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.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Blog Day 2008
Ok, I saw a new blog at Fuelmyblog under Forum, under the Blog CafĂ©, under Introduce your blog to the world. Alessandra had posted and no one had responded. Libra to the rescue, I find that I can’t stand it if people are being ignored so I checked out her blog and liked it. I added her as a friend and hope she will do the same. On her site she had instructions for BlogDay which seemed like a very cool thing to do. So here is BlogDay.
BlogDay posting instructions:
1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2008
3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and
5. Add the BlogDay tag using this link: and a link to the BlogDay web site at
#1 Seems only right that Alessandra’s Out of the Blue should be my first new blog. Alessandra reads stuff I’ve never heard of let alone I want to read. That may be why I liked her blog. I found interesting things to read, ideas to use in my own blog and organizations I wanted to join.

#2 is SciFi Signal which I just googled and liked. Tidbits, videos, good graphics, prolific and all about SciFi, what’s not to like.

#3 Geeks of Doom, a strange and entertaining site, focused on movies and dvd’s not books but worth checking out.

#4 Fantasy Book Critic is a more traditional (fantasy traditional?) site with good reviews.

#5 File Under Misc. is a personal blog that just looked interesting, it is.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Lone Star (Stellar Ranger) by Steve Perry

Apparently Baldacci decided he needed more action in his books. Well, he certainly went over the top on this one. The book has kidnapping, murder, sex, swat teams, guns, more guns, drug abuse, radical fringe groups, wealth, privilege, anguish, guilt and more of the same. This is a serious page turner whose major theme is dealing with guilt and anger. That isn’t going to be obvious until you work through the book. Some solid psychiatric principles were at work in this book. Baldacci writes a truly compelling tale. Read it!

Body of work of Steve Perry

Review: From BooklistThe author of the highly successful Matador saga seems in his new series, Stellar Ranger (of which this is the second book), to be thumbing his nose at all the old guard in sf who roundly denounce translating western plots into sf settings. For to a degree that is certainly what Perry is doing: Stellar Ranger Cinch Carston would get along famously with Wyatt Earp or Texas John Slaughter. Perry does, however, also tell a highly readable sf action story with his usual exuberance of incident and breakneck pacing. The plot involves Carston's being sent to a jungle world to round up three rebels who are, however, rebelling against attempted genocide, which puts the matter in a different light and, in due course, Carston on a different side. Perry clearly has fun writing action sf; his readers are likely to have an equally enjoyable time. Roland Green

Web Site:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Book Calendar Has Tagged Me With A Meme

Book Calendar

Ok, first I had to determine what a Meme might be. After I got the concept I decided to implement it.

The chore here to reveal six unspectacular quirks about myself and challenge other bloggers to do the same.The rules here are simple:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules.
3. Tell six unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag six bloggers by linking.
5. Leave a comment for each blogger.

Unspectacular Quirks
1. I love pickled eggs which are purple but I call them blue eggs.

2. If I get a book that is damaged, I feel morally obligate to repair it, even library books.

3. In spite of all evidence to the contrary, I still perceive myself as a skinny, footloose kid.

4. I have more books than I can possibly read and more computers than I can possibly use, but they are my version of comfort food.

5. Upon retiring I didn’t want family tying me down, yet I volunteer to baby-sit constantly.

6. I anthropomorphize incessantly, including my dragon collection, stuffed animals and pool sweep and have successfully passed that quirk onto children and grandchildren.

Here are six blogs I enjoy although it was hard to narrow it to six.

Rotus’s blog appeals to my sense of irreverence. You never are sure what you will get but you are sure it will be interesting to read. He also has lots of good photos.
I have no clue if the Reverend is a Reverend and I don’t really care. His blog is newsy, personal and always readable.
Science fiction and a family guy, what’s not to like. Lots of photos and a irreverent attitude.
Good ideas on blog development and good graphics.
Great photos, many good tips on how to improve your own.
Since I didn’t even know what SEO meant not long ago, I find this blog very helpful.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A time trip to the 60’s!

Apropos about nothing, I have been blogging on the 70’s at Money Saving Tech Tips and Philosophic Musings, and reminiscing. I got a link to this video today from a friend. It is a 1960’s retrospective. If you close your eyes, the music alone is terrific but the video presentation is worth watching as well. I’m not sure what trigger music pulls but there are few things that are so successful in dragging you back into time. I got no alerts from any of my protection software so I think this site is safe. The presentation is well worth watching.

Last Man Standing by David Baldacci

Apparently Baldacci decided he needed more action in his books. Well, he certainly went over the top on this one. The book has kidnapping, murder, sex, swat teams, guns, more guns, drug abuse, radical fringe groups, wealth, privilege, anguish, guilt and more of the same. This is a serious page turner whose major theme is dealing with guilt and anger. That isn’t going to be obvious until you work through the book. Some solid psychiatric principles were at work in this book. Baldacci writes a truly compelling tale. Read it!

Body of work of David Baldacci

Page down, it really is on that page.

Web Site:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dr. Death by Jonathan Kellerman

Milo Sturgis and Alex Delaware are back to work. Alex is the obsessive psychologist who appears to be a frustrated want to be cop. Milo is the cop who often is discriminated against by the police bureaucracy because he is gay. They work as a team solving mysteries. That would pretty much sum up many of Kellerman’s books. This particular book deals with assisted suicide. In the course of the story, many opinions are expressed with enough latitude to allow the reader to determine their own feelings. This book had a little extra ending twist. Good book.

Body of work of Jonathan Kellerman



Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hammer and Anvil by Harry Turtledove (Book II of The Time of Troubles Series)

Turtledove is a master of alternative history. This is the second book in the Time of Troubles Series which deals with a Byzantine Empire time period. The first book dealt with the barbarous hill people and their conflict with the Empire and the nomadic tribes. The perspective was from the hill people’s point of view. This book deals with the Videssosian Emperor and his point of view. The empire is beset by the barbarous hill people and the nefarious and treacherous nomadic Kubratoi. Turtledove delves deeply into the motivations of the Emperor, his personal relationships and the impact of cultural clashes. Sounds boring and certainly isn’t. Turtledove writes about believable circumstances and characters, well worth the read.

Body of work of Harry Turtledove



Monday, August 18, 2008

The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey

The prose of Lackey always flows and is an easy read. What is difficult to explain is the emotions she evokes, apparently with ease. I find myself caring about the characters in her stories. This is another in the Elemental Master vein which deals with magic and psychic powers. As in all her books, her characters exhibit nobility of purpose, selflessness and empathy for others, often things that seem to have been lost in our current culture and in popular literature. If you are looking for a lot of sword play, phaser blazing, light saber scintillating action, this book doesn’t have it. Just a good story with a bare modicum of violent behavior. I recommend the book highly.

Body of work of Mercedes Lackey



Friday, August 15, 2008

Dzur by Steven Brust

By now if you have read any of my blog, however unlikely that may be, you probably realize I am a Brust fan. The guy’s stories keep my thinking as well as entertaining me. In this book the comparison of murder to gourmand behavior is thought provoking. If Brust isn’t one of those live to eat folks as opposed to eat to live crew, he sure can capture the flavor of the former. As usual there are references in the book to previous books and or times. Since there doesn’t seem to be any clear chronological plan to the books this isn’t as confusing as you may think. His work is gripping without being nail biting. Using his technique in this book, somewhat similar to green Tabasco vs. red Tabasco, one has heat and flavor and one just has heat. Good book, if you haven’t started the series do it, you won’t regret it.

Body of work of Steven Brust

Review of “Dzur”:


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Own Kind of Freedom (A FREE Firefly Novel) by Steven Brust

Firefly was one of the better scifi shows that never made it. The theme was reminiscent of the Confederate soldiers who headed west looking for freedom from the winning Union soldiers after our civil war. The show had great characters, lots of good action and not a lot of cheesy aliens. Apparently Brust was a fan as well and wrote a FREE novel following the Firefly show. His characters ring true to the ones in the show and it is an entertaining story. For you disappointed Firefly fans, here is a chance to catch up with Mal and crew. You can download the story for FREE at Brust’s site listed below. Enjoy!

Body of work of Steven Brust

Serenity Ship Photo from

Firefly Cast Photo from:


Saturday, August 9, 2008

No Second Chance By Harlan Coben

This book is not for faint of heart and if you have issues with children in danger you may not want to read it. I enjoy a good mystery but the tension in this one was almost too much. I actually put it down a couple of times because I was too worried about what I would read next. It has cops, doctors, FBI agents, private detectives, psychopaths, criminals, creeps, friends, lovers and kids, a little something for everyone. If you decide to read this you may want to block out some time because I think you may want to read it cover to cover in as short a time as possible while savoring every nerve stretching moment. Great book even if it made my skin crawl on occasion.

Body of work of Harlan Coben

Web Site:


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tales of Sector General Includes Three Full Novels: the Galactic Gourmet, Final Diagnosis, and Mind Changer By James White

This omnibus deals with a intergalactic hospital serving myriad species. In this setting, everyone is an alien. White gives a fair amount of detail on different alien races and how a interspecies hospital would work. I suspect that “Gray’s Anatomy” or “General Hospital” fans may find the book entertaining. I plowed through 264 pages before I gave up. It wasn’t bad but it certainly wasn’t captivating. I have so many books from so many authors in my pile waiting that I just can’t justify plowing through a book that just doesn’t hold my interest.

Body of work of James White

Web Site:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Charisma by Steven Barnes

Sometimes a book is truly scary due to it’s plausibility rather than it’s intent to be frightening. Barnes did an excellent job in portraying a situation that could arise. He set up characters that were believable and portrayed them with wide emotional brushes. You really dislike the bad guys but are somewhat confused by your emotions for the “good” guys. Kids are involved and if even fictional harm to kids is hard for you, this may not be your cup of tea. I have a tendency to get emotionally overwrought if kids are threatened so you may want to have a calming glass of wine at your side as you read. I found the book an excellent read and frankly quite different from the rest of Barnes’ stuff I have read.

Body of work of Steven Barnes

Web Site:

Friday, August 1, 2008


I am an avid scifi/fantasy reader or perhaps just an avid reader. I keep the books I love for passing onto the next two generations of avid readers in my family. The bulk of current fiction and stuff I didn’t really love often seems to grow like coat hangers in an empty closet. What to do with all the accumulated things like Cd’s I don’t listen to anymore, movies I don’t watch and books I have read. WhooHoo, there is a place I can trade that stuff and get something I want in trade.

I have blogged about PaperBack Swap and frankly like it a little better than SwapTree. PaperBack Swap takes paperbacks and hard backs but does not do music or videos. I like it better in the book area because I don’t have to automatically find someone who wants what I have to trade and who has what I want in trade. You bank your trades. If you have something someone wants, you sent it out to them and you pay the postage. In return you get a book credit and you can choose out of the thousands of books something you want. What I like is you don’t have to do it immediately. I like to fill in missing books in trilogies or series so I often wait until those books are put up before I use my banked trade. It works well and I have gotten a lot of good books.

I just started using SwapTree and have gotten a couple of books. I like that I can trade Cd’s and videos and get books in return. You post what you want to trade and then you see what you can get in return. So far I have not been able to get much in the scifi/fantasy category. I guess because I haven’t put much of that category up on their site. It seems like it is another good alternative to letting things just pile up.

Since the average postage seems to be about $2.61 to send someone a book, you are getting a book you haven’t read for that low price. You can’t buy a new book for that anymore and with SwapTree you can get a video or a cd for the same price. My experience with SwapTree and Paperback Swap has been positive at this date.