The Captain’s Log – airborn (Kenneth Oppel)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This was an audiobook that I picked up because I was looking for a fluffy young adult book.  I think somewhere I had heard there be dragons.  Well, there be no dragons here.  But there are cool flying animals, airships, silly fish-loving chefs, sea-adventures, pirates, lost islands, smart feisty girls, daring kind-hearted boys, and adventure!

The other appeal of this particular audiobook was that is was performed by Full Cast Audio.  According to their website “Full Cast Audio (FCA) has a simple mandate: to produce unabridged recordings of fine children’s novels using a full cast rather than a single reader. Whenever possible, we invite the author to serve as narrator.”  They are located back in me (very) old stomping grounds of Syracuse, New York where it snowed every day from Halloween to April.  I heard about this company because mateys of mine worked as voice actors for the company.  At yet I had never listened to a single book.  This is back in the day where audiobooks really weren’t a thing and these productions were treated more as radio plays.  So I was delighted to finally hear one.

I absolutely loved the main character, Matt Cruse, and his love for the airship, Aurora.  The ship felt real and lived in.  Ye got a real sense of Matt’s life onboard.  Matt was poor but plucky, hard-working, and ambitious.  The story is told from his perspective.  Joining him on the ship is Kate de Vries, an upper class passenger.  She likes science and photography and out-witting her chaperone.  She is out to solve a mystery and draws Matt into the chase.

I thought overall that this was an excellent foray.  Matt could get a bit overbearing and Kate was a bit short-sighted and stubborn.  But the world building was lovely, the pirates were dastardly, and the science behind both the ship and creatures was fascinating.  The plot was intense and full of action.  I loved the voice performances and the sound effects.  The side characters were as wonderful as the main duo.  It was an engaging and quick read.  It could work as a standalone though it is part of a larger trilogy.

I want me an airship!!  Arrr!!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.

In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Kenneth Oppel – Author

To buy the book go to:

airborn – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Advertisements

The Captain’s Log – the sleeper and the spindle (Neil Gaiman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So a while back I listened to the wonderfully fabulous fortunately, the milk, which I adored.  I immediately added all of Mr. Gaiman’s audiobooks to me list.  I have a wee bit of an obsession (for details click here) and so when I had a short bit of time I decided to listen to this one.

I have to admit that while I thought this was an enjoyable fairy-tale retelling, I am not sure if I would listen to this again.  It does have the beautiful imagery inherent in Gaiman’s works.  I loved the sleeping masses that seemed almost zombie-like in their shuffling rambles.  I loved the idea of everything being covered in spider silk and spiders.  I loved the tangles of vines blocking the castle.  I loved the strong women present within.  The ending was wonderful.  The book just didn’t catapult me into another time and space.  I wasn’t sure if that was just because I was missing out on the illustrations.

I do remember there being a bit of a controversy when this came out due to one of Chris Riddell’s illustrations showing a woman kissing a woman (eek!?!).  Even that kiss is more than it seems when taken in context with the story.

I did look up some of the illustrations online after listening to the story and found them to be compelling.  The “dreaded” kiss one was achingly beautiful.  In fact there is a lovely article in the Guardian in which Chris Riddell gives insight into the images he created for the book.  I recommend this.  So yes while the images were wonderful and magical in their own way, I still wasn’t mesmerized by them.  So while I am glad to have listened to this, I am not sad that I don’t own a copy of me own.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

Lavishly produced, packed with glorious Chris Riddell illustrations enhanced with metallic ink, this is a spectacular and magical gift.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neil Gaiman – Author

To buy the book go to:

the sleeper and the spindle – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

Broadside No. 11

fortunately, the milk (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

 

The Captain’s Log – song of the current (Sarah Tolcser)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This be the sea tale of Caroline Oresteia, a lass who wants nothing more then to sail the river on the Cormorant with her father and their crewmember Fee.  She longs for the day when the river god will finally speak to her and looks towards the future of inheriting the wherry from her father someday.  But it seems fate might have other plans.  Her father is jailed on trumped up charges.  He can be freed if Caroline agrees to transport a crate to its final destination.  But curiosity gets the better of her and she opens the crate to find a unexpected passenger.  Can she get her cargo to its final destination with seemingly everyone on the river out to stop her?  And what about her hopes and plans for the future?  What will she have to lose in order to gain back her father’s freedom?

It an absolutely brilliant debut if ye like any of the following:

  • ships of all kinds
  • pirates (Arrr!)
  • magic
  • a head-strong heroine
  • consensual romance
  • family involved in their teen’s life
  • frogmen
  • drakon
  • diversity
  • swashbuckling
  • commandeering
  • fun!

Fall in love with Caroline and her crew like I did.  This be one story I need more of.  Luckily there is a second book currently due out on 6/5/18.  I need to get me mitts on a copy.  Arrrrr!

Check out me crew members’ reviews of this one:

Beth @ readingeverynight’s review – “This is a rare fantasy book in that Caro’s parents are a very present part of her life, and it’s not only her parents but her extended family as well. Song of the Current was a brilliant debut, and I feel it’s left the series open to go anywhere in the second book.”

Lila @ hardcoverhaven’s review – “HOLY WOW ! Talk about an awesome book! Song of the Current fulfilled all of my needs–the ones I knew I had, as well as the ones I didn’t know I had! Now this is what I call a great book! I’m pretty positive you’ll hear me raving about this one for the rest of time!”

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Sarah Tolcser – Author

To buy the book go to:

song of the current – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – etiquette & espionage (Gail Carrigar)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This was an audiobook that I picked up because I was looking for a fluffy fun read and the cover, title, and the small part of the blurb that I read sounded appealing.  The story involves a finishing school where girls learn the traditional arts like dance and how to curtsy and the not so usual arts of espionage like poison, knives, and seduction.

The cover looks like this:

Therefore I was surprised to find out that the main character was only 14 and that this was YA.  I had assumed from the cover that the protagonist would be at least 16 but more like 17 going on 18.  She does NOT look 14 in the cover.  Apparently the author has another series called the Parasol Protectorate that stars an older spinster which is what I mistakenly thought I was reading.  This book was part of the Finishing School series marketed more for the younger set.  Should have perhaps read the blurb in full.

That being said, I got mostly what I wanted.  I did like the protagonist, Sophronia.  She is a bit of a special snowflake but I was won over by her in the end.  The plot is fluffy and makes little sense at times but I did enjoy it.  I chuckled at many parts which was nice.  And I loved the pet “mechanimal” and its part in the story.  The other students were fun but didn’t get nearly enough page time.  I also would have liked more descriptions of the espionage training, especially in the use of the fan.

Light on plot and characterization but full of fun and silliness, I do think I would read the next in the series.  I also am tempted by the other more adult series though I hear it is more of a romance.  If the crew has any opinions on these series then please chime in!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Gail Carriger – Author

To buy the book go to:

etiquette & espionage – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – skulduggery pleasant (Derek Landy)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I don’t know where I first found out about this one.  But I do know that it has a kick-ass cover:

With that cover I had to see what it was about.  So this involves a detective named Skulduggery Pleasant who just happens to be a walking, talking skeleton who can do magic.  Through a series of truly quirky circumstances that I won’t spoil, he meets 12-year-old Stephanie who inadvertently becomes involved in a mystery and then refuses to go back into her ordinary life.  Curiosity wins.  The banter between the two and the humor in this story overall made this a quick and fun read.  The downsides were that Stephanie didn’t do very much, her parents are clueless, and the mystery was not the focus of the plot.  I wanted it to be a skeleton and girl solving weird cases.  Instead it is the two of them fighting the evil ancient enemy to save the world.  That said it was very enjoyable and I liked the magical world the author has set up.  I think I might read more in the series but there are 10 books in it which makes me wary.  But every now and again this might be just the type of light fluffy fun read I am looking for.

Side note: I truly loved the illustrations by Tom Percival!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant

Ace Detective
Snappy Dresser
Razor–tongued Wit
Crackerjack Sorcerer
and
Walking, Talking,
Fire-throwing Skeleton

—as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.

These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world?

Over his dead body.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Derek Landy – Author

To buy the book go to:

skulduggery pleasant – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – akata witch (Nnedi Okorafor)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I was mesmerized by books one and two of the Binti series but couldn’t get a hold of the third book quickly.  I then spotted this book instead.  I thought it was a novella.  Nope!  Check out the beautiful cover:

While the Binti series is sci-fi, this one is young adult fantasy.  It had a completely different feel from the author’s other works and I loved it.

The story centers around 12 year old Sunny.  She was born in the US but currently lives in Nigeria with her family.  Not only does Sunny’s Americanism set her apart but so does her albinism.  Yet Sunny tries her best to be a normal kid and to do well in school.  She is bullied and one day is attacked by a popular female classmate.  Only one person tries to come to her aid, a boy named Orlu.  As she and Orlu become friends, Sunny soon discovers that she may have the magical powers of the Leopard People.  How did she get these powers?  And how is she supposed to help stop a killer?

I loved the magical system of this book.  I loved that magic had very dangerous side effects and rules.  I loved that Sunny still has to stay in “regular” school in addition to her magical training.  I loved her friendships.  I loved that her family was present in the book even if there were problems.  I loved the rich tapestry of world building involved with the Leopard People.  I wanted to go into the magical bookstore!

This book was another that led me to read more about the history of the Leopard People, Igbo people, and Efik people.  I loved this post about the Efik, particularly the section about the written language mentioned in the book.  I will certainly be reading the next book in the series once I get ahold of it.  Arrr!

Side note:  Lots of people seem to be calling this series the African Harry Potter.  Personally I think it trivializes a book that completely stands on its own.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Nnedi Okorafor – Author

To buy the book go to:

akata witch – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

binti – book 1 (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)

home – book 2 (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)

The Captain’s Log – the phantom tollbooth (Norton Juster)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I have noticed this evocative cover . . .

 

. . . time and time again since I was a young’un’.  But for reasons that escape me now, I never did pick it up.  But I have always had intentions to read it.  Well then two of me crew in rather quick succession wrote their thoughts about it and solidified me desire to read it.  And so I have.

For such a short book, it took me a rather long time to read because I had to savor it in delightful little bits.  This novel truly deserves the designation of a classic.  The story is silly and seemingly simple but oh what delightful use of language.  I loved the evocative illustrations by Jules Feiffer and how even the type on the page helps to tell the story.  It is the kind of book with clever layers that make it a lovely read for people of all ages.

A favourite quote:

“Do all those words mean the same thing?” gasped Milo. “Of course.” “Certainly.” “Precisely.” “Exactly.” “Yes,” they replied in order. “Well, then,” said Milo, not understanding why each one said the same thing in a slightly different way, “wouldn’t it be simpler to use just one? It would certainly make more sense.” “Nonsense.” “Ridiculous.” “Fantastic.” “Absurd.” “Bosh,” they chorused again, and continued. “We’re not interested in making sense; it’s not our job,” scolded the first. “Besides,” explained the second, “one word is as good as another—so why not use them all?”

I would like to visit the Doldrums where sleeping is a priority.  Wouldn’t ye want items on yer schedule like this:

“From 2:00 to 2:30 we take our early afternoon nap. “From 2:30 to 3:30 we put off for tomorrow what we could have done today. “From 3:30 to 4:00 we take our early late afternoon nap.

The language is literally delicious.  I wish I could have had a phantom tollbooth as a child!

Check out me two crew members effusive reviews that finally got me to read this one:

bookstooge @ bookstooge’s reviews on the road – who celebrated the 50th anniversary edition

the orangutan librarian – who revisited the Lands Beyond and discusses her thoughts about the trip

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Hailed as “a classic. . . . humorous, full of warmth and real invention” (The New Yorker), this beloved story -first published more than fifty years ago- introduces readers to Milo and his adventures in the Lands Beyond.

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams. . . .

To visit the author’s wiki page go to:

Norton Juster – Author

To buy the book go to:

the phantom tollbooth – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List