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

On the Horizon – brother’s ruin (Emma Newman)

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

brother’s ruin (Emma Newman)

Title: brother’s ruin

Author: Emma Newman

Publisher: Macmillian-Tor/Forge

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

ISBN: 9780765393951

Source: NetGalley

This novella was quick-paced, a fast read, and fun.  The story is set in 1850s Great Britain which was win number one.  Win number two was the protagonist, Charlotte Gunn – intelligent, feisty, and loving (me favorite type).  Win number three was the magical society set up in this book.

Charlotte is a woman who wants normal things like marrying her fiance and having a family.  She also wants slightly more challenging modern things like continuing to earn her own income from her illustrations and keeping her male publishing pseudonym unknown.   But most challenging off all is keeping her magic talent a secret.  If it is found out, the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts will claim her and her dreams of the future will be forfeit.

Keeping her magic a secret is not so easy.  Charlotte has the guilt of not joining the Society to give her parents and brother a better life as well as the challenge of holding her magic in check and not going “Wild.”  However events soon spiral out of control and Charlotte has to decide whether her dreams or her realities will determine her choices.

This novella is super short at 192 pages and felt more like a set-up or prequel to a longer novel.  I loved it and wanted more.  Charlotte’s family members were loving, struggled, and were realistic in many of their reactions to the occurring events.  The magic of the society is introduced but ye don’t get all the bells and whistles of how it works or what it can do . . . yet.  The plot was predictable at a few points but I didn’t care.

The novella had a great ending, left lots of questions to be explored, and had tantalizing hints of what may happen next.  Whether the next installment be a novella or (hopefully) a longer novel – sign me up!

Side note: This author sounded familiar because I had just purchased her other novel planetfall, a sci-fi, to read!  Stay tuned for that review in the next log post.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge!

Additional side note: the blurb is rather spoiler-y and misleading.  Be forewarned and read at yer own peril!

Netgalley has this to say about the novel:

The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Archie’s life and their own livelihoods.

But Archie Gunn isn’t a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect. However, maintaining the charade will mean masquerading as Archie’s assistant, and delaying or destroying her own plans for marriage.

When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Emma Newman – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

brother’s ruin – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – the bone witch (Rin Chupeco)

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

the bone witch (Rin Chupeco)

Title: the bone witch

Author: Rin Chupeco

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

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

ISBN: 978-1492635826

Source: NetGalley

This novel be pure magic.  I read it in one sitting and fell in love with the author’s writing and the world she created.  The main character, Tea, learns that she is a bone witch when she instinctively raises her brother from the dead in her grief.  Because of the rarity of her powers and the fact that bone witches be hated and feared, Tea leaves her family to train and learn to control her powers.

The novel is told from two perspectives – Tea in the past and a bard in the present.  I loved the juxtaposition of witnessing Tea’s thoughts about training and the bard’s views of what she looks like to an “outsider” in her full strength and poise.

This novel is slow paced but filled with glorious details.  It was the details that made the world and story come vividly to life.  Things like the descriptions of magic woven into clothing, the elaborate training of the witches (known as asha). the different ethnicities of people, or even types food, made me feel that the author was describing a real place.  Or at least a place well known to her.

Add in fantastical creatures called the daeva and I was mesmerized.  What are daeva?  Well according to the author’s website they are “Deadly creatures that roam the land . . . To defeat these beasts, one must find and rip their bezoar from their bodies – although such an action is only a temporary respite, as they are capable of resurrection.”  They are all different shapes and sizes.  How Tea deals with these monsters is at the heart of the story and one of the main reasons I loved it.

This book was a lovely set-up.  I will definitely be reading the next book in the series when it comes out and while impatiently waiting, I will try and get me grubby mitts on her debut novel, the girl from the well.

Side note: the author’s about me page is awesome!  In fact, I rather enjoyed pursuing the whole site.  Check it out.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire!

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

To visit the author’s website go to:

Rin Chupeco – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the bone witch – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Keep a Weathered Eye Out for Sourcebook Fire’s Other Offerings Like:

labyrinth lost (Zoraida Cordova)

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

On the Horizon – miniatures (John Scalzi)

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

miniatures: the very short fiction of john scalzi (John Scalzi)

Title: miniatures: the very short fiction of john scalzi

Author: John Scalzi

Illustrator: Natalie Metzger

Publisher: Subterranean Press

Publication Date: December 31, 2016 (hardback/e-book)

ISBN: 9781596068124

Source: NetGalley

Okay so it may be no secret to me crew that I am kinda in love with John Scalzi’s novels.  He has been featured on a Broadside, had the dispatcher reviewed by both me and the First Mate, and writes a blog called Whatever, that I follow regularly.  So when the man himself blogged about the release of this short story collection I knew I wanted to read it.  When I was on Netgalley, I happened to see it.  Then the publisher happened to grant it to me for readin’.  Yay!

Since I am very familiar with the Scalzi writing style, I waited for a day that was rather blah and where I needed a pick-me-up.  Cause Scalzi is funny.  So the day came and I settled in me bunk for a treat.  And I got exactly what I wanted.

Out of the 18 pieces, me top 3 standouts . . .

“Alien Animal Encounters” – Perhaps ye have heard of the those segments where people like Jay Leno do segments like “Jay Walking” where random people on the street are asked the Question of the Week.  Well in this story, the question is “What is the most interesting encounter you’ve had with an alien animal species?”  This is the first story of the collection and set the tone nicely.  Favorite animals included the cat (duh!) and the courou.

“Denise Jones, Superbooker” – Set in the form of a transcript, this story is about a booking agent for super heroes.  She answers important questions about super hero secret identities, contracts, and other secrets of the biz.  The bit about Bryan Garcia made me happy.  There is a related story later in the collection called “The State of Super Villainy” that was fun too.

“Your Smart Appliances Talk About You Behind Your Back” – Security systems, fridges, waffle irons . . . if they could speak what would they report about their owners.  ‘Nuff said.

There were a couple of stories that didn’t really float me boat – one about Pluto, one about extortionists, and one about Penelope.  And some that were just plain weird Scalzi – like sentient yogurt.  But overall Scalzi delivers as usual.  Quick and fun.

For another take by me crew member who loved it:

the green onion

So lastly . . .

Thank you Subterranean Press!

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

To visit the author’s website go to:

John Scalzi – Author

To buy the novel go to:

miniatures – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Off the Charts and On the Horizon – a darkness absolute (Kelley Armstrong)

Ahoy there me mateys!  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 . . .

a darkness absolute (Kelley Armstrong)

Title: a darkness absolute

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:     978-1250092175

Source:  I received this thriller/crime ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  So here are me honest musings . . .

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 couldn’t help but gobble up her work which led to me seeking out her adult crime thriller, city of the lost.  So when the publisher contacted me directly and asked if I wanted to read the sequel to that thriller I said yes please and did a happy dance of joy.

It certainly was another highly engaging and intense book.  In this novel, Casey has lived in Rockton for over four months after successfully figuring out the who-dunnit in the first book.  This book starts out with a bang as Casey and Will, the deputy, are looking for a runaway resident of Rockton in a howling Yukon snowstorm.  They find something way crazier than who they initially were looking for.

The suspense set up in that storm continued throughout most of the book.  Unlike the first novel, I did figure out the bad guy at about the middle of the book, which was a bummer because Casey was always a couple of steps behind at that point.  But overall it did not decrease me enjoyment.

I continued to find Casey to be a highly likeable and awesome protagonist.  Her spunk and grit makes me happy.  This book also had some surprising revelations about other Rockton residents.  That I was not expecting and it was cool to have some of me own conclusions flipped upside down.

Whether it was me noodles being hard to eat because I was trying to read and kept missing me mouth or not wanting to bunk down for some shut-eye because I had to know how the story resolved, this book was hard to put down.  I did have some minor quibbles with the ending that I would love to discuss with me crew at some point and the mysteries of this novel seemed less organic in this book versus the first, but overall a very enjoyable reading process.

I need to know where there be another Casey story?  Only time will tell . . . but I will definitely be wanting more from Kelley Armstrong.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian/Minotaur Books!

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

When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers.

Now, in A Darkness Absolute, Casey and her fellow Rockton sheriff’s deputy Will chase a cabin-fevered resident into the woods, where they are stranded in a blizzard. Taking shelter in a cave, they discover a former resident who’s been held captive for over a year. When the bodies of two other women turn up, Casey and her colleagues must find out if it’s an outsider behind the killings or if the answer is more complicated than that…before another victim goes missing.

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

Kelley Armstrong – Author

To buy the novel visit:

a darkness absolute – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

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

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

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

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

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

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