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, February 27, 2011

Cool Header 9

Perusing other scifi/fantasy book sites is fun. There are so many good blogs I never know which ones to post links so I have started my Cool Headers series. This isn’t saying that I agree with everything on these blogs, just that I think they have a very cool header. Click on the header to check out their blog.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Dawn Country by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear GIVEAWAY!

People of the Longhouse, bestselling authors and archeologists
Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear’s
second book in their newest series,
The Dawn Country
The Dawn Country is the Gears’ 50th published novel

Three copies of this extraordinary novel will be given away at Azure Dwarf!

(Shipping is restricted to the known universe and this dimension only, alternate worlds and universes need not enter.)

From the press release:
The Dawn Country is the Gears’ 50th published novel, and the First North American series hit international as well as the USA Today bestseller lists.

In The Dawn Country, set around the year 1430 during a time of violent upheaval, Young Wrass is being held captive, along with several other children, in the legendary evil Gannajero the Crow’s camp. Gannajero profits enormously by buying and selling children to outcast warriors who subject them to brutal treatment. Wrass knows he can’t wait to be rescued. He has to organize the children for an assault on Gannajero’s warriors. Even if he dies, someone has to escape, to carry the story back to their people. It’s the only way to stop the evil old woman.

But Koracoo, a female war chief, and Gonda, her husband and deputy, have not abandoned their search. They’re coming for the children, and they have allies: a battle-weary Mohawk war chief and a Healer from the People of the Dawnland. Together, they will find the children and destroy Gannajero. But not before many of the children have been sold and carried off to distant villages— lost to their families and homes forever.

Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear have successfully provided a vital understanding of the history of North America with the latest archaeological findings and sweeping dramatic narratives and strong Native American tradition. Filled with fascinating details about ancient customs mixed with adventure, spine-tingling action, and spiritual power that is entertaining and intelligent, The Dawn Country will gratify dedicated fans and appeal to newcomers of the series.

How To Win
Each person who comments and leaves an email address on my blog expressing a desire for a copy of The Dawn Country will be entered to win one of three copies. 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 expected to be posted on March 18th, make your comment and sit back and hope you win. I hope to have an interview with the Gears and a guest post so comments there will also be entered into the contest. Contest begins today, Feb. 23rd 2011 and ends March 31, 2011 midnight east coast time, the publicist will ship the prizes to the winner. Winners will be contacted by email and will need to email me back with their shipping address. Please no PO boxes, physical address will be needed for shipping.

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.

Money Saving Tech Tips   or  Pick of The Literate

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

Oh,contest is for anywhere on this planet as far as I can determine. Aww, what the heck, anywhere in our solar system . I will be reviewing the book and posting my review on this blog. I also will be interviewing the Gears and posting the interview here as well. Thanks for reading and good luck.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fantasy in Death by J. D. Robb

I don't often post the same book here and on Pick of the Literate but this book is so mainstream it needs to be there and it is definitively speculative fiction so it needs to be here too. 

The not too distant future is the setting for Lt. Eve Dallas and her adventures. The entire series I have read so far is focused on homicide and the mystery that surrounds each murder. This book focuses on rpg. (role playing games) A group of loveable geeks is on the verge of paramount geekieness when they are beset with foul play.

Bart Minnock’s murder strikes a chord with Dallas, I suspect due to his na├»ve disposition and his vague similarity to Roarke. Roarke, on the other hand, is beyond chord striking, he doesn’t see Bart’s murder as simply a need for justice, he sees a strong need for revenge.
I did really enjoy the technology that was described and I suspect that we will see interactive holograms well before the 2060 date of the storyline.   Computer gaming systems are becoming so sophisticated that holograms are the next logical step.  It will be exciting to see and as so many of the books I read as a kid, science fiction frequently becomes science fact well before we expect it.

It is made clear in this book that Dallas does take each and every murder personally. She believes that she is the advocate for the dead. I can only hope that there are cops out there that have the same strength of duty for those who can’t help themselves.

I’ve said it before, I do like the loyalty that Dallas shows to her staff and the resultant loyalty that is returned. The emotional interplay is the key to success in this series.

I recommend the book and the series.

Body of work of J. D. Robb

Web site:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cool Header 8

Perusing other scifi/fantasy book sites is fun.  There are so many good blogs I never know which ones to post links so I have started my Cool Headers series.   This isn’t saying that I agree with everything on these blogs, just that I think they have a very cool header.  Click on the header link to check out their blog.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Shiva Option by David Weber

This is book number four in the Starfire series and may be the conclusion. The Shiva Option saves countless lives but is honor besmirched or are ethics compromised?  The inhumane bugs are finally exterminated by the alliance of dissimilar beings or are they. A smidgen of doubt provides the opening for a 5th book.

This book could be read as a standalone but it wouldn’t be as nearly enjoyable. Reoccurring characters provide the bulk of the heroics. Weber writes extraordinary military science fiction. You find your self near tear with the loyalty, courage and fortitude that personify his characters. The willingness of individuals to sacrifice their personal well being for the benefit of society is mirrored in the current conflicts in which our young people are laying down their own lives.

Weber pointedly depicts the self-serving political aspects that detract from the actions of the people who put their lives on the line to protect society.

Admittedly, I am a David Weber fan. I love his characterizations, his depictions of honor and courage. His books are inspiring.

I highly recommend the book and the series.

Body of work of David Weber

Web site

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dream of legends by Stephen Zimmer

This is book two of the Fires in Eden series. Forces of the good All Father are facing the Unifiers dreaded minions. Help from a surprising source provides hope and leads to the next book in the series.

Stevens Zimmer is crafting an epic fantasy. The book is practically overwhelming in its scope and detail. I found it difficult to keep track of the good guys and bad guys. Zimmer does a very good job showing that opponents are not necessarily evil. Zimmer colorfully depicts the frustration of the warriors on both sides of this extraordinarily broad conflict.

I find the patience exhibited by Gunther borders on unbelievable, considering the ill conceived behavior of his other world guests. Erin in particular is flat out annoying.

The scope of this book and the multitude of characters demands a high level of concentration when reading. This isn't a beach Book. Zimmer the depicts scenes and characters in such detail that it is practically over whelming. In some ways the book is like a visit to Baskin and Robbins. The number of flavors is overwhelming. There are so many characters and scenario's it is easy to get lost. However if you're looking for a rich an florid fantasy this book should meet your needs.

This is the 2nd book in a series and details the initial battles of a cataclysmic clash between good and evil.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Stephen Zimmer

Web site:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crown of Vengeance by Stephen Zimmer

This book is an epic tale of morality and courage. An unlikely assortment of contemporary characters finds themselves in an alternate world immersed in monumental, sword wielding conflict.

The Unifier plans to unify the known world for the benefit of its inhabitants. That is his story and he is sticking with it. He is handsome, muscular, charismatic and dedicated, unbeknownst to his minions, to evil.

The motley cast from our world is thrust into a situation that strains their credibility and their sanity. Each one adapts to the new environment in their own way. Zimmer’s use of prose paints a clear and rich world but his characters are not memorable. The tapestry of the world and the story line are second to the individuals that populate this alternate world. I suspect each reader will be able to find a character they can identify with in this varied crew.

I found the description of the Unifier’s marching army extraordinary. Zimmer does a wonderful job in painting a full and very detailed panorama.

This is the first book in a series and details the beginnings of a cataclysmic clash between good and evil.

I recommend it.

Body of work of Stephen Zimmer

Web site:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cool Header 7

Perusing other scifi/fantasy book sites is fun.  There are so many good blogs I never know which ones to post links so I have started my Cool Headers series.   This isn’t saying that I agree with everything on these blogs, just that I think they have a very cool header.  Click on the header link to check out their blog.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crimson Wind by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Max a ShadowBlade Prime is still searching for self but in this second book she reaches out to her long lost biological family in the midst of a magical cataclysm. In her search she discovers she may already have a family. Magic, bondage, love and violence categorize this fast paced novel.

Frankly when I reviewed Bitter Night, the prequel to this book, I did it with skepticism. I wasn’t sure it was my cup of java. Once again I am glad I pushed aside my cynical bent and tried someone new. I am now a fan. I truly enjoyed the emotional interplay between the characters. Francis imbues realism into her fantasy world. Max’s self destructive urges are sublimated by her loyalty to those dependent on her strength. Honor and loyalty are sure fire captivators of my literary interest and Francis illustrates them quite graphically. I will do my best to follow up on this review by reviewing the next in the series. There is plenty of action and good solid character development. I heartily enjoyed Bitter Night.

Then I was sent Crimson Wind to review and it was worth the wait. Ms. Francis succeeded again in developing a complex relationship between two strong protagonists facing daunting odd. Max engenders loyalty and love while being totally mystified as to why. Once again action permeates every page and the pace is swift. I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next in the series.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Diana Pharaoh Francis

Web Site: