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WELCOME

WELCOME
Many of the books I review were FREE in exchange for an honest review. I do not get paid to review them. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as ADs. They are promoting books but I do NOT get any money or goods for posting Spotlights. 
Please check out my other blogs
Pick of the Literate 
or Money Saving Tech Tips 
or visit my web site

to see the children's books which I have authored.

 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Radleys by Matt Haig

An interesting and different take on vampires this book is a morality play with seemingly normal characters. The Radleys are a family of abstaining vampires forced to face their identity and heritage through the actions of a family member.

In spite of vampires being grossly overworked this was a very good book. The characters were believable and even likeable. Rowan and Clara, the Radley children, faced major changes in their young lives and as kids do acclimated surprisingly well.

Uncle Will was not a likeable character but his behavior fit the parameters of the story. The situation was artificial but made believable considering the political machinations of daily existence in “real” life.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Matt Haig

Web Site:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor Vampire Slayer by Lucy Weston

Elizabeth Tudor finally survives both her father and her sister’s threats to become Queen of England only to discover her throne is threatened by none other than Mordred, long thought dead. Mordred is the King of the vampires and he wants Elizabeth as his queen.
Ms. Weston paints a very clear picture of the politics of 1559 England. Even having a reasonable grasp of history it is still easy to assume monarchs in that time were absolute. This book reminds you that truly the head that wears the crown does not rest easy. The actual politics of Elizabeth’s court are superseded by the threat of Mordred and his vampires.

The recent obsession with vampires dilutes the impact this book could have. Ms. Weston did a nice job showing the romantic ambivalence and the real fear that Elizabeth Tudor had all her life.

Body of work of Lucy Weston

Web Site: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Lucy-Weston/71241284

Winners in the Thrall Giveaway

Winners in the Thrall  Giveaway, Pinkstuff28, Cathy D. and Cruff. Congratulations!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Interview With The Author of Thrall, Steven L. Shrewsbury

 Thank you for your willingness to be interviewed. Your work seems to be moving at an exponential rate with Thrall expected to be a big hit.


1.) Why did you write Thrall? What initiated this particular burst of creativity? Is Gorias La Gaul going to be a re-occurring character?
I heard an ancient ballad by bluegrass singer Ralph Stanley that made Gorias appear. Gorias is the name of the Celtic god Lugh's spear. That full name just popped out. After an evening of cards with a few folks who mentioned a Draco-lich, things started to fall into place. I wrote the first draft while recovering from neck surgery. I've written several stories about Gorias and yes, he'll return in more novels, one currently being penned.

2.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?
I had a rough outline that changed quite a bit once I got going. I knew the major events, but twists and turns of the mind as one goes makes it like rock & roll.

3.) How important are your illustrations? How did you score a well known illustrator such as Matthew Perry to do your illustrations?
I was blessed that he works with Seventh Star Press. His renderings of Gorias and the dragon are gold. Bob Freeman has done covers in the past (and future) and he is a beast. Dittos for Alex McVey.

4.) Do you have a favorite character in the book and if so why?
Aside from the aging hero Gorias? Perhaps the barbarian chief Brock, who is a trifle over the top, but cold & mean.

5.) What do you like the most about writing?
I love to tell stories. I feel the best when I am making folks happy, reading something they have never read before.

6.) Where do your new story ideas come from?
Sometimes listening to heavy metal songs, offhand comments, or just filter in from the ether-realm as I work in the factory. At a Con last summer I mis-heard a lady in passing and her one sentence inspired an entire novel.

7.) What advice has helped the most in your writing?
Never stop, never give up and pound out every yarn you can. Harlan Ellison told me, "Don't be a phony. Don't lose yourself."

8.) What do have new in the works?
Well, BEDLAM UNLEASHED (co-written with Peter Welmerink) will coem out next sprign from Belfire. My horror novel HELL BILLY in 2012 from bad moon Books...but I've just written a Lovecraftian-western, an epic fantasy of Biblical measurements plus, I'm working on a new fantasy novel with Gorias.

9.) You are often compared to Robert E. Howard. Is he your favorite author? If not who is your favorite author and why?
Howard is my favorite. I still read his poems and tales. Karl Edward Wagner would be a close second. Howard spoke to me as a child and I reckon his cadence flows in my storytelling. George RR Martin and David Gemmell are terrific, too.

10.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?
READ. Read everything, not just the genre you choose. SCi fi, horror, fatnasy, westerns, pulp detectives, non-fiction and the Bible. Never give up and never think you can't learn.

Thank  you for your time and your enlightening answers.  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Firemask by Chris Bunch



“Firemask” is number two in the four book series The Last Legion. I found “Firemask” more enjoyable than the first book. I thought the detailing was better done and the story line was more inspiring. The characters are fleshed out better which was one of my complaints about the first book, “The Last Legion”. Interestingly the review below felt that the first book was better. Goes to show how subjective this stuff is. I enjoyed the book and recommend both books I have read.


Body of work of Chris Bunch

Web Site:  Chris Bunch is deceased so no web site.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cool Headers 6

I am aware that I am doing a self serving post by including my own header in the Cool Headers series but if you don’t like your own work why would you do it?

Full credit for my own seasonal headers goes to Shellie at Layers of Thought who inspired me with her very cool headers. This is the header for Pick of the Literate which is my blog that focuses on more main stream books.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

FREE BOOK

A New Giveaway
Thrall
a new heroic fantasy novel


Inter-Galatic First prize
is a copy of the book, a poster and Thrall T-Shirt!
(Shipping is restricted to the known universe and this dimension only, alternate worlds and universes need not enter.)
 
 
See Details & Enter Below!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kildar by John Ringo



I feel better now, Ringo is back in form. I did not like the first book in this series, Ghost, a great deal. It spent too much time on erotica and not enough on Ringo’s forte which I feel is action adventure. This book takes Mike Harmon/Jenkins/Duncan to Gerogia, the one near Russia not the USA. He buys a farm and discovers he is now the Kildar (baron) complete with warriors and serfs.

Ringo’s books are always interesting. I found his search for historic precedents in his farm tenants very interesting. He spends some time warring with his internal dichotomy which causes him some but not a lot of angst. In this series, Ringo is dealing with reasonably current events. His primary enemies are still the Islamic extremists but he is more focused on Chechens in this book. He provides a realistic look at the difficulties the former Soviet provinces faced after independence. All in all, this book was far superior to Ghost.

I recommend this book.

Body of work of John Ringo

Web site: http://www.johnringo.org/

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The 19th Element by John L. Becker




I don't get a great deal of overlap on my blogs but this book is a good read and offers so poignant thought to today's world.   Got to Pick of the Literate if you want to read the interview with author John L. Betcher on December 9th.

A retired agent of some type is a small town attorney. James Becker has retired from a terrorism fight to live a sedentary life with his wife and girls safe in a small, insular community. This bucolic life is interrupted by Islamic terrorists’ attack on a nearby nuclear plant.

I like the way Betcher has made James Becker very human. He isn’t a invulnerable, Bondish, clock and dagger semi-super hero. Becker is a nosy, competent patriot who also wants to have a family life.

The 19th element aspect is thought provoking and plausible from what I remember from college. A well thought out plot makes this book work.

The story is frightening as it is taken right out of the front page of today’s paper. The complacency of authorities and the territorial in fighting by the very people who are supposed to keep us safe is demoralizing. I look forward to seeing Betcher’s next work. This is a good book to read but it may keep you up at night.

I highly recommend this book.

Body of work of John L. Betcher

Web site: http://www.johnbetcher.com/

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cool Headers 5

I am aware that I am doing a self serving post by including my own header in the Cool Headers series but if you don’t like your own work why would you do it?

Full credit for my own seasonal headers goes to Shellie at Layers of Thought who inspired me with her very cool headers.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sparky the Skunk reviews The Christmas Knot

Sparky the Skunk
reviews
The Christmas Knot
A wonderful children's book
by Author
William G. Bentrim

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New Giveaway
Thrall
a new heroic fantasy novel


Inter-Galatic First prize
is a copy of the book, a poster and Thrall T-Shirt!
(Shipping is restricted to the known universe and this dimension only, alternate worlds and universes need not enter.)



2nd Prize is a copy of the book but limited to mono-dimensional United States shipping only. 

Third Prize is a Thrall T-Shirt
also restricted to US Only.
Shipping restrictions are at the request of the publisher due to the exorbitant costs of international/intergalatic shipping.

From the press release: 
Seventh Star Press is proud to announce the release of THRALL, the new heroic fantasy novel from author Steven L. Shrewsbury.  Now available for pre-order in limited edition hardcover and trade paperback, THRALL is the first published adventure of a brand new hero in fantasy literature, Gorias La Gaul.

Gorias
Set in an ancient world, Thrall is gritty, dark-edged heroic fantasy in the vein of Robert E. Howard and David Gemmell. It tells the story of Gorias La Gaul, an aging warrior who has lived for centuries battling the monstrosities of legend and lore. It is an age when the Nephilum walk the earth, and dragons still soar through the air … living or undead. On a journey to find one of his own blood, Gorias' path crosses with familiar enemies ... some of whom not even death can hold bound.  

Celebrated illustrator Matthew Perry has done the illustrations

Each person who comments and leaves an email address on my blog expressing a desire for a copy of Thrall will be entered to win a copy of Thrall by Steven L. Shrewsbury. Each comment will be assigned a number based on the order the comment was received. The numbers will be input at www.random.org to determine the winner. The winner will be notified by email and will need to provide a physical address for shipment of the book. If there is no response from the winner in 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. The winner will be announced on Pick of the Literate and Azure Dwarf.

Drop by, read the review, make your comment and sit back and hope you win. Contest begins today, December 1, 2010 and ends on December 21st, 2010 midnight east coast time, the Seventh Star Press will ship the prizes to the winner.   Winners will be contacted by email and will need to email me back with their shipping address.   Please no PO boxes, physical address will be needed for shipping.

Want to improve your odds?

Follow me on Twitter to get another numeric entry.

If you blog, put a link on your blog to my blog and I will add another entry for you.
Comment here on any of my other posts or comment on my other blogs and I will add another entry for you.

There are many ways to increase your chances, how much you want to do so is up to you.

Oh,contest is for anywhere on this planet as far as I can determine.  Aww, what the heck, anywhere in our solar system for the first prize.   I will be reviewing the book and posting my review on this blog.  I also will be interviewing Steven and posting the interview here as well. Thanks for reading and good luck. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cool Headers 4


This is the fourth of my posts on cool headers. In an effort to broaden my horizons and increase inter-blog linking I am showcasing other peoples headers and linking to their blog. If you have a cool header, let me know and I will add it to my list.


Shellie at Layers of Thought is just doing too good of a job with her headers.   She has a very nice blog with some interesting posts and a very cool header. Check it out.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ghost by John Ringo




I am a John Ringo fan. With that said, I was still disappointed in this book. It takes place in the near future/now. The scenario is a retired Seal who becomes a pseudo government gun for hire and how that Seal, Ghost, deals with terrorists.

Ringo’s military scifi is always action laden and this book was no different. What I found strange was his preoccupation with rough sex. I haven’t seen that in other Ringo protagonists and was not terribly thrilled with the detailed sex scenes. It felt  like the author was pandering to a different audience. Sex like violence in a book, if used in the appropriate context can add allure and excitement. At times it seemed like Ringo lost track of the story in the indulgence of Ghosts, peculiar affection for rough sex. It is interesting to note that he had Mike Harmon(Ghost) express regret for that part of his personal makeup and to refer to it as a flaw.

I am confused over this book, it claims to be authored by John Ringo and has the action flavor of a Ringo book but the overemphasis on aberrant sex detracted from the story line and could move the story from military scifi/action adventure to erotic fiction.

Body of work of John Ringo

Web site:

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Staff of Rahgorra by Mark Oetjens



Visions of Star Wars danced in my head as I read this book. A galactic thug seeks a holy relic to control the known universe. A complicated anti-hero strives to thwart him through the use of mystical force.

I struggled to stay interested in this book. Not that it was bad but it seemed too familiar. I am guessing that the premise was my problem. It may be insignificant to most readers. I enjoyed Cam and his pragmatic attitude which sadly is more realistic than the normal heroic figure. Thull was an amazingly compassionate villain. Vile but with a sense of family and friendship, he was either a horrendous villain or a galactic savior. Give this book a chance, I don’t think I was able to do it justice.

In reading the author’s blog, I discovered that he has had the Star Wars comparison made in the past. I try not to read the author’s blog prior to writing my own take. I do not believe there was any attempt at Star Wars fan writing or plagiarism and I support the author’s premise that it is a 100% original work. It is tough writing and as authors we are all going to be impacted by what we have read and experienced. So I am going to change my recommendation to strongly as opposed to just recommend as I think my experience may have colored me with a bit of negativity in reading the book.

I highly recommend it.

Body of work of Mark Oetjens

Site:

Tags:





Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Hero (Posleen War Series #5) by John Ringo and Michael Z. Williamson


We met the Darhel earlier in this series. An alien race that played a huge part in the Posleen War. This story places Tirdal, a Darhel, in a deep reconnaissance team with humans. They are sent on a mission to determine if the new foe has established a beachhead on their target world. The interplay between the humans and their alien teammate provides the tension for the story.

This is not the typical action dominated Ringo story. In that, it was a disappointment. However as a study of interspecies relations it was excellent. An understanding of the Darhel fills some gaps in the background of the Posleen series. The implacable Dagger, a sniper, faces the immutable Tirdal in a contest of wills. Ferret provides the positive human role model that offsets the despicable Dagger. This was an excellent character study that fleshed out parts of the Posleen series. I am sure it is disappointing to the adrenalin junkies who revel in the mad mayhem that often is a hallmark of John Ringo but I liked the book. At the end, you will find yourself wondering, who was the hero?

I recommend it.

Body of work of John Ringo
Body of work of Michael Z. Williamson

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Forbidden The Stars by Valmore Daniels


I often refer to other books when I recommend. That is not in any way denigrating either one I am commenting on. I had visions of Clark’s 2001 when I read this book. Actually I had strong recollections of being in the movies at the release of the movie. My wife, good sport that she is, has no interest in scifi but went with me anyway. I was quietly trying to explain the rather confusing opening when two couples in front of us asked if I could speak not more quietly, which I expected, but more loudly as I apparently was the only one in the vicinity who had read the book and had some clue what was going on in the movie. All of which has little or nothing to do with this book. A near future world, dominated by corporate entities, discovers an alien artifact on Pluto. That in combination with the inadvertent and deadly discovery of a potential FTL fuel leads to intrigue and deceit.

I found the author’s portrayal of Michael (corporate exec) and Justine’s (pilot) concern for Alex to be a nice side bar to the story. It was refreshing to have some compassion shown in a very cutthroat setting. The story moved well and tied together Mayan mythology with purely human vices of greed and revenge. I’ll be surprised if there isn’t a sequel, if there is I will be reading it.

I recommend it.

Body of work of Valmore Daniels

Site: http://valmoredaniels.com/


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is a mixed metaphor. Harry has vowed to thrust his fragile body between the forces of evil and “normal” human beings. He accepts far more responsibility than he can handle. This leads him to confrontations he can’t possibly survive and yet he does. Necromancers threaten his city and his people and Harry goes well beyond his comfort level to preserve their safety. Harry even goes to the extent of joining forces with a perceived nemesis.

Jim Butcher has not only a wildly fertile imagination, he has a seriously demented funny bone. Non-stop action characterizes his books and this one is no exception. Harry indulges in frequent introspection which makes him feel far more dimensional that a paper character. The involvement of Sue as a solution to one of his problems was hilarious. (Yes, you have to read the book to find out who Sue may be.) Bob shows that even the spirit world may have some sentimental loyalty. Once again, I couldn’t put the

darn book down. Darn you Jim Butcher for forcing me to burn the midnight oil!

I highly recommend the entire series. You will be seeing more as I have finally purchased all the ones that have currently been printed.


Body of work of Jim Butcher

Congratulations Half-Made World Winners!

The three winners of Felix Gilman’s Half-Made World, Steam Punk Novel are Dolly, Andrea and AIK. Each entry was assigned a number as it was received. Many of you had multiple entries by commenting elsewhere on my blogs and following me on Facebook, Twitter or here. The resultant numbers were put into a random number generator and it picked the three winners.  All three winners have been emailed and asked for their address.  The book publisher will be sending the books directly to each winner.  

Watch here for the next contest which will be a giveaway of Thrall by Steven L. Shrewsbury, a fantasy in the Robert E. Howard style.

The publisher told me we can do a book/poster/t-shirt/set of 5X7 prints/bookmarks for the intergalatic open grand prize.

We can do a book/bookmarks for the second prize, US only

We can do a t-shirt for the third prize, US only

I am looking forward to finalizing this with the publisher.

Thank You for particiapating!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb (a.k.a. Megan Lindholm)


This is the third and final book in the Soldier Son Trilogy. Nevare Burvell, a second son, is destined to be the family soldier. His naïve acceptance that birth order is responsible for all aspects of life is challenged by his life experiences. The changes he undergoes as the magic attempts to integrate his personality are daunting.

"The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” by Stephen R. Donaldson or David Feintuch’s Seafort’s Hope came to mind when reading this trilogy. Nevare’s experience seem to spiral down to despair in the second book and struggle to get beyond despair. There were times I felt so badly for the character I had to put the book down and read something else. His resiliency is remarkable. The faith that Spink, Epiny, Yaril and Amzil have in Nevare is a bit beyond belief. His perceived actions would sorely try anyone’s faith. Hobb does a nice job keeping even minor characters in the action. Tiber, the scout, shows up as well as the scout we met very early on in the first book. A masterful job of pulling together the many threads of the story was done. This is not a quick read, nor should it be. By the time you are finished with this trilogy you will know Nevare Burvell better than some of your own family members.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Robin Hobb
Body of work of Megan Lindholm

Web Site: http://www.robinhobb.com/

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Death Masks by Jim Butcher


Harry Dresden is once again in the line of fire. Between his war with the Red Court Vampires and his quest for the Shroud of Turin, Harry finds a wealth of action and demands on his wizardly talents.
Reminiscent of the hard boiled detective stories but characterized by the supernatural, this series is eminently entertaining. Dresden is not a towering super hero. He is an ordinary guy trying to survive in life with what he considers his normal behavior. Always looking out for the victim, Harry is in constant danger from supernatural predators. Harry is dying to love and be loved but true love seems to be forever out of his reach.

I highly recommend the entire series. You will be seeing more as I have finally purchased all the ones that have currently been printed.

Body of work of Jim Butcher

Web Site: http://www.jim-butcher.com/

Friday, November 5, 2010

Not Enough Nookie?

Barnes and Noble’s Color Nook May Not Have A Niche and it might not be the Nookie you are looking for.
See my post at Money Saving Tech Tips.
Looks cool and may be cool but is it priced right?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cool Headers 3

This is the third of my posts on cool headers.  In an effort to broaden my horizons and increase inter-blog linking I am showcasing other peoples headers and linking to their blog.   If you have a cool header, let me know and I will add it to my list.
The Bookkeeper is a very nice blog with some interesting posts and a very cool header.   Check it out.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Copy of The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman, End of Giveaway 11/12/10



Shellie's Very Cool Header
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. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jackie Gamber’s Redheart Has Been Picked Up By Seventh Star Press



Generic Dragon, not related to the series, credit
to whoever owns it, with apologies that I don't
have a clue where I got it.

As some of you know I am fond of all things dragon. Jackie Gamber’s Leland Dragon Series looks very interesting. Kellon Redheart, one of the protagonists, is a talking dragon. How can you go wrong on that!

Seventh Star Press’s recent announcement precedes the re-release of Redheart early next year.

I have requested a review copy and will keep you apprised. Seventh Star is developing an exciting stable of Fantasy authors.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Risen Again by Ben Tripp

The plethora of zombie books tends to drown the entire genre. Luckily Ben Tripp has a book that really does rise again. I fully intended to dislike the book because it was another, yes another, zombie book. Some time of trigger turns a majority of the population into mindless zombies. While the protagonist never determines the trigger, I personally suspect it is the stupefying effects of negative campaign advertisements. They just make you want to zombify yourself. Small town sheriff, Danny Adelman is forced to face mindless hordes, hapless civilians and clueless friends in the midst of an unprecedented, post apocalyptic civil disaster.

Danny is like one of those inflatable Bozo the Clown figures with a rounded sandy bottom, punch it and it just flies back in your face. Her resiliency is unbound. She establishes relationships through no intent on her part. She is duty bound, come heck or high tides of zombies.

Tripp has a terrific command of the English language and great descriptive powers. Funny how that didn’t seem to enter my mind when I started the book but on several occasions, I literally paused to reread a sentence and marvel how well it was crafted. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

I highly recommend it.

Body of work of Ben Tripp

Site:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Free Book Alert


Shellie's Very Cool Header
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.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cool Headers 2

This is the second of my posts on cool headers.  In an effort to broaden my horizons and increase inter-blog linking I am showcasing other peoples headers and linking to their blog.   If you have a cool header, let me know and I will add it to my list. 
The  Neverending Shelf is a very nice blog with some interesting posts and a very cool header.   Check it out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman


I don’t seek out SteamPunk nor do I avoid it. This story is one of conflict between The Line and The Gun. It seems like a straight forward conflict between industrial progress and outspoken civil liberties. All is not as it seems. There is a third party or is it fourth party involved in the major conflict. The novel is a thought provoking, penetrating glimpse into fanaticism.

I really didn’t find any characters I particularly liked. The conflict between The Line and The Gun provides the majority of the action. However the contrasting interplay of feelings between the good Dr. and Creedmoor is captivating. I found the General, while a central figure just too uni-dimensional. I found this book, more than most provoked speculation as to root causes. If you are old enough to remember the movie Forbidden Planet, that is the direction my speculation led me. BTW I got my tickets for Forbidden Planet out of a Quaker Cereal box which truly dates me. The folk were a little too mysterious. This book cries out for a sequel

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Felix Gilman

Web Site: http://felixgilman.com/

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Steam Punk Winner:The Half-Made World GiveAway! FREE!!

Coming on October 22nd is a review of the Half-Made World by Felix Gilman ,a prime example of the newest genre, Steam Punk. What is Steam Punk? According to Wikipedia, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history.

Enough already, what about the GiveAway?

Each person who comments and leaves an email address on my Half-Made World review will be entered to win a copy of Felix Gilman’s Half-Made World. Each comment will be assigned a number based on the order the comment was received. The numbers will be input at www.random.org to determine the winner. The winner will be notified by email and will need to provide a physical address for shipment of the book. If there is no response from the winner in 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. The winner will be announced on Pick of the Literate and Azure Dwarf.

Drop by, read the review, make your comment and sit back and hope you win. Contest will begin on October 22, 2010 and end on November12, 2010 midnight east coast time, the publisher will ship the book to the winner.

Want to improve your odds?

Follow me on Twitter to get another numeric entry.

If you blog, put a link on your blog to my blog and I will add another entry for you.
Comment here on any of my other posts or comment on my other blogs and I will add another entry for you.

There are many ways to increase your chances, how much you want to do so is up to you.

For a Two-Fer, Go to Layers of Thought and and enter the contest there too.

Thanks for reading and good luck.  Oh,contest is for anywhere on this planet as far as I can determine.  Aww, what the heck, anywhere in our solar system.



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Forest Mage by Robin Hobb (a.k.a. Megan Lindholm)

This is the second book in the Soldier Son Trilogy. Nevare Burvell, a second son, is destined to be the family soldier. His naïve acceptance that birth order is responsible for all aspects of life is challenged by his life experiences. The forest magic forces Nevare to abandon hope and look to the Specks.

Despair comes to mind when analyzing Nevare’s life. Every time he turns around what ever he strives to achieve blows up in his face. He finds his own behavior is often inexplicable. The ties to his old life are frayed beyond salvage and he is forced to look at the Specks in a new way. The metaphor here may be that circumstances beyond your control can force you into a life you may not want to live. So much can be read into Robin Hobb’s work. The beauty of her storytelling is that each of us can find a unique way of perceiving and experiencing it. This is an excellent series. Not an easy read but a rewarding read, take your time, savor and ponder it.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Robin Hobb
Body of work of Megan Lindholm

Web Site: http://www.robinhobb.com/

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cool Headers 1

As I run across cool headers I will post them here with permission of the owner, of course.  I love the creativity exhibited on the web.   Layers of Thought is one of my favorite blogs. Check it out!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

GuildWars Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb

Seeing what I post here most of you will be surprised that I am not a gamer. I view RPG as crack for the scifi fan. I am frightened of the possibility of immersion and a subsequent sublimation of my personality. In other words, I’m afraid I could get hooked on a game and spend all waking hours playing it. Since I am already hooked on reading and donuts, I avoid the temptation of RPG.
Getting on topic, Ghosts of Ascalon supposedly is setting the stage for the the role playing game Guild Wars 2. Haven’t played it and so I don’t know if that is true but it is what I have read. A typical quest band of intentionally mismatched adventurers set out on a quest for an artifact that can bring world peace. The pitfalls and pratfalls along the way feed the plot.

This is not an intellectually challenging read but frankly my intellect needs a rest now and again. I enjoyed the characters and their bold characteristics. I liked the introspection and need for redemption exhibited by Dougal. I found the book entertaining and enjoyed reading it. What more can you ask? I’m looking forward to the likely sequels.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Matt Forbeck
Body of work of Jeff Grubb

Web Sites: 
Guild Wars
Forbeck
Grubb

Monday, October 11, 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


Saturday, October 9, 2010

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

Review: http://www.sfsite.com/10a/ew209.htm

Web site: http://www.kimharrison.net/Every%20Which%20Way.htm



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