Required Reading

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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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Mark of the Assassin by Daniel Silva

An opinionated but lovable 3 star Air Force General acquaintance recommended Daniel Silva and suggested that his work often accurately portrays some confidential events in a fictional manner. I decided to start with his very first successful novel and found it very interesting. It takes place about 10 years ago and depicts event that are now historic. The existence of an international economic cabal orchestrating world wide catastrophic events is frighteningly plausible, particularly with the amoral greed recently uncovered in the American banking industry. Regardless of the reality or lack there of in the prose, the story is compelling and captivating. A good but unsettling book, I recommend it.

Body of work of Daniel Silva


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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Ring by Deborah Chester

All the necessary facets of fantasy are in place in “The Ring”. Dwarves, trolls, knights, magic armor and swords, evil villains and anti-heroes are abundant. The main protagonist is young, foolish and prone to stupid mistakes. Occasionally he is so inept that he makes me crazy. In spite of that you have a classic clash between good and evil. Prejudice and naiveté don’t prevent the young partial elf (eld) from pursuing his goals in spite of wide spread death around him. His future bride (my supposition) faces her own adversities with less than stellar composure. Chester’s characterizations have the fragility of believable human beings. I am enjoying the trilogy and am in the middle of the final book. I recommend it.

Body of work of Deborah Chester


Web Site:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Too Many Good Books, Not enough Time

If you have wondered why I seldom seem to rate a book poorly there is a good reason. I pretty much abandon books if they haven’t grabbed my interest by the first 50 pages. I use to go to 100 and I realized I had made my mind up long before that hundredth page. I have pile waiting abundance. There are so many books in my to be read pile that I just hate to waste time on something that isn’t really interesting. As is I try not to just spend my day reading, as much as I thought that was what retirement was all about, I realized that I needed to do more. I am a cheerful and available babysitter for my grandchildren. I do some web work but I don’t really pursue it. Creating one web site at a time is more than enough. I guess I have become a writer. I have actually gotten paid for a few things I have written and that was very satisfying. My most satisfying moment came when a 7 year old came up to me and told me she had read my book (I Like to Whine) and she really enjoyed it. So Rachel’s comment has spurred me to redo the book and get it out to a more mainstream type of publisher. Digression is another area I excel in, obviously grammar is not.

So if you have wondered why you seldom see me panning a book, it is because I try hard not to read bad books, there are just too many good ones waiting to be recommended.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Sword by Deborah Chester

Deborah Chester is a new author for me. I am fond of fantasy and this first book in a trilogy was well worth reading. Chester has no problem killing off characters that you like. I was dismayed and some of the folks she easily dispatched. The story deals with a powerful but naïve new king who discovered loyalty is not assured in spite of his position. His travails and those of his progeny span countries and magic of the worst sort. The first book culiminates with his son coming of age. A very engaging book, I recommend it.

Body of work of Deborah Chester


Web Site:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Killjoy by Julie Garwood

Every time I find a new author I discover that I have just been missing them for years. Garwood writes a nice mystery. I enjoyed the characters and the storyline. A sociopath with a long memory hooks up with a second sociopath to provide plenty of violence and action. Family entanglements add a bit of spice to the plot with low self esteem being trumped by self centered egotism. The anti-hero hero becomes less anti and the low self esteem heroine becomes more confident. A good story, I recommend it.

Body of work of Julie Garwood


Web Site:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Introduce Your Lovers This Valentines Day!

Valentines is for lovers, in this case book lovers. Think about the books you love and those you love. Have you introduced your lovers to each other. Richard, from PaperbackSwap, recently mentioned that he read one of his wife’s romance novels and discovered he liked it. Imagine that, he liked it. On occasion, my wife may wax passionately about a particular Nora Roberts or Sandra Brown; I’ll read it and imagine my surprise when I like it. For Valentines Day, try introducing your lovers to each other. Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Conquistador By S. M. Stirling

Stirling certainly has an interesting imagination. This story deals with an alternative earth discovered in 1946. He paints good characters and a very interesting alternative earth. There is a clear effort to show how a different type of governing and a limited population can have an astounding impact on the environment. It also depicts how greed and avarice will try and destroy any paradise, regardless of it’s benefits. Good action, very likeable characters and an intriguing story. I recommend it.

Body of work of S.M. Stirling


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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shoot Him if He Runs by Stuart Woods

Holly Barker is back with Stone Barrington and they are off to the islands. I enjoy Wood’s reoccurring characters. It is like someone you know and you are just catching up. Teddy Fay plays a part in this book and if you follow this author, you are familiar with him, if not, you will still enjoy him. I thought this Woods was a little lighter than normal. Not that Woods is ever deep, it was still entertaining but more like an Amstel Light than a Yuengling Lager. A fast paced mystery with mild violence, a tiny bit of nudity and a minimum of deduction. I still recommend it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Hymn Before Battle By John Ringo

I love this guy. His stories contain unrestricted mayhem, blood, guts and courage. Military scifi at it’s best with unwinnable battles and marvelous weapons. Mankind is recruited to be the foreign legion for a pacifistic galactic empire. Their gratuitous gifts of technology aren’t quite what they seem and Earth stands to lose both it’s prime military forces and it’s collective shirt. It is the start of a multi-book series called the Poseleen Wars of which I intend to read each and every one. I recommend it.

Body of work of John Ringo


Web site:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ladies, Guys Like Flowers Too

Ladies Guys Like Flowers Too

Valentines Day is coming. Do you know what you are getting the significant male in your life? Recently I saw boxes of candy shaped like footballs, soccer balls, baseballs and ball balls. I guess the marketing folks just assume guys find hearts more suitable for sissies. I’m a manly man kind of guy, 6’ 2” tall, 220 pounds and reasonably fit for an old guy. I like watching football, basketball and baseball. Sadly my knees, don’t particularly like playing any of those, anymore. I own guns, I shoot, I drink and I like strong women. Point I’m making here is that guys can be “real guys” and still like hearts and flowers.

I really like the “Martha Stewart Flowers” on an online florist and your guy might like them too. A flower delivery showing up at your man’s office would be a good way to totally surprise him on Valentines Day. Now if your man works in a garage, they could be an even bigger surprise. A gift from the heart can speak louder than words. There is something special about flowers. I have appreciated them every single time I have gotten them. A real man loves his woman and isn’t afraid of hearts and may even like flowers. I can’t guarantee your guy would like flowers but don’t assume that a “real” man doesn’t, cause a lot of us do. Have a Happy Valentines Day!