The Captain’s Log – silver in the blood (Jessica Day George)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This author came to me attention with her book the princess of the midnight ball which is a twelve dancing princesses retelling.  No, I haven’t read it yet.  I was looking for something light to read as me last several books have been rather heavy.  The dancing princesses book wasn’t available but this one was.  It had also been on me list as it had a cool cover:

So I scooped it up and had a gander.  The book ended up being a silly okayish read that did give me some enjoyment.

The story involves two girls from New York that are sent on a trip to meet their mothers’ family back in Romania.  These cousins get more than they bargained for.  Secrets are being kept and the family is being evasive.  What is the family hiding and what does that have to do with them?

So some cool things in this book:

  • It takes place in the 1890s.  I love historical fantasy fiction.
  • The format is letters, diary entries, and perspectives from the girls themselves.
  • It has shape-shifters.  Which I figured from the cover.
  • The two cousins have an awesome relationship.  I love how supportive they are of each other.
  • The girls both have very different personalities but due to circumstances in the book their roles are reversed at one point and that was excellent fun.
  • The majority of the book takes place in Romania.  I don’t know many books that are.  (One other.  That’s all I could come up with.)
  • Lou has an awesome power.  I loved how it was used.
  • It was a quick read.

The not as fun:

  • The plot is kinda plodding in a lot of places.  It took forever for the girls to find out about the family.  I would have liked that reveal to be way earlier in the book.  And of course when yer reader guessed fairly early on what was going on, it makes the two girl’s lack of intelligence in that regard tedious and annoying.
  • The girls’ powers could have been used WAY more in terms of plot.
  • while the book is set in Romania, I would have liked the country to feel more integral to the plot.  Yes there are myths and history facts that are used in good ways in the story but not enough.
  • The villain was extremely two dimensional and irked me in his rational.  Which basically came down to “because he wanted it.”
  • The love interests were too numerous and too boringly shallow.
  • I wanted more action and adventure and girls kicking butt.  I wanted the girls to show more initiative.

While this book didn’t thrill me, it was a good way to spend some of the evening.  Me crew still highly recommends her dragon books and I still want to read the fairytale so I will certainly give this author another shot.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate… or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jessica Day George – Author

To buy the book go to:

silver in the blood – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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The Captain’s Log – the eye of zoltar (Jasper Fforde)

Ahoy there me mateys!  In the past two days I shared me second reflections of the last dragonslayer and the song of the quarkbeast.  So here are me musings about readin’ book three for the first time . . .

the eye of zoltar – Jasper Fforde

Well I can say this novel certainly upped the ante!  In this one Jennifer is sent on a quest in the neighboring Cambrian Empire to look for an artifact that everyone else believes is a legend.  If she doesn’t find it the dragons are doomed.  The Cambrian Empire prides itself on being dangerous and sells adventure packages for adrenaline seekers.  Ye buy packages based on the Fatality Index – the likely number of people in yer party who are going to die.  Arrr!

Scary things in the Cambrian Empire include Tralfamosaur, slugs, a war between railroad companies, and market economics.  But luckily Addie Powell is their awesome tour guide.  Seriously I love her and think she is one of the best parts about the novel.  No major spoilers but this book was a pure whimsical delight.  I want book four!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

The Mighty Shandar, the most powerful wizard the world has ever seen, returns to the Ununited Kingdoms. Clearly, he didn’t solve the Dragon Problem, and must hand over his fee: eighteen dray-weights of gold.

But the Mighty Shandar doesn’t do refunds, and vows to eliminate the dragons once and for all – unless sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange and her sidekicks from the Kazam house of enchantment can bring him the legendary jewel, The Eye of Zoltar.

The only thing that stands in their way is a perilous journey with a 50% Fatality Index – through the Cambrian Empire to the Leviathan Graveyard, at the top of the deadly Cadir Idris mountain. It’s a quest like never before, and Jennifer soon finds herself fighting not just for her life, but for everything she knows and loves . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jasper Fforde – Author

To buy the novel visit:

the eye of zoltar – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – river of teeth & taste of marrow (Sarah Gailey)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So apparently there was a meat shortage in the United States in 1910, so this dude Robert F. Broussard introduced what was known as the “Hippo Bill” or H.R. 23261 to Congress.  In it, he proposed to import hippos from Africa and let them loose in Louisiana!  These hippos would eat the hyacinth that polluted the swamps and in turn be eaten by the American meat-loving people.  Anyone fancy a hippo steak?

Now obviously this did not happen.  At least I never saw hippos running around during my time in the South.  But the great thing is that this author took the idea of hippos in Louisiana and wrote two novellas in a alternate American timeline of the 1890s about what could have been.  And what could have been is this:

Yes me hearties, cowboys riding hippos!  Or hoppers as they are known.  The first novella follows hopper Winslow Remington Houndstooth as he goes on adventures with fellow mercenary hippo wrangers while on his river horse, Ruby.  I don’t want to get into the plot because this is one ye must enjoy for yerself.  How much did I love it?  I finished and immediately paid for and read the sequel.  I want more!!!  So instead of spoiling the plot, I will give ye five fun interestin’ hippo facts:

  1. the word hippopotamus is from the 1560s, from Latin, from Greek hippopotamos river horse, from hippos horse + potamos river (source)
  2. “A group of hippos in known as a ‘herd’, ‘pod’, ‘dale’ or ‘bloat’” (source) or school or sieges (source).  I love bloat.  Hardy har har!
  3. Hippos cannot float or swim! (source).  They walk on the river bottom.
  4. The “average female [hippo] weighs around 3,000 lbs. (1,400 kilograms) while males weigh 3,500 to 9,920 lbs. (1,600 to 4,500 kg).” (source)
  5. The Library of Congress has an awesome site where ye can read actual articles from the newspapers from 1910 about the “Hippo Bill.”  I had to do a happy hippo dance!  No I am sadly not joking.

Hippos are awesome.  These novella’s are awesome.  I suggest ye get them now.  Or if ye can wait a little bit, both novellas will be published in a single volume called “American Hippo” in May of 2018.  I am glad I didn’t wait.

Side note: The author’s Foreword recommended reading more about hippo ranching in Jon Mooallem’s article “American Hippopotamus” in the Atavist Magazine.  I gladly did.  I included the link for ye lazy scoundrels.

Goodreads has this to say about the first novella:

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.

To visit the author’s Goodreads page go to:

Sarah Gailey – Author

To buy the novellas go to:

river of teeth – Book

taste of marrow – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – down among the sticks and bones (Seanan McGuire)

Ahoy there me mateys!  When I read the first novella in this series, every heart a doorway, I had no words to do that story justice.  Then I read this one.  Words fail me again, but I will try.  So basically this novella was as stunning as the first.  This second book gives us the story of what went before – a prequel if ye will.  Getting the new perspectives on two characters from the first book changed me perception of book one in an awesome way.  If I had time I would have immediately picked up the first book again to read it with me new insights.  Another time mehaps.  I just utterly adore this series and am so glad me crew recommended it over and over and over again until me noggin finally caught on and listened.  If ye haven’t read the first novella then do yerself a favor and grab it.  Do read them in order.  I also didn’t read the blurb  before reading this one which I highly recommend.  I still included the blurb below, however, so be forewarned.  I want the next book in the series.  Something to look forward to in 2018!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Seanan McGuire – Author

To buy the book go to:

down among the sticks and bones – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

every heart a doorway – book 1 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – the empty grave (Jonathan Stroud)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Reach fer yer grog!  Day five with book five of the Lockwood & Co. series done.  Challenge Completed!  I give meself a pat on me back!  Arrr!  As usual if ye haven’t read the first book in this series, the screaming staircase, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  No spoilers ahead but if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

So this bleary-eyed but happy Captain managed to read all of the books of the series in one week by the skin of me teeth.  The last book cannot be dealt with in any major way due to crazy spoilers but I will share me overall impressions with ye.

So while book four continues to be me favourite, this book was a highly pleasing conclusion to the series.  There were a couple of major plot points that I did not expect in any fashion and I LOVED them.  The good guys win which is always nice but there were some unintended consequences to the win which I also loved.  I am hard pressed to pick a favorite character at this point.  Lucy was the narrator throughout and it was excellent seeing things through her somewhat persnickety personality.  Flo, George, Kipps, really the whole gang, were lovely to read about.  I am so very glad that this series was brought to me attention and that I experienced it.  Especially during Spooktober!  I think no matter what be yer age, there is something to enjoy in following the adventures of Lockwood & Company.  Do it!

Now some general thoughts of reading a five book series in a condensed timeframe:

  1. I haven’t done this in so long that I now realize that I am not likely to repeat the exercise anytime soon.  While I may occasionally still do a 3 bells segment, in general I really do prefer some time in between the books of a series.
  2. Reading five books in five days does tax me brain slightly.  In between fighting off sharks, burying treasure, and sailing the high seas (i.e me real life), every spare moment was spent readin’.  While that is always fun, the pace did mean that other things like shut-eye and grub sometimes got forgotten.  Me stummy is still grumblin’.  I need some victuals.  Three books in five days is slightly more palatable.
  3. So many unfinished series.  Other members of me crew have been discussing this one recently and writing this Log post sent me a ponderin’ this question as well.  The answer – I have no real idea.  I don’t know how many series I have unfinished or even which ones I want to finish.  I can, however, more easily recall some series that I want to start.  So at some point in the near future I may be making meself a more concrete list.

So now it be on to the next great adventure.  I have no idea what port I will plunder next . . .

I normally put a blurb here but the blurb is soooo very spoilery that I shall not this time.  So there!

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jonathan Stroud – Author

To buy the book go to:

the empty grave – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the screaming staircase (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy e-Arc)

the whispering skull (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the hollow boy (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the creeping shadow (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – the creeping shadow (Jonathan Stroud)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Day four with book four of the Lockwood & Co. series completed.  One more to go!  Arrr!  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, the screaming staircase, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  No spoilers ahead but if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

This Captain is one happy reader.  Ye see  me hearties, yesterday I thought book three was me favourite.  Now it is definitely book four!  Mr. Stroud ups the ante with this one and while I want to rant and rave about how wonderful this book is, I can’t.  Because spoilers.  The spoilers would abound.  Book three sets up book four and so I can’t talk about this one without ruining elements of book three.  And I would never do that to me crew.  So let’s just say that the friendships, ghosts, characters, and plot rock.  The writing style is awesome.  The ending was fierce.  I want more!

I am so very glad that I accepted this challenge am looking forward to reading and finishing the last book tonight!  I will succeed!  Arrrrr!

I normally put a blurb here but the blurb is soooo very spoilery that I shall not this time.  So there!

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jonathan Stroud – Author

To buy the book go to:

the creeping shadow – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the screaming staircase (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy e-Arc)

the whispering skull (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the hollow boy (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – the hollow boy (Jonathan Stroud)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Day three with book three of the Lockwood & Co. series completed.  Over half way there!  Arrr!  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, the screaming staircase, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  No spoilers ahead but if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . . . . .

Okay it’s official.  I adore this series.  Book three was absolutely fabulous and me favorite thus far.  Soooo good.  In this tale, Lockwood & Co.’s reputation has continued to improve.  In fact the trio can hardly keep up.  But the high profile cases are still hard to come by.  However, a huge influx of ghosts is keeping the major firms extremely busy which brings a wealthy client to the their door.  The problem?  A set of creepy bloody footprints.  Can the agency solve this case?  What about the massive city outbreak that is threatening to shut down the city?  Can they help with that too?

So many things are great in this book.  There is the usual banter between the trio, the rivalry between the firms, the ghosts, the cases that Lockwood & Co. work on, and characters like Flo and the skull.  Still wonderful.  But the main focus for me in this one was the continuing growth of Lucy’s talent.  This is a book of change and growth for the trio as a whole but Lucy in particular.  This book also brought back some of the tingling feelings of ickiness when reading about some of the situations with the ghosts just like I had in book one.  Add in a new character that adds to both the angst and the humor and I was hooked.  And that ending sheesh!  Totally not expecting that, and I have no idea where the next book is headed.

Just pick up a copy and experience the novel for yerself.  I am looking forward to attempting the fourth book tonight!  Arrrrr!

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

Phantoms in your attic?
Spectres by your bed?
Never fear – Lockwood & Co. are here!

A terrible new outbreak of ghosts is causing chaos across London. With the authorities baffled, psychic investigators Lockwood, Lucy and George see a fresh chance for fame and glory.

But countless horrors await them: bloody footprints on a spiral staircase, murderous ambushes in the night – and, waiting at the centre of the outbreak, the most fearful apparition of all.

Ghouls and spectres, thrills and tension in this brand-new instalment in Jonathan Stroud’s best selling series.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jonathan Stroud – Author

To buy the book go to:

the hollow boy – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the screaming staircase (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy e-Arc)

the whispering skull (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)