Abandon Ship – the pygmy dragon (Marc Secchia)

It is time to abandon ship me mateys!  I am abandoning more books this year then usual.  Sad.  Perhaps that is because I am trying new things.  In this case, this involved an old love – dragons!  By all rights I should have loved this book.  And I did sort of like it . . . up to a point.

I made it to the 63% mark before calling it quits.  The novel is split into two parts – before dragons and after dragons.  This is the story of a pygmy girl named Pip who is captured from her island and taken to be an exhibit in a zoo.  I absolutely loved the majority of the section in the zoo.  While in the zoo she makes friends with the creatures in her enclosure.  Her friendship with Hunagu was the highlight.  I loved Pip’s tenacity, intelligence, loyalty, and grit.  Her growth was lovely to watch.  She is small but fierce like me!  Arrrrr!

The problem occurs when the dragons enter the story.  I know crazy right?  I adore dragons but from the point of Pip’s leaving the zoo, the story started to go downhill for me.  I believe some of this is due to the structure of the novel.  The zoo is a small world where the scenery doesn’t really change so all of the focus was on the characters and their relationships.  I loved this character-driven section.

When Pip leaves the zoo, it is to enter the wider world.  The focus on character relationships is mostly removed and the story shifts to the overall arcing politics of the world which I simply didn’t care for.

Pip ends up in dragon school and discovers her own nature.  Hunagu disappears from huge parts of the story.  We don’t even get to delve in the nitty-gritty of the school.  It almost felt like it turned into a different book altogether at this point.  While I love dragons, I didn’t love the dragons in this book or the dragon culture.  Ah that’s saying something.  So I stopped there.

Side note: The prologue of this novel was not good at all and felt kinda horrible with cliches of jungle people and Pygmies from Australia in particular.  I should have stopped there maybe but I wanted to see how the dragons were displayed.  Sigh.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Yesterday, a Dragon kidnapped me from my cage in a zoo.

Stolen from her jungle home and sold to a zookeeper, Pip knows only a world behind bars, a world in which a Pygmy warrior and her giant ape friends are a zoo attraction. She dreams of being Human. She dreams of escaping to the world outside her cage.

Then, the Dragon Zardon kidnaps her into a new life. Pip rides Dragonback across the Island-World to her new school – a school inside a volcano. A school where Humans learn to be Dragon Riders. But this is only a foretaste of her magical destiny, for the Dragon Assassins are coming. They have floated an Island across the Rift and their aim is nothing less than the massacre of all Dragons.

Now, the courage of the smallest will be tested to the utmost. For Pip is the Pygmy Dragon, and this is her tale.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Marc Secchia – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the pygmy dragon – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandon Ship – we are legion we are bob (Dennis E. Taylor)

It is time to abandon ship me mateys!  This one was recommended by me first mate because he loved it.  Of course he did warn me that there was a 50/50 shot that I wouldn’t like it.

I made it to the 53% mark before calling it quits.  To be fair the beginning of the novel was wonderful.  This is the story of a dude named Bob who signs up for a cryogenics program, dies, and wakes up in the future as an artificial intelligence computer program.

The circumstances that Bob finds himself in, the politics of the world, how Bob deals with it, and the beginning of Bob’s exploration of the universe were delightful.  Bob is a bit of a nerd to put it mildly.  His quirky personality made the beginning of the novel fly by.

The side characters like Bob’s AI digital personal assistant, Guppy and the other “Bobs” are humorous.  There are deeper concepts woven throughout concerning identity, personality, technology, and space exploration.  The mix of cool technology and the silliness of Bob were wonderful.

The problem for me was that eventually, it was less about Bob exploring his new roles in life and more about determining the future.  I got bored.  There are only so many descriptions of new planets, mining, and such that I could take.  It began to feel repetitive.  There began to be gaps in time where we skipped the process of Bob figuring things out and jumped to the problem having being mostly solved.  I get that Bob’s AI is way beyond me brain skills but I just wasn’t absorbed in the story.  So I gave up.  Of course the first mate disagrees with me . . .

From the First Mate:

One of my absolute favorite “cancelled too soon” t.v. series was a show from 1999 called “Now and Again.” The premise of the show was that an ad executive is accidentally killed in the subway, his brain is stolen by the government, and then a scientist puts that brain into an artificial body for use as a spy/assassin/whatever.  What the scientist and the government didn’t count on was that a lazy ad executive’s personality is completely at odds with what they ultimately wanted to do with the artificial body.  And that conflict was really the driving force of the show.  The ad executive wanted to get away and be with his family again, while the scientist and the government wanted him to train and be a machine.

“We Are Legion (We Are Bob)” plays with the same trope (a normalish person is flung into a military science project against his will) but spins it in completely the opposite direction.  Bob is simply too competent a programmer to be bound by the controls that the military has placed on him, and much of the fun of the first half of the book is watching him figure out ways to do what he wants instead of what is expected of him.  And the first half of the book is fantastic.  Dennis E. Taylor covers some quality philosophical ground without dragging the plot to a halt.  We’re given an amazingly depressing in its plausibility backstory of the theocratic government of the future.  Some quality tension in a ticking clock scenario to get Bob in space. There’s even a very compelling discussion of why 3D printers ultimately take the sci-fi place of nanotechnology in this world.  And skiffy references galore.  So many fun references.

While I was reading the first half of the book, I was thinking “this is the most fun I’ve had with a sci-fi book in forever.” I was also pondering, “this is so fun, I wonder if I should recommend this to the Captain.”

Unfortunately, for me, the second half of the book doesn’t quite live up to the first half.  Which is a shame, as the second half of the book is where the “We Are Legion” aspect really takes off.  The conceptual aspect of a multiplicity of Bobs is very interesting and Taylor does a very good job of differentiating the various Bobs.  It’s just, well, the uses to which he puts them were less than interesting to me.  Indeed, one storyline that involves a primitive civilization seems to be little more than a way of keeping one of the Bobs sidelined from the other storylines.  Another gets bogged down in a very realistic bureaucratic negotiation situation that, while well written, didn’t make me smile in the ways that the first half of the book did.  Still enjoyable, just a step down from earlier.

I suppose the major difference between the first and second half of the book is that the second half didn’t feel as though Bob et. al. was staying ahead of anyone.  Sure, they planned and prepared for various scenarios (some which worked out and others which did not), but generally it was all very reactive.  The first half of the book was full of Bob outsmarting controls and limits using skills that the military didn’t expect him to have.  Perhaps that means that the first half is pure nerd fantasy, while the second half is more of a variant on hard sci-fi in space.

In some ways, “We Are Legion (We Are Bob)” feels like it fits in with the work of early Heinlein or Scalzi.  Sci-fi adventurism with some hard sci-fi trappings.  If that’s in your wheelhouse, it’s well worth a look.  Me?  I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel later this year.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it’s a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street.

Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds. If he declines the honor, he’ll be switched off, and they’ll try again with someone else. If he accepts, he becomes a prime target. There are at least three other countries trying to get their own probes launched first, and they play dirty.

The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers make them mad – very mad.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Dennis E. Taylor – Author

To buy the novel go to:

we are legion (we are bob) – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – gilded cage (Vic James)

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

gilded cage (Vic James)

Title: gilded cage

Author: Vic James

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine / Del Ray

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

ISBN: 9780425284155

Source: NetGalley

This novel sounded awesome.  It is a young adult dystopian with a magical twist.  I thought this novel would float me boat. But I just could not finish it and had to abandon ship at 70%.  Even though I did skip to the end and read the last chapters.  Why ye ask?  Well for a myriad of reasons (in no particular order):

  • The revolution – it just got boring.  This is what killed the book for me.  I thought how the revolution began was rather uninspiring and the “dangerous” actions of the rebels felt lackluster.  Spray painting walls.  Hanging banners.  I mean I know it was only the beginning of the rebellion but I didn’t care about it at all and didn’t even want to read about it anymore.
  • Secondary characters – while I actually liked the main characters of Luke, Abi, and was even okay with Silyen, I had problems with many of the secondary characters being rather blah.  Silyen’s brother Gavar and Jenner were very flat with seemingly little psychology into why they did what they did.  Gavar was boorish and angry.  Jenner was ineffectual and a hand-wringer.  Add in sadistic guards, the hot love interest for Luke called Angel (Ugh!), and the rebels who happen to have super skills and I just felt underwhelmed.
  • That being said, I did love the sibling relationships between Luke, Abi and Daisy.  Also loved the street urchin Renie.  She hit all me soft spots.
  • The parents – well the good news is that parents are present in a young adult novel.  Luke and Abi had loving wonderful parents.  Okay there.  But the bad thing is that after seemingly being involved even tangentially in the beginning, they just disappear from the plot.  Silyen’s parents are present but seemingly to only have the father and mother be two-dimensional power hungry bad guys.
  • Insta-love – Sigh.  Jenner and Abi.  Blech.
  • Politics – the political maneuvering, which normally I love, was just not appealing.  Somehow the problem seemed to be the set-up for how the world functioned.  It just didn’t quite make sense.
  • The magic – cool concepts but again didn’t seem to have a premise that made complete sense.  I will will chalk it up to being a first in a trilogy.  However I did want more of the magic that added to the usual dystopian flavor.
  • I don’t normally read the endings of books I abandon but I guess the good news about the writing is while I didn’t want to have to “live” through it, I did want to know how this one tied up.  That was just more proof that I am done with this series.

With so many books on the horizon, I just gave up.  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.

If ye want to read another take on this novel of me crew member that loved it check out this review from Beth @ Reading Every Night.

If ye want to read a take on this novel of me crew member who is in the minority with me check out this review from Millie @ Milliebot Reads.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine / Del Ray!

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

NOT ALL ARE FREE   –   NOT ALL ARE EQUAL   –   NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge…

ABI is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, she faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty–but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution…

Abi’s brother LUKE is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, Luke makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts…

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate–or destroy?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Vic James – Author

To buy the novel go to:

gilded cage – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – winter song (S. Jae-Jones)

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

wintersong (S. Jae-Jones)

Title: wintersong

Author: S. Jae-Jones

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press / Thomas Dunne Books

Publication Date: February 7, 2017 (Hardcover/E-Book)

ISBN: 9781250079213

Source: NetGalley

Upon reading the synopsis and the author blurbs, I thought this novel would float me boat. But I just could not finish it and had to abandon ship at 31%.  Why ye ask?  Well for a myriad of reasons:

  • I kept comparing it to the bear and the nightingale which I loved.  This book kept coming up short.  While this is not the author’s fault, I just fpund this one similar but lacking.
  • I could not connect to the main character, Liesl.  She continued to make bad choices throughout the part I read, even when forewarned.  I like me heroines to be intelligent and to learn from their mistakes.  Liesl seemed to jump feet first into everything without thinking about any consequences.  She also seemed to be a rather selfish character who whined about how woeful her life was.
  • The contest between Liesl and the Goblin King was so odd.  Part one was over before it really began and part two was predictable and rather annoying.  I didn’t stick around for part three.
  • This book deals with music.  A lot.  I have no musical ability whatsoever and so these parts went over me head or were just kinda boring.  Liesl spend pretty much the whole portion of what I read lamenting that girls cannot be composers in the turn of the 19th century.  This may be a selling point for someone else but not me.
  • I didn’t like the Goblin King or the goblin world at all.  For some reason, I thought that the Goblin King and goblins would prove to be different then the usual versions in this retelling.  I was wrong.
  • I really didn’t understand why Liesel had anything to do with the Goblin King as a child and why she ever found him fascinating or called him a friend.
  • The pacing was slow.  I was not engaged in the story and just wanted something interesting to happen.

With so many books on the horizon, I just gave up.  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.

If ye want to read another take on this novel of a crew member that loved it check out this review from Lola @ Hit or Miss Books.

So lastly . . .

Thank you St. Martin’s Press / Thomas Dunne Books!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

To visit the author’s website go to:

S. Jae-Jones – Author

To buy the novel go to:

wintersong – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandon Ship – the reader (Traci Chee)

It is time to abandon ship me mateys!

the reader (Traci Chee)

I so wanted to love this book and yet all I can say is meh.  While I liked the main character, Sefia and her side-kick Archer, it was soooo boring.  All Sefia basically did was wander around in the woods forever.  I hate that trope in fantasy novels.  Even the passages in the novel about pirates didn’t make me happy.  And for this blog, that is really saying something.  This novel was so hyped and loved and here I am again with an unpopular opinion.  I know I made it through more than half way but then let it sit.  Then me rental expired.  Then I waited for a while for it to be available.  Then got it again.  Then tried three more times to get back into it.  Then it expired again with me having only explored another handful of pages.  Bah!  Pirates, assassins, magic, a book within a book, two somewhat interesting main characters, and yet no major plot to speak of.  So abandoned it be.

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

A stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of, perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Traci Chee – Author

To buy the book go:

the reader – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandon Ship – the lost property office (James R. Hannibal)

Sadly me mateys, it is time to abandon ship!

the lost property office (James R. Hannibal)

Ye see, I got this one from a local library. which of course has deadlines.  Despite the short length and the adequate time before the return date, I read a little over half of the novel before the book was due.  Now normally that would make me one grumpy Captain.  I just shrugged and put the book on hold again.  Should have been a sign.  Then I got the novel a second time and started readin’ again only to bail out.

This book started out strong.  The story concerns Jack Buckles who is in London with his family because his father has died . . . or has he?  Turns out Jack is the 13th Buckles and thus a tracker in a secret society who has secret abilities.

I adore the setting and the premise of the story.  It deals with the real life mystery of the Great Fire of London in 1666 whose cause remains unknown to this day.  There is a nice blending of historical people and places.  There were some nods to Sherlock and Watson.  I loved the magic properties of “sparking.”  The ideas of the second secret London Tube system were particularly lovely.  I so wanted it to exist.  It made me miss living in London with a fierce ache.

Then why abandon it?  Small things that added up.  Basically Jack spends over half the book bumbling around clueless and being dragged around by Gwen, a girl who has grown up in the secret society.  Gwen has answers to many of Jack’s questions.  However, there is so much action, that most of the time ye find out the answer after something has happened in a “info-dump” dialogue format while they are running to their next action setting.  It started to bug me.

Other small details: Sadie, Jack’s sister, is around in the beginning to help set-up the story then conveniently “gets locked up” early on and Jack just leaves her there.  The villain was introduced early on and seemed rather two dimensional.  The sheer number of buildings, towers, and streets that the characters visit for what seems like moments before dashing away again.

It just didn’t float me boat.  I know it is a series and so perhaps the info-dumps will lessen and the plot will thicken but I will not be perusing the rest.  I am in the minority on this one it seems so feel free to disagree with me and point me towards yer opposing reviews!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

James R. Hannibal presents a thrilling adventure through history, complete with mysteries, secret items, codes, and a touch of magic in this stunning middle grade debut.

Thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles is great at finding things. Not just a missing glove or the other sock, but things normal people have long given up on ever seeing again. If only he could find his father, who has disappeared in London without a trace.

But Jack’s father was not who he claimed to be. It turns out that he was a member of a secret society of detectives that has served the crown for centuries—and membership into the Lost Property Office is Jack’s inheritance.

Now the only way Jack will ever see his father again is if he finds what the nefarious Clockmaker is after: the Ember, which holds a secret that has been kept since the Great Fire of London. Will Jack be able to find the Ember and save his father, or will his talent for finding things fall short?

To visit the author’s website go to:

James R. Hannibal – Author

To buy the book go:

the lost property office – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandon Ship – metaltown (Kristen Simmons)

It is time to abandon ship me mateys!

metaltown (Kristen Simmons)

Another book I just couldn’t bring meself to finish.  This is a young adult dystopian novel.  The book has a interesting premise of young teens and children fighting against the establishment so that they can have basic rights like a less dangerous workplace, food, and better salaries.  Basically the children are trying to start their own union.  It’s a world reminiscent of the factory settings of the turn of the century where bad things like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire occurred.  Except instead of making clothes, the children are making weapons of war.  Oh and there are interesting diseases because of genetically modified corn.  That was cool.

The world building was fun and the I liked two of the main characters.  Basically this story is told from the perspective of three different children.  Ty (a girl) and Colin (a boy) are best friends who work in the factories.  Lena is the daughter of the rich dude who runs that area of the country.

Ty was tenacious and feisty and fierce.  I loved her.  Colin was overall a decent character.  I didn’t adore him by himself but his relationship with Ty was lovely.  Lena was basically a fluffy headed naive moron.  She meets Colin.  Insta-love kinda happens and then the book derails.

The major problem was that I just become bored.  I felt that the story was too slow and got too involved in the romantic ideas between Lena and Colin.  The beginning of the story and set up was fine.  But the plot was agonizingly slow.  I stopped reading at 52.1% and the major movement of forming the union hadn’t really begun.

Overall the politics of forming the children’s union just seemed too simple and the relationship between Lena and Colin seemed to have taken center stage,  So I gave up.

It is a shame that an interesting premise and some great characters could not save this book for me.

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

Metaltown, where factories rule, food is scarce, and hope is in short supply.

The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does.

Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right.

In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.

An enthralling story of friendship and rebellion, Metaltown will have you believing in the power of hope.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Kristen Simmons – Author

To buy the book go:

metaltown – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List