Required Reading

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Solar Express by L.E. Modesitt, jr

This is a stand alone.   The story is set one hundred years in the future.  Global warming, economic meltdown and nation state changes have reshaped the world.  A  lowly astronomer and a shuttle pilot change the way the universe is seen with snowballing resources and relationships. 

Dangers in space are only exacerbated by earth bound politics.   Modesitt does a nice job projecting current political and economic problems to a seemingly logical place in the future.

Alayna is the resident scientist, mechanic and janitor at COFAR a astronomy array on the moon.  With a struggling world economy she hopes she can publish something that will enable her to be employable once she finishes her tour of duty.  She makes a discovery that will impact her professional life, the world and her personal life.

Chris, a FusEx jockey, is disappointed in a career that seems to have stagnated as a glorified taxi driver rather than the stalwart and intrepid space explorer he had hoped to be.  

Modesitt always seems to have a relationship story as a side bar to his plots.  It makes them more believable.   Modesitt may be a frustrated philosopher as his  books always seem to have some philosophic musings.

This was a good story and 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.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Like a Mighty Army by David Weber

This  is another book in the excellent Safehold series.  Safehold is a planet intentionally  hidden at a low tech level from an alien intelligence that has wiped out mankind except for Safehold.    Safehold’s founders founded a new religion to deter industrialization in hopes of not attracting the attention of mankind’s nemesis.   Much of the review here is the same for the whole series.

The aforementioned theocracy has become dominated by the gang of four.   The gang of four, are four corrupt churchmen who will do anything, no matter how despicable, to remain in power.   Mass murder, terriorism, torture and even instigating civil war and denying all progress, it still manages to trumpet it’s godliness.  

As all of Weber’s works he has deplorable villains and laudable heroes.   Weber works many of current society’s ills into his work.   Fanaticism, jihad, corruption, facile politicians, evil empires; he manages to include or refer to through proxy.

Weber is one of those rare authors who can infiltrate your emotions with his characters and feel you full of empathy for their actions.   This book shows the Charisian Empire again but focuses more on a next generation of characters.  Merlin introduces a surprise character that is thought provoking.  Religious warfare is shown in it's brutal reality.  Something that has sadly been illustrated by current events.

Some reviews complain that Weber is wordy but each brush stroke can increase the depth and beauty of a work although in this book I did feel he got a bit effusive.  

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.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from Azure Dwarf

Thank you for reading and best wishes for a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wings of Sorrow and Bone by Beth Cato

This book follows The Clockwork Dagger, The Clockwork Crown and The Deepest Poison, all of which I enjoyed.   I thought the first book was a steampunk romance.  Octavia Leander was the featured character in those books.  This book follows the adventures of Octavia's romantic interest Alonzo Garret, younger sister Tatiana and a friend of Octavia and Alonzo, the mechanic Rivka. 

Gremlin's are bat like creations of magic and technology.   The creator, Mr. Cody, had no interest in the fact that his creatures had developed into thinking animals.  His primary purpose seemed to be to create them to fight in his gladiatorial arena.

The two young ladies, Rivka and Tatiana initiate a quest to stop Mr. Cody and emancipate the Gremlins for very diverse reasons.  Rivka is very likeable and Tatiana not so much.   (I throw that in for a vocal critic of the idea that likeability of characters should not enter into the likeability of books. )

I enjoyed the book and highly 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, December 21, 2015

Free Books From Author William G. Bentrim

Merry Christmas!
Free eBooks!
19 of my eBooks will be listed as FREE on Amazon December 22-December 24, 2015 as my gift to my friends and readers. (Often the same people.)  All of my eBooks would have been free but apparently Amazon has some limit as to how many I can give away over the same time period.  Please share with anyone,  any or all of your friends!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Gentleman Jole and The Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold

I just checked my database and this is the 24th book I have read that was written by Bujold.  It was also my least favorite.  This was more like a domestic diary than her former exciting action books.  The Red Queen is Cordelia Vorkosigan of fame in the Miles Vorkosigan books.  Cordelia is winding down and wants to retire.  This book details her feelings on that and her feelings regarding the flexibility of Betan sexual mores.

In fairness the book was interesting but primarily because it showed some larger than life characters from previous books in their twilight years.  The irascible Miles is reduced almost to a character of derision.  The deriding of the flamboyant and creative Admiral Naismith of old was sad.  Overall it was devastatingly bland.  Worth reading if you have read the other books but dismaying at the decline of the characters. 

I guess the aging of action characters is to be expected as Ethan of Athos was published in 1986.  Peter Pan is not alive and well, he has children and is expected to be "normal".   Frankly I enjoyed the books before the characters out-aged me.

Web Site:

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, December 3, 2015

Spotlight on A Princess of the Chameln by Cherry Wilder

A Princess of the Chameln by Cherry Wilder ($5.99, ISBN 978-1-5040-2697-0) will be published as an e-book for the first time, on November 17, by Mashup Press, distributed by Open Road Integrated Media on all major etailers’ web sites. It will be available as a print on demand trade paperback a month later. The sequels Yorath the Wolf and The Summer’s King, which together with A Princess of the Chameln comprise the Rulers of Hylor trilogy, will be published at three month intervals.

It has been a while since this book has been available—two decades, in fact, since the Baen Books paperback edition, which reprinted the original hardcover edition of A Princess of the Chameln.

A Princess of the Chameln, Cherry Wilder’s great epic high-fantasy adventure, is the story of Aidris, the heir to the double-throne of Hylor. When her crown is usurped by pretenders and she must flee for her life, she must fend for herself, exiled in a world of enemies, forced to fight to survive as she seeks allies friendly to her cause. In the richly developed fantasy world of Hylor and the realms within it that vie for ascendance, Cherry Wilder deftly balances politics and warfare with the subtly nuanced, memorable characters whose lives play out in this uniquely powerful novel.

Cherry Wilder died in 2003, but her great works live on, and we’re all thrilled to be able to bring these books to a new generation of fantasy readers. 

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