Curiosities of the Deep – ride a mule (M.H. Boroson)

Ahoy there mateys!  For those new to me crew, this be a category for those novels whose stories of acquisition be strange and unusual – like the time someone commandeered me 12 pages!  There be a tale to tell on how I got me grubby mitts on this one . . .

Ye see this short story is not available to just any scalawag with a hankerin’.  It is given to only those few who belong to a secret society of book lovers.  And how does one join this society and get to add this treasure to their tally of booty?  Well sit back me hearty (and grab that grog), for this tale twists and turns, and let me tell ye . . .

So a long while back, at nearly the start of keeping this here log, a curious thing happened.  Ye see I be always on the lookout fer treasure as all Captains be.  So every time I be back in port, I follow hints and whispers to find the shady places, full of shady characters, wherein the clues and possibilities for plunder might be found.

In one such adventure, after evading local authorities, brandishing me cutlass at the cur who thought I could be followed, and stopping by the local inn for some rum, I ended up in . . . a local bookstore.  Egads!  What hints there be of riches and exciting locales all ripe fer plunderin’.  Being the smart Captain that I be, I quickly took notice of interesting ports for plunder.  Number 9 on said list be this gem:

the girl with the ghost eyes (M.H. Boroson)

And what a lovely one this is.  This author’s debut novel is a historical fiction fantasy set in Chinatown of San Francisco in 1898.  It is expertly written, in my opinion, and full of surprises – including the ending.  Quite frankly, I adored it.  The author hinted that more of the glorious tales of Li-lin might exist.  So through every storm, every port, every glass of grog, I kept me eye out and me ears to the wind to catch a glimpse of me elusive prey . . .

And then behold, a wink here and a nudge there lead me to Goodreads, an oft frequented haunt, wherein a connection was made with Raquel who be an interestin’ lass who seems to love both cats and books.  With those interests, she be a source I could trust, a rare find indeed.  So with her set of coordinates, I set sail for me next part of the adventure.

And what did I find there but a message in a bottle from the master manipulator himself . . . the author, M.H. Boroson!  The salty cad.  The trickster led me from the source that started this search, the girl with the ghost eyes, to a map written in his own log, wherein if ye are lucky ye might find his master plans.  Now as members of me crew, I will share the secret of how to find the story story.  Spread the word to other members of the crew.

What!  Ye lazy scurvy dogs!  Too full of grog and victuals and the pleasures of port to move.  Arrrrrgh!  Fine.  For those of ye who cannot read so good, like One-Eyed Jack . . .

That M.H. Boroson (good name for a ship rather!) is crafty and wants more folk to read his debut novel.  So like any good sailor, he knows ye need the best bait.  So basically, if ye read his debut novel and post a review (for the good or evil) on his book’s Amazon’s log page, then he will send ye the delight that is the short story.

Now me being the crafty sort, I had already posted me review of the novel.  But I sent him a scroll and we came to an accord.  His return scroll stated:

Ahoy, Captain! Attacht be a copy o’ RIDE A MULE. Yer review be appreciated, arr!

So as part of the Code and in terms with the accord, here be the conclusion to this awesome adventure . . .

If it wasn’t made clear before, this Captain adored this short story.  It immediately took me back to the world of Li-lin and Chinatown.  I could read a million more brief snippets of her adventures while waiting on M.H. Boroson to finish the next novel so I can challenge him to a friendly duel and commandeer it.  While only 21 pages long, the story contains elements of the world-building that made the novel so wonderful.  Favorite characters like Mr. Yanqiu and Mr. Pu make an appearance.  It was short and sweet and left me wanting more.   If ye love Daoism, kung fu, monsters, magic, love, and Chinese folklore then ye should read this.

Now get out there and read me matey’s debut novel and join the secret society that loved it and gets to read this short story.  Savvy?

Amazon has this to say about the girl with the ghost eyes:

It’s the end of the nineteenth century in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and ghost hunters from the Maoshan traditions of Daoism keep malevolent spiritual forces at bay. Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned Daoshi exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes–the unique ability to see the spirit world. Her spiritual visions and the death of her husband bring shame to Li-lin and her father — and shame is not something this immigrant family can afford.

When a sorcerer cripples her father, terrible plans are set in motion, and only Li-lin can stop them. To aid her are her martial arts and a peachwood sword, her burning paper talismans, and a wisecracking spirit in the form of a human eyeball tucked away in her pocket. Navigating the dangerous alleys and backrooms of a male-dominated Chinatown, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer’s ritual summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.

With a rich and inventive historical setting, nonstop martial arts action, authentic Chinese magic, and bizarre monsters from Asian folklore, The Girl with Ghost Eyes is also the poignant story of a young immigrant searching to find her place beside the long shadow of a demanding father and the stigma of widowhood. In a Chinatown caught between tradition and modernity, one woman may be the key to holding everything together.

To visit the author’s website go to:

M.H. Boroson – Author

To buy his first novel visit:

the girl with the ghost eyes – Book

To add the short story treasure to yer Goodreads list visit:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Me Previous Curiosities of the Deep:

Patrick, Den – the boy with the porcelain blade – Part One (Fantasy)

Patrick, Den – the boy with the porcelain blade – Part Two (Fantasy)

Parr, M.J.R. – kings of the wilderness – the 700th arc book one (Sci-Fi)

Auxier, Jonathan – the night gardener (Young Adult Fantasy)

Curiosities of the Deep – the night gardener (Jonathan Auxier)

Well me mateys, here be another Curiosity of the Deep for your perusal.  For those new to me crew, this be a category for those novels whose stories of acquisition be strange and unusual – like the time someone commandeered me 12 pages!  This be the start of another adventure.

the night gardener (Jonathan Auxier)

Ye see mateys, this Captain is always hankering for new places and stories and booty to haul.  Now, one day while plotting me next adventure, I came across a tale of splendor by Inge @ the belgian reviewer.  She shared the secrets of the Little Free Libraries hidden around the world and even provided a map that marked the treasure!

Now, I had heard rumors of these chests of delight and had occasionally glimpsed some from afar.  But here I was with time on me hands and trapped in port.  So what better time to go on a treasure hunt?  But beware and follow the Code . . .

So with me first mate and me trusty spyglass, we set off into the interior for a look-see.  The goal was to visit two likely spots.  Now one of the main rules of the Code is that ye can take whatever booty ye like from the chest but have to replace it with an similar offering.  Or later return the spoils ye took from that spot.  If ye do somethin’ different ye might find yerself visitin’ ole Davy Jones. Finding the X that marks the spot twice can be difficult especially if ye be away sailin’ the high seas.  So I tend to bring an offering.  I only had two with me that day.

The first found treasure chest was small, tucked away, and rather difficult to find.  The journey involved lots of wanderin’ in circles and peerin’ through the brush.  But I be determined to check it out.  The haul was tiny but fun.  Just enough to whet the appetite for more adventure!  So from the first chest, I took a super tiny tome about the history women of the air and exchanged me first offering.  But I was off to look for more booty!

After two duels with locals, more circle wandering, a stop at a local tavern for some grog, and such, we found our way to the second treasure chest.  And oh what glorious baubles awaited!  The first mate stood watch while me eyes roamed for the perfect fit and that is when I saw this:

The picture does not do it justice.  The cover was literally gleaming in the light and oh so shiny.  I picked it up and just knew it was the one for me!  I left me second offering with glee and made me way back to me ship.  The haul was a success.  But oh to explore the new acquisition . . .

It was wonderful.  This is a young adult novel that tells a Victorian style ghost story.  Two siblings, Molly and Kip, go to work in a sinister mansion and barely get out with their lives.  I loved the siblings, the storytelling, the monster, and the morals.  I loved the growth of all of the characters in the novel, especially Kip.  I loved the horse, Galileo.  I thought  the ending was particularly fantastic because of how the people worked together.  It was mesmerizing.  I don’t want to give much more away than that because frankly the beauty is in the writing and the details both of which I cannot explain adequately and want the reader to experience for themselves.

To sum up . . . read this book!  I am absolutely thrilled that me adventures brought me to this previously unknown and beautiful gem.

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

The Night Gardener is a Victorian ghost story about two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jonathan Auxier – Author

To buy the book go to:

the night gardener – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Curiosities of the Deep – kings of the wilderness (M.J.R. Parr)

kings of the wilderness – the 700th arc book one (M.J.R. Parr)

Well me mateys, here be another Curiosity of the Deep for your perusal.  For those new to me crew, this be a category for those novels whose stories of acquisition be strange and unusual – like the time someone commandeered me 12 pages!  This be the start of another adventure.  One told in three days.

On this day we go back to a dark and stormy night when I when I was contacted by a strange rascal with a intriguing proposal . . .

Arrr! Ahoy there Captain, a pleasure to be tradin’ scrolls with ye
this fine day. Mighty fine blogship ye’re running there. Word over
the waves is that ye like readin’ books, and have a skill for it
too. Well, might be the case I have somethin’ that might be of
interest for yer captain’s log.

It goes by the name of Kings of the Wilderness, and it’s an adult
adventure/action thriller, with elements of horror, set against a
dystopian sci-fi backdrop. It’s available on Amazon via Kindle
Unlimited (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01JUYI9N6 [1]), but I’ll
happily email you an .epub or .mobi version if you’re interested.

*Cough cough* Bein’ the sort who relishes a life o’ freedom,
carvin’ himself a path amongst the waves, I’m a self-published
author by choice, but I have high standards for me ventures. I’d not
publish a novel under my name that was anything less than
professionally produced. Hopefully my front cover design and prose
will be enough to assure you of this should you choose to
investigate further!

Thank ye for yer time and consideration. Arrrrr!

M.J.R. Parr

Links:
——
[1] https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01JUYI9N6

Well this Captain always be intrigued by the idea of a new adventure.  The description of a mix of adventure & horror & dystopian & sci-fi got me interest.  Plus a little flattery never hurt.  A polite solid request this be and so after some scoutin’ around for information about the writer, I replied with me terms . . .

Ahoy there matey!

I am back from loot and plunder and was pleasantly surprised to find a scroll from a scalawag like yerself waiting for me in port.  I am
always looking for new ports to plunder and shiny baubles to enjoy.  I
am not adverse to reading the work of a rogue adventurer who travels
against the waves.  Yer work certainly sounds like an odd mix and does pique me fancy.  I would be willing to take a chance on ye with some stipulations:

1.  This Captain always be blunt and honest.  I try to be polite as it
is good for me business, but if I don’t like it then ye are going to
know.

2.  I have been known to abandon ship and tell novels to walk the
plank.  If ye haven’t, I suggest ye look at some of those reviews on
me log to see the rantings that such novels bring out in me.

3.  That being said, since ye entertained me thus far and took a
chance on this salty sea Captain, I am willing to not post a review if
I for some chance do not find ye scribblings to me taste.  Yer first
review on Amazon does not have to be negative.

4.  Though if I love yer work then I am happy to tell everyone so.

5.  Oh and no specific timeframe for when the review/reading occurs.
If a matey gives me a novel then it gets priority, but I have quite a
few that came first.  And I happen to read according to me mood so
there is that, too.

If ye are agreeable to the terms and still feel that this Captain be a
good fit to try yer novel then feel free to join me crew and send me
an e-version of whatever format would work on me kindle.  If ye have
read all this and consider me too crazy or not right to read yer work
then tell me so.  Again I appreciate honesty and there will be no hard
feelings.  In either case, ye brought joy to me day in the form of yer
scroll and so I am grateful for that.  May the wind always be at yer
back.

x The Captain

Well said scalawag read these terms and responded with . . .

Arr ’tis an honour to hear from the Captain herself! I hope yer lootin’ and plunderin’ was richly rewarding, as such honest work deserves to be. I’ve been doing a bit meself on distant shores this fine week, hence me rather laggard and rum-troubled parrot. If he manages to wend his bleary way ye should find a hefty and mystically-encoded scroll clutched in his wizened claw for yer leisurely perusin’.

Thank ye much for your candour Captain, I’ll be dabbin’ me quill to yer terms then. I appreciate yer time whether ye find it to yer likin’ or otherwise. Either way I’ll look forward to yer thoughts, for yer rantins are as much a pleasure as yer praisins.

May the wind always be at yer back also, Captain, I’m glad my scrawlins put a smile upon yer face and can assure you likewise.

Matey Parr

So terms be accepted, a new member added to me crew, and a new find added to me hold.  So what did I think of me new catch?  Check out me log tomorrow . . .

x The Captain

Curiosities of the Deep – the boy with the porcelain blade (Den Patrick)

the boy with the porcelain blade (Den Patrick)

Well me mateys, you may remember the time where someone commandeered me 12 pages. Arrrrgh! I have reclaimed me missing pages at last. Just like last time, however, there was an interesting curiosity in my new copy of the book. My old version ended on page 308. And when I opened the new version I saw this:

page 308

Can you see that? If not let me apprise you of the situation. The new copy had one earmark in the novel and low and behold it just happened to be on page 308 where I previously had left off. Fortuitous no?

The book is finished, and I can finally share my thoughts on the subject. Now normally I write a review as soon as I am finished the book. In this case, I had a lot of extra time to ponder what I read. I found this book to have an engaging main character in Lucien de Fotein. He is coarse, intelligent, sarcastic, and a real dastard in some ways. Despite myself, I like him. I also really enjoyed the character of Anea, a smart girl who is a secondary character but an awesome one. The Orfano, the deformed citizens in the novel, overall had fun characters and personalities. The “regular folk” in the world seemed to be more two dimensional in goals and actions. I was not interested in them and wanted them to be better fleshed out.

The world itself feels very renaissance-like with a lot of scheming and plotting and politics. It felt confusing and unclear. It was almost as though the author had so many good ideas that he tried to do it all and it came out jumbled. All the sides seemed to be fighting to “get the power” but for no real reason. And everyone seems to hate everyone else for no real reason either. The portion with the king as a character in the story seemed only to be there so that the Orfano existed. Even the world’s own myths and history seemed to contradict each other.

There was another major flaw in the novel. There were a ton of flashbacks in this novel making it extremely hard to keep track of timeline in reading. I almost wanted a prequel about Lucien and how he grew up and then the boy with the porcelain blade to be what happens next which leads into the series. Normally I do not mind flashbacks, but just as I got caught by one scenario it would switch and derail my train of thought.

I have thought long and hard about whether I would read the next two books of the trilogy and at this point I am undecided. I do like the two characters I mentioned and sort of what to know what happens. Maybe if the books were from the local library or free. But I bought this book and wish I would have spent my money on something else.

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

An ornate yet dark fantasy, with echoes of Scott Lynch, Robin Hobb and Jon Courtenay Grimwood. An original and beautifully imagined world, populated by unforgettable characters. A debut novel which garnered rave reviews on publication from fellow authors, bloggers and the likes of SFX magazine.

Lucien de Fontein has grown up different. One of the mysterious and misshapen Orfano who appear around the Kingdom of Landfall, he is a talented fighter yet constantly lonely, tormented by his deformity, and well aware that he is a mere pawn in a political game. Ruled by an insane King and the venomous Majordomo, it is a world where corruption and decay are deeply rooted – but to a degree Lucien never dreams possible when he first discovers the plight of the ‘insane’ women kept in the haunting Sanatoria.

Told in a continuous narrative interspersed with flashbacks we see Lucien grow up under the care of his tutors. We watch him forced through rigorous Testings, and fall in love, set against his yearning to discover where he comes from, and how his fate is tied to that of every one of the deformed Orfano in the Kingdom, and of the eerie Sanatoria itself.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Den Patrick – Author

To buy this book visit:

the boy with the porcelain blade – Book

Curiosities of the Deep – the boy with the porcelain blade (Den Patrick)

the boy with the porcelain blade (Den Patrick)

Well me mateys . . . was supposed to be bringing you a new blog about this fantasy novel but alas there was a problem. At the end of the book I found this:

DSC_2693

Can you tell what the problem is? If not let me help you. Page 308 ends with the following “She was huddled in a great”.  Seems to suggest that the sentence has not ended.  And yet as you may see, this was the last page in my copy of the book.  I was confused to say the least.  I went online to do some hunting on the site where I purchased it (Barnes & Noble) and learned this:

Untitled

Yes me mateys. It is supposed to be 320 pages. Someone commandeered me 12 pages! Arrrgh! So no review on this book yet. I called the scalawags at the company and they are going to replace me copy with a new one.  If I ever acquire the missing 12 pages then I will get back to you with me thoughts.