The Captain’s Log – hotshot (Peter Watts)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So last week I reviewed a novella by Peter Watts called the freeze frame revolution which I highly enjoyed.  While writing that review, I learned that the novella was part of a series – the Sunflower series.  There are three other stories and all are available for free on the author’s website.  So I decided to read this one – the second published but the first by chronology.

This story also deals with Sunday Ahzmundin, the protagonist from the freeze frame revolution.  At 23 pages it is a short foray into the circumstances of the Spores.  I won’t even touch on the plot because I can’t explain it well and since it’s so short I don’t want to give spoilers.  Just know that I did love this brief excursion.  The physics of it all went above me head as usual but I did get the gist.

Personally I be glad to have read them in the order I did.  I got a longer story in the freeze frame revolution and truly grew to love Sunday  So then going back in time while knowing some of her future was fun.

I will certainly be readin’ the island next.  Keep a weathered eye out!  Arrr!

Side note: Claudia @ goodreads’ review (which is excellent) is what told me about the publication of the Sunflower series.  As she says:

. . . it’s part of a series of stories, entitled the Sunflowercycle, which includes three more short ones (so far).*

Publication order is: The Island (2009) – Winner of Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 2010, Hotshot (2014), Giants (2014) and The Freeze-Frame Revolution (June 2018).

Now, after reading all, my advice is they are to be read in this order: Hotshot, The Freeze-Frame Revolution, The Island, Giants . . .

* all three available on the author’[s] site: http://www.rifters.com/real/shorts.htm

Normally I put a blurb here but since this story be so short I be skippin’ it!

To visit the author’s website go to:

Peter Watts – Author

To read this story go to:

hotshot – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the freeze frame revolution (On the Horizon – Sci-Fi eArc)

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Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – sixers (John Patrick Kavanagh)

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

sixers (John Patrick Kavanagh)

Title: sixers

Author: John Patrick Kavanagh

Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books

Publication Date: Available Now! (e-book)

ASIN: B078B9MJZ6

Source: NetGalley

This novel sounded awesome.  It is a sci-fi about a society with a horrible disease called Camden-Young’s.  This part of the blurb made me want to read it, “the stealth envirus has laid waste to 74% of Caucasians between puberty and their early thirties while the other 26% are mysteriously immune. From flu-like attacks to excruciating fevers, hair loss, blindness, insanity and death, there is no cure.”

I thought this novel would float me boat. I tried to get through it multiple times but I just could not finish it and had to abandon ship at 25%.  Why ye ask?  Well for a myriad of reasons (in no particular order):

  • The main character – I didn’t hate David Stonetree but he was kinda bland.  The only thing that seemed to perk him up was a car.
  • His girlfriend – The person in David’s life who has the disease is his girlfriend, Sharon.  Ye see her in the beginning when she has just found out and then she disappears at the 5% mark.  She reappears in one phone call 20% in and another brief mention at 24%.  I wanted to read about the impact of the disease on their relationship.
  • The 1967 Mustang – So instead of worrying about his girlfriend and her health, David wants to by a car.  A car that costs as the book says “two-thirds of his annual salary . . . [and] twice what the typical family of four was supposed to survive on each year.”  He is obsessed with it.  It is talked about a lot and in annoying detail from 20% to 24% of the book.  Come on David.  Get yer priorities straight!
  • The corporate culture – David works for a company that produces the drug to help the symptoms of the people suffering from the disease.  He gets a raise to work for the cut-throat exec that runs the company, Lane.  I suppose that the author was trying to make the company culture feel realistic.  What it seemed to be was just boring.
  • David’s morals – David has always disliked Lane and yet jumps at the chance to work for her and make more money.  To . . . buy the car.  When Sharon expressed surprise at this , David is “troubled by the condescending tone she used.”  He dismisses her entire viewpoint “as nothing more than depression over her illness, her struggles at work and a continuing difficulty with a decided jealous disposition . . . if she had only given him a little room they might by now be living together, if not engaged.”  Then he fantasizes more about the car.  UGH.
  • I read a couple more pages about a friend of David’s named McReynolds who is “charmingly arrogant” and a ladies’ man whose wife left him (shocker!).  When David starts lamenting that he can’t be more like McReynolds, I couldn’t take the blatant misogyny anymore.

With so many books on the horizon, I just gave up.  I wanted a book that got into the ramifications of a serious disease and its impact on both interpersonal relationships and society as a whole.  This wasn’t it.  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.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Riverdale Avenue Books!  I may not have liked it but I am grateful for the chance to review this book.

Netgalley has this to say about the novel:

In this near future pop-culture-filled dystopian novel, America is under the dark cloud of a new envirus, Camden-Young’s Disease. Unleashed five years earlier from an explosion at a genetic engineering laboratory, the stealth envirus has laid waste to 74% of Caucasians between puberty and their early thirties while the other 26% are mysteriously immune. From flu-like attacks to excruciating fevers, hair loss, blindness, insanity and death, there is no cure; the only respite available being the Febrifuge Blue line of pharmaceuticals controlled by the Southern United Enterprises conglomerate used to treat symptoms of the target population while also used recreationally by the fortunate Sixers.

Dr. Arthur Camden, dispatched from the company a year earlier by the powerful and merciless executive Trisha Lane, believes a formula for a cure (which would destroy SUE’s incredibly lucrative money machine) is contained in a pair of notebooks seized when he was fired. For their return, Camden’s willing to exchange four ounces of the otherwise unobtainable distillate CY6A4 he purloined just before he was dismissed that Lane craves to manufacture an experimental potion of unimaginable potential.

David Stonetree, Lane’s new administrative assistant, becomes the middleman between the players in this high-stakes chess match, spurred on by the fact that his partner Sharon has just been diagnosed as a CYD-positive. Torn between Lane’s seductive wiles and Camden’s selfless decency he finally takes a stand that could cost him his job and possibly his and Camden’s lives.

To visit the author’s Smashwords website go to:

John Patrick Cavanagh – Author

To buy the novel go to:

sixers – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – dread nation (Justina Ireland)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So this book be an alternative history set in the Reconstruction era with young black adult zombie killers.  Cool, right?  And a lot of it takes place in Baltimore which be a port I called home once upon a time.  So I just had to read this one.  And I can say that it is certainly a very fun story.

I genuinely loved the main character, Jane McKeene.  She be me kinda gal.  She is intelligent, gusty, smart-mouthed, a fierce fighter, and just plain fun.  I would totally want her as part of me crew.  Actually I rather liked all the characters in this book and even loved to dislike the bad guys and gals as well.

I am in the minority though when it comes to the plot.  I absolutely adored the set-up of the novel, the introduction of the major characters, the reimaging of the civil war’s ending due to zombie apocalypse, the combat schools, the politics, and the world-building in general.

However, the author chose to make a rather abrupt decision half-way through the book and changed locations.  The focus and pacing shifted.  The action decreased.  I didn’t really care for the new direction the author took it.  But I adored the characters and did need to know how the book ended.  Which also wasn’t to me taste.  The ending was very, very convenient.

That being said because I love the world and the characters that overall I very much enjoyed meself.  I will likely read more of the further adventures of Jane McKeene.  Me quibbles were small and the crew heartily seems to be giving this one 5 stars all around.  So check it out.  Ye might be one of them.  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Justina Ireland – Author

To buy the book go to:

dread nation – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – the freeze frame revolution (Peter Watts)

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 freeze frame revolution (Peter Watts)

Title: the freeze frame revolution

Author: Peter Watts

Publisher: Tachyon Publications

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

ISBN: 978-1616962524

Source: NetGalley

This book was a bit of a stretch for me given that it is more hard sci-fi and physics is not me friend.  At all.  But I have always heard wonderful things about this author and the premise was too awesome not to give it a shot.  And I be very glad I did.

So basically this story is told from the perspective of Sunday Ahzmundin.  She is a human crew member aboard a ship named the Eriophora which is on the mission to create wormhole gates across the universe.  The crew expected their task to end and to be called back to rejoin the rest of humanity.  Except they are still onboard over 60 million years later.  So what is really going on?

AI runs this ship and at the heart of the story is the relationship between Sunday and the AI who they call Chimp.  Ye see the crew is only taken out of stasis when the AI thinks they are necessary to the mission.  This usually is a handful of days at a time every 10,000 years or so.  And of course there is a rotation so only a small handful of anywhere from 1 to 15 get thawed out at a time.  Some of the humans want to revolt against the AI and the mission given the circumstances.  Should Sunday join them?  And if so how can a hostile takeover succeed under the conditions imposed by Chimp?

I absolutely adored this (longer) novella.  I thought the premise, writing, characters, and ship were awesome.  Sunday’s inner conflict was fascinating as was her reasons behind the choices she makes.  I gobbled this up and was completely engrossed.  The only flaw was that the ending happened and I just don’t get it.  Despite multiple readings.  Those couple pages confused the heck out of me.  But I thought that perhaps I just missed some crucial point.  Well perhaps I did.

Side note: Claudia @ goodreads’ review (which is excellent) did explain just a wee bit.  As she says:

First of all, this novella is not meant to be read on its own. Could be regarded as a standalone, but you’ll feel like something is missing. And that’s because it’s part of a series of stories, entitled the Sunflowercycle, which includes three more short ones (so far).*

Publication order is: The Island (2009) – Winner of Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 2010, Hotshot (2014), Giants (2014) and The Freeze-Frame Revolution (June 2018).

Now, after reading all, my advice is they are to be read in this order: Hotshot, The Freeze-Frame Revolution, The Island, Giants. It will not answer all your questions, but it will bring some light into this universe and its perpetual travelers . . .

* all three available on the author’[s] site: http://www.rifters.com/real/shorts.htm

So while the crazy ending hurt me brain and made me feel like I was missing something, I loved the story and circumstances enough to go back and read the other stories. I even think I will follow Claudia’s readin’ order. So seriously even if physics intimidates yer noggin’, do give this story a chance. I certainly don’t regret a thing!

So lastly . . .

Thank you Tachyon Publications!

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novella:

She believed in the mission with all her heart.
But that was sixty million years ago.

How do you stage a mutiny when you’re only awake one day in a million? How do you conspire when your tiny handful of potential allies changes with each shift? How do you engage an enemy that never sleeps, that sees through your eyes and hears through your ears and relentlessly, honestly, only wants what best for you?

Sunday Ahzmundin is about to find out.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Peter Watts – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the freeze frame revolution – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – the house of dreams: the life of L.M. Montgomery (Liz Rosenberg

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this children’s nonfiction biography in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

house of dreams (Liz Rosenberg)

Title: house of dreams: the life of l. m. montgomery

Author: Liz Rosenberg

Publisher: Candlewick Press

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

ISBN: 978-0763660574

Source: NetGalley

Anne with an E is one of me favourite characters of all time.  I have reread the stories about Anne Shirley often.  L.M. Montgomery was featured in Broadside No. 18.  I even made the ma (hi ma!) take me to PEI as a wee girl so I could visit this beloved island in person.  So when I saw this title on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to read it and luckily got a copy.

At first I found this hard to get into.  It was rather slow and had a curiously odd writing tone that is difficult to explain.  As I got used to it, I truly was fascinated by Maud’s life.  It was altogether a bleak one at times.  Her relationship with her grandparents, step-mother, and husband were extremely disheartening to read about.  Yet many of the circumstances in Maud’s upbringing were used as fodder for her writing.  Maud and her husband also suffered from mental illness.  Ye also get an interesting look into the treatment of women in general, women as teachers, and women as professional writers.

Maud was truly an unique and fascinating woman.  She was prolific, intelligent, and endearing.  I was very happy to get a more in-depth understanding of her life, her stories, and her legacy.  I do recommend this read for all folk who love this author’s work.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Candlewick Press!

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

An affecting biography of the author of Anne of Green Gables is the first for young readers to include revelations about her last days and to encompass the complexity of a brilliant and sometimes troubled life.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Maud who adored stories. When she was fourteen years old, Maud wrote in her journal, “I love books. I hope when I grow up to be able to have lots of them.” Not only did Maud grow up to own lots of books, she wrote twenty-four of them herself as L. M. Montgomery, the world-renowned author of Anne of Green Gables. For many years, not a great deal was known about Maud’s personal life. Her childhood was spent with strict, undemonstrative grandparents, and her reflections on writing, her lifelong struggles with anxiety and depression, her “year of mad passion,” and her difficult married life remained locked away, buried deep within her unpublished personal journals. Through this revealing and deeply moving biography, kindred spirits of all ages who, like Maud, never gave up “the substance of things hoped for” will be captivated anew by the words of this remarkable woman.

To visit the author’s Goodreads webpage go to:

Liz Rosenberg – Author

To buy the novel go to:

house of dreams – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Second Reflections – the graveyard book (Neil Gaiman)

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 graveyard book (Neil Gaiman)

Now I have talked about me wee bit of an obsession (for details click here) with Mr. Gaiman before.  The wonderfully fabulous fortunately, the milk, started the trend of me wanting to listen to all of his works via audiobook.  I wasn’t planning on re-readin’ this so soon but me discussion with matey Nicole @ book-wyrm-knits, convinced me.  She said, “I loved listening to him narrate The Graveyard Book. That was my favorite of his so far because of the complete experience.”  Well Shiver Me Timbers!  I didn’t know he had narrated this one!

I absolutely loved getting to experience the story of Bod Owens again.  It had been long enough that the details had been lost to me.  Between that time gap and Mr. Gaiman’s narration I almost felt as though I was readin’ it for the first time.

The premise of the story for those that don’t know is that at the beginning a man named Jack is in the process of murdering a family.  I know it seems like a crazy start but it is not gruesome.  Three of the family members have been killed and there is only the baby left.  Well that baby escape and makes it to a local graveyard where the ghostly inhabitants agree to keep the baby safe and raise him.  As they don’t know his name they call him Nobody Owens.  While the graveyard is a strange place for a boy to live, the world outside the graveyard is dangerous and deadly.  Because Jack has not forgotten about the child who escaped his clutches and is determined to finish the job.

As always, Mr. Gaiman’s storytelling is magical, enthralling, and amazing.  His writing style never ceases to amaze me.  It is a book that defies age groups and classifications.  Watching Bod grow-up and experience life is just wonderful.  The ending is poignant, heart-wrenchingly beautiful, and perfect.  I even got a little misty eyed.  I highly recommend this one to all me crew.  And if ye have the chance to get the audiobook version – take it!  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family.

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times best-selling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neil Gaiman – Author

To buy the book go to:

the graveyard book – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

Broadside No. 11

fortunately, the milk (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the sleeper and the spindle (Captains’ Log – Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – marque and reprisal & engaging the enemy (Elizabeth Moon)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This here be a combined review of the second and third books of the Vatta’s War series. While I try to post no spoilers, if ye haven’t read the first book and ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

Well book one could have been a standalone but I am extremely glad it wasn’t!  The second book quickly brings about a major, surprising change for the main character, Ky Vatta, and her family.  It was mind-boggling but brilliant.  It certainly upped the ante.  I loved the crazy mercenary company and how Ky made deals with them.  I loved all the space battles.  It even makes trading goods interesting.

Ky continues to be a delight.  I love watching her get into impossible situations and use her brain and her gusto to solve problems.  These books be action-packed, have no real romance, and be filled with admirable women.   I particularly love Grandma Grace.  She is one tough cookie.

The only minor quibble was the distrust between Ky and her cousin in book three.  It made sense in terms of story telling but it did wear on me a bit.  I think that overall this book, while enjoyable, felt more like a placeholder set-up book.  However, the ending was very satisfying and I am extremely interested in what adventures Ky will get into next.

I have already made plans to get books four and five in me mitts.  Arrr!!!

Side note: Much thanks to me matey, Sarah @ brainfluff, for pointing me in the right direction in terms of the recommended readin’ sequence for these books!

Normally I would put blurbs here but they are too spoilery for me taste.  Arrr!

To visit the author’s website go to:

Elizabeth Moon – Author

To buy the novels please visit:

marque and reprisal – Book 2

engaging the enemy – Book 3

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

trading in danger – book 1 (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)