The Captain’s Log – down among the sticks and bones (Seanan McGuire)

Ahoy there me mateys!  When I read the first novella in this series, every heart a doorway, I had no words to do that story justice.  Then I read this one.  Words fail me again, but I will try.  So basically this novella was as stunning as the first.  This second book gives us the story of what went before – a prequel if ye will.  Getting the new perspectives on two characters from the first book changed me perception of book one in an awesome way.  If I had time I would have immediately picked up the first book again to read it with me new insights.  Another time mehaps.  I just utterly adore this series and am so glad me crew recommended it over and over and over again until me noggin finally caught on and listened.  If ye haven’t read the first novella then do yerself a favor and grab it.  Do read them in order.  I also didn’t read the blurb  before reading this one which I highly recommend.  I still included the blurb below, however, so be forewarned.  I want the next book in the series.  Something to look forward to in 2018!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Seanan McGuire – Author

To buy the book go to:

down among the sticks and bones – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

every heart a doorway – book 1 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

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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

The Captain’s Log – the empty grave (Jonathan Stroud)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Reach fer yer grog!  Day five with book five of the Lockwood & Co. series done.  Challenge Completed!  I give meself a pat on me back!  Arrr!  As usual if ye haven’t read the first book in this series, the screaming staircase, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  No spoilers ahead but if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

So this bleary-eyed but happy Captain managed to read all of the books of the series in one week by the skin of me teeth.  The last book cannot be dealt with in any major way due to crazy spoilers but I will share me overall impressions with ye.

So while book four continues to be me favourite, this book was a highly pleasing conclusion to the series.  There were a couple of major plot points that I did not expect in any fashion and I LOVED them.  The good guys win which is always nice but there were some unintended consequences to the win which I also loved.  I am hard pressed to pick a favorite character at this point.  Lucy was the narrator throughout and it was excellent seeing things through her somewhat persnickety personality.  Flo, George, Kipps, really the whole gang, were lovely to read about.  I am so very glad that this series was brought to me attention and that I experienced it.  Especially during Spooktober!  I think no matter what be yer age, there is something to enjoy in following the adventures of Lockwood & Company.  Do it!

Now some general thoughts of reading a five book series in a condensed timeframe:

  1. I haven’t done this in so long that I now realize that I am not likely to repeat the exercise anytime soon.  While I may occasionally still do a 3 bells segment, in general I really do prefer some time in between the books of a series.
  2. Reading five books in five days does tax me brain slightly.  In between fighting off sharks, burying treasure, and sailing the high seas (i.e me real life), every spare moment was spent readin’.  While that is always fun, the pace did mean that other things like shut-eye and grub sometimes got forgotten.  Me stummy is still grumblin’.  I need some victuals.  Three books in five days is slightly more palatable.
  3. So many unfinished series.  Other members of me crew have been discussing this one recently and writing this Log post sent me a ponderin’ this question as well.  The answer – I have no real idea.  I don’t know how many series I have unfinished or even which ones I want to finish.  I can, however, more easily recall some series that I want to start.  So at some point in the near future I may be making meself a more concrete list.

So now it be on to the next great adventure.  I have no idea what port I will plunder next . . .

I normally put a blurb here but the blurb is soooo very spoilery that I shall not this time.  So there!

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jonathan Stroud – Author

To buy the book go to:

the empty grave – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the screaming staircase (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy e-Arc)

the whispering skull (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the hollow boy (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the creeping shadow (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – the creeping shadow (Jonathan Stroud)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Day four with book four of the Lockwood & Co. series completed.  One more to go!  Arrr!  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, the screaming staircase, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  No spoilers ahead but if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

This Captain is one happy reader.  Ye see  me hearties, yesterday I thought book three was me favourite.  Now it is definitely book four!  Mr. Stroud ups the ante with this one and while I want to rant and rave about how wonderful this book is, I can’t.  Because spoilers.  The spoilers would abound.  Book three sets up book four and so I can’t talk about this one without ruining elements of book three.  And I would never do that to me crew.  So let’s just say that the friendships, ghosts, characters, and plot rock.  The writing style is awesome.  The ending was fierce.  I want more!

I am so very glad that I accepted this challenge am looking forward to reading and finishing the last book tonight!  I will succeed!  Arrrrr!

I normally put a blurb here but the blurb is soooo very spoilery that I shall not this time.  So there!

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jonathan Stroud – Author

To buy the book go to:

the creeping shadow – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the screaming staircase (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy e-Arc)

the whispering skull (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the hollow boy (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – the hollow boy (Jonathan Stroud)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Day three with book three of the Lockwood & Co. series completed.  Over half way there!  Arrr!  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, the screaming staircase, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book.  Worth the read.  No spoilers ahead but if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . . . . .

Okay it’s official.  I adore this series.  Book three was absolutely fabulous and me favorite thus far.  Soooo good.  In this tale, Lockwood & Co.’s reputation has continued to improve.  In fact the trio can hardly keep up.  But the high profile cases are still hard to come by.  However, a huge influx of ghosts is keeping the major firms extremely busy which brings a wealthy client to the their door.  The problem?  A set of creepy bloody footprints.  Can the agency solve this case?  What about the massive city outbreak that is threatening to shut down the city?  Can they help with that too?

So many things are great in this book.  There is the usual banter between the trio, the rivalry between the firms, the ghosts, the cases that Lockwood & Co. work on, and characters like Flo and the skull.  Still wonderful.  But the main focus for me in this one was the continuing growth of Lucy’s talent.  This is a book of change and growth for the trio as a whole but Lucy in particular.  This book also brought back some of the tingling feelings of ickiness when reading about some of the situations with the ghosts just like I had in book one.  Add in a new character that adds to both the angst and the humor and I was hooked.  And that ending sheesh!  Totally not expecting that, and I have no idea where the next book is headed.

Just pick up a copy and experience the novel for yerself.  I am looking forward to attempting the fourth book tonight!  Arrrrr!

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

Phantoms in your attic?
Spectres by your bed?
Never fear – Lockwood & Co. are here!

A terrible new outbreak of ghosts is causing chaos across London. With the authorities baffled, psychic investigators Lockwood, Lucy and George see a fresh chance for fame and glory.

But countless horrors await them: bloody footprints on a spiral staircase, murderous ambushes in the night – and, waiting at the centre of the outbreak, the most fearful apparition of all.

Ghouls and spectres, thrills and tension in this brand-new instalment in Jonathan Stroud’s best selling series.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jonathan Stroud – Author

To buy the book go to:

the hollow boy – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the screaming staircase (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy e-Arc)

the whispering skull (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

The Captain’s Log – the whispering skull (Jonathan Stroud)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Day two with book two of the Lockwood & Co. series completed.  Challenge is going well so far.  Arrr!  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, the screaming staircase, 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 . . . . . .

It was absolutely wonderful to get back to Lucy Carlyle and the rest of the agency run by Lockwood.  The gang survived the big first adventure (cause this is book two – duh!) and about six months or so have passed.  The slightly bumbling but lovable trio has had a slew of successful if mildly routine cases.  Then they are hired for what should be more of the same.  But of course everything goes wrong.  A Victorian artifact goes missing and the bureaucratic government agency wants it found at all costs.  And if things weren’t bad enough, Lucy’s powers are strengthening and a skull is talking to her.  Can the Lockwood agency solve the case?  Will the voices drive Lucy insane?

I loved this book too and read it in one sitting.  The highlights continue to be the relationships and banter between Lockwood, Lucy, and George.  The world building continues to entertain too.  This mystery, must like the one in the first book, I mostly solved early on but there were details in the who-dunnit that I did miss.  This didn’t bother me in book one and certainly didn’t bother me in this one.  I just liked being present for the ride.  We get a couple new characters in this novel that I loved and growth in some of the characters in the previous book.  I also love the rivalry between the two agencies fighting to solve the case first.  I know that’s not a lot of plot information but I certainly don’t want to spoil this story.  This book did not feel as spooky as book one but I enjoyed it almost as much.

Just pick up a copy and experience the novel for yerself.  I am looking forward to attempting the third book tonight!  Arrrrr!

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

Ghosts and ghouls beware! The smallest, shabbiest, most talented psychic detection agency is back.

Life is never exactly peaceful for Lockwood and Co. Lucy and George are trying to solve the mystery of the talking skull trapped in their ghost-jar, while Lockwood is desperate for an exciting new case.

Things seem to be looking up when the team is called to Kensal Green Cemetery to investigate the grave of a sinister Victorian doctor. Strange apparitions have been seen there, and the site must be made safe. As usual, Lockwood is confident; as usual, everything goes wrong – a terrible phantom is freed, and a dangerous object is stolen from the coffin.

Lockwood & Co. must recover the relic before its power is unleashed, but it’s a race against time. Their obnoxious rivals from the Fittes agency are also on the hunt. And if that’s not bad enough, the skull in the ghost-jar is stirring again.

The Whispering Skull is the second installment in the chilling and humorous Lockwood & Co. series.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jonathan Stroud – Author

To buy the book go to:

the whispering skull – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the screaming staircase (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy e-Arc)

On the Horizon – gray wolf island (Tracey Neithercott)

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

gray wolf island (Tracey Neithercott)

Title: gray wolf island

Author: Tracey Neithercott

Publisher: Random House Children’s / Knopf Books for Young Readers

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

ISBN: 978-1524715304

Source: NetGalley

 

The stunning cover is what originally drew me in:

 

Then the first line of the blurb was “for fans of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.”  I loved that book so the comparison drew me in further.  Then I discovered it is about five teens who go on a treasure hunt on the mysterious Gray Wolf Island.  Treasure!  Adventure!  Islands!  Maps!  Magical realism!  Arrrrrrr!

I was so excited to read this book and it did not disappoint.  The magical realism in this novel was a lot more subtle than in ava lavender and I loved it. The opening chapter is one of the best set-ups for a story I have read in a very long time.  I was immediately sucked into the story and entranced.  The main character, Ruby, loses her twin sister Sadie.  Ruby was Sadie’s shadow and is lost without her sister.  But before she died, Sadie made Ruby promise to complete one unfinished quest – to find the treasure.

One of the greatest choices of the book was that Ruby is the reluctant treasure hunter.  Her sister was her treasure and now is gone.  Ruby has survivor’s guilt and feels strangled by her promise.  But she eventually feels compelled to see it through.  Unfortunately this means that she has to have assistance and Ruby is not a people person.  One “helpful” teen brings friends and Ruby finds she needs them all.  Each teen also has a secret and the island demands the truth in exchange for survival.

I absolutely fell in love with the characters.  All five teens were uniquely drawn and interesting.  Also the many adults in the novel also had distinct personalities and actually cared about the teens.  Refreshing.  While I love a treasure hunt, the friendships portrayed in the novel become the true focus.  I cannot even adequately explain the love I feel for these teens and how absolutely delightful it was to watch them grow and interact with each other.

The mythos of the island were captivating and rich in detail.  The treasure hunt details were well wrought and suspenseful.  The only problem I had was with a sideline story about Cooper.  It tied in well and is seemingly explained but I think I missed a crucial detail and so am a bit confused. Small detail though.  Maybe one of me crew can explain it to me one day.

Bottom line – fabulous read so check it out.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House Children’s and Knopf Books for Young Readers!

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

To visit the author’s website go to:

Tracey Neithercott – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

gray wolf island – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List