Top Ten Tuesday- Underrated Books

I love today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday- Underrated books- each of these books I’m sharing have less than 2000 ratings on Goodreads. I thought each was well worth the read so CHECK THEM OUT.

I chose books that are first of their series or stand-alones. Each of these books is available right now too so don’t hesitate to buy or borrow.  I found that a lot of my fave sequels had less than 2000 ratings but that’s a post for a different day.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke an the Bookish. Each week a different question is posed and gives us bloggers an opportunity to share our top tens on all different types of bookish topics.

Top Ten Underrated Books

Steampunk Fun

22811807This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

My Review

22718701Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children’s young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.

My Review

Historical/Fantasy

21936937Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Why You Should Read Blackhearts

23495112The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine

Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

My Review

Sherlock Inspired

24885790Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…

FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.

FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case,Mori may never trust Lock again.

My Review

18080011Every Breath by Ellie Marney

Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne from the country, but the city is the last place she wants to be.

James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old who’s also a genius with a passion for forensics.

Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. He’s even harder to resist when he’s up close and personal – and on the hunt for a cold-blooded killer.

When Rachel and Mycroft follows the murderer’s trail, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again…

My Review

Diverse Contemporary

23399267Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

When you’re in love with the wrong person for the right reasons, anything could happen.

Tretch lives in a very small town where everybody’s in everybody else’s business. Which makes it hard for him to be in love with his straight best friend. For his part, Matt is completely oblivious to the way Tretch feels – and Tretch can’t tell whether that makes it better or worse.

The problem with living a lie is that the lie can slowly become your life. For Tretch, the problem isn’t just with Matt. His family has no idea who he really is and what he’s really thinking. The girl at the local bookstore has no clue how off-base her crush on him is. And the guy at school who’s a thorn in Tretch’s side doesn’t realize how close to the truth he’s hitting.

Tretch has spent a lot of time dancing alone in his room, but now he’s got to step outside his comfort zone and into the wider world. Because like love, a true self can rarely be contained.

ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a poignant, hard-hitting exploration of love and friendship, a provocative debut that shows that sometimes we have to let things fall apart before we can make them whole again.

My Review

Meet the Newbies- Nicole Castroman Author of Blackhearts

Meet the NewbiesMeet the Newbies is hosted by Rachel from A Perfection Called Books and is a way to get to know the latest debut authors and get a glimpse of their books. Check out all the authors and blog on the tour here.

I’m featuring the wonderful Nicole Castroman, author of Blackhearts, today. I’ve read Blackhearts and let me tell you- it’s awesome. AND there’s going to be a sequel.

Author Most Likely to Wear a Corset to the Grocery Store
Nickname: Nicole (I’ve never been a nickname kind of person.)
First Day of School: February 9, 2016
Homeroom: Simon Pulse (S&S)
Grade: Historical (Romance)
Extracurricular Activities: Talking on the phone to Becky Wallace, Admiring Aidan Turner pics online, Reading, Visiting as many tropical beaches as humanly possible
Favorite Class: History
Favorite Quote/Motto: These change constantly. It really depends on my mood. Right now, it’s “To thine own self be true.”
Author: Nicole Castroman

About the Author

NicoleCastromanNicole 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.

Social Media Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

The Book

BlackheartsCoverBlackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Book Buy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

The Interview

In your debut, Blackhearts, you venture into the backstory of a nearly mythological pirate, Blackbeard. You take a look at what his life might have been like prior to his pirating days and what would lead the son of a wealthy merchant to venture into the unsavory life of a pirate. What first drew you to Blackbeard?
Just the fact that there isn’t anything known about his earlier life. It was a blank slate of one of the most notorious pirates to sail the seas. What compelled him to leave everything he knew behind to live such a rough life?

It is obvious from your writing and the inclusion of historical details that you did a good amount of research about the time period, etc. Could you tell us some of the most interesting things you stumbled upon in your researching?
I found all of it fascinating. From the way they dressed to what they ate. I read several books about what life was like in the 17th century. It’s no surprise that women didn’t have many opportunities at the time, but there were always women who refused to be limited. That’s why I wrote Anne like I did.

You have created some incredibly developed and well-rounded characters. Was there one you related to the most?
What I love about Anne is her indomitable spirit. She simply refuses to give up. What I love most about Teach is his ability to accept people for who they are. He doesn’t see color or race. It’s people’s actions that determine whether he wants them in his life or not.

I always imagine that when writing a book your characters at times surprise you and decide they want to take their story somewhere a bit different than you had planned. Did you find this to be true?
Somewhat. I always had the ending in mind, but it was a windy road to get there. And of course, working with an editor helped make the story tighter. I’ve learned to love the revision process because that is where the story truly comes to life.

Sort of related to the above question- what is your writing process? Do you plan things out or let the story take you where it wants to go (or a mix)?
I usually like to have an idea of the ending. It’s important for me to know where I ultimately need to go, but the characters can take a different route than the one I have planned for them.

The Giveaway

1 Pre-Order or Finished Copy of Any Debut Novel Featured on Meet the Newbies

International (as long as The Book Depository ships to your country)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Extras

InstagramBlackhearts

 

Blackhearts Release Day Giveaway US & INT

_PREPIRATENATION (6) Crop

I am so excited for Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman to be releasing today! I read this a while back and adored the character development and story of Blackbeard prior to his pirating days. You can see all the reasons I think you should read Blackhearts here and read about how the lead character, Teach, is similar to Poldark here.

About the Book

blackheartsBlackhearts
By: Nicole Castroman
Release Date: February 9th 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Summary:
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Giveaway

RaffleCopter form for Blackhearts international giveaway:a Rafflecopter giveaway

RaffleCopter form for US only giveaway (signed hardcover and swag):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Participating Bloggers

Chasm of Books

Blog Tour- Blackhearts Guest Post by Nicole Castroman + Giveaway

Blackheartsblogtour

I’ve had the chance to read Blackhearts and I adored this book. I loved how easy it was for me to picture the setting and the characters. Oh, the characters, how I loved them. Blackhearts takes a look at the life of Blackbeard prior to his pirate days. I highly recommend historical fiction fans and those that enjoy character driven stories to read this book.

Nicole and I talk on Twitter about our shared love of the TV show Poldark and the actor, Aidan Turner. Really…if you’ve not seen the show you should. I couldn’t help but picture Aidan Turner AS Nicole’s main character, Teach, in Blackhearts. I took this opportunity to have her talk a bit about it.

Guest Post by Nicole Castroman

I first wrote BLACKHEARTS in August, 2012. I had just parted ways with my literary agent and decided to make a change and try to write historical fiction. It was the best decision I could have made. The story of a young Blackbeard simply flowed and I couldn’t write it fast enough. It took a while, but my manuscript eventually sold to Simon Pulse.

poldarkposter

Fast forward to December 2015. I saw a trailer for a new BBC series, called Poldark. I’m a sucker for BBC period pieces, so of course I watched it. And I fell in love. :-)

The story revolves around a British Revolutionary War soldier who comes home after the war to find his life in shambles.
In BLACKHEARTS, Edward “Teach” Drummond comes home from a year at sea to find his life in shambles.

The woman Ross Poldark was supposed to marry is betrothed to another.
Teach wishes the woman he’s supposed to marry was betrothed to another.

Ross Poldark isn’t afraid to go after what he wants.
Teach isn’t afraid to go after what he wants.

Ross Poldark wants to run his own mine.
Teach wants to captain his own ship.

Ross Poldark begins to have feelings for the hired help.
Teach begins to have feelings for the hired help.

Demelza is a fabulous heroine. Strong-willed, yet caring. She’s a favorite character.
Anne is a fabulous heroine. Strong-willed, yet caring. I’m so happy with readers’ reaction to Anne. It’s as much her story as it is Teach’s.

As you can see, there are some similarities between Poldark and BLACKHEARTS, but those similarities weren’t intentional. If you’ve watched any episodes of Poldark, you can understand how surprised I was as the story unfolded. I guess I love dark, brooding heroes and strong, independent heroines. The more conflicted, the better. I find I’m more of a character driven writer than anything else, and that’s exactly what Poldark and BLACKHEARTS have in common.

tumblr_nn2q3uvNt21uq57b0o1_500

Another reason I’m such a fan of Poldark is because of Aidan Turner. He’s a phenomenal actor (He was my favorite dwarf in The Hobbit movies.) He’s also incredibly easy on the eyes. And he has a striking resemblance to how I pictured my teenage Blackbeard. Eleanor Tomlinson is wonderful as Demelza. The secondary characters are also well-developed. Everything just works for me and I love the show.

About the Book

blackheartsBLACKHEARTS
Author: Nicole Castroman
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Pages: 384
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

About Nicole

NicoleNicole 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 BLACKHEARTS, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

Week One:
2/1/2016- Mundie MomsInterview
2/2/2016- Beauty and the BookshelfReview
2/3/2016- My Friends Are FictionGuest Post
2/4/2016- Brittany’s Book RamblesReview
2/5/2016- Two Chicks on BooksInterview

Week Two:
2/8/2016- FiktshunReview
2/9/2016- Dark Faerie TalesGuest Post
2/10/2016- A Reader Under The Sea- Review
2/11/2016- A Perfection Called Books- Interview
2/12/2016- Lili’s ReflectionsReview

Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is- Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward to Their Sophomore Novel. I have picked the first to come to my mind (and not in order of desire!) You should add all of these to your TBR and buy the ones already released.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different question is posed and gives us bloggers an opportunity to share our top tens on all different types of bookish topics.

 18488433 21979832 21936937 23677316 24885790

22811807 24502942 23272028 16431540 15791085

  1. The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace- I loved this one and I can’t wait for The Skylighter.
  2. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig- I adored how complex and lovely this story was. And the characters–I can’t wait to read more.
  3. Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman- This was the prequel to Blackbeards pirating ways so I NEED to see how Nicole will portray him next.
  4. Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie- The main character in this one was so unhinged and the story left me yearning for more.
  5. Lock & Mori by Heather Petty- This play on Sherlock and Moriarty has me incredibly scared yet eager to see how the relationship between these two will go.
  6. This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee- I loved how Lee wove together history with the classic Frankenstein story. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
  7. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich- This book was so well done and different–not to mention creepy! I need to know what Kurtagich will write next.
  8. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro- Another reworking of Sherlock and Watson–I loved how the genders were switched this go around. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.
  9. Thin Space by Jody Casella- This one was so wonderfully emotional and I was very moved by it. Not enough people have read it!
  10. The Falconer by Elizabeth May- This book took me out of a wicked reading slump so I’m more than excited about the sequel, The Vanishing Throne.

I have many debuts up to read and review coming up in 2016 and I’m pretty sure I’ll be dying for all of their sequels.