Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I Want to Read It (56): Blackhearts

I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the one's I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.

Blackhearts (Blackhearts, 1) by Nicole Castroman, February 9, 2016. Published by Simon Pulse. Source: Want to Read It.
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 CuraƧao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England? 


Why yes, yes I am terribly behind on "discovering" certain books. I must admit, that my interest in Blackhearts is simply because, well, pirates and seeing how Nicole Castroman  will tell Edward "Teach" Drummond's story. 

Should I hit up my library this weekend to see if they have a copy? What say you???

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Bull

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, May 22, 2017

YA Review: Bull

Bull by David Elliott, March 28, 2017. 200 pages. Published by HMH Books for Young Readers. Source: Borrowed from Library.
Minos thought he could
Pull a fast one
On me,
God of the Sea!
But I’m the last one
On whom you
Should try such a thing.
The nerve of that guy.
The balls. The audacity.
I got capacity!
Depths! Darkness! Delphic power!
So his sweet little plan
Went big-time sour
And his wife had a son
Born with horns and a muzzle
Who ended up
In an underground puzzle.
What is it with you mortals?
You just can’t seem to learn:
If you play with fire, babies,
You’re gonna get burned.

Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda did in Hamilton, the New York Times best-selling author David Elliott turns a classic on its head in form and approach, updating the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. A rough, rowdy, and darkly comedic young adult retelling in verse, Bull will have readers reevaluating one of mythology's most infamous monsters.
First Sentence:
There beneath the palace walls
the monster rages, foams, bawls,
calling out again and again,

Well, at least this was only a random selection from a recent library visit. Because this book only had one redeeming quality; yeah, it was rather disappointing.

  • I had two reasons for checking Bull out from the library. The first being that the cover caught my attention. It was simple, and yet just interesting enough to catch my attention as I was passing by the new release shelf at the library, so, I decided to give it a chance. My second reason for picking it up was that I'm always interested in retellings of old myths; and I was curious as to how the author would re-spin the tale of Theseus and the Minotaur.
  • Since this was a rather disappointing book, I'll start off with what I did like about it. The only highlight of Bull was seeing Asterion's, you know, the Minotaur, story was was given more depth. I really rather enjoyed seeing his character before he was locked away in the maze where he descended into madness. It definitely gave the story a different turn to see how he was not quite the monster, before the maze, that the myth makes him out to be. But as much  as I enjoyed seeing a different side to his story, that added depth made it all the more sad when he faced his cruel fate.   

  • I don't even know where to begin when it comes to why I did not like this book. But let's start with the language. I really wish the author would have used language that was less crude. The language employed throughout the entire book left me disgusted. To be honest, the foul language made totally took away from the book; it also brought the writing down.
  • Another point a found irritating, Poseidon. Yeah, I don't like him as a character on the best of days, yet this version of him, well, it made me want to knock him up side the head. Why, because he came off as a petulant brat. It was not just Poseidon that annoyed me either as most of the cast made me roll my eyes with the way they were characterized. What really bothered me about the characters was that the majority of them had no redeeming qualities. 

Final Verdict: Bull- Start to finish, I was highly disappointed with this one. SO MUCH WASTED POTENTIAL.

Bull earns
A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, May 19, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review [Blog Tour]: Orphan Island

This week, I am very excited to be talking about Laurel Snyder's newest middle grade book Orphan Island!! Continue reading to see my thoughts on her new book!!

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder, May 30, 2017. 288 pages. Published by Walden Pond Press. Source: Publisher.
From acclaimed author Laurel Snyder comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.

On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?

First Sentence
Jinny heard the bell.

Lucky me, thanks to Walden Pond Press I was lucky enough to get to read Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder. I was really excited about getting the chance to read it because the last book I read by her was so good.

  • I have been attempting to write down my thoughts on Orphan Island for, well, a couple weeks now. Alas, the words have been playing coy, but I'll endeavor to get them out (without rambling too much, I hope). There were many, many things to like about this book; mainly the writing and character growth. While at times Jinny annoyed me, there was something about how she had to grow up and learn to let go that really resonated with me. Why, because there comes a point when you have to leave your comfort zone; that and I really enjoyed the way Laurel Snyder brought that struggle to life.
  • Even though I quite enjoyed the entire book, I am still left with  a ton of questions. Questions like why were they on the Island, what happened when they left, and just more questions about the island itself as it was kind of unique. Although I still have all these questions, I really enjoyed all the little details that she included with the island; like how the eldest would look after the newest arrival. 
  • Writing, writing, writing! I'll be honest here, it started off kind of slow...YET, yet I really enjoyed Laurel Snyder's writing and how she crafted the characters (characters who were far from perfect...which is a-ok) and their world, that of the island. One of the biggest themes throughout the book is hanging on and letting go. A lesson that everyone learns at one point or another. I said this early, but the way that struggle was written was so well done that my heart ached for Jinny as she fought to change the inevitable. Start to finish, this is a beautifully written book.
Final Verdict: Orphan Island

About the Author:
Laurel Snyder is a poet, essayist, and author of picture books and novels for children, including Orphan Island, Charlie and Mouse, Bigger than a Bread Box, and Swan, the Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova. She is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a faculty member of Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Atlanta with her family and can be found online at

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spinning Pages (11): Shattered Warrior/The Change

Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 

Due to time constraints, I was unable to put together posts for Spinning Pages the last two, or is three, weeks. That and sometimes, well, sometimes you just don't find that perfect song to sum up your feelings on a book!!

Well, after a couple weeks hiatus I have finally been able to pair another book and song. This time though, it'll be a little different as the book is, wait for it, a graphic novel. More specifically, Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn (and illustrated by Molly Knox Ostertag). As I was writing my review for it, the perfect song popped into my head; The Change by Garth Brooks. Keep reading to see why.

The Change performed by Garth Brooks. Written by R. Wayne Tester, Anthony M. Arata
One hand
Reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
They say what good have you done
By saving just this one
It's like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you'll never change things
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing
But it's not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

This heart
Still believes
The love and mercy still exist
While all the hatred rage and so many say
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this
It's like trying to stop a fire
With the moisture from a kiss 

Okay, so here we go! The first set of lyrics reminds me of the beginning of the book where Colleen is still just going through the motions of living. Pretty much she's giving up...until two people come into her life and she finds something worth living/fighting for. Seriously though! So many of the lyrics just fit this song so, so well that I could go on-and-on. Chiefly though, it fits Colleen's emotional story arc and how the people were fighting to free their world from the invaders.

You can see my full thoughts on Shattered Warrior, which you definitely want to read, hop on over to see my review!

If you have never heard Garth Brooks' The Change, then you really must listen to it! I wish I could have found the video or audio of the song to share, but no luck. If you get the chance, do listen to it!!!

Are you a middle grade author, want your book to be spotlighted this year during the challenge on my blog? Than this post is just for you. All about Middle Grade Challenge

Sign up for the 2014 All about Middle Grade Reading Challenge.


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