On the Horizon – the rending and the nest (Kaethe Schwehn)

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

the rending and the nest (Kaethe Schwehn)

Title: the rending and the nest

Author: Kaethe Schwehn

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: TODAY!!! (hardback/e-book)

ISBN: 978-1632869722

Source: NetGalley

 

This is truly wonderfully delightfully oddly bizarre.  It is a post-apocalyptic book wherein 95% of the population disappears with no explanation.  This becomes known as the Rending.  Along with people, portions of buildings and other items simply disappear as well.  Thousands of random objects are mixed together in towering Piles that dot the landscape.

In this new world, we are introduced to (and follow) Mira as she and fellow survivors try to make a new life in a settlement called Zion.  The novel deals with the current day to day living and then switches into snippets of the past.  The main issue appears when the first pregnancy of Zion post-Rending is announced.  The settlement is fraught with excitement over the prospect of a new baby.  Imagine the surprise when the new baby turns out to be an inanimate object.

So what does this mean?  Read the novel and find out.  Just be prepared that this is a slow burn, heavily detailed story.  I found it fascinating, horrifying, and lyrical all at once.  I am very glad I read it and have been thinking about it ever since I finished.  It is certainly not a book for everyone, but it was perfect for me.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Bloomsbury USA!

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:

When ninety-five percent of the world’s population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can’t afford to lose. Four years after the Rending, Mira has everything under control. Almost.

Then Mira’s best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first in this strange world and a new source of hope for Mira. But Lana gives birth to an inanimate object—and soon other women of Zion do, too—and the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new world begins to fray. As the community wrestles with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world outside Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn’t return, Mira has to decide how much she’s willing to let go in order to save her friend, her community, and her own fraught pregnancy.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Kaethe Schwehn – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the rending and the nest – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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Second Reflections – the witches (Roald Dahl)

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 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 . . .

the witches – Roald Dahl

So I am not a huge audio book person.  In fact the only story I previously listened to was the dispatcher which I “read” and reviewed with me first mate.  Now I know that I said I preferred readin’ books rather than listening to them (still true) but some circumstances led me to listening to the witches via audiobook.  So basically I have been having long days where I am doing monotonous things like inventorying the hold, reviewing the accounts, and supervising the swabbin’ of the deck.  None of these tasks involves a ton of brain power.  So frankly I get a bit bored.  Usually I listen to and sing sea shanties.  But even that had lost its luster.  So I thought why not listen to an audio book.  I had time constraints and knew that I couldn’t listen to something new that might distract me.  So I decided to listen to an old favourite children’s book due to the length and because I would already be familiar with the story.  Thus the witches because I had a copy readily available.

I loved Dahl’s books as a young lass and consider many of them favourites.  Like me commandeered little princess tale, me copy of the witches was filched at some point and so I hadn’t read this one since that incident.  I absolutely loved revisiting this tale.

This is the story of a small boy whose encounter with witches forever changes his life.  Now ye may think of witches as scary women with warts and green skin and long pointy black hats.  The truth is that in disguise, they look like perfectly nice ordinary young women, and they have a plot to get rid of all children in England for good.  Unless one small boy with the help of his Norwegian grandmother can save the day!

I certainly missed Quentin Blake’s illustrations but thought overall that  narrator Miranda Richardson did a fairly good job with the characters.  The only issue that I had was her portrayal of the head witch.  The head witch rolls the letter r and turns the letter w into a v.  Many of these lines were unintelligible at times.  But overall I thought that the story was just as wonderful as I remembered.  I may try this audio book thing again.

Side note: the first mate told me there was a movie of the witches with Anjelica Huston as the head witch.  I watched the 1990 trailer and my goodness does it depart from the book.  I think I shall skip it.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

This is not a fairy-tale. This is about real witches. Real witches don’t ride around on broomsticks. They don’t even wear black cloaks and hats. They are vile, cunning, detestable creatures who disguise themselves as nice, ordinary ladies. So how can you tell when you’re face to face with one? Well, if you don’t know yet you’d better find out quickly-because there’s nothing a witch loathes quite as much as children and she’ll wield all kinds of terrifying powers to get rid of them.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Roald Dahl – Author

To buy the novel visit:

the witches – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandon Ship – shadow magic (Patricia C. Wrede)

It’s time to abandon ship, me mateys!  Me first one of the year.  This author has written marvelous things like the enchanted forest chronicles (adored them all!) and sorcery and cecelia (cute and fun!).  I had always wanted to read her Lyra series and finally tracked down an omnibus of the first three books in the series.  To say I was excited is an understatement.  And then the time finally came to immerse meself in this new world.  I was expecting great things.

I got grumpitude.  Basically, I found this book to be immensely cliché and boring.  I find it hard to believe that these books were written by the same author.  To be fair, I thought the beginning had promise.

It starts out with a merchant caravan arriving back home after a long journey.  Maurin is a member of the caravan.  He has been invited by a noble, Har, to visit the family estate.  When he gets there, he meets Alethia, Har’s sister, who is intelligent and good with daggers.  There is a hint that Maurin quickly develops a crush on Har’s sister even though he laughs good-naturedly at himself due to the immense difference in their stations.  Things ensue and Alethia is kidnapped.  Har and Maurin set out to get her back.  Yup.  I was on board with that.  In fact I was good up until page 29 when Alethia escapes her captors.

After page 29, the characters involved expanded exponentially.  Additions to the characters included: a minstrel, dwarfish-creatures, elvish-creatures, magicians, evil shadow people, etc.  Alethia goes from being somewhat awesome to lacking initiative and being led around like a puppet.  Oh, add in that she is the chosen one and a special snowflake at that.  And the reasons for the evil people and the politics and the warfare were just ugh.

But I kept reading hoping for genius to emerge.  I made it to page 111 of 174.  I had put the book down at the preparing for a battle part to get some shut eye.  Then when came time to finish the last bit, I kept picking it back up, rereading the same three paragraphs and putting it back down.

The last attempt to pick it resulting in an actual feeling of dread and so I abandoned ship.  If only it contained the stories of just Maurin and Har trying to rescue Alethia with her contributing to her own escape!  I will not be reading the rest of the series.  I will stick to rereadin’ me favourites by the author instead.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Trouble is brewing in Alkyra. While the kingdom’s noblemen squabble, on their borders an ancient enemy, the Lithmern, raises an army. As the head of the Noble House of Brenn attempts to organize an alliance, the princess Alethia celebrates her twentieth birthday. She is a remarkable woman: quick-witted, beautiful, and handy with a throwing knife. But on the next night, she passes through a dark corridor on her way to the banquet hall, and never emerges from the shadows. The Lithmern have kidnapped the princess.

When Alethia regains consciousness, an evil Lithmern with a face made of shadows is carrying her through the forest. These are magic woods, home to fabled creatures whose existence she has always doubted. To find her way home, Alethia will have to learn to trust in the old tales, whose legends of magic and daring hold the only hope of saving her kingdom.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Patricia C. Wrede – Author

To buy the novel visit:

shadow magic – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the coelura (Anne McCaffrey)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I am assuming that most of me crew has heard of Anne McCaffrey.  I read a lot of her work when I was a younger lass.  So when I was perusing some used books that be for sale, I snagged a copy of this short novel.  I had never heard of it and it has a funny looking cat like creature on the cover:

The edition I picked up was published by Tor in 1987.  It is a hardback and part of its appeal were the 50 black and white illustrations by Ned Dameron.

It is an odd little snippet of a story.  Lady Caissa is the body-heir for her father.  Her father helps rule the planet of Demeathorn.  As body-heir, Caissa owes him strict obedience – especially in the matter of producing the next heir.  But when her father proposes his pick of suitor, Caissa is appalled at how inappropriate the choice is and wonders what scheme her father is participating in now.  So she decides to find out.  Will she be a dutiful daughter or will she revolt?

Part of that scheme involves the coelura.  I don’t even know how to describe them.  After reading this book, I still be completely confused as to what one is. They certainly don’t look like the cat creature from the cover.  The illustrations don’t really do them justice.  It was perplexing.

The illustrations, while super fun, were rather odd.  Sometimes they seemed to match an element of the story.  Sometimes I couldn’t figure out what they were supposed to portray.  They were not always placed near the section of the book being described.  In fact, often they were scattered in seemingly random order.

I enjoyed this novel but ended up being mostly confused.  As McCaffrey’s writing is usually crystal clear and rich in detail, this seemed unusual.  But instead of being frustrated, I still very much enjoyed the odd experience and the puzzle of it.  I can’t recommend the story, such as it was, but I am glad I own this particular book and will certainly revisit it in the future.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

The Lady Caissa, heir to the Ambassador of the Federated Sentient Planets to the world Demeathorn, had grown up knowing that she owed her sire obedience and unconditional loyalty. She was expected to do her duty, even to the extent of entering into a marriage alliance she did not understand with a man she despised. Lady Caissa, beautiful, rich, and well-educated, had never learned the great secret of Demeathorn, although she was about to be caught in its spell.

In the aftermath of disastrous diplomatic negotiations, she fled north toward interdicted territory. A distress signal from deep within the forbidden zone drew her to a rocky island where she would encounter a man alone: intense, handsome, and severely injured in the crash of his antique flyer. Lady Caissa did not know it, but she had just set in motion events which would determine the fate of her family, her planet…and her happiness.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Anne McCaffrey – Author

To buy the book go to:

the coelura – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – silver in the blood (Jessica Day George)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This author came to me attention with her book the princess of the midnight ball which is a twelve dancing princesses retelling.  No, I haven’t read it yet.  I was looking for something light to read as me last several books have been rather heavy.  The dancing princesses book wasn’t available but this one was.  It had also been on me list as it had a cool cover:

So I scooped it up and had a gander.  The book ended up being a silly okayish read that did give me some enjoyment.

The story involves two girls from New York that are sent on a trip to meet their mothers’ family back in Romania.  These cousins get more than they bargained for.  Secrets are being kept and the family is being evasive.  What is the family hiding and what does that have to do with them?

So some cool things in this book:

  • It takes place in the 1890s.  I love historical fantasy fiction.
  • The format is letters, diary entries, and perspectives from the girls themselves.
  • It has shape-shifters.  Which I figured from the cover.
  • The two cousins have an awesome relationship.  I love how supportive they are of each other.
  • The girls both have very different personalities but due to circumstances in the book their roles are reversed at one point and that was excellent fun.
  • The majority of the book takes place in Romania.  I don’t know many books that are.  (One other.  That’s all I could come up with.)
  • Lou has an awesome power.  I loved how it was used.
  • It was a quick read.

The not as fun:

  • The plot is kinda plodding in a lot of places.  It took forever for the girls to find out about the family.  I would have liked that reveal to be way earlier in the book.  And of course when yer reader guessed fairly early on what was going on, it makes the two girl’s lack of intelligence in that regard tedious and annoying.
  • The girls’ powers could have been used WAY more in terms of plot.
  • while the book is set in Romania, I would have liked the country to feel more integral to the plot.  Yes there are myths and history facts that are used in good ways in the story but not enough.
  • The villain was extremely two dimensional and irked me in his rational.  Which basically came down to “because he wanted it.”
  • The love interests were too numerous and too boringly shallow.
  • I wanted more action and adventure and girls kicking butt.  I wanted the girls to show more initiative.

While this book didn’t thrill me, it was a good way to spend some of the evening.  Me crew still highly recommends her dragon books and I still want to read the fairytale so I will certainly give this author another shot.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate… or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jessica Day George – Author

To buy the book go to:

silver in the blood – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Off the Charts and On the Horizon – this fallen prey (Kelley Armstrong)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. So 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. I received this thriller eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, city of the lost, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

this fallen prey (Kelley Armstrong)

Title: this fallen prey

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: Macmillian/Minotaur Books – Established in 1999, Minotaur is a premier publisher in the bestselling category of crime fiction.

Publication Date: TODAY!!! (hardcover/e-book)

ISBN:  978-1250159892

Source:  NetGalley

I love Kelley Armstrong!  I discovered her through her young adult book, sea of shadows, and she became me most read author of 2016. I have read the first two books of this series and was excited to continue me foray into Rockton.

This novel continues the adventures of Rockton’s detective, Casey Duncan.  For those who be adventurous and are readin’ this post having not read the previous books, Rockton is an off-the-grid town in the Yukon.  People pay a council to spend time in this town to hide from their pasts.  Some flee domestic abuse.  Some flee other more unsavory problems.  Suffice to say, the town is not an idyllic wonderland.

Casey has survived a lot of hard times in her short period in Rockton and yet has transitioned rather well overall.  The town has settled down, to the best of its ability, and Casey’s content to live in the moment and enjoy her newfound solace.  But then the council drops an unannounced problem into town in the form of an accused serial killer, bound and gagged.  The council decrees that Casey and Sheriff Dalton must ensure this man’s survival for 6 months until other arrangements can be made.  That is not a request.  His going to prison is not an option.  And with this unexpected arrival, Casey’s yet again in a world of trouble.

I found this setup to be rather ingenious.  There are a lot of known dangers in Rockton and tons of less than stellar inhabitants.  I wondered how the author was goin’ to up the ante in this installment.  Throw a supposed serial killer in the pot, stir, and shake up.  I loved that the town is so not prepared to contain an actual known menace.  I love the citizens’ take on the situation.  I loved Casey’s ambivalence about their charge.  Is this man an actual killer or is someone taking advantage of the council and thus Casey?

The first third of the book was an absolute delight.  Then me enjoyment began to wane.  This for me was the weakest of the three novels so far.  While the setup was fabulous, the execution was a bit silly, to be honest.  Too much of the novel was wandering in the forest and making small but seemingly pointless forays back to Rockton.

What action did happen in the forest was a bit too comical.  I mean, how many fierce, dangerous (and usually shy) animals can try to kill Casey in a sequence?  Too many.  How many bullets can fly and magically not kill the strategic characters.  Too many.  How many awesome residents of Rockton were seemingly brought in to help the situation and then weren’t actually utilized?  Too many.

I didn’t hate the novel and certainly loved certain elements of it.  But the first book was great and the second book took elements of the town and flipped them upside down – to great effect.  The stories also were concluded satisfactorily even if elements from book one popped into book two.  Book three ends on a rather unsatisfying cliffhanger.  I did like revisiting Rockton and Casey and there are some new people that I want more information about.  I shall still read the next one in the series.  I just hope it turns out as well as books one and two did.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian/Minotaur Books!

Netgalley has this to say about the novel:

Casey Duncan is about to face her toughest job as police detective in Rockton yet.

When Casey first arrived at the off-the-grid town, an isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect, with no cell phones, no internet, no mail, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. She certainly didn’t expect to be the homicide detective on two separate cases or to begin a romantic relationship with her boss. But the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned, and to keep others safe.

Of course Oliver Brady claims he’s being set up. But the longer Brady stays in town, the more things start to go wrong. When evidence comes to light that someone inside Rockton might be working as his accomplice, helping him to escape, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he’s truly responsible for committing.

In the next page-turning entry in Kelley Armstrong’s gripping series, life in Rockton is about to get even more dangerous.

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

Kelley Armstrong – Author

To buy the novel visit:

this fallen prey – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

sea of shadows- book 1 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

empires of the night -book 2 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

forest of ruin – book 3 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

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

missing (On the Horizon – Young Adult Thriller eArc)

city of the lost – book 1 (Off the Charts – Thriller/Crime Novel)

a darkness absolute – book 2 (Off the Charts and on the Horizon – Thriller/Crime Novel Arc)

On the Horizon – semiosis (Sue Burke)

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

semiosis (Sue Burke)

Title: semiosis

Author: Sue Burke

Publisher: Macmillian-Tor/Forge

Publication Date: Tomorrow!! (hardback/ebook)

ISBN: 978-0765391353

Source: NetGalley

Well mateys.  I learned a new word from this novel.  Semiosis.  Cool sounding word.  Wasn’t sure of it’s exact meaning.  So I be sharing with me hearties:

semiosis : a process in which something functions as a sign to an organism  source.

Yup, this book was indeed all about that.  A bunch of folk from Earth have dreams of creating a new space colony dedicated to being in harmony with nature.  The colony is called Pax for the peaceful civilization of their dreams.  Only when they wake up, they find that the ship has sent them to a different planet than they expected.  With little choice, they decide to make the best of it.  But what happens when nature has a mind of its own?

Well, interestingly weird things happen.  Plants, animals, weather – nothing is like the humans planned for.  In fact one of the best things about this novel is how the human planning goes all wrong – especially in the beginning.  Humans do survive but with interesting consequences.  Another fun thing about this novel is that the story is told over 5 generations and 107 years with different narrators for each chapter.  So the reader gets to see the ramifications of earlier choices as well as get some of the distortion of truth as time goes by.

Me favourite thing about the book is the relationships formed between the humans and the natural inhabitants of the planet.  The signs and communication between lifeforms is the theme and highlight of the book.  I loved the way language was used and the various forms it took.  If I could have some of the animals as me life companions then I would certainly want a kat, which I picture as a cuddly miniature kangaroo that plays leapfrog and digs holes .  The characters were individualized and well portrayed.  I thought the plot was solid if somewhat plodding.  But the concepts of utopias, mutualism, first contact, culture, and co-existence made this a very enjoyable read.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge!

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Sue Burke – Author

To buy the novel go to:

semiosis – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List