Tag Archives: Nautical

In the Deep Depths of the Ocean: A Review of Aegan and the Sunken City

Aegan and the Sunken City by D.G. Redd book cover. Image on cover shows an anchor falling through the ocean and about to touch the ocean floor. Title: Aegan and the Sunken City

Author: D.G. Redd

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: January 26, 2021

Genres: Science Fiction, Futuristic

Length: 17 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb:

The Cartographers have announced that the Triton will drift over an old city. Aegan finds himself lucky enough to be ready to drop in his deep-dive submersible, the Argo, and scavenge for riches. If he can collect enough salvage, he can buy his way into the upper-decks, to the levels of peace and quiet. For now though, he’ll need to make do with the solitude of his boat as he slowly descends to the sunken city.

Review:

Content Warning: sea monster. I will discuss it in this review.

The ocean is only as trustworthy as who or what is swimming around in it.

Morally ambiguous characters are so interesting to read about, especially when they’re as personable as Aegan was. Would I trust him with my credit card? No, but I would love to sit down to dinner with him and hear some of the stories he could tell about the slippery and sometimes downright illegal things he’s done in order to survive. There is no doubt in my mind that he’d have a few acts of heroism to throw in there as well. He excelled at bending and even breaking the law, but he never struck me as a cruel man. He was simply someone who was trying to game an unfair system in order to make his own life easier.

I would have liked to see more time spent describing the sea monster and it’s intentions. Yes, Aegan was used to such distractions, but this reader was not! It was hard for me to picture what it looked like or why it was so interested in Aegean’s vessel in the first scene. I was also surprised by how the plot veered away after that moment, so having a more detailed description of why the author went in that direction would have been helpful as well. This is a minor criticism of something I otherwise enjoyed quite a bit.

The world building was nicely handled. While the author didn’t have a great deal of time to go into detail, he shared enough information about how global warming changed the sea levels and human society to keep me interested and eager to find out what else had changed between our present and this nebulous time in the future. This is the sort of thing I’m happy to wait around for so long as I have a basic understanding of how e everything works, and that was definitely provided here.

This is part of a series but works perfectly well as a standalone work.

Aegan and the Sunken City piqued my curiosity for more.

A Review of Sail away, sail away, sail away: Nautical Ghost Stories

Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away - Nautical Ghost Stories by William Macmillan Jones book cover. Image on cover shows the sea crashing into a rocky shore. Title: Sail Away, sail away, sail away – Nautical Ghost Stories

Author: William Macmillan Jones

Publisher: Red Kite Publishing Ltd

Publication Date: March 21, 2022

Genres: Paranormal, Contemporary

Length: 32 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb:

The sea has always fascinated me, and I grew up with a weakness for sea stories. I have always enjoyed ghost stories too, and the sea and the uncanny are wonderful bedfellows. Here are two stories about yachts that meet inclement weather where the Bristol Channel meets the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean – with very different results.

Review:

Content Warning: Dysfunctional marriage, drowning, medical emergency (broken arm). I will briefly mention these topics in my review.

Never turn your back on the ocean.

Charles was a reluctant sailor in “Sail away, sail away, sail away.” Ellen, his wife, was passionate about the sport and insisted he go sailing with her regularly. What I found most rewarding about this tale was exploring their deeply dysfunctional and enmeshed relationship. Charles struggled with setting boundaries and saying no, while his wife had a difficult time accepting the word no, respecting boundaries, or listening to others. This all came to a head one day when they went sailing in the Bristol Channel and encountered much rougher waters than Charles had been expecting to find. The plot unfolded in a rather expected direction from there, but this wasn’t something that required zany plot twists to work well. Seeing how the characters dealt with conflict and the results of an accident was more than enough to keep me interested. I was simultaneously satisfied with how it ended and curious about what might happen next if the author ever decides to write a sequel.

In “Storm Front,” a sailor named Simon chose not to check the forecast and was unexpectedly caught in a violent storm while attempting to sail to Milford Sound alone. Due to how much time was spent explaining Simon’s knowledge of sailing and the precautions he took when packing for a voyage, I was surprised by the fact that he didn’t check the weather the morning of his trip. Were readers supposed to think he was less experienced than all other signs pointed to or that he made an honest mistake that day? I wish I’d been given an answer to this question as the rest of this story was delightful. I shuddered when Simon accidentally broke his arm in the first scene and wondered how he was going to survive such a dangerous storm now that he only had one arm that was capable of maneuvering the sails, steering his cutter, and performing other necessary tasks.

Sail Away, sail away, sail away – Nautical Ghost Stories was a memorable summer read.

A Review of Not Eligible for Rehire – A Cruise Ship Story

Not Eligible for Rehire: a Cruise Ship Story by Glenn McGoldrick book cover. Image on cover shows a close-up of dark blue ocean waves that look a little choppy. Title: Not Eligible for Rehire – A Cruise Ship Story

Author: Glenn McGoldrick

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: October 25, 2018

Genres: Speculative Fiction, Contemporary

Length: 19 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 2 Stars

Blurb:

A day in the life of a Casino Manager, working on a cruise ship in 2011.

Introducing Not Eligible for Rehire, a short story with a twist set on-board a cruise ship.

Brought to you by award winning author Glenn McGoldrick, creator of the Dark Teesside series.

Review:

Content Warning: drug use (marijuana). I will briefly mention it in my review.

Summer fun can have an eerie side to it.

Cruise ships are fascinating places. Hundreds or even thousands of strangers cram into them for a week or two only to go their separate ways and probably never see each other again after their trip ends. The only constant presence a cruise ship has is its crew members, and they rarely if ever share their stories with guests. The narrator did an excellent job of capturing what it must feel like to witness so many strangers on vacation and repeat the same patterns of entertainment, dining choices, and ports of call over and over again. I found myself wishing this was a full-length novel so I could follow Jack, a Casino Manager onboard one of these ships, through an entire season of work.

There were two issues that lead me to choose such a low rating for this short story. First, it had an abrupt ending that I found jarring. Second, that it hinted at a possibly paranormal or other speculative fiction explanation for what was going on here, but all of the hints were so vague I was never certain they were how the author actually intended readers to interpret those scenes. The writing was otherwise well done, so it was disappointing to have to give so few stars for it. I would have eagerly gone with a much higher rating if I had a better idea of what was actually happening.

With that being said, I enjoyed seeing how Jack reacted to a report of possible drug use among his employees. It was obvious to me that he cared about his crew members quite a bit but also had high standards for their behaviour and expected everyone to follow the rules. His disappointment at this news was palpable, and I felt plenty of empathy for him as he regretfully followed protocol.

Not Eligible for Rehire – A Cruise Ship Story made me wonder what really goes on behind the scenes on cruise ships.

Gently Combing the Sea: A Review of Hildie at the Ghost Shore


Hildie at the Ghost Shore by Paula Cappa book cover. Image on cover his a painting of a very foggy shore by a body of water. You can see almost nothing but the tiniest glimmer of blue water in the distance. Title
: Hildie at the Ghost Shore

Author: Paula Cappa

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: May 17, 2015

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Historical

Length: 22 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

We are in Old Belgium. Hildie the lace maker, Mistress of Runecraft, knows the secret spells of the runes from the wind-god Odin. When a mysterious old sailor visits her attic workroom, he requests a reading. Hildie agrees. During the casting of the runes, Hildie conjures the Ship of the Dead, Loki the trickster, and flame-eyed ravens. Who will survive this adventure in a land beyond the ghost shore? Hildie at the Ghost Shore is a quiet little mystery (Kindle Single) with a dash of Norse mythology evoking the magic of the Runes. This story was originally published at Fiction365.

Review:

Content Warning: Murder.

Danish mysteries abound on this quiet shore.

The poetic and etherial style of this short story made it impossible for me to stop reading. It was my first experience with Ms. Cappa’s work, and I was immediately impressed by how smooth and beautiful her writing style was. She excelled at drawing this reader into the storyline and making me never want to leave it. Reading this felt like the literary equivalent of stepping into a light, airy fog on a mostly-deserted beach on a chilly late winter or early spring day. That is to say, I felt as if I’d stepped into another world or some alternative version of our own world whose rules of physics were just different enough to make it impossible for me to guess what remarkable things I might discover a few moments in the future. It was a truly delightful experience that made me eager to discover what else the author has written.

I would have loved to see more plot and character development. There was very little of the former and almost none of the latter which struck me as unusual for something that went on for twenty-two pages.  It would have made sense for flash fiction, and the premise could have been shrunken down to accommodate a much shorter interpretation of it. Unfortunately, it felt out of place for a longer work that did seem to have more than enough room to include both of these elements.

By far my favourite portion of this tale was the final scene. This was when the plot grew as thick and substantial as it ever would, and it explained some things that keen readers might have kept tucked in the back of their minds as half-formed questions since they first began reading it. I should note that I’m not very familiar with Norse Mythology, so I also appreciated the quick explanations of certain key terms and figures from it. Perhaps readers who are already well-versed on that topic could expound upon it in greater detail, but I was perfectly satisfied with it as is. Yes, I know I’m being vague here! Why share spoilers when you can allow other readers the thrill of surprise instead?

Hildie at the Ghost Shore was a dreamy, wistful reading experience that I cheerfully recommend saving for the next time the weather outside is too foggy, snowy, or drizzly to venture forth outdoors.

Visions in the Fog: A Review of Terror at Deventhier Bay

Terror at Deventhier Bay by Eloise Molano book cover. Image on cover shows an old wooden ship sailing on a calm sea at night. The full moon is peeking out behind the clouds behind them. Title: Terror at Deventhier Bay

Author: Eloise Molano

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: July 24, 2021

Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Historical

Length: 26 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

In a remote region of the north, in a huge bay was the town of Deventhier, the characteristic of this place was precisely the origin of the formation of a thick summer fog that was somewhat mysterious that was found in these partly cold waters that condition the Deventhier weather.
And it is precisely in the bay of this town where its locals talked about old stories of shipwrecks, inclement winter, terrifying fog, accidents of fishing boats and many stories of the dead and ghosts.
In one of these stories, a local named Manfred recounted the events that happened to an acquaintance named Albert on his trip on the ship named Zarpador, commanded by Captain Horace and with several well-known sailors among others, was Sigmur, Jhon and Hendrik.
On one of their fishing trips they had a fatal accident with a small boat caused by intense fog and heavy rains that did not give the sailors vision.
Due to the weather they could not rescue anyone from the small boat but in the following hours some strange phenomena and appearances began to happen on the boat, which drove its occupants to madness and increased the risk around the constant fog and cold. and the rain that lashed them.
Join me as I follow this story full of suspense, terror and dramatic testimonies from the people who suffered all these events.

Review:

Small towns are the perfect place for shocking news to spread.

The horror genre encompasses many different themes and styles. This isn’t something that so much as glances in the direction of anything gory or gross. Instead, it relies on secondhand information and the outer limits of the human imagination to made its audience shudder. That just so happens to be one of my favourite types of horror, and I’m pleased every time I find another author who writes this sort of stuff. Some of my favourite scenes were the ones that tried as many different ways as they could to scare me using these tools and preciousF few others.

This short story had a huge cast of characters that I struggled to keep track of. As much as I liked getting to know the characters, it would have been easier to remember who was who if the cast was smaller given how few pages the author had to work with when introducing everyone and explaining how they were connected to the haunting. Having fewer characters would have also left more space for the scary parts of the storyline, too, which I thought passed by too quickly given how much of the blurb was devoted to them.

With that being said, I did enjoy the conversational tone of this tale. It had been passed around to so many members of the community by the time the main character shared it that it had that wonderfully tattered feeling that sometimes happens when a story is passed through so many different points of view. That is to say, it came out in dribs and drabs instead of being as fresh and sharp as it might have been if those moments were described to the readers from the first person perspective. This was an excellent choice given the subject matter, and it made me curious to see what Ms. Molano might write next.

Terror at Deventhier Bay should be read by anyone who is looking for something spooky on a rainy or foggy night.

The Tumultuous Lake: A Review of Dark Waters

Title: Dark Waters Author: Katherine Arden Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Publication Date: August 10, 2021 Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary Length: 256 pages Source: I borrowed it from my local library. Rating: 3 Stars Blurb: An Indie Bestseller! Filled with chills and spooks galore, New York Times bestselling… Read More

Overdue Consequences: A Review of The Swell

Title: The Swell Author: Adam Vine Publisher: Self-Published Publication Date: March 1, 2021 Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Contemporary Length: 11 pages Source: I received a free copy from the author. Rating: 2 Stars Blurb: Ana Barrington’s son is missing – and so is everyone else’s child. Every kid in Santa Cruz has vanished, leaving no… Read More

Chasing Victory: A Review of The Sea Witch

Title: The Sea Witch Author: Bethany Hoeflich Publisher: Self-Published Publication Date: February 21, 2021 Genres: Fantasy, Historical Length: 30 pages Source: I received a free copy from the author. Rating: 3 Stars Blurb: For years, Ula has been content to hide behind her reputation as the sea queen’s quirky, loner sister. Isolation and mistrust are… Read More

Placid Revelations: A Review of The Lake

Title: The Lake Author: Tananarive Due Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin Publication Date: August 11, 2011 Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Contemporary Length: 21 pages Source: I received a free copy from the author. Rating: 4 Stars Blurb: A free short story taken straight from the pages of THE MONSTER’S CORNER, an all original anthology from some… Read More

Military Science: A Review of 1NG4

Title: 1NG4: A Long Short Story Author: Berthold Gambrel Publisher: Self-Published Publication Date: January 11, 2019 Genres: Science Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult Length: 51 pages Source: I received a free copy from the author Rating: 5 Stars Blurb: Gunnar is part of a team studying a powerful new energy source aboard the seaborne platform Ryojin.… Read More