Broadside No. 8 – an author advertisement

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 eighth edition of me broadside that will highlight a specific favorite author and their work.  Who ye ask?  It’s a surprise . . .


On the Horizon – the imlen brat (Sarah Avery)

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

the imlen brat (Sarah Avery)

Title: the imlen brat

Author: Sarah Avery

Illustrator: Kate Baylay

Publisher: Point Quay Press

Publication Date: TODAY!! (e-book)

ISBN: 9780997414035

Source: NetGalley

Me first thought after completing this book was “That’s all? . . .  F*ck I did it again!”  Arrrrghhh!  Remember the last time I thought a novella was a novel?  Yup.  This too is a novella, and I want more!

The title of this story is what caught me attention.  The protagonist is 7 year old Stisele of Imlen.  The brat.  She is a member of the royal court as an adoptive daughter of the ruler.  Stisele is considered to have unfortunate parentage and her current situation stems from her birth.

She is a stubborn, feisty, knucklehead.  She wants to be a pirate!  The author does a great job of making Stisele a bratty child with an unusual presence that makes her so engaging.

The small glimpse given of the world building, characters, magic and politics were so compelling that I am greedy for more.  I don’t want to spoil it for ye though so this be all the details yer gettin’ . . .

Side note: this novella was completed with the help of a Kickstarter.  Cool huh?

So lastly . . .

Thank you Point Quay Press!

Normally I place the book blurb here but I be of the belief that it gives too much away . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

Sarah Avery – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the imlen brat – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Tidings from the Crew – wolf in white van (John Darnielle)

Ahoy there mateys!  Though the first mate and I have very different reading tastes, occasionally we do recommend books to each other.  Books the first mate introduced to me included xom-b, holes, and the perks of being a wallflower.  He and I both read the following:

wolf in white van (John Darnielle)

We were talking about the book and I enjoyed his viewpoint so I ordered asked him to write a review.  So you get one from me and a bonus additional review from me crew.  Please note that I write like I talk and the first mate writes like he thinks.  Hope you enjoy!

From the First Mate:

A  professor of mine once opined that while anyone can start a poem, it takes a poet to finish one. Many years later, after having read several novels written by poets, I’ve come to the opinion that the literary skill set that allows a poet to craft stunning poems typically doesn’t translate to prose.  Most often you get Gregory Corso’s The American Express: poetic inclinations smashing headlong into the requirements of story.  But sometimes, just sometimes, you get poetry in your prose; mystical words skittering just along the edge of story requirements.

Like most, I know of John Darnielle from his work with (as?) The Mountain Goats.  The “about the author” section of Wolf in White Van states “he is widely considered one of the best lyricists of his generation,” and I’d have to agree with that assessment.  Much as I consider Bob Dylan a poet (an easier position to hold now more than ever), I’ve long considered Darnielle a poet, and a damn good one at that.

Central to the story of Wolf in White Van is an accident that our narrator, Sean, just barely survived when he was in high school and which has left him permanently disfigured and on disability insurance.  While recovering from the accident, Sean develops a post-apocalyptic role-playing game that later supplements his income and allows him to live a modest and reclusive lifestyle.  We’re told that the name of the game, Trace Italian, comes from a style of medieval fortifications, trace italienne, in which there are “triangular defensive barricades branching out around all sides of a fort: stars within stars within stars, visible from space, one layer of protection in front of another for miles.” And, to be honest, such a description is quite apt for the structure of the novel itself.

Darnielle protects the core of his story, Sean’s accident, with layers of other story fragments.  We learn about the progress of several of the players of Trace Italian and some horrific fallout thereof.  We learn about Sean’s love of Conan tales and his fantasies that spring from it.  We learn about Sean’s recovery from his accident and some of what his life was like before it.  All of it told fragmentally and non-chronologically.  Typically we’re told of how something ends before learning of how it begins. And each fragment, of course, builds on the one that lays next to it.  But we are never given reasons for events. The why of what we’re told is almost always hidden from view.

While reading Wolf in White Van, I found it felt very similar to Haruki Murakami’s very early work Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973, as all three novels have a poetic, dreamlike manner to them in which the story drifts from fragmented moment to fragmented moment.  I tend to like such novels, but I can certainly understand where others would find the work frustrating; I’m fairly certain the Captain would hate it. I will certainly be reading Darnielle’s next novel when it comes out.

From the Captain:

I was forewarned.  Got to 18%.  Hated it.  Should’ve listened.

The Captain’s Log – Goldenhand (Garth Nix)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This novel is the fifth in the Abhorsen/Old Kingdom series written by one of me favorite authors.  In fact I love this author so much that he was the featured author in me Broadside No. 1.  If ye have never read any books in this series, I suggest ye check out me Broadside and start with book one called Sabriel.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril.

The book is the fifth book in the series but the fourth in terms of chronology.  I highly enjoyed revisiting the world of the Old Kingdom though this book is not me favorite in the series.

Side note:  I can never make up me mind on whether Sabriel or Lirael is me favorite.  I go back and forth every time I re-read one of them.

In any case, this book felt different then the other four.  I believe it is because it is following several characters at once.  The book tends to be split in the perspective of Lirael and Nick on one hand and then Ferin on the other.  While the other books do sometimes change perspectives, they usually centered on the title character.

I adored Ferin.  She is a new introduction to the series and she rocks.  I loved pretty much everything about her – how we meet her, what her upbringing was like, her viewpoint on the world, and above all, her spunk.  I wouldn’t mind having a whole book just about about her and what happens next..

I enjoyed seeing Lirael again but did not enjoy the development of her relationship with Nick that much.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I liked getting resolution on things hinted at in book three but I wanted to get back to the main plot and the action.

At usual, I loved everything that dealt with Death and the bells.  That is one of the concepts I found to be so satisfying way back when in book one.  I continue to love the Charter marks.  And the entire Old Kingdom in general.

The only thing I would have preferred is a more linear story line than switching back and forth.  However, that might mean removing Ferin and that would break me stony heart.

So I continue to adore Garth Nix and will continue to read everything he will write in the future.  If ye haven’t read anything by this author then pick up the first book of this series.  One of me best mates borrowed the beginning trilogy and loved it so much I gave her me copies as a gift and bought me another set.  They are that good.

Want to see another crew member’s viewpoint of this novel?  Check out this post by Emma @ bluchickenninja.

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

Lirael is no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian – she’s now the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic.

When she discovers Nicholas Sayre lying unconscious, she uses her powers to save him. But the attack has left Nicholas tainted with Free Magic, so together they embark on a dangerous journey to seek help at Lirael’s childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Garth Nix – Author

To buy the book go to:

goldenhand – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the cogsmith’s daughter (Kate M. Colby)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This novel was a super fun read and a big ole’ mess.  The beautiful cover and that fact that it was free drew me in:

The Cogsmith's Daughter (Desertera #1)

This is steampunk fantasy and apparently the author’s debut.  I was looking for a silly book that was a quick read.  I found it but a lot of me enjoyment was in how clueless our heroine was.

Aya Cogsmith life was ruined once her father died.  He was murdered and she wants revenge.  So when a member of the king’s court offers to help her for their mutual benefit, she agrees.  Aya is snarky and that was what I loved about her character and was in the mood for.  Otherwise she (and the plot) are disasters.

It is obvious who the bag guys are.  I mean really someone should have known they were bad.  I couldn’t help but be amused and horrified at how stupid everyone was.  The “reasons” behind the evil were just so ridiculous.

It is obvious who Aya’s love interest is to everyone but her.  And its insta-love.  She is supposed to be independent and strong-willed but seems to go along with almost everything without thinking things through.  She just seemed lost.  Plus her feminine wiles are what is supposed to help her get revenge and her technique as it were was ridiculous.

And yet I couldn’t help but want to know what happens next.  Despite the one-dimensional characters, despite the lack of major world building, and despite the absurdities of the plot.

To be fair the concept of the world having been a desert with little water where once huge steamships sailed the seas made me happy.  I liked a lot of the concepts but not the execution.  For example I thought the cogsmith’s daughter would have awesome cogsmith skills and somehow use them to save the day.  Alas!

Oh and characters were introduced because something was needed and then dropped out again conveniently.  Aya also does nothing to help her supposed best friend who is in a crappy situation.  I guess that was so book two can be about her.

Would I recommend this novel to anyone?  I don’t think so.  But I certainly was amused by it . . .

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

In a desert wasteland, one king rules with absolute power and unquenchable lust, until the cogsmith’s daughter risks everything for vengeance.

Two-hundred years ago, the steam-powered world experienced an apocalyptic flood. When the waters dried up, the survivors settled around their moored steamship in a wasteland they named Desertera. Believing the flood and drought were caused by a scorned goddess, the monarchs demanded execution for anyone who commits the unforgivable sin—adultery.

Today, King Archon entraps his wives in the crime of adultery, executing each boring bride to pursue his next infatuation. Most nobles overlook King Archon’s behavior, but when Lord Varick’s daughter falls victim to the king’s schemes, he vows revenge.

When Aya Cogsmith was a young girl, King Archon had her father executed for treason. Orphaned and forced to turn to prostitution for survival, Aya dreams of avenging her father’s death. When Lord Varick approaches Aya with plans for vengeance, she agrees to play the king’s seductress—even though it puts her at risk for execution.

Packed with high-society intrigue, dappled with seduction, and driven by revenge, The Cogsmith’s Daughter is a steampunk fantasy novel with the perfect mixture of conspiracy and romance.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Kate M. Colby – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

the cogsmith’s daughter -Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – dark matter (Blake Crouch)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This novel has been floating around everywhere, so I finally gave into the hype and read this sci-fi thriller.

Basically it is the story of a man named Jason who is attacked and wakes up in a life that shows what could have happened to him if he had picked another path . . . one with no son or wife but with academic / career success.  How did this happen?  Better yet how can he get his old life back?

For someone who had read lots of multi-universe books, the plot wasn’t mind-blowing.  It was, however, engaging, fast-paced and fun.  The novel’s best feature is in the details.  I loved how Jason goes about trying to reclaim his life.  The different universes were cool and the set-up to get to them was entertaining.

How the ending evolved was surprising.  There was a sharp turn of a plot twist that I would have preferred hadn’t happened.  It made sense once the author tells us why it happened and so I enjoyed the conclusion of the story.  I would have liked to go down the other path not chosen.

However it was an extremely enjoyable sci-fi read with some truly memorable events that I can’t spoil for ye.  So take the path where ye pick this book up and enjoy . . .

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

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Blake Crouch – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

dark matter – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Sailing to the Stars – the long way to a small, angry planet (Becky Chambers)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I discovered this here space opera when perusing the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke shortlist.  It sounded awesome.  And it was.

The novel is the story of a ship called the Wayfarer and its crew.  The ship is a tunneler that helps create the wormholes through space for other ships so that it doesn’t take light years to get from point A to point B.  Luckily for this physics hater, the book only had basic introductions to the principals behind space travel and focused more on the plot and the world building.

The crew is certainly the heart of the story and they are its highlight.  They are a multi-species crew and I frickin’ adore ’em.  There are a variety of genders, nationalities, sexes, and personalities.  The introduction to the world is told at the beginning through the viewpoint of a human from Mars named Rosemary but soon branches out to include the other crew members.

This is not a space opera with an overall massive scope or crazy inter-species politics.  Politics exist and have ramifications for the crew but are not the primary plot point.  Also while the world is as large as the universe, the viewpoint we receive is that of a single crew mostly inside their ship.  Their forays onto other planets serve as spice and flavor.

In general, it’s a book that promotes tolerance.  It is about creating a family that might not be the one ye are born in.  It is about how life can shape personality and how even yer bad choices can be overcome.  It is about self-discovery.  It’s about secrets.  It’s about seeing aliens through the eyes of different aliens.  It’s about loss, grief, and choices.  It’s about love.

I highly recommend me crew to pick up this novel and fall in love with the Wayfarer and her crew like I did.  I would be glad to have any of them aboard me ship.  Arrrr!!!

Side note: read a interview with the author here!

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

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.

But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.

Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years… if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.

But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Becky Chambers – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

the long way to a small, angry planet – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List