We’re BACK AGAIN with more references and jokes!

Let me get straight to the point.


Jenna and I came back for the sequel and had a blast reading it.

We have been screaming about this book for weeks and we’d love for you to join us.

Crossed Swords

Buddy Read Partner

“Welcome to Bookmark Your Thoughts, my little corner of the Internet for blogging about books and sharing my knowledge of literature to the world! Coming to life in 2017, Bookmark Your Thoughts was created with the intent to post frequent book reviews on a variety of genres and age categories. With a passion for reading and love of learning, the goal of this blog is to foster book discussions and provide a safe place for any bookworm to share their thoughts.

With the desire to splurge on books rather than toys as a child, it’s no surprise I became the perfect definition of a bookworm. Firstly, my name is Jenna. I’m a tea and coffee drinking bibliophile living it up in Ottawa, ON – the capital of Canada.

As noted, the major focus for this blog is book reviews and bullet journal ideas, with an assortment of other fun and interesting posts – within and beyond the realm of literature. You can discover more about Bookmark Your Thoughts on Tumblr,  the companion blog full of exquisite book photography and delightful miscellaneous photos. I also created a website for school on Weebly that I’m fairly proud of, if you’re interested: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Types of literature I cherish are coming of age/realistic fiction, paranormal/supernatural, urban fantasy, children’s literature, Shakespearean literature, and Victorian literature – though I read an abundance of other genres. Authors close to my heart are Philip Pullman, Kelley Armstrong, Edgar Allan Poe, and A.A. Milne…no, I won’t choose only one.

A little about my mundane life…

I live in a cozy little condo in the most hipster place in Ottawa…seriously, I’m walking distance of so many yoga and fitness studios, and my favourite local spot is a smoothie bowl place. In 2016, I completed a master’s degree in Library and Information Science at The University of Western Ontario. Now, I’m a Metadata Specialist and Author Liaison at Statistics Canada. The dream is to become an Academic Librarian or work for Library and Archives Canada, though I do really enjoy my current profession…I might just stay here.

Beyond the realm of reading, my hobbies include trying new teas (yes…this is a hobby), nature walking, yoga, rollerblading, strength training, re-watching Friends and music. All in all, I live a rather mundane life and live vicariously through the novels I read.

Please feel free to contact me regarding book review suggestions, blog challenges you’d like to see, bookish posts you’re interested in reading, or if you simply wish to connect! I love talking about books and greatly appreciate receiving feedback in order to improve Bookmark Your Thoughts!

You can also follow my book adventures through Instagram!

Happy Reading and thank you for visiting!”


I gush about Jenna a lot on this blog because she’s awesome.

I feel like it’s rare to meet someone with a killer aesthetic sense who’s both a great writer and so kind and friendly.

Reading one of her posts is like reading an email from a close friend.

Definitely go check out her blog.


Read Jenna’s discussion post here.

Crossed Swords

Q1. Would you rather live on land, on sea, or under the water?

sunset ship boat sea

Lauren: Part of me thinks I could swing a houseboat like a hipster.

Sadly, I belong on land where there are showers and libraries and grocery stores. I would feel so grimy on a boat and my hair would be a salty mess.

Living under the water might be fun, though. I’d probably have to start eating fish again. I’m sure I could do it sustainably.

Jenna: Land — don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the water! I hope to one day move closer to the cottage country or near the ocean because being near water calms me. But I don’t think I’d want to LIVE on the sea. And underwater seems cool for a bit — but I want that sunshine!


Q2. What, for you, was the most shocking moment?

shallow focus photo of shocked woman

Lauren: So, uh.

Without spoiling anything…

…one of my favorite characters got shot.

I was  U P S E T.

Jenna: Hmmm … without spoiling too much, I think the one island they all visit. I was HONESTLY shocked with what happened to Alosa and her crew, and what was waiting for them on that island — seriously, I sped through those chapters because I HAD to know what in the WORLD was going on!


Q3. Which character could you have used more of? Which character could you have used
less of?

focus photo of super mario luigi and yoshi figurines

Lauren: I missed Enwen’s comic relief moments from the first novel. Enwen is barely mentioned in this book. I also would have loved more of Mandsy, Kearan, and Sorinda, just because I love them.

Also…the villains from the first book are sort of replaced by this gross guy named Tylon. I wanted my old villains back.

I started the book thinking, “Huh, I wish I had more scenes with Riden.” I ended the book wishing the opposite. He frustrated me so much.

Jenna: I wanted more Kearan and Sorinda time — I really enjoy their banter and their weird “chemistry”. They have such unique personalities, which I think would’ve added greatly to the story!

To be frank? Riden — okay, that’s not really fair. I think the problem is this book could’ve been another 100 to 200 pages longer, which probably would’ve helped with my frustrations regarding Riden halfway through the novel. But yeah … he started to frustrate me later on ha-ha!


Q4. Levenseller’s duology presents a great deal of feminist ideals. Are there other diverse
elements you enjoyed? Are there diverse elements you wished to see more of?


Lauren: Jenna and I were on the same page – we both really enjoyed the diverse cast! There’s at least one asexual person, as well as characters of differing skin tones and ethnicities. I was into it!

There was also a decent amount of sex positivity, which I liked. Alosa’s sex life is pretty much a nonissue among the crew.

On that last note, though, Riden butts up against Alosa’s authority and shames her for using sex for solace. I…did not appreciate that and it made me less invested in their relationship. Also, like Jenna, I wish queer women had been included in the story.

There was a lot more magic in this book, but I still wanted more. Especially one of the surprise villains – more of them, please!

Jenna: I’m incredibly happy with the fact that Levenseller presents characters with different “appearances”, demonstrating different ethnicities — thank gosh! The book isn’t completely male white washed, which I was honestly worried about at first. They all also come from VERY different backgrounds: prostitutes, alcoholics, thieves, etc. But at the end of the day, they’re all a family in Alosa’s crew — which is pretty cool!

There are some references to different sexualities, such as asexual and homosexuality. And the best part? It’s not this WOW factor — it’s just a fact regarding those characters, normalizing it rather than making a big deal out of it. Lauren and I did talk about the WEIRDNESS regarding Alosa’s statement that her crew would barely be effected by the sirens due to most of them being women … so either Alosa knows none of them are homosexual OR there’s a plot fail regarding women who are attracted to other women. I don’t know MUCH about siren lore, so maybe that’s a reason why I was confused as well?


Q5. There are 5 elements to a story: characters, setting, plot, conflict and resolution. Which did Levenseller excel at? Which one could’ve used more attention?

woman s hand using a pen noting on notepad

Lauren: The characters were solid; I was devoted to many of them. 

I also thought the conflicts (woman vs. father, nature vs. nurture, etc.) were compelling and helped build the tension.

I got a better sense of the setting in this book, which I loved. Levenseller wrote a VERY fun world.

I was a little confused at times, though, what the plot was. At first it was about getting to the island first, then Alosa’s reasons changed, then she and crew went on the run…it was a bit hard to keep track of.

Also, for me, the climax and the ending felt a bit rushed. Though the final chapter is great, I felt like it needed a bit more preceding it to feel fully satisfying.

Jenna: For me, Levenseller excels greatly at character development and creation — seriously, I want to be a member of Alosa’s crew. You feel as though these characters are people you know in real life, making it sad to see them go when the books finished. Though I wish there was more time to explore them, I do feel Levenseller did a great job overall.

The resolution was a little bit of a lackluster for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the ending — but it felt a little rushed at the end? It’s as though she realized there were a few things she didn’t already resolve, so she just tied a semi-messy bow together to wrap it up. I think if she added an additional 100 pages or so, the ending would’ve woven together more.

Crossed Swords

There you have it!

That’s the whole duology!

This was an amazing buddy read – Jenna was a great reading partner.

I’m looking forward to doing future buddy reads!

For now, I’m boning up on my classics. I’ll get to new reads later.

See you all in the next post.


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