Required Reading

Life is complicated enough without getting into hotwater with federal agencies so: TAKE NOTE Many things I review I got at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Consider this as informing you that ALL things I review may have been gotten at no charge. Realistically about 60% but in order to keep things above board just assume that I got the stuff free. I do not collect information on my readers. If cookies or other tracking stuff is used on my blogs it is due to BLOGGER not ME. Apparently the European Union's new rules state I need to inform you if cookies are being use. If they are it isn't byu me, consider yourself INFORMED.
Words like, “sponsored,” “promotion,” “paid ad” or even just “ad” are clear ways to disclose that you’re being paid to share information and links so BE AWARE that some of what I write can be described as an AD by the government. BTW I will NEVER say a product is great, super or even acceptable if it isn't, whether I got it free or NOT!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman



A book of short stories is always hard to review.  My reaction is much like my reaction to his books, I like some and dislike others.   There are some stories that just didn’t make sense to me and others I enjoyed.

I enjoyed the homage to Sherlock Holmes but scratched my head over Strange Little Girls.  Dark stuff for the most part.

I read the other Gaiman reviews and wonder what I missed.  Beats me!

Web: http://www.neilgaiman.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, July 8, 2018

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds


Sometime in the future a war is fought where the soldiers have a “bullet” implanted that holds their personnel files as well as a charge that can blow apart their heart.  Picture swallowing a thumb drive holding an explosive charge.

Scur is a soldier implanted with a bullet.   The ceasefire is ignored by a war criminal and Scur anticipates death.   Later on a skip ship, Scur awakes to discover that she is not only not dead but has survived the war.   Pard is a ship technician she meets and together they help to determine why Scur and others are on the skip ship and why the skip ship is only partially functional.

The story has some interesting technological aspects as well as a commentary on war and resulting post war behavior.

I recommend 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.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Enemy of My Enemy by David Drake and Ben Ohlander


Enemy of My Enemy by David Drake and Ben Ohlander


This story is about a vendetta.   A planet with a clan based society has two warring clans as the setting.   The friction and death leads to all out war between the two clans. However there is a possibility that an outside influence is fanning the flames for their own purposes.

The authors show the waste and futility of personal animosity on a societal basis.   Hatred leading to excesses than then fuel the next atrocity.   It is a sobering look at revenge running amuck.  

The story is a fast read and has lots of action.  Ward, the main protagonist, is immature and untested but eventually shaped by forces out of his control.

This is a sad commentary on human nature.

It was still an exciting read.  There does not seem to be a follow up even though this was labeled #1 of a series. 

Web site: http://david-drake.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, June 28, 2018

Fortress of Frost and Fire by Mercedes Lackey and Ru Emerson


This is in the series of Bard’s Tales.   A dark elf that has renounced necromancy and become a bard and his apprentice must outwit a dragon.

This book was more simplistic than many of the Lackey tales.   It may be targeted more to the YA audience.   It was enjoyable in a fast read, easy to put down book. 

The proselytizing paladin did suggest some commentary on the evangelic, I need a private jet clerical community. 

I enjoyed the book.

web site:  http://www.mercedeslackey.com/


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers


This was outstanding!  The story takes place sometime in the far future where an empire has grown from a colony world found by India.  The empire is in disarray and the black sheep of the imperial family is thrust into the spotlight.

The matrilineal factor added some interest to the book.  The characterization of men in historically stereotypical roles helped to show how ludicrous misogyny is.   The heir, Hail, has left the womb of family to pursue justice or revenge on those responsible for her father’s death.   The empire is being assaulted both internally and externally and Hail is dragged back to the family to assume her imperial responsibilities. 

The character relationships are the key to this novel’s success.   Wagers’ character building is terrific.   She shows foibles and growth as well as two way loyalty.   The re-immersion into family life and responsibilities is shown to be a daunting task.

Incidentally, I am fond of and support strong women and strong female protagonist, Wagers character is both!

Great book,  as soon as I finish this review, I intend to find the next in the series.

Web: http://www.kbwagers.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, June 18, 2018

Alas Poor Warner Brothers, You Are So Disappointing!

 I read an article in the newspaper (yes a honest to goodness paper newspaper, not a feed) that Warner Brothers is cracking down on all things Harry Potter that they don't run or own.  It is remarkable to me that such a successful franchise could make a decision to curb their fans enthusiasm.  True Potter fans have costumes, wands and other paraphernalia that has provide Warner Brothers with a profit.  Festivals and Quidditch tournaments allow Potter fans to revel in their love of all things Potter.   Warner Brothers seems to think this will dilute their brand.  Warner Brothers should be funding festivals and providing incentives to Quidditch promoters because it will lead to more purchases of franchised materials. 

Warner Brothers take note, there are many adults who will look askew at your decision to thwart their kids the pleasure of celebrating their “Potterism”.  As an avid reader, as a former literacy promoting non-profit  board member, as an author and as a parent and grandparent, I have tried to promote literacy.   The Harry Potter series has gotten kids who never picked up a book to avidly read.   Events that promote that series can only encourage new readers to pick up the series.   The cessation of activities associated with this book series is going to decrease the interest of new readers.  This book series  has inadvertently promoted literacy.  That fact is going to be negatively impacted by the short sighted policies of  Warner Brothers!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Planet of the Damned By Harry Harrison


Once again Harrison has provided a story to make you think.    Two planets are at odds and a gladiator type is asked to intervene and prevent genocide.

Brion is the winner of a planet wide superiority game.   Hunger game-ish, the Twenties are a Olympics of mind and body that are akin to the bread and circuses of the Romans. 

Picked by a secret foundation to avert a war on a distant planet, Brion is torn over wallowing in the adoration of his victory or extending himself by diving into a situation that he has little or no confidence that he can prevail. 

Symbiotic relationships and alien life forms are addressed as well as the intervening aspects of imposed social order.   Sounds complicated but it was a fun read.

I recommend it.

Web: http://www.michaelowencarroll.com/hh/index.htm

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