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!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cool Headers 4

This is the fourth 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.

Shellie at Layers of Thought is just doing too good of a job with her headers.   She has a very nice blog with some interesting posts and a very cool header. Check it out.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ghost by John Ringo

I am a John Ringo fan. With that said, I was still disappointed in this book. It takes place in the near future/now. The scenario is a retired Seal who becomes a pseudo government gun for hire and how that Seal, Ghost, deals with terrorists.

Ringo’s military scifi is always action laden and this book was no different. What I found strange was his preoccupation with rough sex. I haven’t seen that in other Ringo protagonists and was not terribly thrilled with the detailed sex scenes. It felt  like the author was pandering to a different audience. Sex like violence in a book, if used in the appropriate context can add allure and excitement. At times it seemed like Ringo lost track of the story in the indulgence of Ghosts, peculiar affection for rough sex. It is interesting to note that he had Mike Harmon(Ghost) express regret for that part of his personal makeup and to refer to it as a flaw.

I am confused over this book, it claims to be authored by John Ringo and has the action flavor of a Ringo book but the overemphasis on aberrant sex detracted from the story line and could move the story from military scifi/action adventure to erotic fiction.

Body of work of John Ringo

Web site:

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Staff of Rahgorra by Mark Oetjens

Visions of Star Wars danced in my head as I read this book. A galactic thug seeks a holy relic to control the known universe. A complicated anti-hero strives to thwart him through the use of mystical force.

I struggled to stay interested in this book. Not that it was bad but it seemed too familiar. I am guessing that the premise was my problem. It may be insignificant to most readers. I enjoyed Cam and his pragmatic attitude which sadly is more realistic than the normal heroic figure. Thull was an amazingly compassionate villain. Vile but with a sense of family and friendship, he was either a horrendous villain or a galactic savior. Give this book a chance, I don’t think I was able to do it justice.

In reading the author’s blog, I discovered that he has had the Star Wars comparison made in the past. I try not to read the author’s blog prior to writing my own take. I do not believe there was any attempt at Star Wars fan writing or plagiarism and I support the author’s premise that it is a 100% original work. It is tough writing and as authors we are all going to be impacted by what we have read and experienced. So I am going to change my recommendation to strongly as opposed to just recommend as I think my experience may have colored me with a bit of negativity in reading the book.

I highly recommend it.

Body of work of Mark Oetjens



Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Hero (Posleen War Series #5) by John Ringo and Michael Z. Williamson

We met the Darhel earlier in this series. An alien race that played a huge part in the Posleen War. This story places Tirdal, a Darhel, in a deep reconnaissance team with humans. They are sent on a mission to determine if the new foe has established a beachhead on their target world. The interplay between the humans and their alien teammate provides the tension for the story.

This is not the typical action dominated Ringo story. In that, it was a disappointment. However as a study of interspecies relations it was excellent. An understanding of the Darhel fills some gaps in the background of the Posleen series. The implacable Dagger, a sniper, faces the immutable Tirdal in a contest of wills. Ferret provides the positive human role model that offsets the despicable Dagger. This was an excellent character study that fleshed out parts of the Posleen series. I am sure it is disappointing to the adrenalin junkies who revel in the mad mayhem that often is a hallmark of John Ringo but I liked the book. At the end, you will find yourself wondering, who was the hero?

I recommend it.

Body of work of John Ringo
Body of work of Michael Z. Williamson

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Forbidden The Stars by Valmore Daniels

I often refer to other books when I recommend. That is not in any way denigrating either one I am commenting on. I had visions of Clark’s 2001 when I read this book. Actually I had strong recollections of being in the movies at the release of the movie. My wife, good sport that she is, has no interest in scifi but went with me anyway. I was quietly trying to explain the rather confusing opening when two couples in front of us asked if I could speak not more quietly, which I expected, but more loudly as I apparently was the only one in the vicinity who had read the book and had some clue what was going on in the movie. All of which has little or nothing to do with this book. A near future world, dominated by corporate entities, discovers an alien artifact on Pluto. That in combination with the inadvertent and deadly discovery of a potential FTL fuel leads to intrigue and deceit.

I found the author’s portrayal of Michael (corporate exec) and Justine’s (pilot) concern for Alex to be a nice side bar to the story. It was refreshing to have some compassion shown in a very cutthroat setting. The story moved well and tied together Mayan mythology with purely human vices of greed and revenge. I’ll be surprised if there isn’t a sequel, if there is I will be reading it.

I recommend it.

Body of work of Valmore Daniels


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is a mixed metaphor. Harry has vowed to thrust his fragile body between the forces of evil and “normal” human beings. He accepts far more responsibility than he can handle. This leads him to confrontations he can’t possibly survive and yet he does. Necromancers threaten his city and his people and Harry goes well beyond his comfort level to preserve their safety. Harry even goes to the extent of joining forces with a perceived nemesis.

Jim Butcher has not only a wildly fertile imagination, he has a seriously demented funny bone. Non-stop action characterizes his books and this one is no exception. Harry indulges in frequent introspection which makes him feel far more dimensional that a paper character. The involvement of Sue as a solution to one of his problems was hilarious. (Yes, you have to read the book to find out who Sue may be.) Bob shows that even the spirit world may have some sentimental loyalty. Once again, I couldn’t put the

darn book down. Darn you Jim Butcher for forcing me to burn the midnight oil!

I highly recommend the entire series. You will be seeing more as I have finally purchased all the ones that have currently been printed.

Body of work of Jim Butcher

Congratulations Half-Made World Winners!

The three winners of Felix Gilman’s Half-Made World, Steam Punk Novel are Dolly, Andrea and AIK. Each entry was assigned a number as it was received. Many of you had multiple entries by commenting elsewhere on my blogs and following me on Facebook, Twitter or here. The resultant numbers were put into a random number generator and it picked the three winners.  All three winners have been emailed and asked for their address.  The book publisher will be sending the books directly to each winner.  

Watch here for the next contest which will be a giveaway of Thrall by Steven L. Shrewsbury, a fantasy in the Robert E. Howard style.

The publisher told me we can do a book/poster/t-shirt/set of 5X7 prints/bookmarks for the intergalatic open grand prize.

We can do a book/bookmarks for the second prize, US only

We can do a t-shirt for the third prize, US only

I am looking forward to finalizing this with the publisher.

Thank You for particiapating!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb (a.k.a. Megan Lindholm)

This is the third and final 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 changes he undergoes as the magic attempts to integrate his personality are daunting.

"The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” by Stephen R. Donaldson or David Feintuch’s Seafort’s Hope came to mind when reading this trilogy. Nevare’s experience seem to spiral down to despair in the second book and struggle to get beyond despair. There were times I felt so badly for the character I had to put the book down and read something else. His resiliency is remarkable. The faith that Spink, Epiny, Yaril and Amzil have in Nevare is a bit beyond belief. His perceived actions would sorely try anyone’s faith. Hobb does a nice job keeping even minor characters in the action. Tiber, the scout, shows up as well as the scout we met very early on in the first book. A masterful job of pulling together the many threads of the story was done. This is not a quick read, nor should it be. By the time you are finished with this trilogy you will know Nevare Burvell better than some of your own family members.

I highly recommend the book.

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

Web Site:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is once again in the line of fire. Between his war with the Red Court Vampires and his quest for the Shroud of Turin, Harry finds a wealth of action and demands on his wizardly talents.
Reminiscent of the hard boiled detective stories but characterized by the supernatural, this series is eminently entertaining. Dresden is not a towering super hero. He is an ordinary guy trying to survive in life with what he considers his normal behavior. Always looking out for the victim, Harry is in constant danger from supernatural predators. Harry is dying to love and be loved but true love seems to be forever out of his reach.

I highly recommend the entire series. You will be seeing more as I have finally purchased all the ones that have currently been printed.

Body of work of Jim Butcher

Web Site:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Not Enough Nookie?

Barnes and Noble’s Color Nook May Not Have A Niche and it might not be the Nookie you are looking for.
See my post at Money Saving Tech Tips.
Looks cool and may be cool but is it priced right?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cool Headers 3

This is the third 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 Bookkeeper is a very nice blog with some interesting posts and a very cool header.   Check it out.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Copy of The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman, End of Giveaway 11/12/10

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. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jackie Gamber’s Redheart Has Been Picked Up By Seventh Star Press

Generic Dragon, not related to the series, credit
to whoever owns it, with apologies that I don't
have a clue where I got it.

As some of you know I am fond of all things dragon. Jackie Gamber’s Leland Dragon Series looks very interesting. Kellon Redheart, one of the protagonists, is a talking dragon. How can you go wrong on that!

Seventh Star Press’s recent announcement precedes the re-release of Redheart early next year.

I have requested a review copy and will keep you apprised. Seventh Star is developing an exciting stable of Fantasy authors.