Required Reading

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Untimed by Andy Gavin

This is a time traveling tale of a boy and his unwashed time traveling girlfriend.  They are chased by clockwork travelers who are trying to either change the timeline or maintain it but Charlie and Yvaine aren’t sure which.
The author does paint a graphic portrait of Dickens England.  The romanticized view is more popular than the squalor and corruption view which is more accurate.

My favorite character was Aunt Sophia who saves the day on occasion.

The story was well paced and provided little conflict for the paradox viewpoint.


I enjoyed 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, August 24, 2019

The First Protectors by Victor Godinez

Ben is a medically discharged Seal with a boat load of guilt.   A load of guilt that regardless of the source is crushing his spirit.   Ben finds himself the unwitting and unwilling recipient of an alien gift and suddenly discovers he is once again a warrior.

Warrior and soldier have different meanings and Ben is a warrior and a protector.   Aliens have destroyed another race and possibly other races.  They have turned their targeting systems toward Earth and Ben is the only one who can stop them.

This book is action and then more action. 

It highlights self-sacrifice and personal courage as well as loyalty and duty.

It was a hard to put down and can’t wait for the next one book.


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.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Shadow of Empire by Jay Allan


Arkarin Blackhawk is a mercenary and a smuggler operating in the Far Stars.  The Far Stars are just that, far from the tyrannical empire that appears to have made Blackhawk the man he is. Blackhawk has a crew of extraordinarily loyal misfits who excel at mayhem.   Blackhawk has lifted each and every one of them out of an untenable situation and earned their undying loyalty.   Blackhawk is tasked with finding his friend’s daughter, Astra, who has been kidnapped.  

Blackhawks sordid past is referred to but never back storied so we have nothing but inferences as to how his body and character have been built.  He spends a lot of time agonizing over his past sins with no reference to what they were.    His crew doesn’t care who he was before only that they owe him their lives and they stand stalwartly behind him.

This is a space opera that was a delight to read and I look forward to the second volume.


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, August 14, 2019

Spymaster by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes


Home Run!  I really enjoyed this book.  I know the correct order is to give a brief, non-spoiler overview of the book and then delve into the techniques and characters without giving away the plot.   Never being consistently correct has been the hallmark of my life.  

This story takes place in a world where dragons are respected citizens in some countries and monsters in others.  The mode of transportation between countries is characterized by balloons.   Think wooden ships with sails but also with balloons and air screws which are similar to propellers.  Within a country various fantastic beast are used for transport.  The mood is a mix of medieval society, Victorian era and steam punk leavened with magic.

Kate or Captain Kate is the main protagonist who incidentally is somewhat amoral.   She has her own code of ethics which differs from society’s code.  Kate has an inordinate loyalty to her crew who helped to raise her when her father brought her on his ship.

Dalgren is her best friend who also happens to be a dragon.

This story was well crafted and although I am not familiar with Krammes work, I go back to the Dragon Lance and Darksword series with Weis.


I really enjoyed this book and am gong to start the second volume in the trilogy today!

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, August 3, 2019

The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang

This is a powerful book.   It is an alternate world China in flames.  China is despised as barbaric by the Hesperians.  The manner in which this alternate China is treated is vaquely similar to the time of the Opium Wars.   The characterizations of the warlords, the shaman, smugglers, aristocracy and Hinterlanders all meld together in a powerful montage of treachery and despair.   The destruction of a country for economic benefit and religious intolerance is accompanied by a pantheon of repressed gods.

This is the second volume in the Poppy War series.  The author follows the Cike who are touched by the gods and provided occult like powers.   They story is their fight allied with the Dragon Warlord, Vaisra,   to overthrow the evil Empress.   Vaisra claims to be the champion of the people and wants to establish a republic.

The motivations of the main characters are layered and deceiving.  About the time you think you have a handle on who is going to do what you discover that another layer is emerging that is contradictory to what you imagined.   

Kuang is an artist painting a Esch/Picasso.   There are times you are sure you recognize what is being painted and know what direction it is taking and then…

The perception of what is being fought for or against changes as you read. 
This book makes you ponder the roots of conflict and economics.

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.