The Captain’s Log – thunderhead (Neal Shusterman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, scythe, 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 .

First let’s take a look at another beautiful cover:

 

I am absolutely glad I read this novel.  I loved it!  This book is set one year after the events of book one.  Citra is a junior scythe and is trying to settle into that new role.  At the same time, her approach to death is unusual and is causing political waves.  Rowan has chosen to become an vengeful angel of death known as “Lucifer” and attempts to fight the corruption of scythes from the outside.  Much to the chagrin of the organization.  The clash between the new wave scythes and the older guard continues to cause havoc.

I thought this book be way better than the first novel in terms of plot and pacing.  The Thunderhead viewpoints were fun and I adored the addition of Greyson.  In fact he became me favourite character in the book.  And I loved the ending all around.  I won’t give any other details because no spoilers.  But I am eagerly awaiting book three and think that all of me crew should give this series a chance.  Arrrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neal Shusterman – Author

To buy the book go to:

thunderhead – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

scythe – book 1 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Sci-Fi)

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The Captain’s Log – sourdough (Robin Sloan)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This story is about sourdough bread, robots, and a quirky girl named Lois.  This book made me long for fresh baked bread to eat while I read.  It is a contemporary with a blend of sci-fi and magical realism and fantasy mixed in very subtlety.  It kinda defies adequate explanation.  The simple version is that a woman named Lois who works as a programmer is given a bread “starter” and learns to bake sourdough thus changing her life forever.  That seems like it could be boring but it is not.  The book feels lighthearted and yet has dense ideas underneath.  It was fast paced and a delight.  I read it in one sitting.  I loved Lois.  I loved the starter.  I loved the book.  Try it.  Just  be prepared for it to make yer belly rumble.

Check out me crew member’s effusive review:

Stephanie @ adventuresofabibliophile – who introduced me to this one!  Thanks matey!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favourite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread.

Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive.  Soon she is baking loaves daily and taking them to the farmer’s market, where an exclusive close-knit club runs the show.

When Lois discovers another, more secret market, aiming to fuse food and technology, a whole other world opens up. But who are these people, exactly?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Robin Sloan – Author

To buy the book go to:

sourdough – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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

Captain’s Log – the salt line (Holly Goddard Jones)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This book was described as being in the spirit of station eleven but with ticks.  Being as I love me some dystopian fiction I gave this one a shot.

So in this version of Earth, ticks have become a menace that is so bad that most humans live in zones beyond controlled wastelands (the salt line) and walls that keep them sequestered and safe from the natural world.  The difference in this book is that a lot of the outside world is still beautiful.  So there are very rich adventure seekers that pay vast sums of money to go on death-defying adventures to see fall foliage or the mountains etc.  But beware if a tick bites, they only have a very limited time to burn them out of their skin or risk serving as an incubator for tick eggs – usually with fatal results.

The strength of the novel lies in the characterizations and in the overlaying ideas of the adventure-seekers.  Each member of the expedition has interesting reasons for venturing beyond the salt line.  In particular the relationship between Marta and Wes was very much a favourite.  Edie and Violet were two other beloved characters.  I also thought the ticks and their impact on society were well through out and portrayed.

The main problem I had with the book was with the politics of the outer-zone survivors who take the adventurers hostage.  Once the hostages reach the village and are trapped, the books plot went downhill for me.  The outcomes were a little predicable and the politics were rather simplistic.  The pacing slowed down.  I continued to read because of the characters but was overall unsatisfied with the ending.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the read.  I just didn’t think it was amazing.  But the characters and ideas are worth reading this novel and who know ye may love it more than I did.

For a take on this novel by some of me crew check out:

this review by Mogsy @ thebibliosanctum

this review by Lisa @ tenaciousreader

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Holly Goddard Jones – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the salt line – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Captain’s Log – spoonbenders (Daryl Gregory)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This was the absolute perfect read for the last book of 2017.  I was first introduced to this author with his book afterparty.  That book was a sci-fi dealing with illicit drug use which I found to be fun, thought-provoking, and twisty.  Those same adjectives could also be used to describe this one.  This book kinda reminded me of a prayer for owen meany, only a lot less sad.

This book follows the Telemachus family who have paranormal abilities.  The family is zany and endearing.  Seriously I would write more but I have been beaten to the punch by me crew who frankly explains this one better than I ever could.

So check out this review by Mogsy @ thebibliosanctum for an excellent take on this novel!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Daryl Gregory – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

spoonbenders – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

afterparty (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)

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

Captain’s Log – spellwright (Blake Charlton)

Ahoy there me mateys!  So this book is a bit of a conundrum.  Ye see I normally write me reviews immediately after finishing a tome.  I like to put me thoughts in me log right away as it helps me process what I read.  And yet this novel was read months ago and I am still struggling with pinning this one down.  Me rule be to review every book I read so I figured come hell or high water, today be the day.

The Good:

  • extremely fun magic system.  magic spells are written out in luminous text using parts of the body.  it is an odd system but totally works.
  • a main character, Nicodemus, who has failed to live up to his golden child destiny.  they thought he was the chosen one and then gave up on him.
  • Nicodemus has dyslexia, a major factor in why he has disastrous consequences when using his magic.  woven into the story and magic in a beautiful way.  the author has dyslexia too so #ownvoices.
  • a spellcaster named Shannon who is the mentor of Nicodemus but is just plain awesome.  easily me favourite character in the book.
  • golems.  very cool constructs.  kinda want one.
  • dragons. ’nuff said.

The Not So Good:

  • the pacing.  so very hard to get into the story.  the world building is intriguing and kept me going but parts of the story were a slog.  wanted to abandon ship multiple times.
  • Nicodemus is annoying.  very much sympathize with his situation.  he is just so bitter and angry and not in the sarcastic clever witty way.  he is a hot headed fool.
  • Nicodemus cannot breathe without looking for his mentor, Shannon’s, approval.  totally get why this is part of the story but urg.  in combination with the previous note, makes me want to wring his neck.
  • evil beings for the sake of evil.  perhaps there is a greater reason then the usual.  but this book didn’t explore it.
  • dragons.  well this trilogy claims to have dragons which be part of why it was begun.  i got a dream dragon.  huh?

So there it be – me thoughts.  I like the world building and magic quite a bit.  The main character and pacing irk me.  So do I want to read the next in the series.  All these months later and I still be unconvinced.  So has any of me crew read this series and want to tip the ballast one way or the other?

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Blake Charlton – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

spellwright – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List