The Captain’s Log – arclight (Josin L. McQuein)

arclight (Josin L. McQuein)

A girl in a dystopian society of the future with amnesia and a need to know her past. This is a book that reminds me of my introduction to this type of novel as a younger human: The Giver, a must have if you haven’t picked it up yet. Other more recent novels that have the same feel include the Uglies Trilogy, the Pure Trilogy, and the Hunger Games Trilogy to name a few. These societies have a strange blend of technology and primitiveness. There are a lot of rules that favor conformity. The land outside the safe zones is damaged and dangerous and forbidden. A small minority controls. Survival at almost any cost, except at the expense of loved ones if possible. All three recent series contain strong female characters, which is wonderful, but should appeal to readers regardless of gender.

The difference between Arclight and the other books is that is that the spin on this type of tale actually surprised me. I just honestly can say that the philosophical and psychological questions were unexpected enough that I found myself happily pondering the various possibilities and histories with much interest when I was done. Now mind you, I stayed up all night to finish this book and at 3:00 in the morning still delved into such thoughts though my brain was demanding sleep. And I LOVE to sleep.

I cannot say this novel takes the top spot in my Dystopian novel reading. Some of the world’s internal logic seemed off when dealing with specifics of how the individuals versus the group mindset worked. However, it was worth missing sleep over. I loved the main character Marina. I loved the world the author created. The second novel is due out February 2, 2016. I want it.

To give you a taste of what the book is about in the author’s own words:

Arclight is short for ‘Arc of Light,’ meaning the weave of high powered lamps that serve as a barrier against the darkness. It’s the only known safe zone for humans left in the world, as creatures called the Fade have taken over pretty much everything else. Since these creatures are photophobic, and have violently adverse reactions to direct sunlight, the Arc functions as a wall.

The Arclight itself isn’t a single building, but a military base where the Fade were developed as medical tools. In the early days of man’s fall to the Fade, this base was the only facility with containment equipment rigged to handle the Fade, so it’s where people from the surrounding areas were taken as refugees.

There are strict rules about when people are allowed outside of the buildings, and how far they can venture, though the younger citizens of the Arclight often challenge these boundaries. Inside, there are dormitory wings made up of apartments (for families) and single rooms (for people living alone). There’s a common hall for meals; the kids have classrooms and nursery rooms for infants. Everything is arranged along a grid of colored lines to designate which sections are off-limits to those without security clearance . . .

Want to read this book yet?

As a side note, perusing this author’s blog was super fun. If you are planning to read other books in this series like I am but it’s been a while and you need a refresher then the author very nicely gives recaps. Not that I needed the recaps having just read the book, but it was wonderful to get that view from the author herself on the purpose of the book, the characters. etc.

To visit the author’s blog visit:

Josin L. McQuein – Author

To buy this book visit:

arclight – Book


Ports for Plunder (or books I desperately want)

So I was scouting for booty that I want to commandeer in the future. Usually I hear about new novels through other explorers or through the grapevine that is gossip. But while on passing time on shore at a local bookstore, I saw the following items that I want with a fiery passion (in no particular order):

  1. the storm by Virginia Bergin, a sequel to H2O
  2. the testing trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau
  3. need by Joelle Charbonneau
  4. the rising by Ian Tregillis, a sequel to the mechanical
  5. empire ascendant by Kameron Hurley, sequel to the mirror empire
  6. valour by John Gwynne, sequel to malice
  7. ruin by John Gwynne, sequel to valour
  8. saturn run by John Sandford and Ctein
  9. the girl with the ghost eyes by M. H. Boroson
  10. soundless by Richelle Mead
  11. forget tomorrow by Pintip Dunn
  12. front lines by Michael Grant
  13. once again by Cameron Dokey and Liz Braswell
  14. truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  15. illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  16. walk on earth a stranger by Rae Carson
  17. the masked truth by Kelley Armstrong
  18. a thousand nights by E.K. Johnston

One can never have too many books.  Have any of my hearties read books off this list?  If so share your comments or link to your reviews.

Curiosities of the Deep – the boy with the porcelain blade (Den Patrick)

the boy with the porcelain blade (Den Patrick)

Well me mateys, you may remember the time where someone commandeered me 12 pages. Arrrrgh! I have reclaimed me missing pages at last. Just like last time, however, there was an interesting curiosity in my new copy of the book. My old version ended on page 308. And when I opened the new version I saw this:

page 308

Can you see that? If not let me apprise you of the situation. The new copy had one earmark in the novel and low and behold it just happened to be on page 308 where I previously had left off. Fortuitous no?

The book is finished, and I can finally share my thoughts on the subject. Now normally I write a review as soon as I am finished the book. In this case, I had a lot of extra time to ponder what I read. I found this book to have an engaging main character in Lucien de Fotein. He is coarse, intelligent, sarcastic, and a real dastard in some ways. Despite myself, I like him. I also really enjoyed the character of Anea, a smart girl who is a secondary character but an awesome one. The Orfano, the deformed citizens in the novel, overall had fun characters and personalities. The “regular folk” in the world seemed to be more two dimensional in goals and actions. I was not interested in them and wanted them to be better fleshed out.

The world itself feels very renaissance-like with a lot of scheming and plotting and politics. It felt confusing and unclear. It was almost as though the author had so many good ideas that he tried to do it all and it came out jumbled. All the sides seemed to be fighting to “get the power” but for no real reason. And everyone seems to hate everyone else for no real reason either. The portion with the king as a character in the story seemed only to be there so that the Orfano existed. Even the world’s own myths and history seemed to contradict each other.

There was another major flaw in the novel. There were a ton of flashbacks in this novel making it extremely hard to keep track of timeline in reading. I almost wanted a prequel about Lucien and how he grew up and then the boy with the porcelain blade to be what happens next which leads into the series. Normally I do not mind flashbacks, but just as I got caught by one scenario it would switch and derail my train of thought.

I have thought long and hard about whether I would read the next two books of the trilogy and at this point I am undecided. I do like the two characters I mentioned and sort of what to know what happens. Maybe if the books were from the local library or free. But I bought this book and wish I would have spent my money on something else.

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

An ornate yet dark fantasy, with echoes of Scott Lynch, Robin Hobb and Jon Courtenay Grimwood. An original and beautifully imagined world, populated by unforgettable characters. A debut novel which garnered rave reviews on publication from fellow authors, bloggers and the likes of SFX magazine.

Lucien de Fontein has grown up different. One of the mysterious and misshapen Orfano who appear around the Kingdom of Landfall, he is a talented fighter yet constantly lonely, tormented by his deformity, and well aware that he is a mere pawn in a political game. Ruled by an insane King and the venomous Majordomo, it is a world where corruption and decay are deeply rooted – but to a degree Lucien never dreams possible when he first discovers the plight of the ‘insane’ women kept in the haunting Sanatoria.

Told in a continuous narrative interspersed with flashbacks we see Lucien grow up under the care of his tutors. We watch him forced through rigorous Testings, and fall in love, set against his yearning to discover where he comes from, and how his fate is tied to that of every one of the deformed Orfano in the Kingdom, and of the eerie Sanatoria itself.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Den Patrick – Author

To buy this book visit:

the boy with the porcelain blade – Book

Walk the Plank – above (Leah Bobet)

Ahoy there mateys.  It’s time to walk the plank . . .

above (Leah Bobet)

This was the author’s debut novel and has a wonderful cover. I wanted to like it. I tried to like it, but this novel took forever . . . okay about 3 days to get through. Trudged through. The story was interesting enough that I did not abandon it for something new. However, I kept wanting to give up and then would convince myself to keep going. I enjoyed the main character, Teller and his world of Safe. But the story focused too much on the hows and whys of the story of Safe’s founding. I would have preferred more insight into the individuals themselves. There were glimpses into the characters’ pasts but a glimpse is all it was. A tantalizing tidbit of information here and there but not enough payout for me. Don’t think I would recommend this book to anyone but I would be curious as to how the writer’s second novel could be.

This is what the author’s had to say about the novel:

Matthew’s father had lion’s feet and his mother had gills, and both fled the modern-day city to live in underground Safe, a secret community of freaks, ghost-whisperers, and disabled outcasts hidden beyond the subways and sewers. Raised underground, Matthew is responsible for the keeping of both Safe’s histories and the traumatized shapeshifter Ariel, the girl he took in, fell in love with – and can’t stop from constantly running away.

But Safe is no longer safe: the night after a frightening encounter in the sewers, Safe’s founder Atticus is murdered by the one person Safe ever exiled: mad Corner, whose coup is backed by an army of mindless, whispering shadows.

Only Matthew, Ariel, and a handful of unstable, crippled compatriots escape to the city that cast them out; the dangerous place he knows only as Above. Despite Ariel’s increasingly erratic behaviour and with the odds against them, Matthew must find a way to rescue Safe from Corner’s occupying army. But as his quest leads him through abandoned asylums and the dregs of urban poverty, Matthew discovers that the histories he’s devoted his life to aren’t true: Corner’s invasion — and Ariel’s terrors – are rooted in a history of Safe much darker and bloodier than Matthew ever imagined.

And even if he manages to save both home and Ariel, he may well lose himself.

To see the author’s own site visit:

Leah Bobet – Author

To buy this book visit:

above – Book

The Captain’s Log – black wolves (Kate Elliott)

Ahoy there mateys.  The dreaded snow has finally finished falling.  My first mate is gallantly working on snow removal.  So a new blog for you . . .

black wolves (Kate Elliott)

This wonderful novel is set in the Hundred. It is a new trilogy that begins twenty-two years after where her previous Crossroads series ended. If you have not read the Crossroads series first, then I suggest you do because it sets up the political wrangling and world-building that then sets the stage for this novel. The series is damn good besides.

Ms. Elliott is a fabulous world builder in my opinion. Her novels have depth of place and character. The world is populated with people of all backgrounds, religions, races, sexual orientations etc. People make mistakes and change and have consequences to their actions. There are lots of strong female characters. Even some to despise. I absolutely love the characters in this book. While Kellas is always a favorite, I loved the addition of the women Sarai and Lifka in particular. Sarai is intelligent, snarky, and daring. Lifka is loyal, loving, and generous. I could say more but I want readers to unwrap the layers and delicious stories of these women on their own.

The Crossroads series showed a world changing and in conflict. This new book shows some of the consequences of the previous conflict and how it evolved after the original “peace.” I loved that this book shows how in several generations the culture of a society can change enough that history itself becomes blurred and rewritten. It is an epic-scale novel that is character driven and not overburdened by its scope. I would highly recommend this novel, her Crossroads series, and any of her other series. The only one I have missed is the Crown of Starts series, which is on my list of problems to be remedied.

The author’s website says this about the books:

An exiled captain returns to help the son of the king who died under his protection in this rich and multi-layered first book in an action-packed new series.

Some choices can never be undone.

The Hundred, once ruled by a tainted religion and demon court, is now a place of prosperity, but treachery still waits in the shadows. Once the captain of the elite Black Wolves, Kellas finds himself standing at a crossroads where he must decide whom to serve and whom to betray. Faithful to the king’s memory but shut out from his legacy, Lady Dannarah fights for the rank she was denied, while three young outcasts leave their homes to find their own destiny.

As broken alliances are guardedly rekindled and old friendships put to the test, the Hundred’s past is called into question ­and its very future is at stake.

To visit the author’s website and blog visit:

Kate Elliott – Author

To buy this book from Amazon visit:

black wolves – Book

The Captain’s Log – death marked (Leah Cypess)

Ahoy there mateys!  As most of us on the East Coast are trapped in port from Winter Storm Jonas, I thought I would share a hearty blog to pass the time before we can sail once again . . .

death marked (Leah Cypess)

I was able to track down a copy of this sequel to death sworn at my local library. Overall, it was a fun and good ending to the main character, Ileni’s, story. This novel starts out with Ileni captured by the Empire’s sorceress. Ileni is offered a choice that will enable her to regain her magic . . . but at what cost? Again this author seems to focus on Ileni’s thoughts and growth and agony in her choices regarding the knowledge she obtains and what to do with it. Unlike the first novel, this one seems a little more disjointed in how the plot is laid out. The main character seems to waffle a whole bunch with no major events occurring. The new characters are fun but not particularly deep. The secrets of the Empire and its magic seem self-explanatory and predictable. I could have done without the love story choices in this book. But the choices that Ileni finally makes concerning her magic and role in the world were very interesting and not predictable. The ending of the novel made me feel better about how more realistic the ending was than the average young adult book. A happy ending for me. I am not sure if others would be disappointed. However the ending felt appropriate for the world the author created and redeemed the book’s minor shortcomings. I am glad I was able to read the conclusion of this story. That being said, should the author write more in this world, I would not be opposed to traveling to this port again.

The author’s website says the following about the book:

A young sorceress’s entire life has been shaped to destroy the empire controlling her world. But if everything she knows is a lie, will she even want to fulfill her destiny? The sequel to Death Sworn is just as full of magic and surprising revelations, and will thrill fans of Leigh Bardugo and Robin LaFevers.

At seventeen, Ileni lost her magical power and was exiled to the hidden caves of the assassins. She never thought she would survive long. But she discovered she was always meant to end up, powerless, in the caves as part of an elder sorcerer’s plan to destroy the evil Empire they’d battled so long. Except that Ileni is not an assassin, and she doesn’t want to be a weapon. And, after everything, she’s not even sure she knows the truth. Now, at the very heart of the Empire—its academy for sorcerers—the truth is what she seeks. What she finds challenges every belief she holds dear—and it threatens her fledgling romance with the young master of assassins.

Leah Cypess spins an intricate and beautiful conclusion to Ileni’s story. In the end, it may not be the epic decisions that bring down an empire, but the small ones that pierce the heart.

To visit the author’s website visit:

Leah Cypess – Author

To buy this book from Amazon visit:

death marked – Book

The Captain’s Log – empires of the night (Kelley Armstrong)

empires of the night (Kelley Armstrong)

Another fantastic young fantasy book by Kelley Armstrong. This is the sequel to her book sea of shadows. I loved every moment. It was another quick read where the time flew by. It was wonderful to revisit the twins, Moria and Ashyn. They are both growing up and learning to deal with circumstances alone.

One of my favorite aspects of these girls is that when dealing with the heartache and hopefulness of young love, they handle the situations a lot better than many of the young girls I have known, myself included sadly. When love lets them down, they do not belittle themselves for failing or lessen their self esteem. They hurt and grieve and handle the situation with aplomb. Moria is the sister who is more practical about love and sex. Ashyn is the romantic who wants the fairytale.

I also liked the juxtaposition of the two girls in that aspect. While love and sex are not taken lightly in the book, it is also more realistic than the average book for teens. Moria and Ashyn are not permitted to marry because of their positions as Keeper and Seeker. That does not mean that they are not allowed to love and take lovers. Though each girl deals with the idea differently, I am glad to see that girls are not shamed for desiring and wanting meaningful relationships and love. It is a trend in young adult books with which I agree.

The other two items that stand out in this book for me were a new secondary character and the ending. The new secondary character is a woman named Guin. I will not state more than her story is poignant and lovely. Read it for yourself. And the ending was another fun one. While not as shocking as the in the first book, the ending was another great cliff hanger. The third book, Forest of Ruin comes out on April 5, 2016. It is going to be a long wait.

Amazon has this to say about the sequel:

The heart-stopping sequel to the New York Times bestselling Sea of Shadows, which Kirkus Reviews called “a standout.” Blending fantasy, romance, danger, and action, Kelley Armstrong sends readers on a thrilling journey through an unforgettable world, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.

Sisters Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood. Or at least they were.

Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now the emperor has sent them on a mission to rescue the captured children of Edgewood—accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of imperial warriors. But the journey proves more perilous than any of them could have imagined. And with treachery and unrest mounting in the empire, the girls are running out of places to turn.

With all the pulse-pounding action and romance that have made her a #1 New York Times bestselling author, this second book in the Age of Legends trilogy will appeal to Kelley Armstrong’s legions of fans around the world and win her many new ones.

If you would like to read more about the author visit her site and blog at:

Kelley Armstrong – Author

To purchase the book from Amazon visit:

empires of the night – Book