Reviews for Blackhearts, by Nicole Castroman

Brandys Books's review
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*Historical romance that was bland.
*Characters who are just so uninteresting, boring, "I'm special so I deserve more.", everyone's out to get them.....I just can't read it anymore.

kairene's review
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Edward was a jerk at the beginning and I'm not sure there was enough character development but I loved Anne. I want to see more of John in the next book, he seemed pretty cool.

Leah (Jane Speare)'s review
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DNF page 130something? Too romancey and not enough pirating.

earthtoviry's review
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"We could be on opposite sides of the world, but you would still be mine, as I am yours.”

W O W. BEAUTIFUL. AMAZING. WONDERFUL. All the positive adjectives. I love this book so much and I cannot wait for the second book. There wasn't a lot of "pirate" aspects in this book but it really laid out the foundation for what is going to be an intense adventure in Blacksouls! If I had to compare this to other novels it would be a mixture of [b:The Winner's Curse|16069030|The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)|Marie Rutkoski||21861552] and [b:Daughter of the Pirate King|33643994|Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)|Tricia Levenseller||46636002]. Super fun, diverse, and the perfect amount of angst and twists.

twitter thread (kinda)
book aesthetic

rushdak's review
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psa there is absolutely NO pirating in this book about one of the most famous pirates ever. 2 stars is being generous probs.

KiwiCoral's review
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*SBTB Quarterly Challenege - October - 2. Color Coordination: Read a book where the cover is mostly orange or black.*
Well that was disappointing. Everything felt so forced. The characters were all one dimensional. The setting was barely constructed. The writing was neither good nor bad, but it lacked any style. How can you have an origin story for a pirate and barely spend 5 pages on a ship???

Jeanna's review
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A promising start to a series.

Before Blackbeard was a ferocious pirate who sailed the ocean blue, he was a merchant’s son, falling for a lovely girl. Edward, though he much prefers to go by Teach, arrives back on land after a year at sea and his only goal is—not to marry his promised betrothed but to—return to the sea. That is until he meets Anne, a maid working for his father. However, Anne is keeping secrets, many of them, and he intends to find out what they are. In Blackhearts, it is a tale of romance and tragedy, introducing readers to a magnificent new series, documenting Blackbeard’s origin.

The progression of Teach and Anne’s relationship, especially of how she read aloud to him every night, is considerably so romantic. There’s only a few other stories, I have come across that characters fall in love after being read to and I think it’s a gorgeous beginning of a relationship. Read to me and I will fall in love.

I was a little less willing to trust Teach in the beginning. There just seemed to be so many facets to his character. His willingness to be out on the sea but his easy, flowing life of returning to his land-lover life that he left a year before made me wary about what he truly desired. His intentions were never really clear to me despite getting full chapters of following him around (the narrative is however in 3rd person).

Castroman writes historical incredibly well, and not in a history textbook type of way either. She is still able to bring across Anne’s sass despite her status as a maid. It is quite brilliant and something that easily made me love Anne as a character.

So I went into this knowing very little. When I first bought it, I was so excited to read about some pirates, I was thinking it was a retelling of Blackbeard. However, a fellow blogger broke the news to me. Be warned, there is little pirate magic in this one. Despite that, I liked it exceptionally.

It is good to note that while pirates do not play a huge role in the story, it does not mean that they are entirely nonexistent in Blackhearts. I was surprised to find piracy a big issue for Blackhearts and something I am definitely looking forward to Castroman exploring in later novels.

As much as in the beginning Anne and Teach definitely had something going for them, by the end of the novel, Castroman seemed to be missing a significant part in the progression of their relationship. It got to the point that it felt incredibly rushed, out of place. Their feelings for each other, especially Teach’s curiosity turned love seemed totally unfounded. It certainly had great potential and given a bit more time together—instead of just mentioning that they walked through the gardens, give me some of those scenes—I probably would have begun to warm up to their romantic fondness for each other.

The characters, more importantly Anne and Teach, are who drive the force of the novel. Apart, each character is magnificent in their own ways. I hope to continue reading more about them and get to delve deeper into the story with them in the future.

The action was somewhat dimmed. Again, there was tons of potential and it could have gone in so many unexpected ways. Castroman put Anne and Teach in some precarious positions that could have been drawn out further for suspense or described in a bit more detail for readers’ heightened awareness.

The ending does leave me wanting more. The direction in which the story is headed gives me hope that the series will surely get better with each sequel.

Blackhearts was a promising start to what definitely could be an awesome series of how Blackbeard becomes the pirate we know today.

milkamilka's review
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OH MY OH MY OH MY!!! This one was AMAZING!

I was not quite sure what to expect from Blackhearts. The tale of Blackbeard is not very familiar to me, but I did obviously know it involved pirates. Since I am not a big pirate fan (gasp! I know... there are people like that out here as well), I was kind of skeptical about this one. There is one pirate I love - obviously Hook from OUAT - but in general pirates make me think of The Pirates of the Caribbean films, only like one of the crappiest film franchise I have been forced to watch (I fell asleep in the cinema while watching the third film). So yeah, my mindset going to this book was kind of mixed - at the same time I was excited and scared that the whole pirate thing would not keep me interested enough.

If you are looking for a page turning pirate story, you might be disappointed. I think I had read about 60% of the eARC when piracy was even mentioned the first time. Like the description says, this is the "origin story" of Blackbeard, a tale of a time when he was just Edward Drummond, to his friends Teach, a young man living in Bristol.

The events of the novel kick into full force when Teach returns from the sea back to Bristol. He is set to marry a daughter of a baron and forget his seafaring days. He meets Anne Barnett, a mixed-race daughter of an Englishman and a woman from West Indies, under circumstances that definitely makes it difficult for him to forget her. When they roads cross again and again in the Drummond house, they feel a pull for each other and despite their circumstances and their society, they cannot stay away from each others' lives.

Blackhearts is in heart a romantic historical novel. And like historical novel, it is quite slow-burning and surprisingly detailed despite the fact that is is not that big of a book. The relationship between Anne and Teach, both amazing and engaging characters in their own right, is extremely well and deliciously executed. As someone who despises instalove, I loved the slow-burning building of friendship and trust and eventually love between Anne and Teach. Though they come from different places, and Teach obviously has a higher role in the eyes of the society as a man as someone with white skin, they both feel like they are imprisoned and wish to escape their realities for an unknown life that could possibly be better than what they have now.

I loved Anne's strength and willpower, as well as her honesty and tendency to say what she thinks rather than what she should. I loved how protective Teach is of Anna, how passionate he can be, and how determined he is to make a life for himself according to his dreams despite his controlling father. The supporting characters, like Teach's father and betrothed, offer interesting side stories to the romance and work as obstacles on Anna and Teach's way to happiness.

The ending of Blackhearts suggests that this is not a standalone, but rather a first book in a series. I am not a big series reader these days, but I am 110% sure that if there is a sequel for this one, I will read it, because I absolutely fell in love with these characters. In addition to awesome characterization, Nicole Castroman's is incredibly talented writer whose prose was able to suck me into the story and made it difficult to let go off until I reached the end. The pacing of the story is incredibly well executed and the historical setting works extremely well.

Blackhearts is a novel filled with incredible characters, beautiful writing and a romance that will definitely make you swoon.

AilsaBristow's review
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On the one hand, this book was a perfectly pleasant way to spend an evening: I read it in one sitting, and it was entertaining enough to keep me moving through it.

But! You tell me this is a book about Blackbeard and there’s barely a whiff of the sea until the last 20 pages?

What’s more, there’s something strange to me about the YA-style applied to historical fiction. I got no real sense that any of the characters had a 17th century worldview at all: we basically had an American high school movie, in fancy dress. I’m a particularly grumpy reader of historical fiction, so this in particular grated on me.

Jamie @ Books and Ladders's review
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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Just as an fyi, the events in this book all make for totally valid reasons to become a pirate. This is wonderful. I can't wait to read it again.

I can't express with words how much I loved this story. This book is the perfect combination of romance and heartbreak and I feel as though my soul has been ripped in two. I know the general story of Blackbeard but not in depth, so it was really interesting for me to see parts of what I know overlap with the story's plot.

Anne and Teach have such a wonderful rapport and I just loved seeing them go from being weary of one another to understanding that they have more in common than they first thought possible. I loved seeing Anne grow into herself and be more willing to accept that she was not as lowborn as once believed. My heart ACHED for Anne and teach throughout this whole novel and then was RIPPED from me at the ending. I need more of their story.

This was a heavily character driven novel and it was so well done. Even the side characters, like Sara and Elizabeth were wonderfully written. They had such character and spunk and I would even be okay if there was more to the story just about them. I want Nicole Castroman to write me anything and everything about this time period.

If you are looking for your next epic romance, I am directing you to this novel. Anne and Teach and their love for each other and to be free in Castroman's hand made for an excellent read.

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