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)

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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

Off the Charts and On the Horizon – the chalk man (C.J. Tudor)

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.  So here be me honest musings . . .

the chalk man (C.J. Tudor)

Title: the chalk man

Author: C.J. Tudor

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Publication Date: TODAY!! (hardback/ebook)

ISBN: 978-1524760984

Source: NetGalley

The title and cover are what led me to this very engaging thriller.  I enjoyed playing the game of hangman when I was a wee lass.  Trying to guess the word before me person died was always fun.  Plus it (and other games like boggle and scrabble) led to a lifetime love of word games.  So when I saw this cover with the hangman and lovely addition of a noose, I just had to see what it was about.

So the very toned down premise is that a group of children in the 80s hang out looking for adventure.  One of their many activities is leaving chalk messages for each other in code.  That game abruptly ends when chalk messages lead them to a body in the woods.  Thirty years pass and the group has grown up and put the past behind them as best they can.  Until the day that Eddie gets a message in the mail with a figure and a single piece of chalk.  Is it a prank?  Eddie hopes so  . . . but one of the old gang turns up dead.  The past is back in a haunting way and Eddie finds himself tracking down a killer and reanalyzing what he thought he knew about a murder from 30 years ago.

This book was suspenseful and hard to put down.  Lots of me crew are raving about it and it is easy to see why.  It is extremely character driven with superb use of flashbacks.  The plot is complex, yet easy to follow.  Eddie drives the plot forward as most of the story is told from lens of his thoughts and memories.  It is wonderful to see how that one summer in 1986 has far-reaching consequences in unexpected ways – big and small.  The repercussions are both logical and fun while being surprising as well.  That is quite the combination.  And the last page was perfect.

The only minor issue I had was the resolution of one character’s plot line that I thought was truly implausible and made me incredulous.  That scene I could have done without.  But if ye love thrillers then I would certainly get this one.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Crown Publishing!

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

To visit the author’s website go to:

C.J. Tudor – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the chalk man – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Off the Charts – gulp (Mary Roach)

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:

gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal (Mary Roach)

This book was so fascinating that I sat across from the first mate reading fact after fact out-loud to him, prompting discussions – interesting, varied, and oh so disgusting.  Seriously ye will not be able to shut yer gob about these odd facts to those in yer proximity.  Historical facts about enemas, Elvis, pet food, fecal matter, and saliva (seriously saliva is awesome) abound.  Parts of it are funny, gross, but funny.  I have always loved this author’s work ever since I read her book about cadavers called stiff.  She takes subject matter that gives folks the heebie-jeebies (fecal transplants anyone?) and writes compelling, engaging, and thought-provoking commentary about her explorations of the subject.  Other topics she has studied include spooks, the science of sex, and mars.  I haven’t read her Mars one yet or the one about the science of war but they are on the list.  If ye haven’t read her work I suggest ye give it a go.  Taboo topics have never been so eloquently and matter-of-factly written about.  I love her.  Arrrrr!

 

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.

“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour of our insides. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions inspired by our insides are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find names for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? We meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks—or has the courage—to ask. And we go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a bacteria transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Mary Roach – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

gulp – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Off the Charts and On the Horizon – the trauma cleaner (Sarah Krasnostein)

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 trauma cleaner (Sarah Krasnostein)

Title: the trauma cleaner: one woman’s extraordinary life in the business of death, decay, and disaster

Author: Sarah Krasnostein

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: April 10, 2018 (hardback/ebook)

ISBN: 978-1250101204

Source: NetGalley

 

I discovered this book looking into St. Martin’s Press’ releases because I previously read castle of water which was one of me favourite reads of 2017.  One of me odd jobs back in the day was helping a company who organized houses.  They needed more people to help with a specific hoarder’s house and I needed extra funds so I signed up.  To say it was an eye-opening experience into that specific mental illness in an understatement.  So what in the world must trauma cleaning be like?  I honestly expected this book to have a lighter tone to it like stiff does about the business of dead bodies.  I somehow thought it would be funny yet respectful.  While the book was extremely respectful and had funny moments, it turned out to be a heart-wrenching tale of one woman, Sandra’s, amazing journey to survive and thrive in life.

If ye expect this book is going to be about the “trauma” as seemingly indicated in the title, ye might be mistaken.  The book does look into “living clients,” the hoarder aspect of the job in particular, using extremely vivid imagery about smells, trash, and the difficulties of getting people to let go of clutter.  It does not deal as greatly with the aspects of the job like industrial clean up or murder scenes.  Perhaps that it is to help the reader because the author’s turn of phrase, while sometimes lyrical, is so stark and effective at times.  But ultimately there is plenty of trauma in dealing with Sandra’s life story.  It is seemingly more harsh then cleaning murder scenes.  It seems crazy to say that but that’s what it felt like to this reader.

Ye see Sandra’s life started out rough and it seems like a miracle that she not only survived but became the thoughtful wonderful person found in the pages of this biography.  She was born a male in Australia, abandoned as an infant, and then adopted by a Catholic family.  This family was no picnic.  The father was an abusive alcoholic.  The family eventually had more blood-related children after adopting Sandra, which, in combination with the belief that their son might be homosexual, led to a life of hell.  Ugh.  I won’t get into the rest of the details here.  Makes me stomach clench just to think of it.  As the blurb states, before she was a trauma cleaner, “Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife.”  She was one of the first patients to have gender reassignment surgery in the 1980s.

It was the portrayal of life as a non-conforming society individual that I found as compelling as I did heart-breaking.  While Sandra’s life seems to have had love and joy in it, there also seemed to be a pervading sense of  self-doubt, denial, and pain.  It is the pain that lingered throughout the tale and made it a hard read.  I have amazing respect for the journey and am grateful to have read this book.  I highly recommend it but only wish that I had felt more joy in how Sandra’s life ultimately has turned out in the end.

So lastly . . .

Thank you St. Martin’s Press!

Side note: there are some very interesting articles out there in relation to this novel.  Some recommendations:

STC Services – Sandra’s business website

the Guardian

the Herald Sun

Daily Mail – be forewarned that the headline is a little lurid and the article tells a lot of the plot of the book but it has the photos talked about but not found in me copy of the book

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

To visit the author’s Goodreads page go to:

Sarah Krasnostein – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the trauma cleaner – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List