reveal, a good chunk of this book surrounds Megan and her romantic attachment to Adam. This particular part of the plot annoyed me to no end because it was one of those insta-love cases. From the beginning these two had an intense connection that they couldn’t control. Throughout the book they try to figure out if the love between them is real or only fabricated by the “connection”. This is a small spoiler… but at one point they end up declaring that their love is real, regardless of the connection. I’m sorry but I just don’t like nor believe in insta-love like this. I don’t think it’s possible to truly, deeply, and madly be in love with another person who you’ve never met or only known for a couples weeks — to a month. I had hoped that it would be revealed that this “connection” was playing with their emotions, and as time progressed they’d get to know each other and truly fall in love. However, Megan and Adam foolishly pronounce that regardless of the connection they’ve been in love since the beginning. I don’t find this plausible or real.

The insta-love wasn’t the only bone I had to pick with this book. Like many others I couldn’t help but notice the blatant similarities between this book and Twilight. Although it was a different location and type of supe the family/friends dynamic was the same along with the general plot. It took me a little bit to catch on but once I did I could pretty much predict what was going to happen.

Daughter of the Pirate King

Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia HandHallowed (Unearthly, #2) by Cynthia Hand
Published by HarperTeen on January 17th 2012
Pages: 248

For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn't prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

In this compelling sequel to Unearthly, Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.

Hallowed is the second book in Cynthia Hand’s wonderful Unearthly series. Without a doubt these books have risen up in my own personal rank of all-time favorite book series. I thoroughly enjoyed reading book one, Unearthly and am confident in saying that book two has gone above and beyond my wildest expectations. I wasn’t necessarily worried that book two would be bad; I just didn’t think that I’d end up loving Hallowed as much, or even perhaps more than it’s predecessor.

Hallowed picks up exactly where Unearthly left off, with Clara’s dream (in the beginning of book one) coming true, at least for the most part. She now has to deal with the outcome and soon-to-be consequences of the decision she made at the end of Unearthly. Clara, being of angel-blood, has been forced to live a double-life for the past few years. By day she’s a normal teenage girl dealing with school, homework, and boys. However by night she’s a flying-praticing, gym-bag-weight-lifting, angel-blood who’s dedicating her time to an important mission that she barely understands.

In their teen years, angel-bloods, such as Clara, are given what’s called a “purpose”. Each AB’s (angel-blood) purpose is a personal mission sent from a higher place, that which is meant to be fulfilled during a AB’s time on earth. Depending on which direction they take, AB’s wings which start out pure white can become anywhere between speckled with grey to full-on black. Those who reject their purpose become what is known as black wings otherwise known as fallen angels.

I wont give too much away, but Clara’s purpose didn’t exactly happen the way it was meant to in the last book and now Clara and her family are paying the consequences. Clara’s mom, and brother both seemed to be hiding some very massive secrets in book one, and I’m glad to say that we finally figure out what’s going on in book two. One of the things I love about Hallowed so much, is the connections Ms. Hand has interwoven. Some key elements that occurred in book one help pull the story together in book two and left us satisfied with the answers to are most-burning questions.

Like with Unearthly, Hallowed begins with Clara dreaming/having a vision of a future event that will come to pass in one way or another. Once again it’s up to Clara to dissect her various dreams in order to prepare for what her future holds.

When I reviewed Unearthly I declared myself as a TEAM TUCKER fan girl. However, as the chapters progressed in Hallowed I found myself really warming up to Christian. We learn that Christian and Clara are incredibly similar in quite a few ways. Through rough and emotional patches (and there’s a lot) Christian really steps up. Christian’s presence fills Clara with a type of security that she desperately needs throughout the novel. There are also a couple testosterone-filled scenes between Christian and Tucker where I was rooting for Tucker to punch Christian’s lights out. Which is another reason why Hallowed was so good. I love being entirely submersed in books to the point in which I can experience a character’s emotions.

When it comes down to it – did I like Hallowed? Nope. I LOVED it! It was an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes I found myself laughing while other times I wanted to cry. Some of the burning questions I had were answered and like most good novels, a couple more were created. Needless to say I’ll be going through hellish-despair while enduring the wait for book three.