These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Summary:
Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.
Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.
Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.
As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.
These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders, #1)Review:
These Rebel Waves completely blew me away. I read the majority of this book in one single sitting. I just could not put it down. The summertime is my favorite time to read pirate books. This didn’t completely satisfy that though. I thought there would be more pirates and more sea travel. It was more land-based and political than I anticipated. Regardless of that, I adored this book.
Adeluna or Lu, was such a compelling character. She’s torn between trying to be the good politician that her parents want her to be now that the war is over and being the spy that her father trained her to be during the war. She uses all of her skills to do what she feels is best for the island she calls home. She learns that things aren’t always exactly how she thought they were. I think it was really interesting to follow her as she learned more about the world she thought she knew and how those things change her. Learning about the things she’d gone through and done in the name of Grace Loray really made me feel for her. I just cannot wait to see how things play out with her in These Divided Shores, especially with what was in the final pages of These Rebel Waves.
Devereux or Vex was definitely my favorite. He’s a pirate with no alliances trying to escape the thumb of someone he doesn’t want to be controlled by anymore. I really enjoyed learning about him and his past. I liked seeing him admire Lu and her strength. I wanted more pirate business. I liked the view we got into his crew and the other raider syndicates but I wanted more of it. I was completely floored by the plot twist involving Vex, to the point where I actually sat up and yelled “WHAT NO WAY.” So, I cannot wait to see what happens next with him as well.
Now Benat or Ben. I really liked him as well. His story was probably the most compelling. He’s torn between falling in line with his religion, with his father, doing what’s expected of him and following what his heart is telling him, that his father is wrong and what he’s been told his whole life is wrong. I loved the inner struggle that he faced. I also loved what his decisions ended up being. I think he was the most complicated of the three main characters. I really enjoyed seeing his path finally intersect with Vex and Lu. His story, like Lu’s, was left hanging in the final pages so I’m dying to know what’s going to happen next.
Finally, the world. I was pretty confused about the world at first, but the further I got into the story the more the details came together. I think the world was interesting and I’m dying to know how things will be settled between these war-torn countries. The magic was a bit confusing. I wanted to know more. I want to know where it comes from and what it’s limits are. It is plant-based but too many things are left unexplained. I understand that it’s because the knowledge of the characters is limited and the reader only gets to understand as much as they do, but I think it would have been interesting to learn more about it.
Overall, I loved this book. These Rebel Waves was one that I devoured and I just could not put it down until I’d read every page. I suggest if you like political fantasy with a bit of pirates this is the book for you.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

GoodReads Summary:
In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.
A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON
Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences.
A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET
Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world.
A DANGEROUS QUEST
When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.
Dark Shores (Dark Shores, #1)Review:
After seeing a friend of mine read this book and absolutely adore it, I was excited to read it too. I was not disappointed. I flew through this story because I was just enjoying it so much once I finally started reading it.
I adored the main character Teriana. She’s sassy and unapologetic. She does what she needs to do to keep her loved ones safe, even if that means being forsaken by her gods. I loved how fierce and funny she was. I really enjoyed her as a character.
I also really enjoyed Marcus. He was such a good character. Everything about him is just a little morally grey. He wants to be good, may be good on the inside. He has the best intentions but will do anything to protect his secrets. I loved the found family aspect of the story. Marcus is the leader of the Thirty Seventh (essentially a part of the army) and they were trained and grew up together. They’ve been through the worst things in their lives together. I really enjoyed the comradery and seeing the men get to know Teriana.
I think seeing Teriana interact and win over the Thirty Seventh was probably my favorite parts of this book.
The world building was honestly incredible. It was seamlessly intertwined with the story. There was no info dumping and I really appreciated that. I thought the concept of this world was so fascinating and unique. I cannot wait to learn more about what’s going to happen next.
I have no complaints about this book. I completely loved it. I loved the world, the characters, the writing. I just enjoyed the whole reading experience. If you’re in search of a piratey fantasy, look no further.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Summary:
After what seems like a lifetime of following her father across the globe and through the centuries, Nix has finally taken the helm of their time-traveling ship. Her future—and the horizon—is bright.
Until she learns she is destined to lose the one she loves. To end up like her father: alone, heartbroken.
Unable to face losing Kashmir—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet a man who promises he can teach her how to manipulate time, to change history. But no place is perfect, not even paradise. And everything is constantly changing on this utopian island, including reality itself.
If Nix can read the ever-shifting tides, perhaps she will finally harness her abilities. Perhaps she can control her destiny, too.
Or perhaps her time will finally run out.
The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl From Everywhere, #2)Review:
I read the first book in this series (reviewed here) because I was going to an event where this author was going to be. I am very glad I did read that book because I met the author and she was completely wonderful. She was funny and I just adored meeting her. So, after that event I thought I should probably get this book and read it (as well as all her other books but those will be for their own reviews.)
I adored this book just as much as the first. There were times where I thought to myself that Heidi was really going to do this or that to me and then she turned everything around again much to my pleasure. I love the concept behind the magic in this series. Being ‘Navigators’ they can travel through time, but only if they really believe in the place that they are going to, as well as having a map of that time and place. I just find time travel in general so compelling, but this method was so unique and interesting to me. I also really enjoyed how the author incorporated a combination or history and mythology. So, the characters visit real places in history as well as places that cannot be proven to have existed. I just loved it.
Next are the characters. I think there’s a really interesting father/daughter dynamic here that I appreciate, specifically because I was raised by my father in a single parent home. I really felt like her father wasn’t as present as he was in the first book and I think I would have liked just a little bit more insight into his struggles of fighting his addictions for his daughter. Nix was still my favorite. She’s fierce, strong, clever, and unapologetic about who she is. She stands up for what she wants and what she thinks is right. She’s insanely curious and always trying to learn and I really loved that about her. I also adored her love interest. Kashmir was exactly what I wanted him to be. I’m happy we got chapters from his perspective. I felt like it gave a bit more insight into his character. We learned more about his fears and insecurities and I liked that.
The rest of the supporting characters were as enjoyable as they were in the first book, but we didn’t really get any further insight into the familiar characters which I would have liked. Instead, we met new characters and learned all about their struggles and goals.
Overall, this was a great sequel. I enjoyed all of the different aspects of the story and plot. I loved all the dynamics between the characters. Time traveling pirates is all you have to say to me and I’m sold.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

Summary:
Blue skies. Green grass. Clear ocean water.
An island paradise like the ones that existed before the Melt.
A lucky five hundred lottery winners will be the first to go, the first to leave their polluted, dilapidated homes behind and start a new life. It sounds perfect. Like a dream.
The only problem? Marin Carey spent her childhood on those seas and knows there’s no island paradise out there. She’s corsario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him, and she knows a con when she sees one. So where are the first five hundred really going?
PacificaReview:
This is the second book by Kristen Simmons that I have tried because she is going to be at an event I am also going to be at. Sadly, I am once again disappointed. I liked Pacifica more than her other novel, but I don’t think I’ll be trying any other books by her.
I have the same issues with this story that I did with ARTICLE 5. The setting was incredible. A dystopian California full of political drama and ruined by natural disasters along with other human causes. The world was interesting and chaotic and filled with all the things I like (read: pirates, futuristic messed up America, hate to love).
Despite the potential this story had with the setting, I just didn’t care about the characters. They were alright. They weren’t anything special. The typical misunderstood poor girl and privileged boy from the nice side of town. One teaches the other how messed up the world really is and all the things that the rich people are doing wrong. I just didn’t care about any of it. I really wish I did because it could have been a story I really like but I just wasn’t invested in these characters.
I wish I had liked this story more, but I didn’t. It had all of the elements of a story I would like, but the characters just fell flat for me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

GoodReads Summary:
Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.
But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.
She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.
Or she could disappear.
The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)Review:
Pirates is something I’m always interested in. It’s a buzzword of mine. This story was not about pirates in the way that I originally thought. The Girl from Everywhere is more a story of a father and daughter and their found family. I loved it. It was fast paced and exciting. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed following Nix and her adventures. She’s brave and funny, curious and ambitious. I thought she was a great main character. Her relationship with her father, the Capitan, was complex and dysfunctional. It brought a really interesting dynamic to the story. They were sassy and complicated. I was happy to see Nix stand up for herself and fight for her right to learn more and for her father to treat her better. This relationship took centerstage in the book. Nix was constantly trying to save her father from himself and cleaning up after him.
I loved the supporting characters. The fellow pirates each had their own unique and thought out back story. I liked that they had their own personalities and each added something special to the story.
Finally, the setting was my favorite part. I loved seeing historic Hawaii and the myths and lore than come from there. There were also a few other places visited. I loved the magic, time traveling pirates, it was interesting and unique. I would have appreciated learning a bit more about how the time travel magic actually worked.
Overall, this story was fun and interesting. I couldn’t get enough of the banter between characters and the antics they got up to. I’m interested to see what else they get up to in the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.