On the Horizon – select (Marit Weisenberg)

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

select (Marit Weisenberg)

Title: select

Author: Marit Weisenberg

Publisher: Charlesbridge Teen

Publication Date: October 3, 2017 (hardcover/e-book)

ISBN: 9781580898065

Source: NetGalley

This was a book I stumbled across that had a fascinating premise and I was excited to have me wish granted.  A group of biologically different humans lives in Austin, TX.  Julia, is one of these “select” people but has always had trouble fitting in.  Forced to keep a low profile and told to hide her gifts, she makes a mistake and finds herself forced to go to ::gasp:: a public high school with “normal” humans.  What will she do?

Apparently she will have insta-lust and waffle a lot.  Now this was a fast read and only took a couple of hours.  I did finish it, which was good.  But seriously for a group of special people trying to hide their gifts, they seem to go out of their way to flaunt themselves.  The leader (Julia’s dad) is a billionaire investor.  The whole group lives in mansions, wears designer clothes, and drives expensive cars.  I have known teens who drive BMWs and such.  They do NOT blend.

The other kids in the “select” group are daredevils and troublemakers and yet none of them have ever been caught or truly punished.  Mommy and Daddy just get the lawyers to bail them out.  So the premise that Julia blows their cover and has to be punished seemed unbelievable.  And Julia being forced to go to public school for punishment did not lead to anything other than fodder for the insta-love relationship.  Julia skates through school with no real consequences for anything really.  Though she learns to control her powers by using them in stupid ways.  Bland.

The relationship itself was kinda creepy and self-serving, especially in the beginning.  Julia and John have instant chemistry but her method of learning about him is to read his mind without permission and then use that knowledge to encourage him.  Just because she is bored.  I would rather they had a better relationship than one built on lies and some flashes of exposed leg.  Oh add in some non-appealing pseudo love triangle junk and shake not stir.

Even the powers of Julia and the “select” left something to be desired.  Instead of rooting for them, all of the people in her family group felt like a cult.  The powers, like telekinesis or enhanced stamina, were barely used at all and when they were, it felt more like whiny magic people throwing temper tantrums.  If that is what it meant to be one of the “select” then I will gladly pass.

I would have loved for this to have been a deeper look into different branches of human evolution living alongside each other.  I would have loved the “select” to have used their intelligence and powers for something other than money and solitude.  I would have loved for all of the characters to have more depth.  I would have loved for Julia’s golden cage to have actually been appealing so that she had a better reason for her inner conflict.

Overall the premise did not live up to its promise.  Sigh.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Charlesbridge Teen!

Side note: Some mateys disagree with me.  Check out this review by the leisure diaries!

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

To visit the author’s Facebook page go to:

Marit Weisenberg – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

select – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

On the Horizon – missing (Kelley Armstrong)

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

missing (Kelley Armstrong)

Title: missing

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: Random House Children’s Crown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: TODAY!!! (Hardcover/E-book)

ISBN:     978-0399550324

Source:  NetGalley

So me mateys, I continue with me Kelley Armstrong obsession and this be her latest offering.  It is not me favorite of her novels (as I prefer her fantasy or adult thrillers) but this was a quick and fun read.

The story follows Winter Crane who lives in a small poverty stricken town in Kentucky.  Like most young residents of the town, she has one hope – to graduate high school and escape to the big city.  Just like her big sister  and best friend did.  Except Winter can’t seem to get a hold of either of them.

Due to an abusive home life, she tends to take care of herself.  Think hunting and trapping and shack in the woods.  One day in the woods, Winter rescues a young guy in trouble who happens to be looking for Winter’s best friend – the same friend that Winter has been unable to reach.  In trying to figure out the whereabouts of her missing friend, Winter begins to think that not everyone in town made it to the big city.  Can she solve the mystery before anyone else goes missing?

One of the “problems” I had with the novel was the setting.  In me vagabond nature, I once lived in a small, one street town in Kentucky.  The author does try to address the stereotypes and challenge them.  However, there were inclusions of many small town stereotypes like an idiot pointless sheriff, using food stamps as currency, moonshine stills, and old mountain folk with no running water or electricity.  I couldn’t tell if some of these facts were trying to be based in reality or just plot points to forward the story.

Two less then stellar impressions were of some of the twists towards the end of the novel.  I kinda felt like I was reading a V.C. Andrews melodrama in parts.  And I wasn’t a huge fan of those books even back in the day.  Also the way Winter puts another person’s wishes about reconciliation with her abuser ahead of her own preferences made me cringe.

But these issues were very minor for me overall concerning me enjoyment.  I still found the author’s writing, characters, and story to be engaging.  I read this book in one quick session.  While I don’t think this will ever be a re-read for me, it was certainly entertaining if taken with a grain of salt.  I very much look forward to Kelley Armstrong’s next novel.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House/Crown Books!

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

Winter Crane has exactly one thing to look forward to in Reeve’s End: leaving it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the forest. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found a boy–a stranger–left for dead.

But now he’s gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left Reeve’s End at all? What if they’re all missing?

To visit the author’s website and blog go to:

Kelley Armstrong – Author

To buy the novel visit:

missing – 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)

forest of ruin – book three (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

the masked truth (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Thriller)

city of the lost – book one (Off the Charts – Thriller/Crime Novel)

a darkness absolute – book two (On the Horizon & Off the Charts – Thriller/Crime Novel)

Captured Horizons – blacksouls (Nicole Castroman)

Yo ho ho me mateys!  The day is at hand.  Ye can finally get yer grubby mitts on this delightful booty:

blacksouls (Nicole Castroman)

Title: blacksouls

Author: Nicole Castroman

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

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

ISBN: 9781481491051

To read me review of the first novel in the series, blackhearts, click here!

To read me review of this novel, blacksouls, click here!

To add the first novel, blackhearts, to yer Goodreads ports fer plunder list, click here!

To add the second novel, blacksouls, to yer Goodreads ports fer plunder list, click here!

To buy the novel blacksouls, please click here!

Happy reading!

x The Captain

On the Horizon – blacksouls (Nicole Castroman)

Hearty har har me mateys!  Time to hear about a fellow grand and glorious sea dog . . .

blacksouls (Nicole Castroman)

Title: blacksouls

Author: Nicole Castroman

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Publication Date: April 11, 2017 (hardback/e-book)

ISBN: 9781481491051

Source: NetGalley

If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, blackhearts, 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 . . .

So I am assuming most of me readers have heard of the fearsome Blackbeard who sailed the waters of the West Indies on the Queen Anne’s Revenge.  The first book sets up the “true” story of how Anne, a half West Indies / half English daughter of a respected merchant and the young Blackbeard (known at the time as Edward Drummond) meet and fall in love.

The second novel continues their story outside of Bristol, England and heads seaward to the Caribbean, mate!  While I loved the first book and it’s forays into Blackbeard’s beginnings and how some of the myths surrounding him started, not much of it involved the sea.  It was more of the story of how Blackbeard ending up having to go to the Caribbean.

This novel begins with Anne on the sea dealing with a dead man and continued to be a non-stop rollickin’ adventure.  I devoured this in one sitting and loved every moment.  From sea battles, to political intrigue, pirate code, treachery, and swashbucklin’, I found this to be the real pirate tale that I be cravin’.  Arrrrr!

Both Anne and Blackbeard continue to be fun characters to follow.  Feisty, spunky Anne be me favorite in particular.  Add in excellent friendships, other pirates, and what life was like in Nassau, and I be hooked.

The author continued her entertaining portrayal of what Blackbeard’s life could have been like and how he turned “pirate” so to speak.  I mean maybe it happened this way . . . who can say.  Me mateys should definitely read this.

Side note: This was the author’s second novel.  Still an excellent taste in choice of subject matter.  Brilliant job.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing!

The author’s website says this about the novel:

Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.

Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.

Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.

Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Nicole Castroman – Author

To buy this wonderful yarn visit:

blacksouls – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Curiosities of the Deep – ride a mule (M.H. Boroson)

Ahoy there mateys!  For those new to me crew, this be a category for those novels whose stories of acquisition be strange and unusual – like the time someone commandeered me 12 pages!  There be a tale to tell on how I got me grubby mitts on this one . . .

Ye see this short story is not available to just any scalawag with a hankerin’.  It is given to only those few who belong to a secret society of book lovers.  And how does one join this society and get to add this treasure to their tally of booty?  Well sit back me hearty (and grab that grog), for this tale twists and turns, and let me tell ye . . .

So a long while back, at nearly the start of keeping this here log, a curious thing happened.  Ye see I be always on the lookout fer treasure as all Captains be.  So every time I be back in port, I follow hints and whispers to find the shady places, full of shady characters, wherein the clues and possibilities for plunder might be found.

In one such adventure, after evading local authorities, brandishing me cutlass at the cur who thought I could be followed, and stopping by the local inn for some rum, I ended up in . . . a local bookstore.  Egads!  What hints there be of riches and exciting locales all ripe fer plunderin’.  Being the smart Captain that I be, I quickly took notice of interesting ports for plunder.  Number 9 on said list be this gem:

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

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.  Quite frankly, I adored it.  The author hinted that more of the glorious tales of Li-lin might exist.  So through every storm, every port, every glass of grog, I kept me eye out and me ears to the wind to catch a glimpse of me elusive prey . . .

And then behold, a wink here and a nudge there lead me to Goodreads, an oft frequented haunt, wherein a connection was made with Raquel who be an interestin’ lass who seems to love both cats and books.  With those interests, she be a source I could trust, a rare find indeed.  So with her set of coordinates, I set sail for me next part of the adventure.

And what did I find there but a message in a bottle from the master manipulator himself . . . the author, M.H. Boroson!  The salty cad.  The trickster led me from the source that started this search, the girl with the ghost eyes, to a map written in his own log, wherein if ye are lucky ye might find his master plans.  Now as members of me crew, I will share the secret of how to find the story story.  Spread the word to other members of the crew.

What!  Ye lazy scurvy dogs!  Too full of grog and victuals and the pleasures of port to move.  Arrrrrgh!  Fine.  For those of ye who cannot read so good, like One-Eyed Jack . . .

That M.H. Boroson (good name for a ship rather!) is crafty and wants more folk to read his debut novel.  So like any good sailor, he knows ye need the best bait.  So basically, if ye read his debut novel and post a review (for the good or evil) on his book’s Amazon’s log page, then he will send ye the delight that is the short story.

Now me being the crafty sort, I had already posted me review of the novel.  But I sent him a scroll and we came to an accord.  His return scroll stated:

Ahoy, Captain! Attacht be a copy o’ RIDE A MULE. Yer review be appreciated, arr!

So as part of the Code and in terms with the accord, here be the conclusion to this awesome adventure . . .

If it wasn’t made clear before, this Captain adored this short story.  It immediately took me back to the world of Li-lin and Chinatown.  I could read a million more brief snippets of her adventures while waiting on M.H. Boroson to finish the next novel so I can challenge him to a friendly duel and commandeer it.  While only 21 pages long, the story contains elements of the world-building that made the novel so wonderful.  Favorite characters like Mr. Yanqiu and Mr. Pu make an appearance.  It was short and sweet and left me wanting more.   If ye love Daoism, kung fu, monsters, magic, love, and Chinese folklore then ye should read this.

Now get out there and read me matey’s debut novel and join the secret society that loved it and gets to read this short story.  Savvy?

Amazon has this to say about the girl with the ghost eyes:

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 his first novel visit:

the girl with the ghost eyes – Book

To add the short story treasure to yer Goodreads list visit:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Me Previous Curiosities of the Deep:

Patrick, Den – the boy with the porcelain blade – Part One (Fantasy)

Patrick, Den – the boy with the porcelain blade – Part Two (Fantasy)

Parr, M.J.R. – kings of the wilderness – the 700th arc book one (Sci-Fi)

Auxier, Jonathan – the night gardener (Young Adult Fantasy)

On the Horizon – the bone witch (Rin Chupeco)

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 . . .

the bone witch (Rin Chupeco)

Title: the bone witch

Author: Rin Chupeco

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

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

ISBN: 978-1492635826

Source: NetGalley

This novel be pure magic.  I read it in one sitting and fell in love with the author’s writing and the world she created.  The main character, Tea, learns that she is a bone witch when she instinctively raises her brother from the dead in her grief.  Because of the rarity of her powers and the fact that bone witches be hated and feared, Tea leaves her family to train and learn to control her powers.

The novel is told from two perspectives – Tea in the past and a bard in the present.  I loved the juxtaposition of witnessing Tea’s thoughts about training and the bard’s views of what she looks like to an “outsider” in her full strength and poise.

This novel is slow paced but filled with glorious details.  It was the details that made the world and story come vividly to life.  Things like the descriptions of magic woven into clothing, the elaborate training of the witches (known as asha). the different ethnicities of people, or even types food, made me feel that the author was describing a real place.  Or at least a place well known to her.

Add in fantastical creatures called the daeva and I was mesmerized.  What are daeva?  Well according to the author’s website they are “Deadly creatures that roam the land . . . To defeat these beasts, one must find and rip their bezoar from their bodies – although such an action is only a temporary respite, as they are capable of resurrection.”  They are all different shapes and sizes.  How Tea deals with these monsters is at the heart of the story and one of the main reasons I loved it.

This book was a lovely set-up.  I will definitely be reading the next book in the series when it comes out and while impatiently waiting, I will try and get me grubby mitts on her debut novel, the girl from the well.

Side note: the author’s about me page is awesome!  In fact, I rather enjoyed pursuing the whole site.  Check it out.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire!

Netgalley’s website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Rin Chupeco – Author

To buy the novel go to:

the bone witch – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Keep a Weathered Eye Out for Sourcebook Fire’s Other Offerings Like:

labyrinth lost (Zoraida Cordova)

Sailing to the Stars – empress of a thousand skies (Rhoda Belleza)

Ahoy there me mateys!  While this book was partly enjoyable, I am not sure that I would read the next in the series.  For starters, the blurb basically misleads the reader . . .

The story is supposed to be about a girl named Rhee who is the last survivor of her imperial bloodline.  She wants revenge for the death of her family and a fight to get the throne.  A soldier, Aly, is falsely accused of killing Rhee and must fight to get out the truth in order to save himself and perhaps avert a war.

It says that “Rhee and Aly are thrown together” to save the world.  Ummm they see each other across the room once in this novel.  That’s it.  I kept waiting for their paths to cross.  Perhaps in the next novel.

Well basically Rhee is a super annoying protagonist.  Her method of getting revenge is subpar.  For supposedly being a badass, she basically jumps into everything with no thought and stumbles from one place to another.  She doesn’t have a real plan.  Her take on revenge is juvenile and she seems to have no inkling of how to be an empress or desire to be one.  She does not even appear to be willing to fight for herself.  She expects everyone to help her.

Aly on the other hand was the highlight of this novel.  He has the second POV.  I loved many of his chapters.  The fact that he has a robot buddy didn’t hurt.  He uses his brain, meets cool people on his travels, and doesn’t whine.  I wish the whole book was about him and his friend Kara.  Rhee could disappear and I think the story would improve.  He might be worth reading the second book for . . .

The plot itself had some extremely predictable points.  In addition, time jumps between chapters and POV with no real explanation of logistics.  The number of pods the characters steal without being caught (or even chased) sort of belied a feasible reality.  In fact the world-building and planets seemed rather lackluster.  As did the tech.  Though there was an exceptionally cool ship made of organic matter that I loved.  The book needed more fun details like that.

Again, I didn’t hate it.  I just did not think the world or tech or characters were anything new or stunning.  I think if ye never read a space opera yarn then this may be a book to lure readers into the genre.  But for me it was just an okay trip.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Empress
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

To visit the author’s publisher’s website go to:

Rhoda Belleza – Author

To buy this novel to go:

empress of a thousand skies – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List