On the Horizon – the rending and the nest (Kaethe Schwehn)

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

the rending and the nest (Kaethe Schwehn)

Title: the rending and the nest

Author: Kaethe Schwehn

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

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

ISBN: 978-1632869722

Source: NetGalley

 

This is truly wonderfully delightfully oddly bizarre.  It is a post-apocalyptic book wherein 95% of the population disappears with no explanation.  This becomes known as the Rending.  Along with people, portions of buildings and other items simply disappear as well.  Thousands of random objects are mixed together in towering Piles that dot the landscape.

In this new world, we are introduced to (and follow) Mira as she and fellow survivors try to make a new life in a settlement called Zion.  The novel deals with the current day to day living and then switches into snippets of the past.  The main issue appears when the first pregnancy of Zion post-Rending is announced.  The settlement is fraught with excitement over the prospect of a new baby.  Imagine the surprise when the new baby turns out to be an inanimate object.

So what does this mean?  Read the novel and find out.  Just be prepared that this is a slow burn, heavily detailed story.  I found it fascinating, horrifying, and lyrical all at once.  I am very glad I read it and have been thinking about it ever since I finished.  It is certainly not a book for everyone, but it was perfect for me.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Bloomsbury USA!

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:

When ninety-five percent of the world’s population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can’t afford to lose. Four years after the Rending, Mira has everything under control. Almost.

Then Mira’s best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first in this strange world and a new source of hope for Mira. But Lana gives birth to an inanimate object—and soon other women of Zion do, too—and the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new world begins to fray. As the community wrestles with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world outside Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn’t return, Mira has to decide how much she’s willing to let go in order to save her friend, her community, and her own fraught pregnancy.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Kaethe Schwehn – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the rending and the nest – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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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)

On the Horizon – semiosis (Sue Burke)

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

semiosis (Sue Burke)

Title: semiosis

Author: Sue Burke

Publisher: Macmillian-Tor/Forge

Publication Date: Tomorrow!! (hardback/ebook)

ISBN: 978-0765391353

Source: NetGalley

Well mateys.  I learned a new word from this novel.  Semiosis.  Cool sounding word.  Wasn’t sure of it’s exact meaning.  So I be sharing with me hearties:

semiosis : a process in which something functions as a sign to an organism  source.

Yup, this book was indeed all about that.  A bunch of folk from Earth have dreams of creating a new space colony dedicated to being in harmony with nature.  The colony is called Pax for the peaceful civilization of their dreams.  Only when they wake up, they find that the ship has sent them to a different planet than they expected.  With little choice, they decide to make the best of it.  But what happens when nature has a mind of its own?

Well, interestingly weird things happen.  Plants, animals, weather – nothing is like the humans planned for.  In fact one of the best things about this novel is how the human planning goes all wrong – especially in the beginning.  Humans do survive but with interesting consequences.  Another fun thing about this novel is that the story is told over 5 generations and 107 years with different narrators for each chapter.  So the reader gets to see the ramifications of earlier choices as well as get some of the distortion of truth as time goes by.

Me favourite thing about the book is the relationships formed between the humans and the natural inhabitants of the planet.  The signs and communication between lifeforms is the theme and highlight of the book.  I loved the way language was used and the various forms it took.  If I could have some of the animals as me life companions then I would certainly want a kat, which I picture as a cuddly miniature kangaroo that plays leapfrog and digs holes .  The characters were individualized and well portrayed.  I thought the plot was solid if somewhat plodding.  But the concepts of utopias, mutualism, first contact, culture, and co-existence made this a very enjoyable read.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge!

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Sue Burke – Author

To buy the novel go to:

semiosis – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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

On the Horizon – the hazel wood (Melissa Albert)

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 hazel wood (Melissa Albert)

Title: the hazel wood

Author: Melissa Albert

Publisher: Flatiron Books

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

ISBN: 978-1250147905

Source: NetGalley

This book was a slow-burning, dark, and atmospheric read.  It felt like a Grimm’s fairy-tale mixed with some Alice in Wonderland but was mostly set in our modern world.  For all of the book’s slow pacing, I somehow found meself mesmerized by the mystery of it all.

Alice and her mom are always beset by bad luck and have led a fairly nomadic life.  Alice’s life has been heavily influenced by the tantalizing facts about her grandmother, Althea, even though they have never met.  Ye see a young Althea wrote a famous children’s book of fairy-tales and became a sensation.  Yet the book is hard to get a hold of.  It is a rare collector’s item and is out of print.  Alice has never been allowed to read it.  The one time she tried she only got as far as the table of contents before her mom confiscated the volume.  It was never seen again.  Why are Alice and her mom always on the run?  And what is so special about those stories?

If ye read this novel ye can find out.  Alice is a kinda quirky, if tad unlikable, character and her journey certainly is an interesting one.  Most of the story takes place in a seemingly contemporary tale where the fantasy can be glimpsed in the seams and cracks outside of periphery vision.  Those glimpses are enticing.  Of course the fantasy elements increase as the story progresses and that was super fun.

The only small quibble was the ending felt unsettled.  But it fit the Grimm-like mood and so I was satisfied.  Then, of course, I found out it is part of a series!  I do think it can feel like a standalone though.  I do wonder what adventures Alice will get into next.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Flatiron Books!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

To visit the author’s twitter go to:

Melissa Albert – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the hazel wood – 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