Off the Charts – the astonishing mistakes of dahlia moss (Max Wirestone)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes.  So occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were.  Here is:

the astonishing mistakes of dahlia moss (Max Wirestone)

I received this silly, goofy contemporary murder mystery eARC from Goodreads Giveaways. Arrrrr!  I was so excited to read this second book in the dahlia moss mysteries series.  If ye haven’t read the first book, the unfortunate decisions of dahlia moss, then ye might want to skip this post and go read me review of the first book.  No spoilers ahead but if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

So me hearties, I have to say that I really enjoyed this second installment.  It was such a treat to be back with that wacky Dahlia Moss.  This novel deals with the topics of Twitch streaming, which I admit I have never used.  But I am familiar with the concept, having used the interwebs before, and so was perfectly able to follow along.  Like the first novel, there are plenty of pop-culture references that made me chuckle.  Several parts made me laugh out loud and want to share the funny with the first mate.  Sadly he was on deck being productive but I rarely belly laugh like that from books.  I do think that the first book was much stronger in terms of characterizations and the actual murder mystery.  I guessed who the culprit was in this one pretty quickly.  But Dahlia is so absolutely insane and lovable that I didn’t care.  It was another fast, absurd, and jolly read.  I want the next book already!  Arrrrr!

So lastly . . .

Thank ye kindly Redhook Books and Goodreads Giveways!

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

You’d think that after I took a bullet in my arm following my last case that I’d be timid about going in guns blazing a second time. But you’d be wrong. I faced down death, and the only bad thing that happened was that I got a cool scar. Which is a like a tattoo, but with street cred.
I may have been a little overconfident this time. And that may have seriously clouded my judgment. Some small, but confidently made, mistakes include:
  • Unwisely meeting up with an internet stalker in real life.
  • Eating a large breakfast before discovering a corpse.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Standing uncomfortably close to the edge of a steamboat while musing that nothing bad could possibly happen.
  • Kidnapping, again
That’s the thing about a sense of invulnerability — you usually get it right before things go terribly, terribly, wrong.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Max Wirestone – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the astonishing mistakes of dahlia moss – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the unfortunate decisions of dahlia moss – book 1 (Off the Charts – Contemporary Humor)

Advertisements

Sailing to the Stars – from ice to ashes (Rhett C. Bruno)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I discovered this novel when the author asked me if I was interested in readin’ this one in exchange for me honest musings.  The premise sounded fascinating and so I said yes.  Those of me crew that have been reading me log these last several days have seen that I had to abandon ship on me last two reads.  I was feelin’ rather disheartened and didn’t want to be fighting off the dreaded readin’ slump.  So I finally deemed that it was time to read this book and hopefully keep the slump at bay.  And it worked!  Arrrrr!

I found this book to be an excellent read that was gripping, fun, and certainly lightened me mood considerably.  While technically the second book in a series, Matey Bruno assured me it could be read as a standalone and I am so very glad he convinced me.  I absolutely loved the world of the Ringers!

The Ringers are descendants from a starship that left Earth to settle on Titan (one of Saturn’s moons) in the face of an asteroid destined to hit Earth.  They worked hard and slowly adjusted over the centuries both genetically and culturally.  However, some Earth-folk survived and eventually make their way to Titan to co-exist.  However Earth disease runs rampant among the immune systems of the Ringers which lead to the Earthers taking over the moon and the Ringers becoming second-class citizens.

In this novel, a Ringer named Kale is struggling to get by.  He used to be a small-time thief until he got caught.  His mom helped him get a legitimate job aboard a gas harvester.  But then his mom gets sick and Kale needs a lot more money to help her survive.  Much more than his small salary provides.  A seemingly to0-good-to-be-true opportunity comes along which may solve his problems.  But what happens if he takes it?  A wonderful story that’s what.

Now do not get me wrong, I loved the plot and the characters.  I thought Kale was a fantastic protagonist.  There were lots of plot twists that I did not see coming.  Some of which kinda broke this grizzled Captain’s salty heart.  It was a seemingly simple story that has greater depths.  But it was the juxtaposition between the Earthers and the Ringers that made the book for me.

Ye see the Ringers have adapted to life on Titan which makes them tall, like extremely cold temperatures, and need lower gravity.  The problem is their immune systems are so bad that they go dressed in decontamination suits at all times.  Any direct contact with an Earther can be fatal.  The Earthers need heat, are immensely strong in comparison to the Ringers, and of course prefer Earth gravity.  But they need Ringers to help maintain Titan and their lifestyles.   So in situations like cleaning of the gas harvester, the two groups have to work together.  But when they clash, and clash they do, it is fascinating to watch them interact.

I really can’t do justice to the world-building in this post.  It just felt so real and plausible.  The space ships, the jobs, the technology, the relationships are all gritty in many ways.  Yet underneath that grit is determination to survive.  Kale himself seems to encapsulate love for those in his life and even understanding and compassion for some of the Earthers.  Watching his journey was wonderful.

The only small flaw for me was the epilogue which had a character that I didn’t know.  But I got the gist and so it was no big deal.

Much thanks to Matey Bruno and I certainly will read the first book in the series at some point.  Arrrrrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Kale Drayton knows his place. As a Ringer, he’s used to keeping his head down and his mouth shut—no matter how much the Earthers abuse him or his own kind berate him. So when he’s caught stealing from a wealthy merchant, he’s lucky to be sentenced to low-paying maintenance work on a gas-harvesting ship instead of life in a cell . . . or worse.

But when his mother is quarantined, Kale finds himself backed into a corner. To pay for her medicine, he needs money—the kind of money he’ll never make sweeping floors and cleaning ships. So when he receives a mysterious offer asking him to do a simple job in exchange for his mother’s treatment, Kale takes a chance once more. All he has to do is upload a program onto his employer’s ship and all of his problems will disappear.

What starts as a straightforward smuggling gig soon reveals its shattering repercussions. The people who hired Kale are more dangerous than he suspected—and he’s more important to them than he ever could have imagined.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Rhett C. Bruno – Author

To buy the e-book go to:

from ice to ashes – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – jade city (Fonda Lee)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

jade city (Fonda Lee)

Title: jade city

Author: Fonda Lee

Publisher: Orbit Books

Publication Date: TODAY! (hardcover/e-book)

ISBN: 978-0316440868

Source: NetGalley

 

Ken Lui recommended this book and when I read the description I just knew I had to read it.  His awesome blurb:

“Stylish and action-packed, full of ambitious families and guilt-ridden loves, Jade City is an epic drama reminiscent of the best classic Hong Kong gangster films but takes place in a fantasy metropolis so gritty and well-imagined that you’ll forget you’re reading a book.”

Me thoughts: awesome ideas.  awesome characters. made it to 50%.  bored.  never forgot I was reading a book.  sigh.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Orbit Books!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.
Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Fonda Lee – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

jade city – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandon Ship – the hundredth queen (Emily R. King)

Sadly me mateys, it is time to abandon ship!  I am so grumpy at this particular title.  Ye see in me head, this was supposed to be like the historical novel the twentieth wife with the added element of magic.  It wasn’t.  I only made it to 217 out of 287.  So close.  I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I should have been warned by the insta-lust or the treatment of women like property or the odd-seeming mixture of Indian and Chinese and other Asian cultures.  Or the non-explicit but present rape scenes involving concubines.  But well there was an author’s note claiming that though the religion was based on Sumerian deities, the book is not claiming to be based on any real place or time frame.  And I kept remembering good reviews for this one.

I wanted a good explanation for Kali’s magic skills and to watch her accomplish something with them.  I didn’t get any of that by page 217 and was so sick of the Emperor’s blatant evil and with the stupid to-the-death fighting tournament of the wives and concubines.  The rules didn’t really make sense.  I wish I had read some of the negative reviews of me crew and not wasted the time.  The only good thing is that I got this one from a local library and so didn’t waste money.  Sigh.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

He wanted a warrior queen. He got a revolutionary.

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Emily R. King – Author

To buy the book go:

the hundredth queen – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Sailing to the Stars – six wakes (Mur Lafferty)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So me crew has been recommending this one.  It is a sci-fi with murder mystery and philosophical bents.  Six crew members run a generation ship that is supposed to take a 400 year journey to a new planet.  All six of them have criminal backgrounds and if they run this mission successfully then all of them get clean slates on the new planet.  How are they supposed to live that long?  Well, they are clones of course!  Everyone else on board is in stasis.

The hitch is that all six crew members wake up in new bodies at the same time only to find their own dead bodies floating around them.  And they have lost at least 25 years of memories.  They seem to have been rebooted with copies that only contain the memories of up to when they first entered the ship.  The evidence, of course, points to murder but which one of them did it?

So this book is 361 pages.  I adored it up until page 268 and then the momentum went down from there.  This is not to say I didn’t like the book.  I thought the plot was suspenseful, the characters were fun, the legal and philosophical debate around clones was fascinating, the technology was cool, and most of the murder solving was great.  There were flashback scenes that enhanced both the characterizations and the mystery.  I just didn’t love the climax and the ending.  I knew overall why the crew was placed there but didn’t really guess any of the details.  And the details were a mixed bag.  I would say I liked this book very much but overall it left me strangely unsatisfied.

I am however in the minority and most readers seem to have adored it.  So don’t just take me word for it . . .

Check out me other crew members effusive reviews:

Kate @ forwinternights

Mogsy @ bibliosanctum

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

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.

At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.

Maria’s vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn’t the only one to die recently…

To visit the author’s website go to:

Mur Lafferty – Author

To buy the novel go to:

six wakes – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Captain’s Log – provenance (Ann Leckie)

Ahoy there mateys!  I have been a fan of Ann Leckie ever since I read her debut novel.  And what a doozy that one was.  It still be one of me all-time favourites ever.  In fact, I featured and gushed about this author in me Broadside No. 16 due to provenance coming out.  And now I finally read her newest book.  Hooray!!

I must start by saying that I loved it.  The characters, writing, plot, and world are so well done.  While the story about Ingray was fabulous and plot-twisty and stellar and just plain fun, what I really took from the book was not the story at all but the juxtaposition between the society of the Hwaeans in this book and the Radchaai in her imperial radch trilogy.  This was not me intention but, well, this aspect provided me myriad entertainments.

Ye see this novel is technically a standalone that is set in the same world as the trilogy.  I absolutely love what I would consider companion books that exist in a world but showcase other aspects and cultures of said world – like in me reviews of the Culture books or the Craftworld books.  So this was a mind-puzzle gift that I found fascinating.  If ye haven’t read the first book in the trilogy, ancillary justice, then the next section will likely not make sense to ye.  And I suggest ye read that novel before reading this one because of said paragraphs below.  So while there are no plot spoilers ahead, I will be doing some mild comparisons and random thoughts so if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

  • I adored that the Radchaai were the protagonists of the trilogy and of course considered themselves the highest-cultured beings of the universe.  And in this book we showcase the Hwaean culture who believes they are superior.  Both cultures spend time pointing out how certain habits of other societies proved they were uncouth.  That being said, both cultures also like to see themselves as being open-minded, which I found to be hysterical.
  • For example there is a Radchaai diplomat in this novel.  Though a very minor character, the diplomat was used perfectly.  The author highlights the hypocrisy of the Radchaai in terms of the person appointed for the diplomatic job and also in the diplomat’s attitude towards her job.  Yet in certain situations the diplomat takes her tasks extremely seriously and is an important component to how the plot progresses and is resolved.  It was awesome!
  • We get to see multiple cultures in all the books.  Geck, Radchaai, Rrrrr, Omken, and others.  So very different and complex and fun.  In particular the use (or non-use) of terms of gender vary by culture and language and the complexities rock!  The mistakes are sometimes very funny and yet somehow also insightful into how gender is dealt with in this day and age.
  • I also adore the different types of justice systems portrayed and the intricacies in how twisted interplanetary law can be.  In Tyr Siilas there is a fine based system.  Hwae seems slightly more like the British judicial system.  Also how all of the cultures deal with the treaty with the Presger is portrayed so well in all of the novels.  Citizenship was never such an interesting conundrum.
  • I loved how the Radchaai have their memorial pins and the Hwae have their vestiges.  I have to admit that I am more partial to a memorial pin.  However the use of the vestiges in this book were central to the story and a hoot besides.  I kinda want the Radchaai pins and the tourist vestiges.
  • Speaking of tourism, Ann Leckie is awesome about writing about tourist places that are normal for the regular population but that I would totally visit.  From bridges in the trilogy to Eswae Parkland in this book, I am fascinating and wish I could visit.  I would sail the stars just to see the ruin glass hills.  If only . . .

Me writing skills are not good enough to get into more particulars and I certainly don’t want to give away spoilers.  But this novel has been lingering in me head and heart and thoughts.  I suggest if ye haven’t read Ann Leckie’s work then ye should witness for yerself the magic of her writing.

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

Following her record-breaking debut trilogy, Ann Leckie, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke and Locus Awards, returns with an enthralling new novel of power, theft, privilege and birthright.

A power-driven young woman has just one chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artifacts prized by her people. She must free their thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned.

Ingray and her charge will return to her home world to find their planet in political turmoil, at the heart of an escalating interstellar conflict. Together, they must make a new plan to salvage Ingray’s future, her family, and her world, before they are lost to her for good.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Ann Leckie – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

provenance – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Broadside No. 18 – Lucy Maud Montgomery

Ahoy there me mateys!  Welcome to the eighteenth broadside – the Lucy Maud Montgomery edition.  In 2018, one of me favourite books of all time, anne of green gables, will turn 110 years old!  Me crew members jackie b @ deathbytsundoku and jane @ greenishbookshelf have been doing an anne-read-along and I have been happily following their progress.  I adore LMM’s writing, have read 17 of her books, and think this be a fine time to highlight the author . . .

Please note: All book descriptions are from Goodreads and the book title links lead to Goodreads.

anne of green gables series

The collection that I grew up reading (and rereading) included 8 books that tell the stories of Anne Shirley growing up on Prince Edward Island.  The tales begin with anne of green gables.  The Cuthberts, a brother and sister, hope to adopt a boy orphan to help with the farm.  However when Matthew goes to pick up the orphan, he finds a red-headed little girl instead.  Their lives are never the same.  Both they and this pirate Captain ended up in love with Anne with an E.  She was feisty, intelligent, imaginative, clever, and just all around awesome.  Ye get to read Anne’s adventures from being a newcomer in a small town, to making new friends and enemies, through growing up, to falling in love (sigh!), to working, to having children.  Then we even get to follow some of her children.  I have to admit I was a bit obsessed.  I adored the movie with Megan Follows who will always be me Anne:

Then there was the Avonlea show in me later years that I watched and adored.  And when me ma took suggestions for where to go in Canada, I begged to go to PEI.  Which we did.  Me ma is awesome.  The trip was a dream come true.  From seeing the Haunted Wood and getting to walk Lover’s Lane to looking at the red mud, I was absolutely ridiculously excited.  I even got me postcards stamped at the Cavendish post office.  I still call friends “bosom buddies” and “kindred spirits.”  Me first mate also recently read this book and thought it was wonderful (so he didn’t have to walk the plank!).  Book one is a classic that I think everyone should read and the rest of the books make me heart happy too.  Okay I know there is not a lot of details here about these books and just a lot of ramblin’ but I adore them all.  Arrr!

Some favorite quotes:

“A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my innermost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Goodreads has this to say about the first novel:

When Marilla Cuthbert’s brother, Matthew, returns home to Green Gables with a chatty redheaded orphan girl, Marilla exclaims, “But we asked for a boy. We have no use for a girl.” It’s not long, though, before the Cuthberts can’t imagine how they could ever do without young Anne of Green Gables–but not for the original reasons they sought an orphan. Somewhere between the time Anne “confesses” to losing Marilla’s amethyst pin (which she never took) in hopes of being allowed to go to a picnic, and when Anne accidentally dyes her hated carrot-red hair green, Marilla says to Matthew, “One thing’s for certain, no house that Anne’s in will ever be dull.” And no book that she’s in will be, either.

the emily series

This series is about another orphan girl, named Emily, who grows up in Canada.  Don’t ye just love the cover for book one?  A cat and a book.  Yup.  Sign me up.  Now I have to admit that since Anne had me heart and soul, I never was as obsessed with Emily.  But like Green Gables, this series has wonderful friendships, fun antics, and the lovely writing of LMM.  Really I should read these again at some point!

Goodreads has this to say about the first novel:

Emily Starr never knew what it was to be lonely — until her beloved father died. Now Emily’s an orphan, and her mother’s snobbish relatives are taking her to live with them at New Moon Farm. She’s sure she won’t be happy. Emily deals with stiff, stern Aunt Elizabeth and her malicious classmates by holding her head high and using her quick wit. Things begin to change when she makes friends: with Teddy, who does marvelous drawings; with Perry, who’s sailed all over the world with his father yet has never been to school; and above all, with Ilse, a tomboy with a blazing temper. Amazingly, Emily finds New Moon beautiful and fascinating. With new friends and adventures, Emily might someday think of herself as Emily of New Moon.

the pat of silver bush series

This series is two books.  I have to admit that me memories of this are: “I loved it.”  That is it.  No details at all.  Sheesh! I think this duology is certainly going to get a reread in 2018.  Arrrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the first novel:

Patricia Gardiner loved Silver Bush more than anything else in the world. She was born and raised in the beautiful old-fashioned house on Prince Edward Island, “where things always seemed the same” and good things never changed. But things do change at Silver Bush–from her first day at school to the arrival of her new own first romance. Through it all, Pat shares her experiences with her beloved friends and discovers the one thing that truly never changes: the beauty and peace she will always find at Silver Bush–the house that remembers her whole life.

 

So that be me introduction to L.M. Montgomery.  If ye haven’t read any of her novels I would suggest ye hoist those sails and get moving!

To visit her website go to:

L.M. Montgomery – Author

To see a complete list of all books she has written visit:

L.M. Montgomery – Books

To add this author or her novels to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

If ye missed me other author broadsides:

Garth Nix – No. 1

Sharon Shinn – No. 2

John Scalzi – No. 3

Tamora Pierce – No. 4

Brandon Sanderson – No. 5

Robin McKinley – No. 6

Michael Crichton – No. 7

Mercedes Lackey – No. 8

Dean Kootnz – No. 9

Justine Larbalestier – No. 10

Neil Gaiman – No. 11

Kate Elliot – No. 12

George R.R. Martin – No. 13

Rosemary Kirstein – No. 14

Piers Anthony – No. 15

Ann Leckie – No. 16

Paolo Bacigalupi – No. 17