Category Archives: Penguin Books

Book Review: The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar

Published July 9th, 2020
288 Pages

Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.

But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called the Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.

Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find.- Goodreads

What a wildly creative book.  I love the fact that this book isn’t about a girl wanting to leave her currently life or being forced to leave her current life due to trauma. She wants adventure and unexpectedly gets a ticket to be part of an adventure.

The first half of the book not a whole lot happens. The author takes the time to build up the characters, the allure of the ship and legend that Aleja was reading right before she unknowingly embarked on the journey.  This slow build up is worth it because once things get going you sucked back into the world.

However, there were things that I was logging for within this novel. This is about a band of pirates. Although they considered themselves a bit of Robin Hood, there wasn’t a lot of pirate stuff going on. They were a crew looking for something that was rightfully the Captains’. When I say that I wanted more pirate stuff, I don’t mean a bunch of backstabbing. What I mean is more looting and fighting.

Also I would have loved more details on the the legend. The author does a good job adding information to fuel the legend but not enough about it. It was a little vague and brushed over. I would also like to point out there is a Mummy reference and at that point I knew what I would rate this book.

Overall, I really liked this book and looking forward to the next one.

4 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Zodiac by Sam Wilson

Pegasus Books To Be Published Feb. 17, 2017 452 Pages
Pegasus Books
To Be Published Feb. 17, 2017
452 Pages

San Celeste, a society divided by Zodiac signs, are dealing with a series of brutal murders with victims from completely different walks of life. Detective Jerome Burton and astrological profiler Lindi Childs are on the case and despite their differences in beliefs, they know that this serial killer has bigger plans that can destroy the world as they know it. 

Let’s just say that this read was creative and the author deserves so much credit for creativity. Think of the caste system but with your zodiac sign. Depending on your zodiac sign you are placed into a pre-determined way of life. It is actually really cool, how the author breaks down the zodiac and how it applies to a group of people and then how he breaks down the planets at a certain time and date. I was impressed and my awe keep the book going for me.

It wasn’t the only thing. I loved the different stories, the different point of views all leading to one big picture. Everything flowed; it didn’t feel forced in any way. There was one particular story I was more interested in and that is what push the book further for me. The plot was great and although at some times there was an obvious wall but you’re so interested and curious about what happens next, the wall doesn’t bother you too much.

Lindi was a surprising character for me. I liked how she balanced Jerome and I liked how free she was. Big up to the author for diversity as well. I wish Jerome had more of a personality; I didn’t mind him being so closed-minded at times but a spark in him would have been nice.

I did feel the book was a bit long but I am more than happy with the outcome.

3.5 Pickles

Book Review: The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Penguin Books Published Aug. 27, 2015 64 Pages
Penguin Books
Published Aug. 27, 2015
64 Pages

A friendship is formed between a lonely fox and a star that guides his way through a threatening forest.  When the star disappears, fox hides in the dark alone wishing for his only friend. 

After a while, enough is enough and the fox goes to find the star, only to find something just as beautiful as his friend.

When I picked up this book at the bookstore, I thought it was one of the most beautiful books I picked up. The cover was a soft hardcover, carefully drawn in. The illustrations was bright and detailed. . . it was beautiful.

But the story was incomplete and it was extremely disappointing. Firstly, by the description of the story (not reading the page count on goodreads) I thought this was going to be a long story . . . at least 200 words.  No. It is 64 pages and not all of the pages actually tell the story. I would not have a problem with this is the story was longer and if the ending actually meant something to me.

This book is considered something of a fairy tale but I don’t see a real moral to it. Yes, the fox steps out his comfort zone but and . . .??? So what? The book literally just ends with what is supposed to be interpreted as a happy ending. But it is just a ending, with no real emotion coming out of it.

You are sucked in instantly by the beauty of this book and you are waiting for an adventure even if it is a small one. But although the fox leaves his comfort zone it felt like he went around the block and came back.

I wanted some much more from a book that got so much hype.

2 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Hector and the Secrets of Love (Hector #2) by François Lelord

Penguin Books Published Jan. 1, 1900 288 Pages
Penguin Books
Published Jan. 1, 1900
288 Pages

If you haven’t read the first book Hector and the Search for Happiness, go read the book. I read it some time ago and completely fell for it. Maybe I’ll do a review on it????? Anyway there is also a movie, which was really good.

Hector has been given the opportunity to help research love. What makes love? What breaks love? What’s true love? Within his research he is told to track down a doctor, who was developing a drug that makes people fall in love with each other on different levels. 

His search takes French psychologist Hector to parts of Asia that in his previous journey he has never been. But mentally and emotionally, Hector goes on a journey that he could have never prepared for.

This novel was a bit more fast paced that the second one. But it still held the same thoughtful questions and passionate emotions just like the first one. What I liked about this book was how human Hector was. He was/is (how ever you look at it) conflicted with not just love but with understanding people and their needs. But most importantly understanding himself. He was just a very confused man and it made me think of what I was always told about psychologist “In order for them to help people with such mental issues, they need to be a bit crazy themselves.”

Hector doesn’t know what to do, even when given solutions, even when the answer is obvious, he just doesn’t do anything. It makes for a very complicated but interesting story. I couldn’t stand Clara, who is extremely selfish, EXTREMELY SELFISH. Every time she came on the page I rolled my eyes. I was done with her.

I also, towards the middle and end of the book, felt some type of way about Hector; he was selfish too but in a different way from Clara. Without getting too much into detail, I don’t feel that he uses a (the woman not Clara) woman but he also didn’t change the situation either.

The pace of the novel was great once it got going. It took a little bit but I wasn’t unhappy when it started moving better. Although this book was originally (so it says per good reads) published in 1900 a lot of what is in the book hit home to modern times.

I hated the ending. It could have been better. It was sloppy and it was obvious the author didn’t want to write anymore.


3.5 Pickles