Required Reading

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik

Captain William Laurence and Temeraire are back.  They are battling Napoleon in defense of the U.K. but are doing so in Russia.  

Laurence is handicapped in this book due to an unforeseen accident.  Temeraire, a Celestial Dragon is beside himself over Laurence’s handicap.  

Laurence’s good will toward dragons serves him well in negotiating with both Chinese and Russian dragons. 

A lot of territory and new characters are introduced.

I apparently missed a couple of books between this one and the last one I read featuring these two Hornblowerish figures.  This book reads well as a stand alone but I would recommend reading the series in order.



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.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson



This book portrays war as brutal and dehumanizing.   A former earth colony is a thorn in a restrictive United Nations of Earth behind.  The contrast between a free society and the restrictive regime characterizes the plot.

Freehold is a planet of free thinkers and open mindedness.   Earth has become a restrictive planet with personal freedoms repressed.   Williamson details a lot of philosophy by example in this work.   Pacelli is an honest woman trying her best when she falls afoul of a conspiracy far above her pay grade.

Williamson does a good job showing the angst that is faced in being totally uprooted and planted in a society that seems familiar but isn’t.

Plenty of action and an excellent read.

I recommend. 

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, September 9, 2019

Kingmaker by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes


This is the third book of a trilogy, the first being Spymaster which I might add, I thoroughly enjoyed.   I also enjoyed Privateer which was the second volume.  Thomas the potential king finds the path to ruling a rocky road.  

As I mentioned in the review of Privateer, the plot is complex.   A lot of characters with conflicting agendas.   The reality of politics, compromise and concession forces Thomas and his loyal friends into partnership with previous foes.

Kate and Dalgren find themselves in situations where conscience plays a huge part of their behavior.
There is plenty of action, deceit and betrayal as well as a tiny bit of romance.  The authors successfully and satisfactorily wrap up the trilogy.  I look forward to more books from this pair of authors.


The relationships between characters provide much of the interest to this book.  Friends become enemies, enemies become friends and subordinates forget to subordinate. As an added bonus there are plenty of strong female protagonists so this trilogy would be an ideal gift for young women to encourage them to follow their dreams.

The book was delightfully complex, interesting and captivating.

I highly recommend the trilogy. 

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, September 4, 2019

Privateer by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes


This is the second of a trilogy, the first being Spymaster which I might add, I thoroughly enjoyed.   Well nothing changed with the second volume, I loved it as well.   The plot thickens for the man who doesn’t want to be king who is engaged to someone who is in love with his best friend.  While that is complicated, the man who doesn’t want to be king is in love with a person of questionable antecedents.  Said questionable person is best friends with a dragon who has issues of his own.   Now this may sound cumbersome but it comes together beautifully in a book full of action and intrigue.

The complex and confusing loyalties and goals demonstrated by the authors may seem on first blush to be true fantasy.  However, consider for a moment the complexity of the U.S. government doing back door negotiations with a socialist dictator want-to-be while decrying socialism from the highest platform at home.  As complex as this plot is, you can follow it if you pay attention unlike realities current events.

The dragon, Dalgren, plays a large part in the first half of the book but seemingly disappears in the second half.   I was a bit disappointed that he had such little word time in the second half but I am known to be inordinately fond of dragons.

The relationships between characters provide much of the interest to this book.  Friends become enemies, enemies become friends and subordinates forget to subordinate.

The book was delightfully complex, interesting and captivating.



I highly recommend the trilogy. 

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, August 29, 2019

Untimed by Andy Gavin

This is a time traveling tale of a boy and his unwashed time traveling girlfriend.  They are chased by clockwork travelers who are trying to either change the timeline or maintain it but Charlie and Yvaine aren’t sure which.
The author does paint a graphic portrait of Dickens England.  The romanticized view is more popular than the squalor and corruption view which is more accurate.

My favorite character was Aunt Sophia who saves the day on occasion.

The story was well paced and provided little conflict for the paradox viewpoint.


I enjoyed 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.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The First Protectors by Victor Godinez

Ben is a medically discharged Seal with a boat load of guilt.   A load of guilt that regardless of the source is crushing his spirit.   Ben finds himself the unwitting and unwilling recipient of an alien gift and suddenly discovers he is once again a warrior.

Warrior and soldier have different meanings and Ben is a warrior and a protector.   Aliens have destroyed another race and possibly other races.  They have turned their targeting systems toward Earth and Ben is the only one who can stop them.

This book is action and then more action. 

It highlights self-sacrifice and personal courage as well as loyalty and duty.

It was a hard to put down and can’t wait for the next one book.


I 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.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Shadow of Empire by Jay Allan


Arkarin Blackhawk is a mercenary and a smuggler operating in the Far Stars.  The Far Stars are just that, far from the tyrannical empire that appears to have made Blackhawk the man he is. Blackhawk has a crew of extraordinarily loyal misfits who excel at mayhem.   Blackhawk has lifted each and every one of them out of an untenable situation and earned their undying loyalty.   Blackhawk is tasked with finding his friend’s daughter, Astra, who has been kidnapped.  

Blackhawks sordid past is referred to but never back storied so we have nothing but inferences as to how his body and character have been built.  He spends a lot of time agonizing over his past sins with no reference to what they were.    His crew doesn’t care who he was before only that they owe him their lives and they stand stalwartly behind him.

This is a space opera that was a delight to read and I look forward to the second volume.


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