Required Reading

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles Vorkosigan, once again, shows how brain beats brawn.  The book is essentially three short stories tied to together as if they are part of an interview.   Miles’ boss, Simon Illyan, the imperial spook wants answers on Miles’ creative accounting.  

Bujold uses her immense talent to demonstrate that prejudice is unacceptable.  She shows that a weakness of body does not preclude dashing and daring.   She demonstrates the value of persistence and a refusal to fail.   Her writing, without fail, captures my interest and provides food for thought on preconceived notions. 

I enjoyed the book and highly recommend anything Bujold pens.

 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, October 17, 2020

Unleash the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon


This is a Dark-Hunter Novel.  Wren is a were tiger, leopard and tigard.  

Maggie is the privileged daughter of a U.S. senator.  An unlikely match, the two find them thrust together when Wren finds himself under attack by tigers and bears, Oh My!

Kenyon writes a good story.   There is an assumption that you are familiar with the world of the Dark-Hunters.   I haven’t read anything by Kenyon for awhile and I would have like a little longer back story.   That did not deter me from enjoying the book. 

Kenyon does like to get into the panting romantic aspects a little more than I like but I am sure that is a major selling factor for a lot of her readers.

I enjoyed the book. 

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, October 12, 2020

The Jumpgate by Robert Stadnik

This was a decent book but would have been better with a little more backstory.   The main protagonists served on the Phoenix and the author doesn’t, in my opinion, provide enough backstory.   The crew of the Phoenix are regarded as heroes or traitors.   This provides the tension when Jacob takes the XO position on the Solera which is crewed and captained by people who see the Phoenix crew as traitors.  Friction between the captain and the XO is inevitable.   Xenophobic reactions to the alien alliance that defeated the Screen in the preceding book also contributes to increasing the tension.

The story has the Solera and its alien allies finding the jumpgate that allowed the Screen to enter our galaxy.   Captain Dewis behavior allows Jacob to prove himself to the crew while putting the ship and crew in jeopardy.   The mission also demonstrates the impact of the Alien alliance.

I enjoyed the book. 


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, October 7, 2020

Gatekeeper by Alison Levy (Book One in the Daemon Collection Series)

Daemons are not exactly traditional demons although there are similar characteristics.   Daemons can become defective and not be able to do their assigned roles such as promoting chaos or avarice.   Rachel Wilde is from another dimension and her job is to collect defective daemons for correction or expulsion.  This book details one week of her assignments.

Levy does a nice job developing Rachel Wilde’s character.   Rachel is a protagonist that is not omnipotent.  Her flaws and insecurities provide depth and believability to her character.

Rachel’s dimension is also portrayed as not being infallible and totally altruistic. 

The plot is complex without being confusing.  

I enjoyed the book and recommend it. 

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

Friday, October 2, 2020

Cobra Alliance by Timothy Zahn, Cobra War Book 1


Cobra’s are cybernetically enhanced warriors. Decades after they save humanity they are regarded as a tax burden. The older Cobras are suffering from a decreased life expectancy due to the alterations in their bodies to make them Cobras.   Jin Moreau, an aging Cobra, receives a message requesting help from an old Qasama acquaintance.   Jin’s family and Cobras are regarded as demonic by the paranoid Qasama people.   The story starts with Jin responding to the request for help due to guilt over past behavior.

The book moves face with lots of action.   The insular nature of the Qasama people can reflect real world reactions of some of the people that our own nation has “helped”.   Equally the dwindling regard for the Cobra’s somewhat reflects how many of our Vietnam vets were treated when they returned home.   Even today, many of our veterans do not get the positive regard they deserve for serving their country.

It is possible I am reading more meaning into Zahn’s work than he intended but that is the beauty of the written word, the ability to see it in your own context.  


I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading book 2.  

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, September 27, 2020

The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein


I tracked down this book because I have fond memories of Glory Road which was the only other fantasy, I recalled written by Heinlein.  This was disappointing, not that the stories but the fact that I didn’t really see them as fantasies.   It was more lip service with mention of magic.  I guess they could be considered early urban fantasy but I felt they fit more with his general body of work than in the fantasy genre.  

My impression of Heinlein was that he was a frustrated philosopher.  Much of his work struck me as proposing a different way of seeing and doing things.   These stories had some interesting twists and I did enjoy them. 


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, September 17, 2020

Prime Deceptions by Valerie Valdes



This is a follow up to Chilling Effect.  Eve is a trouble prone cargo freighter captain.  This volume involves her continued fight with the Fridge and the discovery of the Forge.  

Both the Fridge and the Forge support their own conspiracy and both are often at odds with Eve and her crew.  A side bar story is Sue, who joined the crew in Chilling Effect, trying to find her cybernetic guru brother.   Between being involved in bot fights and synthetic creature creation, the crew supports each other.

Eve discovers her extra-species boyfriend, Vakar, is a Wraith, a CIA type for his species.   That does nothing to diminish their mutual affection.

Eve’s mother turns out to have more responsibilities with B.O.F.A., the united planets policing agency than Eve or Mari, her sister, ever expected.

This is a good series and I look forward to more books.



 

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