The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig #bookreview #YA #historicalfiction #adventure

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

I was happy to read this for one of my book clubs.  It was on my list when first released, but I was never able to get around to it.

Mention time travel, and I’m immediately on board.  Throw in some sort-of-pirates?  Just icing on the cake.  The crew on this ship immediately won me over – especially Kash.  He may be a thief, but he’s also charming, clever, and the biggest highlight of the book for me.  I loved how the characters were just as comfortable in modern day New York City as in 1868 Honolulu, and had items like contemporary clothing and cell phones stashed below deck.  The complex relationship between Nix and her father is unusual and intriguing.  His obsession to find Nix’s mother is certainly understandable, but could also result in Nix disappearing – yet, she still helps her father search.

The story was moving right along for me and held my interest – until the crew arrived in Hawaii, and soon after the pace came to a grinding halt.  It picked up again after a while, but there was a definite lull that I skimmed through.  The introduction of a love triangle surprised me – it didn’t seem to fit in with the plot, and got in the way of the real story.

This was an interesting read, but a lengthy one at over 450 pages.  If you’re a fan of history, time travel, and love triangles, I’d recommend The Girl from Everywhere.

Voyage of the Lanternfish by C.S. Boyack #bookreview #pirates #TuesdayBookblog

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride. 

I’ve read several books by C.S. Boyack, and by now, I’ve come to expect wildly inventive world-building, charming characters, and a thrilling adventure.  This book definitely didn’t alter those expectations.

Where can I find me some root monsters?  I’d love to have a bushel of my own.  These guys made me laugh out loud so many times, I lost count.  They’re quite the little scoundrels, and a valuable addition to the crew.  Speaking of the crew, they’re a diverse, boisterous crowd with varied backgrounds, and kind of a family of their own making.  Everyone brings a special skill to the table.  And they’re pirates!  Who doesn’t love a good pirate tale?

If you’re looking for adventure on the high seas, quirky characters, a hint of magic, and a touch of romance, Voyage of the Lanternfish fits the bill quite nicely.