Review: Voyage to Magical North (The Accidental Pirates, #1) by Claire Fayers

Voyage to Magical North (The Accidental Pirates)Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Voyage to Magical North’ was a small breath of fresh air for me but at the wrong time. I could tell its worth and the hilarity of some of those unique moments but I just wasn’t that into the story. Which is mostly why I gave the novel a three star. But here are the merits of the novel which I would love to put out there. Because they certainly did exist!
It was a funny book. There were SOOO many moments I now know where I should have laughed out loud but didn’t. The characters and language were full of bumps and mishaps that should have made me roar with laughter or at least smile but because I was in a surly mood and with a book hangover, I didn’t appreciate them.
There was smooth and clever integration of the real world into the story. For example there were these little extracts from fictional books which incorporated physics and small seeds of wisdom as well as silly poems and recipes. The novel also strived to incorporate silly prejudices and flip them around to make fun of them. One which I found quite interesting was that men were not allowed to step foot into a library because being able to read would give them silly ideas and thoughts which they had no use of. Only women and magicians were allowed to use the library and learn how to read and write.
Does that remind you of anything?
It certainly reminded me of something.
There definitely was a good story and plot! It would appeal to any young reader, whether boy or girl. There were enough pirates and magicians for the boys to be intrigued yet also included some pretty strong female characters which would appeal to the girls out there. It had a quick pace with lots and lots of action and adventure. And the novel grows on the reader, right up until the end. As I was reading the last few pages I felt this tug towards reading book two to find out what would happen next.
Does Brine find what she’s looking for and what will happen with the fire-breathing surprise?
I also quite enjoyed how the story started off in a very predictable way but soon morphed into an original creation.
The characters were spectacular! Fun and lively with a great sense of humour and enough seriousness and flaws to them to make them very real and tangible. Brine reminded me of a Cinderella stuck in a world full of pirates. She was a bit annoying at first – so helpless and put out with everything and to be honest a bit dumb and silly – but she grew and changed to be someone I quite enjoyed getting to know. Sure she had her moments but overall I can’t wait to see what other adventures she’ll fall into!
The novel is a little thick for some young readers but I would still recommend it to anybody who’s up for a bit of fun and hearty laughs.
Congratulations to Claire Fayers on publishing the first instalment in ‘The Accidental Pirates’ series!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Lucky Strikes by Louis Bayard

Lucky StrikesLucky Strikes by Louis Bayard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Lucky Strikes’ is a MAJOR tear-jerker, heart-wrencher and laugh-maker! Once you open this book and commit yourself to reading…be prepare for crying, laughing and an aching heart.
I must admit I was a bit reluctant to pick up ‘Lucky Strikes’. I wasn’t sure what to expect of it and I believe that is what scared me the most and made me wary. The blurb didn’t give away too much and since I’ve lately been on a FANTASTIC book reading streak where every novel I’ve finished I’ve loved, I really didn’t want this novel to spoil that streak.
To make a long story short: It didn’t….
It actually made it BETTER…
My advice to any person who wants to read this book or is about to is stick to it. ‘Lucky Strikes’ requires a small level of commitment to its first third of the book, I’d say. Once you get past that first introductory part, the story really picks up and you realise that it has grown on you so quietly and steadily that you don’t realise just how much you are enjoying it and how much you DON’T want to put it down.
‘Lucky Strikes’ snuck up on me and stole my heart.
My first noting about the book was the way it was written: First person narrative from big sister’s Amelia’s point of view. Now, since the novel was set in Depression Era Virginia, USA, the book had a southern-twang to accent it. Amelia spoke and told the story in her Western accent and it definitely had some charm to it. The novel reminded me a lot of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ due to the Western accent. I literally read the entire novel with the silly accent!
The good thing about it is it set the place and time SO incredibly well! And as you read from the beginning to finish you noticed all these little changes. At first the atmosphere was dark, hopeless and grieving. Hard. But then the hobo rolled up and things started to change. Opportunities arose; hope sprung. I loved it.
The characters were simply amazing. I cannot describe how much I loved each and every one of them! (Except, of course, the bad ones.) Amelia with her wittiness, strength and maturity; Earle with his boyish genius, sensitivity and attitude; Janey, the sweet baby sister with her silliness, bouts of wisdom and caring personality. They became my family throughout the course of the book and I couldn’t make myself leave them at the end. Let’s say the end was a love-hate sort of one.
Talking about family, ‘Lucky Strikes’ explored it in depth. It explored the different types of family out there and how sometimes families fall apart but you can learn to make others family, too. Family doesn’t always have to be your siblings and parents, it could also be others who you let into your life and learn to love.
To my absolute surprise the entire novel was actually one whole, big… You know? I won’t tell you! Go pick it up. You’ll be in for a BIG surprise. One that I loved so much but one that left me with so many questions and a tumbling mind.
Congratulations to Louis Bayard on publishing a powerful, historical novel that has captured my heart!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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