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, May 31, 2009

Sell Your Used Books!

I belong to multiple book blog sites. One of the most common discussions is what to do with books after you have read them. Many people swap their used books; some people donate them and others (gasp) just pitch them. In this economy it may help you to find a place where you can sell used books.

To those of you who are horrified to just consider divesting yourself of your used books read on. When you sell used books online you can free up shelf space to provide a home for new books you haven’t read yet. Selling those used books also provides some of the wherewithal to purchase the new books. Again, the crying and gnashing of teeth isn’t necessary when you consider the benefits of selling your used books. Keeping used books in circulation also is a very green action. The more times a book is read, the fewer trees needed to print a new one. So you can earn money and protect the environment when you sell back books.

The site Sell Back Your Book provides the vehicle necessary to achieve the laudable goal of selling used books. First they make it easy. They have a small window where you input the ISBN numbers (International Standard Book Number) of the books you want to sell. The ISBN number is usually on the back cover or on the flyleaf of the book. They immediately tell you whether they are currently buying that book and what price they will give you, quick and easy. All you have to do is carefully wrap the book and send it to them. That too, is easily done and it is FREE. You do not pay the shipping! The price they quote for your book is what you will actually get, no hidden fees. They even provide free prepaid shipping labels you can print on your own printer.

Considering the time of the year, many financially strapped students are coming home from college and the job market is really tough. The Sell Back Your Book site also buys textbooks. The ability to recoup some of the cash spent on those outrageously priced text books should be very appealing to both the student and parent.

So if you house is sagging with all those books you have finished reading or your backpack is overflowing with unwanted textbooks and the idea of earning a few bucks is appealing, you may want to check out the Sell Back Your Book site.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bewulf’s Children by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes

The sequal to “The Legacy of Heorot”, it picks up where the last story left off. The characterizations are adequate if you read the first book. They are a bit superficial if you are only reading this book. The grendels are the turbo charged gator boogie men. The story development is recognizing that the impact the grendels have had on the colony is far more pervasive than their mere physical depravations. The interaction between the young planet born, the Earth born and the test tube babies provides the bulk of the character stress. The book illustrates that knowledge and understanding can be acquired and is necessary even when it is painful. I enjoyed the book and recommend both it and the prequel.

Body of work of Larry Niven
Body of work of Jerry Pournelle
Body of work of Steven Barnes


Web site:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Fourth Perimeter by Tim Green

This is the first time I have read a Tim Green novel. He has a nice style, it is paced well and it kept my attention. The plot was a little too transparent though. The true villain was too obvious way too soon. Otherwise it was a good story. Loss of a child and the anguish and anger that can accompany the loss was well portrayed. The protagonist was portrayed with raw emotion and fallible behavior. As mysteries go it wasn’t too mysterious but as action and adventure I recommend it.

Body of work of Tim Green


Web Site:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lords of the Sky by Angus Wells

Aka William S Brady (with John Harvey), J B Dancer (with John Harvey), Ian Evans, Charles C Garrett (with Laurence James), Matthew Kirk, Richard Kirk (with Robert Holdstock), James A Muir, Charles R Pike (with Kenneth Bulmer and Terry Harknett), Andrew Quiller (with Kenneth Bulmer and Laurence James), J D Sandon (with John Harvey) This blog could just be a list of the pen names this guy had. I have to wonder the reason for such an assortment of names. This book was a good fantasy. It had strong characters, lots of action and sentient dragons, what more could you ask? The protagonists struggle through morality issues such as does might make right. There is a familiarity of modern power struggles and treachery that pervades the story. The struggle of the entrenched establishment to maintain control of a changing population also seems to resonate with current events. I really enjoyed the book.

Body of work of Angus Wells


Web Site: none found

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Great Way to Get New Books

If you are reading this blog then you are already aware that I am passionate about books and reading. If you are a first time reader, take note, I am passionate about books and literacy. It is refreshing to see technology applied to literature. Amazon’s Kindle is one venue but so far only for those with deep pockets. For those of us with a more modest budget, check out is a revolutionary and for those of us who buy lots of books, economical way to get new books hot off the press. Anyone who has NetFlix will find the methodology familiar. There is a wide range of subscription plans starting at $10.99/month. They also have audiobooks in both CD and Mp3. You check out the inventory, set up a queue and sit back and wait to be treated to books coming right to your door. You read the books, return them and wait for the next batch. If you absolutely can’t part with a book, you can buy it at a discount. If you have books you own and want to sell them to, they will apply their payment to your account. Your monthly subscription fee is all you pay, no hidden costs. Shipping both ways is included.

If you haven’t caught the excitement yet, think about it. You can easily drop $8.00 on a new paperback. If you order online, then you pay shipping. If you read a great deal (pretty obvious if you are reading a book blog) you buy lots of books and then wonder what to do with them. I think is an exciting new concept for those of us who love to read. Check them out at

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dirty Little Angels By Chris Tusa

Chris Tusa has crafted an milieu sure to create severe discomfort for most readers, perhaps even those who live in a similar situation. In a previous world, I occasionally came in contact with true sociopaths. Tusa's depictions are true to character for a case study in amorality. The story takes place in an altogether too real New Orleans slum populated by unlovable denizens. Their interactions to each other and their environment provide the fodder for this smoking gun. This isn't a comfortable reading experience. You are forced to acknowledge conditions and people exist that are beyond your own personal experience. Even a gesture such as bringing your sick mother flowers is called into question upon discovery that the flowers were stolen from a grave.

Mental illness layered with violence, jealousy and more rank pathologies than you can categorize surround the coming of age of 16 year old Hailey. Coming of age in this situation seems to imply dealing with your own angels and demons. Familial affection triumphs when sister sacrifices for brother.

All in all the book was well done and exceedingly hard to stomach. A slice of Americana that won't bring a smile to any face but may open some eyes.

Body of work of Chris Tusa

Review of the book:


Friday, May 15, 2009

Forests of the Night by James W. Hall

If intricacy, genealogy and violence are your interests you have come home in this novel. Hall paints a story of epic violence spanning generations. The characterizations are good and the schizophrenic is believable. Lots of action taking place in Miami and in the Great Smokey Mountains. The historic aspect of the Cherokee deprivations add an interesting counterpoint or perhaps motive to the story. I enjoy Halls work and I think he has surpassed himself in this book. It is not entertaining as much as horrific, not a comfortable read but a compelling one. Parents will probably have nightmares after reading it.

Body of work of James W. Hall


Web Site:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Like To Whine by William G. Bentrim

This is not your normal review since I am totally biased. This is not the first story I have written but it is the first I have gotten into main stream print. It is for sale at Amazon.

I recently read a self described rant in the author discussion area at This author was miffed because he was expected to appear at a book signing with other authors, some of whom were self published. This particular author felt that only authors who have established a relationship with a “known” publishing house should have the right to consider themselves authors. He worked too hard to be lumped in with a bunch of neophytes.

When I started my computer business in 1981, the local newspaper wrote a nice article on a young entrepreneur and his fledgling business. Later that week there was a letter to the editor demanding to know by what right did I consider myself a computer expert. The letter’s author claimed to have been in computers for years (in 1981?). It was outrageous that the newspaper should provide coverage on a neophyte. When I sold my successful computer business 25 years later, I wondered if the outraged letter writer would question my expertise after 25 years of experience or still feel outrage.

My point is that there are many paths to personal success and what a dismal and boring world it would be if there was only a single path that all must follow. I love the printed word and surround myself with literature of all kinds. I have always wanted to get published and now I have. Perhaps to the disgruntled “real” author I don’t deserve to consider myself an author. Perhaps he should take a look at the title of my book and do a little self evaluation. However when a 7 year old girl came up to me and told me she loved my book I, at that point, considered myself an author.

There are many paths and we each need to choose our own.

My book deals with whining. It suggests some methods that a parent may use to curb that annoying behavior. I would be honored if you purchase it and even more so if it helped a parent to develop a better relationship with their child.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Cyborg From Earth by Charles Sheffield

I didn’t realize this was a young adult book when I ordered it. Despite being a long way from a young adult, I enjoyed the book. Very quick read as you would expect. The book had a simplistic but nevertheless enjoyable plot with likeable characters. If you are looking for a very quick read or have a teen in your life I recommend the book.

Body of work of Charles Sheffield


Website: Baen’s site for

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

SwapTree Not So Hot, Book Swaps Revisited

I have blogged about book swap sites in the past and how much I enjoy them. I use BookMooch and PaperBackSwap on a weekly basis. The premise on both is that you post some books and you get a book or two for posting. If someone wants one of the books you have posted, they request it and you send it to them. You pay the postage and you receive a point for having sent the book. When you see a posted book you want, you request it and it is sent to you and a point is deducted from your account. The sender is responsible for the postage. You can bank your points if there isn’t anything you want at the time someone requests something from you. If there is an issue, the book is lost or they don’t send it, the point is refunded to your account. If you don’t get the book, you are not penalized by losing a point.

SwapTree you list your books (CDs & Movies if you want). If someone wants something you have, there must be something you want to swap for at that specific time and there are many three way or more trades. You do not accumulate any points and the trades must take place simultaneously. I have found the three way trades often fall apart. You have no protection if someone defaults and doesn’t send you your book even when you have upheld your end of the bargain. SwapTree doesn’t seem to have any procedure to protect the person who abides by the rules. With BookMooch and Paperbackswap doing such a superior job, I have to wonder what possesses people to continue to use SwapTree. BTW if you do join PaperBackSwap please do so through the link on this blog and I will get a free point, WhooHoo!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Paths of the Dead by Steven Brust

Ok, I surrender, this is the third book in the Khaavren Romances series, the first being the “Phoenix Guard” and the second, “Five Hundred Years After”. I didn’t like either one of those books but I really enjoyed Brust in his Vlad Taltos series. Maybe I have just read too much of his work lately but “it ain’t working for me.” Setting is the same, language the same, but again, it just couldn’t get my interest. I would lay it down, read a couple of interesting books, pick it up, try to read it and lay it down again. I am now taking myself off of Brust for the foreseeable future. Maybe if I let my mind clear I can rediscover what I found so scintillating in the Vlad Taltos series. Of course, maybe, that series was just better. Read the review noted below and maybe others to form your own opinion but I don’t recommend it.

Body of work of Steven Brust