Broadside No. 13 – 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 thirteenth edition of me broadside that will highlight a specific favorite author and their work.  Who ye ask?  It’s a surprise . . .


Abandon Ship – like a boss (Adam Rakunas)

It’s time to abandon ship me mateys!  And oh I be highly disappointed.  I just re-read the first book of the series, windswept and gave it me second reflections.  While I still loved that novel, I should have skipped this one completely.  I made it to page 51 of 375.  Two things made me grumpy:  1) the mention of Jackson Pollack (pg. 41) and 2) the bad guy (pg. 50).

Now I have no real hatred of Jackson Pollack, but the mention of him was just so incongruous that I was taken aback and thrown out of the story.  And to be fair the story was fine up until that moment.  Then the premise of Padma’s new problem to solve was introduced on page 51 and it made me furious.  It seemed both unrealistic and a lazy choice.  I had no interest in this storyline at all.  Had I read the blurb for the second book, I would have known and not purchased it.  But I normally don’t read book two synopses because I like being surprised.

Mistake on this one.  Wish it had stayed a standalone.

Normally I post the synopsis of a novel here but as it has spoilers and I hate it, I am not including it . . . read book one but skip this one!

To visit the author’s website go to:

Adam Rakunas – Author

To buy the novel visit:

like a boss – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Second Reflections – windswept (Adam Rakunas)

Ahoy there me mateys!  While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read.  In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder!  And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends.  So I decided to remedy that in this here new(ish) year and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .

windswept – Adam Rakunas

This be a lovely sci-fi novel that I read back in 2015 after randomly finding a copy in a local library.  It is one of the books that helped bring me attention to the Angry Robot publishing house wherein I joined the Robot Army.  Their books tend to be quirky and to my taste.  In any case, at the time this book was a stand-alone and it can be read as such.  But when I found out there was another book in the series, I was excited to have the chance to re-visit an old port.

And Santee is a great place to spend time if ye like sarcastic bad-ass women, crazy times, and, of course, rum.  The story involves me favorite wench, Padma, who is a union recruiter who deserted the corporate culture of the Big Three to make a better life for herself on a little “mudball” planet.  If she recruits just 33 more people to the union then she can buy her dream business (a rum distillery – Arrrrr!).  When word comes of a breach of 40 people that would help her reach her union quota and her dream, she takes a chance.  Of course nothing goes to plan and all hell breaks loose . . .

The characters are what made the story for me.  Padma be me favorite but there are plenty of strong women in this book – from police officers, pub owners, and tuk-tuk drivers.  While there is very brief mention of sex in this novel, it does NOT have romance as a major element.  There are however strong male and female friendships.  I loved Jilly and Banks.  I loved to dislike Bloomberg.  Several of the bad guys and girls were not as fleshed out but it didn’t really effect me enjoyment.  There are screwball characters and fantastic character interactions that I loved re-reading.

The world building and politics are not extremely complicated but Santee feels solid and believable.  The story was even-paced at the start but ratchets up into a fun mad dash towards the end.  Basically this book is just plain fun.  A quick read, I am glad I chose to revisit this port and look forward to finding out what the gang has been up to in the next installment.

Check out this review by Skjam!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she’s supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She’s only thirty-three short. So when a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosses, she checks it out — against her better judgment. It turns out, of course, it was all lies . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

Adam Rakunas – Author

To buy the novel visit:

windswept – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – select (Marit Weisenberg)

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

select (Marit Weisenberg)

Title: select

Author: Marit Weisenberg

Publisher: Charlesbridge Teen

Publication Date: October 3, 2017 (hardcover/e-book)

ISBN: 9781580898065

Source: NetGalley

This was a book I stumbled across that had a fascinating premise and I was excited to have me wish granted.  A group of biologically different humans lives in Austin, TX.  Julia, is one of these “select” people but has always had trouble fitting in.  Forced to keep a low profile and told to hide her gifts, she makes a mistake and finds herself forced to go to ::gasp:: a public high school with “normal” humans.  What will she do?

Apparently she will have insta-lust and waffle a lot.  Now this was a fast read and only took a couple of hours.  I did finish it, which was good.  But seriously for a group of special people trying to hide their gifts, they seem to go out of their way to flaunt themselves.  The leader (Julia’s dad) is a billionaire investor.  The whole group lives in mansions, wears designer clothes, and drives expensive cars.  I have known teens who drive BMWs and such.  They do NOT blend.

The other kids in the “select” group are daredevils and troublemakers and yet none of them have ever been caught or truly punished.  Mommy and Daddy just get the lawyers to bail them out.  So the premise that Julia blows their cover and has to be punished seemed unbelievable.  And Julia being forced to go to public school for punishment did not lead to anything other than fodder for the insta-love relationship.  Julia skates through school with no real consequences for anything really.  Though she learns to control her powers by using them in stupid ways.  Bland.

The relationship itself was kinda creepy and self-serving, especially in the beginning.  Julia and John have instant chemistry but her method of learning about him is to read his mind without permission and then use that knowledge to encourage him.  Just because she is bored.  I would rather they had a better relationship than one built on lies and some flashes of exposed leg.  Oh add in some non-appealing pseudo love triangle junk and shake not stir.

Even the powers of Julia and the “select” left something to be desired.  Instead of rooting for them, all of the people in her family group felt like a cult.  The powers, like telekinesis or enhanced stamina, were barely used at all and when they were, it felt more like whiny magic people throwing temper tantrums.  If that is what it meant to be one of the “select” then I will gladly pass.

I would have loved for this to have been a deeper look into different branches of human evolution living alongside each other.  I would have loved the “select” to have used their intelligence and powers for something other than money and solitude.  I would have loved for all of the characters to have more depth.  I would have loved for Julia’s golden cage to have actually been appealing so that she had a better reason for her inner conflict.

Overall the premise did not live up to its promise.  Sigh.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Charlesbridge Teen!

Side note: Some mateys disagree with me.  Check out this review by the leisure diaries!

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

To visit the author’s Facebook page go to:

Marit Weisenberg – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

select – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Sailing to the Stars – belt three (John Ayliff)

Ahoy there mateys!  This novel is a sci-fi standalone that I saw recommended somewhere long ago.  It features a space pirate (Arrrrr!) so I picked up a copy recently as it fit me mood.

I found this to be a highly enjoyable read. It is set in a time frame where Earth and other planets have been destroyed by unstoppable alien Von Neumann probes called Worldbreakers.  Humans have colonized asteroid belt systems and are struggling to survive.  A Worldbreaker has arrived in belt three and people are trying to get out of the path of destruction.

Gabriel is a miner, fleeing the Worldbreaker with his crew.  He is captured by Keldra, the female pirate, so that he and the crew can be transformed into slaves and sold.  The highlight of the book was the relationship between the two main characters, Gabriel and Keldra.  Initially out to destroy one another, circumstances find their lots tossed together for basic survival.  The two are constantly having a battle of wits.  Gabriel is out to survive at all costs.  Keldra has an ultimate goal and will take down anyone who stands in her way.  There is lots of character growth on both sides which is what I enjoyed the most.

Of course this novel is also action packed with lots of space battles and trickery and plot twists.  I loved the end-of-the world setting.  It felt different to have the humans be facing extinction and yet still struggling against all odds.  They have amazing technology concerning cloning and mind control.  Yet for all the tech, humans seem to have hardly evolved at all.  The technology is also used as a plot device concerning memory and I loved it.

For $2.99 it was a bargain.  A fast read, I heartily recommend it to me crew.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Worldbreakers do not think, do not feel and cannot be stopped.

Captain Gabriel Reinhardt’s latest mining mission has been brought to a halt by the arrival of a Worldbreaker, one of the vast alien machines that destroyed Earth and its solar system long ago. As he and his crew flee they are kidnapped by a pirate to be mind-wiped and sold into slavery, a fate worse than death in this shattered universe.

But Captain Reinhardt is hiding a secret . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

John Ayliff – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

belt three – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – missing (Kelley Armstrong)

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

missing (Kelley Armstrong)

Title: missing

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: Random House Children’s Crown Books for Young Readers

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

ISBN:     978-0399550324

Source:  NetGalley

So me mateys, I continue with me Kelley Armstrong obsession and this be her latest offering.  It is not me favorite of her novels (as I prefer her fantasy or adult thrillers) but this was a quick and fun read.

The story follows Winter Crane who lives in a small poverty stricken town in Kentucky.  Like most young residents of the town, she has one hope – to graduate high school and escape to the big city.  Just like her big sister  and best friend did.  Except Winter can’t seem to get a hold of either of them.

Due to an abusive home life, she tends to take care of herself.  Think hunting and trapping and shack in the woods.  One day in the woods, Winter rescues a young guy in trouble who happens to be looking for Winter’s best friend – the same friend that Winter has been unable to reach.  In trying to figure out the whereabouts of her missing friend, Winter begins to think that not everyone in town made it to the big city.  Can she solve the mystery before anyone else goes missing?

One of the “problems” I had with the novel was the setting.  In me vagabond nature, I once lived in a small, one street town in Kentucky.  The author does try to address the stereotypes and challenge them.  However, there were inclusions of many small town stereotypes like an idiot pointless sheriff, using food stamps as currency, moonshine stills, and old mountain folk with no running water or electricity.  I couldn’t tell if some of these facts were trying to be based in reality or just plot points to forward the story.

Two less then stellar impressions were of some of the twists towards the end of the novel.  I kinda felt like I was reading a V.C. Andrews melodrama in parts.  And I wasn’t a huge fan of those books even back in the day.  Also the way Winter puts another person’s wishes about reconciliation with her abuser ahead of her own preferences made me cringe.

But these issues were very minor for me overall concerning me enjoyment.  I still found the author’s writing, characters, and story to be engaging.  I read this book in one quick session.  While I don’t think this will ever be a re-read for me, it was certainly entertaining if taken with a grain of salt.  I very much look forward to Kelley Armstrong’s next novel.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House/Crown Books!

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

Winter Crane has exactly one thing to look forward to in Reeve’s End: leaving it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the forest. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found a boy–a stranger–left for dead.

But now he’s gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left Reeve’s End at all? What if they’re all missing?

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

Kelley Armstrong – Author

To buy the novel visit:

missing – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

sea of shadows- book one (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

empires of the night -book two (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

forest of ruin – book three (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the masked truth (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Thriller)

city of the lost – book one (Off the Charts – Thriller/Crime Novel)

a darkness absolute – book two (On the Horizon & Off the Charts – Thriller/Crime Novel)

Tidings from the Crew – the wool trilogy (Hugh Howey)

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:

the wool series (Hugh Howey)

We were talking about the books 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 Captain:

So this trilogy is made up of the books called wool, shift, and dust.  Or as I like to think of them – questions, answers, and consequences.  This series is one of the best dystopians that I have ever read.  The writing is fantastic, the world building exciting, and the characters exquisite.  This book was filled with twists and turns and tensions.  It kept me guessing and I was thoroughly engrossed during the reading process.  I can’t get into major details because that would spoil everything.  I don’t recommend reading the synopsis either because ye need to be surprised.  Seriously wonderful books.  The only downside were some parts of how the consequences were structured and the not as good ending.  But the first and second books are damn near perfect.  Commandeer yerself a copy.

From the First Mate:

I have to admit that I really drug my feet about reading “Wool,” and to tell you the truth I really have no good reason for doing so. From the instant it appeared as one of the first Kindle Direct successes it received great reviews, had many online champions, seemed to appear on tons of people’s favorite lists, and was just generally very well regarded whenever I heard about it. And yet, well, its plot sounded like a bad 70s sci-fi film (a bad version of “Logan’s Run” perhaps) or a young adult novel centered on an ingenue bringing down the system.  It kind of sounded like it was going to be slog to get through; having to wade through the new sheriff making mistakes and learning that the world she lived in was far more corrupt than she’d previously thought.  I was wrong. Oh, my, how I was wrong.

“Wool” is an adult sci-fi novel. Not in the “there’s sexytimes and profanity everywhere” sense that the word “adult” has come to mean in some contexts. In fact, there’s very little profanity and practically no sexuality at all. No, “Wool” is adult in the sense that all of the primary characters are actually adults, behave and reason like adults, have realistic adult relationships, and engage in complex themes and motivations. A significant part of the early part of the novel is devoted to two senior citizens (Jahns, the mayor, and Marnes, the deputy sheriff) descending from the top of the silo to the bottom to interview a candidate to be the new sheriff, all the time talking about relationships and history, and it is fascinating. Howey’s deft characterization here is so skillful that it was impossible not to be fully drawn into the decades long relationship that these two characters had shared. Reading that section I knew that I should’ve read this book long ago.

Perhaps the most fun aspect about “Wool” was the ways in which Howey kept taking standard story expectations and refusing to let them be played out in an easy, simplistic way. It would’ve been very easy for this novel to have settled into a procedural or a simple political struggle. But every moment where the story might have gone in a simple standard direction, Howey appears to have asked himself, “what would Bernard or Juliette really do here to screw up the other’s plan?” And then, after getting that answer, he’d ask it again.

When I finished the book, though, I had two thoughts: 1) Given the world that’s been set up, there’s no way this has a happy ending. And, 2) Given what we learn about the Silo in the latter third of the book, it’s difficult to understand how the events of the ending could have occurred (being vague, sorry, trying not to spoil). Thankfully, there was a second book, “Shift,” to dive right into.

“Shift” is, in my opinion, just as good as “Wool” just in a completely different way. Whereas “Wool” was very much a character driven story with our protagonist and antagonist altering the world they inhabited through sheer will, “Shift” is a plot driven story wherein a sad man, Donald, is caught in the currents of the decisions of others. Sadly, those decisions by other people end up destroying the world. It’s kind of a bureaucratic nightmare where one can be a cog in a machine that’s reaping untold destruction and yet be completely incapable of doing anything to prevent it. “Wool” was a novel about agency; “Shift” is a novel about helplessness.

In addition to telling Donald’s story, “Shift” also tells the story of a character from “Wool” about whom I absolutely did not want to read any more. Seriously, I audibly groaned when I saw that I was going to be reading about this character. And, well, Howey makes it work. He told me a story that I in no way wanted to read, and I ended up enjoying it. That’s gotta be a mark of some damn fine writing skill.

“Shift” ends in the same time period that “Wool” ends and gives a good explanation for how the end of that book was able to happen. However, given that we know even more about the world, it’s even more difficult after reading this book to see how there’s going to be any type of happy ending here for anyone.

The final book in the trilogy, “Dust,” may as well have been titled “The Consequences of Bad Decisions” as that’s really all there is to the book. It’s the shortest book in the series and, honestly, it feels as though Howey was done with these characters in this world and was really just looking to wrap things up in the fastest way possible.  Virtually every bad decision that any of the characters made in the previous books comes back to bite them. Most of the consequences have a narrowing effect on the novel. Characters and possibilities are peeled away to allow the story line to progress quickly towards the finish.  Unlike the previous novels which were full of surprising twists, “Dust” simply grinds through its plot towards a more or less predictable conclusion.

The only addition to the world in “Dust” was a completely unnecessary and bizarre religious story line. Basically a cult of really crazy people doing the things crazy cult people do (think Jim Jones and the People’s Temple and you’re on the right track). The only reason I can see for Howey to have put it in was to pad the length of the novel and that really seems at odds with how tight and well plotted the previous two novels were.

And the ending? Well, I wouldn’t call it a satisfying ending, but it also wasn’t the super dour ending that I was expecting. Does Howey cheat a little bit? Yes, he does. But, I admit, by that point I really didn’t care anymore.

I’d recommend “Wool” and “Shift” without reservation to anyone who enjoys sci-fi or post apocalyptic fiction. They should rightly be viewed as modern classics. Were I to recommend them, I’d probably also say that the third book is the weakest of the bunch and you might be better off skipping it.

Goodreads has this to say about the first book, wool:

Thousands of them have lived underground. They’ve lived there so long, there are only legends about people living anywhere else. Such a life requires rules. Strict rules. There are things that must not be discussed. Like going outside. Never mention you might like going outside.

Or you’ll get what you wish for.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Hugh Howey – Author

To buy the novels visit:

the wool trilogy – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List