Required Reading

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Kill Society: A Sandman Slim Novel by Richard Kadrey

The last time I reviewed a Sandman Slim novel I got all kinds of negative comments for not rating it the best book that has ever been written.   Kadrey has some very vocal and I have to assume very young rabid fans from the more virulent comments.   However, I call them as I sees them.   Jim Stark is now below Hell and expected to help the Magistrate fulfill his holy quest.

The book is rife with the requisite violence and profaneness in both the verbal and spiritual sense.   Nothing, I repeat nothing is sacred.  If you are easily offended this not the book for you.  It does seem to appeal to the fans of Grindhouse types of entertainment. 

Jim/Lucifer/the monster who kills monsters has a code of honor and while it would be a stretch to say a heart of gold, he does have some redeeming moral values. 

This is a strange mix of hoodoo magic, hellion stuff, wise cracking angels and guns and ammo.   The good guys are not so good and the bad guys are worse.  

I enjoyed the book but then I have eclectic tastes.

Links to other Kadrey book reviews:  The Wrong Dead Guy; The Perdition ScoreThe Everything Box

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.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spotlight on Edward Ashton's The End of Ordinary


Drew Bergen is an Engineer. He builds living things, one gene at a time. He's also kind of a doofus. Six years after the Stupid War -- a bloody, inconclusive clash between the Engineered and the UnAltered -- that's a dangerous combination.
Hannah is Drew's greatest project, modified in utero to be just a bit better at running than most humans. She’s also his daughter. Her plan for high school is simple: lay low and run fast. Unfortunately for Hannah, her cross-country team has other plans.

Jordan is just an ordinary Homo-Sap. But don’t let that fool you -- he’s also one of the richest kids at Briarwood, and even though there isn’t a single part of him that’s been engineered, someone has it out for him.

Drew thinks he’s working to develop a spiffy new strain of corn, but Hannah and her classmates disagree. They think he's cooking up the end of the world. When one of Drew's team members disappears, he begins to suspect that they might be right. Soon they're all in far over their heads, with corporate goons and government operatives hunting them, and millions of lives in the balance.

Energetic and bitingly satirical, THE END OF ORDINARY is a riveting near-future thriller that asks an important question: if we can't get along when our differences are barely skin deep, what happens when they run all the way down to the bone?

Edward Ashton lives with his adorably mopey dog, his inordinately patient wife, and a steadily diminishing number of daughters in Rochester, New York, where he studies new cancer therapies by day, and writes about the awful things his research may lead to by night. He is the author of Three Days in April, as well as several dozen short stories which have appeared in venues ranging from the newsletter of an Italian sausage company to Louisiana Literature and Escape Pod. You can find him online at

THE END OF ORDINARY Harper Voyager Impulse
June 20, 2017 ISBN: 9780062690319
$3.99 eBook

Link to my review of  Ashton's  Three Days in April which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

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, May 13, 2017

Spotlight on Owl and the Electric Samurai by Kristi Charish

The Owl Series by Kristi Charish, Volume 3
Pocket Star EBook
May 8, 2017
ISBN 9781501139727

OWL AND THE ELECTRIC SAMURAI is the third exciting novel starring the unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. From the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish (Owl and the Japanese Circus), for fantasy lovers everywhere…

The International Archaeology Association (IAA) is responsible for keeping all things supernatural under wraps. They’re also responsible for ruining the promising archaeology career of Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl. Needless to say, Owl’s still a little sore about that.

Just to keep Owl’s life lively, the IAA has opened a bounty on the two designers of World Quest, the online RPG that is much, much more than it seems. Owl needs to locate the notorious gaming duo before the other mercenaries do. But finding the gamers won’t be easy since every clue points to them hiding out in the legendary lost city of Shangri-La. Not to mention that the last time Owl and the game designers spoke, their conversation didn’t exactly end on the best note…

Meanwhile, undercurrents of supernatural politics are running amok in Tokyo, dragging Owl and her friends into a deadly game of wits with an opponent who calls himself the Electric Samurai. The cost of losing? All-out civil war between two powerful supernatural factions. All in all, just another great day on the job.

About the author:
Kristi Charish is a scientist and science fiction/fantasy writer who resides in Vancouver, Canada with her spousal unit, Steve, and two cats named Captain Flash and Alaska. She received her BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and her PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Kristi writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Lotus Blue By Cat Sparks

Sometime in a very dystopian future in a world devastated by war, a nomad caravan is crossing a desolate plain.   Star, despite being in a dystopian future, is a stereotypical teenager.  She resents authority, she avoids work and responsibility and longs for a luxurious future.   A series of unfortunate events leads to her being on her own and tasked to save the world.

Star is the main protagonist but she has supporting characters that change through the book.  A Templar warrior is one of the few characters that roam all the pages of the story.  He is a cyborg, specifically created to fight and is possibly hundreds of years old.  The world had nearly self-destructedold tech to sell to the cities.
with wars that destroyed nearly all the infrastructure. Some subterranean cities survived as well as surface dwellers who scavenge for

I don't know that the author intended the story to be a cautionary tale about AI but the surviving weapons intend to continue fighting regardless of human overwatch.  

This was a good adventure.


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, May 4, 2017

Assassin's Price L.E. Modesitt, jr

This book is part of the Imagers series but imagers are only peripherally  involved.  Modesitt's stories are character centric and philosophically laden.   He takes you into the mind of his central character,  Charyn, and allows you to see how his decisions are made and where he is planning of going.  Charyn is the heir to the Rex and determined to be his own person.  Lorien is the Rex and seems demanding and short sighted.  

The story line includes a mistress musician who educates Charyn in music and far more than mere coital positions.   Palenya illustrates the fate that lies in store for young, single women in a closed, male dominated society.  This ironically appears to be carried through even in the character list in the preface of the book as she doesn't even appear to be in it. (I went over the list several times, sure I missed her name, but apparently not.)

As many of Modesitt's books there isn't non-stop action but there is action amidst the soul searching and philosophizing.  There is the requisite foul treachery and rule bending justice.     

I look forward to the next book with the possibility of seeing the development of a viable steam ship to provide Solidar with a more powerful navy.

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.