Thursday, May 8, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Cutlass by Ashley Nixon - Ashley's Review + GIVEAWAY!

Hi all! Today, we're happy to bring you Ashley's review as a part of the blog tour for Ashley Nixon's new pirate fantasy book, Cutlass! There's also a giveaway after Ashley's review, so be sure to enter for your chance to win one of several really neat prizes (including signed paperbacks, an adorable purple octopus mug, bookmarks, and more). Also, don't forget to stop by the rest of the tour stops for interviews, excerpts, and more reviews! You can find all of the links to the participating blogs on the tour schedule.

Before we get to the review and the giveaway though, here's a little bit about Cutlass and Ashley Nixon.

About the Book

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Title: Cutlass (Cutlass Series #1)
Author: Ashley Nixon
Publication Date: April 23, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis: Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancĂ© seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his  strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

About the Author

Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren’t used as much as she’d like. When she’s not writing, she’s hard at work on her Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology, working out, or pretending she’s Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she’s loved everything Fantasy–resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the ‘geek’ tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.

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Ashley's Review

I love fantasy, and I love books about pirates, so there was no question that I absolutely had to read this book. And let me tell you, I was not let down by Barren, Larkin, and their friends. Cutlass is an epic adventure from beginning to end, and left me wanting so much more from this world! 

Between the world building, plot twists, character development, and adventure, quite a bit happens in this book. So I was actually pleasantly surprised when I realized that all of these things are woven together in such a way that the plot still moves along at a pretty fast pace and I didn't feel like I was trudging through details to get to the meat of the story. There are a couple of times when things are told rather than shown, but those moments are surrounded by such beautiful writing that it's easy to stay engrossed in the story and move on. 

I also really enjoyed learning about all of the characters. No two are alike - not even the twins - and all of them have their secrets. Even the minor characters had a decent amount of roundness to them and were just as dynamic as Barren and Larkin. Most of the book focuses on Barren's thoughts and actions, but it was also really interesting to see things as they happened to Larkin. Some of the transitions were a little sudden, but it wasn't too difficult to figure out what was going on and get back in to the story. I'm definitely interested in seeing how Barren and Larkin deal with their new lives, as things are very different from the way they were in the beginning. Leaf was probably my favorite character - he's just as sassy and hilarious as I imagine Elves should be, but he's also got a very dark side to him. 

I really thought that the whole "I must seek revenge for my father's death!" thing would get very old very quickly, but Nixon included so many twists and turns and new information that led to second thoughts that the plot never felt stale or boring to me. There's so much more to Jess Reed than meets the eye, and the circumstances behind his death run much deeper than I thought they would. So many people were involved without even knowing it, and I think that helped keep things interesting! 

If you love pirate books and are looking for a high fantasy YA novel, I would definitely recommend Cutlass! Even if you aren't a fan of high fantasy, Cutlass is very approachable and not at all confusing like high fantasy can sometimes be.Give Cutlass a chance, because the pirates are swoony and the plot exciting! Any fans of pirates will not want to miss this book! 4/5. 

And now, the GIVEAWAY! 

Thanks for stopping by our stop on the Cutlass blog tour! 

--Ashley & Paul


  1. Ooh I like the sounds of the one and one reason I'm wary of epic fantasy is how confusing they can be with millions of characters and kingdoms to keep track of etc. I'm glad this one is not like that. I'll have to give it a try!

  2. Thank you so much for the review, Ashley! I'm so happy you enjoyed Cutlass!