Review: The Voyage of the Sea Wolf by Eve Bunting


Title: Voyage of the Sea Wolf

Author:  Eve Bunting

Publisher:  Sleeping Bear Press

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

At the end of The Pirate Captain’s Daughter, Catherine and cabin boy William are marooned on Pox Island by the murderous crew of the pirate ship Reprisal. The young lovers see no hope of escape.

In Voyage of the Sea Wolf, the continuing saga of Catherine’s sea adventures, she and William are rescued from their island prison by the Sea Wolf, a pirate ship pursuing the Reprisal. Catherine worries that these new pirates will send her back to the island once they discover she’s a girl. But then, she meets the captain of the Sea Wolf. A woman! Surely, Catherine thinks, the bloodshed and brutality she and William experienced aboard the Reprisal can’t happen again, especially under the leadership of a female captain.

But just as things seem to be going their way, the captain takes a liking to William. Catherine is forbidden to see him.

If Catherine and William want to stay together, they must find a way to now escape from the Sea Wolf.


After enjoying The Pirate Captain’s Daughter so much, I was hyped to start reading The Voyage of the Sea Wolf.  Ultimately I was disappointed, as the characters all displayed a shocking lack of common sense, especially Catherine, who was so resourceful in the last book.  I guess watching your father murdered and then being dumped on a deserted island would be cause to completely lose your marbles, but I was really hoping for better from our plucky heroine.  Her near death experience left her incapable of making one commendable decision until the very end of the book.  The ending is another disappointment.  Without giving out too many spoilers, William and Catherine are left in pretty much the same situation as the prior book. Ugh!

When the young lovers are rescued, saved from the brink of death, they have new challenges to face.  They’ve been rescued by another pirate ship, this one captained by a fierce woman who imagines herself to be like her namesake,  Medb, the daughter of the High King of Ireland and a brutally calculating warrior who took what she wanted, when she wanted it.  Like her namesake, Medb is cold and cruel, and when she sees William, she wants him.  I found this storyline wearying.  She is significantly older than William, yet for Medb, it is lust at first sight.  She will have him, because he reminds her of her lost love.  She will possess him, for no other reason than this uncanny resemblance to a man she drove away years before.  This made no sense to me, regardless of how handsome William was.  He was but a boy to her, and the attraction creeped me out.  Considering that Medb is a bloodthirsty, possibly psychotic  pirate, this shouldn’t have turned me off like it did, but I couldn’t get beyond how gross is was to me.

To egg her on, William is disrespectful and defiant.  Medb, her heart lost to William, took all of her anger out on Catherine.  This is another plot point that drove me nuts.  Catherine knew that Medb was just looking for any excuse to get rid of her so she could have William all to herself, yet she purposefully  does stupid things to piss the pirate captain off.  Let’s stop for just one second and think about the pirates in Eve Bunting’s novels.  These are not Disney pirates, with yummy tats and weird things woven into their sleek braids.  These are pirate pirates, the kind who make a living plundering other ships and murdering innocent people.  They steal stuff, they shoot people, and they live by a code that demands obedience and loyalty to their ship and their captain.  Both William and Catherine have close, intimate knowledge about how things work on a pirate ship.  They witnessed murder first hand, and experienced pirate punishment.  They suffered pain and almost died because they pissed off another ship full of pirates and decided to not follow the rules.  Did they learn anything from that experience  Nope!

While these plot elements did bug me, there were aspects of the book that I did enjoy.  The battle scenes were tense and exciting, and the details of daily life on a ship  was fascinating.  While I found the supernatural elements ridiculous at times, Medb’s fear of witches and evil magic made perfect sense given how precarious life on a little ship in the middle of a very large and dangerous ocean could be.  One run of bad luck could spell doom for everyone aboard, and Medb took omens very seriously.  Until the time she didn’t and greed won out over her fear, spelling disaster for everyone.  I didn’t understand that, either.  She was a seasoned leader, in addition to being extremely superstitious.   It was against her character to disregard every single evil portent and to continue with her plans to launch an attack against another ship.

While this book didn’t totally work for me, I am still curious to follow Catherine and William as they try to make their way home.  I just hope that they learned something this time, so that they don’t vex me as much when we meet again.

Grade: C

Review copy provided by publisher

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New and Notable Releases Week of August 6 – Part One

Here are some new and notable books that are releasing this week:

Check back tomorrow for YA and MG releases

(Please hit your refresh button if the images don’t load)


Sweet Deception by Heather Snow

Kiss of the Moon by Lisa Jackson (eBook)

A Woman Made for Pleasure by Michele Sinclair



The Spymaster’s Daughter by Jeane Westin

A Lady Never Lies by Juliana Gray

The Black Isle by Sandi Tan (Kindle eBook is 4.99!)



Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood

One Night Rodeo by Lorelei James

White Hot by Nina Bruhns


Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker

The Grass King’s Concubine by Kari Sperring

Libriomancer by Jim C Hines


Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway

Time Untime by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Biting Cold by Chole Neill


Master of Darkness by Angela Knight

Desire After Dark by Jo Carlisle

Kept by Seduction by Jaymie Holland


Lover’s Instinct by Katie Reus (eNovella)

Mina Wentwork and the Invisible City by Meljean Brook (eNovella)

Originally Human by Eileen Wilks



King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

A Wolf at the Door by K A Stewart

Two Weeks’ Notice by Rachel Caine


Seawitch by Kat Richardson

The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow

Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards

Heart of Darkness by Kira Brady

Fragile by Shiloh Walker

A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious by Mary Wine

Are any of these on your to buy list?

Interview with Stacy DeKeyser, Author of The Brixen Witch

Stacy DeKeyser is the author of The Brixen Witch, a new Middle Grade release with a witch, a curse, and lots and lots of rats!  I invited Stacy to the Café to talk about her latest release.  Check out what she has to say!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Stacy DeKeyser] Book nerd; loves dogs; consumes too much sugar. Whimpers upon realizing she’ll never get to read all the books she’d like to.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Brixen Witch?

[Stacy DeKeyser] It’s kind of two stories combined into one: a story about a village with its own witch, built on the bones of the Pied Piper legend.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Stacy DeKeyser] I’d wanted to write a story about a mountain witch for years, ever since visiting the Italian Alps in 2000, where there are local legends about witches. But I could never figure out what her story should be.Then, in 2009, I stumbled across a mention of the Pied Piper legend, and how it may be based on real events. I’d always known that, of course, but  this time I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The tragedy and lopsided cruelty of that story haunted me. Most fairy tales tend to be dark, but this is one of the few where NO ONE lives happily ever after, and NO ONE gets their comeuppance. It bothered me, and so I wanted to write my own version of the story.

As I researched, I came upon Kate Greenaway’s illustrations of the Robert Browning poem, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin." Greenaway’s version of Hamelin looked just like the village in the Italian Alps with the witch. Something clicked in my head, and I knew I had found a way to write the witch’s story too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Rudi?

[Stacy DeKeyser] Serious. Kind. Brave.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Rudi would never have in his pocket?

[Stacy DeKeyser] Keys — Because his house is never locked.

Marbles — He’s a little too serious to play with marbles.

A handkerchief — He’s a boy. He knows what sleeves are for.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Rudi had a theme song, what would it be?

[Stacy DeKeyser] You know that song about conquering your fears and meanwhile discovering who you’re meant to be? Yeah! That’s the one.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Stacy DeKeyser] My mom, Dori Chaconas, who has been writing and publishing since I was a kid, and who showed me that even "regular" people can write books and be published.

Jonathan Stroud, who can weave plot and character seamlessly. A master.

Richard Peck, who says "No one but a reader ever became a writer." Because he’s talking about me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Stacy DeKeyser] A beverage (preferably caffeinated)

Background music (preferably instrumental; preferably with a Celtic flavor)

A deadline (preferably imposed by someone else)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Stacy DeKeyser] I loved The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud . That book is satisfying on every level: It’s expertly plotted and yet the story never feels forced; the characters are vivid and real. It entertains and yet it asks thought-provoking questions. And, it’s hilarious. I especially love the footnotes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Stacy DeKeyser] I was turned on to reading before I ever learned to read. I honestly remember being very small and wishing I knew how to read. I couldn’t wait to start school, because I knew that’s where the magic would happen.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Stacy DeKeyser] Well, reading, of course. Traveling. Hiking. Shopping. Eating.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Stacy DeKeyser] I love hearing from readers! I’m on Facebook, and Twitter, and you can email me via my website.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase The Brixen Witch from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below. Available in print and digital.

America’s Royal Couple Contest – Win Marrying Up by Wendy Holden!

Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have a copy of Wendy Holden’s Marrying Up  to give to one lucky reader!  Check out the information below about Marrying Up and fill out the widget  to enter for a chance to win!


As women around the world watched Will and Kate walk down the aisle, many of them were plotting how they could find their own prince charming.

Razor-sharp in its wit and as fresh as newlywed royals, Marrying Up (ISBN 9781402270673, Sourcebooks Landmark, Fiction, Trade Paperback, $14.99 U.S., Aug 2012) by Wendy Holden reveals how sometimes a rags-to-riches story can rip a girl to shreds—and how sometimes the crown on your head can nearly crush you.

Only a title, a mansion, and a family tiara will do for a scheming social climber like Alexa, and she will go to great lengths to get it.  Starting by befriending clueless aristocrat Florrie, who fills her life with parties, texting, and, above all, champagne, means that the grandest doors swing open and the prince of her dreams is within reach. But has Florrie’s mother, the formidable Lady Annabel, figured out Alexa’s intentions already?

Meanwhile, beautiful but penniless archaeology student Polly has found herself in love after a chance meeting with a dark-eyed stranger named Max. However, Max is hiding a big secret, a secret that could ultimately ruin any chance of him and Polly living happily ever after. 

About the Author

Wendy Holden (UK) was a journalist for the Sunday Times, Tatler, and The Mail on Sunday before becoming a full-time author. She has now published nine novels, all top 10 bestsellers in the UK. Her novels include Beautiful People, Farm Fatale, and Filthy Rich and feature sassy humor with a great cast of characters. For more information, please visit:


Giveaway Time!!

Entering is easy! Just fill out the widget below, and make sure to answer this question: Who is  America’s Royal Couple?  Is it old time favorite Brangelina? Or perhaps the new comers Kim Kardashian & Kanye West, aka Kimye?  Go ahead and chime in with your choice!  US and Canadian shipping addresses only, please.

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