Broadside No. 10 – 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 tenth edition of me broadside that will highlight a specific favorite author and their work.  Who ye ask?  It’s a surprise . . .

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The Captain’s Log – the wave speaker (J.S. Bangs)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I discovered this novella with the premise of “Pirates. Sharks. And a woman walking across the sea in a storm.”  Well a sea story always strikes me fancy and with a tagline like that I decided to give it a go.  At 75 pages this was a fast and enjoyable read.

The story begins with Captain Patara and his crew, fleeing pirates in a massive storm.  They find a woman walking on the waves and take her aboard.  Obviously she is no normal passenger.

Parara is the central figure in the story and I truly liked him. He is pragmatic and hardworking and kinda stubborn.  Among his crew is his son, Ashturma.  He is an idealist and a bit of a dreamer.  The two figures have been at odds for some time.  The woman they have picked up, Idhaji, is a mage on a mission. Her presence causes tensions to rise between father and son.

The magic in this novella was light but a tantalizing glimpse of a bigger structure.  The world building was fairly simple but drawn well.  And the ending!  Well it was unexpected and made me smile because of it.

Apparently at the author’s website, ye can get a free copy of the novella if ye join his mailing list.  Or the kindle version appears to be 99 cents.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Pirates. Sharks. And a woman walking across the sea in a storm.

Patara is returning from a trade voyage when he is chased by pirates and runs through a storm—and then he catches a woman walking atop the waves and speaking to the sea. He and his crew pull her out of the water, only to find that they’ve caught more than they bargained for. Will Patara sacrifice his cargo and his livelihood to save the last member of a mystic tradition?

To visit the author’s website go to:

J.S. Bangs – Author

To buy the book go:

the wave speaker – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Shiver me Timbers!

Ahoy there me mateys!  So as many of me crew of scalawags, seadogs, and fellow explorers knows today is Xmas (in the part of the world I am in anyways).  Now as I am a Scroogey-Grinch whose only joy in this holiday is pillaging christmas baked goods, I thought I would share one of me more favorite anti-xmas shanties.  It has profanity so listen to it at yer own peril!  And enjoy:

For those that celebrate the holiday, I hope yer holiday is all ye want it to be.  For the rest of us . . . a regular day on the high seas!

Always remember:

Q:  What did the pirate get for Christmas?

A:  A p-arrrrrrrrrrrrtridge in a pear tree!

Hardy har har!

x The Captain

Abandon Ship – the lost property office (James R. Hannibal)

Sadly me mateys, it is time to abandon ship!

the lost property office (James R. Hannibal)

Ye see, I got this one from a local library. which of course has deadlines.  Despite the short length and the adequate time before the return date, I read a little over half of the novel before the book was due.  Now normally that would make me one grumpy Captain.  I just shrugged and put the book on hold again.  Should have been a sign.  Then I got the novel a second time and started readin’ again only to bail out.

This book started out strong.  The story concerns Jack Buckles who is in London with his family because his father has died . . . or has he?  Turns out Jack is the 13th Buckles and thus a tracker in a secret society who has secret abilities.

I adore the setting and the premise of the story.  It deals with the real life mystery of the Great Fire of London in 1666 whose cause remains unknown to this day.  There is a nice blending of historical people and places.  There were some nods to Sherlock and Watson.  I loved the magic properties of “sparking.”  The ideas of the second secret London Tube system were particularly lovely.  I so wanted it to exist.  It made me miss living in London with a fierce ache.

Then why abandon it?  Small things that added up.  Basically Jack spends over half the book bumbling around clueless and being dragged around by Gwen, a girl who has grown up in the secret society.  Gwen has answers to many of Jack’s questions.  However, there is so much action, that most of the time ye find out the answer after something has happened in a “info-dump” dialogue format while they are running to their next action setting.  It started to bug me.

Other small details: Sadie, Jack’s sister, is around in the beginning to help set-up the story then conveniently “gets locked up” early on and Jack just leaves her there.  The villain was introduced early on and seemed rather two dimensional.  The sheer number of buildings, towers, and streets that the characters visit for what seems like moments before dashing away again.

It just didn’t float me boat.  I know it is a series and so perhaps the info-dumps will lessen and the plot will thicken but I will not be perusing the rest.  I am in the minority on this one it seems so feel free to disagree with me and point me towards yer opposing reviews!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

James R. Hannibal presents a thrilling adventure through history, complete with mysteries, secret items, codes, and a touch of magic in this stunning middle grade debut.

Thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles is great at finding things. Not just a missing glove or the other sock, but things normal people have long given up on ever seeing again. If only he could find his father, who has disappeared in London without a trace.

But Jack’s father was not who he claimed to be. It turns out that he was a member of a secret society of detectives that has served the crown for centuries—and membership into the Lost Property Office is Jack’s inheritance.

Now the only way Jack will ever see his father again is if he finds what the nefarious Clockmaker is after: the Ember, which holds a secret that has been kept since the Great Fire of London. Will Jack be able to find the Ember and save his father, or will his talent for finding things fall short?

To visit the author’s website go to:

James R. Hannibal – Author

To buy the book go:

the lost property office – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Off the Charts – keeping the castle (Patrice Kindl)

Ahoy there me mateys!  For those of ye who are new to me log, a word: though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes.  Occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were.  So today I bring ye:

keeping the castle: a tale of romance, riches, and real estate (Patrice Kindl)

As usual the beautiful cover drew me in:

The blurb on the cover is “Will she marry for love, money – or both?”  Well that piqued me interest. When I read the blurb, I realized it sounded like a take on Jane Austen’s novels with some silly twists.  Turns out it is a pride and prejudice retelling!  I was in the mood for something light and as Jane Austen just turned 241 years old, it seemed appropriate.

I had such a good time with this one.  It takes place in a small English town called Lesser Hoo.  The main character is a 17 year old named Althea.  She lives in a castle-by-the-sea that is literally falling apart.  With no dowry and only her wits (and thankfully looks) to go on, she must marry rich for the sake of her brother and mother’s future prospects.

This is not a deep book but a fun somewhat ironic one at parts.  If ye are looking for a novel that mimics Austen’s style of writing and societal commentary then this might not float yer boat.  But if ye want a quick tale with an Austen flavor then give it a try.

Apparently there is a second book in the series called a school for brides: a story of maidens, mystery, and matrimony.  Sign me up!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors–or suitors of any kind–in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There’s only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

Patrice Kindl – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

keeping the castle – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the thirteenth princess (Diane Zahler)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I am a fan of fairytale retellings and so when I saw the title and this cover:

I was intrigued.  It is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses and I love that story.  The highlights of this story were the main character, Zita and her friend Breckin, the stableboy.  I liked how a 13th princess was added to the story and how she had to save the day.  With the help of her friends of course.

The plot does meander a bit and I knew the evil character practically at once so that hampered me enjoyment a little.  However Zita is lively and smart and loving.  The 12 princesses are basically interchangeable and hard to tell apart.  But getting more of the story from the perspective of the working characters of the kingdom like the Cook, soldiers, and such was a nice twist.  I also liked the juxtaposition of Zita the servant and Zita the princess.

Altogether this book is worth a read but I do not believe I would add it to me favorites shelf to be reread.

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

The Thirteenth Princess is the story of Zita, the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita’s father banished her to the servants’ quarters, where she must work in the kitchen and can only communicate with her royal sisters insecret. Then, after Zita’s twelfth birthday, the princesses all fall mysteriously ill. The only clue is their strangely worn and tattered shoes.

With the help of her friends—Breckin the stable boy, Babette the witch, and Milek the soldier—Zita follows her bewitched sisters into a magical world of endless dancing and dreams. But something more sinister is afoot—and unless Zita and her friends can break the curse, the twelve princesses will surely dance to their deaths.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Diane Zahler – Author

To buy the book go to:

the thirteenth princess – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – if you could be mine (Sara Farizan)

Ahoy there me mateys!  As a reader I tend to have me favorite genres and authors.  However I also like to experience new cultures and ideas.  That is one of the best things about having this Log – I get recommendations on novels from readers all over the world.

One of me more favorite things going around the blogosphere is the call to read more diverse books.  This particular novel was called to me attention by Aimal @ bookshelves and paperbacks in one of her diversity spotlight thursday posts.  It deals with a female/female relationship in the Middle East.  I sadly know little about that part of the world outside of some few non-fiction books I have read.  I do believe in the rights of LGBTQ persons and so the look into a culture dealing with a rather unspoken issue intrigued me.  I picked up a copy.

The story is set in Tehran,  The main protagonist, Sahar, has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since she was six and has always wanted to marry her.  This story is told from her point of view.  Nasrin, does love Sahar but is conflicted about going against her parents and society’s expectations.  Their love could spell death for both of them if they are found out.  Then, Nasrin’s parents arrange a marriage for her.  How is Sahar going to handle this and what can she do to stop it?

Sahar’s perspective is heart-wrenching.  If possible, I like to write me reviews immediately after finishing a book so that I can capture me thoughts clearly.  But this novel had me pondering for hours about me feelings of the culture, religion, and interpersonal relationships of the characters.  Also how do ye write a review of a novel about a culture that you know so little about and have only this one author’s work on a serious issue to form an opinion?  Well here goes . . .

Ultimately this book seems to this Captain to be a realistic portrayal of young forbidden love in a very conservative society.  In particular, I found the transgender issues to be eye-opening.  I had no idea that the culture and religion in Iran allowed for transgendered people to undergo sex-reassignment surgery.  Of course, just because it is allowed that does not make the choices or consequences easy.  The book was very clear on that.

In terms of characters, I loved Sahar.  She is intelligent, loyal, and loving.  She literally seems willing to go through any lengths for her love.  I was not as enthralled with Nasrin.  Though her love for Sahar did seem genuine, she also seemed like a spoiled rotten brat pretty much throughout the entire novel.  I did try to empathize with how enormously hard it would be for her to go against society and her parents and face negative consequences.  But alas, I felt that Sahar always deserved better.

Why?  Because in this story young teens’ love can somehow always seem to be the end all be all of life.  Sahar seems to be the one willing to give up everything for love.  Nasrin takes a more traditional and in some ways more realistic approach.

Do I wish with all my heart that Sahar and Nasrin could have had their choice to be together fulfilled?  That they lived in a society where being together could have been a viable choice?  That they could somehow live happily ever after.  Yes.  Very much yes.

But from a different perspective, Nasrin wanted children.  I don’t know about alternative means of having children in Tehran but would it even be possible if she and Sahar had stayed together?  Would Sahar grow to be fed up with Nasrin’s selfishness?  Would an everyday relationship grown to be a strain without the “forbidden aspects” of their relationship adding spice?  I am not saying that first love is lesser or that their relationship seemed false.  It definitely seemed real in this novel.  But life does force unwanted paths sometimes.  The ending of the novel seemed to suggest that life would somehow work out for the both of them but perhaps not ever in the manner in which they first wanted.  At least I hope so . . .

So I found this novel to be compelling, thought-provoking, and certainly worth everyone reading.  I will continue to foray into diverse books.  It may not make me a better person but the perspectives are certainly not my own and they different cause me to challenge my own understandings and for that I am grateful . . .

Want to find out more about this author?

Check out The Hub’s diverse books spotlight on Sara Farizan.

Want another good blogger who promotes diverse books?

Check out Naz @ read diverse books

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

In this stunning debut, a young Iranian American writer pulls back the curtain on one of the most hidden corners of a much-talked-about culture.

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?

To visit the author’s page on her publisher’s website go to:

Sara Farizan – Author

To buy the book go to:

if you could be mine – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List