KiraKira Treasure Box

Random Readings: Drink up me 'earties yo ho!

Pirates are my favourite kind of adventurers.

Hey look! It's that so out of place section in this blog! Ha, you thought I'd given up on this, didn't you? (you, whoever you are that's actually interested in these babblings I vomit up after reading).
Guess who watched the second film of the Pirate of the Caribbean quadrilogy trilogy and can't get all 'dem pirates out of her head? Me. (incidentally I'm a huge fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, it's just I couldn't get over Orlando Bloom not being in the fourth one and I'm still mopy about it)

For those of you who have no idea what's going on, I tend to pick random readings based on a genre without really checking out what the book is really about and judging by the cover, and since I've decided to restore this blog to what it used to be originally (i.e. a spot where I dump my writings about all things I like and do as I please) I decided to ramble on about it in this new section. In case you're the slow kind who missed the hint in the title and the header image, this time I'm on the hunt for pirate adventure books!

Child of a Hidden Sea

Adult Literature
AUTHOR: A.M. Dellamonica
GENRES: Sci-fi; Fantasy; Adventure; Magic
TOPIC HIT? Nope, like, totally off lol.
(though it does have a lot of sailing in it and a few pirates, so maybe sort of?)

I was trying reaaaaaally hard to stir away from book sagas, but have you seen how gorgeous the cover is???? (Also look at that title, so mysterious, so cryptic, it smells of adventure!!)
Twenty-four-year-old Sophie is adopted, and she's out to find out about her birth parents when she sees someone who could potentially be her aunt get attacked by a two nasty-looking men. She rushes in to save the day, but one moment she's there, hitting one of the ruffians with her camera case, and the next she's sinking in the ocean, far away from any coast. A look at the stars tells her she's still on Earth, but the world she has landed in is a world of species she has never seen and magic! Curious and desperate to investigate everything about this new world those around her call 'Stormwrack,' Sophie will join a crew to discover who is behind the attacks on her aunt and understand more about her birth parents, who are hiding more than one secret from her...
An adult book on adventures!! Will pigs fly tomorrow?! It wasn't the pirates story I was here for, but this book definitely delivered! I wasn't really sure what to expect from it, but I sure am glad I picked it up. It has a very peculiar way of narrating that I found quite cold to begin with, but I eventually got used to Dellamonica's delivery of Sophie's inner monologue. I found the comedy misplaced at first, but as I got to know Sophie better I realised it suited her character and was soon genuinely laughing as I read. I loved Sophie as an MC, and found her obstinacy and desire to learn incredibly attractive.
The world building is very meticulous and complex, which is without a doubt one of the strongest points of the novel, but it does get confusing at times with all the new foreign terminology that gets bashed into your head. Nonetheless I can genuinely say this book was awesome, I had a really fun time with it and I loved the climax. My summary only scratches the surface of the novel and I wish I could spoil everything that happens. There's just so much room for character development, so much growth to expect from the magical world that has been constructed! I'm definitely going to pick up the second book to this saga, Daughter of no Nation, but for the time being I'll leave that parked and go back to pirate hunting (heeeere kitty kitty...)

Of Ocean and Ash

Adult Literature (Erotica maybe not really?)
Short novel
AUTHOR: A.R. Draeger 
GENRE: Mermaids; Historical; Romance

I GOT CARRIED AWAY BY PRETTY COVERS AGAIN AND DIDN'T READ THE DESCRIPTION. Bad Laura. Which was why I hadn't realised this was a short novel (I had been wondering why it was so cheap on Amazon kindle...) and that it had absolutely nothing to do with pirates... (zero, nothing, void, nada)
Ia is human-born, blood daughter of fisherman who cast her into the sea to die at birth. Luckily for her, her merefolk family found her and changed her into one of them. Now 24 Ia must face her family's expectations and strive to become a Caller, less she wishes to fall down the ranks of mermaid society. Unfortunately an unexpected storm lands Ia ashore, where her body returns to the human form she would have had. Taken in by a plantation owner and forced to work with the other slaves, Ia struggles to devise a plan to get herself back to the water...
I have to say that despite it being an absolute and complete miss in the topic area I was hoping to read about, I actually enjoyed Of Ocean and Ash quite a lot. The reason why I've added "Erotica(?)" behind the "Adult" rating is because it reached the minimum naughty word count needed for me to wonder if I should label it as such, though there's only one steamy hot scene (not that the 136 pages allowed for more) and erotica novels are much heavier with sex... so I suppose it's just your usual adult chick lit, but hey, heads up, just in case(?) (also warning, it has rape in it. Wouldn't want someone with an aversion to the topic unknowingly walking straight into it).
Of Ocean and Ash was quite refreshing, and I was very intrigued by A.R. Draeger's portrayal of the mermaid world, not making it a perfect underwater utopia. I also liked how the world above shore was just as cruel to Ia as her homeland had been, which gave it a very charming melodramatic tone. I regret that this turned out to only be a short novel, because truth be told I would've gladly read an entire book.
I unfortunately didn't dig the romance so much (not much room for development, what can I say), and the ending was rather plain and disappointing. Even so I count this as a very pleasant read, and it has me thirsty for mermaid stories... perhaps I'll make that my next theme pick, hmm...

Confession time: Somewhere between Of Ocean and Ash and the next one on the list I attempted reading A Lady at Last, by Brenda Joyce. In case the title didn't automatically spill the beans, this is a chick lit book through and through, but after the short and very unsatisfying romance in Of Ocean And Ash I felt like I was up for reading something of the sort. The female protagonist is supposed to be the daughter of a pirate, brought up at sea, but her father gets hanged and now they have to turn her into a lady. Believe me when I say I have not found the first 20 pages of a book as insufferable as I found these in my entire life... I read a lot of chick lit and play a lot of otome games, but when you tell me the MC of a book is the daughter of a pirate and you sell her as being "unladylike", I expect you to deliver. Instead I got a sobbing teenage girl who I'm pretty sure spoke as perfect english as any other and a terrible romance that started from page one. Ew, no. I'm too thirsty for adventure to read this. I might come back to it at some point in time when I'm in the mood for a soggy romance book, but not now.

To catch a Pirate

Young Adult Literature
AUTHOR: Jade Parker
GENRES: Pirates; Adventure; Romance

Alright, two failed attempts later I decided to stop going for cryptic titles and go for a something with the actual word "pirate" in it. Sure enough, I made a hit (yaaaaaaaaaay at laaaaaast) ((I'm really no good at this))
The Caribbean. 1720. Sixteen year old Annalisa Townsend is on board her father's ship, the Horizon, when they are attacked by Crimson Kelly, a ruthless pirate seeking his treasure. Unfortunately for her, pirate James Sterling, a dashingly handsome lad not much older than her, finds her and attempts to steal her necklace, the only thing she has left of her mother. She begs him not to, offering a ring in exchange. James takes the offer, never loosening his gip on the knife he has against her neck, and steals a passionate kiss from her before leaving (oh dear).
A year later Annalisa is more than willing restore her father's honour. With a forged letter of marque she captains her own ship, The Dangerous Lady, and with the help of Nathaniel Northrup, an old friend serving as her quartermaster, she is ready to take revenge on James Sterling.
I can't decide what my opinion about this book is. Part of my was overjoyed to find an actual pirate story, however soaked in romance it was, which is probably the main reason why I gobbled it up in one afternoon and fairly enjoyed it. The other part of me wasn't so impressed with the love triangle between Annalisa, Nathaniel and James... Here we have, ladies and gents, your classical "pick between the bad boy and the righteous best friend". Though I admit it was cute and sweet, when I actually finished and put down the book I realised it was the dictionary definition of cliché romance, and suddenly I wasn't so happy any longer... I get the feeling that if it had dared be a bit longer and more ambitious (the book was only 230 pages) it could've added in a lot more elements and developed Annalisa and James's romance a lot further, perhaps making it easier to swallow.
But hey, the book did present some adventure as James lead Annalisa toward her goal, the treasure Crimson Kelly stole from her father, and it did get quite pirate-y with betrayal and lies, so despite the central focus obviously being romance To Catch a Pirate actually turned out to be an enjoyable read! I wouldn't place it within my favourites, but I'd definitely give it off as a random suggestion for anybody looking for a light summer reading.

Final Verdict

I am completely unsatisfied. I got no blood or guts, no impossible adventures across the Caribbean, and most certainly no Jack Sparrow. Maybe what I'm really looking for is a decent Pirates of the Caribbean sequel (the fourth film was so disappointing) and I'm wasting my time, though To Catch a Pirate did quench my thirst for a while and Child of Hidden Sea sure was a treasure find.
I'll be giving the pirate genre another chance later on, but who knows whether I'll find anything that actually suits what I'm looking for (and I don't even know what it is I'm looking for, so that might be hard). Perhaps I should stick to the safe side and just read classics like Treasure Island...

That's it pretties. Feel free to comment on any of these three books if you've read them (adding a spoiler warning if you're going to spoil anything for those who haven't yet read them!) or recommend something you might've read yourself that you think I would enjoy. Hope to see you again! (you, whoever you are, random follower, who actually stopped by to read this post. I love you)

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  1. Hmmm is like what i did with Piratica (Tanith Lee); cover looked purty and was into pirates at the time, was an interesting book with a nice plot twist, but wont read it twice though, was THAT good, more like entertaining while it last.
    Child of the Hidden sea sounds like my kind of book, since im a sucker to fantasy! after my law bar exam this week is over (oh gosh im so sick of the whole drama involved, my nerves are a wreck) imma see if i can find it

    1. Oooooh, Piratica by Tanith Lee was one of the books I clicked on whilst browsing through goodreads looking for books on pirates. The synopsis was very confusing though (something about a crew of actors that's not actually a crew of actors? lol I have no idea what it was on about), so I decided not to pick it up.
      Child of a Hidden Sea was really cool! It gets a bit confusing occasionally because there's a loooot to absorb, but I'm a third into the second book (Daughter of no Nation) and I'm liking the saga even more!! Not really a pirates story, but there's magic and it's awesome :D

  2. Trust me girl, its a never ending battle looking for a book that will quench your thirst when your craving a certain type of genre. One I recommend is Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. It may not seem like your type of book if you go by the summary alone but I promise if you give it a shot you'll end up loving it. Its normally not the type of book I read but I thought what the heck and boy was I surprised. It had a wonderful girl friendship (you normally don't see this a lot in YA books which just made this book even more amazing), hot cowboys, a big dose of adventure, and a whole lot of action. Definitely one of a kind!

    1. Thanks for your recommendation!
      Just checked the book out and the description sounds right up my alley!! I'm always up for adventure, and girl friendship is one of my favourite themes in literature *__* lately I've realised I can relate to female protagonists a loooot more than I can with male protagonists, which might be sort of obvious, duh, but it hit me like a brick wall in the face whilst reading Child of a Hidden Sea...


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