The Captain’s Log – octopus pirate (Jane Yates)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Okay with a title like that how could I not be intrigued?  Would this novella finally settle the grand debate once for all: octopi or octopuses?  And what exactly does an octopus pirate look like?  The author’s website shows this possibility:

I was intrigued. The story is set in the Victorian era wherein the pregnant wife of a ship’s captain is washed overboard.  Miraculously, the baby survives and is washed to the shore of a Scottish island.  An elderly solitary nun named Mary discovers him and vows that he is a gift from God for her to raise.  She loves young Coco despite his so-called deformities and they form a strong bond.

The set-up to the story and the early years detailing Coco’s life on the island were the highlights of the story for me.  Now don’t get me wrong, Coco goes adventuring and joins the circus and starts to learn to become a pirate.  Arrrr!  But the simplicity of Coco’s early years were me favorite part of the book.  The relationship between Mary and Coco was heartening even fer this salty Captain.

Once Coco is forced to leave the island, we add in a larger cast of characters.  Ye see the circus actually does have some magical talent.  Whether it is a mermaid, a teleporter, or even Coco with his own burgeoning magical discoveries, life gets a little more complicated.  Plots are hatched to travel back in time to fight as pirates.  Plots are hatched to harm Coco.

The plot and motivations fer the whys and hows are very light.  However awesome and fun Coco is, he is not really in charge of his destiny in this installment and luck seems to direct his path.  Though the next book seems set-up for him to begin to truly stand on his own and I do believe I shall partake of that adventure.

And the octopus of the title?  Coco’s special relationship with octopuses needs to be read about and not spoiled.  So if ye like octopi then nab a copy and tell me what ye think . . .

In case ye need further proof of the awesomeness of an octopus:

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Octopus Pirate is a time travelling steampunk tale set in the Victorian period. It’s the story of a foundling who discovers he has unusual talents . . . As a baby, the hero of this book is washed up on an island off the Scottish mainland. An eccentric former nun called Mary, who lives there alone with her cats, brings him up and names him after her favorite character, Pinocchio . . .

The teenage Coco joins a circus where he makes friends with Eric, an electronic magician who has an act where he makes a robot teleport across the tent.  Coco, narrowly escaping plots against him, flees to Cornwall with Eric.

Here they raise funds to build a replica pirate ship, which is also an airship so they can travel back in time to fight real pirates.
The crew consists of Victorian men who want to fight without any repercussions. It’s a ‘Fight Club’, but with a twist or twenty.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jane Yates – Author

To buy the book go to:

octopus pirate – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – frogkisser! (Garth Nix)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So I have a wee bit of an obsession with Garth Nix and his wonderful stories.  I love him so much that he was the featured author in me first broadside.  I have read 25 of his novels.  So when I heard he was writing this fairy tale I had to have it.  Plus awesome cover:

In his “Acknowledgments” of this novel, Mr. Nix claims inspiration from “the works of Lloyd Alexander, Nicholas Stuart Gray, Diana Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley, and T.H. White.”  I don’t know Nicholas Stuart Gray’s work (must remedy) but I can certainly see nods to all of the other authors he listed in the story.

The story centers around Anya who is the youngest princess of the kingdom of Trallonia.  One of her sister’s suitors is transformed into a frog by their evil sorcerer step-stepfather.  In order to stop the tears and hysterics, Anya promises to turn him back into a human.  This inadvertently becomes way more complicated than originally planned thus leading Anya off on a Quest!

The subversive nature of the story is what I loved about it.  Favorites include the use of the magic carpet, Gerald the Heralds, otters transformed into people, how the army is formed, having step-stepparents, snow white, etc.  I very much enjoyed Anya as a character.  And the frogs were just delightful.

The only downside to this novel for me was the pacing.  It is a very episodic story where the heroine gets a lot of help from people she just happens to meet along the way.  Makes more sense after reading the acknowledgements but I would have preferred Anya to show a lot more initiative.  Of course Anya doesn’t really show initiative in the beginning and is a very reluctant hero who grows into her role.  But unlike many of me other Nix reads, this didn’t zing.

I am okay with that lack of zing.  This was a solid story with a lot of fun ideas and characters.  Mr. Nix continues to remain an auto-buy author.  And apparently he has a new novel coming out in October this year.  Arrrr!!!

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

Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.

Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land-and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Garth Nix – Author

To buy the book go to:

frogkisser! – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the ship beyond time (Heidi Heilig)

Ahoy there me mateys!  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, the girl from everywhere, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

The first novel in this duology was one of me favorite reads of 2016.  I was so excited to get me mitts on the sequel.  And sadly this was just an okay read for me.  For about 3/4 of the novel I was engaged and happy.  I loved getting back into Nix’s world.  Reading the author’s new blend of myths and storytelling was a joy.  I went on several journeys into the interwebs while reading the book to get the historical facts to enrich the remainder of me reading of the novel.  Check out Donald Crowhurst and Ker-Ys for example. These forays into history lessons did not throw me out of the story but rather increased me excitement and awe at the author’s wit and devious mind.  Her ability to explain why the myths diverge in our time were especially well done.

In addition, I loved the villain in this story.  He is seemingly complex and as he is based on a real person this was awesome.  I continue to love the crew and got more glimpses of Rotgut and Bee.  I fact I would love Bee to have her own book frankly.  It was interesting to get some point-of-view chapters from Kash.

So what then was the problem?  The last quarter just felt disjointed.  The parent/daughter relationship seems worse than ever after the hopeful ending of book one.  I know Slate has issues but he was annoying in this book.  Also Blake became highly frustrating and his motivation seemed almost a caricature.  Nix lost most of her spunk and wallows about the situation.  She is so filled with angst about how to deal both with the villain and her love life.  The story was too bogged down by angst.  I feel that Nix should have been a fighter all the way.  Also the ending in particular was so open ended.  The author’s website states this was the conclusion to the story but not much was decided.  I can see lots of possible paths for another book to go in.

I guess frankly, the ending was just not to me taste but I seem to be in the minority.  I wouldn’t mind more books about the further adventures of Nix but would prefer her to be more mature, focused, and clever about how the adventures evolve.

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

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her future lies bright before her—until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves.

Desperate to change her fate, Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems. Not even her relationship with Kash: best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire.

Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. At the center of this adventure are extraordinary, complicated, and multicultural characters who leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. This sequel—and conclusion—to The Girl from Everywhere includes five black-and-white maps of historical and mythical locations.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Heidi Heilig – Author

To buy the novel visit:

the ship beyond time – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – rider’s revenge (Alessandra Clarke)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Older members of me crew may remember that before I gave me heart to the sea, I had an obsession with horses.  I read a myriad of pony books and so every now and again me soft spot for these types of stories leads me back to the equine world.  When I discovered this young adult novel involving a strong female rider I gave it a shot.  Plus this cover:

Pretty no?  Unfortunately while there be enjoyment in reading this novel, there be some many flaws as well.  Let’s look on the bright side first . . .

  • Horses.  The main horse in this novel was Fallion.  He is a special breed called an Amalanee.  Loyal, loving, speedy, strong, and special.  What’s not to like?  And he may or may not have special powers.
  • Strong female protagonist.  K’Irsa is a member of a nomadic tribe of horse loving people.  She can ride and shoot with the best of them.  She is loyal to her family and has morals.  I always like that.
  • Wonderful parent.  K’Irsa’s father is an encouraging, loving parent.  He loves his daughter even though she doesn’t not fit in the traditional tribal roles.  He facilitates her independence and pushes her to succeed.
  • Lodie.  This woman was a fun side character.  I enjoyed her very much and wish the book would have been her story instead.  Snarky, intelligent, and determined.  Yup.
  • Revenge.  I rather enjoyed the ramifications of getting revenge in this story.  Not the plot of the revenge itself but some of the ideas about what the consequences of fighting for revenge can be and what it can do to the person out to get it.
  • Moon and Sun stones.  I enjoyed the magic of these items.  But sadly they didn’t really play a huge enough part in the novel.

The not so good . . .

  • Horses.  Yes I know I picked the book for the ponies.  There were just not enough of them in the book.  Basically the horses only matter in the beginning of the story and the very end.  I wished that Fallion was central to the entire story.  Also I did not buy the story of how K’Irsa got him.
  • The female protagonist.  She may be strong and intelligent but she doesn’t always use her brain.  She can be impulsive.  K’Irsa likes to whine about how hard her life is despite her special treatment.  She is also rather naive about the world and the darker side of human nature.  Her internal monologue became rather wearisome.  She is a bit too much of a special snowflake.
  • The love story.  Ugh.  I rather hated it.  The two lovers first meet in a dream and are instant soul mates.  Sigh.  Of course when they meet, the cliches abound.  I did like the idea that the perfect dream lovers have major issues in real life but the plot twists concerning their relationship were just annoying and rather disheartening.  Obviously K’Irsa’s lover cannot be perfect if he can treat her like he does.  And she just sighs, justifies, and forgives him.  Because he can change!  No thanks.
  • The setting.  Basically there be the desert horse tribe and the city folk.  The city folk are evil and ignorant and commerce driven.  Okay fine.  But what was not fine in me world was that the city and politics seemed to be based on every cliche of Muslim society but worse.  The women are veiled, are property, and have no rights.  The Daliph’s harem, I mean Doranas, literally have their fingers encased in finger traps, wear metal corsets so they can’t really move, and have servants that have to feed, bathe, do everything for them.  They cannot eat or even shit without a man helping them.  And it’s considered a privilege.
  • The plot.  Ugh I am sorry but writing the last paragraph just made me more grumpy about the book as I wrote those thoughts out.  And if the setting bothered me, the plot was horrendous .  The strong female protagonist pretty much makes no major choices of her own.  Even the Gods give her directions at the beginning.  She actually tries to do the training to be a regular Dorana.  The justification is revenge.  The actuality is that most of the book finds her trapped in a room letting everyone dictate her life and thinking that it can be justified or okay in any circumstance.  I have to admit that I don’t like reliving the details of this.

So basically even though I got the next book in the series, I am not sure if I am going to read it . . . despite the cool ponies.  It is a novel that I seem to dislike more and more with reflection.  Some cool concepts.  Just not me type of execution.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

K’lrsa is a Rider for the White Horse Tribe who sets out to avenge the brutal murder of her father but finds herself in a society very different from the one she’s known. She also finds that revenge isn’t near as simple as she thought it would be and that she’ll have to choose between killing the man she thinks is responsible and being with the man she loves.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Alessandra Clarke – Author

To buy the novel go to:

rider’s revenge – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – the thirteenth princess (Diane Zahler)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I am a fan of fairytale retellings and so when I saw the title and this cover:

I was intrigued.  It is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses and I love that story.  The highlights of this story were the main character, Zita and her friend Breckin, the stableboy.  I liked how a 13th princess was added to the story and how she had to save the day.  With the help of her friends of course.

The plot does meander a bit and I knew the evil character practically at once so that hampered me enjoyment a little.  However Zita is lively and smart and loving.  The 12 princesses are basically interchangeable and hard to tell apart.  But getting more of the story from the perspective of the working characters of the kingdom like the Cook, soldiers, and such was a nice twist.  I also liked the juxtaposition of Zita the servant and Zita the princess.

Altogether this book is worth a read but I do not believe I would add it to me favorites shelf to be reread.

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

The Thirteenth Princess is the story of Zita, the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita’s father banished her to the servants’ quarters, where she must work in the kitchen and can only communicate with her royal sisters insecret. Then, after Zita’s twelfth birthday, the princesses all fall mysteriously ill. The only clue is their strangely worn and tattered shoes.

With the help of her friends—Breckin the stable boy, Babette the witch, and Milek the soldier—Zita follows her bewitched sisters into a magical world of endless dancing and dreams. But something more sinister is afoot—and unless Zita and her friends can break the curse, the twelve princesses will surely dance to their deaths.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Diane Zahler – Author

To buy the book go to:

the thirteenth princess – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – a plague of unicorns (Jane Yolen)

Ahoy there me mateys!  A combination of Jane Yolen and unicorns with a title like that!  How could I resist.  And what an odd little tale it was.

Unicorns in this are magical wild tricky animals that like golden apples.  The monks need the golden apples to make cider to sell to repair the abbey.  But the unicorns are winning!  Nothing the monks do seems to work.  Even heroes are having problems.  Then young James, the duke’s son, is sent to the abbey to study.  Might he have the answer?

I loved the monastery and James and the monks.  The world Yolen portrays is fun with elements of silliness.  The character of James and the atmosphere at the abbey are what I loved about the book.  The unicorns almost seem like an afterthought in a good way.  Which is crazy but awesome.

This short novel (192 pages) is supposedly for middle grade readers.  Bah!  I loved it and the clever twists on classic fairy tale themes.  Plus is has beautiful illustrations.  Lots of reviews seem to recommend it for boys only!  Bah!  Girls can and certainly should read this one too.  James’ older sister is awesome.

Loved it!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Young James, the duke’s son, asks too many questions. At least that’s what everyone at Callendar Castle thinks after all but the last of James’ tutors quits and his uncle ships him off to be educated at Cranford Abbey. Unfortunately, the once-beautiful abbey has problems of its own, including cracked walls, a leaking roof, and shattered windows. Not to mention the pesky herd of unicorns that continue to enter the abby’s orchards and claim them as their own.

The only hope to save the abbey is money raised by Abbot Aelian’s golden apple cider. But that means getting rid of the orchard’s unwelcome visitors. And, as everyone knows, unicorns have very sharp horns. Monks do not.

James has an idea that could help defeat these hungry beasts, but first he must find someone to listen to him. For once, he might be the only one asking the right questions. And the only one who knows the perfect hero for the job.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jane Yolen – Author

To buy the book go to:

a plague of unicorns – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – forest of ruin (Kelley Armstrong)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This novel is the conclusion to the Age of Legends series.  If ye haven’t read any of this series then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book, sea of shadows.  Worth the read.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril.

forest of ruin (Kelley Armstrong)

I love Kelley Armstrong!  The first book of this trilogy was the first book I ever read by her.  I was hooked.  I also loved the sequel empires of the night.  This book was a very satisfying ending to the trilogy.

I continue to adore the twins, Moria and Ashyn.  In this novel their experiences in the previous books have certainly changed their viewpoints of the world and how they make choices.  While they are still flawed, as all humans are, both girls continue to grow towards the strong independent leaders they will one day become.

In general, this novel had some plot points that were rather predictable especially in terms of the villain’s shenanigans.  But I still enjoyed the overall journey and the ending was lovely.  The romance aspects of the story were handled and resolved very much to my satisfaction.

Also mehaps the story made me a little teary in the telling.  Or was that just the salty wind in me eye?

I would love to see future stories of the scalawags in this world.  In any case, this is in me mind a strong enjoyable young adult fantasy series that should get more hype.

Now normally me mateys, I would post a blurb of the novel here but the blurb for this one gives too much of the story away!

To visit the author’s website and blog go to:

Kelley Armstrong – Author

To buy the novel visit:

forest of ruin- Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

sea of shadows- book one (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

empires of the night -book two (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the masked truth (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Thriller)

city of the lost (Off the Charts – Thriller/Crime Novel)