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, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Risen Again by Ben Tripp

The plethora of zombie books tends to drown the entire genre. Luckily Ben Tripp has a book that really does rise again. I fully intended to dislike the book because it was another, yes another, zombie book. Some time of trigger turns a majority of the population into mindless zombies. While the protagonist never determines the trigger, I personally suspect it is the stupefying effects of negative campaign advertisements. They just make you want to zombify yourself. Small town sheriff, Danny Adelman is forced to face mindless hordes, hapless civilians and clueless friends in the midst of an unprecedented, post apocalyptic civil disaster.

Danny is like one of those inflatable Bozo the Clown figures with a rounded sandy bottom, punch it and it just flies back in your face. Her resiliency is unbound. She establishes relationships through no intent on her part. She is duty bound, come heck or high tides of zombies.

Tripp has a terrific command of the English language and great descriptive powers. Funny how that didn’t seem to enter my mind when I started the book but on several occasions, I literally paused to reread a sentence and marvel how well it was crafted. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

I highly recommend it.

Body of work of Ben Tripp


Monday, October 25, 2010

Free Book Alert

Shellie's Very Cool Header
Don't forget to comment on the Half-Made World contest to enter and don't forget that Layers of Thought is giving a copy away too.

Aching for Always by Gwyn Cready

This book depicts a strong woman facing both her past and her future which is complicated by the distortion of time. Torn between morality, self respect and the love of two men, Joss O’Malley prevails.

I guess there really is a sub-genre of romantic fantasy. There is very little fantasy in the traditional scifi/fantasy arena. There is a great deal of sexual fantasy in the story. Hugh Hawksmoor is driven by grief and a desire for revenge. Joss O’Malley is focused on maintaining what she perceives as her mother’s legacy. The clash of emotions and time impacted morality give a certain panache to the book. I liked the book in spite of the predominant soap opera flavor.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of of Gwyn Cready

Web Site

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cool Headers 2

This is the second of my posts on cool headers.  In an effort to broaden my horizons and increase inter-blog linking I am showcasing other peoples headers and linking to their blog.   If you have a cool header, let me know and I will add it to my list. 
The  Neverending Shelf is a very nice blog with some interesting posts and a very cool header.   Check it out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

I don’t seek out SteamPunk nor do I avoid it. This story is one of conflict between The Line and The Gun. It seems like a straight forward conflict between industrial progress and outspoken civil liberties. All is not as it seems. There is a third party or is it fourth party involved in the major conflict. The novel is a thought provoking, penetrating glimpse into fanaticism.

I really didn’t find any characters I particularly liked. The conflict between The Line and The Gun provides the majority of the action. However the contrasting interplay of feelings between the good Dr. and Creedmoor is captivating. I found the General, while a central figure just too uni-dimensional. I found this book, more than most provoked speculation as to root causes. If you are old enough to remember the movie Forbidden Planet, that is the direction my speculation led me. BTW I got my tickets for Forbidden Planet out of a Quaker Cereal box which truly dates me. The folk were a little too mysterious. This book cries out for a sequel

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Felix Gilman

Web Site:

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Steam Punk Winner:The Half-Made World GiveAway! FREE!!

Coming on October 22nd is a review of the Half-Made World by Felix Gilman ,a prime example of the newest genre, Steam Punk. What is Steam Punk? According to Wikipedia, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history.

Enough already, what about the GiveAway?

Each person who comments and leaves an email address on my Half-Made World review will be entered to win a copy of Felix Gilman’s Half-Made World. Each comment will be assigned a number based on the order the comment was received. The numbers will be input at to determine the winner. The winner will be notified by email and will need to provide a physical address for shipment of the book. If there is no response from the winner in 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. The winner will be announced on Pick of the Literate and Azure Dwarf.

Drop by, read the review, make your comment and sit back and hope you win. Contest will begin on October 22, 2010 and end on November12, 2010 midnight east coast time, the publisher will ship the book to the winner.

Want to improve your odds?

Follow me on Twitter to get another numeric entry.

If you blog, put a link on your blog to my blog and I will add another entry for you.
Comment here on any of my other posts or comment on my other blogs and I will add another entry for you.

There are many ways to increase your chances, how much you want to do so is up to you.

For a Two-Fer, Go to Layers of Thought and and enter the contest there too.

Thanks for reading and good luck.  Oh,contest is for anywhere on this planet as far as I can determine.  Aww, what the heck, anywhere in our solar system.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Forest Mage by Robin Hobb (a.k.a. Megan Lindholm)

This is the second book in the Soldier Son Trilogy. Nevare Burvell, a second son, is destined to be the family soldier. His naïve acceptance that birth order is responsible for all aspects of life is challenged by his life experiences. The forest magic forces Nevare to abandon hope and look to the Specks.

Despair comes to mind when analyzing Nevare’s life. Every time he turns around what ever he strives to achieve blows up in his face. He finds his own behavior is often inexplicable. The ties to his old life are frayed beyond salvage and he is forced to look at the Specks in a new way. The metaphor here may be that circumstances beyond your control can force you into a life you may not want to live. So much can be read into Robin Hobb’s work. The beauty of her storytelling is that each of us can find a unique way of perceiving and experiencing it. This is an excellent series. Not an easy read but a rewarding read, take your time, savor and ponder it.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Robin Hobb
Body of work of Megan Lindholm

Web Site:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cool Headers 1

As I run across cool headers I will post them here with permission of the owner, of course.  I love the creativity exhibited on the web.   Layers of Thought is one of my favorite blogs. Check it out!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

GuildWars Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb

Seeing what I post here most of you will be surprised that I am not a gamer. I view RPG as crack for the scifi fan. I am frightened of the possibility of immersion and a subsequent sublimation of my personality. In other words, I’m afraid I could get hooked on a game and spend all waking hours playing it. Since I am already hooked on reading and donuts, I avoid the temptation of RPG.
Getting on topic, Ghosts of Ascalon supposedly is setting the stage for the the role playing game Guild Wars 2. Haven’t played it and so I don’t know if that is true but it is what I have read. A typical quest band of intentionally mismatched adventurers set out on a quest for an artifact that can bring world peace. The pitfalls and pratfalls along the way feed the plot.

This is not an intellectually challenging read but frankly my intellect needs a rest now and again. I enjoyed the characters and their bold characteristics. I liked the introspection and need for redemption exhibited by Dougal. I found the book entertaining and enjoyed reading it. What more can you ask? I’m looking forward to the likely sequels.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Matt Forbeck
Body of work of Jeff Grubb

Web Sites: 
Guild Wars

Monday, October 11, 2010

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence is despicable. It is dismaying to contemplate anyone subjected to violence let alone the horrific aspect of having someone you love and trust hurting you. The Pixel Project is sponsoring a project called Paint it Purple. I’ve recorded a YouTube video as per their program to show support for the end of domestic violence.

If someone you know is abused or abusing, they can find help at NOVA. NOVA stands for the Network of Victim Assistance and although they are local to Bucks County Pennsylvania, they do not limit their toll free help line to local residents. If you are in trouble, afraid for yourself or others, find help. NOVA 24 hours a day hotline #800-675-6900

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison

This is the first book of Harrison’s that I have read. I expected a Jim Butcher level of entertainment. I didn’t get it. I gave it a good effort but I just couldn’t get into the story, the characters, the setting, nothing. I wanted to like the book, I have already got a couple more of her books, assuming I would like it but alas, I didn’t. The book had too much soap opera overtone for my taste. Now I am not foolish enough to suggest that it may be more suited in the romance category of vampire loving teens but maybe… Rachel Mariana Morgan is a witch, rooming with a living vampire and a bunch of pixies and she is the familiar of a demon. Sounds like it should be page turner and obviously from Harrison’s sales for many people her books are page turners, just not for me. I do not recommend it.

Body of work of Kim Harrison


Web site:

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Sunrise Lands by S. M. Stirling

This book can be considered a sequel to Meeting at Corvallis or the beginning of a new Change trilogy. Whatever the category, the book is excellent. Set in a post Apocalyptic world where technology has been truncated by some unknown source. This story focuses on the children of the initial survivors featured in the Dies the Fire, the first three books. The kids or young adults are on a quest demanded by the powers speaking through Juniper who is the Chief of the Mackenzies and Rudi’s Mom.

Rudi and Mathilda, the heirs to the Mackenzie lands and the Association territory explore more interpersonal action in this book. Rudi’s two younger, twin sisters are highly entertaining. New allies and new villains are introduced in this book. There is action and treachery abounding. Stories are told over campfires that backfill information that would enable this book to be read without reading the preceding trilogy. I enjoy the character interaction, none are super heroes, they all demonstrate human fragility and are thusly more believable.

Once again, I highly enjoyed a Stirling book and recommend it and the preceding trilogy.

Body of work of S. M. Stirling

Review         Website

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sacrifice by Dakota Banks

The young mother from Dark Time returns. Her quest to bring the demons down continues, complicated by her ambivalent love triangle. Her new mortality is impacting her morality. She faces both internal and external conflict in her ongoing quest.

As I noted in my review of Dark Time, the revoking of her ageless infallibility and her now more credible skill set helps in creating a more believable and likeable Maliha. I find her struggle with the changes she has undergone to make her a more believable character. The skill set she lost needs to be affirmed by the satisfaction of balancing her scale. The conflict between delayed gratification and immediate gratification is one faced by most people on a daily basis. It gives Maliha depth.

In Bank’s cynical, harsh world tragedy and violence abound. This is an action filled dark urban fantasy.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of of Dakota Banks

Web Site