Curse of the Blue Tattoo

Title: Curse of the Blue Tattoo (Book 2 in Bloody Jack)
Author: L. A. Meyer
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
Release Date: June 1, 2004

After being forced to leave HMS Dolphin and her true love, Jacky Faber is making a new start at the elite Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston. But growing up on the streets of London and fighting pirates never prepared Jacky for her toughest battle yet: learning how to be a fine lady.
Everything she does is wrong. Her embroidery is deplorable, her French is atrocious, and her table manners – disgusting! Then there’s the small matter of her blue anchor tattoo…
Will Jacky ever become a proper lady? Not bloody likely! But whether she’s triumphing over her snobbish classmates, avenging a serving girl’s murder, or winning over a stubborn horse that’s as fast as the wind, one thing’s for sure: Jacky Faber finds adventure wherever she may be.

The second book is just as good as the first, if not a little better. Getting more into Jacky’s background, rather than her misadventures that are detailed in later books, is still exciting. She still manages to get up to mischief in her own special way, but the reader gets to know her a little bit better. She is by no means a perfect person, but my favorite trait of hers is her honesty. She doesn’t hide anything, and is, for the most part, completely honest with everyone around her about who she is (as a person – her morals/values, etc.). It’s a trait that gets her into trouble, more often than not, but at least the people around her know the risk. However, she is kind of a whiner, which comes out a lot more in this book that it does in some of the others.

I also loved meeting the new characters  that are back in some of the later books. Seeing how she meets Amy, and Randall, and even the serving girls and classmates from the school both provided entertainment and put some things together from reading another book. They all have a special place in Jacky’s heart, and wriggle their ways into the reader’s as well. You can’t help but love people like Amy and animals like Millie and Gretchen and Sheik.

Even though I still can’t wait to catch up and finish the rest of the books, and at the same time hope that L. A. Meyer keeps spitting them out, I savor every word of the books. The writing somehow just attracts me – I love the plot, the characters, the format, everything. The cover artists also do an amazing job, even though I like the paperback covers better than the hardcover. They are both pretty nice, and detailed, too. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book!

~Yours Truly

**Note: I would not recommend this book to anyone 12 or under due to sexual content and profanity.

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Bloody Jack

Mini-Review
Title: Bloody Jack (Book 1 in Bloody Jack)
Author: L. A. Meyer
Publisher: Harcourt Paperbacks
Release Date: September 1, 2002

Jacky Faber is used to fighting for survival. For an orphan on the streets of 18th century London, every day starts with begging and ends with an empty stomach. But now luck is finally on Jacky’s side – a departing warship is taking on ship’s boys, and Jacky jumps at the chance to pursue pirates and riches beyond imagination.
There’s only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life – if only she doesn’t get caught.

I have finally found the first book in this series, and was not disappointed. I may have started with the wrong book, but the series itself is amazing, no matter where you start from. Jacky has a vibrancy as a character that draws people to her, both readers and other characters. The fact that the characters seem to be both good and bad only serve to bring her many adventures to life. Finally reading about the first part of Jacky’s life has been enlightening. I’ve read some of her latter adventures, and in them she retells or references some of her earlier ones, so I’ve finally been let in the loop when it comes to the HMS Dolphin, an altogether fitting start for a rascal such as Jacky. She has cheek, wit, and despite her seeming cowardice, she is clever, resourceful, and humorous in her dramatics. She is a character you don’t want to miss.

The book has other perks, too. The suspense and adventure of the plot, especially in this beginning of the series where she hides her gender, is great. She has several close calls that, while nerve-wracking, are also humorous once you pause and reread certain sections. You will find yourself asking, How did she manage that? in nearly the same way she asks herself. I also love the narration. Her first person point of view is a large part of why the book sucks you into the story and is also a quick read. Reading her thoughts and prayers lends to the funny part as well as the suspense. For the majority of the book, you can’t help but empathize, or at least sympathize, with her, and for the rest, you’re taking a small break and laughing to yourself about the book, hoping the people around you can’t hear you because you really can’t help it. Meyer does a terrific job in this series opener, and I’m so glad that I picked up the books. I would recommend this book to any teenager looking for a book with pirate adventures!

~Yours Truly

**Note: I would not recommend this book to anyone 12 or under due to mature sexual content (nothing explicit) and some profanity.

Weekend BookBlogger Hop: 43

The BookBlogger Hop is hosted by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer every weekend. Basically, if you blog about books, answer a question provided and if you link to their post in your blog, you can add your blog to their list of participants. This week’s question is:

How do you organize your books to be read?

Honestly, I don’t, unless I already have the books. Most of the ones that I want to read, I don’t have, so I read them in the order that I find them at the library or can borrow them from a friend.

Weekend BookBlogger Hop: 42

The BookBlogger Hop is hosted by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer every weekend. Basically, if you blog about books, answer a question provided and if you link to their post in your blog, you can add your blog to their list of participants. This week’s question is:

What is your favorite classic novel?

I really like Anna Karenina, even though my teacher kind of ruined it for me when I had to write a research paper on it. Honestly, I don’t read that many classic books, even though I’m planning on it (I have a collection of them on my Nook, but I have yet to start one of them!). However, I’m looking forward to charging that device soon and reading some classics soon!

Will in Scarlet

Title: Will in Scarlet
Author: Matthew Cody
Publisher: Knopf Books
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Netgalley E-book ARC

Will Scarlet is on the run. 
Once the sheltered son of nobility, Will has become an exile. While his father, Lord Shackley, has been on the Crusades with King Richard, a treacherous plot to unseat Richard has swept across England, and Shackley House has fallen.
Will flees the only home he’s ever known into neighboring Sherwood Forest, where he joins the elusive gang of bandits known as the Merry Men. Among them are Gilbert, their cruel leader; a giant named John Little; a drunkard named Rob; and Much, an orphan girl disguised as a bandit boy.
This is the story of how a band of misfit outlaws become heroes of legend – thanks to one brave 13-year-old boy.

I have always loved fairy tales, Disney movies, and that type of thing, and so when I first decided to read the book, it was the link to Robin Hood, and my memories of watching the Disney version of it, that clinched the decision to crack it open. However, the writing was fantastic and furthered my enthusiasm for the characters and the plot. It made the time fly while I was reading, and I didn’t even notice that I was on the second to last chapter until I accidentally scrolled too far and looked at the bar on the side of the screen that told me I was less than an inch away from the last page (on the scroll bar). It was the kind of book that you can pick up and finish in a day, but love every word on each page.

I think the first thing that captured me was how Will, specifically, was written. He was just a boy, and only just learning how to be a man, and the story is mainly about his coming of age. He is a little lost, a little headstrong, but very determined to figure out not only what is wright, but to actually do it as well. But the story was also about the coming of age of other characters, too – Much, and even grown men like Rob – and how they are still figuring out their true callings. Rob even says, towards the end, “Aren’t we all a little lost […]? But isn’t that why we’re all together?” (193).  It is this discovery of self through adventures, dangers, secrets, and friendships that really defines the book, and it was all very well written – sequence, details, characters, format, everything.

Even though the cover art was not the most intriguing aspect of the book, and caused me to think of it as only a middle grade book, the title was what caught my attention in the first place. And as I continued to read, I realized that it wasn’t just a middle grade read. It may have been directed, or originally intended to target middle grade readers, and it would be a great read for them, but it would also entertain young adult readers who love adventure and medieval tales.

The only thing that I will say against the book is that it is a little violent, with a lot of death (but not gruesome or unnecessarily descriptive violence – just fighting and such among outlaws and thieves). Other than this, and the fact that I wish there would be a second book, perhaps about the return of King Richard or Will’s father, Will in Scarlet was excellent and I highly recommend it.

~Yours Truly

Weekend BookBlogger Hop: 41

The BookBlogger Hop is hosted by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer every weekend. Basically, if you blog about books, answer a question provided and if you link to their post in your blog, you can add your blog to their list of participants. This week’s question is:

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging for about two and half years, now, and still going strong, despite the mini-breaks during school/lazy days of summer, haha!

Blog Tour: Blind Sight (Adult)

BlindSightBanner

I was privileged enough to participate in a tour for this book about a year and a half ago, and was thrilled when Ermisenda and Eliabeth asked me to take part in a second one! Thank you readers for following the tour; now here’s a sneak peak at the prologue to Blind Sight: Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes. Enjoy!

Something was wrong. Leocardo’s blind, sixteen-year-old sister Odette was drawing. She stood next to the fridge and scribbled feverishly on a piece of paper. “Odette?” he walked over, certain his eyes deceived him. He quickened his pace when she didn’t respond. “Odette what are you doing?”
Something was wrong with her eyes; her pupils were huge, and they engulfed her usual chestnut color. “Odette, stop.”
He tried to pull her arm, but like a cat that didn’t want to be picked up, she seemed to become instantly heavier. The pen continued to run across the page as her silence persisted. He frowned, growing angry. “Odette!” She did not flinch.
He glanced down at the paper and realized her scribble was actually an image. Trees and mountains framed a large lake on the paper and Leocardo was frozen in confusion.
How was she drawing? The pen fell onto the paper as Odette collapsed into Leocardo’s arms. Twisting her around to face him, he demanded, “What were you doing? Answer me!”
Her limp body shook in his arms; her eyes closed and she was barely audible as if on the brink of passing out. “I don’t feel good,” she murmured weakly. Even though she was naturally petite and fragile, now she looked like she was about to shatter. “I want to sleep.” The warm brown crept back into her unfocused eyes and her pupils normalized.
“Odette,” he started again, but her trembling became more violent so he stopped. “Okay.” He scooped her up in his arms and carried her to her room. As soon as she hit the sheets, the trembling stopped and almost as quickly, snoring followed. Leocardo wanted to wake her up so he could question her, but he wasn’t sure if she would have any answers. He couldn’t help but wonder if this had happened to her before. He stormed back to the kitchen, picked up the paper, and examined the drawing. The sun’s rays tore through the clouds, and Odette had even added glimmer to the lake’s rippled surface. Odette had been blind since birth; so how could she have drawn this so perfectly? If he hadn’t seen her doing it, he never would have believed it.
Leocardo slouched into the leather couch, still holding the paper. He felt a throbbing pain behind his eyes. Staring at the drawing, he tried to glean some divine understanding of what it meant or how she had done it. His black labrador, Cielo, had abandoned him to sit outside Odette’s bedroom. He was stunned; he knew he shouldn’t have been angry with her, but he had been scared and confused.
An hour passed; he was no more enlightened. He looked up to find Odette standing in the open doorway to her room. He kept silent, but his gaze followed her. She seemed better, no longer moving with the mechanical gestures she had used when she was drawing. Cielo’s nails clicked on the hardwood floor as she followed Odette’s every move.
With disbelief, he watched as Odette began to prepare some sandwiches. “Odette,” he called softly, not wanting to startle her.
“Yeah?”
Leocardo hesitated; why was she acting like nothing happened? “What happened to you before?”
She shrugged, “I guess I had low blood sugar. It was just a headache.”
“What do you remember?” he pried. How could she not remember?
“I had a headache. I went to the fridge. I got dizzy for a second. You caught me.” She paused. “How’d you get from the couch to the fridge that fast?” she asked, as though he was the one who did something strange.
“What?” Irate, he marched over. “Don’t you remember drawing this?” He flapped the page so she could hear it rustle. “What are you trying to pull? This isn’t a game.” He was losing his already short patience. Something could be seriously wrong and she was being evasive.
Her brow pressed together and her lips thinned as she let out a frustrated huff. She spoke slowly, as if concerned he was losing his mind. “Leo…you know I can’t draw, much less see whatever it is you might be holding.”
“I know you can’t,” he said a little defensively. Why was she questioning him when she should be providing answers? “You got up and went to the fridge before you started to draw this. I’m not making this up. I have the drawing right here in my hand!” He restrained himself, shaking the paper again, as if hearing the sound made his story more believable.
Odette’s calm expression indicated that she was not amused.
“How can you not remember?” he asked angrily. He sighed and dropped the drawing onto the floor. His fingers ran through his hair as he tried to make sense of everything without flying off the handle.
“I’m sorry,” Odette murmured, “but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“It’s okay…sorry,” The moment was awkward and disjointed; he was unsure what to do. Odette went back to making the sandwich, and Leocardo returned to the sofa. He snatched the remote and flipped between channels until he settled on the news. Tragedies flashed on the screen as Leocardo watched, desperate for a distraction. Something wasn’t adding up, cognitive dissonance, ironic that something he was learning in school was relevant to his life for a change. Maybe he imagined it all. Maybe the lack of sleep was getting to him and he had drawn it. Television bored him, but he didn’t know what else to do. The news changed topics, now featuring Alaska and its trading partners.
“Edaion,” Leocardo repeated one of the countries listed. A sudden and overwhelming desire to visit this island nation overtook him. Odette came over and sat next to him, her unfocused eyes in the direction of the screen. Leocardo leaned forward as if being pulled into the screen. He was mesmerized. Slowly he felt his eyelids droop.
“Edaion,” Odette whispered. A silence fell over them and a supernatural film began to wrap around them. Invisible to all, it pressed down on them. Cocooned in this new state, he continued to stare in a trance at the screen. Unable to understand why, he had never wanted anything in his life as much as he wanted to travel to Edaion. When he tried to stand, he felt an immense pressure upon his shoulders, face, and chest. He reached out to Odette, feeling as though he was falling through the sofa itself. Cielo whined and nuzzled his knee. His grip around Odette’s hand tightened. Suddenly the pressure snapped and he felt the painful sensation of being rammed from all sides, as if hit by a train.
In a dreamlike state, he stumbled forward with Odette sandwiched between him and Cielo. They were somewhere else, no longer in the cozy Barcelona apartment. The air was clean and chilly. A stranger’s arm brushed up against him as a group huddled together, all looking lost and confused. Half a dozen dogs circled and sniffed them. While trying to restore his equilibrium, he noticed the dogs wouldn’t leave Odette alone. They sniffed and licked her palms causing her to wipe them on his shirt. Someone asked him if he was okay, but he didn’t answer. The speaker herded the group onto a bus, and as soon as he was seated, Leocardo’s head fell against the windowsill. Blackness engulfed his vision.
The bus lurched and Leocardo was propelled into the seat in front of him. His eyes flew open; his throat felt dry and his nose was pink from the cold. Someone held a colored version of Odette’s drawing before his eyes. It was blurry, and as he reached out, his fingers hit glass. With his sleeve, he wiped the window to see the drawing become clear. Something was wrong.
Why was it behind glass? Where was he? Why was he on a bus? His gaze darted back to Odette who had Cielo nuzzling her affectionately. Her eyes were closed. He woke her up with a shake of the shoulders.
“What is this?” Leocardo demanded as if she would know.
“What’s what? You’re the one who can see, remember?” Her voice was soft and timid. He realized she was just as confused. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close and then placed a soft kiss on her forehead. His gaze returned to the window. It was still there. As the bus meandered through perilous mountains, he never lost sight of the lake. It was glistening, majestic and overwhelming in size, but it was not a drawing. This time he knew it was real. Something was terribly wrong.

******************************************************************************************************************

Blind Sight is an urban fantasy about a blind girl who suddenly develops the ability to draw. Told in two different novels, Ermisenda tells the story through the eyes of the blind girl’s brother, Leocardo. He thinks Odette is having premonitions. The other volume written by Eliabeth, tells the story through the eyes of Odette’s best friend Aniela, who thinks Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits.

Blind-Sight-Leo-Book-CoverA blind girl drawing is abnormal even on the magical island of Edaion where leaves brush themselves into piles in the middle of the night. As an immigrant, Leocardo is not biased by accepted rules of magic and determines that Odette’s drawings are premonitions. Aniela grew up with magic and knows premonitions are impossible. She determines Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits. Whose eyes will you read through?

Both books are “volume one” you can read one without the other and still get a complete story, but you won’t see how the characters interpret the same situation differently.

In this volume: Snatched out of their life in Spain, Leocardo and his blind sister Odette find themselves on an island with no recollection of the trip. After foiled attempts to escape, Odette’s strange behavior gets worse. Even after learning the island has bestowed magic upon them both, Leocardo faces the possibility his sister is having a mental break down.  Just as he thinks he is settled in, job and romantic life stable, Odette disappears.

You can order the books online at B&N (Aniela/Leocardo) & Amazon (Aniela/Leocardo)
Check it out on Goodreads (Aniela/Leocardo)
Check it out on Smashwords (Aniela/Leocardo)
Check out Eliabeth and Ermisenda’s blog
Check them out on Facebook (Ermilia/Blind Sight), Twitter (Eliabeth), and Tumblr (Ermisenda)

Eliabeth-blogourimage (1)Eliabeth wrote her first mini-series in second grade when the teacher told her she was not old enough to write a chapter book.  Regrettably, for fear of turning into a starving artist, Eliabeth played it safe in college and is now a recent William Jewell graduate with a BA in International Business and Japanese.  She now returns to what she truly loves, creating worlds for people to escape to and characters for them to fall in love with.
Ermisenda-blogourimageErmisenda began writing Harry Potter fan-fiction at the age of twelve and started developing her own writing at fourteen when she joined play sites and completed her first crime novel at fifteen.  Although her favorite genres were crime and fantasy, she reads a bit of everything. Driven by the desire to evoke the kaleidoscope of emotions her favorite authors are able to, she kept writing. Growing up bilingual amongst her Spanish family in Australia, she found a love and deep appreciation for language and the power it wielded.  She is now a Psychology major at the University of Newcastle.

Together, they write as Ermilia.

If this sounds like a book for you, or if you want more information, check out my review of Blind Sight: Through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson here. I know that after reading Aniela’s perspective, and now seeing the excerpt from Leocardo, I’m definitely going to read this second half of the novel! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour as it finishes tomorrow – see the full schedule on Ermilia’s blog here.