Promises We Keep by Genevieve Graham Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:An enchanting and poignant story about the unfailing power of love in a world turned upside down by war—from the bestselling author of Tides of Honour.

Summer 1755, Acadia

Young, beautiful Amélie Belliveau lives with her family among the Acadians of Grande Pré, Nova Scotia, content with her life on their idyllic farm. Along with their friends, the neighbouring Mi’kmaq, the community believes they can remain on neutral political ground despite the rising tides of war. But peace can be fragile, and sometimes faith is not enough. When the Acadians refuse to pledge allegiance to the British in their war against the French, the army invades Grande Pré, claims the land, and rips the people from their homes. Amélie’s entire family, alongside the other Acadians, is exiled to ports unknown aboard dilapidated ships.

Fortunately, Amélie has made a powerful ally. Having survived his own harrowing experience at the hands of the English, Corporal Connor MacDonnell is a reluctant participant in the British plan to expel the Acadians from their homeland. His sympathy for Amélie gradually evolves into a profound love, and he resolves to help her and her family in any way he can—even if it means treason. As the last warmth of summer fades, more ships arrive to ferry the Acadians away, and Connor is forced to make a decision that will alter the future forever.

Heart-wrenching and captivating, Promises to Keep is a gloriously romantic tale of a young couple forced to risk everything amidst the uncertainties of war.

My rating:4/5 stars

Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Plot:

Despite the fact that I’ve been learning about Canadian history since like grade four,there’s still a lot of things I don’t know.I had heard about the Acadians but I didn’t much about them or what was done to them, so this book was a great way to learn some interesting things.I really want to read some more Canadian historical fiction as the only ones I have read are this one and The Book Negroes.

Not knowing much about the Acadians and their history, I can’t attest to the accuracy but I’m pretty sure that the author did a lot of research before writing this book.The author was able to describe the setting really well and really made me understand exactly what was happening. I had no idea what the English had done to the Acadians so it was really interesting to read about.

Another thing that made this book enjoyable was the writing. I’m not a huge fan of books set in a time era a really long time ago, but the simplicity of the writing style made it really easy to submerge myself in the story.

Characters:

One thing I love in historical fiction novels are strong females who defy the social norms and fight for what’s right.Amelie was exactly that sort of character and it was really great to see.I’m still not sure how I feel about the love interest, because while I really enjoyed their personality and backstory, I found it was little insta-lovey but then again it’s like the 1700s so who am I to judge.

I really liked the connection between Amelie and her family, and found everything that they went through to be so tragic, and there were a lot of moments that had me tearing up.I especially like Amelie’s brother’s and father. Graham was really able to capture the struggle of the Acadians and I think she did a great job in showing all the hardships.

One thing that I really liked was the friendship between the Acadians and the native americans. I didn’t really know the extent of their relationship so it was really interesting to read about it.

Do you have any Canadian Historical Fiction recommendations?

Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:

When fifteen-year-old Lucy Willows discovers that her father has a child from a brief affair, a eight-year-old boy named Thomas who lives in her own suburban New Jersey town, she begins to question everything she thinks she knows about her family and her life. Lucy can’t believe her father betrayed the whole family, or that her mother forgave him, or that her sister isn’t rocked by the news the way Lucy is. Worse, Lucy’s father’s secret is now her own, one that isolates her from her friends, family, and even her boyfriend, Simon, the one person she expected would truly understand. When Lucy escapes to Maine, the home of her mysteriously estranged grandfather, she finally begins to get to the bottom of her family’s secrets and lies.

Rating:3/5 stars

Disclaimer:I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Plot:

The more I think about this book, the more I realize that this could’ve been a really great book had it been written by someone like Morgan Matson or Stephanie Perkins.It had all the good aspects of a contemporary novel but the execution was really off and there was something really weird about the writing.I didn’t hate it which is why I gave it a three stars but there were a lot of things that were lacking.

One thing that I liked was the whole storyline with her grandpa,it was very sweet and I really liked seeing Lucy going to Maine and seeing her relationship with her grandfather grow. Had this been more of a central focus of the plot,I think I would liked the book a lot more because I feel as though the things that were focused on were shouldn’t have been the focus.

I think what really threw me off was the writing, it wasn’t outright bad but the way it was written rang really weirdly to my ears.One thing that really stuck out was the way Lucy kept describing food.I know this sounds really weird and normally I wouldn’t care but there was just something about the way she off-handedly kept mentioning the food she was eating  that rubbed me the wrong way. Once in awhile is okay but she legit described all of her meals and it was just really boring food like pizza.It was a weird thing to keep talking about and it was done in a way that made me feel as though the author had nothing else to write about.There also was this weird part where she was scared of these group of black people in new york, which was just like what the fuck and then she was like “idk if that makes me racist.” and it was just really out of blue and kind of hella offensive.

Characters.

The main character,Lucy was a very typical YA contemporary character which there’s nothing wrong with but because of the writing and some of her actions it was very hard for me to relate her. I did enjoy her grappling with the fact that her father had a son that she had never heard of but I did find that at times her reactions were a tad bit extreme. As I said before, I loved her relationship with her grandfather and just really loved him as a character.

I wasn’t a huge  fan of the love interest, I found their relationship to be really weird and found that it wasn’t developed nearly enough.

There was also this really weird part where at the beginning of the story where Lucy gets mad at her best friend and then she just never mentions her again, and we know like nothing about her. I feel like it was a weird character to add to the story when there’s like no point to her.

 

A Mother’s Love

So we had to write something for english class and I kind of really like what I wrote,so I thought I’d share it with you guys.

 

A mother’s first moments with her child is supposed to be the most precious part of her life. But for the president of the Union one cannot afford such moments. Barely two hours after she gives birth, she is given an injection and is thrust back to her office. In the short hours that she’s been away, there already has   been two protests and one execution. They told her how risky it would be to have a child but they never told her that she’d be expected to carry on the same duties as before. She hadn’t asked  for much but even a day was like two years in the Union.

 

She closes the door behind her, shutting out the endless assistants and consultants. She turns to go to her desk but there’s someone already sitting there. She hasn’t seen her sister in years but her sister  still has the same smirk on her face. The president always felt as though her sister was laughing at her and could make her as if everything she did was wrong.

“You’re not supposed to be here.” The president says as she sits down in front of the desk.

“Well I’d say the same to you but apparently the duties of motherhood don’t apply to the president of the Union.”

“That’s unfair and you know it.”

What are you doing Chrissy?You’re not a mom, you’ll never will be. She’ll grow up thinking the nanny is her mom and that you’re just some woman she sees at dinnertime.”

“And you?Leader of the rebellion? Is that really place to raise a family? I’ve seen you on TV, bringing your twins to protests. You’re no better.”

“At least I’m there for them.You don’t deserve that child, you never will.”

“I could call  security. Have you arrested. How great of a mom would you be then?”

“You wouldn’t. You may be president,you may control everyone and yet I still have power over you. I always will. You’re still scared of me and you can’t figure out why.”

“I’m not the one with the million dollar award on my head.”

“You wish you were worth as much as me.”

“Why did you come? What are you trying to prove?”

“You just needed a distraction. You’re going to have a rough couple of weeks.” While the president tries to figure out what that means, her sister gets up and walks out the door. Only she would be able to escape the million dollar security.

The president sits down in her chair only to jolt up,realizing what her sister had meant. She runs as fast as she can, trying to figure out what to do, who to call, whether she had enough time. She gets into her car yelling at the chauffeur,praying that she’ll get there in time.She runs faster than she has  ever but it’s still too late. The deluxe crib in the maximum security nursery is empty. The supposedly safest crib on earth is empty. Her sister had  taken her daughter. While she was  fighting with her sister, someone had stolen her baby. She lets loose a shrill scream and collapses to the floor.

 

20 Years Later

 

The president didn’t know how her sister did it  but she had managed to hurt her in a way that no one else ever could.  She thought that she would forget after a while, thought that she’d be able to get over it but she had no such luck.She had the best people on earth to  try to look for her baby girl but they couldn’t. No one could. Her sister was able to do the impossible. Somehow she still hadn’t gotten caught and the reward just kept getting higher.

The president’s assistant walks into her office and smiles apologetically.

“ Turn on the T.V, I think you’ll want to see this.”The president turns it on. On the screen, stood her sister, her two sons and a girl who the president had never seen before.She swore that the girl looked familiar but couldn’t place the face.

“ I have decided to step down and give power to my daughter, Mara. I know that she’ll do everything in her power to fight the Union and bring justice to her people.” The president’s sister passes the microphone to the girl.

“I vow to do everything in my power to protect everyone that the Union ignores. I hope that by the end of the decade,I will eradicate the problem that is the Union and overthrow the leader. President Arabella if you’re watching this, I’m coming for you and when I do I will hurt everyone you love.”The president smiles sadly, for how can   Mara  hurt everyone the president’s loves, if the one she loves and Mara are one and the same?

Books I’d Love To See Be Turned Into Movies.

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I know a lot of people aren’t a fan of book to movie adaptations but I personally love them so today I thought  I’d talk about some of the books I’d like to see adapted.

1.Aristotle and Dante Discovers The Secretes of The Universe.

If this were to be a movie, it’d probably be one of the most aesthetically pleasing movie ever. Just imagine all the beautiful shots of the stars, it’d be amazing. I think I’ve heard that there’s a screenplay being writing so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

2.Everything Leads To You

This is another one that could be so aesthetically pleasing. I feel like it would be the perfect indie film  and  I feel the girl who plays Laura on Carmilla would be perfect for the love interest. It would legit would be the cutest gay romance.

3. Radio Silence.

Honestly if this would be turned into a movie I would die. I guess I just really love aesthetically pleasing indie films because Radio Silence would totally be another one of those movies. It’d be the perfect teen movie filled with great references and funny moments.

4.More Happy Than Not.

This is probably one of the saddest books I’ve ever read so if this was a movie I would cry so much. I’d love to see how it would translate into screen and I think it had a really interesting plot and I think a lot could be done with this movie.

5.Far From You

This would be an amazing gritty film filled with teenage angst and mystery. I feel it could be very easily messed up but if it were to be done right it would be so good.

So those are some books that I’d love to see be turned into a movie. What books would you like to see adapted?

All The Forever Things by Jolene Perry Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:“How many times have you saved me?” I ask Bree.

She grins. “Don’t you mean how many times have we saved each other?”

Nothing is forever. Gabe knows that more than most girls. After all, she lives in a funeral home (it’s the family business), and she gets that everything in the world dies eventually – people, rumors, fashion trends, the nickname “Graveyard Gabe.” But her best friend, Bree, has been a constant in her life; it’s always been the two of them together. Until Bree starts seeing a guy who stands for everything Gabe thought they were against. How could Bree change her mind and go for someone like Bryce Johnson?

Now Gabe doesn’t know who her friend is anymore. And the only person who seems to have time for her is Hartman, the new guy, who is somehow not weirded out by the funeral home stuff (well, a little). Still, Gabe doesn’t want to lose her mind over a guy the way Bree has, so she holds back.

But a very strange prom night (driving the family hearse instead of a limo) will change what Gabe knows about friendship, love, life, and everything that comes after – forever and otherwise.

My Rating:4/5 stars

Disclaimer:I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

Plot:

All the Forever Things has one of the most unique settings I’ve ever seen in any Young Adult, and that is a funeral home. With a setting like that, it’d bound to be an interesting read. This book follows Gabe a girl whose parents have owned a funeral home her entire life and her best friend Bree. Bree is really the only friend that Gabe has but tensions start to grow when Bree starts dating this guy that Gabe really doesn’t like  and their friendship begins to feel threatened. At first I was a little apprehensive of the story and felt it was kind of juvenile and just overall really annoying but it began to shape up in the last 150 or so pages. All The Forever Things is something that I would’ve devoured 4-5 years ago but my tastes have grown so I didn’t appreciate it as much. While I did find it to be juvenile, I think that their was a lot of good discussion about death and grief which is really important in YA. The main thing that boosted my rating was the ending. It was really unexpected and got really dark,really fast and it made a book that was predictable into something that was not.

Characters:

While Bree’s and Gabe’s friendship was supposed to be one of the central focuses of the book, I feel like it could’ve been executed better. I loved what I saw, but I felt as though there could’ve been a little bit more of an expansion on their friendship. They shared a blog and while it was kind of briefly talked abut, it could’ve been a much larger aspect of the story. I felt very detached from the whole story and would’ve liked to have felt more sympathy for their broken friendship.

I really liked the love interest and thought the romance was really cute but I definitely think that it could’ve been a little better and a little less rushed. I very rarely say this but I think that it should’ve been the focus of the story just a little bit more

 

My Dream Panel

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While living in Canada has a lot of advantages there are some disadvantages as well, particularly pertaining to book events. If any authors go to Canada they only go to Toronto which is hella inconvenient for all the other provinces, and plus I don’t even think that there’s any  book festivals(though I could be wrong). So I’ve never had the actual chance to see a book panel of any sorts. Recently  Eventbrite inspired me  to create   an imaginary book panel,  so I thought it’d be a fun thing to do today. I’ve never used it before but I’ve heard that it’s a great site to host events so if you’re interested in stuff like that check it out

My Theme: Contemporary Literature in both Adult and Young Adult Fiction

I love contemporaries whether it be Adult or Ya and I think it’d be really interesting to see diffirent authors from these two age ranges interact and compare experiences

The Authors:

Jodi Picoult:

Picoult is one of my favorite authors and she writes great books that talk about a multitude of issues that really get you thinking about your morals and beliefs. She is the person I think of when Contemporary so this panel wouldn’t be complete without her.

Alice Oseman:

While I know this is a wide stretch from the previous author, I love seeing Oseman’s opinions  and I think she’s a very articulate person. Her books are raw and an accurate portrayal of teenagers, and I think that Picoult and Oseman would compliment each other

Markus Zusak:

My Dream Panel not containing my fave author would be blasphemous so I just had to include him. Though his most popular book is historical, his other four are contemporary so I think that it’d be interesting to see how it differs from writing contemporary to historical and just see his perspective on the contemporary genre. Also I feel as though Markus Zusak’s books really land in the middle of Adult and Young adult so it’s an interesting perspective as well

Khaled Hosseni

Hoseeni is a brilliant writer and I think that he could offer a really diffirent point of view coming from a non-western standpoints and seeing how all his books are set in Afghanistan.  I think it would be really interesting to see his opinion on how he views contemporaries.

So there are my four authors that I’d love to see be on a panel together. I know it’s highly unrealistic but a girl can dream right?

What is your dream panel?

 

 

The Beast is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

My Rating:4/5 stars

Disclaimer:I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts

Plot: The Beast is An Animal is one of those books that you have no idea what to expect going into it, and when you finish reading it you still have no idea what you just read. While sometimes that can be a bad thing, it definitely wasn’t for this book. I don’t want to spoil anything and I feel as though the summary kind of misleads you but basically it follows this girl Alys who at a young age encounters these souleaters in the forest and these creatures basically change her life forever. This is honestly one of the most intriguing fantasy novels I’ve ever read and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I think it really discussed how fear can change you and what it can to people in an interesting and perceptive way. It was very reminiscent of witch trials. I did find that at times it was a little confusing and I do think that the summary was very misleading as the things that are mentioned only occur in the last 50 pages or so, so it definitely could’ve been longer.

Characters:

To be honest I wasn’t the hugest fan of Alys, she was a little boring and just kind of bland. I did enjoy to see her struggle with humanity  but other than that there wasn’t much to enjoy about her personality. I did enjoy the people that surrounded her and it was really interesting to see how morally corrupt the people in her village were.There were a lot of characters that I would’ve liked to seen more of as alys’ interraction with them was really basic and  could have been better because I really liked what I saw.Also the romance was kind of odd and not needed like at all. Stop unnecessary romances 2k17. One thing that kind of irked me was the way PoC were viewed, basically all Pocs were travelers similiar to Romanis and  they were viewed as dirty and gross and while obviously that reflected the views of the more close-minded people, these point of views were never corrected and it was just kind of annoying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Representation That Would Mean the Most To Me

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While obviously all representation is important, there are three specific things that are part of my identity and are really important to me and things I would like to read more about.

1.Jewish Characters.

I am half-jewish on my dad’s side so technically religious Jews wouldn’t call me Jewish but I still identify with this part of myself very much. I’m not religious at all, but I still identify with the culture a lot.Being Jewish or Muslim is very different from being Christain(at least that’s how I see it),if you don’t believe in god then you’re not christain but I’m not religious but I’m still Jewish. I’d love to see this aspect of Judaism explored and see characters who are like or just characters who have the Jewish faith. I know there are some out there but I’d really love to see characters my age.I don’t know,I’m thinking of making one of my characters in my next novel half-jewish but I’m still not 100% sure.

2.Characters with Social Anxiety.

I have hella bad anxiety and I know that there are books out there with characters that have anxiety but I’ve honestly not read very many of them. Also I’m not exactly sure if those books contain character with SOCIAL anxiety versus anxiety since  they can be mutually inclusive. Honestly I just feel really irrational a lot of the time, and I’d really like to see characters like me

3.Queer Aces

I identify as biromantic ace(idk this could change but that’s what I’m going with currently) and it’s not something that I talk about ever but I’d love to  see  more storylines containing ace characters which is why I wrote my Mc as having the same identity as myself.I think it’s really important to have such characters,to show that they can fall in love too.

What is the representation that means the most to you?

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera Book Review

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Summary:When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Rating:5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Plot:

Ever since I read More Happy Than Not last year, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of this book.Silvera is one of those authors that you read one book of theirs and you instantly know that they’re going to become a favorite. While History is All You Left Me wasn’t quite as good as his debut novel it was still amazing and gave me all the feels.

So this story is told from the perspective of Griffin who has just lost his ex-boyfriend,Theo, in a drowning accident. Griffin is confused and doesn’t really know what to do, and is trying to deal with all the grief he’s suffering from.Help comes in the most unexpected of forms from Jackson-Theo’s current boyfriend before he died. The story alternates between “History”-Griffin’s past with Theo- and “Today” as Griffin deals with the loss of the first love of his life.

This book was honestly so amazing and is such an important read that discusses important topics as grief,mental illness and sexuality, and the author handled each topic so extremely well.

I absolutely loved the way the grief was portrayed and how it was very raw and accurate, and he really showed all the mixed emotions that Griffin felt and there were times were Griffin made bad decisions but things like this are natural when people are grieving. We also saw how one oftentimes feels guilt in such situations and while it is something that is talked about a lot I still thinks it’s important.

One thing that I’ve seen some reviewers say is the fact that the OCD wasn’t developed enough and it didn’t as though griffin “actually had OCD” which is kind of gross considering the fact that Adam Silvera has OCD himself and Griffin is similar to himself. Just because the character doesn’t follow your idea of what the mental illness is like doesn’t mean it’s an accurate portrayal. I for one when the representation was very authentic and it was really well developed. Silvera did an excellent job in terms of the mental illness representation.

As with Silvera’s previous novel, he discussed the subject of sexuality with ease. I love how like basically all the characters were gay or bi which is just great. and it was also a very natural thing like “yo I’m gay” and it was kind of just not a big deal at all.I also thought it was so important how they talked about safe sex which is something I’ve never seen in a book featuring LGBT characters, it was really great.

Characters:

I absolutely loved Griffin and he was such a relatable character and I love his geekiness and really just everything about him was great and I felt as though he was such a realistic character who was really going through a rough patch so while we saw Griffin’s kind of darker side, we also saw  his past self before Theo died.

I also really liked Theo and while he’s dead we did get to see a lot of him in the “History” part which was really great. I think that Theo was a good character who made some mistakes like all teens do, but with an overall good heart.

One character that I feel like needed a lot more development was that of Wade. He’s the third wheel of Theo’s and Griffin’s friendship and while I did like what I saw, I felt like we could’ve seen a little bit more of him. I like how he appeared more at the end and how everything turned out in the end.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Jackson, and while I found his motivations interesting, I just didn’t really like him as person so it was more a personal thing but I do think that he was very important to the story.

 

 

 

 

The Reader by Traci Chee Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:

Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who’s taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book.

Though reading is unheard of in Sefia’s world, she slowly learns, unearthing the book’s closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin’s disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and an enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book had been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning.

My Rating:4/5 stars

Plot:

The reader has one of the most interesting fantasy novels I’ve ever read. It’s basically set in a world where very few people read and even know that reading is a thing, In mainstream society, there is no written word and they communicate through images. Our main character Sefia has been on the run her entire life and is possession of a book. She has no idea what it is or what to do it but she knows it’s somehow the connection to her parent’s death.

To me a world without books is unfathomable, and I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of you. I really loved how the author incorporated the concept of reading in such an unique and interesting fashion.It was interesting to see  a world that doesn’t rely on the written word, where reading has a kind of mystery surrounding it. While it was a little hard for me to get into at first-but thats just a personal  issue because I don’t read that much fantasy-once I did, I was so enraptured. I especially enjoyed the little side stories alongside it, and found it interesting to get other perspectives. I also really loved the pirate aspect which was surprising since I’m not the hugest fan of pirates but I really liked the way it was incorporated. One thing that I loved so much about the book was the cool things that were added throughout the book,pages that appeared to have fingerprints smudges,blacked out sentences,blood stains, really making it a cool interactive experience making me feel as though I was in the world as well.

Characters:

One of the things I loved about this book is that the main character Sefia is a PoC which is just so wonderful to see in Fantasy and really needs to occur more frequently.Sefia is a really great and strong character and while she does have a very rough exterior and kind of cold at first, she also has a great heart and I just really loved her.I also loved her resourceful and how quickly and easily she was able to grasp the written word.Some of my other favorite characters were Archer and basically all the pirates. Archer is this boy that Sefia rescues and while he doesn’t talk for most of the book, I really loved his character and seeing his backstory and I’m really looking forward to see his personality develop in the later novels. Finally the pirates were so great and I loved all of them and they were just really great characters and I really hope they show up in the next book because I loved to see the friendship between Sefia,Archer and them develop.