Off the Charts – run (Blake Crouch)

off the chart

Ahoy there me mateys!  Me introduction to this author was the novel dark matter, which I highly enjoyed.  So when a local library had a copy of this standalone thriller, I snagged it.

While this novel was fast and fun it also felt rather average.  The plot of the novel is that normal American citizens are going crazy and homicidal.  One family, the Colcloughs, are determined to stay together and survive.  So they run.  I mean, I know that is the title, but basically they run the entire book.

The novel started off with an interesting prologue and then a lovely set-up.  Then of course the author messed with me expectations in a good way with some loverly plot twists.  And kept it up for about half the book.  Then the pace slowed down and became less interesting.  How many improbable situations can this family survive?  Apparently all of them.

The main characters Jack and Dee were both kinda stupid in the beginning in terms of their takes on life and each other.  Both did improve in the book which was nice.  The kids, Cole and Naomi, were portrayed rather well except that they were mostly used as narrative device to kept the parents focused.  I mean the kids slept through so much action it seemed absurd.  I wanted the whole family to contribute to the quest for survival.  I know Cole was seven but there have to be useful seven year olds.  I like to think that I was helpful at that end and not only a hindrance.

And the description for why the Americans went crazy was kinda lame.  However there was a twist at the end that I rather liked.  Overall it was a good reading experience and I am willing to read another Crouch book.  I just think this one was okay.

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

Picture this: A landscape of American genocide…

5 days ago
A rash of bizarre murders swept the country…
Senseless. Brutal. Seemingly unconnected.
A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike.
A mass of school shootings.
Prison riots of unprecedented brutality.
Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.

4 days ago
The murders increased ten-fold…

3 days ago
The President addressed the nation and begged for calm and peace…

2 days ago
The killers began to mobilize…

Yesterday
All the power went out…

Tonight
They’re reading the names of those to be killed on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they’ve just read yours.

Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People are coming to your house to kill you and your family. You don’t know why, but you don’t have time to think about that any more.

You only have time to….

R U N

To visit the author’s website go to:

Blake Crouch – Author

To buy the book go to:

run – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the weaver (Emmi Itaranta)

weavers

Ahoy there me mateys!  After I read this Finnish author’s debut novel, memory of water, I knew I had to read her next book when it came out.  And while I enjoyed her first novel more, there was a lot to be enjoyed in this one as well.

The world building in this novel was wonderful.  The story takes place on an island where everything is deeply regimented.  One of the main rules is that dreaming is not allowed.  It is treated like the plague and if discovered to be a Dreamer then the person is thrown into House of the Tainted never to be seen again.

There are other Houses like the House of Words and the House of Webs.  Our main character, Eliana, lives in the House of Webs and weaves.  She has secrets, among them being able to read and also being a dreamer.  She tries to stay invisible and safe in her structured world.  Then one day she discovers an injured girl, Valeria, who happens to have Eliana’s name tattooed on her palm.  Eliana can’t help but be drawn into the mystery.  As Eliana begins to become closer to Valeria, will she give up her safety and worldview to solve the puzzle?

The relationship between Valeria and Eliana is one of the highlights of the book for me.  Their connection is slow burning but wonderful and kept me avidly reading.  While not the focus of the book, their relationship drives the story.  It was sweet and endearing.  I also enjoyed the loving relationship between Eliana and her brother Janos.  There is also a kick ass healer whom I adored too.

The details in this novel were as stunning at the ones in the author’s first novel.  The circumstances and explanations of the tattoos were fun.  The glimpses into the other Houses felt realistic and left me wanting to know more about the purposes of them all.  I adored how the island would flood.  Those descriptions were so vivid and stark.  This author’s writing feels magical.

While I loved the world the author created, I did have some issues with the dreaming aspects of the novel.  The dreaming is very fantastical and even though there is an explanation for why dreaming is dangerous, I didn’t really love it.  The ending of the novel in particular seemed extremely odd.  I wouldn’t say that I hated it.  It just left me sort of confused.

Despite that I did find this novel thought-provoking and am glad I read it.  I will be reading whatever this author produces next.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Eliana is a model citizen of the island, a weaver in the prestigious House of Webs. She also harbors a dangerous secret—she can dream, an ability forbidden by the island’s elusive council of elders. No one talks about the dreamers, the undesirables ostracized from society.

But the web of protection Eliana has woven around herself begins to unravel when a young girl is found lying unconscious in a pool of blood on the stones outside the house. Robbed of speech by her attackers, the only clue to her identity is one word tattooed in invisible ink across her palm: Eliana. Why does this mysterious girl bear her name? What links her to the weaver—and how can she hold Eliana’s fate in her hand?

As Eliana finds herself growing closer to this injured girl she is bound to in ways she doesn’t understand, the enchanting lies of the island begin to crumble, revealing a deep and ancient corruption. Joining a band of brave rebels determined to expose the island’s dark secrets, Eliana becomes a target of ruthless forces determined to destroy her. To save herself and those she loves, she must call on the power within her she thought was her greatest weakness: her dreams.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Emmi Itaranta – Author

To buy this novel to go:

the weaver – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

memory of water (The Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – scythe (Neal Shusterman)

Printed matter - Handwriting - Whaling log book, The Daniel Webster 1850s-635x1000

Ahoy there me mateys!  This cover and its title drew me in:

Isn’t that gorgeous?  So of course I had to know what it was about.  Turns out that Earth, with the help of a super computer, has no natural death, hunger, disease, war, etc.  But because the population still needs to be controlled, there are human scythes whose job it is to choose who will die.- within certain rules and parameters of course.

The story concerns Citra and Rowan, two teens, who are chosen to be trained as apprentice scythes.  Neither of them wants the job but both say yes for assorted reasons.  The catch is that only one of them will be chosen to advance as a scythe.  But each apprentice has to decide if they truly want the job as well as try to pass the appropriate tests..

The world and characters that the author set up were extremely interesting.  I liked the various scythes and how each chooses to approach the work.  I love the weird super computer.  I enjoyed both Citra and Rowan’s stories.  I thought the introduction to both of those characters as well as to their master scythe were especially well done and engaging.  There are a lot of lovely details that made this version of Earth come alive for me.

The flaw in the reading was in the plot.  The first half flew by and then the story seemed to stagnate.  The middle was kinda boring and there were some plot twists that I did not like at all.  But I kept reading because I loved the overall world set-up and wanted to know how it ended.  And I highly enjoyed how the author chose to conclude this first book.  I am not sure what will happen in the second book but I do believe I will read it.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neal Shusterman – Author

To buy the book go to:

scythe – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – gilded cage (Vic James)

sinking ship

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

gilded cage (Vic James)

Title: gilded cage

Author: Vic James

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine / Del Ray

Publication Date: TODAY!!! (Hardcover/E-Book)

ISBN: 9780425284155

Source: NetGalley

This novel sounded awesome.  It is a young adult dystopian with a magical twist.  I thought this novel would float me boat. But I just could not finish it and had to abandon ship at 70%.  Even though I did skip to the end and read the last chapters.  Why ye ask?  Well for a myriad of reasons (in no particular order):

  • The revolution – it just got boring.  This is what killed the book for me.  I thought how the revolution began was rather uninspiring and the “dangerous” actions of the rebels felt lackluster.  Spray painting walls.  Hanging banners.  I mean I know it was only the beginning of the rebellion but I didn’t care about it at all and didn’t even want to read about it anymore.
  • Secondary characters – while I actually liked the main characters of Luke, Abi, and was even okay with Silyen, I had problems with many of the secondary characters being rather blah.  Silyen’s brother Gavar and Jenner were very flat with seemingly little psychology into why they did what they did.  Gavar was boorish and angry.  Jenner was ineffectual and a hand-wringer.  Add in sadistic guards, the hot love interest for Luke called Angel (Ugh!), and the rebels who happen to have super skills and I just felt underwhelmed.
  • That being said, I did love the sibling relationships between Luke, Abi and Daisy.  Also loved the street urchin Renie.  She hit all me soft spots.
  • The parents – well the good news is that parents are present in a young adult novel.  Luke and Abi had loving wonderful parents.  Okay there.  But the bad thing is that after seemingly being involved even tangentially in the beginning, they just disappear from the plot.  Silyen’s parents are present but seemingly to only have the father and mother be two-dimensional power hungry bad guys.
  • Insta-love – Sigh.  Jenner and Abi.  Blech.
  • Politics – the political maneuvering, which normally I love, was just not appealing.  Somehow the problem seemed to be the set-up for how the world functioned.  It just didn’t quite make sense.
  • The magic – cool concepts but again didn’t seem to have a premise that made complete sense.  I will will chalk it up to being a first in a trilogy.  However I did want more of the magic that added to the usual dystopian flavor.
  • I don’t normally read the endings of books I abandon but I guess the good news about the writing is while I didn’t want to have to “live” through it, I did want to know how this one tied up.  That was just more proof that I am done with this series.

With so many books on the horizon, I just gave up.  I want me reading to make time seem to disappear, not to accentuate every second passing.  I am sad, but I couldn’t fight the tide.

If ye want to read another take on this novel of me crew member that loved it check out this review from Beth @ Reading Every Night.

If ye want to read a take on this novel of me crew member who is in the minority with me check out this review from Millie @ Milliebot Reads.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine / Del Ray!

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

NOT ALL ARE FREE   –   NOT ALL ARE EQUAL   –   NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge…

ABI is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, she faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty–but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution…

Abi’s brother LUKE is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, Luke makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts…

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate–or destroy?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Vic James – Author

To buy the novel go to:

gilded cage – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – miniatures (John Scalzi)

miniatures

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

miniatures: the very short fiction of john scalzi (John Scalzi)

Title: miniatures: the very short fiction of john scalzi

Author: John Scalzi

Illustrator: Natalie Metzger

Publisher: Subterranean Press

Publication Date: December 31, 2016 (hardback/e-book)

ISBN: 9781596068124

Source: NetGalley

Okay so it may be no secret to me crew that I am kinda in love with John Scalzi’s novels.  He has been featured on a Broadside, had the dispatcher reviewed by both me and the First Mate, and writes a blog called Whatever, that I follow regularly.  So when the man himself blogged about the release of this short story collection I knew I wanted to read it.  When I was on Netgalley, I happened to see it.  Then the publisher happened to grant it to me for readin’.  Yay!

Since I am very familiar with the Scalzi writing style, I waited for a day that was rather blah and where I needed a pick-me-up.  Cause Scalzi is funny.  So the day came and I settled in me bunk for a treat.  And I got exactly what I wanted.

Out of the 18 pieces, me top 3 standouts . . .

“Alien Animal Encounters” – Perhaps ye have heard of the those segments where people like Jay Leno do segments like “Jay Walking” where random people on the street are asked the Question of the Week.  Well in this story, the question is “What is the most interesting encounter you’ve had with an alien animal species?”  This is the first story of the collection and set the tone nicely.  Favorite animals included the cat (duh!) and the courou.

“Denise Jones, Superbooker” – Set in the form of a transcript, this story is about a booking agent for super heroes.  She answers important questions about super hero secret identities, contracts, and other secrets of the biz.  The bit about Bryan Garcia made me happy.  There is a related story later in the collection called “The State of Super Villainy” that was fun too.

“Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back” – Security systems, fridges, waffle irons . . . if they could speak what would they report about their owners.  ‘Nuff said.

There were a couple of stories that didn’t really float me boat – one about Pluto, one about extortionists, and one about Penelope.  And some that were just plain weird Scalzi – like sentient yogurt.  But overall Scalzi delivers as usual.  Quick and fun.

For another take by me crew member who loved it:

the green onion

So lastly . . .

Thank you Subterranean Press!

Netgalley’s website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

John Scalzi – Author

To buy the novel go to:

miniatures – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – ghost talkers (Mary Robinette Kowal)

Animal - Sea mammal - Whale - Whale ship logging book 07-583x1000

Ahoy there me mateys!  I had heard of this author before but had never read any of her work.  However when I heard the premise for this alternative history/fantasy set in World World I, it was immediately added to me ports for plunder list.

So basically the idea of the book is that if mediums could talk to ghosts, then how would the military have used this ability in times of warfare?  Why setting up a “Spirit Corps” of course.  The soldiers are trained so that when they die, their ghosts report to the mediums to give current information of troop movements and other intelligence.

The main character, Ginger, is a medium in the Spirit Corp who speaks with the soldiers in their final debriefing before these ghosts are dismissed from duty.  I thought Ginger was a fantastic main character – feisty, compassionate, stubborn, intelligent, etc.  I loved her fiancee, Ben.  Their relationship was the highlight of the book for me.  I adored the tenderness of their relationship and yet the realistic ideas that couples get annoyed with each other and have to deal with reality.  The setting of the war was poignant for their relationship.

I also found many of the secondary characters in the novel to be wonderful.  I loved the other members of Ginger’s circle.  Helen and Mrs. Richardson were two particular favorites from the circle.  Oh and I adored Cpl. Patel.

The major conflict in the novel is trying to keep the mediums safe from the Germans.  But when it appears a traitor might be in their midst, it is up to Ginger to determine who it is and stop them.  The mystery of the traitor was super predictable to me but apparently no one else.  That was a small flaw in the novel for me.   But it did not ruin the book for me at all.

Overall I found the ending of how Ginger deals with the traitor to be wonderful.  I was sad to read about the stories of the dead soldiers and the waste of life but how the author handled the ghosts was a particularly nice touch, one I won’t spoil.  I highly recommend this book as long as ye are okay with death and war in stories.  I think Mary is a great author and created a wonderful story.  I loved the historical notes at the end of the novel too.

Side note: The author is a professional puppeteer!

I will certainly be reading more of her books in the future.

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Harford, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force. Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.

Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she’s just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Mary Robinette Kowal – Author

To buy the book go to:

ghost talkers – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Off the Charts and On the Horizon – a darkness absolute (Kelley Armstrong)

pier

Ahoy there me mateys!  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, city of the lost, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

a darkness absolute (Kelley Armstrong)

Title: a darkness absolute

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: Macmillian/Minotaur Books – Established in 1999, Minotaur is a premier publisher in the bestselling category of crime fiction.

Publication Date: TODAY!!! (Hardcover/E-book)

ISBN:     978-1250092175

Source:  I received this thriller/crime ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  So here are me honest musings . . .

I love Kelley Armstrong!  I discovered her through her young adult book, sea of shadows, and she became me most read author of 2016.  I couldn’t help but gobble up her work which led to me seeking out her adult crime thriller, city of the lost.  So when the publisher contacted me directly and asked if I wanted to read the sequel to that thriller I said yes please and did a happy dance of joy.

It certainly was another highly engaging and intense book.  In this novel, Casey has lived in Rockton for over four months after successfully figuring out the who-dunnit in the first book.  This book starts out with a bang as Casey and Will, the deputy, are looking for a runaway resident of Rockton in a howling Yukon snowstorm.  They find something way crazier than who they initially were looking for.

The suspense set up in that storm continued throughout most of the book.  Unlike the first novel, I did figure out the bad guy at about the middle of the book, which was a bummer because Casey was always a couple of steps behind at that point.  But overall it did not decrease me enjoyment.

I continued to find Casey to be a highly likeable and awesome protagonist.  Her spunk and grit makes me happy.  This book also had some surprising revelations about other Rockton residents.  That I was not expecting and it was cool to have some of me own conclusions flipped upside down.

Whether it was me noodles being hard to eat because I was trying to read and kept missing me mouth or not wanting to bunk down for some shut-eye because I had to know how the story resolved, this book was hard to put down.  I did have some minor quibbles with the ending that I would love to discuss with me crew at some point and the mysteries of this novel seemed less organic in this book versus the first, but overall a very enjoyable reading process.

I need to know where there be another Casey story?  Only time will tell . . . but I will definitely be wanting more from Kelley Armstrong.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian/Minotaur Books!

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers.

Now, in A Darkness Absolute, Casey and her fellow Rockton sheriff’s deputy Will chase a cabin-fevered resident into the woods, where they are stranded in a blizzard. Taking shelter in a cave, they discover a former resident who’s been held captive for over a year. When the bodies of two other women turn up, Casey and her colleagues must find out if it’s an outsider behind the killings or if the answer is more complicated than that…before another victim goes missing.

To visit the author’s website and blog go to:

Kelley Armstrong – Author

To buy the novel visit:

a darkness absolute – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

sea of shadows- book one (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

empires of the night -book two (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

forest of ruin – book three (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the masked truth (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Thriller)

city of the lost (Off the Charts – Thriller/Crime Novel)