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.
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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.

Friday, October 29, 2010

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Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison

This is the first book of Harrison’s that I have read. I expected a Jim Butcher level of entertainment. I didn’t get it. I gave it a good effort but I just couldn’t get into the story, the characters, the setting, nothing. I wanted to like the book, I have already got a couple more of her books, assuming I would like it but alas, I didn’t. The book had too much soap opera overtone for my taste. Now I am not foolish enough to suggest that it may be more suited in the romance category of vampire loving teens but maybe… Rachel Mariana Morgan is a witch, rooming with a living vampire and a bunch of pixies and she is the familiar of a demon. Sounds like it should be page turner and obviously from Harrison’s sales for many people her books are page turners, just not for me. I do not recommend it.

Body of work of Kim Harrison


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Assassin by Stephen Coonts

Jake Grafton is back! Once again Coonts creates a cliff hanger that you really don’t want to put down. The reality of terrorism is one of the things that makes this book truly sobering. Tommy Carmellini and Jake Grafton team up to stop a radical Islamic assassin.

Truth is stranger than fiction. Much of this book could be true. I understand the feelings of frustration and anger portrayed by the characters when dealing with the mindless fanaticism of terrorists. As in all of Coont’s work, the action rocks and the plot rolls. It moves at warp speed and entertains while in some ways depresses. Once again the only solution to a problem seems to be the application of judicious violence.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Stephen Coonts

Monday, October 25, 2010

Free Copy of The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

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Don't forget to comment on the Half-Made World contest to enter and don't forget that Layers of Thought is giving a copy away too.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hollywood Hills by Joseph Wambaugh

Hollywood Hills returns to the goofy scene of Hollywood Moon. Hollywood is goofy. I have a nephew who works on the 911 phone line. He, as well as those whom I know work the emergency room, confirms that a full moon seems to bring out those who aren’t wrapped as tight as the rest of us. A cop story in traditional Wambaugh style that memorializes the insanity that seems to be Hollywood.

The characterizations are so rich, vivid, colorful and flamboyant that they often make you laugh out loud. The interplay between partners provides a thoughtful perspective on how relationships can develop in the pressure cooker of a shop.(squad car) The story often seemed to range widely but finally came down to a tied up conclusion. Some of the action may seem preposterous but it doesn’t take much research to see Wambaugh does his homework. The book paints cops as people, not as stereotype characters of sterling character but people. People with ethics, concerns and lives that are held to a higher standard of behavior than those they police. You can’t help but respect the jobs they do, in conditions that are often amazing.

The above is pretty much a repeat of my review of Hollywood Moon. I enjoyed this book as well. Again antics that make you laugh out loud are graphically told. This is a highly entertaining cop story without the tension and stress that normally are ascribed to “cop” stories.

I recommend it.

Body of work of Joseph Wambaugh


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Reversal by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch is a minor but important player in this book. Mickey Haller of the Lincoln Lawyer is the main character. A convicted killer is appealing his conviction and Mickey Hailer crosses over to the dark side to prosecute his re-trial.
Mickey is a likeable character who has emotional difficulty going from his white knight defender role to his dark side (his feeling) acting as a temporary prosecutor.

As always Connelly does a nice job setting the stage. Bosch is still a hero who is hard to like. Prickly but passionate in his love of his daughter is one of his few redeeming characteristics. Mickey’s inability to maintain a stable relationship is balanced by his love for his daughter. As half brothers, Mickey and Harry show normal sibling conflict. The story is convoluted enough to maintain your interest and tense enough to defy you to put it down. Another winning read from Michael Connelly.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Michael Connelly

Web Site:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

American Assassin by Vince Flynn

This is a prequel to the Mitch Rapp series. This book provides the details of what made Mitch Rapp into the man he is and what motivates his behavior. There is distinct political commentary on how we should be addressing terrorists.

Vince Flynn will never be criticized for lack of action. The book just jumps! Once gain Mitch Rapp shows his mettle. I really enjoyed the fleshing out of the details as to how Mitch became a government agent and the reasons behind that decision. The plot is right out of the daily paper. (or web)

Flynn creates memorable characters. Stan Hurley is unforgettable. The violence is graphic and not for the faint of heart.

I loved the book and I do lean in the direction of Old Testament justice which is epitomized by Mitch Rapp.

I highly recommend this book and anything else Vince Flynn writes.

Body of work of Vince Flynn

Web Site:

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Thieves of Darkness by Richard Doetsch

Move over Cussler, there is a new guy in town. At least new to me, I see that he has quite a few novels under his belt. I will be seeking those out. This is a saga of a “retired” thief, a priest, cop and beautiful woman questing against evil. Sounds more like the beginning of a tired joke but there isn’t anything tiring about this book except you, when you can’t put it down. A classic adventure romp with jailbreaks, legends, evil and mystery, this book is guaranteed entertainment.

I found Michael and KC’s relationship tiring. However since I have known couples who exhibited similar bizarre relational behavior, I did find theirs believable. Busch was a bit more difficult to believe due to his normalcy and supposed stable marital arrangement, great sidekick though.

The sociopathic psychopaths that provided the villainy were sadly believable. I’ve been lucky to have had very limited exposure to that type of distilled evil and those people do exist, dismayingly so.

I’m not sure rollicking adventure actually does justice to this book. It has some mystic and mysterious twists that lift it out of the mire of simple action adventure.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Richard Doetsch

Web Site:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Starstrike, Task Force Mars by Kevin Dockery and Douglas Niles

Starstrike is a military shoot-em-up. Regardless of the time frame and setting, it still is a somewhat simplistic and far fetched saga of a group of SEALS. The new SEALS as opposed to the original Navy Seals are space faring commandos. On their first off world training mission they encounter hostile aliens and requite themselves in the tradition of the real Navy Seals. In other words, they kick some alien butt.

Although none of the characters are memorable as individuals as a group they prove themselves ferocious warriors. The arrogant aliens grossly outnumber, out gun the SEALS. The alien technology is superiour. In spite of this the SEALS show the Aliens that we may be backward technologically but our spirit and ferocity are not to be underestimated. The story is a very entertaining, small unit combat novel.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Kevin Dockery
Body of work of Douglas Niles

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence is despicable. It is dismaying to contemplate anyone subjected to violence let alone the horrific aspect of having someone you love and trust hurting you. The Pixel Project is sponsoring a project called Paint it Purple. I’ve recorded a YouTube video as per their program to show support for the end of domestic violence.

If someone you know is abused or abusing, they can find help at NOVA. NOVA stands for the Network of Victim Assistance and although they are local to Bucks County Pennsylvania, they do not limit their toll free help line to local residents. If you are in trouble, afraid for yourself or others, find help. NOVA 24 hours a day hotline #800-675-6900

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon

Once again Moon has captivated me with her characters and her plots. This author has the ability to create a character that is like the girl next door but with super powers. Kylara Vatta is no super hero but she has grit and determination that overpowers all obstacles. Her dismissal from her life’s dream and her resultant resurrection in another direction provides the focus of the story. The trials, tribulations and action are icing on a delicious cake.

Kylara’s introspection into her own motivations and her questioning attitude flesh out her character with reality. Kylara’s character becomes real and you keep paging because you begin to care for her and want to see what she is facing next. The book is the first in a series and I have refrained from reading it until I could acquire all the books or at least all that have been announced and published at this point. This looks like the beginning of a terrific series with some similarities to David Weber’s Honor Harrington and as far as I am concerned that is a very good thing.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Elizabeth Moon


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Peirce

This book is based on the comic strip of the same name, Big Nate. It targets the lucrative Diary of A Wimpy Kid market. It details the trials and tribulations of 6th grader Big Nate.

The humor in this book is definitively age appropriate. I have a grandson in 6th grade and he could have written sections of this book. Peirce captures the frustrations, fears and emotions of a 6th grade boy and his particular phobia regarding the opposite sex. Big Nate is well done and offers good humor for the 4th to 7th grade reader. Gina, his nemesis is a composite of the girls that you remember from grade school. As a former 5th grade teacher, I found the book entertaining.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Lincoln Peirce

Excellent web site for kids.