Posts Categorized: Books

I have to pick 10? Favorite books, so far, this year.

July 3, 2015 Blogging, Books 3

You guys! Never in my 10 years of blogging or in my 15 years of tracking my reading, I don’t think I have ever read 90 books by the halfway point in the year. It. Feels. AWESOME.

However, it makes it really hard to pick 10 favorites. I have read so many great books! I can’t imagine how much worse it will be at the end of the year. So, I’m dialing it up to 11. Here are my 11 favorite books, so far, in 2015.

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Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow – this gorgeously written book damn near broke my heart. I cried several times. Love love love it.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson – I literally finished this book YESTERDAY. Kick ass girl who can shapeshift into any form she wants? Honor, loyalty, love? Check, check, check.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – YOU GUYS. I can’t tell you HOW MUCH I identified with this book. I just LOVED IT. Loved it. Seriously, DO YOU GET IT? I LOVE THIS BOOK. I need to reread it now.

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Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey – This has been my year for nonfiction. I’ve read more this year than I’ve probably read in the last 10. I LOVE it. And Anna Lyndsey’s story, of being confined to her pitch dark house because of extreme photosensitivity, is easily one of my favorites. The writing is gorgeous, the story moving. It’s a winner. Even if it makes me so very sad. (my review)

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario – Wow. Another nonfiction book! And wow, what a story. Addario is a war photographer who has visited so many war-torn countries and covered so many wars. I learned more from her about these situations around the world than I probably ever have from a newscast. Such a great book.

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley – Friends, I’d like to you meet Katie. Katie, friends. Katie is my new best friend. That lives in a book. I LOVE HER, OKAY? She can cook, she has a house spirit who looks like a really blonde Björk, and she completely ROCKS. Don’t judge me.

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The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro – My first experience with Ishiguro and it was magical. (my review)

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – OMG this blew my socks off, skirt up, I went head over heels. (my review)

Cinnamon & Gunpowder by Eli Brown – Fiery redhead pirate women FTW! Goodness, this book was fun. (my review)

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The Martian by Andy Weir – Edge of my seat CRAZY suspense. LOVED. IT.

An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay – Holy cow what a novel. Powerfully, yet poetically written, this book broke my heart. (my review)

How about you? What have been your favorite books so far this year? Why?

 

 

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Monthly Wrap Up – June 2015

July 2, 2015 Books, Monthly Wrap Up 10

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Dear June,

Wow. I mean, wow. I honestly thought we wouldn’t get along at all. I mean, you bring the beginning of summer and with it the garden, kids out of school, and that general malaise I usually get this time of year. You really bowled me over though. 11 books? 3 comics? And all of them really REALLY good? Great even? I mean, there isn’t really a bad book in the bunch!

77. Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim #1) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
78. The Bees by Laline Paull, read by Orlagh Cassidy
79. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
80. Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow
81. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, read by Helen Macdonald
82. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
83. Wayward, Issue 8 by Jim Zub
84. Alex + Ada, Issue 15 by Jonathan Luna
85. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, read by David Thorn
86. The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
87. Lumberjanes, Issue 15 by Noelle Stevenson
88. The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
89. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
90. Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness by Sasha Martin, read by Andi Arndt

Favorites for the month? I don’t think I can pick one. Fire Shut Up in My Room was completely gut-wrenching and phenomenal. H is for Hawk was breathtaking. I knew without even opening Seconds that I would be meeting a kindred spirit within its pages. The Book of Speculation was completely in my wheelhouse (seriously, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?). So was The Beautiful Bureaucrat. Nimona was EVERYTHING I thought it would be and MORE. Thank you peer pressure. I was so so so sad to see the end of Alex + Ada and Lumberjanes just gets better with every issue.

June. You took the cake and ate it too. I can’t wait to see what July brings.

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Reading Notes: On a Long Walk with Stephen King

June 25, 2015 Book Reviews, Books 4 ★★★★½

Reading Notes: On a Long Walk with Stephen KingThe Long Walk
by Stephen King
Published by Signet
on July 1979
Genres: Horror
Pages: 370
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
four-half-stars
On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as The Long Walk. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

100 boys. 100 boys, assembled on a hill in Maine. They are from all over the country. They don’t know each other, have never even seen each other before. But they are about to embark on a journey, a journey where only one will come out alive, for they are to walk. Walk until there is only one boy left standing. Along the way, profound things will be learned, friendships will be made, and at the end…does anything really change?

I’m so take it or leave it with King. And it’s not because I don’t think he’s a fantastic writer. I do! I looooooved The Stand. I’m so terrified of The Shining that I am 99.9% sure I will never touch it, even with that proverbial 10-foot pole. I thought Misery was tolerable (I was a teen when I read it, so I really barely remember it). I adored his book On Writing. The movie Pet Sematary threatened my relationship with cats for quite some time and I am a cat. lover. In short, I’m never quite sure where I stand on the guy. Basically he warms by belly in anticipation and chills my blood with apprehension.

So, when I read this book was compared to The Hunger Games, I was unsurprisingly interested and wary.

And, as these sorts of comparisons usually go, I found it remarkably different from The Hunger Games and I was completely okay with that. In many ways, The Long Walk isn’t as political. The reader is never told exactly why these boys walk every year. There is no feeling that they are a sacrifice. There is no visible government, other than the Major and the soldiers who follow the boys, and kill them when they fall. There is obviously a winner and the winner does win a prize (seemingly of a large sum of money). The focus of The Long Walk is more on the boys, their thoughts, their feelings, the process of the long walk and what it does to their minds and bodies. I’ve never really thought about it, but walking, without stopping, at a certain speed, for a long period of time would wear on your body and your mind.

In short, I know I would go completely nuts.

This book was more thought-provoking and interesting than I anticipated and I’m actually really glad I read it. I’m glad Uncle Stevie and I are starting to see things the same way. I appreciated that nothing really changed. No governments were overtly challenged, no minds were changed (except those boys), and the reader can imagine that the same thing will happen next year, and the next, and the next. Sometimes things don’t have to be all wrapped up in a bow and I love the occasionally ending that embraces that. Way to go Uncle Stevie!

 

 

 

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Reading Notes: What I’m reading

June 23, 2015 Books 12

Since I flaked out yesterday (read, I was too hot because our air is broken. Picture me lazing around with semi-naked boys waving big leaves at me please.) and didn’t post what I was reading for the week, I thought I’d do a thorough job here today while it is still cool enough to breathe.

So.

speculationFirstly. Did you hear we had a flash readathon this past weekend? It was great. I didn’t read the WHOLE time, which was also nice, but I did get quite a bit read. Since The Book of Speculation came out this week, I was mainly read it, to catch up and hopefully post on it this week. I would up reading almost all of it and hope to finish it today. It’s about a family of circus-type performers and I’m enjoying it a hella lot more than I did Geek Love, lemmetellya. I don’t always love the going-back-and-forth-in-time plot device, whatever that is called, but it works in this book. Full review later this week. I hope.

secondsI also read THE MOST EXCELLENT GRAPHIC NOVEL EVER during the readathon. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley completely ROCKED MY SOCKS OFF. You guys, I met my new book best friend last night. Katie is sassy, brassy, and loooooooves to cook. And mess with time lines. Goodness gracious holy moley baloney this book was tons of fun.

I managed to rock a couple of single issue comics too. I sobbed over the end of Alex + Ada (DOES IT HAVE TO BE OVER????) and continued to wonder just what the heck is going on in Wayward. All in all I very much enjoyed the flash readathon. Can we have another?

temeraireAfter finishing the EXCELLENT H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, I started the audio of Her Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, the first of the Temeraire books. I thought to myself, “Self, H is for Hawk was all kinds of excellent, I better get something completely different.” Boy, did I. I have like, literally, 5 minutes left in the book and I’m still not sure I like it. Judging from the reviews on Goodreads, and I’m judging by the stars here, I am most definitely missing something. Even one of my favorite authors, Patrick Rothfuss, loved this book. I’d better reread it in book form sometime down the road.

barbariandaysUp next, I’m leaning toward reading Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan 1) because I’m going to the beach next week, 2) it sounds out of my wheelhouse (what does that even mean? seriously? I hear it all the time. Must look up.) and 3) it also sounds really good. I picked up a slew of books at the library yesterday and both Citizen: an American Lyric by Claudia Rankine and Against the Country by Ben Metcalf are really calling to me. I’m thinking of listening to The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye next, but I’m also leaning toward more Flavia adventures with A Red Herring Without Mustard. Somedays, it is so hard to pick.

What are you reading this week? What’s tasty?

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Reading Notes: Some More Thoughts on Pirates and Adventure

June 18, 2015 Book Reviews, Books 3 ★★★★★

Reading Notes: Some More Thoughts on Pirates and AdventurePirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship
by Robert Kurson
Published by Random House
on June 16th 2015
Genres: Biography, Mystery, Nonfiction
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
five-stars
A thrilling new adventure of danger and deep-sea diving, historic mystery and suspense, by the author of the New York Times bestseller Shadow Divers

Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two men—John Chatterton and John Mattera—are willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. At large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the seventeenth century, Bannister’s exploits would have been more notorious than Blackbeard’s, more daring than Kidd’s, but his story, and his ship, have been lost to time. If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make history—it will be just the second time ever that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren’t enough to track down Bannister’s ship. They must travel the globe in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate’s exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and governments and experts. But it’s only when they learn to think and act like pirates—like Bannister—that they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before.

Fast-paced and filled with suspense, fascinating characters, history, and adventure, Pirate Hunters is an unputdownable story that goes deep to discover truths and souls long believed lost.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Is there anything better than a good pirate book? Especially in the summer? Arrrr! I didn’t think so.

Way back when, I read a fantastic book about German U-Boats and deep sea divers called Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson. One of the divers, John Chatterton, may perhaps be familiar to you? If not, you are missing the adventures of one of the last, great adventurers.

John Chatterton (born 1951) is an American wreck diver. Together with Richie Kohler, he was one of the co-hosts for the History Channel’sDeep Sea Detectives, for 57 episodes of the series. He is also a consultant to the film and television industries and has worked with 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and CBS. – From Wikipedia

After reading Shadow Hunters, I (and my extension, my husband, being the history nuts we both are) became obsessed with deep sea diving. We watched Deep Sea Detectives and other such shows frequently. I read Kurson’s next book, Crashing Through; A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See, even though it had nothing to do with diving, because I just loved his writing. In other words, I really loved the book, the author, and the topic. So imagine my delight when I saw that not only did Robert Kurson had another book coming out, but it featured John Chatterton again! And pirates! Yo ho!

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship has it all. Adventure. History. Danger, greed, and of course, riches. Pirate riches. Gold doubloons, cannons, fine china, and more. I appreciated it all. The reading is fast paced. The research meticulous but not so didactic that it bogs everything down. The tension exquisite. And all to find, not on the ship, but the man who manned it; John Bannister, gentleman pirate. Bannister, lost to history and other pirates more famous, was a singular man with a fascinating story.

One feature of all of Kurson’s books are of man’s determination to be more, to push themselves to be more, than they ever thought possible. In Shadow Divers, Chatterton, Kohler, and company risk their lives to dive to unthinkable depths. Mike May, from Crashing Through, was blinded at the age of three, yet he went on to break records in downhill speed skiing, he joined the CIA, and became a successful business man, inventor, and family man. And again, in Pirate Hunters, Chatterton is thought by many to be too old to be diving at such depths. Now in his sixties, he does it anyway, risking his life, to find the impossible; a real, authenticated pirate ship and make history for finding the actual SECOND pirate ship ever to be found (and authenticated). In my mind, this outlook on life can be inspiration for anyone who wants to be more than they think they can be. Just get out there and do it!

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this fantastic book. It will look great in your beach bag!

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

June 15, 2015 Books, Meme 9

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Last week: I had a GREAT reading week last week. I finished The Bees on Monday and headed right into H is for Hawk (see below). I wrapped up Fire Shut Up in My Bones Friday and it was amazing. Then Saturday I gulped down This One Summer which was just absolutely perfect.

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This week: I’m listening to H is for Hawk which is absolutely fantastic. It’s read by the author and she has a great voice and a great way of telling the story. I am really enjoying it. I hesitated to put War of the Encyclopaedists on here, since I’ve only read the first chapter, but I’m being brave and hoping it sticks. If it doesn’t, I have plenty to move on to. Ha! Lastly, after reading The Bees, I wanted to find out more about how bees actually live, so I started The Beekeeper’s Lament. So far, it hasn’t really told much about the life of bees, more about the life of beekeepers, but it is still really interesting.

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Up Next: By some MIRACLE, I managed to score an eARC of Patrick Ness’s new book and I seriously can’t wait to sink my teeth into it. For my next nonfiction read, I’m leaning toward Cathedrals of the Flesh. There is just something so very weird about a book about baths, right? Right? Also, I’m not sure what to listen to next. Perhaps What If? by Randall Munroe? Absurd hypothetical science questions AND it’s read by Wil Wheaton? I AM SO THERE.

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

 

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Reading Notes: What is it about a Book with a Book on the Cover?

June 10, 2015 Book Reviews, Books, eBooks 12 ★★★★★

Reading Notes: What is it about a Book with a Book on the Cover?The Library at Mount Char
by Scott Hawkins
Published by Crown
on June 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 388
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
five-stars
"Neil Gaiman meets Joe Hill in this astonishingly original, terrifying, and darkly funny contemporary fantasy."

Carolyn's not so different from the other human beings around her. She's sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.

That was a long time ago, of course--before the time she calls "adoption day," when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.
Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn't gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient Pelapi customs. They've studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.
Sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library--and with it, power over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her.

But Carolyn can win. She's sure of it. What she doesn't realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price--because in becoming a God, she's forgotten a great deal about being human.

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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There are (quite) a few things that make me pick up a book immediately. Things I am helpless against. First, putting a book or books on the cover. It appeals to my bookish nature. Second, compare it to a favorite author. I know I shouldn’t let this work on me, because more often than not, it doesn’t actually work out that way, but I can’t help it. Marketing works, sometimes. Lastly, Let me read it for free for a review. I’m a sucker.

The Library at Mount Char has a burnt book on it’s cover, with comparisons to Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill, and the publisher let me read it for free FOR MY HONEST OPINION. So I’m going to give it to you: I loved it. So there you go.

I don’t know much about Joe Hill. I’ve only read his comics. So, I’m mainly coming at this as a Neil Gaiman/Fantasy fan. And I felt so many shades of American Gods, in the best possible way, and I also felt shades of something new. Something unique. Something undeniably Scott Hawkins. The world he has created here, the characters, the story; all remarkable. He’s created a whole new world, a world where people can become gods, where a Library can hold all the power in the universe, where a person can be brought back to life again and again, and where a person can learn incredible things, like reincarnation, terrible savagery, and startling humanity. And behind it all is the sly, deadpan, quirky voice of a new talent. Surprising at every turn, The Library at Mount Char is not to be missed.

Favorite Bits:

“The librarians I know are into, like, I dunno, tea and cozy mysteries, not breaking and entering.”

“Yeah, well. This is a different kind of library.”

“It’s about the Library,” Carolyn said. “Right now the only thing that matters is who takes control of Father’s Library.”

“Library? Who gives a damn about a library?”

Carolyn rolled her eyes. “Americans.”

“With this particular species of crazy, you stop trying to make things better. You start trying to maximize the bad. You pretend to like it. Eventually you start working to make everything as bad as possible. It’s an avoidance mechanism.” Jennifer looked Carolyn directly in the eyes. “It can’t actually work. That’s why they call it crazy.”

Steve walked over and squatted down. There, almost invisible in the shadows, he found it. “It’s a book?”

She smiled. “Of course it’s a book.”

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

June 8, 2015 Books, Meme 6

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Firstly, I want to thank everyone who posted…condolences…on the loss of our chickens. I never thought I’d be so attached to a chicken, but two days later I still find myself looking out the window to check on them and feel so sad when they are not there. Chickens are the sweetest animals – it is so surprising! MY chicken, Basil – the older one – gave me hugs and cuddled all the time. We miss her so and shall for awhile I expect. There is nothing sadder than watching your 11YO desperately search Google for ways to find a lost chicken.

Secondly:

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Last week: This is the only book I finished last week! Luckily IT WAS AWESOME-SAUCE.

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This week: I will finish both of these. I am so close! The are both incredible books, in completely different ways. Fire Shut Up in My Bones is going to break me. I’ve already cried several times. The Bees took a few minutes, but now that I’m down in the meat of it, I can’t put it down. I will probably finish it today.

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Up next: Thanks to listening to The Bees, I’m curious about the ACTUAL lives of bees. I found Robbing the Bees by Holley Bishop on Scribd and am thinking of reading it next. I’m also craving another thrilling read like Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson and am leaning toward The Girl on the Train. And I’m really chomping at the bit to read Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray, since I managed to snag an ARC.

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

 

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Reading Notes: On pirates, food, and other nautical adventures

June 5, 2015 Books 5

Reading Notes: On pirates, food, and other nautical adventures
A gripping adventure, a seaborne romance, and a twist on the tale of Scheherazade—with the best food ever served aboard a pirate’s ship

The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. He will be spared, she tells him, as long as he puts exquisite food in front of her every Sunday without fail.

To appease the red-haired captain, Wedgwood gets cracking with the meager supplies on board. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that he leavens in a tin under his shirt throughout a roaring battle, as men are cutlassed all around him. Soon he’s making tea-smoked eel and brewing pineapple-banana cider.

But Mabbot—who exerts a curious draw on the chef—is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur hidden on her ship, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. As Wedgwood begins to sense a method to Mabbot’s madness, he must rely on the bizarre crewmembers he once feared: Mr. Apples, the fearsome giant who loves to knit; Feng and Bai, martial arts masters sworn to defend their captain; and Joshua, the deaf cabin boy who becomes the son Wedgwood never had.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a swashbuckling epicure’s adventure simmered over a surprisingly touching love story—with a dash of the strangest, most delightful cookbook never written. Eli Brown has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel full of adventure: the Scheherazade story turned on its head, at sea, with food.

Y’all, I’m not sure what’s going on, other that some fantastic nautical book serendipity, but I read two books about pirates in the space of a couple of months. One was fiction, one was non, but both were fantastic. Today, I want to talk about the fiction one: Cinnamon & Gunpowder by Eli Brown.

It is no great secret that cooking is, in essence, seduction.

It feels slightly ridiculous to call a book a feast of words, but Brown. You GUYS. This dude can write and write ridiculously well.

Never have I seen such a motley assemblage of characters. Except that we are at sea, I would believe that I had been abducted by a traveling circus. There are men here of every hue and size, also men whose race cannot be determined due to the indigo tattoos that cover their faces and arms. There are men with bullrings through their noses, with turbans large enough to hide a samovar, with gold thread braided into their hair, with scimitars lashed to their hips; some with teeth sharpened to points, some with no teeth at all. Many of the men have lost fingers, one has no ears, and not a few of them sport blistered patches upon their faces, necks, and forearms.

Can’t you just see them? Standing on the deck, a ragtag group of rascals, ready to pick your pocket, run you through, and toss you overboard? And what a motley crew Captain Hannah Abbot has. Yes, Hannah. She’s a woman. And what a woman. Redhead, hot tempered, woman. A woman of – many – appetites. That’s why as the crew is on a mission to run through an enemy, she also steals his chef. Owen Wedgwood, timid chef, connoisseur of all foods fine, and widower finds himself kidnapped and on a pirate ship. To live, he must prepare exquisite food for the Mad Hannah Abbot every Sunday, with what food he can find on board or procure for himself.

It is a challenge.

Without another word, we began to eat. I was hungry, but no appetite would excuse the way we set upon those dishes. We shoveled food into our mouths in a manner ill befitting our fine attire. Bears would have blushed to see us bent over our plates. The pheasant, still steaming from the oven, its dark flesh redolent with the mushroom musk of the forest floor, was gnawed quickly to the bone. It was a touch gamy – no milk-fed goose, this – but it was tender, and the piquant hominy balanced that wild taste as I had hoped it would. The eggs, laced pink at the edges and floating delicately in a carnal sauce, were gulped down in two bites. The yolks were cooked to that rare liminal degree, no longer liquid but not yet solid, like the formative moment of a sun-colored gem

When it comes to food, Owen is a poet as well as a magician:

Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.

and;

I’ve had this pain. To tell you it will go away would be a lie. It will never go away. But, if you live long enough, it will cease to torture and will instead flavor you. As we rely on the bitterness of strong tea to wake us, this too will become something you can use.

also:

As it ferments, kraut whispers alchemical secrets. In two days, it will smell as agreeable as an old pillow still warm from night’s use. In five days it will smell like a horse run to foam. The odor will then lessen as the vegetable begins its tart transformation. It will be good to eat in two weeks, but at five weeks it will reach the zenith of its power, its taste a violin bow drawn across the tongue. After six weeks it will err slowly toward slime. Like hams and men, it gets better with age only to a point.

And oh my goodness, is it a delight. This book is just so. much. fun. I love food. I love pirates. A book with the two together is like a dream come true. I almost wish I had read it this summer, because the only way it could have been more perfect is if I had been reading it with my toes in the sand.

Seriously, if you need a fun, swashbuckling adventure for your summer, this book is it.

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