ARC Review & Giveaway: Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman

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synEdward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.

Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.

Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.

review

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley, Simon Pulse, and with participation in this tour

Blacksouls is a swashbuckling adventure fit for any diehard Pirates fan. Complete with danger, intrigue, high seas battles, and one epic romance, Blacksouls will get under your skin. 

What I loved about Blacksouls was how real it felt. Dark, gritty, full of the deep underbelly of the pirate world, it is not at all glamorous. There’s scurvy, enemies ready to pillage, plunder, and murder simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being a pirate is not fun, it’s living on the edge of your seat one moment, never knowing if you’re safe, and the next starving or suffering at the hands of a dictatorial captain. 

Transportive (in both the contemporary and 17th century sense of the word). Richly descriptive with strong voice, you’ll feel like you’re on the ship or in the tavern suffering right along with the characters. The story is set in a time when slavery was a major means of import and export, people got rich off of the misery and imprisonment of innocent people because of their skin color or because they came from an island. That atmosphere of fear, prejudice, and loathing is potent and repulsive. Even people who is a little darker skinned, even if freed, are constantly on guard and threatened by those who reign because of money, prestige or simply, their pale skin. There are beautifully poignant messages about how people treat those that are different, how racism can destroy and damage and decimate entire groups of people, but through all that how resilient and proud the persecuted can be. 

Teach and Anne fight against all odds to be with each other, when their lives are in others hands and so much is on the line. Still, they constantly have each other in their thoughts even when they’re not together and that kind of devotion in the sweetest kind of love. 

The action scenes are full of uncertainty and adrenaline that will keep you guessing. Mutiny, betrayal, and worse are always on the horizon. 

Secondary characters, for the most part, were memorable and each had their own story separate from the main characters. Cara and Coyle, Alistair and Beth, and that rowdy bunch of pirates Teach captained, they’ve got scars and things that haunt them, and yet, their loyalty and compassion are front and center.

Intitally the pacing was so-so, but it picked up as the danger grew. Once you get past the first chapter or two the tension builds, the characters are developed, and if you haven’t read the first book, there is summarization but not enough to bog down the story. 
authorNicole

Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend…she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.

At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.

She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

giveaway

1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of BLACKSOULS, US Only.

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TOUR STOPS 

Week Two:
4/17/2017- YA Book Madness- Review
4/18/2017- Good Choice Reading– Guest Post
4/19/2017-Mundie Moms– Review
4/20/2017- YA Books Central– Interview
4/21/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland-Review

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Read on, 

Jordan

ARC Review: Perfected-Kate Jarvik Birch

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4/5 Stars

***I received this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Entangled Teen.

“I thought that freedom and happiness would be indistinguishable, but now I didn’t know. Maybe freedom wasn’t a state of being. Maybe it was an act of courage. Maybe freedom was definace and sacrifice and pain, something that couldn’t be won without giving up something else in return.”

***

“I reached out for him in the dark, desperate to feel him, as if his presence could keep me from being swept away. My touch was like a lit match, igniting him. He pulled me to his cheat, just as frantic to hold me as I was to hold him.”

cooltext1544204149 copyPerfection comes at a price.

As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life full of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate worse than death. 

For fans of Kiera Cass’ Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, Perfected is a chilling look at what is means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous-and dangerous-bow. 

-via Goodreads

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Ella has known nothing but the inside of the Greenwich Kennels her whole life. She’s been primped and pruned, genetically designed to not only be pleasing to look at but to acquiesce to her future master’s every desire. Ella has been taught poise, etiquette, talents to impress and most importantly how to be the perfect pet. Ella has wanted for nothing and she’s never known what it means to yearn because she never knew that anything like free will was a possibility. Her life, her every action caters to the wants of others.

When Ella is purchased by a very eager congressman, she’s comforted by the knowledge that the girls at Greenwich are not pets for just anyone, they’re elite, the toys of the top 1% of upper class society and this means that nothing unsavory or bad could ever happen to her. 

Ella is content in her new life but she has the sneaking suspicion that not all is as it seems. Ella learns of a previous pet, one that has a supposedly untreatable illness, of people who are against pets who run an underground haven for girls like Ella, and of what happens to pets once they get older.

Ella is not safe, she never was and the harder she fights to be perfect, it seems the more trouble she gets into. Ella knows she must not dream, that she should be grateful for what she has, after all, it’s what she was born for, but her heart has other plans. The congressman’s son, close to Ella’s age and a mystery, seems to call to her, awakening something in her she never knew existed. More than a thirst for companionship, this runs deeper and more fierce. Penn sees her as a person, as something more than an accessory or pretty house decoration to be shown off. To him, Ella is very real and very much alive with her own thoughts and feelings. 

But Penn and Ella can never be together. She’s not permitted to love or to disobey, she must do as she’s told and never question. When her life is put on the line, Penn and Ella hatch a plan, one that if it fails would doom them both.

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PROS:

  • The premise of this book is just a jaw-dropping shock to the system. The idea that humans, the elite upper class of society would breed people to put on display like show dogs is completely disgusting and utterly unsettling. Perfected is an original, eye-opening story of how morally bankrupt and delusional society can be. 
  • Kate Jarvik Birch does an amazing job channeling the slimy, creepy gaze of the congressman and the others whose seedy eyes rove Ella’s body, equating her to something less than human, a toy to be played with and who would be a source of amusement, regardless of her feelings. She’s someone they can use and abuse, taking advantage of her and her role as a possession is just nauseating. The sense of danger, the perilous and precarious position she’s in is emphasized with every moment that Ella is alone with the congressman and the way he caresses her body, possessive and domineering. It’s despicable and will make your skin crawl. 
  • Spaying. Horrific. Seriously nightmare-inducing and disturbing; the thought of forced sterilization just because an ‘owner’ doesn’t want to deal with the possible repercussions of their actions. I was appalled and so sick with how easy it was to dismiss Ella’s rights and feelings as a woman. 
  • Perfected makes you think. So many things that are taken for granted, our ability to choose, to procreate, to love and receive love are just some of the many deep, philosophical questions on morality and humanity that are piqued in this story.
  • Ella’s growth is stunning and beautiful to read. As she discovers her feelings and what her heart yearns for it’s breathtaking and almost whimsical, watching someone who had been refused the ability to choose and to feel open her eyes is something profound and incredible to watch. As Ella’s delusions about how life is supposed to be crumble, she comes into her own and realizes that her life shouldn’t belong to anyone but herself. Ella is childlike, sweet, and so insanely innocent. She’s meek and charming and doesn’t know what to do with herself. The struggle she goes through to find the correct response to scenarios she hasn’t been trained for is heartbreaking. So much has been taken from her and as she realizes just how much it’s hard not to feel for her. 
  • The scenes between Penn and Ella are magical. They’re short and tame but full of longing and their chemistry just glows right off the page. They’re playful and loving, they get each other and sometimes their encounters are embarrassing and awkward yet full of angst.
  • Penn is a regular hero. He’s a musician with a big heart and strong sense of morals. He’s calculated, caring, and goes out of his way to make Ella comfortable to open up and become her own person.

CONS:

  • Parts seemed to drag on where nothing really happened. Sitting in the lap of luxury is a dull and tedious lifestyle and much of Ella’s time is just slow-paced and Gatsby-esque.
  • There’s not much character development other than with Ella. Many of the others were closed off and something was lacking in interactions and dialogue. Apart from small insights into their overall character, many were one dimensional. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Happy reading, 

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Cover Reveal: Fatal Abduction-Julia Crane

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Fatal Abduction by Julia Crane

Book 3 – IFICS Series

New Adult Sci-fi

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There’s a serial killer at large. His victims just happen to resemble Kaitlyn—dark haired, pale skin and athletic build. Kaitlyn goes undercover, attending a prestigious high school to try to lure the killer into a trap and save the lives of other potential victims. Will she be able to catch the killer before his body count rises? Or will she become the next victim?

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Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.

Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble

*Warning 17+ due to sexual gritty topic and language.
Kaitlyn and Erik are sent on a mission to track down Vance Dasvoik, a ruthless monster. His latest thrill—abducting and selling young women.

Vance’s current victim: Aaliyah, a seventeen-year-old who never imagined walking her brother home from school one evening would change her life forever.

The mission quickly turns personal for Kaitlyn when she finds Aaliyah beaten, her mind and soul fractured from abuse of the worst kind. Kaitlyn knows firsthand what it’s like to be haunted by the past and resolves to bring justice to the elusive Dasvoik.

Goodreads/Amazon /Barnes & Noble

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Julia Crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS and many more. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Happy reading,

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