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!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Fell Hound of Adversity by Parker T. Geissel

A dark knight kind of Gotham City is the setting for this book.  It is populated by a wide variety of losers.  All the characters seem to be caricatures.  The kind of protagonist is a failed chef.   Rudi and Buck were friends and then weren't and were again, maybe.

I found the book very difficult to get into.  It is colorful and the characters are interesting.  Injal Skube and Killer Hrapp provide some comic relief with their heavy handed thuggery and personal asides.  Fat Jack Bloom was a real thug who was more sadly comical than the government thugs.   The book seems to revels in sarcastic humor. 

This book seemed like a graphic novel translated into a no graphic novel.  It never really grabbed me.

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, November 26, 2016

LAST BEST DAY by Jeff Somers Spotlight

Pocket Star EBooks
Publication Date: October 3, 2016
$.99 Bargain Book

Learn the Words. Get the blood. Rule the world. Last Best Day is a stand-alone short story in the Ustari Cycle—the gritty supernatural series that includes We Are Not Good Peoplefrom the “exhilarating, powerful, and entertaining” (Guardian) storyteller of the Avery Cates series.

In an underworld teeming with blood mages, Tricksters, and vile individuals, Lem was the one person who never hurt the Mags—would never hurt Mags. And so when a powerful archmage kidnaps him Lem off the streets for unknown reasons, the gentle giant embarks on a dangerous path to save his that might ruin their friendship forever.

For blood mages, the twenty-first century means hiding in the shadows, keeping society unaware of their incredible powers. The power-hungry sort plot quietly to manufacture tragedies bloody enough to give them the gas they need to cast something monumental. Lem and Mags, down-and-out bosom buddies to the end, have always been good—bleeding nobody but themselves—skating by on small Cantrips, cons, and charms.

But battling an archmage means enlisting an archmage to your cause. And convincing one of those to be on your side often means giving a piece of yourself away in the process.

This ebook also contains an excerpt of We Are Not Good People.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Black Friday Week Reader Gifts

Get the reader in your life a reading shirt!

Black Friday WEEK Discount is BLACKFRILOVE


This is a collection of stories, some not so short, set in Sanderson's Shard Worlds.
Once again I will lament over the fact that here is another excellent author whose work has escaped my radar.  In all fairness to my self, I try not to be obsessive in my reading and I try to have something in my life besides books.  Grand kids, wives, family all intrude upon reading 24/7.   So maybe not knowing Sanderson's work isn't a major faux pax.   I am not normally fond of collections, I like meaty, full throttle books.  This book however surprised me and I really enjoyed it.   Describing the work is difficult, particularly when there is reference to the full books with which the short stories are connected.

The Emperor's Soul was sufficiently long to really get into it.   Sanderson provided the necessary character complexity to be able to relate to the Forger.  She became alive and thus well worth following.  The story stood alone quite well.  

The Hope of Elantris was good but not as satisfying.   It stood alone OK but did not provide enough depth.

Reviewing a book of short stories does not mean reviewing each story in the book.   Some of them stood alone quite well and others really could use more length to make them appealing.

Overall I really enjoyed the book and will seek out Sanderson's full works.

I liked the interludes between stories that provided a look into the author's psychic.


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, November 22, 2016

Lost Gods by Brom

Gerald Brom is an artist and an author.   I read several books a week and read my share of strange books.  This book ranked up with the strangest.  A young couple run away thinking they are escaping her overbearing father and end up with his Tales from the Crypt grandmother.

The bulk of the story takes place in purgatory.   The characters are old ancient gods, lost souls, new "gods" and weird creatures and environments.

The story is well written, the characters are clearly defined and the plot eventually is one of redemption.

I can't say that I liked the book but it will not doubt garner a passionate following.


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, November 18, 2016

Shadow of Victory by David Weber

I just reread my reviews of Rising Thunder and Storm From the Shadows  and the more recent Torch of Freedom which will be on Azure Dwarf on October 21, 2016.  Sadly I am going to cut and paste and the same words here.   I loved the initial Honor Harrington books.   This another book from another perspective and  not much different, perspective on the Mesa Manticore conflict.

This book repeats the characterization of the entrenched bureaucratic morass of the Solarian League.  This book also has the Manticore leaders finally realizing or at least suspecting that they are being manipulated by Mesa

This book is a disappointment in that it is extremely repetitive.   The same events are repeated with a minor perspective change and it brings new meaning to Weber's wordiness.  We are given more insights into the megalomaniacs whose genetic engineering far surpasses Manpower's abuses.

There are passages that evoke the same emotions of loyalty, honor and courage that use to symbolize Weber's work.  Sadly they are few and far between.   It became a tedious read.  

I have found Weber brilliant at times and consequently I keep hoping to find that brilliance in each Weber book I read.  It wasn't here.

I do not 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, November 15, 2016

glialplay. com and Melekpdf .online are Stealing.

Piracy isn't just grabbing hostages off the coast of Africa or the plot for a Disney movie.  Piracy is also literary theft.

This morning I got another Google alert that informed me that once again another site is ripping off my books.   They are offering free downloads of  my books and many, many others without getting author permission.   Several of my books are on the site and I have not given them permission to give them away.   Somehow related is Melekpdf . online which is also coming up as giving away my books.   It is one thing for me to offer my books to my readers for free and it is an entirely different thing to find some website charging a fee for unlimited book, game and movie downloads and "giving" away my books.  This is theft, plain and simple.   Every dime I earn goes into producing more books.   My hope is my books help someone in some way.   These thieves are depriving me of income that could produce another book.   

Please DO NOT patronize these or any other pirate sites. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

L. E. Modessit, Jr Guest Post

I am a major Modessit fan so I was thrilled to get a guest post.  See my review here on November 6th 2016 or at Amazon or Goodreads.

Philosophy and Power in the Imager Portfolio

Is there a philosophical underpinning to all of my books? That question has come up time and time again over the years, but while the simplistic answer is “yes,” that response is more than a little misleading. All my books wrestle with ethical and philosophical questions, but not always with the same questions, or in the same fashion.

Certainly, the books of the Imager Portfolio explore, from differing viewpoints, the relationship of various forms of power to both responsibility and fame, yet that statement is overly simplistic as well, because power exists in different forms, as does responsibility, and there’s always the question of “responsible to whom and for what?” In Imager, and the two succeeding books, Rhenn moves from a point where his life is dictated by his position in society and where others determine what he can do, when he can do it, and in what fashion to where he has great power. There are occasions when he acts outside the law of the land because, as he sees it, greater harm will come to others if he does not act. In one sense, he’s being honest, because he gains nothing personally, nor do those close to him, if he succeeds, and he stands to lose everything if he’s discovered. There is also a case where he acts in retaliation for great harm done to his family, and he rationalizes that act on the grounds that the individual he destroys has already harmed others and will continue to do so, which is, in fact, true. But despite the considerable prices Rhenn and those close to him pay, Rhenn’s acts and success raise a troubling question. Given the limitations of any society, is it possible to protect the innocent against the unscrupulous and those who will stop at nothing to achieve their ends without engaging in behavior unsanctioned or even overtly condemned by society. In Rhenn’s various situations, that would appear to be the case, giving rise to another set of questions. Can it be ethical to use illegal or unsanctioned means to stop a greater evil? And, if so, where does one draw the line? If not, is it ethical to allow evil to go unchecked because one doesn’t want to break the law or do something immoral?

In the five Imager books featuring Quaeryt and Vaelora, beginning with Scholar, the philosophical questions center on the use of power by a ruler and a conqueror. Quaeryt’s abilities and skills allow him to build a cadre of imagers who enable Lord Bhayar to unite an entire continent – far, far from bloodlessly. Quaeryt sees what he does as the only way to keep imagers from being persecuted and killed, as they have been throughout history and over all the world of Terahnar. In this, he is largely successful, and he does not do it for personal glory. He is convinced that he can only be successful if he is NOT remembered in history. Nor does he seek wealth. But in the process of uniting the continent, he and Bhayar slaughter more enemy troopers than have ever been killed in a war. Then, too, there is also the “small” problem that Bhayar himself comes from an ethnic community that has been marginalized and denigrated in the past.

In terms of a body count, how does one balance saving a few hundred, perhaps a few thousand imagers, against the deaths of close to 100,000 soldiers? Yet… on the other hand, can one justify allowing a fragmented continent of five nations to fight among themselves and continue to kill and/or enslave a minority in perpetuity if this is the only opportunity to make a difference? But does showing that a once-despised Pharsi people can unify and rule Solidar justify a massive war – even if it prevents the continuation of generations of warfare?

In Madness in Solidar and the forthcoming Treachery’s Tools, the philosophical questions again center on power, but on the relative power of class, and the growing conflict between the aristocratic High Holders and the rising and industrializing factors. As soon as Alastar becomes Maitre of the Collegium Imago, he finds that the imagers are caught in the middle of a three-way power struggle between the High Holders, the factors, and Rex Ryen. The High Holders want their ancient privileges restored and the factors “kept in their place.” The factors want a say in how the country is run, while Rex Ryen, disliked by both, wants to rule like a total autocrat and expects the imagers to support his despotism.

The High Holders are using both legal and semi-legal stratagems to weaken the Rex and to marginalize the Collegium, while blatantly ignoring other legal limitations on their powers. Unlike Quaeryt, his distant and almost forgotten predecessor, Alastar does not have a strong cadre of powerful imagers. The Collegium is weak and fragmented, and, especially at first Alastar must resort to politicking and the skilled and hidden use of his imaging talents, and those of his colleague and later, his wife Alyna, to resolve the multi-faceted social and economic conflict. Some of what they do is illegal, and unethical, at least in modern terms, as well, but they are, like Quaeryt, trying to protect all imagers, to keep the Rex from oppressing everyone, as well as prevent the dissolution of Solidar into High Holder fiefdoms. And despite their efforts to minimize the carnage, they aren’t successful. In fact, their efforts likely result in more carnage, but less subsequent oppression and repression. To what degree, if any, does the end justify the means? And if it doesn’t, how can Alastar and Alyna watch everything fall apart?

In these books, I try to show the conflicts, the costs of action and inaction, as well as how “legal” actions can be unethical in their results, and what ramifications result from the interplay of ethics, “practical politics,” ambition, and law. And I hope what I’ve done not only entertains, but makes my readers think a bit more about how nothing, including ethics, even in fiction, is as simple as it appears.

L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Description: G:\Tor\Publicity2\Logos\TorForgeNews_2015.jpg
The new novel in the New York Times bestselling Imager Portfolio
L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
“Modesitt again presents a strong, engaging story. The depth of description involved is Modesitt’s strong suit, and he does not fail to deliver in this continuation of his popular Imager series. Attention to the specifics of military tactics and the interesting ways Imagers could use their skills to engage in warfare are the best bits of this novel; the engaging characters, old and new, are the close second to that. Precise language is key to the telling        of this story — well worth the hours spent here!”
RT Book Reviews

“Readers who revel in action sequences won't be disappointed … a solid, involving entry in a worthwhile, occasionally outstanding series.”
Kirkus Reviews
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. has delighted and entertained fantasy and science fiction fans for decades with his many novels and series, including the renowned Corean Chronicles, Saga of Recluce, Spellsong Cycle, Ecolitan Matter, and most recently the Imager Portfolio. Launched in 2009 with Imager, this New York Times bestselling series imagines a world where magic is the literal realization of the imagination. The latest novel, TREACHERY’S TOOLS (A Tor Hardcover; $27.99; On-Sale: Oct. 11, 2016), picks up thirteen years after the events of 2014’s Madness in Solidar.
Alastar has settled into his role as the Maitre of the Collegium. However, the rise in fortune of the merchant classes in Solidar over the years does not sit well with the High Holders, who see the erosion of their long-enjoyed privileges. Bad harvests and worse weather spark acts of violence and murder. In the midst of the crisis, some High Holders call for repeals of the Codis Legis, taking authority away from the Rex.
Once again, Alastar must maintain a careful political balance, but he cannot avoid the involvement of the Collegium when someone begins killing students. Trying to protect his imagers and hold Solidar together for the good of all, Alastar stumbles on to a plot by the High Holders involving illegal weapons, insurrection, and conspiracy.
Modesitt’s success may be measured not only by the number of novels he has produced, but also by the number of fans dedicated to his stories. Known for his complex and intriguing magical systems, Modesitt also excels at exploring the growth and transformation of nuanced characters. New and old readers will enjoy the thoughtful, complex adventure of TREACHERY’S TOOLS, the latest novel in the popular Imager Portfolio.
“Madness in Solidar is proof that the author is still at the height of his creative
powers. Highly recommended for anyone who loves to read fantasy
novels, Madness in Solidar is a must-read for fans of the Imager Portfolio series.”
Guardian Liberty Voice
"This is a book that is an enjoyable read and provides political intrigue,
betrayal, relationship problems, and friendship to reflect on and immerse in.”
Deseret News on Madness in Solidar

With meticulously wrought characters and complex, logically developed
plotting that towers above the fantasy norm … Modesitt once again
delivers an engrossing power struggle negotiated by a virtuous and talented
 man committed to achieving the greater good by way of the least harm.”
—Kirkus on Madness in Solidar

L. E. MODESITT, JR., is the bestselling author of more than sixty novels encompassing two science fiction series and three fantasy series, including the Saga of Recluce. He lives in Cedar City, Utah. You can visit him online at

TREACHERY’S TOOLS                                                                                For more information, please contact:
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.                                                                                 Desirae Friesen, Associate Publicist
Tor Trade Hardcover                                                                                       T: 646-307-5411                                                  
ISBN: 9780765385406 / 0765385406                                                          F: 212-982-2862
$27.99 | 512 pages                                                                                           E:
eBook 9780765385420                                                                                     W:   
On Sale: October 11, 2016                                                                                          

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Of the Abyss by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Mancers communicate with either beings of the light or dark.  Kavet is the capital of Quinacridone.   A special forces group called the 126 are charged with keeping the city free of Mancers.   A mixed bag of citizens are entangled in a plot between Numen "royalty" and Abyss "royalty". 

The mixed bag is just that.  People from multiple ways of life are thrust into the underworld of the Abyss to fulfill what they think are their goals.  SPOILER ALERT, they may not be their goals and Mancers may be sorcerers.

The story is a bit convoluted.  There seems to be an intent to provide adult themes with mixed sexual encounters.  The encounters are alluded to and certainly not detailed.  I'm not sure why they were even deemed necessary.

The mixed bag becomes a team of sorts and accomplishes what they think they were meant to do.

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, November 8, 2016

Spotlight on Remnants of Trust by Elizabeth Bonesteel


REMNANTS OF TRUST by Elizabeth Bonesteel
On Sale: 11/8/2016 | ISBN: 9780062413673

About the Book:
Five months ago, Commander Elena Shaw and Captain Greg Foster were court-martialed for their role in an event Central Gov will never admit happened. For some reason, though, they are only given a slap on the wrist, and are back together on the Galileo, albeit on a far less exciting mission: patrolling the relatively lackluster Third Sector.

Of course, trouble seems to follow Elena, and soon a distress call goes out: a sister ship, the Exeter is under attack from raiders.

But the Galileo isn’t the only ship in the sector, and they are joined in the desperate battle with a PSI generation ship…the same one that had broken off negotiations with Foster just days ago.

Unfortunately, while their arrival is enough to fight off the raiders and take aboard the surviving crew, ninety-seven members of the Exeter are now dead, and the ship is beyond repair. And as the investigation goes deeper, it’s apparent sabotage was at play…something Galileo and the PSI ship both find out when they experience their own “accidents.”

Read my review of the
Cold Between.
Someone is trying to start a war in the Third Sector, and all signs seem to point to Central Gov being at the core of the conspiracy.

With each new twist and turn, BLINDING FAITH reveals a web of intrigue that goes all the way to the top…and deep into Elena’s past.

The follow-up to Winter 2016’s THE COLD BETWEEN, this mix of military sci-fi, thriller, and—yes—a touch of romance is a refreshing take on a male-dominated genre by a brilliant new voice in the genre.

About the Author:
Elizabeth Bonesteel began making up stories at the age of five, in an attempt to battle insomnia. Thanks to a family connection to the space program, she has been reading science fiction since she was a child. She lives in central Massachusetts with her husband, her daughter, and various cats. Massachusetts has been her home her whole life, and while she’s sure there are other lovely places to live, she’s quite happy there.

·         “Character-driven space opera successfully mixes interstellar and psychological conflict…Surprising, convincing character development makes this series worth following” —Publishers Weekly*STARRED* review of REMNANTS OF TRUST

·         “This second entry in the Central Corps series is wall-to-wall action...Bonesteel’s characters are what really stand out amid all the action…Fans of David Weber’s Honor Harrington series will find much to enjoy here.” Booklist on REMNANTS OF TRUST

·         “Fans of sf romance will cheer to have a new author entering the genre. While this is setting the stage for a longer arc, Bonesteel’s novel more than satisfies with Elena and Trey’s story. Suggest to readers of Ann Aguirre’s ‘Sarantha Jax’ books and Linnea Sinclair.” —Library Journal *STARRED* review of THE COLD BETWEEN

·         “The Cold Between is a must-read. The story is a gripping and intense page-turner with deeply complex characters, non-stop action, and top-notch world building. My highest compliments to Ms. Bonesteel for a stunning debut. This is a no-easy-answers kind of plot perfectly paired with characters who have depth, passion, and uncompromising ideals. In one word: awesome.” —Linnea Sinclair, award-winning author of The Dock Five Universe series 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Treachery's Tools by L.E. Modesitt, jr

This is the newest book in the excellent Imager series.  I had lamented recently at the infrequency of Modesitt books and then just weeks after getting Recluce Tales, this book appeared at my door inciting a WhooHoo on my part.   The previous sentences should leave no doubt in your mind that I really enjoy Modesitt's work.  This book takes up 13 years after the Madness in Solidar. The Collegium, home of the imagers.  Times are a changing and High Holders and Factors are butting heads with the weak Rex, Lorien doing nothing to alleviate the growing friction.

Modesitt seems to have a philosophic leaning that is uniquely his own.   He imbues his lead characters with soul searching, depreciating humor and pragmatic consciences.   Sometimes good people need to do bad things and bad things do happen to good people.   Modesitt doesn't hesitate to knock off characters that you like and that provides a realism that fuels the plot. 

I've tried to read everything L. E. Modesitt, Jr. has written. His books are entertaining and thought provoking.

I highly recommend.  

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Recluce Tales by L.E. Modesitt, jr

My only complaint about Modesitt is that he only seems to put out one book a year.  I have reviews roughly 30 of his books and have yet to find one that I didn't enjoy.  I have frequently noted that I am not a fan of short stories. (Which is ironic as I am working on a collection of short stories of my own.)  I made an exception and as always with Modesitt, I am  glad I did.  The stories were like dropping in for a visit with an old friend. 

Reviewing a book of short stories is always cumbersome.   You  can't review each story or you will bore your own readers to death.   Modesitt had a paragraph prior to each story that gave an idea of why  he wrote that particular story.  It added a nice touch to good stories.

I highly recommend.  

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