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!

Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Book of Taltos by Steven Brust

Vlad Taltos, witch/sorcerer, assassin, gangster and statesmen is back. “The Book of Taltos”, contains two complete novels, “Taltos and Phoenix”. Vlad has some god fearing experiences and love life setbacks in these stories. The irreverent approach to life epitomizes this loveable villain. Once again, I highly recommend this book in the continuing saga of Vlad Taltos. Look for my blog on “The Book of Jhereg” for more details. Whatever else you read, get this series.

Body of work of Steven Brust

Link to a review on “The Book of Taltos”.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Dragon in Lyonesse by Gordon Dickson

I’ve mentioned Gordon Dickson is one of my all time favorite authors in an early post. The versatility of the man is simply awesome. From hard scifi to fantasy is a leap many authors are unable to make successfully. This book is the eighth in a nine book series. They are all entertaining, sometimes simplistic, often humorous but always entertaining. The protagonist is a changeling, man to dragon version. The stories are all focused on his adventures in Arthurian times. They are an absolutely delightful read, don’t expect to be challenged or to find your thoughts provoked but do expect to be entertained.

Titles in the series in order of publication are:
Dragon & The George Dragon Series #1
Dragon Knight Dragon Series #2
Dragon on the Border Dragon Series #3
Dragon At War Dragon Series #4
Dragon Earl and Troll Dragon Series #5
Dragon and the Djinn Dragon Series #6
Dragon & The Gnarly King Dragon Series #7
Dragon and the Fair Maid of Kent Dragon Series #9

Body of work of Gordon Dickson

Overview of Dickson’s Work:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordon (or the never, ever ending story)

I started out loving this series. Perhaps infatuation is more accurate since I have long fallen out of love with it. Jordon tells a good story but he makes a tornado seem short of wind. I think I was 12 when I started reading it, seriously it probably just seems that way. I suspect if he ever wraps up the series it might be entertaining to read them sequentially without years in between. I have never been happy with how he ends each book and for awhile I couldn’t wait until the next one arrived. I have now given up, put them up on (even the unread ones) and moved on to authors who write as well or better but don’t leave me hanging for years. Yes, I realize I am no doubt being unfair, a novel is a work of art, creativity can’t be rushed, patience is a virtue, yadda, yadda yadda. I’m reflecting my feelings not necessarily the worlds. Note the differing opinions below. BTW I did like this particular cover, don’t know why.

Ok and now I just read that Jordan is deceased, that there was good reason for the length of time between his books and I am a jackass. Goes to show, he who shoots off his mouth, often shoots himself in the foot. I would like to apologize to his fans and his family for my gross insensitivity.

In continuing this post, I guess I am looking at the personal side of criticism. It never occurred to me to look at Jordan’s web site or read fan stuff, I don’t do that. My ego centric self just assumed that if a book wasn’t ready for me to read, it was a personal affront. That comes from seeing the world through the “what’s in it for me” glasses that seem so prevalent today. I like to think I am better than the run of the mill folk but obviously I am not. Thusly before I am hyper critical in the future about a body of work, I will endeavor to be better informed before I shoot off my mouth.

Body of work of Robert Jordan

Jordan’s web site:


Monday, May 12, 2008

The dust of other days by Bob Lock

I stumbled on this blog while looking through blogcatalog, he had visited someone else's blog and Bob's sounded interesting. Well, that was a worthwhile stumble. I haven't read all his work yet nor have I looked at all of his blogs. If this story is a taste of his work, I am looking for a full course meal. The story reads well with a nice twist at the end. I liked it and I am not a big fan of short stories. Better yet, I commented on it and got a nice return email from the author. Try that with one of the big name authors, you will wither away and die before they ever respond to a reader. Kudos to Bob Lock and check out his blogs.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dragon’s Treasure by Elizabeth A. Lynn

A good book, wish I would have waited to read “Dragon’s Winter” the prequel to this book, until I had both books in hand. Too much of the story was predicated on having read “Dragon’s Winter”. My recollection was sufficient that I wasn’t lost but I felt like I should reread the first book so I could greater appreciate the 2nd. Anthropomorphism is alive and well in the changelings in the story and I am always a sucker for that. I enjoyed the book but I recommend you get “Dragon’s Winter” first and then read them sequentially for the most satisfaction.

Body of work of Elizabeth A. Lynn


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Riptide by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

These two guys can make you sit on the edge of your chair while you read. They develop a story well, the characterizations are good and their plots are awesome. This book deals with a buried pirate treasure. Well, it may sound hokie, but trust me, it will grab you by the throat and drag you into a sleepless night trying to finish the book. Gotta love a good book.

Body of work of Douglas Preston
Body of work of Lincoln Child

Their web site:

Review of Riptide:

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Storm Force by Chris Bunch

“Storm Force” is number three in the four book series The Last Legion. Action, action and more action in this book. The continuing use of the same characters gives the series great continuity. I liked this book even better than the first two. Some bad guys get their just desserts and some good guys get wasted. Very exciting, hard to put down, obviously I recommend it.

Body of work of Chris Bunch

Review of Storm Force:

Friday, May 2, 2008

Literacy Forgotten About by Readers

If you are reading this, then you are literate, most likely computer literate as well. Most readers don’t really think about illiteracy. Once you learn to read, it’s not like you are going to forget how to do it again. Problem is that illiteracy abounds. In affluent Bucks County, PA over 60,000 residents are functionally illiterate. This is a county that claims to have 88.6% of it’s population with a high school diploma and 31.2% with a college degree. An inability to read is truly insidious. How can you possibly cope in today’s environment with out being able to read?

Reading needs to be nurtured, fostered, encouraged and promoted. Reading is the keystone that holds the archway of education. How do you learn something new if you can’t read about it? If a love of reading is taught early, a child will have an enormous advantage in education. Scholastic is currently running book fairs in our local school that offer BOGO books. Buy one, get one free to entice sales but gets a child twice as many books for his money. I can’t think of a better gift to a child than a book or in this case, my grand child who will get money from me and his parents to buy books. He enjoys reading, his Dad enjoys reading and my wife and I take credit for introducing our kids to reading. I learned to read due to a father who was an avid reader. Our family was on a first name basis with the town librarians. I was able at 13 to get a special pass to take books out of the “adult” side of the library since I had read every thing that challenged me from the “kid” side. In tenth grade I burned through the SRA reading lab material and was then allowed to free read whatever I wanted during reading class. Keeping in mind, I worked, was a Boy Scout, played sports and dated, not just read. Reading has always been a big part of my life.

Back to the beginning, if you are reading this, you are no doubt literate. Please don’t forget that there are many people who are not. Not so oddly, our prisons are full of illiterates. Go out of your way to support organizations that promote literacy. If you want to buy any of my stuff, a portion of the profit will go to VITA Education Services. VITA is a not for profit corporation that promotes and provides literacy training, English as a second language training and personal decision making skills. If you want to donate directly to VITA, their web site link is under my favorite links on the left.

Reading is too important to leave to chance, volunteer, donate, give somebody a book, and encourage someone to read. An educated populace has a much better chance of surviving the travails of modern society.