Broadside – an author advertisement

Frigates

Hear ye hear ye me mateys!  I announce the newest category to me Captain’s log.  What is a broadside ye ask?  Traditionally:

  1. A broadside is the side of a ship, the battery of cannon on one side of a warship; or their coordinated fire in naval warfare. From the 16th century until the early decades of the steamship, vessels had rows of guns set in each side of the hull. Firing all guns on one side of the ship became known as a “broadside“. source
  2. A broadside is a large sheet of paper printed on one side only. Historically, broadsides were posters, announcing events or proclamations, or simply advertisements. source

What does this mean for me mateys?  Well tomorrow I will publish the first edition of me broadside that will highlight a specific favorite author and their work.  Who ye ask?  It’s a surprise . . .

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

Animal - Sea mammal - Whale - Whale ship logging book 03-586x1000

Ahoy there mateys!

premeditated (Josin L. McQuein)

I first was introduced to this author by reading arclight, so when I saw that she had written this novel, I picked it up. This is what I would term a “young adult thriller.” The main character, Dinah, is a bit screwed up by her cousin’s suicide attempt. She wants revenge . . . but how to get it?

This was a decent read. I certainly liked the main character and her two best friends were super fun – especially Brucey. The bad boy plot was sadly sort of predictable as was a good portion of the ending. There were a couple of side plots that were better in terms of the twist. I know that Dinah’s emotions are supposed to be running rampant and clouding her judgment. But I wish our heroine could have been a little smarter about how she chose to handle it. Though maybe part of the deeper substructure of the plot was about what revenge gets people in the end.

While I liked Dinah’s father and Uncle as a concept, all the adults in this novel seemed to be two-dimensional and clueless. Dinah’s mother is just plain nuts and why in the world are those parents still together. I mean I know in young adult novels, the parents have to sort of be out of the way for young people to have their stories but seriously. I know it’s a small gripe but still.

If you are looking for a realistic novel this ain’t it, but it was a decent way to pass the time. Not sure if I would want another story about Dinah specifically but a story about Brucey . . . hmmm.

Side note: In writing this blog I realized that I still need to get and read the sequel to arclight AND learned that that she has a new book out that I missed called sing down the stars! Grrrr . . . must remedy that. Of course I likely missed the new book as it was written under the pen name L.J. Hatton. Go figure.

To give you a taste of what the book is about from the author’s blog:

A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.

Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.

Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.

By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead.

To visit the author’s blog visit:

Josin L. McQuein – Author

To buy this book visit:

premeditated – Book

The Captain’s Log – an inheritance of ashes (Leah Bobet)

farm

Ahoy there mateys!

an inheritance of ashes (Leah Bobet)

When I read the author’s first novel . . . it walked the plank. However, I liked enough of the underlying writing to be willing to give the author’s second novel a chance. I am glad I did. This young adult dystopian fantasy novel was very much worth reading. It was surprising, thoughtful, moving, and not at all what I was expecting. Though to be fair I didn’t know what to expect when I picked it up.

This novel is not your typical dystopian novel. It appears to be set in a world like ours that has been destroyed in some way. The society has rebuilt and is seemingly succeeding. However the book begins with the end of a war with a god where no one truly understands what has happened. But the war and its subsequent consequences are really the background for the “true” story of a girl named Hallie, her farm, and her relationships with her sister and the folks from surrounding farms. While the overall plot was engaging, it was watching Hallie’s choices and growth that made the book so special.

I actually thought all the characters in this book were interesting. I really liked Heron, Tyler, and Nat in particular. The small world of Hallie’s farm and the surrounding homesteads and town was detailed and rich in a clear, simple and lovely way. And the ending was truly satisfying. Glad I didn’t give up on this author. I will certainly read her next book.

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

Six months ago, the men of the lakelands marched south to fight a dark god.

Weeks after the final battle was won, sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister, Marthe, are still struggling to maintain their family farm—and waiting for Marthe’s missing husband to return. After a summer of bitter arguments, Hallie is determined to get Roadstead Farm through the winter—and keep what’s left of her family together despite an inheritance destined to drive them apart.

But when Hallie hires a wandering veteran in a bid to save the farm, every phantom the men marched south to fight arrives at her front gate. Spider-eyed birds circle the fields, ghostly messages write themselves on the riverbank, and soon Hallie finds herself keeping her new hired hand’s desperate secrets—and taking dangerous risks. But as she fights to keep both the farm and her new friend safe, ugly truths about her own family are emerging—truths that, amidst gods, monsters, and armies—might tear Roadstead Farm apart.

Leah Bobet’s stark, beautiful fantasy explores the aftermath of the battles we fight and the slow, careful ways love can mend broken hearts—and a broken world.

To see the author’s own site visit:

Leah Bobet – Author

To buy this book visit:

an inheritance of ashes – Book

The Captain’s Log – three days in april (Edward Ashton)

white sign

Ahoy there me mateys!

three days in april (Edward Ashton)

This book was a fun sci-fi romp set in Baltimore, one of my oldest home ports there on the Chesapeake Bay. Something causes 90% of the population of Hagerstown, Maryland to violently die simultaneously. Is it a terrorist attack? A plague? The end of the world? A group of friends and recent acquaintances must unravel the mystery and save the whole human race.

This book had some truly delightful quirky characters. My favorites were Terry, Anders, and Inchy. The plot is silly and fast. The book is told from the perspective of the various main characters. The end is particularly crazy and fun. I must say that I loved it. If you like humor, technology, and thoughtful questions about human security then give this one a whirl.

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

In a world divided between the genetically engineered elite and the unmodified masses, Anders is an anomaly: engineered, but still broke and living next to a crack house. All he wants is to land a tenure-track faculty position, and maybe meet someone who’s not technically a criminal—but when a nightmare plague rips through Hagerstown, Anders finds himself dodging kinetic energy weapons and government assassins as Baltimore slips into chaos. His friends aren’t as helpless as they seem, though, and his girlfriend’s street-magician brother-in-law might be a pretentious hipster—or might hold the secret to saving them all.

Frenetic and audacious, Three Days in April is a speculative thriller that raises an important question: once humanity goes down the rabbit hole, can it ever find its way back?

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

Edward Ashton – Author

To buy the novel (the e-book is cheap!) visit:

three days in april – Book

The Captain’s Log – everyday (David Levithan)

calendar page

Ahoy there mateys!

everyday (David Levithan)

Absolutely totally loved this book. The tag line is “Everyday a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.” Simple seeming but the book completely fit my mood of the day. What was my mood? Who knows, but I am so glad I picked this novel out of the stack by my bed.

I adored the main character who lives one day, merely a snippet, of a different person’s life over and over again. The point of view of a soul or consciousness and how that element fits into the feelings and being of another life with no warning was fantastic.

I am a person who as a general rule finds it to be very hard to enjoy the mundane everyday existence. But I have to admit the idea of never making attachments to others, of not being able to spend each day with the love of your life, being stuck in a place not of your choosing and hating it, and leaving the place you want to stay because you have to, makes it seem more lovely in some ways to have a history of your own. Even if it is not always the best history, at least you have an understanding of self based on the collective nature of your memories or at least the ones you can sort of remember anyways.

The main character in this novel did in most ways seem more comfortable as a “male” perspective. I am not sure if that is just my feelings on the subject or because the writer is a male or what. But whatever the case may be, truly lovely reading. There is a sequel. Hmmmm . . . Has anyone read it and if so thoughts?

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

In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a “wise, wildly unique” love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

To visit this author’s website go to:

David Levithan – Author

To buy this book visit:

everyday – Book

Abandon Ship – the red knight (Miles Cameron)

shipwreck

Ahoy me mateys! Sadly, it is time to abandon another ship . . .

the red knight (Miles Cameron)

Okay so I give up. While I am capable of fighting to the bitter end, I just couldn’t do it. This novel was so darn slow to read. I made it to page 366 out of 648. Now mind you I like a lot of the characters especially: 1) the title character, the Red Knight; 2) the queen, Desiderata; and 3) Mag the Seamstress among others. The chapters in this book are told from multiple character points of view.

But this story takes place in a siege. And oh how sieges drag on. Lots of skirmishes. Clashes in the woods. Building up defenses. Facing bitter odds. But it was just so long and had so many sections where nothing major happens. I do believe 200 pages could have been edited out and the story would have been improved. Oh and typos, poor word choice, and repetitive clauses . . . could have benefited from better editing in general really.

Plus the book tagline on the cover says “Slaying Dragons is a Bloody Business.” What dragons might I ask? That tagline seems to suggest tons of dragon slaying. In the novel I believe they are what the author calls qwethnethogs. But they didn’t seem like any dragons I have ever met, and that was not a good thing. There wasn’t even a decent description of what these qwethnethogs looked like. Or, frankly of what many of the bad creatures looked like. I am supposing it was to add to their mystery but blah. How can dragons be boring?

The main bad guy, Thorn, is a magician who is barely human and is also kind of pointless. The “I need all the power at all costs” just for the sake of power thing. And he keeps pondering his brilliance and then of course makes stupid mistakes that the Red Knight takes advantage of and uses to survive. Extremely two-dimensional. I actually started getting annoyed anytime he tried to mastermind anything.

Now, I did enjoy the odd magics held by the Red Knight and the nuns and some others. I also enjoyed the medieval fighting style of the knights. Full armor, getting tired from it, using the horses as weapons, etc. Some of the creatures of the Wild, like the bears in particular, were awesome. And I do think the worldbuilding itself was fun. I just didn’t love how that worldbuilding was used. Oh, yeah, and the romance was flat.

I can see how some readers of epic fantasy would like this work. However, not only did I abandon this book but shall abandon the rest of the series too.

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

Twenty eight florins a month is a huge price to pay, for a man to stand between you and the Wild.

Twenty eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern’s jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men – or worse, a company of mercenaries – against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder.

It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.

The Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he’s determined to turn a profit. So when he hires his company out to protect an Abbess and her nunnery, it’s just another job. The abby is rich, the nuns are pretty and the monster preying on them is nothing he can’t deal with.

Only it’s not just a job. It’s going to be a war. . .

The author’s website for this series seems to not work; so visit the author’s other website go to:

Miles Cameron – Author

To buy the book go to:

the red knight – Book

The Captain’s Log – truthwitch (Susan Dennard)

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

Ahoy mateys!

truthwitch (Susan Dennard)

Another port plundered. Arrrr! And this one was super fun to explore. This novel was action packed from the very beginning. It was also a very fast read. This book dealt with magic drawn from the elements like fire logic did. But extra elements are involved. Void for example. Though it did take me some time to wrap my head around the world and its characters due to the fast pace, I managed quickly enough.

The two main characters Safiya and Iseult have a strong friendship that underlies the plot and is wonderful. This bond is filled with love and caring even though they are not lovers nor related by blood. Not that friendships cannot be like that in both novels and “real” life. Think of Frodo and Samwise Gamgee as an example of that type of friendship in novels. I have a few mateys like that in my real life and am grateful for them everyday though I see them only rarely when our ships happen to be in the same port. But ah the adventures we have had . . .

It is lovely to see two women in a novel with a friendship bond of strength that do not spend it talking about men, fashion and gossip. Not that those elements are not in this book. But they are not primary or even secondary to the plot. They come up in the course of the lives of Safiya and Iseult and are dealt with in a mostly realistic fashion. I mean this novel does have magic in it after all!

While the two women are the heart and focus of the novel, I really enjoyed some of the secondary characters. I hold a particular fondness for Prince Merilk, a ship’s captain (Arrr!). But I enjoyed many of the other characters in this novel. The secondary women characters were particularly wonderful – from monks, to ship girls, to empresses.

This book was a New York Times best seller, has blurbs from some of the biggest names in the business, and even has its own website which includes fun items like a playlist, quizzes, chapter excerpts, and videos of the author discussing topics like what kind of magic she would choose. I cannot wait for the next novel in the series.

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

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of . . . reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

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

Susan Dennard – Author

To buy the book visit:

truthwitch – Book