The Captain’s Log – two serpents rise (Max Gladstone)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So earlier in the year, wendy @ the biliosanctum set me on a series of adventures that led to me reading the first book in The Craft Sequence, three parts dead.  I absolutely loved it.  So when I saw the second book, I picked it up without even reading the blurb.  I didn’t want to spoil any fun.

So I was completely not prepared for what I found.  Ye see, the first book centers around a first year associate named Tara whose firm Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao is hired to go to a city called Alt Coulumb to discover who killed the God, Kos, and bring him back to life if they can.  It was full of action and super clever.

Surprisingly, the second book had nothing to do with the first, even if it is set in the same world.  I love companion novels, so there was no problem with that.  The book follows a middling risk assessment manager named Caleb Altemoc in the city of Dresediel Lex.  His firm, Red King Consolidated, manages the water of the city, among other things.  When the water is tainted, Caleb is sent to help clean up the mess and while there meets a cliff-runner named Mal.  All hell starts to break loose in both his professional and personal lives.  Can Caleb discover who is behind the water crisis and help fix it before the city consumes itself?

I really wanted to like this book but it ended up being only an okay read.  Unlike Tara in the first book, Caleb is kinda lame.  He is smart, dedicated, and a good friend.  But sadly he seems to lack the fire and grit of Tara.  His relationship/lust of and with Mal was the focus of the character relationships and I sadly found it uninspiring and rather insipid.  I wanted way more of the fascinating side characters like Caleb’s dad or his best friend or his boss.  The first book had a lot more well-drawn characters overall.

Also there wasn’t a lot of mystery or suspense in this one in terms of who-dun-it.  That I figured out early on.  However, I was never in any danger of not finishing this book because I needed to know how the author was going to resolve the problems.  The ending was certainly fun and thoughtful.  So while I didn’t love this installment, I certainly still love the both the world and the author’s writing style.  I will be reading the third book at some point and, no, I won’t be reading the blurb for that one either.  Wish me luck.  Arrrr!!!

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

Shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc—casual gambler and professional risk manager—to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, Mal, who easily outpaces him.

But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father—the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists—has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.

From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire…and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Max Gladstone – Author

To buy the book go to:

two serpents rise – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

three parts dead – book one (Captain’s Log – Urban Fantasy)


Dead Men Tell No Tales – skitter (Ezekiel Boone)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I know that I just reviewed the first novel of this series, the hatching, yesterday.  But I just couldn’t help but need more of the swarm of massive creepy flesh eating spiders.  I had to know what happened next!  This review won’t contain spoilers but well it does talk about a sequel so if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

So first of all, this is a series where ye should definitely read book one first.  Secondly I did not know this series was a trilogy.  I thought it was a duology.  So yes this book does have a middle book feel but not in a bad way – not at all.

The first book was action packed and the spiders were nasty.  That book would be what I call the first wave.  This book is what I would call the calm before the storm at high seas.  Ye know that hurricane is coming but all ye can do is batten down the hatches, hunker down, and prepare fer the worst that mother nature has to offer.  And the glimpse of the skittering that mother nature may have to offer in the next book is terrifying indeed.

Book two had a completely different feel as the first but was just as awesome.  It has action, politics, revisiting old acquaintances (hello spider scientist!), some new characters, some new characters that become spider food, and above all – a building of tension.  The fear in the air is thickening, the skies are growing dark, and the hurricane headed yer way might not just be a solitary storm on the horizon.  Prepare to die and meet Davy Jones!

Of course despite the odds, I want to always go down fighting.  I cannot wait to see if the world is going to survive day zero with the spiders.  It’s looking grim.  Sadly I will have to wait until book three comes out on February 27, 2018 to watch it all unfold.  Good news is that ye can catch-up on the story in the meantime.  Arrr!

Check out these reviews by me crew members:

drew @ thetattooedbookgeek – whose fault it is I am discussing spiders!

kate @ forwintersnights

I usually put the synopsis of the novel here but this one was too spoilery fer me tastes.  So ye will have to read this novel to find out what happens fer yerself.  Arrrr!

To visit the author’s website go to:

Ezekiel Boone – Author

To buy the book go to:

skitter – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the hatching (Dead Men Tell No Tales – Sci-fi Horror)

Dead Men Tell No Tales – the hatching (Ezekiel Boone)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Now if spiders be creepy creatures to ye and make yer skin crawl and yer pulse run then understand that drew @ thetattooedbookgeek is to blame fer me just giving ye the shivers in yer timbers by mentioning ’em.

Why, ye ask?  Because he be a salty cad and self-described “Fantasy fan, reader, poet, British gentleman and sarcastic degenerate.”  In other words: a right good pirate.  It was his delightful review that led me to this fabulous Halloween read.  He is much funnier than I am and even had lovely poems and creepy gifs for this book so mehaps ye should check out his review and skip mine!

However, me ship’s log must be kept to date and accurate so I record me thoughts below . . .

If ye thought a nuclear disaster is the first step to the end of the world as we know it, then ye would be dead wrong.  Try creepy crawly flesh-eating swarms of spiders.  Arrrr!  Gives this here Captain the willies.  And yet I devoured this novel in one sitting, spiders and all.  I thought this book was an excellent sci-fi horror.  In this story 10,000 year old spiders emerge from hibernation with an insatiable hunger and a penchant fer flesh.  And to think landlubbers be scared of sharks!  Ha.  I’ll tackle those over these spiders any day.  At least I can defeat a shark with me wits and cutlass!

The writing, characters, and plot are solid and the readin’ was a great bit of fun.  I loved in particular the FBI agent, the spider scientist, and the doomsday preppers.  The horror aspects weren’t too gruesome but definitely gave me some interesting mental images.  And this story is just the first stage.  There is a sequel that I going to capture next in me web . . . I mean net.  Stay vigilant and look for me the review of that novel soon.  Arrrrr!

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

There’s no waking up from this nightmare. . . .

Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India, earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, DC, laboratory. Something wants out.

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.

The worst thing is that this is only the beginning.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Ezekiel Boone – Author

To buy the book go to:

the hatching – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – three parts dead (Max Gladstone)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Now sit back and hear me tale of why wendy @ the biliosanctum is to blame fer this adventure.  In fact the crew members of the bibliosanctum trio get me into a lot of trouble and introduce me to new worlds, situations, and ports fer plunder all the time.  It’s why I like em. But I digress . . .

So one day I was perusing the lists of potential treasure finds by me crew when I came across wendy’s description of “App Review: The City’s Thirst by Max Gladstone.”  I thought I recognized the author.  So I took a look-see.  Well turns out I was thinking of the author Max WIRESTONE whose work I have read before.  But I digress again . . .

So the first line of wendy’s pitch was “Remember reading Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid?”  Ummm yes I do!  Wendy sure knows how to get me attention.  So I read a little further.  Apparently Max GLADSTONE has written a choose yer own adventure text-based app set in his Craft Sequence World.  I knew nothing about the world or the author but I know I love to choose my own adventure.  So I set off to have one . . .

So of the two Craft adventures that are described by wendy’s missive, I thought I would take a gander at this one:

Choice of the Deathless: “Battle demons and undead attorneys, and win souls to pay back your student loans! At the elite demonic-law firm of Varkath Nebuchadnezzar Stone, you’ll depose a fallen god, find romance, and maybe even make partner, if you don’t lose your own soul first.”

Awesome right?  So I gather up me kindle, download the app, and proceed to get sucked into me life at the law firm.  Only one problem – it was an introductory taste before I hit a pay wall.  Just when the going was getting very interesting too.  I was rather irked to say the least.  I wanted more of this interesting life in the firm!  Why didn’t wendy warn me?  So I went back and read her pitch.  Only to find out that she did in fact warn me but as usual I rush into adventure without paying attention to the details.  But I digress some more . . .

While rereading wendy’s warnings properly this time I did see this:

Both games benefit from some passing knowledge of Gladstone’s unique world of gods, souls, undead, and legalities. By nature of the format, there is not really a lot of time given to descriptions and world building so there are a lot of blanks to fill in. I suspect the basics could still be handled by someone who has not fully immersed themselves in the Craft Sequence, but it certainly helps to be familiar with the major players of the various firms and their ultimate goals within each realm.

Well even though I could very well handle the basics without prior knowledge (and loved it!), I thought that mehaps I should listen to wendy’s excellent advice the second time around and read the first book before I rejoined the law firm.  So I did . . .

I had no idea what I was getting into.  I absolutely frickin’ adored this book.  Now I am not usually an urban fantasy fan but between me thwarted first app attempt and this gem of a book, I was completely and utterly enthralled with the world of the Craft Sequence.  The world building, characters, mystery aspects, gods, politics, and lawyering were absolutely wonderful.  This is one of those times where I am reminded how much I adore me book blogging crew and would have a lesser life if not fer their contributions to me treasure hunts.

The book centers around a city called Alt Coulumb that was run by the God, Kos.  Was being the key word because he is now dead.  The firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao is hired to attempt to find out who killed the God and bring Kos back to life if they can.  Of course it is way more complicated than that.  And it’s the pesky details that make it wonderful.

Most of the story centers around Tara who is a first year associate.  She is snarky, intelligent, crafty, and just plain fun.  Definitely how I like me friends.  Her Boss is kick-ass and the priest assigned to help the firm is the best type of naive and sweet and intelligent wrapped up.

I am slightly sad because I cannot really do this book justice and explain any further with me paltry words.  I am a fighting gal not a poet.  But suffice to say that I will be reading all of the other books and certainly be buying the app so I can finish me lawyerin’ adventures.  Arrrrrr!!!!

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

A God has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.  Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in.  Her only help is Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead God, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

But when the duo discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and the city’s slim hope of survival.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Max Gladstone – Author

To buy the book go to:

three parts dead – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – mechanica (Betsy Cornwell)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This book is a retelling of Cinderella where the main character is mechanically inclined.  There are magicical fae elements, steampunk elements, and classic fairytale elements.  Overall I thought this was a very entertaining read with more positives than negatives.

Our Cinderella is this version is Mechanica.  She is intelligent, hardworking, a voracious reader, and has big dreams for the future.  In particular I loved how the combination of magic and machinery is used to clean the house and deal with the demands of the evil stepmother and the “Steps.”  I also adored the tiny mechanical horse named Jules and the other mechanical creatures that are her friends.  The world-building was fun and the twisting of classical fairytale elements was lovely.

The introduction to the world through the middle of the novel were the best parts.  For me, the problems began when the love interest was introduced.  I mean of course he is the prince and the blurb makes it clear that the ending is not a fairytale romance.  But the setup for the story and Mechanica’s discovery of the workshop and inventions were the fun parts.  Mechanica’s conflict over her love interest and the “resolution” of her relationship problems were kinda irksome.  It was a rather odd version of a love triangle.  I didn’t hate the ending; I just wanted Mechanica’s relationships with her friends to have gone in a different direction.

That said I am glad I read it and I do believe at some point I will read the sequel if it arrives in a local library at whatever port I find meself in.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Betsy Cornwell – Author

To buy the book go to:

mechanica – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – iron shoes (J. Kathleen Cheney)

Ahoy there me mateys! It’s been the kinda times where me readin’ has to be done in fits and spurts.  So I decided to read this collection of stories in me spare moments.  First this cover caught me eye:

Then the blurb drew me in hook, line, and sinker.  For those new to me crew, before the sea called me name, I loved horses and horse stories.  Still have a soft spot in me salty heart fer ’em.  Not only do these stories have horses but they also have magic, legendary creatures, historical settings, and feisty female characters.  They all take place in and around Saratoga Springs in New York at the turn of the 20th century. The stories are interconnected and should, in me mind, be read in the order presented in this collection.  Plus the first story was Nebula Award Finalist in 2010 fer Best Novella.  Starts with a bang.

The first story was me favorite of the three.   Imogen lives at Hawk’s Folly Farm which she has inherited from her husband. She is in danger of losing the property unless her horse can win the Stakes.  Imogen has always had someone telling her how to behave and what to do.  And forcing her to hide her magic.  Things unravel when she gets upset.  She has a lot to be worried about.  This is a coming-of-age story with some romance thrown in.  I loved Imogen getting stronger within herself.  Also the secondary characters are fun.  I am not a huge romance fan but I have to say that this one made me happy and it was silly and amusing.  Also the use of pucas in this story rocked.  Don’t know what a puca is?  Just be surprised and enjoy.

The second story is a placeholder story that sets up the circumstances for the last one but it is still entertaining.  The third story has a new character named Lourdes, and I loved her too.  She is strong willed and principled and very different from Imogen.  Overall I found this collection to be the perfect read for the time that I had and me mood and inclination.  If ye like ponies, magic, romance, and quite a bit of fluff then ye might want to give this one a try.

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

Iron Shoes

Imogen Hawkes is running out of time. She must come up with enough money to prevent the bank from foreclosing on her farm. All her hopes are pinned on her horse winning the Special Stakes.

But things keep going wrong, and it’s soon clear someone is determined to stop her. As race day draws closer, Imogen finds unexpected sources of help…including the new stallion she’s purchased from Boston, who’s not at all what he seems.

Despite a life spent avoiding it, Imogen learns that magic may be her best ally….

Snow Comes to Hawk’s Folly:
Imogen has the life she’s always wanted. Her farm is thriving, as is her family. But a guest comes to the farm, bringing trouble in his wake. When Imogen’s son disappears, how far will she go to get him back? Is it magic? Or something more mundane? In her family, the mundane is rarely to blame…

Lourdes Medina has left everything she knows. Following a vision in a dream, she’s gone north to Saratoga Springs to buy back the mare her brother sold out from under her. But the horse’s new owner, Finn, makes her an interesting offer in return for the horse. Against her better judgment, Lourdes becomes entangled in his family’s problems…and it seems she’s unwittingly gained an enemy, a woman who will go to any length to get the husband she wants.

To visit the author’s website go to:

J. Kathleen Cheney – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

iron shoes: three tales from hawk’s folly farm -Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – red sister (Mark Lawrence)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I continue me streak of awesome readin’.  While I was not granted an eArc, the library granted me a copy right at the perfect mood moment (Arrrr!).  However I get me treasure is okay by me.

Previously I had read some of the broken empire trilogy and wanted to read more of Mr. Lawrence’s work.  Then I found out he had written a book about an assassin nun.  Sign me up!

When we first meet our main character, Nona, she is eight years old and about to hang for a murder,  which she committed.  Abbess Glass, a nun from the Sisters of Sweet Mercy, intervenes and offers her a chance to survive if she trains at the convent.  What did Glass see in this girl to save her?

Nona is a fantastic character and no ordinary eight year old.  At times she seems almost a wise little adult and then something will happen that makes her seem very young indeed.  I loved her for her intelligence, her loyalty, her viewpoint of the world, and above all her ideas of friendship.  She certainly drives the novel but most of the secondary characters were wonderful as well.  Particular favorites included Hessa, Abbess Glass, Sister Apple and Arabella.

The book is fascinating.  As the author says on Goodreads, “almost all of the book happens within a 400 yard circle” at the convent where Nona is in school.  However there are a series of flashbacks where ye are granted glimpses of Nona’s background and how she ended up being condemned to the noose.  This book has prophecy, politics, magic, an awesome non-traditional school system, etc.  Yet the book scrambles the ideas around and I couldn’t help being foiled again and again in my figgerins about where the plot was going.  All I do know fer sure if that I want the next book!

Need more proof?  Check out these opinions from me crew:

this review by james @ youandibooks

this review by mogsy @ thebibliosanctum or

this review by drew @ thetattooedbookgeek

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Mark Lawrence – Author

To buy the book go to:

red sister -Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List