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Friday, March 31, 2017

Spectacle by Rachel Vincent



As much as I like Vincent's Changling P.I. novels, I liked this better.   The book is populated by not so mythical creatures.  They are referred to as cryptid species and all treated as animals regardless of whether they are truly sentient.  In a previous book they appear to have freed themselves but in this book they are captured by a group that apparently overdosed on the Roman Circus theme.

Regardless of fact or fiction, it is hard to read about such abuse of animals or people.   Definition of people seems one of sentience from my limited point of view.   We ignorantly ignore (intended redundancy) tests that indicate dolphins, elephants and chimps understand far more than we credit them.  With AI reaching out, it makes me wonder where the boundaries will be for sentience.   While this seems like it has little bearing on a book review, these thoughts were initiated by the fine work that Vincent put in her book.  It is enormously thought provoking while providing an entertaining plot and plenty of action.

I highly recommend it.

web site:  http://ruthvincent.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, March 27, 2017

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught by Eric Flint



Perhaps jaded is my first reaction to this book.  It has the feel of it's predecessors but not the excitement. 

I really enjoyed the first books in this series but I have missed to many of the intervening books and consequently I've lost touch with them.  

If memory serves me, the premise was introduced in 1632 (book title not year) when a chunk of West Virginia was dropped in East Germany in 1632 (hence the title).

I will guess that my blasé reaction to this book will offend die hard Flint fans but since the election process of 2016 did nothing if not teach us that offensive remarks can pay off,  I really didn't care for this book.  I am sure the die hard fans will enjoy it. 

www: http://www.ericflint.net/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

SIMS by F. Paul Wilson

This book is 13 years old and yet is still cutting edge.   Genetic manipulation and it's results are the focus of the book.   The development of an evolved chimpanzee and it's enslavement is the key plot line.

One of the more interesting factors about the book was the syndicated article in the Naples Daily News last week dealing with the court fight to get some chimps declared human.     If you are reading this review on Amazon, there will be no link to the Associated Press article as Amazon review policy doesn't allow links. 

The author deals with bi-polar disorders and refers peripherally to the dangers of cosmetic genetic modification.  

Dispensing with the educational and philosophical aspects of the book, it was an exciting and captivating story that challenges stereo-types and prejudice.  Sadly that is probably more important in today's political climate than it was 13 years ago.

I recommend the book.

Site:  http://repairmanjack.com/
Link to Associated Press article on chimps.


This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Caine's Mutiny by Charles E Gannon



Once again I find that I have started a series on the last book instead of the first book.  Apparently I have found it too cumbersome to look up the author and see if the book is one of a series.  I have listed the series below, courtesy of the web site fantasticfiction.com. Sometime in the future after an invasion of Earth by Snorks, Caine finds himself semi-in-charge of a mixed crew sent to repatriate a even more mixed bag of inadvertent time travelers.  

Gannon does yeoman's work in seeing that there is a moderate back story for the characters that span multiple alien races as well as persons out of the time stream.   There is solid action and positive camaraderie.  

The story is good although I am not fond of such an abrupt conclusion.  It leads me to believe a 5th book is in the works.

I recommend reading the books in order and I recommend this specific book.

Web: http://charlesegannon.com/wp/


Caine Riordan
1. Fire with Fire (2013)
2. Trial by Fire (2014)
3. Raising Caine (2015)
4. Caine's Mutiny (2017)

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Learn how to be a: "Harper Voyager" super reader!

ARE YOU A HARPER VOYAGER?


Are you a fan of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy or Horror?
Would you like special access to
e-galleys, author interactions, and swag?

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"Harper Voyager" super reader!

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Please Note: This program is asking super readers to post honest reviews on Goodreads and consumer sites, participation in online Voyager events; virtual support of Voyager authors across social media. If you chose to post these reviews online at consumer websites, you must disclose in the review that you received your copy for free and send us a link to the review.
Entry period: March 14, 2017 - May 4, 2017




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• You must be 18 or older to apply.
• Open to U.S. residents only.
• We expect to select 20 to 30 new Harper Voyagers this entry period.

*Harper Voyager will send each individual applicant one book in appreciation of their time and effort.  One book per consumer. U.S. only.*

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Skill of our Hands By Steven Brust and Skyler White.



As the second book in the series, this one made a lot more sense with the first book as background.  I’m still not sure if this is a philosophic treatise or a novel.  The ethical issues of near immortals influencing events by meddling begs the question of how they have the chutzpah to assume they are qualified to direct man’s destiny.  

This book had more action and slightly less conversation that the last one.  For me, that made it easier to read.  I’m still not overly thrilled as the verbosity tends to glaze my eyes.  A little more action would help to carry the story line although I did like this book better than the first one.  The book addresses some current issues particularly if you considered the current tumultuous political turmoil.


My evolution regarding Brust’s work is shown by the links’ below.  The guy is talented and perhaps just more esoteric than I am.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2008

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2009

SUNDAY, MAY 3, 2009


http://dreamcafe.com/



This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Incrementalists By Steven Brust and Skyler White.

The Butterfly Effect in Action



Brust has a tendency to be confusing and this book is no exception. My head was doing a little exorcist spinning about with the triggers, gardens, seeds and the shifts and the pushes and all the little mental tricks these people used to change society.  The book seems more like a philosophic treatise than it does a fictional book.

Phil is a 2000 year old poker player and Ren is his new squeeze, a new convert to societal conversion.   They are the main characters in the story. The Incrementalists are a group that uses psychological or sociological skills to push society in a manner that the group thinks is positive which is obviously pretty subjective.

Overall I had to push pretty hard to finish the book and give you points to ponder but as far as picking it up and wanting to read it for fun I can't recommend it. I've agreed to read the sequel and will make an attempt but I can't promise I'll finish it if it isn't any more exciting than this one. With that said If you're looking for some cocktail hour philosophic talking points you may enjoy this.

My evolution regarding Brust’s work is shown by the links’ below.  The guy is talented and perhaps just more esoteric than I am.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2008

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2009

SUNDAY, MAY 3, 2009


http://dreamcafe.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Kill Before Dying by Travis S. Taylor


Trail of  Evil was the first Taylor book I read.  It only earned three starships mostly because I felt out of it having not read the three previous books.  This jumps to 4 starships due to having had some background, the story makes more sense.  Former President Alexander Moore has taken his task force to the enemy, the Chiata.  The Chiata are a locust like scourge trying to cleanse the galaxy of all life but their own.   Moore doesn’t see that as a viable option and takes the war to a distant star system that may hold a key to human survival.

This, the fifth book in the series, made more sense having read it’s immediate precursor.  The characters were more familiar and the action was as non-stop as before.   Taylor’s books are a bit light on story line and very heavy on action.   That is not a criticism, merely an observation. 

I enjoyed the book, the addition of new entities and the guns, guns, guns action.

http://www.baen.com/authors/travis-s-taylor-4.html

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black



This was an outstanding story.  Earth is fighting Romeo through multiple alternative realities after surviving a Pearl Harbor kind of event. 

The planet is divided into non-incorporated people, settlements and cities.  The cities are the core of the defense, the settlements feed the cities and the others range the world in an unstructured, random tribal manner.

Black provided a large cast but spent sufficient time crafting each so that you got a good feel from their behavior, feelings and actions.  The aliens inadvertently introduced the Earth to a magic like power fueled by fontani people who provide the power to build the marvels of the city and defenses.

Black successfully blends the nomadic gypsy like folks with the settlement people and the often arrogant city people.  Black shows how cooperation, particularly from diverse elements can succeed where fighting alone would fail.

This was a totally captivating book and it seems to set up a sequel, I can’t wait to read it.


I highly recommend.