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

Printed matter - Handwriting - Whaling log book, The Daniel Webster 1850s-635x1000

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)

unicorn-drawing

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)

Animal - Sea mammal - Whale - Whale ship logging book 07-583x1000

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)

The Captain’s Log – percy jackson series (Rick Riordan)

neptune

Ahoy there me mateys!

percy jackson and the olympians (Rick Riordan)

This review veers off me standard course because I am reviewing an entire series at once!  Five books set in modern day in a world where Greek gods and creatures still exist.  Main character – a young boy named Percy Jackson (duh!) who finds out he is a half-blood i.e. a demi-god and is part of a prophecy to save the world.  Sound familiar?  Kinda reminds me of Harry Potter except with America as the center of the universe rather than England.

What is up with young heroes with smart sidekick friends who dash danger and always seem like the last to know what is going on around them and yet win every time?  I mean come on . . . dude finds out monsters are out to kill him constantly and yet doesn’t do research and study to learn every possible creature that can attack him and their weaknesses etc.  Somehow he spends his time practicing fighting and just comes up with ideas that save the day on a whim?

Of course there is the loyalty he shows the people he loves which is wonderful.  I adore having weird Greek monsters appear that I have never heard of.  And believe me, I studied Latin for two years and switched schools multiple times where I always seemed to be learning about the Greeks and Romans at each new place.

Books one and two were the best.  The series ended somewhat predictably for me but had some great fun in book five.  I also got my nephew into this series and that has been fabulous.  He loved the series and even moved on to other books by the same author.

The author’s site has this to say:

The gods of Olympus are alive and well in the 21st Century! They still fall in love with mortals and have children who are half-god, half-human, like the heroes of the old Greek myths. Could you be one of those children?

To see the author’s site visit:

Rick Riordan – Author

To buy these books visit:

percy jackson series – Books

The Captain’s Log – vessel (Sarah Beth Durst)

vessel

Ahoy there me mates!

vessel (Sarah Beth Durst)

A lovely book.  A desert girl has been raised her whole life to be a vessel for a god.  On the day of her death, the god does not come.  But what happens after?  This story was fabulous.

The female protagonist, Liyana, is strong, intelligent, and all things you would want in a girl character.  Not that I would expect less from this particular author.  The secondary characters were just as great and uniquely drawn and a crucial part of the storytelling.

Intertwined throughout the narrative were stories and traditions and myths of the tribes that enriched the telling and made me smile.  These stories had the feel of Native American and African myths, among others, and drew me further into the story.  The reading went by quickly and when I was finished, I wished there was more, even though the ending needed no changing.  A strong recommendation from a wonderful author.

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

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

Sarah Beth Durst – Author

To buy the book visit:

vessel – Book

The Captain’s Log – the girl with the ghost eyes (M.H. Boroson)

yin

Ahoy there mateys!

the girl with the ghost eyes (M.H. Boroson)

Another port plundered and what a lovely one this is.  This author’s debut novel is a historical fiction fantasy set in Chinatown of San Francisco in 1898.  It is expertly written, in my opinion, and full of surprises – including the ending.  I also thought the writing was rather lyrical.  This novel definitely kept me engaged.  It deals with elements of Daoism, kung fu, monsters, magic, love, and Chinese folklore.

The story concerns a young girl named Li-lin who can see the spirits due to her “yin eyes.”  Her whole journey is filled with grief, learning, and pure spunk.  Watching her grow as a character and face the consequences for her actions is wonderful and, at times, sad.

Besides the main character, my other favorite character was Mr. Yanqiu who has to be read about to be believed.  In fact a lot of the descriptions of the “spirit world” are quite something.

I won’t spoil the plot of the novel but I hope a lot more people read it.  And the author hints there might be a sequel coming . . .

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

It’s the end of the nineteenth century in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and ghost hunters from the Maoshan traditions of Daoism keep malevolent spiritual forces at bay. Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned Daoshi exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes–the unique ability to see the spirit world. Her spiritual visions and the death of her husband bring shame to Li-lin and her father — and shame is not something this immigrant family can afford.

When a sorcerer cripples her father, terrible plans are set in motion, and only Li-lin can stop them. To aid her are her martial arts and a peachwood sword, her burning paper talismans, and a wisecracking spirit in the form of a human eyeball tucked away in her pocket. Navigating the dangerous alleys and backrooms of a male-dominated Chinatown, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer’s ritual summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.

With a rich and inventive historical setting, nonstop martial arts action, authentic Chinese magic, and bizarre monsters from Asian folklore, The Girl with Ghost Eyes is also the poignant story of a young immigrant searching to find her place beside the long shadow of a demanding father and the stigma of widowhood. In a Chinatown caught between tradition and modernity, one woman may be the key to holding everything together.

To visit the author’s website go to:

M.H. Boroson – Author

To buy this book visit:

the girl with the ghost eyes – Book

The Captain’s Log – an inheritance of ashes (Leah Bobet)

farm

Ahoy there mateys!

an inheritance of ashes (Leah Bobet)

When I read the author’s first novel . . . it walked the plank. However, I liked enough of the underlying writing to be willing to give the author’s second novel a chance. I am glad I did. This young adult dystopian fantasy novel was very much worth reading. It was surprising, thoughtful, moving, and not at all what I was expecting. Though to be fair I didn’t know what to expect when I picked it up.

This novel is not your typical dystopian novel. It appears to be set in a world like ours that has been destroyed in some way. The society has rebuilt and is seemingly succeeding. However the book begins with the end of a war with a god where no one truly understands what has happened. But the war and its subsequent consequences are really the background for the “true” story of a girl named Hallie, her farm, and her relationships with her sister and the folks from surrounding farms. While the overall plot was engaging, it was watching Hallie’s choices and growth that made the book so special.

I actually thought all the characters in this book were interesting. I really liked Heron, Tyler, and Nat in particular. The small world of Hallie’s farm and the surrounding homesteads and town was detailed and rich in a clear, simple and lovely way. And the ending was truly satisfying. Glad I didn’t give up on this author. I will certainly read her next book.

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

Six months ago, the men of the lakelands marched south to fight a dark god.

Weeks after the final battle was won, sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister, Marthe, are still struggling to maintain their family farm—and waiting for Marthe’s missing husband to return. After a summer of bitter arguments, Hallie is determined to get Roadstead Farm through the winter—and keep what’s left of her family together despite an inheritance destined to drive them apart.

But when Hallie hires a wandering veteran in a bid to save the farm, every phantom the men marched south to fight arrives at her front gate. Spider-eyed birds circle the fields, ghostly messages write themselves on the riverbank, and soon Hallie finds herself keeping her new hired hand’s desperate secrets—and taking dangerous risks. But as she fights to keep both the farm and her new friend safe, ugly truths about her own family are emerging—truths that, amidst gods, monsters, and armies—might tear Roadstead Farm apart.

Leah Bobet’s stark, beautiful fantasy explores the aftermath of the battles we fight and the slow, careful ways love can mend broken hearts—and a broken world.

To see the author’s own site visit:

Leah Bobet – Author

To buy this book visit:

an inheritance of ashes – Book