The Captain’s Log – the last day of captain lincoln (EXO Books)

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Ahoy there me mateys!  Many of me crew had been reviewing this one with high praise.  So when the author offered me a review copy for perusal of course I wanted to experience what all the fuss was about.

This be a fairly short story at 133 pages. Yet those pages resonated beyond their size.  The premise is that Captain Lincoln aboard the spaceship USNAS Hope Eternal is scheduled for death upon his 80th birthday – the tradition for everyone who reaches that age aboard the ship.  And today is his last day . . .

Thus the reader follows along to witness what Captain Lincoln experiences that day and how he processes his emotions of his impending end  And by the time ye come to that end, for this reader at least, I was sad to see him go.

And that was the true appeal of this work.  It is short and yet compelling; poignant yet uplifting; it was worth the read.  I found meself fascinated by the concepts of life aboard the ship (Arrrr!) where there is no disease and 80 is still youthful.  As humans make their long way to Earth 2.0, how do they reconcile their past with the possibilities of the future?

This will offer ye glimpses of what humans’ future capacity could be.  The only small gripes for me were the quotes, which while appropriate, were many and sometimes pulled me from the story and the artwork which was not to me taste.  But the story was enjoyable and is one that I can recommend.

To read some of me (many) other crew members reviews check out:

So lastly . . .

Thank ye EXO Books!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Captain Lincoln’s last day is the hardest day of his life.

An old, onetime Captain of the interstellar spaceship USNAS Hope Eternal, Lincoln always knew that this day would come. For just as birthdays are carefully planned, so are deaths. And although he must reckon with his fate, this is not a somber story. It is a tale of love and sacrifice, told in the context of the most advanced civilization ever to exist—a society that has taken to the stars in an effort to save all that is best in humanity.

Follow Lincoln through his internal struggles, his joy in having lived, and his journey to peace.

The End is just the beginning.

To visit the author’s website go to:

EXO Books – Author

To buy the book go to:

the last day of captain lincoln – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – shipscat collection (Mercedes Lackey)

spacecat3

Ahoy there me mateys!  So after writing me second reflections of hunter, I was in the mood for some more of Mercedes Lackey’s work.  So I decided to buy and read one of her short story collections that I have had me eye on for a long time.  The topic – intelligent cats in space!  Of course, I kinda have a thing for ships and cats and ship cats most of all.  Yup exactly what I was in the mood for.

The collection contains four short stories about human, Dick White, and his friend the telepathic ship cat named Skitty.  I loved that humans had engineered intelligent cats for pest control and partnership and yet they still were cats . . . unpredictable, stubborn, choosy, and lovable.  Spoiled too.

These stories are very fluffy and somewhat predictable but I absolutely adored them all.  As usual Lackey’s world-building and characters are fun.  The only major complaint I have is that I would like a full length novel about the further adventures of Skitty and White.  The stories went by too quickly.  Super short collection but worth me coin.   Arrrrrr!

Side note: Isn’t the space cat picture awesome?  Check out the website where I found it . . .

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

This is a collection of the four “Shipscat” stories: SKitty; A Tail of Two SKittys; SCat; and A Better Mousetrap.

These stories tell the adventures of Dick White, cat handler for the space ship Brightwing, and the cats he is supposed to be handling. Of course, given that he’s working with cats, there is frequently the question of who is “handling” whom.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Mercedes Lackey – Author

To buy the novel visit:

shipscat collection – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

Broadside No. 8

hunter (Second Reflections – Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – dark matter (Blake Crouch)

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Ahoy there me mateys!  This novel has been floating around everywhere, so I finally gave into the hype and read this sci-fi thriller.

Basically it is the story of a man named Jason who is attacked and wakes up in a life that shows what could have happened to him if he had picked another path . . . one with no son or wife but with academic / career success.  How did this happen?  Better yet how can he get his old life back?

For someone who had read lots of multi-universe books, the plot wasn’t mind-blowing.  It was, however, engaging, fast-paced and fun.  The novel’s best feature is in the details.  I loved how Jason goes about trying to reclaim his life.  The different universes were cool and the set-up to get to them was entertaining.

How the ending evolved was surprising.  There was a sharp turn of a plot twist that I would have preferred hadn’t happened.  It made sense once the author tells us why it happened and so I enjoyed the conclusion of the story.  I would have liked to go down the other path not chosen.

However it was an extremely enjoyable sci-fi read with some truly memorable events that I can’t spoil for ye.  So take the path where ye pick this book up and enjoy . . .

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

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Blake Crouch – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

dark matter – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – kings of the wilderness (M.J.R. Parr)

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Ahoy there me mateys!  We continue our tale from yesterday of:

kings of the wilderness – the 700th arc book one (M.J.R. Parr)

This is a rather large undertaking at 436 pages, but I devoured it in two days.  Well, perhaps “devoured” is not the right word.  Savored, absorbed, relished . . . well whatever the description, I highly enjoyed this debut novel.

It is not your traditional sci-fi novel.  It is rather slow-burning and builds the world gradually with lots of descriptive passages intertwined with bursts of action.  I rather liked that structure was a slowly unlocking puzzle.  Most of this novel sees the characters traveling through and around a forest.  Ye don’t really get any major explanations until after the 60% mark.  And when ye do, it takes the form of a campfire story.

Now normally that kinda thing would drive me nuts but for some reason it just worked an’ fit me mood.  The author states that it is an adventurous dystopian sci-fi with elements of horror.  Yes, to dystopian sci-fi.  Yes, that it has characters on an adventure.  I can also see how other people would see elements of horror in the creatures of the world.  I wasn’t afeared of them so much, but they are certainly used effectively to make the story very suspenseful at times.  I found the mix of “normal” animals like deer and weirder ones like shamroths to be one of me favorite things.  Oh, and the weather.  I found the setting’s harsh weather to be appealing and I liked readin’ about it.  Again something that would normally get old but didn’t in this version.

I particularly loved the beginning of the novel and how both protagonists are introduced.  The two main characters are Leo Janus and Luther Kelly.  I love how their stories unfold and it was fascinating to see how both scalawags managed to get themselves out of scrapes over and over again.  Though some of this is a little unbelievable and damn lucky, I was still entertained.

The flaws of the novel would likely be the pacing for some, the descriptiveness for others, and the lack of female perspectives.  Now do not get me wrong, strong females exist in minor roles in this novel but the story is still told through the eyes of the two men.  Two very manly men in terms of their survival skills and abilities.  But this Captain does not mind readin’ from the male perspective and Leo especially floated me boat.  I enjoyed the side characters, most of the political wrangling, and even the cliff hanger of an ending.  Sheesh!

The novel might not be to yer taste but if yer a sci-fi lover then ye should at least give it a chance.  Ye may end up liking it as much as I did.

The conclusion of this salty yarn is on the brink of tomorrow . . .

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

The volatile moon of Scion is beset by spectacular eclipses, violent storms and powerful oceanic shifts. For those crushed beneath the technological might of the Erodyian Empire, these are merely the backdrop to a life of brutal hardship.

The kingdom of Symeria is collapsing, strangled in the all-powerful grip of the empire’s enigmatic – and inhuman – dictator. Commanding a platoon of seasoned rangers, disgraced Lieutenant Leo Janus is dispatched to Erodyia’s untamed jungle on a mysterious reconnaissance mission.

But a young refugee named Luther Kelly also wanders this hostile wilderness, trying to unravel secrets more personal. As their paths threaten to collide, both men face dangers and revelations far greater than either could have imagined…

To visit the author’s website go to:

M.J.R. Parr – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

kings of the wilderness – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

To see part one of how I got this novel from the author in exchange for me honest review go to:

Curiosities of the Deep

The Captain’s Log – the wanderer (Sharon Creech)

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Ahoy there me mateys!

the wanderer (Sharon Creech)

I previously read two novels by this author: walk two moons (Newbery Medal Winner) and chasing redbird.(ALA Best Book for Young Adults).  When I found a copy of her Newbery Honor Book about an adventure across the ocean on a sailboat at a Friends of the Library sale, I had to snag the copy.  Arrrr!

Side note: me copy has a lovely inscription in it:

Dear Veronica,

Good luck in your new school (W.M.S.).  You are a wonderful student & I will really miss you.

Love, Mrs. Becker

I wonder if Veronica ever read the book an’ if so did she enjoy it?  Does she look back on Mrs. Becker with fondness?  And how did it end up in the library sale for me to find?  If only I could find out.  But imagining can be fun too . . .

I highly enjoyed this quick read.  The story takes place in the form of logs kept by two children, Sophie and her cousin, Cody, when they sail across the Atlantic on The Wanderer.  The contrast between the perspectives of the cousins was lovely.  Sophie is said to have three-sides – “dreamland or earthland or mule-land.”  Cody is “loud, impulsive, and charming.”  Cody’s misuse of sailing terms made me laugh.  The two voices were extremely distinct an’ watching the changes the trip makes on both them and the family members was the heart of this book.

The setting, of course, was excellent but not without peril.  Sailing on a sunny day can still have challenges, but being on a 45 foot sailing vessel in the middle of an Atlantic storm is no easy place to be.  I thought that the descriptions of life aboard the ship and of the storm itself were extremely well done. As always I love me sea yarns.

However Sophie’s story was the best part.  I won’t give it away because the reader should discover things through the tale itself.  But her relationship with Bompie, her grandfather, was wonderful.  In fact, how Sophie’s story unfolds was charming, at times bittersweet, and fabulous.

Heartwarming an’ wonderful, overall I recommend this book.

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

Thirteen-year-old Sophie hears the sea calling, promising adventure and a chance for discovery as she sets sail for England with her three uncles and two cousins. Sophie’s cousin Cody isn’t sure he has the strength to prove himself to the crew and to his father. Through Sophie’s and Cody’s travel logs, we hear stories of the past and the daily challenges of surviving at sea as The Wanderer sails toward its destination—and its passengers search for their places in the world.

Her website also offers the story behind the story i.e. her inspiration:

During the year prior to our move back to the States from Europe, we crossed the Atlantic twelve times: my mother was ill; my husband was looking for a job; my mother died. Back and forth we went, and during one of these crossings, I felt like such a wanderer, endlessly roaming, yearning for home. The title for a book—The Wanderer—came to mind.

Simultaneously, I had the frame of a story in mind which would match that title. When my daughter Karin graduated from college, she and six friends (all male) sailed across the ocean from Connecticut to Ireland. Along the way, Karin kept a journal, recording the journey in writing and in drawings. I was reluctant to see her go—worried about her safety—but she reassured me as to all the safety provisions aboard. Midway through their trip, they were able to relay a message via a ham radio operator that all was well. I relaxed a bit. Then, two weeks later, when they did finally arrive in Ireland, Karin phoned. “Mom!” she said. “We almost died!” Shortly after they’d relayed the “all-safe” message, they encountered a gale, much like the one in the book: it broke their booms, ripped their sails, and knocked out all their communications’ equipment. So: out of all that came The Wanderer.

I started with the idea of a gutsy girl on board a sailboat with all men. They would follow the same route my daughter had taken, and they would encounter a storm. But the girl in the book, Sophie, is not my daughter. Sophie had no sooner started talking when I realized she had her own secrets, her own worries. Using a second narrator, a boy (Cody), evolved because it seemed he would make a good contrast to Sophie, and it would be interesting to see two different reactions to life on board the boat. I think I also had in mind the question so many boy readers used to ask me: When are you going to use a boy as a main character?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Sharon Creech – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the wanderer – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the girl with all the gifts (M.R. Carey)

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Ahoy there me mateys!

the girl with all the gifts (M.R. Carey)

This book was a terrific sci-fi thriller that once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.  The story stars Melanie, a brilliant young girl that everyone is terrified of.  I could get into the whys of it, but of course then the discovery would be spoiled.  Though I wish I could discuss all the details with ye because I loved it so.

Let us just say that the book is a post-apocalyptic novel set in the United Kingdom.  The story is told from multiple points of view.  The main character is weird, surprising, interesting, and thoughtful.  All the characters were extremely well written.  My opinions of them kept shifting throughout the book which was awesome.  Part of that was the plot and the other part was when due to the switch of getting another character’s perspective.  Melanie’s relationship with Ms. Justineau seems to be the heart of the story.  Though this story has love, it is certainly no picnic.  And the ending just about broke my heart.  Wonderful magical ending but so not what I expected.  Do yourself a favor and pick up this book if you haven’t.  It’s just that good.

Side note: It’s being made into a film.  Who knew . . .

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.

To visit the author’s page on his publisher’s website go to:

Orbitbooks – M. R. Carey – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the girl with all the gifts – Book

The Captain’s Log – the core of the sun (Johanna Sinisalo)

chili

Ahoy there me mateys!

the core of the sun (Johanna Sinisalo)

This novel was a random find in a local library.  I picked it up because of the title.  It was written by a Finnish author.  Reason number one to read it.  Reason number two:  It is a dystopian novel that has been compared to the handmaid’s tale.   I highly enjoyed Margaret Atwood’s novel.

Now, other than the story being a patriarchy were women have no rights and whose function is breeder, it did not seem all that similar to the Atwood novel.  The book was definitely its own special thing.  If anything, the author seems to have drawn parallels or commentary from H.G. Wells book the time machine which I have to admit I have never read.  But Sinisalo uses descriptions and the terms “eloi” and “morlock” from that novel.  Perhaps I should add Well’s book to my list of ports to plunder.  But I digress . . .

I did very much enjoy this novel.  The main character Vanna/Vera is a morlock who looks like an eloi and has to pretend to be one in order to survive.  Her sister is of course a more traditional eloi.  The story revolves around what happened in their relationship as they grow up.  Some of that story is told through traditional narrative while other parts of it are told from letters that Vanna/Vera writes her sister.  Of course, it is more complicated than that.

You also have some sections told in transcript form, dictionary entries, nationally published eloi stories, laws, Vanna/Vera’s homework assignments, government sponsored propaganda, etc.  Oh and from Jare’s perspective.  Jare is awesome, but I will leave it at that because I don’t want to spoil it.  Add in philosophical viewpoints, shamanism, and capsaicin addiction.

Yes, you read that correctly.  There is an entire underground black market illegally selling chili peppers.  In fact, the peppers are a major component and through line in the entire novel.  Highly informative to me since I like my peppers either mild or not included at all.  Usually the latter.

I do not think this novel is for everyone.  I found it highly engaging and interesting but it is certainly dense with ideas and not a simple read.  Very mature subject matter.  But I have found myself pondering over the ideas of this novel throughout the day since reading it and would recommend it to those who like complex ideas of society, addiction, genetic engineering and other lofty subjects.

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

From the author of the Finlandia Award-winning novel Troll: A Love Story, The Core of the Sun further cements Johanna Sinisalo’s reputation as a master of literary speculative fiction and of her country’s unique take on it, dubbed “Finnish weird.” Set in an alternative historical present, in a “eusistocracy”—an extreme welfare state—that holds public health and social stability above all else, it follows a young woman whose growing addiction to illegal chili peppers leads her on an adventure into a world where love, sex, and free will are all controlled by the state.

The Eusistocratic Republic of Finland has bred a new human sub-species of receptive, submissive women, called eloi, for sex and procreation, while intelligent, independent women are relegated to menial labor and sterilized so that they do not carry on their “defective” line. Vanna, raised as an eloi but secretly intelligent, needs money to help her doll-like sister, who has disappeared. Vanna forms a friendship with a man named Jare, and they become involved in buying and selling a stimulant known to the Health Authority to be extremely dangerous: chili peppers. Then Jare comes across a strange religious cult in possession of the Core of the Sun, a chili so hot that it is rumored to cause hallucinations. Does this chili have effects that justify its prohibition? How did Finland turn into the North Korea of Europe? And will Vanna succeed in her quest to find her sister, or will her growing need to satisfy her chili addiction destroy her?

To visit the author’s publisher’s website go to:

Grove Atlantic – Johanna Sinisalo’s Publisher

To buy the novel to go:

the core of the sun – Book