Broadside No. 12 – 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 twelfth 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 – rider’s revenge (Alessandra Clarke)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Older members of me crew may remember that before I gave me heart to the sea, I had an obsession with horses.  I read a myriad of pony books and so every now and again me soft spot for these types of stories leads me back to the equine world.  When I discovered this young adult novel involving a strong female rider I gave it a shot.  Plus this cover:

Pretty no?  Unfortunately while there be enjoyment in reading this novel, there be some many flaws as well.  Let’s look on the bright side first . . .

  • Horses.  The main horse in this novel was Fallion.  He is a special breed called an Amalanee.  Loyal, loving, speedy, strong, and special.  What’s not to like?  And he may or may not have special powers.
  • Strong female protagonist.  K’Irsa is a member of a nomadic tribe of horse loving people.  She can ride and shoot with the best of them.  She is loyal to her family and has morals.  I always like that.
  • Wonderful parent.  K’Irsa’s father is an encouraging, loving parent.  He loves his daughter even though she doesn’t not fit in the traditional tribal roles.  He facilitates her independence and pushes her to succeed.
  • Lodie.  This woman was a fun side character.  I enjoyed her very much and wish the book would have been her story instead.  Snarky, intelligent, and determined.  Yup.
  • Revenge.  I rather enjoyed the ramifications of getting revenge in this story.  Not the plot of the revenge itself but some of the ideas about what the consequences of fighting for revenge can be and what it can do to the person out to get it.
  • Moon and Sun stones.  I enjoyed the magic of these items.  But sadly they didn’t really play a huge enough part in the novel.

The not so good . . .

  • Horses.  Yes I know I picked the book for the ponies.  There were just not enough of them in the book.  Basically the horses only matter in the beginning of the story and the very end.  I wished that Fallion was central to the entire story.  Also I did not buy the story of how K’Irsa got him.
  • The female protagonist.  She may be strong and intelligent but she doesn’t always use her brain.  She can be impulsive.  K’Irsa likes to whine about how hard her life is despite her special treatment.  She is also rather naive about the world and the darker side of human nature.  Her internal monologue became rather wearisome.  She is a bit too much of a special snowflake.
  • The love story.  Ugh.  I rather hated it.  The two lovers first meet in a dream and are instant soul mates.  Sigh.  Of course when they meet, the cliches abound.  I did like the idea that the perfect dream lovers have major issues in real life but the plot twists concerning their relationship were just annoying and rather disheartening.  Obviously K’Irsa’s lover cannot be perfect if he can treat her like he does.  And she just sighs, justifies, and forgives him.  Because he can change!  No thanks.
  • The setting.  Basically there be the desert horse tribe and the city folk.  The city folk are evil and ignorant and commerce driven.  Okay fine.  But what was not fine in me world was that the city and politics seemed to be based on every cliche of Muslim society but worse.  The women are veiled, are property, and have no rights.  The Daliph’s harem, I mean Doranas, literally have their fingers encased in finger traps, wear metal corsets so they can’t really move, and have servants that have to feed, bathe, do everything for them.  They cannot eat or even shit without a man helping them.  And it’s considered a privilege.
  • The plot.  Ugh I am sorry but writing the last paragraph just made me more grumpy about the book as I wrote those thoughts out.  And if the setting bothered me, the plot was horrendous .  The strong female protagonist pretty much makes no major choices of her own.  Even the Gods give her directions at the beginning.  She actually tries to do the training to be a regular Dorana.  The justification is revenge.  The actuality is that most of the book finds her trapped in a room letting everyone dictate her life and thinking that it can be justified or okay in any circumstance.  I have to admit that I don’t like reliving the details of this.

So basically even though I got the next book in the series, I am not sure if I am going to read it . . . despite the cool ponies.  It is a novel that I seem to dislike more and more with reflection.  Some cool concepts.  Just not me type of execution.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

K’lrsa is a Rider for the White Horse Tribe who sets out to avenge the brutal murder of her father but finds herself in a society very different from the one she’s known. She also finds that revenge isn’t near as simple as she thought it would be and that she’ll have to choose between killing the man she thinks is responsible and being with the man she loves.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Alessandra Clarke – Author

To buy the novel go to:

rider’s revenge – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Off the Charts – run (Blake Crouch)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Me introduction to this author was the novel dark matter, which I highly enjoyed.  So when a local library had a copy of this standalone thriller, I snagged it.

While this novel was fast and fun it also felt rather average.  The plot of the novel is that normal American citizens are going crazy and homicidal.  One family, the Colcloughs, are determined to stay together and survive.  So they run.  I mean, I know that is the title, but basically they run the entire book.

The novel started off with an interesting prologue and then a lovely set-up.  Then of course the author messed with me expectations in a good way with some loverly plot twists.  And kept it up for about half the book.  Then the pace slowed down and became less interesting.  How many improbable situations can this family survive?  Apparently all of them.

The main characters Jack and Dee were both kinda stupid in the beginning in terms of their takes on life and each other.  Both did improve in the book which was nice.  The kids, Cole and Naomi, were portrayed rather well except that they were mostly used as narrative device to kept the parents focused.  I mean the kids slept through so much action it seemed absurd.  I wanted the whole family to contribute to the quest for survival.  I know Cole was seven but there have to be useful seven year olds.  I like to think that I was helpful at that end and not only a hindrance.

And the description for why the Americans went crazy was kinda lame.  However there was a twist at the end that I rather liked.  Overall it was a good reading experience and I am willing to read another Crouch book.  I just think this one was okay.

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

Picture this: A landscape of American genocide…

5 days ago
A rash of bizarre murders swept the country…
Senseless. Brutal. Seemingly unconnected.
A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike.
A mass of school shootings.
Prison riots of unprecedented brutality.
Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.

4 days ago
The murders increased ten-fold…

3 days ago
The President addressed the nation and begged for calm and peace…

2 days ago
The killers began to mobilize…

Yesterday
All the power went out…

Tonight
They’re reading the names of those to be killed on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they’ve just read yours.

Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People are coming to your house to kill you and your family. You don’t know why, but you don’t have time to think about that any more.

You only have time to….

R U N

To visit the author’s website go to:

Blake Crouch – Author

To buy the book go to:

run – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the weaver (Emmi Itaranta)

Ahoy there me mateys!  After I read this Finnish author’s debut novel, memory of water, I knew I had to read her next book when it came out.  And while I enjoyed her first novel more, there was a lot to be enjoyed in this one as well.

The world building in this novel was wonderful.  The story takes place on an island where everything is deeply regimented.  One of the main rules is that dreaming is not allowed.  It is treated like the plague and if discovered to be a Dreamer then the person is thrown into House of the Tainted never to be seen again.

There are other Houses like the House of Words and the House of Webs.  Our main character, Eliana, lives in the House of Webs and weaves.  She has secrets, among them being able to read and also being a dreamer.  She tries to stay invisible and safe in her structured world.  Then one day she discovers an injured girl, Valeria, who happens to have Eliana’s name tattooed on her palm.  Eliana can’t help but be drawn into the mystery.  As Eliana begins to become closer to Valeria, will she give up her safety and worldview to solve the puzzle?

The relationship between Valeria and Eliana is one of the highlights of the book for me.  Their connection is slow burning but wonderful and kept me avidly reading.  While not the focus of the book, their relationship drives the story.  It was sweet and endearing.  I also enjoyed the loving relationship between Eliana and her brother Janos.  There is also a kick ass healer whom I adored too.

The details in this novel were as stunning at the ones in the author’s first novel.  The circumstances and explanations of the tattoos were fun.  The glimpses into the other Houses felt realistic and left me wanting to know more about the purposes of them all.  I adored how the island would flood.  Those descriptions were so vivid and stark.  This author’s writing feels magical.

While I loved the world the author created, I did have some issues with the dreaming aspects of the novel.  The dreaming is very fantastical and even though there is an explanation for why dreaming is dangerous, I didn’t really love it.  The ending of the novel in particular seemed extremely odd.  I wouldn’t say that I hated it.  It just left me sort of confused.

Despite that I did find this novel thought-provoking and am glad I read it.  I will be reading whatever this author produces next.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Eliana is a model citizen of the island, a weaver in the prestigious House of Webs. She also harbors a dangerous secret—she can dream, an ability forbidden by the island’s elusive council of elders. No one talks about the dreamers, the undesirables ostracized from society.

But the web of protection Eliana has woven around herself begins to unravel when a young girl is found lying unconscious in a pool of blood on the stones outside the house. Robbed of speech by her attackers, the only clue to her identity is one word tattooed in invisible ink across her palm: Eliana. Why does this mysterious girl bear her name? What links her to the weaver—and how can she hold Eliana’s fate in her hand?

As Eliana finds herself growing closer to this injured girl she is bound to in ways she doesn’t understand, the enchanting lies of the island begin to crumble, revealing a deep and ancient corruption. Joining a band of brave rebels determined to expose the island’s dark secrets, Eliana becomes a target of ruthless forces determined to destroy her. To save herself and those she loves, she must call on the power within her she thought was her greatest weakness: her dreams.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Emmi Itaranta – Author

To buy this novel to go:

the weaver – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

memory of water (The Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – scythe (Neal Shusterman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This cover and its title drew me in:

Isn’t that gorgeous?  So of course I had to know what it was about.  Turns out that Earth, with the help of a super computer, has no natural death, hunger, disease, war, etc.  But because the population still needs to be controlled, there are human scythes whose job it is to choose who will die.- within certain rules and parameters of course.

The story concerns Citra and Rowan, two teens, who are chosen to be trained as apprentice scythes.  Neither of them wants the job but both say yes for assorted reasons.  The catch is that only one of them will be chosen to advance as a scythe.  But each apprentice has to decide if they truly want the job as well as try to pass the appropriate tests..

The world and characters that the author set up were extremely interesting.  I liked the various scythes and how each chooses to approach the work.  I love the weird super computer.  I enjoyed both Citra and Rowan’s stories.  I thought the introduction to both of those characters as well as to their master scythe were especially well done and engaging.  There are a lot of lovely details that made this version of Earth come alive for me.

The flaw in the reading was in the plot.  The first half flew by and then the story seemed to stagnate.  The middle was kinda boring and there were some plot twists that I did not like at all.  But I kept reading because I loved the overall world set-up and wanted to know how it ended.  And I highly enjoyed how the author chose to conclude this first book.  I am not sure what will happen in the second book but I do believe I will read it.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neal Shusterman – Author

To buy the book go to:

scythe – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – gilded cage (Vic James)

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

gilded cage (Vic James)

Title: gilded cage

Author: Vic James

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine / Del Ray

Publication Date: TODAY!!! (Hardcover/E-Book)

ISBN: 9780425284155

Source: NetGalley

This novel sounded awesome.  It is a young adult dystopian with a magical twist.  I thought this novel would float me boat. But I just could not finish it and had to abandon ship at 70%.  Even though I did skip to the end and read the last chapters.  Why ye ask?  Well for a myriad of reasons (in no particular order):

  • The revolution – it just got boring.  This is what killed the book for me.  I thought how the revolution began was rather uninspiring and the “dangerous” actions of the rebels felt lackluster.  Spray painting walls.  Hanging banners.  I mean I know it was only the beginning of the rebellion but I didn’t care about it at all and didn’t even want to read about it anymore.
  • Secondary characters – while I actually liked the main characters of Luke, Abi, and was even okay with Silyen, I had problems with many of the secondary characters being rather blah.  Silyen’s brother Gavar and Jenner were very flat with seemingly little psychology into why they did what they did.  Gavar was boorish and angry.  Jenner was ineffectual and a hand-wringer.  Add in sadistic guards, the hot love interest for Luke called Angel (Ugh!), and the rebels who happen to have super skills and I just felt underwhelmed.
  • That being said, I did love the sibling relationships between Luke, Abi and Daisy.  Also loved the street urchin Renie.  She hit all me soft spots.
  • The parents – well the good news is that parents are present in a young adult novel.  Luke and Abi had loving wonderful parents.  Okay there.  But the bad thing is that after seemingly being involved even tangentially in the beginning, they just disappear from the plot.  Silyen’s parents are present but seemingly to only have the father and mother be two-dimensional power hungry bad guys.
  • Insta-love – Sigh.  Jenner and Abi.  Blech.
  • Politics – the political maneuvering, which normally I love, was just not appealing.  Somehow the problem seemed to be the set-up for how the world functioned.  It just didn’t quite make sense.
  • The magic – cool concepts but again didn’t seem to have a premise that made complete sense.  I will will chalk it up to being a first in a trilogy.  However I did want more of the magic that added to the usual dystopian flavor.
  • I don’t normally read the endings of books I abandon but I guess the good news about the writing is while I didn’t want to have to “live” through it, I did want to know how this one tied up.  That was just more proof that I am done with this series.

With so many books on the horizon, I just gave up.  I want me reading to make time seem to disappear, not to accentuate every second passing.  I am sad, but I couldn’t fight the tide.

If ye want to read another take on this novel of me crew member that loved it check out this review from Beth @ Reading Every Night.

If ye want to read a take on this novel of me crew member who is in the minority with me check out this review from Millie @ Milliebot Reads.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine / Del Ray!

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

NOT ALL ARE FREE   –   NOT ALL ARE EQUAL   –   NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge…

ABI is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, she faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty–but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution…

Abi’s brother LUKE is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, Luke makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts…

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate–or destroy?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Vic James – Author

To buy the novel go to:

gilded cage – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – miniatures (John Scalzi)

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

miniatures: the very short fiction of john scalzi (John Scalzi)

Title: miniatures: the very short fiction of john scalzi

Author: John Scalzi

Illustrator: Natalie Metzger

Publisher: Subterranean Press

Publication Date: December 31, 2016 (hardback/e-book)

ISBN: 9781596068124

Source: NetGalley

Okay so it may be no secret to me crew that I am kinda in love with John Scalzi’s novels.  He has been featured on a Broadside, had the dispatcher reviewed by both me and the First Mate, and writes a blog called Whatever, that I follow regularly.  So when the man himself blogged about the release of this short story collection I knew I wanted to read it.  When I was on Netgalley, I happened to see it.  Then the publisher happened to grant it to me for readin’.  Yay!

Since I am very familiar with the Scalzi writing style, I waited for a day that was rather blah and where I needed a pick-me-up.  Cause Scalzi is funny.  So the day came and I settled in me bunk for a treat.  And I got exactly what I wanted.

Out of the 18 pieces, me top 3 standouts . . .

“Alien Animal Encounters” – Perhaps ye have heard of the those segments where people like Jay Leno do segments like “Jay Walking” where random people on the street are asked the Question of the Week.  Well in this story, the question is “What is the most interesting encounter you’ve had with an alien animal species?”  This is the first story of the collection and set the tone nicely.  Favorite animals included the cat (duh!) and the courou.

“Denise Jones, Superbooker” – Set in the form of a transcript, this story is about a booking agent for super heroes.  She answers important questions about super hero secret identities, contracts, and other secrets of the biz.  The bit about Bryan Garcia made me happy.  There is a related story later in the collection called “The State of Super Villainy” that was fun too.

“Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back” – Security systems, fridges, waffle irons . . . if they could speak what would they report about their owners.  ‘Nuff said.

There were a couple of stories that didn’t really float me boat – one about Pluto, one about extortionists, and one about Penelope.  And some that were just plain weird Scalzi – like sentient yogurt.  But overall Scalzi delivers as usual.  Quick and fun.

For another take by me crew member who loved it:

the green onion

So lastly . . .

Thank you Subterranean Press!

Netgalley’s website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

John Scalzi – Author

To buy the novel go to:

miniatures – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List