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

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Second Reflections – a little princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

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 new(ish) year 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 . . .

a little princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett

This was an old favorite from back when I was a wee youngster.  I am not completely sure which edition I first read but I do remember that it had the illustrations by Tasha Tudor from the 1960s (as did the secret garden).  The copy I eventually purchased had her illustrations as well:

 

I made the mistake of lending me copy many many long years back to a young lass so she could experience the magic.  And then never got it back!  I could only hope she couldn’t part with it because she loved it so.  Then earlier this year at a Friends of the Library sale, I found an excellent pristine copy and swooped it up with glee.

Then came the day to revisit this old companion.  Ye see I had not read this book since me copy was commandeered and I was looking forward to seeing if I loved it as much as me memory suggested.  The answer is an astoundingly yes!  Arrr!!

I still adore this book.  The reading had the wonderful nostalgia of rediscovering details of the story as well as the perspective of seeing Sara’s journey through me eyes of an older jaded salty dog.  I found Sara to be just as I remembered – compassionate, intelligent, and imaginative.  I still loved the secondary characters of Becky and Ermengarde.  I adored the lady who sold hot buns.  The riches to rags story still appeals heartily.  I loved Sara’s treatment of everyone in spite of her circumstances.  She is polite, hardworking, and caring.

The part I found odd was the portrayal of the role of the adults in Sara’s life.  So many people see Sara as a starving ragamuffin and yet don’t help her.  Underclass poor children are depicted as savages as though it’s their own faults that they have no money or education.  So many people outside of Ms. Minchin’s school see and comment on poor Sara’s state and yet she is not helped throughout most of the book except by a small compassionate child.  Now granted there would be no story if the adults helped her.  But it is odd that these children were left to rot.  Of course the author had her own riches to rags story growing up so I can only assume that it influences this work.

But despite the larger thoughts of child poverty, I still felt the magic of Sara’s story and gobbled up this book.  I only hope that I don’t wait so long for a re-read the next time.

Side note: I have fond memories of the 1996 movie though I haven’t seen it in forever.  And the Broadway musical sucks.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Sara Crewe’s young but doting father sends her to a London boarding school when she is seven. On her eleventh birthday her life of luxury comes to an abrupt end when she receives news that her father has died, shortly after losing his entire fortune. The school-mistress turns Sara into a servant to pay off her debts, and though Sara uses the entire force of her imagination and her good heart to remember who she is and keep starvation from the door, her life is desperate. Until the past returns in a very unexpected manner…

To visit the author’s Goodreads page go to:

Frances Hodgson Burnett – Author

To buy the novel visit:

a little princess – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandon Ship – like a boss (Adam Rakunas)

It’s time to abandon ship me mateys!  And oh I be highly disappointed.  I just re-read the first book of the series, windswept and gave it me second reflections.  While I still loved that novel, I should have skipped this one completely.  I made it to page 51 of 375.  Two things made me grumpy:  1) the mention of Jackson Pollack (pg. 41) and 2) the bad guy (pg. 50).

Now I have no real hatred of Jackson Pollack, but the mention of him was just so incongruous that I was taken aback and thrown out of the story.  And to be fair the story was fine up until that moment.  Then the premise of Padma’s new problem to solve was introduced on page 51 and it made me furious.  It seemed both unrealistic and a lazy choice.  I had no interest in this storyline at all.  Had I read the blurb for the second book, I would have known and not purchased it.  But I normally don’t read book two synopses because I like being surprised.

Mistake on this one.  Wish it had stayed a standalone.

Normally I post the synopsis of a novel here but as it has spoilers and I hate it, I am not including it . . . read book one but skip this one!

To visit the author’s website go to:

Adam Rakunas – Author

To buy the novel visit:

like a boss – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Second Reflections – windswept (Adam Rakunas)

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 new(ish) year 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 . . .

windswept – Adam Rakunas

This be a lovely sci-fi novel that I read back in 2015 after randomly finding a copy in a local library.  It is one of the books that helped bring me attention to the Angry Robot publishing house wherein I joined the Robot Army.  Their books tend to be quirky and to my taste.  In any case, at the time this book was a stand-alone and it can be read as such.  But when I found out there was another book in the series, I was excited to have the chance to re-visit an old port.

And Santee is a great place to spend time if ye like sarcastic bad-ass women, crazy times, and, of course, rum.  The story involves me favorite wench, Padma, who is a union recruiter who deserted the corporate culture of the Big Three to make a better life for herself on a little “mudball” planet.  If she recruits just 33 more people to the union then she can buy her dream business (a rum distillery – Arrrrr!).  When word comes of a breach of 40 people that would help her reach her union quota and her dream, she takes a chance.  Of course nothing goes to plan and all hell breaks loose . . .

The characters are what made the story for me.  Padma be me favorite but there are plenty of strong women in this book – from police officers, pub owners, and tuk-tuk drivers.  While there is very brief mention of sex in this novel, it does NOT have romance as a major element.  There are however strong male and female friendships.  I loved Jilly and Banks.  I loved to dislike Bloomberg.  Several of the bad guys and girls were not as fleshed out but it didn’t really effect me enjoyment.  There are screwball characters and fantastic character interactions that I loved re-reading.

The world building and politics are not extremely complicated but Santee feels solid and believable.  The story was even-paced at the start but ratchets up into a fun mad dash towards the end.  Basically this book is just plain fun.  A quick read, I am glad I chose to revisit this port and look forward to finding out what the gang has been up to in the next installment.

Check out this review by Skjam!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she’s supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She’s only thirty-three short. So when a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosses, she checks it out — against her better judgment. It turns out, of course, it was all lies . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

Adam Rakunas – Author

To buy the novel visit:

windswept – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Second Reflections – hunter (Mercedes Lackey)

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 new year 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 . . .

hunter – Mercedes Lackey

Now I had touched upon this novel and the author in me previous log post, Broadside No. 8.  It was in reviewing Lackey’s novels that I was reminded of this particular read and how much I loved it.  I was mistaken in thinking that I read it in 2016 and so I thought what better book to re-read.  It was just as much fun the second time.

The world is a post-apocalyptic US where after said disaster, a seam to the Otherworld opened allowing magic and monsters through.  Several centuries later, the world has slowly rebuilt behind walls and there are armies and other groups trying to keep regular citizens safe.  One of those groups is the Hunters whose purpose it to hunt monsters of course!

The main character is a Hunter named Joy who goes from the mountain home where she grew up to the main city.  I absolutely love her.  Other particular favorite hunters include Knight, Dazzle, and Karly.  Now while the hunters are bad-ass in and of themselves what makes them truly wicked is that to be a hunter you need have Hounds.  Not just normal dogs but massive magical beasts from the Otherworld.  I would normally say I am a cat person but even I would want one of these!  And no one’s Hounds are specifically alike.

Joy’s Hounds for example are Zapotec with Tibetan names.  It was the Hounds the artist Pedro Linares apparently saw when he had his dream and created alebrijes.  I had no idea what Joy was talking about so did a bit of research and discovered these possibilities:

They can also have spines, stingers, and shoot fire.  Awesome right?  In fact part of what I loved about Lackey’s monsters and Otherworld creatures was the blending of our myth and her imagination.  Vampires, Magogs, Drakken, Knockers and all other sorts of fun monsters are there.  I loved it all.

The plot is quick, Joy’s story is wonderful, and I cannot wait to find out where the second book will go!

Side note:  Each time I read this, I borrowed it from a local library.  I will likely read it again in the future and so finally bought meself a paperback copy for me cabin shelf and also to try and convince the first mate to read it!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares.

Monsters.

Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it’s taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky.

To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people.

Joy soon realizes that the city’s powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them . . . There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex.  And it may be too late to stop them…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Mercedes Lackey – Author

To buy the novel visit:

hunter – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List