Author: Nicole Castroman
Genre: YA, historical, romance
Pub Date: February 9th, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
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.
I have been waiting to read Blackhearts for so long. It was my waiting on wednesday pick waaaay back in October, and once the reviews started trickling in, I knew I had to read it ASAP. So I preordered it with my Christmas money and sat back to wait. I read it as soon as I could, and while I don’t regret reading it one bit, I wish I would’ve savored it more instead of devouring it like it was water and I was dying of thirst.
The premise of Blackhearts is what originally drew me in. I’ve always been fascinated by Blackbeard the pirate, and I also have this thing for background stories. I mean, how many YA books about a young Blackbeard are floating around out there? I absolutely loved this story. It’s very much a character driven novel that focuses on developing the relationship between Teach and Anne. I honestly don’t think I can rave about it enough–it’s just such an amazing story. I read it in in 3 hours because I loved it so much, and I immediately flipped back to my favorite parts after finishing the story.
Although it’s a character driven novel, the pacing wasn’t very slow. There was one event–the launch of Drummond’s ship, the Deliverance–that constantly loomed over the characters and added a sense of urgency to their actions. Like everything else about this story, the pacing was very well done.
*screeches* THE CHARACTERS!!! I loved them so so so much. One thing I really loved was that if you took away the romance, they would still be able to stand as their own, interesting selves. I can’t pick between our two main characters, really. We meet Anne first, and I grossly underestimated her going into this book. She’s fiery, independent, stubborn, and knows what she wants and what she deserves. The racism in that time period (and in today, sadly) broke my heart a million times over, but she dealt with it so much better than I would’ve. She and Teach are some of my favorite characters now. And oh, Teach. At first, he was “rougher” than I thought he’d be, but really, he’s such a damn softie. He’s kind to people, but he’s also stubborn and independent like Anne, and he reads!!!! The two of them made this book; the other characters were also well done, but everyone else pales in comparison to Anne and Teach.
They achieved OTP status so fast. It was a slow burn romance, and I wanted to rip my hair out as I waited for them just kiss already! They’re so similar but so different at the same time, and that made them such a beautiful match. They go from hating one another, to “friendship” (I think they breezed through this phase, to be honest) to a full blown romance all over the course of the book. By the end, I was so in love with the two of them it was ridiculous. The romance was the best thing about this book and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get the two of them out of my head.
If you follow me on twitter, you know that this ending smashed my heart into very tiny pieces. I think, from a writer’s point of view, it was a great ending. But from a reader’s ending–HOW COULD YOU. I mean, I know Teach has to turn into Blackbeard eventually, but damn, harsh. But I believe that I can still love a book even the ending breaks my heart–I find that the books that are able to do this are the ones I love most, because they manage to touch my heart so completely.
Overall, Blackhearts was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The characters were spectacular, and the romance was heartwrenchingly beautiful. I couldn’t ask for more, this book was so perfect. Not five minutes after I finished it, I rearranged my entire bookshelf just so I could fit it onto my favorites shelf, right next to books like Throne of Glass and The Raven Boys (which is such a high honor). Please, do yourself a favor and read this beautiful book–you won’t regret it, I promise.
The Girl from Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl from Everywhere #1
Genre: YA, fantasy, sci-fi, historical, romance
Pub Date: February 16th, 2016
It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.
Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…
Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.
This book was probably my most anticipated books from the 1/2 half of 2016 (that wasn’t a sequel). Time travel is my jam, and I’ve been eating it up lately. Pair that with a lovely cover + synopsis and a bunch of glowing reviews, it’s heaven. So when my preorder arrived, I dropped everything to start it. Was it everything I hoped and dreamed it would be? Not quite. But was it still pretty good? Yes!
The plot I imagined was pretty different from the one I got. I felt like not much really happened in this book, considering how big it is (like 450 pages). It could’ve been skimmed down considerably and still kept the same story at heart. Despite that, I thought the story was pretty enjoyable! The beginning of the story was not my favorite, as the first 100 pages or so were hella confusing and slow. After the characters travel to Hawaii, things start to pick up and the story gets better and better as you go on. As long as you can stick it out through the muddy beginning, it’s smooth sailings.
Pacing wise, it was okay, I guess. The story could’ve benefited from being trimmed down a bit, and there needed to be more ~excitement~ in some scenes because they weren’t very interesting. But towards the end, things get more exciting and the pacing picks up a better rhythm. I also felt like some of the action scenes were really confusing because I never knew what the hell was going on. Maybe if that was changed I would feel as though the pace was faster, but I spent a lot of time rereading paragraphs and trying to figure out what was happening.
The main character didn’t feel very special to me. She was a typical girl who wanted to run away and leave her father far behind. I didn’t hate her or anything, but I didn’t like her that much either; I don’t have much of an opinion on her, honestly. Kashmir, however….Kash was 100% the best thing about the book. He’s intelligent, charismatic, funny, caring and brave. I loved reading scenes with him in it because they were sure to entertain me. He’s the only character who made me feel anything. There was also another love interest, Blake, who I thought had some potential, but he was never really developed well enough for me to get to know him. I thought some characters, like Kash and Nix, were well developed, but others like Blake and Mr. D and all the other Mr.s (there were like 4, which did not help with my confusion) felt very flat.
No one warned me that there was a love triangle, so I’m just going to let you know upfront. It was a little surprising, but I knew it was a thing as soon as Blake, love interest #2, was introduced. It felt very one sided, mostly because Blake was pretty underdeveloped. Considering my love for Kash, I’m definitely on his team. I like Blake–something about his tentativeness and sharp contrast to Kash’s flirty nature makes me interested–but I don’t think he stands a chance. The love triangle isn’t really in your face or obnoxious, so it didn’t bother me but I know some people dislike them.
It feels like there’s a lot of negativity in this review, but I really enjoyed the book! After the slow beginning, I really enjoyed reading about the history of the places the crew traveled to, and Kash also spiced things up. It was just that when the time travel things got really twisted, I got really confused and eventually gave up trying to keep track of all that. So, don’t be fooled–this was a pretty good book, in my opinion!
Overall, The Girl from Everywhere was a very enjoyable book. The history was intriguing, some of the characters were lovely, and the romance was cute, but the beginning was a little slow and other characters felt underdeveloped. It’s a book for people who are okay with reading slower books, because if you like action, you’re not going to want to sit through this 400+ page novel. Personally, I liked it and I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel to see what Nix and her companions are up to.