Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

I know…I know this is late. I just finished my first week of school. Cut me a tiny bit of slack.

I’ve never really liked pirates the much. I don’t know why, but I never bought into the whole thing.* The Pirates of the Caribbean movies just never did it for me. Keeping this in mind, I didn’t really expect to like Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller, but it was pretty highly recommended to me, so I decided to give it a chance.

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Boy was I wrong about how much I would like this book. I think I’ve discovered the reason I never really liked pirates: They’re usually a bunch of self centered dudes who go around sleeping with a bunch of women just because they can. I don’t like those kind of Pirates.

After reading Daughter of the Pirate King I’ve discovered the kind of pirate I do like: The badass lady pirate.

Alsoa, the main character of Daughter of the Pirate King, certainly qualifies as a badass lady pirate. On orders from her father, the king of the pirates, Alsoa is purposely captured by a band of enemy pirates in order to search their ship for one third of an ancient map that will lead to a priceless treasure. More skilled than any of the men on the ship, finding the map should be an easy task for Alosa. That is, if she can get past the ships annoyingly clever, annoyingly handsome, first mate.

It took me a little while to get into the story, but once the action picked up I was hooked. I’d recommend Daughter of the Pirate King to anyone who loves pirates, strong female characters, and the reimagining of old tropes. Plus magic. There’s a satisfying amount of magic.

Review: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

You might be wandering wether Riley Cavanaugh is a boy or a girl. Well the answer is both, and neither. Riley is genderfuid, which means sometimes they identify as more masculine, and sometimes they identify as more feminine. Unfortunately, Riley hasn’t out yet, and isn’t planning to any time soon. Riley’s dad, congressman Cavanaugh, is running for re-elecetion, and in their conservative county Riley’s coming out would just turn into a huge scandal.

Riley’s therapist suggests starting an online blog, as an anonymous way to vent their feelings. Soon, Riley finds themselves passing out advice to other LGBT+ teens under the Alix. But when the blog goes viral, Riley becomes the victim of an anonymous commenter who knows who they really are, and is threatening to bring Riley’s world crashing down around them.


Jeff Garvin’s debut novel is a heartwarming book about self acceptance. It’s one of my new favorite LGBT novels. Of course, I’m incredibly cis, so I can’t be sure how accurate the book would be to a genderfulid person. I really love how Garvin purposely wrote the book without stating Riley’s sex. Because, as Riley says in the book, “It’s none of their damn business.” Whats on the outside has nothing to do with whats on the inside, and I really think Garvin captures that message very well.

Harry Potter and the Magic of Music

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”

– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Music has always been, and always will be a huge part of my life. My father is a musician, so I’ve always been surrounded by music. Like books, it’s something constant in my life. No matter how rough life gets, when I find myself in times of trouble, I know I’ll always have the words of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and J.K. Rowling to comfort me.

But, you see, the thing about music is that it doesn’t really need words to convey emotion. As a person obsessed with words and they way they work, I never really understood that. That is, until I joined band.

I started playing the trumpet in my school’s band way back in the sixth grade, and it quickly became a huge part of my life. In fact, it’s the reason I’m posting this today. We had a parent performance on Wednesday.



I already regret that hairstyle, but oh well

Anyway, band really helped me discover the magic of music without words. Our sixth grade year we mostly played short, familiar tunes that I knew the words to. (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,  Yankee Doodle, etc.) Those were nice and all, but in seventh grade we got to play a medley of music from the Harry Potter movies. Naturally, I was excited about it. I loved Harry Potter, so I would be happy doing anything related to it.

I remember playing the first few notes of Hedwig’s theme and realizing that there were tears streaming down my cheeks. The boys in my section teased me for crying, but I think that was the moment I realized how powerful music could be. I’d cried because just hearing those few simple notes had transported me into the magical world I loved so much. Just a few notes opened the door to an entire world.

After we played that piece I was eager to get my hands on more music like that. More music that cold make me feel something. There was no better place to start than with John Williams.

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock, John Williams is the composer behind the soundtracks to some of the greatest movies of all time. Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter to name a few. He’s a master at taking a few simple notes and themes and turning them into something huge and epic and moving.

John Williams was a gateway into the larger world of movie scores. I found myself looking back at all of my favorite movies and listening to their scores. That’s how I discovered artists like Alan Menken, Mark Mancina, Alexandre Desplat, Murray Gold, Danny Elfman, Michael Giacchino, Thomas Newman, and Hans Zimmer.

From there I moved on to classics like Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin, Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise by Beethoven, Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, The Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky, and so much more beautiful music by artists who’ve mastered the art of moving people without using words.

By listening to them I think I’ve learned a thing or two about moving people with words.

Like almost everything in my life, it comes right back to Harry Potter.

You see, there were two trumpet solos in that medley we played back in seventh grade, and at the time I wanted to play those solos more than anything. Unfortunately, I was sitting in forth chair, and I didn’t think I’d even get a shot. My friend (he’s requested to be called Gish) was first chair, and we all thought he was going to get the solo by default. Then my band director surprised us all by holding auditions.

Since I was forth chair I was the last to go. My heart was pounding so loud that I could barely hear the three boys play the solo before me. Two of them did okay, Gish played it pretty much perfectly. I thought there was no way I could win now. My hands were shaking as I picked up my trumpet and prepared to play. The room was too quiet. The boy were staring at me. The director was staring at me. I took two deep breaths and began to play.

The solo was only a few measures long, but it felt like it went on forever. I was terrified, but I focused on the music, on how much it meant to me, and I played on.

Then, the worst thing that could possibly happen did. I messed up. I cracked a note that I’d been playing perfectly all week. I poured my soul into that audition, but it didn’t keep me from messing up. I was devastated.

Then the unthinkable happened. He gave me the solos. Both of them. Even though I’d messed up. Even though Gish had played them technically perfectly. I’d played them with heart, and thats what really matters in both music and writing.


#ManCrushMonday: My Top Ten Boys From Books

I’m low key convinced that I’m super single because books have totally ruined men for me. You see, boys in real life are just super disappointing compared to boys in books. So, since I don’t have a real life #ManCrushModay I thought I’d share a list of the top ten boys from books I would totally date of they weren’t fictional and already in adorable committed relationships. I had to keep it to books (sorry Prince Zuko) or else this list would’ve been about a mile long. These are In no particular order of course, because I don’t really think I could rank them.

1. Harry Potter

What are they from?

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Why do I like them?

Harry James Potter is kind, humble, loyal, and brave. He doesn’t give up on the people, in fact, he’d do pretty much anything to protect the people he loves. He just wants to be a normal kid, but he’s willing to step up and be a leader because thats what people expect from him. He makes some stupid decisions sometimes, but it’s usually because he’s trying to do the right thing.

2. Mr. Darcy 

What are they from?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Why do I like them?

Lots of people think Mr. Darcy is a total jerk. They are wrong. Mr. Collins is a total jerk. Mr. Darcy is just incredibly proud, which makes him come across as rude as the beginning of the book. I like Mr. Darcy because when he gets called out for being rude, he immediately acknowledges his behavior and works to change it. I also like that he falls for Elizabeth’s mind and personality and not just for her looks. He treats her like an equal, which is something that can’t be said for some of today’s male leads.

3. Captain Carswell Thorne

What are they from?

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Why do I like them?

Let’s be honest, I basically have a crush on the entire cast of characters from TLC, but Carswell Thorne might be my favorite. He is such an incredibly flawed character, and I love him for it. He doesn’t think he’s a good person, but he wants to be, which is whats really important. He’s incredibly confident, which can make him come across as cocky and self centered, but he’d really do anything for his friends. Especially Cress. He’s incredibly protective of her and I think it’s the sweetest thing ever.

4. Levi Stewart 

What are they from?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Why do I like them?

Levi is unflinchingly optimistic and loyal. He’s not into books at all because he has double reading, but that doesn’t stop him from totally supporting Cath’s passions for writing and Simon Snow. As someone with a huge passion for books and writing, I’d kill to have a boyfriend as supportive as Levi is.

5. Percy Jackson

What are they from?

Pretty much everything Rick Riordan writes tbh

Why do I like them?

I like Percy for most of the same reasons I like Harry. He’s loyal, kind, brave, and he always steps up and tries his hardest to save the day. Percy is also absolutely hilarious and relatable.  I would never actually go after Percy though, because there is nobody he belongs with more than Annabeth.

6. Carter Kane

What are they from?

The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

Why do I like them?

Rick Riordan is very good at writing boys (and characters in general) for me to fall in love with. When I was younger I had the biggest crush on Carter because he was one of the first male characters I’d read about who liked to read and learn about things. He’s also super heroic and a wonderful brother to boot. What’s not to love?

7. Prince Kai 

What are they from?

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Why do I like them?

Prince Kai is just the sweetest, dorkiest, most hopeless romantic ever. I mean, he holds on to Cinder’s dirty old foot because it gives him hope and reminds him of her. (I realize that sounds really creepy out of context, but I promise you it’s super cute in the series.)

8. Remus Lupin 

What are they from?

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Why do I like them?

It might seem unwise to have a huge crush on Remus Lupin, him being a werewolf and all, but I  don’t think I’d like him so much if he weren’t a werewolf. I’m not saying that in a Twilight “Oh werewolves are so sexy” kind of way. No, I like Remus Lupin because, despite all the terrible things he’s been through, he’s still an incredibly good person. (Unlike some slimy potions professors I could name.)

9. Clark McCallister 

What are they from?

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Why do I like them?

I said I’d kill to have a boyfriend who supports my writing passion, but why not go one even better? Why not someone who shares that passion with me? Clark McCallister is an adorable nerd who also happens to be a bestselling fantasy author. *swoon*

10. Richard Gansey III

What are they from? 

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Why do I like them? 

Gansey is probably my newest fictional crush. He’s incredibly loyal both to his friends and to his search for Glendower. I’m a hufflepuff, so is it really surprising that I value loyalty in my bookish crushes?  I also really like how he sees magic in everything.


So those are the boys in books that I absolutely adore. Do you also have a crush on any of these fictional cuties? Want to fangirl over them together? Think I left someone out? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

The Ultimate Harry Potter Tag

Hey guys! Welcome back to another exciting installment of Wizarding Wednesday!

These past few weeks have been incredibly busy for me because I’ve been at band camp eight hours a day, so I decided to take some time to unwind and answer the Ultimate Harry Potter tag. It’s actually super fun, so if you haven’t had a chance to do it yet, consider yourself tagged.

  1. Favorite book?

It changes pretty often, but right now it’s Order of the Phoenix. I just love the Dumbledore’s Army scenes so much.

  1. Least favorite book? 

Probably Prisoner of Azkaban, because that book stresses me out.

  1. Favorite movie?

I have such a soft spot for the first Harry Potter movie. If I’m going to watch one just for fun I’d probably watch that one. It just feels so lovely and magical.

  1. Least favorite movie?

I’m so infuriated by how much they changed The Half-Blood Prince.

  1. Favorite quote?

“The thing about growing up with Fred and George,” said Ginny thoughtfully, “is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” – Order of the


  1. Favorite Weasley?

Ginny Weasley. As if you guys didn’t already know. I love her so, so much.

  1. Favorite villain?

You can’t really get any better than Voldemort. He’s so wonderfully evil, but at the same time he’s ridiculously overdramatic. I love it.

  1. Favorite female character?

I love Ginny, Hermione, and Luna equally. I want to be part of a girl gang with them.

  1. Favorite male character?

Harry! I love my sweet child soooo much. He’s so selfless, and sassy, and perfect.

  1. Favorite professor?

Professor McGonagall. She’s such a strong, badass character, and she genuinely cares about her students. (Unlike some slimy Slytherins I could name.)

  1. Would you rather wash Snape’s hair or spend a day listening to Lockheart rant about himself?

I wouldn’t touch Severus Snape with a ten foot pole.

  1. Would you rather duel an elated Bellatrix or an angry Molly?

Elated Bellatrix any day. An angry Molly Weasley is probably one of the most terrifying things I could think of.

  1. Would you rather travel to Hogwarts via The Hogwarts Express or Flying Car?

The Hogwarts Express! I have literally always wanted to ride on the Hogwarts express. It just seems like it would be so much fun.

  1. Would you rather kiss Voldemort or give Umbridge a bubble bath?

I wouldn’t touch Dolores Umbridge with a ten foot pole either.

  1. Would you rather ride a Hippogriff or ride a Firebolt?

That’s a hard choice. I’m pretty afraid of heights, but I’d have to go with the Firebolt. It’s probably less likely to get me killed. 

  1. Is there a character you felt differently about in the movies? 


  1. Is there a movie you preferred to the book? 

No way. The books will always be so much better.

  1. Richard Harris or Michael Gambon as Dumbledore? 

I actually don’t have an opinion on this one.

  1. Your top thing that wasn’t in a movie that you wanted there the most?

I could write a whole post about how angry the Half-Blood Prince movie makes me because of how much they left out.

  1. If you could remake any of the Harry Potter movies which would it be?

Half-Blood Prince. I’d make it suck a lot less.

  1. Which house was your first gut feeling you’d be a part of?

When I was little I wanted to be a part of Gryffindor, because they seemed like one big family and I really wanted to be a part of that.

  1. Which house were you actually voted into on Pottermore? 

Hufflepuff! I love being a Hufflepuff, and I will fight anyone who badmouths my house.

  1. Which class would be your favorite? 

I think I’d like Defense Against the Dark Arts, as long as it’s taught by a competent professor. 

  1. Which spell do you think would be most useful to learn?

I don’t know if it’s the most useful, but I’d really want to learn the Patronus Charm.

  1. Which character do you think you’d instantly become friends with?

I actually think I’d get along great with Neville or Luna.

  1. If you could own now of the three Hallows, which would it be?

The cloak. Once again, least likely to get me killed.

  1. Is there any aspect of the books you’d want to change?

I do think a Draco redemption arc would be nice.

  1. Favorite Marauder?

I love Remus so much. He’s just too good.

  1. If you could bring one character back to life, which would it be? 

There are so many deaths that just absolutely broke my heart, but I’d have to pick Fred. Thinking about his family without him is just so sad.

  1. Hallows or Horcruxes? 

Hallows. I don’t think there’s any way I could ever create a horcrux.

Do you love Harry Potter as much as I do? Would you like to chat about all things Potter? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.

August 2017 TBR

A new month, a new pile of books for me to read. I raided my local library this weekend, so I’m pretty much set for the month. Heres what I’m hoping to get read in the month of August.

  1. Nemesis by Anna Banks

I’ve been hearing some pretty good things about this book recently, so I decided to pick it up. It’s a fantasy novel with an intriguing premise about a princess forced to the refuge in an enemy kingdom when her father tries to use her unusual powers as a weapon

“The King is her nemesis. Can she trust him – And her growing feelings for him?”

  1. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

This is another novel I’ve been hearing wonderful things about. It’s a contemporary novel about a girl named Jesse, who develops an email relationship with a mysterious stranger calling themselves Somebody/Nobody after moving across the country to Los Angeles.

  1. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This middle grade fantasy is supposed to be an absolutely beautifully written book. It sounds incredibly interesting. I mean, it’s about a swamp witch and the girl she raises as her daughter.

  1. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

This book comes highly recommended by my fellow Barnes and Noble reviewers. I always love a great pirate adventure, and a strong female character is always a plus, so I’m very excited to pick this one up.

  1. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

I’m incredibly excited about this one, because it’s a novel about a gender fluid teen named Riley who write a blog about their personal experiences.

  1. The Book Jumper by Metchild Glaser

I honestly just picked this book up because of how pretty the cover is. It’s about a girl who can travel into books, which honestly sounds like a dream come true.

  1. The Young Elites by Marie Lu

I’ve been hearing about this series for a long time, and I decided it’s finally time to see what the hype is all about.

  1. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

I read Seraphina, the first book in this series, last summer, and I absolutely loved it. It’s an incredibly unique take on one of my favorite mythical creatures: dragons.

  1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Another recommendation from my Barnes and Noble friends. I actually started this interesting Sci-Fi a while ago, but I never finished it. I love the unique writing style, so I’m excited to jump back in.

  1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This seems like everyone’s favorite contemporary romance, and I haven’t read it yet. Hopefully I’ll be changing that very soon.

  1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Another LGBTQ+ novel that I’ve been wanting to read for a while. I’ve been told it’ll probably make me cry, so I’m pretty excited.


What are you planing on reading this August? Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think? Leave a comment and let me know!