Second Reflections – the graveyard book (Neil Gaiman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read.  In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder!  And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends.  So I decided to remedy that and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .

the graveyard book (Neil Gaiman)

Now I have talked about me wee bit of an obsession (for details click here) with Mr. Gaiman before.  The wonderfully fabulous fortunately, the milk, started the trend of me wanting to listen to all of his works via audiobook.  I wasn’t planning on re-readin’ this so soon but me discussion with matey Nicole @ book-wyrm-knits, convinced me.  She said, “I loved listening to him narrate The Graveyard Book. That was my favorite of his so far because of the complete experience.”  Well Shiver Me Timbers!  I didn’t know he had narrated this one!

I absolutely loved getting to experience the story of Bod Owens again.  It had been long enough that the details had been lost to me.  Between that time gap and Mr. Gaiman’s narration I almost felt as though I was readin’ it for the first time.

The premise of the story for those that don’t know is that at the beginning a man named Jack is in the process of murdering a family.  I know it seems like a crazy start but it is not gruesome.  Three of the family members have been killed and there is only the baby left.  Well that baby escape and makes it to a local graveyard where the ghostly inhabitants agree to keep the baby safe and raise him.  As they don’t know his name they call him Nobody Owens.  While the graveyard is a strange place for a boy to live, the world outside the graveyard is dangerous and deadly.  Because Jack has not forgotten about the child who escaped his clutches and is determined to finish the job.

As always, Mr. Gaiman’s storytelling is magical, enthralling, and amazing.  His writing style never ceases to amaze me.  It is a book that defies age groups and classifications.  Watching Bod grow-up and experience life is just wonderful.  The ending is poignant, heart-wrenchingly beautiful, and perfect.  I even got a little misty eyed.  I highly recommend this one to all me crew.  And if ye have the chance to get the audiobook version – take it!  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family.

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times best-selling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neil Gaiman – Author

To buy the book go to:

the graveyard book – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

Broadside No. 11

fortunately, the milk (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the sleeper and the spindle (Captains’ Log – Fantasy)

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Second Reflections – alanna: the first adventure (Tamora Pierce)

Ahoy there me mateys!  While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read.  In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder!  And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends.  So I decided to remedy that and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .

alanna: the first adventure (Tamora Pierce)

Now I had touched upon this novel and the author in me previous log post, Broadside No. 4.  I adore Tamora Pierce and have read over 25 of her books.  I had a hankering for a feel-good favourite and so I listened to this one in audiobook format narrated by actress Trini Alvarado.  I have to admit that when I listened to this, I didn’t recognize the narrator’s name.  But I did enjoy her reading.

I honestly couldn’t say how long it has been since I re-read this book.  Over the years I tended to reread the Immortals series and the Protector of the Small series most often.  And then of course read each new Tortall book as they were published.

So the first thing I realized upon listening was that I had really squashed the details of the books together overall.  I honestly forgot how young Alanna is when the first book starts.  I also forget how much bullying there is and how Alanna chooses to deal with it on her own and not ask for help.  Even though people want to help her.  As a younger reader that made sense to me.  Now I look back and find disgruntlement in how it’s handled.

But ultimately listening to this brought back me sense of love for Alanna and the world that Tamora created.  I like that important issues like puberty and menstruation are discussed in this book.  I love that Alanna is strong, intelligent, determined, and fierce.  I love that girls can be the heroes.  I love magic and nobility and friendship and fun.  So basically I am so glad to have revisited Alanna in her first adventure and will likely listen to the remaining three stories some time soon.  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

From now on I’m Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I’ll be a knight.

And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Thom heads for the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page.

But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies.

Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna’s first adventure begins – one that will lead to the fulfillment of her dreams and the magical destiny that will make her a legend in her land.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Tamora Pierce – Author

To buy the book go to:

alanna: the first adventure – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

 Broadside No. 4

Second Reflections – lirael (Garth Nix)

Ahoy there me mateys!  While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read.  In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder!  And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends.  So I decided to remedy that and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .

lirael – Garth Nix

Now I had touched upon this novel and the author in me previous log post, the first Broadside No. 1.  I adore Garth Nix and have re-read the Old Kingdom series many times over the years.  I only recently began listening to audio books and generally prefer to listen to old favourites while I multitask so I feel like I’m not missing anything.  Well me best friend told me that the Tim Curry narrates this book and so I knew I had to listen to it.

But before I give me second reflections, a story . . . I had read a negative review of this book by dan @ onemanbookclub where he states “Huh. There are a lot of people who really love this book. Obviously I missed something.”  He thought the plot was tedious and that the characters were idiots.  I of course told him that while he had an interesting take on it, he was of course, wrong!  Dan said he was happy to be convinced otherwise if I could explain it to him.  While I don’t feel that I can capture the true love I have for this book and in fact delayed writing this review for quite some time while pondering the question, here is me response to give Dan (and crew members) me ideas about it.

After a small adjustment period getting used to hearing Tim Curry’s voice reading, I ended up sucked right back into one of me favourite stories.  One of the elements that hit me this time around was that ye have two main characters in opposite situations but with similar feelings.  One, Lirael, wants nothing more than to have the Sight like everyone else and finally feel like she belongs in her family and community.  She feels worthless without it.  The other, Prince Sameth, has been told that he is the next Abhorsen and has been training all his life for a role he doesn’t want.  He is surrounded by love and affection but feels horrible because he wants nothing to do with this future that has been plotted for him.  I found the juxtaposition of the longings of the characters to be rather interesting this time around because I never thought of it before.  One wants the birthright she thinks she should have and the other spurns the birthright that has been given to him.  And both are miserable about it.

I do see how the two characters could maybe become tedious in their immense focusing of how they don’t fit in and are disappointments.  But as a rather quirky human meself, I remember being the odd one out so often in life.  I have always wanted different goals then “average” people and felt adrift due to me own expectations and desires.  So I guess ultimately I can sympathize with young folk who are so concerned about their futures and the expectations of society.  I mean, I look back at me earlier self and how different life has become and how much I have changed and wish sometimes that I could go back to me younger self and tell her that those feelings would lose their power and almost seem silly in retrospect.  Of course in this book Prince Sameth and Lirael are facing actual world-ending problems and the deaths of many if they don’t succeed so their stakes are way higher than mine ever were!

The plot is slowly built and so much of it is in day to day descriptions.  There is action but it is in small bits that tend to happen towards the end of the book.  I just love the world building so much that I feel that the Old Kingdom exists and it is almost like I am an invisible spirit getting to watch someone I admire go about their lives.  Cause Lirael is a wonderful, strong fabulous person despite her own self-doubt.

Nowhere is this better shown then from her adventures in the library.  Now, I have always believed that libraries, especially old cool ones, are some of the most awesome places on the planet.  For example, I got to visit the United States Supreme Court’s library and was in heaven!  Lirael works in a library full of books of amazing facts.  There is magic and danger in the library.  There are hidden passages and monsters and mysteries.  Lirael’s work in the library gives her a strength of purpose and solidifies her love of learning.  Also how I wish that I could sneak into forbidden sections and learn magic and other things forbidden to me.

This book shows Lirael making mistakes and learning from them.  She is a person who finds comfort in her own company.  As an introvert in a family of extroverts, it was wonderful reading about someone who felt like me.  She has a best friend that is a magical dog!  I prefer cats meself but I adore their relationship.  Ye get to follow Lirael as she grows up and matures and I love her.

As for the ending of the book, this really is only half of a story that doesn’t pick up pace until the next book in the trilogy.  That can be off putting for some.  But for me, I feel that this trilogy is basically perfection.  So if ye haven’t read this series by Garth Nix, I for one recommend it wholeheartedly.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr’s birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Garth Nix – Author

To buy the book go to:

lirael – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

Nix, Garth (Broadside No. 1)

Goldenhand – book 5 (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)

frogkisser! (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

Second Reflections – the witches (Roald Dahl)

Ahoy there me mateys!  While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read.  In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder!  And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends.  So I decided to remedy that and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .

the witches – Roald Dahl

So I am not a huge audio book person.  In fact the only story I previously listened to was the dispatcher which I “read” and reviewed with me first mate.  Now I know that I said I preferred readin’ books rather than listening to them (still true) but some circumstances led me to listening to the witches via audiobook.  So basically I have been having long days where I am doing monotonous things like inventorying the hold, reviewing the accounts, and supervising the swabbin’ of the deck.  None of these tasks involves a ton of brain power.  So frankly I get a bit bored.  Usually I listen to and sing sea shanties.  But even that had lost its luster.  So I thought why not listen to an audio book.  I had time constraints and knew that I couldn’t listen to something new that might distract me.  So I decided to listen to an old favourite children’s book due to the length and because I would already be familiar with the story.  Thus the witches because I had a copy readily available.

I loved Dahl’s books as a young lass and consider many of them favourites.  Like me commandeered little princess tale, me copy of the witches was filched at some point and so I hadn’t read this one since that incident.  I absolutely loved revisiting this tale.

This is the story of a small boy whose encounter with witches forever changes his life.  Now ye may think of witches as scary women with warts and green skin and long pointy black hats.  The truth is that in disguise, they look like perfectly nice ordinary young women, and they have a plot to get rid of all children in England for good.  Unless one small boy with the help of his Norwegian grandmother can save the day!

I certainly missed Quentin Blake’s illustrations but thought overall that  narrator Miranda Richardson did a fairly good job with the characters.  The only issue that I had was her portrayal of the head witch.  The head witch rolls the letter r and turns the letter w into a v.  Many of these lines were unintelligible at times.  But overall I thought that the story was just as wonderful as I remembered.  I may try this audio book thing again.

Side note: the first mate told me there was a movie of the witches with Anjelica Huston as the head witch.  I watched the 1990 trailer and my goodness does it depart from the book.  I think I shall skip it.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

This is not a fairy-tale. This is about real witches. Real witches don’t ride around on broomsticks. They don’t even wear black cloaks and hats. They are vile, cunning, detestable creatures who disguise themselves as nice, ordinary ladies. So how can you tell when you’re face to face with one? Well, if you don’t know yet you’d better find out quickly-because there’s nothing a witch loathes quite as much as children and she’ll wield all kinds of terrifying powers to get rid of them.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Roald Dahl – Author

To buy the novel visit:

the witches – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Second Reflections – the song of the quarkbeast (Jasper Fforde)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Yesterday I shared me second reflections of the last dragonslayer and discovered there was a book three in the series that I haven’t read!  So I decided to remedy that.  But of course that meant taking a second look at book two first and giving me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .

the song of the quarkbeast – Jasper Fforde

This be a fun second foray into the Ununited Kingdoms.  Magic is on the rise but there be a fight to see who will control it.  And what better way to come up with a winner then a duel!  In this case it is Jennifer and the Kazam agency versus their competition, the iMagic agency.  There is a bridge that needs to be repaired and each has a half of it to fix.  Whoever finishes their part of the bridge first wins?  Easy right?

Well maybe not when yer magicians keep disappearing, a quarkbeast is on the run, and silly politics are getting in the way.  This was filled with more delightful shenanigans, quirky characters, and absolutely silly situations.  I loved to see Jennifer back in action.

While I do think book one is the stronger book, this is still fun if not quite as good.  It is just fluffy fun with no bigger purpose.  But I enjoyed it and want more.  Onto book three!  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Long ago, magic began to fade, and the underemployed magicians of Kazam Mystical Arts Management have been forced to take any work their sixteen-year-old acting manager, Jennifer Strange, can scare up. But things are about to change. Magical power is finally on the rise, and King Snodd IV, of the Ununited Kingdoms knows that he who controls magic controls everything. Only one person stands between Snodd and his plans for a magic-grab–and that’s Jennifer.

Yet even smart and sensible Jennifer would have trouble against these powers-that-be. The king and his cronies will do anything to succeed–including ordering a just-might-be-rigged contest between Kazam and iMagic, Kazam’s only competitor in the magic business. With underhanded shenanigans afoot, how can Kazam possibly win?

Whatever happens, one this is certain: Jennifer Strange will not relinquish the noble powers of magic without a fight.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jasper Fforde – Author

To buy the novel visit:

the song of the quarkbeast – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Second Reflections – the last dragonslayer (Jasper Fforde)

Ahoy there me mateys!  While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read.  In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder!  And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends.  So I decided to remedy that and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .

the last dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde

I wanted a light read of something I knew I loved so I could just savor part of me weekend.  This was absolutely perfect.  I don’t know when I first discovered this novel as it was certainly way before this current log but I am glad to have revisited this old friend.

This is definitely one to recommend to me crew.  The story involves a young plucky intelligent orphan who helps run Kazam which is an agency of magicians.  Of course she is not supposed to be in charge but her boss disappeared!  She is trying to hold down the fort but of course everything is going wrong.

Now ye think of magic and it sounds awesome.  Well magic has been fading from the land and people hire magicians to do unexciting things like deliver pizza via magic carpet.  The magicians are poor and struggling.  This aspect of the world-building is absolutely awesome.  I love how the magic works (or doesn’t) and how it is used.  In fact the overall world-building is an absolute delight.

The story itself is whimsical and funny and clever and absurd.  Jennifer is an excellent main character who of course is intelligent, honorable, snarky, practical, and awesome.  The other characters are almost as wonderful.  I want a Quarkbeast . . . I think.

It sort of has a similar feel of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles so if ye liked those then pick this up.  Actually if ye haven’t read those books then do yerself a favor and get that series and this one.  Ye won’t regret it.

Side note: Apparently book three has been out since 2015 and I never knew.  I now know what me next two reads are going to be!  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jasper Fforde – Author

To buy the novel visit:

the last dragonslayer – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Second Reflections of a Banned Book – the witch of blackbird pond (Elizabeth George Spears)

Ahoy there me mateys!  While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read.  In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder!  And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends.  So I decided to remedy that in this here year and thus created this category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .

the witch of blackbird pond – Elizabeth George Spears

This being Banned Books Week and having just finished a historical fiction about witchcraft in England, I thought it be high time to read the beloved favorite. I reread this in one delightful sitting.

This book is a young adult historical fiction about a girl named Katherine, i.e. Kit, who is forced to leave her home in Barbados and move to Connecticut to live with her Aunt and Uncle.  She goes from a care-free rich island lifestyle to a hard-working Puritan one in America.  It is a tale about growing up, change, and family.  And it has witchcraft.  Or better yet it doesn’t.

The two people accused of witchcraft in the book are not witches.  However this book has been banned because of promoting witchcraft and violence.  Huh?  What is shown instead are the consequences of gossiping, fear, and ignorance.  The book dispels the notions of witchcraft using proper proof.  Instead the book promotes hard work, good relationships, and education.  I find the idea of banning this book to be ludicrous.

The book certainly stood up to the passage of time and I found meself happily rediscovering old details that had been clouded over.  Kit is strong, intelligent, and above all changes for the better.  The other characters are equally well drawn and compelling.  I love that Kit is challenged over her ideas of politics, religion, slavery, and class.  It is still fast paced and engrossing.  The love and friendships and bonds formed by Kit and her family and neighbors made me happy.  I also think credit goes to this novel for teaching me to call kittens “tiny balls of fluff.”  I believe that it completely deserved winning the Newbery Medal of Honor.

If ye haven’t read this one then hoist those sails and get moving!

The back of me very old copy of the novel has this to say:

Kit Tyler knew, as she gazed for the first time at the cold, bleak shores of Connecticut Colony, that her new home would never be like the shimmering Caribbean islands she left behind.  She was like a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world.  And in the stern Puritan community of her relatives, she soon felt caged as well, and lonely.  In the meadows, the only place where she could feel completely free, she meets another lone and mysterious figure, the old woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond.  But when their friendship is discovered, Kit is faced with suspicion, fear, and anger.  She herself is accused of witchcraft!

To visit the author’s Goodreads page go to:

Elizabeth George Spears – Author

To buy the novel visit:

the witch of blackbird pond – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List