Off the Charts – the kept woman (Karin Slaughter)

Ahoy there me mateys!  For those of ye who are new to me log, a word: though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes.  Occasionally, I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were.  So today I bring ye a creepy murder mystery on Friday the 13th:

the kept woman (Karin Slaughter)

This novel came to me courtesy of me sister.  While she is not a voracious reader, she does enjoy the police procedurals and murder mysteries on tv and very occasionally in books.  In fact most of the episodes I have watched of such shows are from when I visit her.  So she gave me this book to read and told me I had no choice because I read so fast that I could finish it in a day.  Well it took me two but I am very glad she forced me to read this one even though I almost never read in this genre.

This was a whopper of a tale.  I was immediately engrossed in the story and the mystery of it all.  I thought the murder scene investigation in the beginning was particularly well done.  I loved how even the detectives were baffled and how the reader got to figure out the circumstances with them.  I loved the banter of primary detective, Will, and the rest of his team.

I was startled when the book shifted half-way through from the perspective of Will and his team to that of the missing person!  It takes the reader back one week earlier and explains the lead up to the murder.  It was bonkers to be inside of her crazy head and get her viewpoints of what had been going on.  Then the perspective switches to present day for the very end of the book and the resolution.  I have to admit that once the mystery of the crime scene was solved and it went back to present day that I didn’t really love the entire ending.  However, to be fair, I started out listening to this in audio book format and then switched to the paperback so I could finish it in a couple of hours rather than the 8 hours I had left.  So yes I was hooked.

My sister has already given me another Karin Slaughter book to read and says it is ever crazier than this one.  I am rather looking forward to being in the mood for another book by the author in this genre.  Arrrr!

Side note:  I did not know that this be book 8 of a series.  It seems I picked up Sarah @ brainfluff’s known tendency to read books from the middle of a series with no prior knowledge!  I had no problem following along even if it did feel like all the characters had history.  I just assumed that was good writing . . .

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop.

Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn’t belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found.

Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away.

But the worst is yet to come. Evidence soon links Will’s troubled past to the case . . . and the consequences will tear through his life with the force of a tornado, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues.

Relentlessly suspenseful and furiously paced, peopled with conflicted, fallible characters who leap from the page, The Kept Woman is a seamless blend of twisty police procedural and ingenious psychological thriller — a searing, unforgettable novel of love, loss, and redemption.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Karin Slaughter – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the kept woman – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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Off the Charts – the lost city of z (David Grann)

Ahoy there me mateys!  For those of ye who are new to me log, a word: though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes.  Occasionally, I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were.  So today I bring ye:

the lost city of z: a tale of deadly obsession in the amazon (David Grann)

This pirate Captain has a slight obsession with exploration, treasure, and secrets.  I recently read a fascinating non-fiction book about a stowaway to Antarctica.  Then I saw this book about the Amazon which features missing people, a lost city, treasure, exploration, and death.  Arrr!  A must-read or in this case must-listen.

Now first off all let me just say that I will keep me sharks, kraken, and man-eating white whales.  The sea has nothing on the Amazon.  The Amazon has so many types of disgusting flesh eating bugs, flesh eating diseases, and flesh eating fish.  Ye thought piranhas were bad.  Try candiru.  Ugh.  Sailing that river does not appeal.

What did appeal was the lengths and struggles that man would go to find and conquer nature.  Or attempt to conquer it.  This novel mostly chronicles the adventures of Percival “Percy” Harrison Fawcett.  Percy was a “British geographer, artillery officer, cartographer, archaeologist and explorer of South America.”  He became obsessed with finding a lost city in the jungles of Amazon.  Some called it El Dorado.  He called it Z.  Finding the city would consume him and eventually lead to his disappearance in the jungles of Brazil in 1925.  What happened to hardened and experienced Percy on that last ill-fated expedition?  Author David Grann was determined to solve the centuries old case.

Like the book about Antarctic explorers, this tale was full of details about the lengths to which these men would go to protect “their” finds and their fame.  It also showcases how much effort went into planning and funding an expedition.  I found the details of the flora, fauna, and geography of the Amazon to be fascinating.  The author even portrays his own trip into the jungle in the name of research.

Really the novel is dense with detail and history.  It was riveting and seemingly well researched.  The only downside I had was the ending which mentioned some interesting new archeology finds in the area of the Kalapalous tribe that may change the entire historical landscape of South America.  These findings by Michael Heckenberger were only touched on.  I wanted more!

Side note:  While researching for this post, I found a rather scathing article by John Hemming on how the author’s book was immensely exaggerated and factually incorrect.  For those interested, I include it here for comparison.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett & his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925, Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humans. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions inspired Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions round the globe, Fawcett embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilisation–which he dubbed Z–existed. Then his expedition vanished. Fawcett’s fate, & the tantalizing clues he left behind about Z, became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness.

For decades scientists & adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party & the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes or gone mad. As Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, & the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s green hell. His quest for the truth & discoveries about Fawcett’s fate & Z form the heart of this complexly enthralling narrative.

To visit the author’s website go to:

David Grann – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the lost city of z – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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

Ahoy there me mateys!  Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes.  So occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were.  Here is:

the questionable behavior of dahlia moss (Max Wirestone)

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

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

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

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

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

So lastly . . .

Thank ye kindly Redhook Books and Goodreads Giveways!

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

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

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

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

To visit the author’s website go to:

Max Wirestone – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the questionable behavior of dahlia moss – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

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

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

Off the Charts and On the Horizon – this fallen prey (Kelley Armstrong)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. So occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. I received this thriller eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, city of the lost, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

this fallen prey (Kelley Armstrong)

Title: this fallen prey

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: Macmillian/Minotaur Books – Established in 1999, Minotaur is a premier publisher in the bestselling category of crime fiction.

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

ISBN:  978-1250159892

Source:  NetGalley

I love Kelley Armstrong!  I discovered her through her young adult book, sea of shadows, and she became me most read author of 2016. I have read the first two books of this series and was excited to continue me foray into Rockton.

This novel continues the adventures of Rockton’s detective, Casey Duncan.  For those who be adventurous and are readin’ this post having not read the previous books, Rockton is an off-the-grid town in the Yukon.  People pay a council to spend time in this town to hide from their pasts.  Some flee domestic abuse.  Some flee other more unsavory problems.  Suffice to say, the town is not an idyllic wonderland.

Casey has survived a lot of hard times in her short period in Rockton and yet has transitioned rather well overall.  The town has settled down, to the best of its ability, and Casey’s content to live in the moment and enjoy her newfound solace.  But then the council drops an unannounced problem into town in the form of an accused serial killer, bound and gagged.  The council decrees that Casey and Sheriff Dalton must ensure this man’s survival for 6 months until other arrangements can be made.  That is not a request.  His going to prison is not an option.  And with this unexpected arrival, Casey’s yet again in a world of trouble.

I found this setup to be rather ingenious.  There are a lot of known dangers in Rockton and tons of less than stellar inhabitants.  I wondered how the author was goin’ to up the ante in this installment.  Throw a supposed serial killer in the pot, stir, and shake up.  I loved that the town is so not prepared to contain an actual known menace.  I love the citizens’ take on the situation.  I loved Casey’s ambivalence about their charge.  Is this man an actual killer or is someone taking advantage of the council and thus Casey?

The first third of the book was an absolute delight.  Then me enjoyment began to wane.  This for me was the weakest of the three novels so far.  While the setup was fabulous, the execution was a bit silly, to be honest.  Too much of the novel was wandering in the forest and making small but seemingly pointless forays back to Rockton.

What action did happen in the forest was a bit too comical.  I mean, how many fierce, dangerous (and usually shy) animals can try to kill Casey in a sequence?  Too many.  How many bullets can fly and magically not kill the strategic characters.  Too many.  How many awesome residents of Rockton were seemingly brought in to help the situation and then weren’t actually utilized?  Too many.

I didn’t hate the novel and certainly loved certain elements of it.  But the first book was great and the second book took elements of the town and flipped them upside down – to great effect.  The stories also were concluded satisfactorily even if elements from book one popped into book two.  Book three ends on a rather unsatisfying cliffhanger.  I did like revisiting Rockton and Casey and there are some new people that I want more information about.  I shall still read the next one in the series.  I just hope it turns out as well as books one and two did.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian/Minotaur Books!

Netgalley has this to say about the novel:

Casey Duncan is about to face her toughest job as police detective in Rockton yet.

When Casey first arrived at the off-the-grid town, an isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect, with no cell phones, no internet, no mail, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. She certainly didn’t expect to be the homicide detective on two separate cases or to begin a romantic relationship with her boss. But the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned, and to keep others safe.

Of course Oliver Brady claims he’s being set up. But the longer Brady stays in town, the more things start to go wrong. When evidence comes to light that someone inside Rockton might be working as his accomplice, helping him to escape, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he’s truly responsible for committing.

In the next page-turning entry in Kelley Armstrong’s gripping series, life in Rockton is about to get even more dangerous.

To visit the author’s website and blog go to:

Kelley Armstrong – Author

To buy the novel visit:

this fallen prey – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

sea of shadows- book 1 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

empires of the night -book 2 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

forest of ruin – book 3 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the masked truth (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Thriller)

missing (On the Horizon – Young Adult Thriller eArc)

city of the lost – book 1 (Off the Charts – Thriller/Crime Novel)

a darkness absolute – book 2 (Off the Charts and on the Horizon – Thriller/Crime Novel Arc)

Further Thoughts – the tattooist of auschwitz (Heather Morris)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Yesterday I reviewed the tattooist of auschwitz.  Reading about the Holocaust always causes me grief and sadness and can cause me mood to darken for days.  Still I periodically read books on this topic for the reasons I talked about yesterday.  After I posted me review, I read some articles that highlighted again the importance of remembering and honoring victims of the Nazis.  Because of headlines like this:

“Poland’s Senate passes controversial Holocaust bill” – The BBC article stated that:

It [the bill] says that “whoever accuses, publicly and against the facts, the Polish nation, or the Polish state, of being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich … shall be subject to a fine or a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years”.

But it adds the caveat that a person “is not committing a crime if he or she commits such an act as part of artistic or scientific activities”.

It passed in a late-night sitting of the upper house of the Polish parliament with 57 votes to 23, with two abstaining.

I mean seriously.  Of course some people in the Polish nation were complicit in the Holocaust.  As were those of many other countries.  A lot of people from those same countries tried to fight the atrocities and help others.  We have documented proof people.  Apparently Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said while Poland was committed to combating lies of the Holocaust:

“The camps where millions of Jews were murdered were not Polish. This truth needs to be protected,” he said.

The camps are called Polish camps because some were located in Poland.  That is a truth.  So this just feels like a ridiculous attempt to rewrite history.  Attempting to reclassify such actions after the fact is a disgrace to all people who have suffered such atrocities.

So here are two other articles where truth is listed and proof is given:

“The Tattooist of Auschwitz – and his secret love” – this in an in-depth article about the release of the novel.  It contains photos of Lale from many periods in his life and many of the concentration camps.  The photos can be unsettling so beware of that.  But one of the interesting photos shows:

Regarding other documents, one was discovered with Lale’s name and number in a list with other prisoners . . .  “The top of the document says Politische Abt – Aufnhmershreiber, Pramienauszahlung vom 26.7.44, which translates to – Political Wing Admittance Writer,” Morris says.

Seeing his name and number on this list is further proof and for some reason especially hard-hitting for me.

The other article:

“Auschwitz inmate’s notes from hell finally revealed” – this article is about a fascinating piece of Auschwitz history.  In 1944, 26 year-old Marcel Nadjari, a Greek Jew, wrote a 13 page manuscript while in Auschwitz.  “He was among about 2,200 members of the Sonderkommando – Jewish slaves of the SS who had to escort fellow Jews to the gas chambers. Then they had to burn the bodies, collect gold fillings and women’s hair, and throw the ashes into a nearby river.”  The manuscript was buried near the crematoriums and found in 1980.  One problem – it was so exposed to elements that in was nearly illegible.  By using recent more modern technology, the writing was able to be deciphered.  The article did not contain the whole manuscript (as it was published recently in German) but the line that hit hard in this article was:

“The crematorium is a big building with a wide chimney and 15 ovens. Under a garden there are two enormous cellars. One is where people undress and the other is the death chamber. People enter it naked and once about 3,000 are inside it is locked and they are gassed. After six or seven minutes of suffering they die,” he wrote . . .

“The gas canisters were always delivered in a German Red Cross vehicle with two SS men. They then dropped the gas through openings – and half an hour later our work began. We dragged the bodies of those innocent women and children to the lift, which took them to the ovens.”

If I learned the detail about the vehicle at some point then I had forgotten.  Such a blatantly horrible use of a symbol that is supposed to mean health and human compassion.

I don’t know when Holocaust denial truly began but with the story of the Polish bill and others like the Holocaust denier being at Trump’s State of the Union speech, the novel is an important addition at an important time.

Not me usual type of blog but have to admit that the news got me dander up and I had to rage on me soapbox.  If only I could make all Holocaust deniers walk the plank and be tasty morsels for the sharks.  Arrrr!

x The Captain

Off the Charts and On the Horizon – the tattooist of auschwitz (Heather Morris)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. So occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. I received this non-fiction eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

the tattooist of auschwitz (Heather Morris)

Title: the tattooist of auschwitz

Author: Heather Morris

Publisher: Bonnier Publishing Australia / Echo

Publication Date: Available Now! (hardback/ebook)

ISBN: 978-1785763649

Source: NetGalley

In 2016, according to this Time magazine article, there were about 100,000 Holocaust survivors still alive.  In 2014, there were 500,000.  So how many are there in 2018?  I couldn’t find the numbers.  But what I do know is that we will soon be in an era where there are no first person witnesses.  That is why books like this continue to be important and why I continue to read them.  To keep the memories alive and honor the victims of the tragedy.  When there are ridiculous people trying to deny the impact of the Holocaust or say it never happened with living proof, I shudder to think what will happen when all the survivors are gone.

Also with many survivor’s reticence to talk about their Holocaust stories, every one is precious.  With each one that is told there are millions that have that have been lost.  Within these true stories ye get to see human ingenuity, human kindness, and above all, love in horrible situations.  Some people do break.  Some survive.  All matter.

This novel details the experiences of Lale Sokolov who was a tattooist at Auschwitz, found love in the camps, and survived to make a life outside afterwards  He only chose to tell this story after the loss of his beloved wife in 2003.  I won’t say much about the plot because me words don’t do it justice.  But this book is important that I am honored and humbled that Lale shared his story.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Bonnier Publishing Australia / Echo!

Side note:much thanks to Inge @ thebelgianreviewer for making me aware of this book’s existence.  Check out her review here!

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

To visit the author’s website go to:

Heather Morris – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the tattooist of auschwitz – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Off the Charts and On the Horizon – the stowaway (Laurie Gwen Shapiro)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. So occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. I received this non-fiction eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

the stowaway (Sarah Krasnostein)

Title: the stowaway: a young man’s extraordinary adventure to antarctica

Author: Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: Available Now! (hardback/ebook)

ISBN: 978-1476753867

Source: NetGalley

This novel was recommended by stephanie @ adventuresofabibliophile.  The title and cover immediately captured me fancy.  Stowaways and a ship!  Arrr!  It takes place in the 1920s which is a bonus.  Also me adventurous ma is currently on a ship heading for Antarctica and penguins and cold!  So it seemed appropriate to read about previous Antarctic explorers.

While I prefer sunnier climes, I have always had a fascination for exploration stories of all kinds be it mountain climbin’, island hoppin’, or south pole ice scramblin’.  As a younger lass I read about Shackleton, Darwin, and Cook’s true life adventures.  National Geographic magazine was a much loved publication.  Equally beloved were the fictional survival stories like White Fang, Robinson Crusoe, and the Count of Monte Cristo.  I continue to love these types of stories like recent reads castle of water and feel me fall (highly recommended).

So I began to read this book about Billy Gawronski who was so obsessed with being a member of Byrd’s crew that he was a stowaway on Byrd’s ships not once but three times!  His tenaciousness and pure grit to make it to Antarctica was endearing and fun.  He wasn’t the only one trying to secure a place on this expedition.  Byrd was a crafty man and had thousands of candidates trying to obtain a non-paying berth on the voyage attempting to make American history.

Overall I found this to be a more a story about the facts surrounding getting to and from Antarctica rather than what happened on Antarctica.  It is a seemingly well-researched book.  Much like in real life, Byrd really is the center of the story with Billy’s portions as the more humanistic filler.  The beginning of the book up until the establishment of Little America is the best part of the book though the story loses steam after that.  In any case I found many of the tangential facts to be fascinating.  Like how President Coolidge had a pancake breakfast with actresses in an attempt to bolster his election campaign.  This book was a quick read that I enjoyed even if I thought it would be more about Billy’s adventures in Antarctica.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Simon & Schuster!

Side note: the author has a marvelous article in the New Yorker about “the Stowaway Craze.”  It even shows a photo of Billy!  What fun!

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

To visit the author’s website go to:

Laurie Gwen Shapiro – Author

To buy the novel go to:

stowaway – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List