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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Aching for Always by Gwyn Cready

This book depicts a strong woman facing both her past and her future which is complicated by the distortion of time. Torn between morality, self respect and the love of two men, Joss O’Malley prevails.

I guess there really is a sub-genre of romantic fantasy. There is very little fantasy in the traditional scifi/fantasy arena. There is a great deal of sexual fantasy in the story. Hugh Hawksmoor is driven by grief and a desire for revenge. Joss O’Malley is focused on maintaining what she perceives as her mother’s legacy. The clash of emotions and time impacted morality give a certain panache to the book. I liked the book in spite of the predominant soap opera flavor.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of of Gwyn Cready

Web Site

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Absurdity of Banning Books

First, I went out and bought 8 books for my grandchildren today. None of them are banned. They were innocuous children’s books but it was my own little support of the book industry.

My stomach literally roils when I think of book banning. My first thoughts are of the Spanish Inquisition. Telling people don’t read that is akin to saying don’t look down when you are climbing. The first thing you do is look down. If the narrow minded idiots who seek to ban books really want to succeed, they should make whatever book they are trying to suppress required reading in the schools. This would curb the enthusiasm of the teens for whatever they are striving to ban.

My own recollection of restricted, not banned but restricted, books was in the town library. Children under 16 were not allowed to read books in the adult section. Of course that meant they must be better than the ones I was allowed to read. After I successfully read the children’s section of the Library my Dad got me dispensation to take out books from the ADULT section. Well, it wasn’t as adult as I had thought. This was long before the terminology of Adult was ascribed to porn so that wasn’t my surprise. My surprise was there was so little difference besides length of story. I never did figure out what they were protecting us from.

I do have to say that my love of reading and now writing must be laid at the feet of my father. He read constantly and encouraged all of us to read. Dad was the most well read person I ever met, ever! He graduated from high school but never had the opportunity to go further in his education so he made up for that by reading everything he could acquire. His love of reading has trickled down to great grandchildren who love books. All due to one very humble man’s love of reading.

He wasn’t perfect. Dad made a rash assumption years ago about the musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. I was in a way, way,way, way off Broadway production of it and I asked him if he had listened to it. He shamefacedly admitted he hadn't, so I bought him a copy. He listened and he ended up using it to teach his Sunday school class of "young' adults. He generated a lot of controversy in that little church particularly when he was so outspoken about his own willingness to ban something before listening (reading) to it. I was always proud of my Dad but I truly busted my buttons when he dropped the needle on that LP and opened the eyes of his fellow parishioners.

So my love of reading led me to writing. Today I am writing to remind anyone who reads this that banning books is paramount to national suicide. If we let radicals of any stripe dictate what we read and how we then think our nation will perish. Succinctly it is patriotic to read!

Go out and buy a book!  Preferably go out and buy one of my books but if not mine, buy somebody’s book or get one out of the library.
Be proud to be a reader!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Aching for Always by Gwyn Cready Review Coming Soon! Check out her giveaway!

Tomorrow, to mark the launch of her new romance novel, Aching for Always, Gwyn Cready is giving away a leopard print Kate Spade bag ($225 value), reminiscent of the shoes her heroine is wearing on the cover.  Spread the word!

To enter, just go to The giveaway ends October 4, 2010.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Raiders From The North by Alex Rutherford

Babur, a young man, thrust into leadership of his small kingdom finds himself threaten from all sides. Driven by memories of his father’s tales of past family glory, Babur becomes a conqueror who shrugs off defeat and becomes unstoppable.

Alex Rutherford
The Energizer Bunny has nothing on Babur. His ferocious tenacity in the search of glory just keeps going and going. I felt Babur’s compulsion to success was quite realistic. He was raised on tales of glory and may not have had to challenge those tales had his father not suffered an untimely death. That death basically forced him down a path he may have not otherwise chosen.

What I felt compelling about the book was how little things have changed in that area of the world. Regional and territorial imperatives as well as religious differences still fuel the violence that teems in that part of the world. This book provides an inkling into the physic of family, tribe, alliance and nation that western culture has difficulty in seeing and accepting. As historic fiction the book is well worth reading as a peek into the motivation of differing cultures it demands to be read.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of of Alex Rutherford

Web Site: none found

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Scourge of God by S. M. Stiriling

The gods have tasked Rudi Mackenzie with a task. He must claim a sword across the country in Nantucket and return home. He and his companions set out across a hostile countryside, facing wasteland lands and the fanatic cutters.

Stirling stirs the soul. I find his writing captivating and enthralling. His hero’s embody both realism and astounding strength of character. The modesty and self depreciation of Rudi is contrasted with the self centeredness of Odard. Even Odard appears to be coming less odious. Ingolf is battling his personal demons and still manages to maintain his self respect and personal restraint when faced with the tantalizing Mary. Heroism does not escape unscathed. Stirling does not hesitate to kill off characters or maim them to further the story line. Considering I am generally reading at least three books simultaneously, Stirling is able to enthrall me to the point of charging through his work. Not many authors do that to me. This is the second of an excellent saga of the Change a post-apocalypse society. (or 5 of a continuing story) This book gives some incite as to what caused the fall of society as we know it.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of S. M. Stirling


Web Site:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pretty Little Things by Jilliane Hoffman

This book is not for the faint of heart. It deals with disposable children. Children who have been abandon by society or have abandoned society. Kids who have run away or have been snatched from all walks of life. Internet predators are specifically addressed and this is the story of Special Agent Bobby Dees and his efforts to save these children.

This was an excellent mystery. It was still hard to read. The predator was despicable and wholly frightening. What was also frightening was the Internet naiveté that kids demonstrate even as the Internet matures. Simply log on to any of the social networks and see the inappropriate postings that could lead to devastating consequences. I would like to see the book used in a middle school reading program led by the guidance department. It’s intensity could be construed as a “scared straight” type of book but it might serve to enlighten kids to some of the dangers they face in an electronic environment.

Do you know that your kids DSi or xBox can communicate to other online users and that neither they or you know who they are REALLY communicating with?

Parents should seek out and read this book. It isn’t necessary to overeact but simply the act of reading this book could help to open some naïve eyes, in both parent and child.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Jilliane Hoffman

Web Site:

Friday, September 17, 2010

An Interview with Nancy Taylor Rosenberg Author of My Lost Daughter

Author Nancy Taylor Rosenberg was kind enough to respond to an interview request. What follows is her unedited, extraordinarily frank answers. Regardless of your reaction to the book, you must admire the remarkable fortitude and courage this woman shows.

1.) What inspired you to write this book?  Did you ponder mightily or was it a thought provoking lightning bolt or….?
     MY LOST DAUGHTER, based in a real life experience, was a novel I wanted to write since the onset of my career. In the early 1990s, I had a terrible accident while jumping my horse. The injuries were so severe I was prescribed potent pain medication. I had quit using the pain killers although I still had difficulty walking, when I flew to Dallas from California to visit my adult son and daughter, who considered Dallas to be their home. When I arrived, I discovered that my son was deeply depressed and possibly suicidal. I was so distraught that I began having chest pains and feared I was having a heart attack. I called the paramedics and when I arrived at the hospital, they looked through my purse and found several empty prescription bottles that I wasn’t aware were still in the bottom of this particular purse. The hospital must have assumed I was abusing prescription narcotics, and without informing me, contacted a local mental hospital which also specialized in drug rehab.
     After the initial exam, none of the nurses and attendants would answer my calls or enter my room. I was in the room for over twelve hours, and none of the nurses and attendants would answer my calls or enter my room. In addition, they posted an armed security guard at my door. He also refused to answer my questions and blocked me from leaving the room to find out what was going on.
     Sometime the next day when I was frantic and dismayed that a hospital would hold me against my will and not respond to my pleas for help, a woman came in with a clipboard, smiling and telling me that I could leave as soon as I signed a piece of paper. I had not slept all night and didn’t take time to read what it was I was signing. I was desperate to get to my son who needed me. The woman and another man then placed a blanket over my head and strapped me to a gurney. I was taken by ambulance to an unknown location. I thought I was being kidnapped. My husband was quite wealthy so I knew this was in the range of possibilities. Nothing else made sense. To my knowledge, the only time a blanket was placed over a person’s head was if they were deceased.
    Once I arrived at my destination, they informed me that I was in a mental hospital and injected me with a mind altering substance that I had a severe reaction to, causing my chin to jut forward and my eyes to roll back in my head. Never had I felt such fear and confusion.
     I was held in the hospital for approximately ten days, and was not allowed access to a telephone. Several years later, I wrote a book written by an esteemed journalist named Joe Sharky. The book was entitled BEDLAM, GREED AND CORRUPTION IN THE PRIVATE PSYCHIATRIC INDUSTRY, and described how private psychiatric hospitals paid kickbacks to ER doctors who made referrals, and in numerous instances, would even dispatch their security guards to pick up individuals from their homes and transport them to their facilities. I wasn’t surprised when I saw the hospital I was in mentioned in Mr. Sharky’s book. The attorney general’s office investigated this problem and closed down many of the offending hospitals. The hospital I was in, however, is still in business and I doubt if they’ve changed their business practices. The stigma attached to anything related to mental illness is so great that it has taken me two decades to get a publisher to print even my fictionalized account of what happened to me.

2.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?
     Publishers sometimes require you to outline, but I personally find it a waste of time as the finished novel is sometimes nowhere close to the outline. I just sit down and write and the story evolves.

3.) Did the fear of losing your own adopted daughter to disease fuel the theme for “My Lost Daughter”? If this question is too personal do not answer and please excuse me. As a struggling and fledgling author, I introspectively try to determine my own motivation and wonder what others do and how they harness their own experience and emotions.
     The young girl I adopted is still alive and in her mid thirties. The book is fiction and has nothing to do with any of my daughters.

4.) What do you like the most about writing?
    The thrill of seeing the story and characters come alive.

5.) Where do your new story ideas come from?
     My mind, my past experiences, and current events.

6.) What advice has helped the most in your writing?
      That writing is rewriting and you don’t have a chance if you refuse to take editorial advise and do the work.

7.) What can we look forward to next?
    One never knows.

8.) Who is your favorite author and why?
    Martin Amis. My all time favorite book is LONDON FIELDS. Martin Amis is a brilliant writer.

9.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?
     Write and rewrite. All the advice I can possibly give is listed on my website: Listen to the speech entitled Fight to Write. Be sure to have a pen and paper handy.

Many thanks to Nancy Taylor Rosenberg for her candid interview.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Lost Daughter by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

A willful spoiled and deeply scarred daughter must come to grips with both her own self identity and her feelings for her mother. The confines of law school and a mental institution, together with the cast of someone flew over a cuckoo nest provide the setting for Shana Forrester’s explosive experiences.

The dual story line was a bit weak. The primary focus was on Lily and Shana Forester. There was not enough written about FBI agent Mary Steven’s and her part of the story to consider this a dual plot. My take would be to beef up Mary Steven’s role and give a little more credence to the FBI involvement. That said, the tension between Lily and Shana was hard to take. The friction was flat out painful but well demonstrated. Lily’s involvement with Richard Fowler seems like an unnecessary aside. I have mixed feelings about the book, the story line was convoluted enough to be interesting but there seemed to be too many areas that just didn’t seem to fit the overall scheme. I did like the book, in spite of the fact there were a quite a few scenes that were difficult to take. Lily did illustrate an astounding level of mothering behavior and she seems to regain control of her own life. I liked the wrap up in the epilogue as well.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

Web Site:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

By Schism Rent Asunder by David Weber

A sequel to “Off Armageddon Reef”, this book picked up where it left off. My only complaint is that there should be a recap of the first book in a sequence just to remind you of pertinent data. It comes back as you read but there was a significant time lag between when I read the first and the second so sometimes I was wondering what I had missed. This book deals with the Charisian breakaway and the formation of an Empire.

I am an avid fan of David Weber. This book is no exception. I find that the nobility, courage and loyalty of the main characters frequently provokes an emotional reaction on my part. Weber paints simply awesome characters. This is not to say that he doesn’t build an incredibly complex plot. You tend to forget that the limitations Merlin faces are based not only on the rash actions of the colony founders but on the galactic menace that drove the colonization in the first place. I lack the superlatives to truly laud the quality of this book.

I highly recommend it and all of David Weber’s Work.

Body of work of David Weber


Web site

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Sword of Knowledge by C.J. Cherryh, Mercedes Lackey, Leslie Fish and Nancy Asire

The Sword of Knowledge
This is an omnibus including “A Dirge for Sabis”, “Wizard Spawn” and “Reap the Whirlwind. Dirge is the chronicling of the demise of the Sabis empire. Overrun by barbarians a group of engineers and wizards flee to the wilderness.

Wizard Spawn is decades later and details the decadence and decay that has found the Ancar barbarian invaders who are now the representative civilization. It also is a treatise on intolerance and racism. Duran, a pure blood Ancar, discovers the depth and depravity of intolerance when he helps an injured Sabirn.

Reap is again decades later and set in a stronghold of tolerance. An island of learning and tolerance in a sea of arrogantly intolerant kingdoms, the Order is dedicated to accepting all who wish to learn. Their desire to remain sequestered is shattered by the arrival of a tribe of nomads. The nomads successfully demonstrate the need of the Order to change and more directly apply their principles.

I liked all three books. The authors were very successful in pulling the diverse threads into a well knit tapestry. The characters were very likeable and well defined. They truly came to life to express their concerns and opinions. The drive for knowledge and the desire for freedom from oppression was clearly expressed. There was a deep depth of feelings between the characters that drew you into their world and forced you to share their anguish and delight. My only dismay was there lack of further books. The trilogy demands a sequel. There is much to be told about the future of the Order and the nomads.

Read these books, you will enjoy them.

Body of work of Mercedes Lackey
Body of work of C.J. Cherryh
Body of work of Nancy Asire


Web Sites:
Mercedes Lackey
C.J. Cherryh
Nancy Asire
Not really her site, she doesn’t appear to have one.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Lucifer Code by Charles Brokaw

Thomas Lourds’ linguistic talents land him in another intriguing mystery. A voluptuous colleague, a nubile IRA assassin and a secret society assist Lourds in solving a mystery of biblical proportions. The forces of evil marshal to thwart Lourds in solving a linguistic nightmare that purports to change the world.

As in the Atlantis Code, Brokaw paints vivid characters with strong characteristics. His main protagonist, Thomas Lourds, is a world famous linguist of immense sex appeal who unlike Indiana Jones attempts to avoid any physical confrontation outside of the bedroom. Lourds avoids being a caricature by being rescued from harm by his female companions. Although Lourds seems to be in good physical condition, he doesn’t seem to have any self defense abilities. Brokaw is often compared to Dan Brown in his story telling. Brokaw paints his verbal portrait with a broader brush and less detail. That does not detract from the enjoyment of the story. My only complaint is that he could add another 50 pages or so and add a little more detail.

As in the Atlantis Code, don’t anticipate a great deal of cerebral activity just lean back and relish the action.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Charles Brokaw

Web Site:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gateways by F. Paul Wilson

Jack’s Dad is injured in an auto accident. He travels to Florida to see what he can do. In Florida, he discovers all may not be what it seems. He encounters mutants and heavy duty action.

I fell into this series. Repairman Jack seems to be battling occult enemies. I am going to have to track down the precursors to this as I really enjoyed the book. It had plenty of action and the strangeness wasn’t overdone. It was a good action adventure story with a bit of weirdness thrown in to leaven the mix. It was entertaining.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of F. Paul Wilson

Wednesday, September 1, 2010