Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – gilded cage (Vic James)

sinking ship

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)

miniatures

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)

pier

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)

dead

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

On the Horizon – martians abroad (Carrie Vaughn)

pier

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

martians abroad (Carrie Vaughn)

Title: martians abroad

Author: Carrie Vaughn

Publisher: Macmillan-Tor/Forge

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

ISBN: 978-0765382207

Source: NetGalley

I had heard about this author from me crew and they seemed to love her work.  I am not usually into urban fantasy and werewolves so I had never read her Kitty Norville series.  When I heard she had written a sci-fi young adult, I snagged a copy.

The premise is that twins, Polly and Charles, from Mars are sent to Earth with no warning to get a good education at one of the top academies in the galaxy.  Though the academy may be prestigious, accidents keep happening and the twins must figure out why.  The story is told from Polly’s perspective.

Having Martians go to Earth for education was an awesome premise.  In fact most of the fun in the novel stemmed from Polly’s observations and complaints about Earth.  Her observations and discussions about Mars in particular made the settlement there seem so real and almost made me almost envious of living there.  Though Polly could be somewhat clueless, I nevertheless found her to be an enjoyable character.  I particularly liked her strong ideas concerning friendship and her ability to help others in a crisis.

Her brother Charles was kind of an enigma in his interactions and viewpoints and yet somehow likeable in spite of it.  I thought it was odd that the twins didn’t really interact all that much and that the brother/sister/twin relationship seemed strained at times.  The blurb made it sound like the two worked together but it didn’t pan out in the novel.

There were some flaws in the novel.  There was very little plot.  The main “villain” was rather predictable and I guessed who was behind it all rather early on.  Though the novel takes place in an academic setting, the academics were really not explored in depth.  I didn’t mind that because I like Polly so much but it may bother another reader.  The secondary characters are fun and having distinct personalities but do not seem to do a whole lot.

While the novel did feel fluffy and had seemingly little real depth, I did find it to have some truly fun ideas, be an enjoyable read and it  was a good introduction to this author’s work.  I was actually disappointed to find that it was a standalone.  I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Polly’s adventures when she is a pilot.  In any case, I am certainly going to read more of the author’s work.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillan-Tor/Forge!

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

To visit the author’s website go to:

Carrie Vaughn – Author

To buy the novel go to:

martians abroad – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – the bear and the nightingale (Katherine Arden)

pier

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

the bear and the nightingale (Katherine Arden)

Title: the bear and the nightingale

Author: Katherine Arden

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Del Ray

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

ISBN: 978-1101885932

Source: NetGalley

So me crew had been adding this novel left and right to their ports for plunder lists . . . know as tbr to ye landlubbers.  So I read the blurb.  It is a Russian fairy tale retelling set in the middle ages which appealed to me.  Plus it had a beautiful cover:

This book was savoury and a delight.  I was instantly entranced by the scene of the household of Pyotr Vladimirovich gathered around the hearth listening to a story.  This story within a story set up the novel perfectly.  It only got better from there.

I fell in love with the main character, Vasya.  She is strong, brave, loving, and unique.  Her relationships with her family members were absolutely wonderful to read about.  I particularly liked her relationship with her brother Alyosha.  It felt so refreshing to read about families that cared and loved one another especially when life’s conditions were so very hard.

The juxtaposition of Christianity and pagan beliefs in this book were fascinating.  I loved that people could practice both because Christianity was for the afterlife and pagan beliefs were to survive the harsh realities of day-to-day living.  The Rus’ vazila and the use of horses in the story especially tickled me fancy.

The author’s writing was rich and beautiful, making me want to delve into and discover the story.  I was transported into another space and time where the blending of myth and village life seemed real, possible, and achingly beautiful in its own way.

Words fail me really, so check out me other crew members reviews where they describe the feel of this novel better than I ever could:

Erin @ Proud Book Hoarder

Emily May @ The Book Geek

Side note:  This was the author’s debut novel and apparently is the first in a trilogy?  It ended as though a standalone so I am interested to see where the next book will go.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Katherine Arden – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the bear and the nightingale – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – faller (Will McIntosh)

pier

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

faller (Will McIntosh)

Title: faller

Author: Will McIntosh

Publisher: Macmillan-Tor/Forge

Publication Date: October 25, 2016 (hardcover/e-book)

ISBN: 9780765383556

Source: NetGalley

I have loved this author’s work ever since I read love minus eighty and have gobbled up all of his novels but one.

Side note: Get me hands on soft apocalypse!

So I was thrilled to read this one.  It was extremely fun.  The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where people wake up on Day One with no memories of who they are or even where they are.  Terrifying concept.  Most people are just struggling to survive.  One man, Faller, wants more.  He wants answers.

So with just three clues in his pockets, Faller sets out on an adventure.

And what an odd adventure.  This book splits into sections about the present that Faller is experiencing and the past of how the world became what it is.  Personally, the present sections were the most fun.  The past sections didn’t bore me but I always wanted to rush through to get back to Faller.

As usual, many of the physics concepts went over me head as physics is want to do.  And, as usual, I loved the consequences of those physics principals.  The world building was certainly unique.  I don’t believe I would ever want to live in a world like it.  I am glad I could read about it though.

While Faller was definitely me favorite character, I also very much enjoyed side characters like Storm and One-Thirty-One.  For me the only downsides of this novel were that not all questions are answered even though many of the pieces tied together nicely.  And the ending!  I didn’t hate all of it and I didn’t love all of it.  It was just different.

It was certainly a fast read and I am glad I read it.  I will read the next book he writes, too.  If ye have never read a book by this author, I would start with a different one because I do not think this is the best introduction to his work.  Though I do believe if ye haven’t read anything by this author, ye should pick one of his books up.

Additional side note:  On release day, Mr. McIntosh had this fun fact on his blog about the novel:

FALLER is based on a dream, and not just any dream, but the dream that kicked off my entire writing career. When I dreamed what became FALLER the dream was so vivid, and felt so much like a science fiction story, that I decided to try writing it down. It was the first SF story I ever wrote, and set me on a path that eventually led me to resign my tenured position as a psychology professor to write full time.

If you decide to give FALLER a try, I hope you enjoy it.

I certainly did.

If ye want a viewpoint from another member of me crew check out the review by Kim @ By Hook or By Book.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Macmillan-Tor/Forge!

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

To visit the author’s website go to:

Will McIntosh – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

faller – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

burning midnight (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

hitchers (Dead Men Tell No Tales)