Required Reading

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Black Khan, Book Two of the Khorasan Archives by Ausma Zehanat Khan


The second book in a possible four book series, The Black Khan, again features Arian a strong female protagonist who is facing implacable misogynist foes.   Arian’s vocal power, called the Claim, is muted by a villain called the Authoritarian.   This, second book, shows how Arian and her allies deal with the search for the Bloodprint which for better terms is the bible of the Claim.

Arian is a driven character who is nearly overwhelmed with guilt over the loss of her sister in a Talisman raid when they were children.  In this book she meets her sister but the reunion has mixed results.   The Silver Mage finds himself defending Arian while sublimating his own desires. 

The problem with reading series one book at a time is continuity.  The first fifty pages of this book were taxing my memory as to who these people were and what were they trying to do.   There are a lot of characters and subplots.   After I got into the book, I was able to sort them out but with some difficulty.

The book was interesting but not captivating.  Some of the deprivations and behavior could have been pulled from headlines regarding religious zealots across the world.  That sadly provided some gritty reality to the story.

Treachery and duplicity seem to be the traits most valued by the bulk of the characters in 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.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee


Astounding is not a compilation of stories from the science fiction magazine titled the same.   It is a story about John W. Campbell who is widely regarded as the father of modern scifi.   This biography discusses, in depth, the relationship of Campbell with the towering pillars of scifi, Asimov, Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard.  

Asimov and Heinlein provide the ball bearings that led to my personal conveyorGlory Road which is one of the few fantasies that I have read multiple times. 

belt of ongoing love of science fiction and (gasp) fantasy.   Heinlein authored

Nevala-Lee puts together a narrative that provides an in-depth picture of Campbell and those around him in the “Golden Age” of science fiction.   The quotes are based on my skepticism as to the golden age as I have read relentlessly for over 65 years and I have found hundreds of stories, that don’t fit into that time period or narrow genre slot, that were outstanding and quite Golden!

Having just read the reviews previous to mine I have concluded I am a philistine.   I found this book interesting but hardly compelling.  I would much rather read science fiction and fantasy than read about people who wrote it.  Their work stands as their tribute.

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 15, 2018

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik


This was a good story.  Rich girl meets bad boy.  A little more passion than the usual science fiction story. 

This is another story that portrays the future dominated by family run corporate oligarchs.  It seems to be a common theme and one, while enjoy it, I have trouble believing.   Corporate control I can envision but family held corporations seem like a stretch when pushed into the future.
There is genetic manipulation, blaster fire, loyalty, friendship, family and a smattering of passion.

I enjoyed the book and 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.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Into the Fire by Elizabeth Moon

Elizabeth Moon writes a good book and they most often include a strong female protagonist. This story reads well and stands alone well in spite of it being a follow-up to a series.  The characters are familiar if you read the series but it doesn't matter if you haven't it as it works very well as a standalone story.

Ky Vatta is the heroine and she and her fiancĂ© hope to buy a ship a blithely sail through the Galaxy in a Star Trek kind of way.   However, responsibilities prevent that from occurring.

Ky returns home to find that family enemies are once again pursuing their vendetta.  Ky’s families enemies have infiltrated both the military and business community.

Their vendetta has reached out to incarcerate the former staff and personnel of Ky when she was an admiral.  Ky’s responsibility for people under her command literally forces her into making an attempt to rescue them.


Moon provides a lot of details and excellent character studies and you also find a lot of action this book was enjoyable and I recommended.

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, December 4, 2018

Spotlight on The Shattered Sun by Rachel Dunne





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