Broadside No. 2 – an author advertisement

Frigates

Hear ye hear ye me mateys!  I announce an additional broadside 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 second 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 – the girl with the ghost eyes (M.H. Boroson)

yin

Ahoy there mateys!

the girl with the ghost eyes (M.H. Boroson)

Another port plundered and what a lovely one this is.  This author’s debut novel is a historical fiction fantasy set in Chinatown of San Francisco in 1898.  It is expertly written, in my opinion, and full of surprises – including the ending.  I also thought the writing was rather lyrical.  This novel definitely kept me engaged.  It deals with elements of Daoism, kung fu, monsters, magic, love, and Chinese folklore.

The story concerns a young girl named Li-lin who can see the spirits due to her “yin eyes.”  Her whole journey is filled with grief, learning, and pure spunk.  Watching her grow as a character and face the consequences for her actions is wonderful and, at times, sad.

Besides the main character, my other favorite character was Mr. Yanqiu who has to be read about to be believed.  In fact a lot of the descriptions of the “spirit world” are quite something.

I won’t spoil the plot of the novel but I hope a lot more people read it.  And the author hints there might be a sequel coming . . .

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

It’s the end of the nineteenth century in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and ghost hunters from the Maoshan traditions of Daoism keep malevolent spiritual forces at bay. Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned Daoshi exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes–the unique ability to see the spirit world. Her spiritual visions and the death of her husband bring shame to Li-lin and her father — and shame is not something this immigrant family can afford.

When a sorcerer cripples her father, terrible plans are set in motion, and only Li-lin can stop them. To aid her are her martial arts and a peachwood sword, her burning paper talismans, and a wisecracking spirit in the form of a human eyeball tucked away in her pocket. Navigating the dangerous alleys and backrooms of a male-dominated Chinatown, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer’s ritual summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.

With a rich and inventive historical setting, nonstop martial arts action, authentic Chinese magic, and bizarre monsters from Asian folklore, The Girl with Ghost Eyes is also the poignant story of a young immigrant searching to find her place beside the long shadow of a demanding father and the stigma of widowhood. In a Chinatown caught between tradition and modernity, one woman may be the key to holding everything together.

To visit the author’s website go to:

M.H. Boroson – Author

To buy this book visit:

the girl with the ghost eyes – Book

Dead Men Tell No Tales – magic bites (Ilona Andrews)

werewolf 2

Ahoy there me mateys!

magic bites (Ilona Andrews)

So this novel is an urban fantasy which normally I don’t read much of.  I have no idea who recommended this to me.  But I have to say that I rather liked it.  This novel has a kickass main heroine, shapeshifters, vampires, and magic orders.

One of the best aspects for me was the world building. The book takes place in an Atlanta where magic is present.  But magic does not always work and there are “downs” when the magic fluctuates and stops.  For example the main character, Kate, owns two cars.  One for when magic runs and one for when it doesn’t.  But the magic does not fluctuate on a set schedule.  So occasionally she will be in a car and magic changes and she has to leave the car and find alternate transportation.  Also magic seems to have a price and is not easy to come by.

I loved Kate.  She is a mercenary who refuses to work with the traditional departments dealing with magic.  She is fierce, loyal, takes crazy risks, and has a smart mouth.  There is a mystery to Kate’s magic and her background that is hinted at but not fully explained.  Also how she deals with the romance in the book is also not typical.  I mean, it ends with hints as to what might happen later but was still fun.

The plot itself was good but nothing amazing to me.  It reminds me of other urban fantasies that I have read in the past.  But if you like urban fantasies then you should like this one . . . just note there are currently at least 9 books in this series!

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

The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.

It’s a volatile, screwed-up world. Magic feeds on technology, gnawing down on skyscrapers until most of them topple and fall, leaving only skeletal husks behind. Monsters prowl the ruined streets, werebears and werehyenas stalk their prey; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight.  But sometimes even trained killers make friends and fall in love, and when the universe tries to kick them in the face, they kick back.

To visit the author’s website to go;

Ilona Andrews – Author

To buy the book visit:

magic bites – Book

There Be Dragons on the Horizon – the dragon round (Stephen S. Power)

pier

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

the dragon round (Stephen S. Power)

Title: the dragon round

Author: Stephen S. Power

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: currently July 19, 2016

ISBN: 9781501133206

Source: NetGalley

This book contains dragons and a sea captain out for revenge.  That was enough to pique me interest.  Two of me favorite things.  The novel started out with a bang.  I love the Captain, Jeryon.  I loved the apothecary.  There are dragons and mutiny and fighting.  Jeryon ends up on a deserted island, struggling to survive.  And finds a baby dragon.  I was very happy from the entire beginning of the book all the way through the training of the dragon.

Then the revenge part happens.  Sigh.  I have to admit: the book got choppy from there.  The book has been compared to three things: 1) the game of thrones series; 2) the temeraire series; and 3) the count of monte cristo.  I have read all three of these things (ye should too!).  Ummm, this novel can’t compare and here is why:

1) I believe this novel is compared to the game of thrones series because of the change of perspective chapters and the politics.  The novel is split into two parts with five chapters in each part.  Of course each chapter has subsections.  Part One is mostly from Jeryon’s perspective.  Part Two begins with the perspectives of the mates and what has happened to them since the mutiny.  Part One – loved it.  Part Two is where the plot begins to decline.  The politics are just not that interesting and involve disputes within branches of the military and, of course, money.  The characters are not as well developed and overall just plain unlikable.  George R. R. Martin’s character perspectives are rich and varied and help showcase the political wrangling.  Even with the multiple points of view in this novel, the politics were at the best boring and at the worst, unclear.

2) I believe this novel is compared to the temeraire series because of the dragons (duh!) and the style of fighting when dragons are involved.  I will admit that I enjoyed the dragon fights in the beginning of the novel.  They are certainly not extremely fancy but were very fun.  However when it comes to Jeryon and the dragon is where this novel is lacking.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I love both Jeryon and the dragon.  But the relationship between the two is more like master and pet, not partners.  I wasn’t expecting the dragons in the book to be as knowledgeable and intelligent as Naomi Novik’s Temeraire (whose are?), it seemed like the dragon in the story was more of an intelligent dog.  Also once we get into Part Two, the dragon fighting fizzles and becomes more lackluster.  How can that be?

3) I believe this novel is compared to the count of monte cristo because it is a sailor who life’s plan is ruined by other crew members and he wants revenge.  I would agree with that comparison very loosely.  The difference is in the details.  Dumas’ Count is crafty, intelligent, and fabulous at plotting.  Ye get to watch and savor the downfall of the Count’s enemies.  In this novel, the revenge begins and ye get to see none of the real plotting.  And what little ye do see is lackluster.  In Part Two, ye see none of the plotting for revenge and very little of Jeryon’s story.  Ye find out about things as the mates find out and it is just sad.  The hows and whys of Jeryon’s choices are avoided.  I wanted that story and didn’t get it.

These things aside, the novel was enjoyable and I did finish it.  Part One was lovely.  Part Two, not so much. I certainly didn’t hate it but when comparing it to other works, the flaws are noticeable.  The ending was a doozy, though, and had two crazy plot twists.  I will give the sequel a try to find out what happens in that regard.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Simon & Schuster!

The publisher’s website had this to say about the novel:

A swashbuckling adventure with a dark side for fans of George R.R. Martin and Naomi Novik—when a ship captain is stranded on a deserted island by his mutinous crew, he finds a baby dragon that just might be the key to his salvation…and his revenge.

He only wanted justice. Instead he got revenge.

Jeryon has been the captain of the Comber for over a decade. He knows the rules. He likes the rules. But not everyone on his ship agrees. After a monstrous dragon attacks the galley, the surviving crew members decide to take the ship for themselves and give Jeryon and his self-righteous apothecary “the captain’s chance”: a small boat with no rudder, no sails, and nothing but the clothes on his back to survive on the open sea.

Fighting for their lives against the elements, Jeryon and his companion land on an island that isn’t as deserted as they originally thought. They find a baby dragon that, if trained, could be their way home. But as Jeryon and the dragon grow closer, the captain begins to realize that even if he makes it off the island, his old life won’t be waiting for him and in order get justice, he’ll have to take it for himself.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Stephen S. Power – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the dragon round – Book

The Captain’s Log – holes (Louis Sachar)

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-image36183093

Ahoy there me mateys!

holes (Louis Sachar)

This was another book recommended by my first mate.  He wanted to watch the movie with me and as usual, I wanted to read the book first.  I had heard good things about this one including that it had won the National Book Award and the Newbery Medal.  So I checked it out . . .

I actually really loved this one.  First of all I adored the first two chapters and how they set up the novel.  The main character of Stanley Yelnats is just plain wonderful.  He is cursed and has to go to a juvenile camp for a crime he did not commit.   And let’s just say that the camp wasn’t like anything he was expecting.

It wasn’t really like anything that I was expecting either.  The kids have to dig holes in the dirt in the middle of nowhere as part of their punishment.  One a day that is as tall and wide as a shovel.  Weird, no?  Of course, the reasons for that get explained over the course of the novel.  But what I liked best about the story was watching Stanley be in a situation out of his control and dealing with it through grace and with strength.  I loved in particular his unlikely friendship with the kid named Zero.

In addition the novel tells the stories of Stanley’s ancestors and the reasons for and effects of their family curse.  It also tells the story of Green Lake and what happened in that community.  This is done by interspersing the facts of these interrelated things through the narrative of Stanley’s story.  I very much enjoyed the story of Mary Lou and Sam despite how it turned out.

The book was quick to read and very enjoyable.  Give it a go.

Side note:  A teacher at my old high school used to read chapters from Sideways Stories from Wayside School periodically during school assemblies.  I did not know who the author was though I liked the stories.  Surprise!  Same author as this book.  Oh and the movie is worth watching.  The author wrote the screenplay for it too . . .

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

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Louis Sachar – Author

To buy this novel go to:

holes – Book

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On the Horizon – labyrinth lost (Zoraida Cordova)

pier

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

labyrinth lost (Zoraida Cordova)

Title: labyrinth lost

Author: Zoraida Cordova

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: currently September 6, 2016

ISBN: 9781492620945

Source: NetGalley

This novel was just plain magical and engaging.  The author mixes Latin American religions and cultures, Mexican holidays, Afro-Caribbean religion, and other things.  I have to admit my knowledge of Latino and Hispanic culture is woefully low.  What I do know tends to be about the Incas, Mayans, and early Central and South American culture.  And very little mind you.  So this novel with its lush imagery and foray into unknown cultures was mesmerizing.  I love learning about new ports, places and people.

The main focus is on Alex, a girl born into a magical family who wants nothing more than to be ordinary, go to school, and live a life of her own choosing.  She has long struggled to exclude magic from her life.  So of course when her attempts to hide her burgeoning powers fail, she has to find some other way of ridding herself of this burden that is threatening to ruin all of her plans.

Alex is a wonderful, complicated, intelligent, and loving character.  Watching her coming to terms with both her place in her family and with the larger world as a whole was a gratifying journey.  Speaking of family, every family has its problems, but I adored the close knit community that Alex has.  Her mother, sisters, uncles, aunts, etc. all play a role in this novel.  I like that Alex literally cannot win working alone.  In addition to her family, she also has an awesome friend named Rishi.  I adored Rishi’s part in this book and how the relationship develops.  Add in a young dude named Nova and you have a quite a mix of personalities and conflict.

Also the magic was wonderful.  There is a family book of magical cantos. There are apparitions, spirits, fairies, avianas, and lots of creepy creatures like maloscuros.  Add in an in-between world and a creature trying to take over the world.  Awesome.

Now this book could be a stand-alone but I am hoping there are more novels that tell the further adventures of the family.  I would certainly read the next one.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire!

The publisher had this to say about the novel:

Bruja magic runs in her blood, but a curse meant to banish it may cost Alex more than her power…

Alex is a bruja and the most powerful witch in her family. But she’s hated magic ever since it made her father disappear into thin air. So while most girls celebrate their Quinceañera, Alex prepares for Death Day—the most important day in a bruja’s life, and her only opportunity to rid herself of magic.

But the curse she performs during the ceremony backfires and her family vanishes, forcing Alex to absorb all of the magic from her family line. Left alone, Alex seeks help from Nova, a brujo with ambitions of his own. To get her family back they must travel to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Zoraida Cordova – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

labyrinth lost – Book

The Captain’s Log – witch child (Celia Rees)

witch hunts

Ahoy there mateys!

witch child (Celia Rees)

This book was an excellent read.  The story involves a girl named Mary has to go to America after her grandmother is killed for witchcraft.  She disguises herself as a Puritan in order to do so.  The plot is told through a series of journal entries.  It was fast paced and fun.  The secondary characters of Martha, Jaybird, and Jack were lovely.  While I loved the entire book, I of course really enjoyed the journey across the Atlantic and what happened there.  I mean how can I resist the sea?

This book felt kinda like The Crucible for children.  Having worked on the stage play, the final scene in the Church in particular felt very much like a critical scene in the theatrical production.  This aspect, however, served to heighten my enjoyment of the novel because the author seemed to have a strong grasp on the history of Salem and the witch trials.  There was more than enough difference between the play and this book that the comparisons were fun.  For example, the addition of Native Americans, settlers building homes, and how witchcraft existed in this novel led to me think more deeply about the subject.

The author is British, and this book has been published in 28 languages and is required reading in secondary schools in the UK.  This novel has a mini-site which I highly enjoyed. It tells the history and facts about choices the author made about the novel.  It also let me know there is a sequel which I will totally read.

The mini-site listed this as the author’s inspiration for writing the novel:

When I was at university, I studied American History. I remember being struck by the isolation of the first settlers who founded New England and thinking about how they must have felt, surrounded by vast forests, on the edge of an unexplored continent, an ocean away from home. Many years later, I was reading a book about 17th century witch persecutions. One of the accounts was of the Salem witch trials, and those fearful isolated communities came back to me. In the same book I found a description of the activities of one Matthew Hopkins, Witch Finder, at work in the English Civil War period. At about this time, I also read a book about shamanism, and it suddenly occurred to me that the beliefs and skills which would have condemned a woman to death in one society would have been revered in another. In North America, at that time, two communities with these sharply differing values could have been living side by side – Native Americans were, broadly speaking, a shamanistic people. That got me thinking, what if there was a girl who could move between these two worlds? … Mary came into my head and Witch Child began . . .

Side Note: This author also has a book about Pirates!  Hooray!  I want that too.

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

Welcome to the world of young Mary Newbury, a world where simply being different can cost a person her life. Hidden until now in the pages of her diary, Mary’s startling story begins in 1659, the year her beloved grandmother is hanged in the public square as a witch. Mary narrowly escapes a similar fate, only to face intolerance and new danger among the Puritans in the New World. How long can she hide her true identity? Will she ever find a place where her healing powers will not be feared?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Celia Rees – Author

To buy the novel go to:

witch child – Book