The Captain’s Log – octopus pirate (Jane Yates)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Okay with a title like that how could I not be intrigued?  Would this novella finally settle the grand debate once for all: octopi or octopuses?  And what exactly does an octopus pirate look like?  The author’s website shows this possibility:

I was intrigued. The story is set in the Victorian era wherein the pregnant wife of a ship’s captain is washed overboard.  Miraculously, the baby survives and is washed to the shore of a Scottish island.  An elderly solitary nun named Mary discovers him and vows that he is a gift from God for her to raise.  She loves young Coco despite his so-called deformities and they form a strong bond.

The set-up to the story and the early years detailing Coco’s life on the island were the highlights of the story for me.  Now don’t get me wrong, Coco goes adventuring and joins the circus and starts to learn to become a pirate.  Arrrr!  But the simplicity of Coco’s early years were me favorite part of the book.  The relationship between Mary and Coco was heartening even fer this salty Captain.

Once Coco is forced to leave the island, we add in a larger cast of characters.  Ye see the circus actually does have some magical talent.  Whether it is a mermaid, a teleporter, or even Coco with his own burgeoning magical discoveries, life gets a little more complicated.  Plots are hatched to travel back in time to fight as pirates.  Plots are hatched to harm Coco.

The plot and motivations fer the whys and hows are very light.  However awesome and fun Coco is, he is not really in charge of his destiny in this installment and luck seems to direct his path.  Though the next book seems set-up for him to begin to truly stand on his own and I do believe I shall partake of that adventure.

And the octopus of the title?  Coco’s special relationship with octopuses needs to be read about and not spoiled.  So if ye like octopi then nab a copy and tell me what ye think . . .

In case ye need further proof of the awesomeness of an octopus:

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Octopus Pirate is a time travelling steampunk tale set in the Victorian period. It’s the story of a foundling who discovers he has unusual talents . . . As a baby, the hero of this book is washed up on an island off the Scottish mainland. An eccentric former nun called Mary, who lives there alone with her cats, brings him up and names him after her favorite character, Pinocchio . . .

The teenage Coco joins a circus where he makes friends with Eric, an electronic magician who has an act where he makes a robot teleport across the tent.  Coco, narrowly escaping plots against him, flees to Cornwall with Eric.

Here they raise funds to build a replica pirate ship, which is also an airship so they can travel back in time to fight real pirates.
The crew consists of Victorian men who want to fight without any repercussions. It’s a ‘Fight Club’, but with a twist or twenty.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jane Yates – Author

To buy the book go to:

octopus pirate – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Here be Dragons – the copper promise

Ahoy there me mateys!  So along with me love of the sea, I also have had a fierce love of dragons.  The Copper Cat Trilogy, of which this is book one, was on someone’s list of awesome dragon books.  The problem was that the author lives in London, the books were published in the UK, and I was not anywhere near that port!  Getting a hold of these novels was proving troublesome.  Then I heard rumors of books one and two being found on the other side of the pond.  Arrrrr!  Got me copies.

I found this one to be a highly enjoyable read.  While the dragon is fun (aren’t they all) the highlights for me were the characters of Wydrin, Frith, and Gallo.  Wydrin is the Copper Cat of the story.  She is strong, intelligent, snarky, and loves her knives.  Frith is a complete and total jerk whom I ended up loving anyway.  And well Gallo just has to be experienced fer yerself.

The magic in this story made me happy.  The plot diverges a bit with a stint on an island of magical training but I adored that entire section.  I also adored a creation of the dragon’s called “the brood.”  Books are cleverly involved.  The dragon is more like a force of nature.  In my mind she was like a giant locus devouring everything in her path with flames and fury.  She is not a nice dragon.

The only minor problems that I had were that the world building was kinda neutral and that I didn’t love how the dragon was dealt with in the ending.  I am told that book one was originally four shorter stories that tied together.  That aspect makes a lot of sense.  That being said, I loved the characters and so will likely read book two at some point (plus I already own it – Arrrr!).

Don’t just take me word fer it.  Check out these other reviews from me crew:

mogsy @ thebibliosanctum

lynn @ lynnsbooks

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

There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel: some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths. For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Carverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done. But sometimes there is truth in rumour. Sometimes it pays to listen. Soon this reckless trio will become the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart. And they’re not even getting paid.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jen Williams – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

the copper cat – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – frogkisser! (Garth Nix)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So I have a wee bit of an obsession with Garth Nix and his wonderful stories.  I love him so much that he was the featured author in me first broadside.  I have read 25 of his novels.  So when I heard he was writing this fairy tale I had to have it.  Plus awesome cover:

In his “Acknowledgments” of this novel, Mr. Nix claims inspiration from “the works of Lloyd Alexander, Nicholas Stuart Gray, Diana Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley, and T.H. White.”  I don’t know Nicholas Stuart Gray’s work (must remedy) but I can certainly see nods to all of the other authors he listed in the story.

The story centers around Anya who is the youngest princess of the kingdom of Trallonia.  One of her sister’s suitors is transformed into a frog by their evil sorcerer step-stepfather.  In order to stop the tears and hysterics, Anya promises to turn him back into a human.  This inadvertently becomes way more complicated than originally planned thus leading Anya off on a Quest!

The subversive nature of the story is what I loved about it.  Favorites include the use of the magic carpet, Gerald the Heralds, otters transformed into people, how the army is formed, having step-stepparents, snow white, etc.  I very much enjoyed Anya as a character.  And the frogs were just delightful.

The only downside to this novel for me was the pacing.  It is a very episodic story where the heroine gets a lot of help from people she just happens to meet along the way.  Makes more sense after reading the acknowledgements but I would have preferred Anya to show a lot more initiative.  Of course Anya doesn’t really show initiative in the beginning and is a very reluctant hero who grows into her role.  But unlike many of me other Nix reads, this didn’t zing.

I am okay with that lack of zing.  This was a solid story with a lot of fun ideas and characters.  Mr. Nix continues to remain an auto-buy author.  And apparently he has a new novel coming out in October this year.  Arrrr!!!

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

Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.

Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land-and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Garth Nix – Author

To buy the book go to:

frogkisser! – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – fever 1793 (Laurie Halse Anderson)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Did ye know that in 1793 in Philadelphia there was a yellow fever epidemic?  Or that said epidemic killed 10 percent of the city’s population in 3 months?  Or that there was a Free African Society that helped citizens of Philadelphia in the epidemic regardless of race or class.  Or that the first hot air balloon launched in the United States happened in Philadelphia in 1793?

Yup, history can be fascinating and sad and sometimes even unknown when it has happened practically in yer own backyard.  The author apparently began this book in 1993 after coming across an article in her local newspaper that discussed the epidemic that had happened two centuries before.

This young adult historical fiction tells the story of 14 year old Mattie whose family owns a coffee shop in the city.  Ye follow her story as the yellow fever epidemic unfolds.  She is a typical teenage girl with big dreams and fancies who finds herself growing up fast as the city life unravels around her with every passing day of the fever.  I thought Mattie was a great character and that this book brought the idea of epidemic to life.

The history of Philadelphia is one that I know very little about and it was fascinating to take this look into one of the city’s worse experiences.  I found the details in the story to be engrossing.  I didn’t know that coffee houses were a thing.  Also that there were warring factions of French and American doctors regarding treatment.

Looking through Mattie’s eyes helped bring this period in history to life in a way that reminds me of why I love historical fiction.  And of course as always I love doing further research upon finishing.  The appendix of this novel is full of interesting facts.  If ye like young adult historical fiction, quick reads, and an interesting time period, give this one a gander.

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

It’s late summer 1793, and the streets of Philadelphia are abuzz with mosquitoes and rumors of fever. Down near the docks, many have taken ill, and the fatalities are mounting. Now they include Polly, the serving girl at the Cook Coffeehouse. But fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook doesn’t get a moment to mourn the passing of her childhood playmate. New customers have overrun her family’s coffee shop, located far from the mosquito-infested river, and Mattie’s concerns of fever are all but overshadowed by dreams of growing her family’s small business into a thriving enterprise. But when the fever begins to strike closer to home, Mattie’s struggle to build a new life must give way to a new fight—the fight to stay alive.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Laurie Halse Anderson – Author

To buy the book go to:

fever 1793 – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – lightning in the blood (Marie Brennan)

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

lightning in the blood (Marie Brennan)

Title: lightning in the blood

Author: Marie Brennan

Publisher: Macmillian-Tor/Forge

Publication Date: April 25, 2017 (paperback/e-book)

ISBN: 978-0765392015

Source: NetGalley

If ye haven’t read the first book in this series,  cold-forged flame, then ye might want to skip this post and go read me review for the first installment.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

Now I cannot say enough goodness about the first book.  I reread it in preparation for this second installment and enjoyed it just as much the second time around.  I adore Ree as a character and the world-building so very much.  I cannot believe I had to wait 268 days between the two, however it was worth the wait!

One of the awesome circumstances of the first story is that Ree cannot remember anything about herself, her nature, or even her name.  I am a sucker for that kinda thing.  By the end of story one, ye know her partial name and some of her nature but have way more questions than answers.  As does Ree.

I was so exited to see where she would go next.  It of course did not go anywhere that I expected!  This story takes place several years after the events in the first one.  While this episode has a lot less mystery than the first, I still found it engrossing and enthralling.  In this second installment, Ree meets another archon which sets off another mission fer Ree, answers some of her questions, and of course gives her so many more.  My favorite aspects are following Ree in her journey to reclaim parts of herself and her attempts to figure out what has been lost.  The glimpses ye do get are tantalizing.  It was also extremely nice to see Aadet again.  Oh and this cover is awesome:

Don’t ye want to read about giant black cats?  Ye know ye do.  And that is all I am going to say about this one cause it is short and awesome and ye should discover what happens fer yerself.  I want the third one!

Random fact about book two from the author’s website is this:

And you’ll see the Mayan calendrical system with a minor fictional paint job showing up in Lightning in the Blood because years ago I read about it for fun and wound up incorporating it into a story more or less wholesale, complete with fiddly little details about Year-Bearers.

I need to go off an’ do research bout Mayan calendrical systems now.  Go out and get the first episode if ye haven’t.  Read this one if ye have.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge!

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

Once, there was a call–a binding–and so, a woman appeared, present in body but absent in knowledge of her past self. Making the ultimate journey of rediscovery was not without its own pitfalls–or rewards–and now Ree, a roaming archon, spirit of legend and time and physically now bound to her current form, has yet to fully uncover her true identity.

Ree has spent her last innumerable seasons on the move–orbiting, in some sense, the lands of her only friend in this world, Aadet, who has become intricately involved in the new post-revolution politics of his people. Swinging back from the forests surrounding Solaike, Ree falls in with another wandering band, some Korenat refugees searching for their own protection on a trade route besieged with the fallout of the recent uprising. The Korenat’s plight might not have stricken Ree so deeply, but they are accompanied by their own archon, who seems to know much more about Ree’s own origins than she ever dared to hope.

Lushly woven against a foreign, and yet familiar, fantastical setting, this is the second epic adventure in Marie Brennan’s novella series with Tor.com. Only such an acclaimed and beloved fantasist could so deftly handle the intricacies of self and society, the struggle between reclaiming one’s own fate and suffering the ravages that time brings to every life.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Marie Brennan – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

lightning in the blood – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – iron shoes (J. Kathleen Cheney)

Ahoy there me mateys! It’s been the kinda times where me readin’ has to be done in fits and spurts.  So I decided to read this collection of stories in me spare moments.  First this cover caught me eye:

Then the blurb drew me in hook, line, and sinker.  For those new to me crew, before the sea called me name, I loved horses and horse stories.  Still have a soft spot in me salty heart fer ’em.  Not only do these stories have horses but they also have magic, legendary creatures, historical settings, and feisty female characters.  They all take place in and around Saratoga Springs in New York at the turn of the 20th century. The stories are interconnected and should, in me mind, be read in the order presented in this collection.  Plus the first story was Nebula Award Finalist in 2010 fer Best Novella.  Starts with a bang.

The first story was me favorite of the three.   Imogen lives at Hawk’s Folly Farm which she has inherited from her husband. She is in danger of losing the property unless her horse can win the Stakes.  Imogen has always had someone telling her how to behave and what to do.  And forcing her to hide her magic.  Things unravel when she gets upset.  She has a lot to be worried about.  This is a coming-of-age story with some romance thrown in.  I loved Imogen getting stronger within herself.  Also the secondary characters are fun.  I am not a huge romance fan but I have to say that this one made me happy and it was silly and amusing.  Also the use of pucas in this story rocked.  Don’t know what a puca is?  Just be surprised and enjoy.

The second story is a placeholder story that sets up the circumstances for the last one but it is still entertaining.  The third story has a new character named Lourdes, and I loved her too.  She is strong willed and principled and very different from Imogen.  Overall I found this collection to be the perfect read for the time that I had and me mood and inclination.  If ye like ponies, magic, romance, and quite a bit of fluff then ye might want to give this one a try.

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

Iron Shoes

Imogen Hawkes is running out of time. She must come up with enough money to prevent the bank from foreclosing on her farm. All her hopes are pinned on her horse winning the Special Stakes.

But things keep going wrong, and it’s soon clear someone is determined to stop her. As race day draws closer, Imogen finds unexpected sources of help…including the new stallion she’s purchased from Boston, who’s not at all what he seems.

Despite a life spent avoiding it, Imogen learns that magic may be her best ally….

Snow Comes to Hawk’s Folly:
Imogen has the life she’s always wanted. Her farm is thriving, as is her family. But a guest comes to the farm, bringing trouble in his wake. When Imogen’s son disappears, how far will she go to get him back? Is it magic? Or something more mundane? In her family, the mundane is rarely to blame…

Snowfall:
Lourdes Medina has left everything she knows. Following a vision in a dream, she’s gone north to Saratoga Springs to buy back the mare her brother sold out from under her. But the horse’s new owner, Finn, makes her an interesting offer in return for the horse. Against her better judgment, Lourdes becomes entangled in his family’s problems…and it seems she’s unwittingly gained an enemy, a woman who will go to any length to get the husband she wants.

To visit the author’s website go to:

J. Kathleen Cheney – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

iron shoes: three tales from hawk’s folly farm -Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – red sister (Mark Lawrence)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I continue me streak of awesome readin’.  While I was not granted an eArc, the library granted me a copy right at the perfect mood moment (Arrrr!).  However I get me treasure is okay by me.

Previously I had read some of the broken empire trilogy and wanted to read more of Mr. Lawrence’s work.  Then I found out he had written a book about an assassin nun.  Sign me up!

When we first meet our main character, Nona, she is eight years old and about to hang for a murder,  which she committed.  Abbess Glass, a nun from the Sisters of Sweet Mercy, intervenes and offers her a chance to survive if she trains at the convent.  What did Glass see in this girl to save her?

Nona is a fantastic character and no ordinary eight year old.  At times she seems almost a wise little adult and then something will happen that makes her seem very young indeed.  I loved her for her intelligence, her loyalty, her viewpoint of the world, and above all her ideas of friendship.  She certainly drives the novel but most of the secondary characters were wonderful as well.  Particular favorites included Hessa, Abbess Glass, Sister Apple and Arabella.

The book is fascinating.  As the author says on Goodreads, “almost all of the book happens within a 400 yard circle” at the convent where Nona is in school.  However there are a series of flashbacks where ye are granted glimpses of Nona’s background and how she ended up being condemned to the noose.  This book has prophecy, politics, magic, an awesome non-traditional school system, etc.  Yet the book scrambles the ideas around and I couldn’t help being foiled again and again in my figgerins about where the plot was going.  All I do know fer sure if that I want the next book!

Need more proof?  Check out these opinions from me crew:

this review by james @ youandibooks

this review by mogsy @ thebibliosanctum or

this review by drew @ thetattooedbookgeek

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Mark Lawrence – Author

To buy the book go to:

red sister -Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List