Off the Charts – the questionable behavior of dahlia moss (Max Wirestone)

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.  Here is:

the questionable behavior of dahlia moss (Max Wirestone)

I received this silly, goofy contemporary murder mystery eARC from Goodreads Giveaways. Arrrrr!  I was so excited to read this third book in the dahlia moss mysteries series.  If ye haven’t read the first book, the unfortunate decisions of dahlia moss, then ye might want to skip this post and go read me review of the first book.  No spoilers ahead but if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

So me hearties, I had absently said “I wonder what I should next read” when standing in me hold within the hearing of the first mate.  And he exclaimed, “Something fun, that makes ye happy!”  And I immediately knew that it was this book.  This wonderful delightful book.  When I showed the first mate me pick, his response was ” [chuckle] I like when ye read those Dahlia books.  Ye heartily laugh out loud and then tell me about ’em.”

Yes, that is just what I did.  Laughed and laughed.  This was the zaniest, silliest book yet.  After (barely) surviving her last two adventures, Dahlia is hired as a corporate spy on a mission to catch another corporate spy bent on espionage.  Dahlia has to pose as a temp in order to go undercover and solve the case.  The company – an app developer!

Seriously I didn’t think that Dahlia could up the ante on the last mission but this one was both absurd and delightful.  The sheer number of people and intertwined problems in this one were ridiculously awesome.  Dahlia is a mess but a fun one.  It was a delight to see her put her questionable charming personality and skills to the test.  If it hasn’t been clear, I loved it!!

The only sad part was that the ending of the book felt like an ending to the series.  A fond, happy farewell.  But a farewell nonetheless.  I could read many more books about Dahlia.  I would love the author to write oodles and gobs more.  Heed me words, Matey Wirestone!  If not, then I will read whatever this author writes next!

So lastly . . .

Thank ye kindly Redhook Books and Goodreads Giveways!

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

“Working for a games development company is my dream job. So, when a slightly sketchy lawyer offered me the opportunity, I had to take it!  Who cares that the company has some quirks? No job is perfect. Some questionable, but probably totally normal issues:

A mysterious whistle-blower is posting the industry’s dirty laundry on Reddit.
An unidentified corpse is in the staff room.
The game under development is for filthy casuals, and unwisely involves matching talking peppermints.
My job, technically speaking, is “Industry Spy.”

It’s all just a typical day at the office. Right?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Max Wirestone – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the questionable behavior of dahlia moss – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the unfortunate decisions of dahlia moss – book 1 (Off the Charts – Contemporary Humor)

the astonishing mistakes of dahlia moss – book 2 (Off the Charts – Contemporary Humor)

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The Captain’s Log – the race (Nina Allan)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So back in 2015 I was mesmerized by the John W. Campbell award finalists and was determined to read them all.  Why that year versus any other year?  I have no idea.  But since that time me determination has not waivered.  Getting copies of the novels and the time to read them were more of the problem.  This novel marks me finally making it to the half-way point.

This novel is a hard one to categorize.  The story is written in four parts with each part portraying a different perspective.  All four characters are interlinked in odd ways.  There is an additional epilogue that expands one character’s story.

I do know that the first part was me favourite.  It dealt with greyhound racing wherein the dog is partnered with a human via a mind-link.  Me second favourite was the fourth part which follows a woman who can mind-link.  These were the two very sci-fi parts of the book.  The other two chapters are not sci-fi but are rather very interesting character studies.

In fact, while the plots of each section were interesting, the characterizations were the highlight of the book.  Ye truly get into the head of each person.  Some might feel bogged down by those details and minutiae.  I felt that the depth of feeling was quite lovely and even lyrical at times.

The world-building itself was fascinating.  All chapters seemed to take place in a place like our world only slightly skewed.  The author seemingly has an idea of alternate or mirror worlds.  But were they really?  I don’t know.  The book certainly brought up more questions than providing answers.  I feel like the first read barely scratched the surface and that it deserves a re-read after some time has passed.  While certainly not for everyone, I am very glad to have read this one.

Side note: there is a rape scene in this book.  Had I known I might not have read it.  It did fit into the story so ultimately I finished the novel.  But be forewarned.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel (this is a truncated version because the full Goodreads version really is odd and misleading):

To visit the author’s website go to:

Nina Allan – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the race – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – fortunately, the milk (Neil Gaiman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So the last experiment of me listenin’ to an audiobook while doin’ mundane tasks worked.  But could the results be repeated?  I decided to test the experience a second time.  The twist this time?  To listen to a book I had never read before ::GASP!!::.  But what to pick . . .

Well scrolling through me list of choices, I realized that ’twas no choice at all.  Neil Gaiman’s shiny title stood out.  I have a wee bit of an obsession (for details click here) and so I gleefully began the tale.  When suddenly . . .

I realized that Mr. Neil Gaiman hisself was narratin’.  The intensity of the experience escalated.  I had no inkling until that exact moment that he was goin’ to read me his own story.  Blimey!

The story.  The narration.  The experience.  Absolutely perfect.  Hearin’ about a dad’s trip to the store to get milk has never been so fun.  In fact one of me crew actually dared to ask what me satisfied smirking grin be about.  I just continued to grin like a cheshire cat.  Heave Ho and get yerself a copy!

Side note:  I will certainly give a gander to this story again.  I am slightly curious about both the English and American illustrations.  But I likely will just listen to it again.  So perfect.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

“I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: t h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”

“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.”

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neil Gaiman – Author

To buy the book go to:

fortunately, the milk – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

Broadside No. 11

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

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