Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kris Longknife Series by Mike Shepherd

Space Opera

In a panel I attended at World Con in Denver Mike Shepherd said that he wrote the Kris Longknife series because he wanted his granddaughter to have books with a strong female character. Kris certainly fills that role. She is another one of those damn Longknifes. In the universe where Kris lives humans are rearranging their political alliances. The Longknife family has taken the leadership of the planets in a new alliance. As an officer in the space force and a junior member of a political dynasty, Kris must wear a variety of hats. Wherever Kris is sent trouble follows and trouble brings fast paced adventure. The books are filled with action, snappy dialogue, and wonderful characters. Read the book in order. All are a fun read.

ACE books publish the series. The titles are:

Kris Longknife: Mutineer
Kris Longknife: Deserter
Kris Longknife: Defiant
Kris Longknife: Resolute
Kris Longknife: Audacious
Kris Longknife: Intrepid

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb

Futuristic Suspense

I just finished Salvation in Death published by Putnam and written by J. D. Robb. For those who do not know J. D. Robb is a pen name for Nora Roberts. This is the 28th book in the in Death series. If you have never read this series I recommend that you start with book one. Most libraries have this series and all but Salvation are available in paperback.

While performing the sacraments at a funeral mass Father Flores drinks the wine from the Chalice and dies of poison. Homicide cop Eve Dallas draws the case. It turns out the priest is not Father Flores and is not even a priest. All of these events happen in the first few pages of the book. The suspense is drawn out, red herrings are placed, and a fast pace is kept up throughout the book. As the story plays out many of the previous character make an appearance and of course no story will be complete without Roarke, Eve’s sexy billionaire husband. Read Salvation in Death. You will not be disappointed.

A complete list of the book in the series is on the J.D. Robb website.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Another Cookie Recipe

Since I posted the Oatmeal Crispies yesterday I decide it was only fair to post son #1’s favorite. He and his 3-year-old nursery school class made this cookie for Christmas. We all loved the cookie and I asked the teachers if they would share the recipe. After you read the recipe imagine 12 little hands rolling these cookies in sugar and cinnamon and eating them after baking.


Mix together thoroughly
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup canola oil
1 ½ cups of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix 2 ¾ cups of flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon soda
¼ teaspoons salt
Add to the mixture.

Form into ball the size of small walnuts, roll in equal parts cinnamon and sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 10 minutes in 400 degree oven. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. These cookies puff up at first and then flatten out with crinkled tops.

Remember the hint about the cookie sheet. This recipe came from an unknown cookbook. I made some small changes to the recipe.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Favorite Cookie from a Cookbook

I just got home from Christmas with my Mother (she was 89 on her birthday on December 24th) and my two sons who live in the same city. Like all families we have some traditions and one came from different sources. Each of my sons has a favorite cookie and I make a batch to give each at Christmas. The recipe for Oatmeal Crispies came from a cookbook, the recipe for Snickerdoodles came from a cookies that my oldest son made in nursery school and the third is the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag (this favorite cookie is my son who lives in Denver and I will see him next weekend). My sons found the Oatmeal Crispies recipe in a cookbook. All three sons along with my husband used to sit in the kitchen looking through cookbooks and would read me recipes while I cooked. This year the Oatmeal Crispies were shared with son #3’s friends and generated several requests for the recipe. I decided to post the recipe on my book blog. After all a cookbook is a book so it fits.

Oatmeal Crispies

1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
6 cups Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
1 package butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix shortening and sugars, beat in eggs and vanilla, and add butterscotch chips. Mix flour, salt and soda and stir into mixture. Add oats and nuts. Drop by small spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 about 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

For any of you who are not cookies bakers following the recipe is important, but the cookie sheet you use is also important. Use a clean shiny cookie sheet. That will insure that all the cookies bake evenly and turn out looking great.

Recipe is from an unknown cookbook. I did make some small changes. Make up a batch and enjoy

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Book View Café

I never know what I will run into when I review a book. I found Book View Café when I went to C.F. Bentley’s web site. (See review for Harmony) This is a new site started on November 19th by a group of published authors. The writers state that “Book View Café is a cooperative site created by a group of writers who want to take advantage of the internet’s possibilities for reaching a wider audience and to distribute their work directly to their readers. ”

Writers are posting short stories, novellas, and novels on the site. There are stories in each of the following areas: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Humor, Romance, Young Adult and Speculative Fiction. All stories I saw posted are free but there is a plan to post some that you have to purchase.

You have to register and log in to access everything on the site. You may meet some of your favorite authors and you may find new favorites at the Book View Café.

I'm off the spend Christmas with two of my sons. See you in a few days.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Harmony by C.F. Bentley

As if I did not have enough books to read with Fictionwise holding a Christmas sale on eBooks and a to be read pile that just keeps growing I can’t stop checking out new books anytime I wander through the library. Harmony by C.F. Bentley had just been put out on the shelves and I can never resist a new science fiction book so of course it came home with me. Once I started reading the book I could not put it down.

Harmony published by Daw is a rip-roaring fantasy/science fiction/space opera. It is full of twists and turns. It contains mystery and a touch of romance. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going the author threw in a new twist. With great characters, a well constructed plot and a well though out universe this is a book science fiction readers should not miss. Buy the book or check it out of your library. However you get Harmony, you should read this book. I was sorry to see the book end and was glad to see on C.F. Bentley’s web site that this is the first book in a new series. Enigma, the next book, is due out in August of 2009. I give Harmony 5 thumbs up.

C.F. Bentley also writes as P.R Frost and Irene Radford.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jake Masters Mysteries by Mike Resnick

Science Fiction Mystery

This is a slightly different series. Written by Mike Resnick, all three Jake Master mysteries are a standalone short story. Each was published in a different year and in a different magazine but that is not where I read them. I purchased them from Fictionwise. They were just added to their inventory and when Fictionwise started their Christmas sale I purchased all three.

The stories are set in the Birthright Universe. I felt right at home as I had read several novels set in the same Universe. Jake is typical of the old style detective. He retired from the police and became a private eye. The only difference between today and Jake's time is the settings and the characters. There are different planets, many aliens, and of course humans. Each story was a satisfying read and reading all three in close order left a sense of visiting with an old friend. If you get a chance read the Jake Masters mysteries. The three I read in the order they were written are:

Guardian Angle – First Published in Down These Dark Spaceways, September, 2006
A Locked-Planet Mystery - First Published in Alien Crimes, January 2007
Honorable Enemies – First Published in Baen’s Universe, April 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Book Reviewers Link-up Meme

I got this list from Frances Reads. Since Frances said it so well and I don't like to reinvent the wheel I am posting and quoting her blog.

"Grasping for the Wind’s John Ottinger is updating his blogroll of fantasy and science fiction book reviewers and needs our help. If you would like your site to be included, take this list and post it on your website, then add yourself to the list, preferably in alphabetical order. John will then track the links across the web from back links, and can add each new blog to his roll as it pops up."

Here’s the list:
The Accidental Bard
A Dribble Of Ink
Adventures in Reading
The Agony Column
The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
Barbara Martin
Bibliophile Stalker
Blood of the Muse
The Book Smugglers
The Book Swede
Breeni Books
Cheaper Ironies [pro columnist]
Cheryl’s Musings
Critical Mass
Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews
Darque Reviews
Dave Brendon’s Fantasy and Sci-Fi Weblog
The Deckled Edge
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards
Dusk Before the Dawn
Enter the Octopus
Eve’s Alexandria
Fantasy Book Critic
Fantasy Cafe
Fantasy Debut
Fantasy Book Reviews and News
Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin’ Blog
The Fix
The Foghorn Review
Frances Writes
From a Sci-Fi Standpoint
The Galaxy Express
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review
Grasping for the Wind
The Green Man Review
Highlander’s Book Reviews
Jumpdrives and Cantrips
Lisa Paitz Spindler’s Danger Gal Reviews
Literary Escapism
Michele Lee’s Book Love
Mixed Book Bag
Monster Librarian
Mostly Harmless Books
My Favourite Books
Neth Space
OF Blog of the Fallen
The Old Bat’s Belfry
Outside of a Dog
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
Piaw’s Blog
Post-Weird Thoughts
Publisher’s Weekly
Reading the Leaves
Realms of Speculative Fiction
Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff
Robots and Vamps
SF Diplomat
Sci-Fi Songs [Musical Reviews]
Severian’s Fantastic Worlds
SF Gospel
SF Revu
SF Signal
SF Site
SFF World’s Book Reviews
Silver Reviews
Speculative Fiction Junkie
Speculative Horizons
Spontaneous Derivation
Sporadic Book Reviews
Stella Matutina
The Sword Review
Tangent Online
Temple Library Reviews [also a publisher]
The Road Not Taken
Urban Fantasy Land
Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic
Variety SF
Walker of Worlds
Wands and Worlds
The Wertzone
WJ Fantasy Reviews
The World in a Satin Bag
Foreign Language (other than English)
Cititor SF [Romanian, but with English Translation] [French]

If you have time do a Google search to login and check out some of these sites.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shotgun Bride (The Quinter Brides Book One) by Lauri Robinson

Historical Western Romance

Shotgun Bride by Lauri Robinson and published by Wildrose Press in 2008 has a lot of familiar elements. There is the untrustworthy brother who trades his you innocent sister for the horse he could not pay for, the forced wedding of the sister to one of four brothers, and the struggle by both new wife and new husband to act honorability. Set in Kansas all of the elements seem new and fresh in this enjoyable story. On a personal note, I get tired of page after page of sex scenes. I loved the fact that Lauri Robinson keeps sex scenes to a minimum. Here is what Fictionwise says about the book:

“Like most girls, Jessie Johnson will never forget the first time she met her mother-in-law. After all who can forget a shotgun pointed at them? Bartered for a dead horse at gunpoint, she either agrees to marry one of the Quinter boys or her brother will hang for horse theft. Jessie knows nothing about being a wife- other than the wedding will likely put her new husband in grave danger. After being knocked unconscious by his brothers, Kid Quinter finds himself surrounded by his uncouth family, the sheriff, a preacher, and an adorable young woman. Tied to a chair, he's given no choice but to marry Jessie Johnson. And that's just the beginning of his troubles.”

This is the first in a series of four books and I am looking forward to the next one. At present this is only available as an ebook.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shipscat Series by Mercedes Lackey

Science Fiction

Skitty is the cat in the Shipscat series by Mercedes Lackey. This is another series of short stories. Dick White is the cat handler for the spaceship Brightwing. Skitty is gene tailored for life on the Brightwing and can talk mind to mind with Dick. Like all cats she does not always follow directions, but her adventures always work out for good of White and the crew. In the first story she kills the kreshta and everyone thinks disaster will follow, in the second story the crew is kidnapped and Skitty must come to the rescue, a cat with the standard military genotype ends up on the Brightwing in the third story, and in the fourth there is a conflict when vermin are children of the gods to some on the planet. After buying and reading all four I was wishing for more tales of Skitty. This is another series I purchased on Fictionwise. The stories in order are:

Tale of Two Skittys
A Better Mousetrap

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Born In Sin by Kinley MacGregor a/k/a Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Historical Romance

Born in Sin was published by Avon in 2003 and is part of the MacAlister’s series. When writing historical fiction Sherrilyn Kenyon writes as Kinley MacGregor. This is the book I found on the virgin heroes list. I purchased it as an eBook from Fictionwise. As luck would have it they were having a Christmas sale and I got 40% off. It was in a format that would not load on my eBookwise reader so I had to read it on the computer.

This is the second book in the series and the only one I have read. In fact this is the only book by Kinley MacGregor that I have read. I will add her to the list of authors whose book I watch for.

Sin, the hero, is the bastard sons of the MacAllister’s. Rejected by his English mother at birth he is sent Scotland to live with his father. He is allowed to stay but is ignored. When the English king demands a son from all of the Scottish clans Sin is sent. He is abused by the knight he serves and finally sold to the Saracens to pay for the knight’s trip home from the Holy Lands. As a slave to the Saracens he suffers further abuse. They train him as a killer and send him to kill King Henry. While holding a knife to Henry’s throat Sin offers to spare his life and to be his man forever. Henry accepts the offer. Sin still does not find acceptance when they return to England. Henry’s use of Sin’s skills causes all to fear and hate him. Sin has never been with a woman because he does not want to bring an unwanted child into the world.

Everything changes when Henry uses friendship and power to force Sin to marry Callie. She is a Scotswoman and Henry wants to use to marriage to ensure peace. Sin has never known love or acceptance and does not know what to make of Callie. She seems to like him but he keeps pushing her away. This is a great story of love and acceptance. In addition to the love story of Sin and Callie there was additional actions and suspense that kept me reading.

Born in Sin is a keeper on my favorites shelf. I recommend the book.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair

Science Fiction Romance and Space Opera

I keep finding new books to read. Yesterday I got a list of books that had virgin heroes. I purchased one I had not read and decided to review one of my favorites. So much for my plan to do series this week. I will get back to that list later.

Games of Command published by Bantam Spectra in 2007 is among my favorite books. Bantam Spectra contracted with Linnea Sinclair to republish her books originally written for a small press that went out of business. Finders Keepers, Gabriel’s Ghost, Accidental Goddess and Games of Command were all part of that contract. The original story line was a two-part book. Only the first was published. Bantam did not want a series and had Linnea rewrite the story as one book. I have read Command Performance, the first book in the series, and I found Games of Command to be a much tighter better-written book.

I call this a space opera romance. The book is filled with plot twists and action. While there are two different romances in the book the main characters are Captain Tasha Sebastian and Admiral Brandon Kel-Paten. The two had been enemies for years. When a new threat appeared on the scene the old saying “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” came into play and the two are now part of the new Alliance. Tasha is posted to Admiral Kel-Paten’s ship as part of the peace treaty. Tasha is the opposite of Kel-Paten and thinks that he hates her. He is a biocybe and as far as he knows one of a kind. Created to be the ultimate warrior he is part machine and part human programmed feel no emotion but anger. He is a great at his job, follows all the rules, but is ill at ease in other situations. Tasha thrives in situations that are outside the box. The two first met 12 years before when the then Captain Kel-Paten boarded the ship Tasha was on to commandeer its cargo. Tasha outwitted him and he left empty handed. Tasha did not fear him and managed to do what few other could. Kel-Paten had managed to overpower his emotion inhibitors and he fell in love with Tasha. For the next 12 years wrote her love letters that would only be sent when he died. Now he finally has her on his ship. And so the story is set. They capture a rebel, nothing goes as planned. Tasha learns of Kel-Paten feeling when she breaks into his files. It is nonstop action from there on.

If you like Science Fiction Romance I predict that Games of Command will land on your favorites shelf.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Peacekeeper: A Major Ariane Kedros Novel by Laura E. Reeve

Military Science Fiction, Space Opera

Peacekeeper published by Roc and released in December of 2008 is “The First in a Brand-New Series”. I first heard about the book from Laura Reeve’s sister. We were both attending WorldCon in Denver last August. I wrote the title down and the next day bookmarks were out on one of the display tables. I put the book in my Amazon wish list and purchased it as soon as it was released. While I have been disappointed in many first books I was not disappointed in Peacekeeper. The story is very well written, the plot well thought out and the back-story worked in a way that does not distract from the flow of the novel.

Ariane Kedros is a woman with a past. As a member of the Consortium of Autonomous Worlds military she and her crew set off a forbidden weapon that destroyed a system. To the Terran Expansion League she is a war criminal. For 15 years Ariane has been hidden behind a new identity but now someone is killing everyone responsible for the decision to use the weapon. The killings have started at the top of the chair of command. Ariane, a reserve major, is tapped to find the killer. Ariane is a well-drawn and complex character full of internal conflicts. The other characters in the book have their own conflicts adding depth to the story.

Laura Reeve has written a great first book and I am looking forward to reading Vigilante (Roc, ~October 2009), the next in the series. I give this five thumbs up.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Confederation Novels by Tanya Huff

Space Opera – Military Science Fiction

For me World Con2008 offered a treasure trove of authors and one of my goals was to hear authors I read on a panel, at a reading or at a kaffeeklatche. I went to a reading given by Tanya Huff. She is Canadian and was in the Canadian Navy (which she laughing said consisted of two canoes and a row boat). I am convinced that Canadians get a lot more fun out of life than we do. We seem to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and Canadian thank us for doing it so they do not have to. Tanya is one of the few authors I have met that I can picture as a character in her novels. My mental picture of Marine Sergeant Torin Kerr was very close match to Tanya.

There are four Confederation Novels published by Daw. Marine Sergeant Torin Kerr is the main character in each of the four. With the rank of sergeant she is the backbone of the corp. She is written larger than life and her exploits are a mile a minute. All of the novels are tightly written and hard to put down once you start. I just finished Valor’s Trial, the latest novel published in 2008 and it was as compelling and action filled as the first, Valor’s Choice. I don’t know if Valor’s Trial is the last in the series as there was enough of a hook at the end to support another book. I certainly hope to hear more about Torin Kerr. If you have not read this series you have a treat coming. Pick up the first one and join in the adventure.

The Confederation Novels in order are:

Valor’s Choice
The Better Part of Valor
The Hear of Valor
Valor’s Trial

There is an omnibus A Confederation of Valor that contains the first two novels.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Saga of Seven Suns by Kevin Anderson

Space Opera

I got a newsletter from Kevin Anderson this week. I met both Kevin and his wife Rebecca Modesta at Denvention 2 (World Science Fiction Convention) in Denver last summer. I signed up for their Kafffeekiatschle. If you have never been to a Science Fiction Convention (Con for short), a kaffeekiatschle allows fans to meet and interact with authors as a small group. At Denvention I was one of the lucky 10 that attended Kevin and Rebecca’s kaffeekiatschle. Both are Science Fiction Writers who write as a team and as individuals. I went because I had read The Saga of Seven Suns written by Kevin. This is a seven book series. The first book has enough hooks to keep you reading and each succeeding book adds hooks, characters, and action.

If I had to describe the books with one word it would be sweeping. There are human, Ildirans who are similar to humans, hydrogues’s who live on gas giants, wentals who are water beings, faeros who live in suns, Klikiss Robots, Klikiss, and the green forest. Some are allies and some are natural enemies. All are intelligent being and all are involved in a titanic struggle for survival.

The series should be read in the order published. I recommend The Saga of Seven Suns. You will have many hours of good reading.

The books of the Saga of Seven Suns in the order published are:

Hidden Empire
A Forest of Stars
Horizon Storms
Scattered Suns
Of Fire and Night
Metal Swarm
The Ashes of World

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

RCN Series by David Drake

Space Opera

David Drake writes a lot of military science fiction but to quote him this series ” is something quite different: space opera”. The first book in the series, With the Lightnings introduces the two unlikely protagonists. Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy are both citizens of Cinnabar and a more unlikely pair would be hard to find. Their differences are one thing that makes this series so engaging. Daniel is in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy. Adele is an exile from Cinnabar. Her parents were convicted of treason and killed. Adele escaped death only because she was off planet at the time. Add to the mix Tovera, a psychopath who serves Adele and Hogg a gentleman’s gentleman who serves Daniel and you have a crack team ready for adventure. The books are a mix of adventure and politics. With a male and female main characters you might expect a little romance thrown in, but when you read the book you will understand why there is none. The books are published by Baen and are available as eBooks as well as hard cover and paperbacks. Here is the list of books in the order of publication:


THE WAY TO GLORY RCN Series (Baen/2005)


WHEN THE TIDE RISES RCN Series (Baen/2008)

With the Lightnings and Lt Leary, Commanding are available as eBooks in the Baen free library. This is a series that is best read in order so go to Baen and download With the Lightnings to check the series out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Science Fiction Series

I own all of the books in several several Science Fiction Series. For the next few days I will share my favorites. Come back tomorrow and find out which series I like.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Starship: Rebel by Mike Resnick

Science Fiction Space Opera

Starship: Rebel is the fourth book in the Starship series. Published by PYR Publishers the book came out in November of 2008. Wilson Cole has increased his fleet and is still taking jobs as a mercenary. The book is as fast moving as the previous books in the series. This book goes in a darker direction as Cole’s best friend is captured and killed and everyone on the planet where the capture happened wiped out. Fast paced and full of action Starship: Rebel sets the stage for the fifth and final book in the series. I recommend the series to anyone who loves science fiction and space opera. Like the first book I give this book 5 thumbs up.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly

Paranormal Mystery

This seems to be my week for ghost stories. This time it is a mystery. The Ghost and Mrs. McClure published by Berkley Prime Crime is the first in a series that has 4 published books with a fifth coming out in January. PI Jack Shield was killed in 1949 in a book store in Quindicott, Rhode Island. He cannot leave the store and has been haunting it ever since. Penelope Thornton-McClure and her Aunt Sadie are updating the book store. They have changed the name to Buy the Book and have a bestselling author on hand to bring in new business. The author is killed in the bookstore. Penelope and Jack find that they can “talk to each other”. This is the first time Jack has been able to communicate with anyone. He and Penelope team up to solve the murder. Jack is a typical 1940’s Pi so he is the brains and Penelope, a modern woman, is the legs. It is a cute book, easy to read and only 261 pages long. If you want a fun read I recommend The Ghost and Mrs. McClure. I give it 3 thumbs up.

A side note. "Alice Kimberly is the pen name for Alice Alfonsi, who writes with her husband, Marc Cerasini." They also write The Coffeehouse Mysteries.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hundreds of Years to Reform A Rake by Laurie Brown

Paranormal Romance

Do you like to read regency and paranormal romances? If so, Hundreds of Years to Reform A Rake by Laurie Brown can satisfy both loves. Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca in 2007, this is a ghost story with a twist. The ghost of Deverell Thornton, the Ninth Early of Waite, convinces paranormal researcher Josephine Drummond to go back in time to save Castle Waite. Learning to navigate the complex social requirements of the Regency period is only one of Josephine’s problems. She is fighting an attraction to both the ghost of Deverell and the living Deverell while trying to expose a charlatan and save the Castle. There is plenty of action, great characters, and enough mystery to keep you reading. This is a cute take on time travel and ghosts. I give Hundreds of Years to Reform A Rake 3 thumbs up.

Monday, December 1, 2008

StarJumper’s Bride by J.A. Clarke

Science Fiction Romance

Yesterday was a cold day with off and on snow flurries so I spent the afternoon on the couch reading and watching the birds visit the bird bath and bird feeder. I had StarJumper’s Bride published by LionHearted Publishing on my wish list for over a year. I finally added the book to my Amazon order that arrived on Friday. StarJumper’s Bride by J. A. Clarke was a great read for a cold snowy Sunday afternoon. I love science fiction romance and am always delighted to find one with an engaging story and great characters. The relationship between the two main characters, Cassie Gordon and Sebastian Asteril, was not rushed but developed as the story unfolded. There was danger, romance and intrigue and I did not want to put the book down. It is the second book set in this universe, but it stands on its own. StarJumper's Bride was a 2006 Eppie finalist in the Science Fiction/Futuristic Romance category. According to J.A. Clarke’s website there will be a third book in the series coming out in the future. I give StarJumper’s Bride 4 thumbs up.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Best Science Fiction Romance Covers

Do you remember the cover on the latest book you read? Many times covers have no effect on why I choose a book, but occasionally I see a cover that just begs to be picked up. The covers on Kristin Landon’s two Science Fiction Romances do just that. Ace Publishing has chosen covers for The Hidden Worlds and The Cold Minds that make you reach for the books. These books could have been over looked but the cover Ace uses keeps that from happening. Go on line to Amazon and see if you agree.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Fallen by Claire Delacroix

Science Fiction/Dark Fantasy Romance

This is the first time I have read a book by Claire Delacroix. Looking at a list of her previous books The Fallen is a change of pace for this author. Set in a post-nuclear pre-Apocalyptic time The Fallen is the story of Adam Montgomery (Munkar) and Lilia Desjardins. In the first chapter we meet Munkar, an angle, as he is undergoing the painful surgery to remove his wings and receive his human name, Adam Montgomery. He has volunteered to go to Earth on a mission to help humans. In chapter two Lilia Desjardins, a shade hunter, is introduced. She is going to Gotham, a radiation hot spot, to find out how her husband died. The book starts with a bang and does not slow down. This is a very well written and gripping tale filled with wonderful characters. The plot development and pacing kept me hooked from the first page. According to Claire Delacroix’s blog this is the first of a trilogy. I am looking forward to the next two. I gave The Fallen five thumbs up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Downbelow Station by C. J. Cherryh

Science Fiction

Downbelow Station was published in 1981. I recommended this book for the Science Fiction Book Club. The book is the anchor for C. J. Cherryh’s science fiction universe. I remember reading the book in the 1980’s and not being able to put it down. I think we all know that we change with time. That includes reading tastes. I found the book to drag this time and I had to force myself to continue reading instead of picking up a book I had not read. Those of us in the club that are fans of Cherryh agreed that to understand the universe Cherryh created this was a must read. Those who were not Cherryh fans did not care for the book. Although there was a lot of action in the book we all felt that the book was passive when compared to today’s science fiction. Looking back I realized why I loved the book so. This book was the first time I had seen a female starship captain. I was a commercial pilot flying charter and corporate when I read the book. Female pilots were still rare and I loved having a female in charge of a starship. If you love C. J. Cherryh’s books and have not read Downbelow Station, pick it up and read it. It sets the stage for her other science fiction books.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land is the story of Michael Valentine Smith. Born of human parents on Mars and raised by Martians, he comes to earth with different powers and no understanding of humans. This is science fiction about humans and what it means to be human, and change and what causes change. The book has never been out of print and is considered a classic. People who would never read Science Fiction have read this book.

The original copyright to Stranger in a Strange Land was 1961. I probably read it soon after it was published. I included it on my list of favorite books for a long time. When I first read the book I loved the story and I loved the strong women. Today, the women are still strong, but limited by the restrictions of the time. That if nothing else dated the story. However the elements “of individual liberty, self-responsibility, sexual freedom and the influence of organized religion on human culture and government” from Wikipedia that are the heart of the story have kept it relevant. This book caused more discussion than Journey to the Center of the Earth. Again we read different editions of the book. Some people read the original version which was 160,000 words and others read the uncut version which had 220,000 words. All of us who read the uncut version agreed that it needed editing. The extra did not add anything and made the reading drag.

This is a different take on Science Fiction and worth the read even today.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Gifts for the Book Lover

What do you get for the book lovers on your Christmas list? What have people given you? I have gotten gift cards to book stores, books, and different items of clothing that show my love of books. Do you have some different suggestions? IF so post your gift suggestions here. If it is something you can buy on the web post a link. Let’s give everyone new gift ideas for the book lover this Christmas season.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

We wanted to start with some of the earliest science fiction and agreed that one of the novels written by Jules Verne would be a good place to start. Because a new movie based on Journey to the Center of The Earth was just being released we choose it as the book to discuss at our next meeting. None of us had read the book previously. I did not want to buy the book so I went to Project Gutenberg to see if it was available.

For those of you not familiar with Project Gutenberg the website states and I quote; “Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related technologies today.” At last count there were over 25,000 free books in Project Gutenberg’s online catalog and over 100,000 more available at affiliates. There is no copyright violation on any of the books listed. Journey to the Center of the Earth was available as a free download. I downloaded it to my computer and the moved the book to my ebook reader.

Jules Verne wrote Journey to the Center of the Earth in 1864. All of his novels have been translated from French to English and we found difference as we each had different editions. One of the first was that the characters had been given new names in the later editions. None of us found this to be an exciting book. Written in the first person it was long on description and short on action. Verne filled the book with facts about the geology of the earth. In some ways the book was like geology textbook. The characters were observers. There are only three main characters, Professor Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel and Hans Bjelke their Icelandic guide for the journey. You quickly learn that the Professor is impatient, his nephew does not like adventure and Hans is stoic. Axel is the narrator in the book. Any danger is always at a distance and never seems to threaten the characters. We all agreed that this book would not be a best seller today. Everyone commented on the difference in social norms between 1864 and 2008. Most notable was the role of women. You know they are there but only in the background. Their role is to stay home and keep the fires going. No journeys to distant places for them.

Journey to the Center of the Earth has been made into a movie several times. Women and children have been added to the script. There is a lot more tension in the movie. The actors are participants in threatening situation instead of observers. In many ways the movies bear little resemblance to the book.

None of us would have read this book had we not chosen it for the book club. While the book was very poplar when it was written, no one felt that it had stood the test of time. It was slow moving and did not hold anyone attention. There was not a “I have to keep reading to find out what happened” feeling while reading the book. We knew from the beginning that everyone came home. The consensus was that Journey to the Center of the Earth was a classic only because it was among the first Science Fiction books written.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Science Fiction Book Club Members

There is a great variety in all writing. You have fiction and nonfiction, novels and short stories, narrative stories and poetry. We all have our favorite. Within fiction you have further classifications; mystery, romance, adventure and science fiction are just a few. I read across the classifications but my favorite is Science Fiction. Within the area of Science Fiction there are further unique divisions. Those divisions range from fantasy to hard science fiction. Many readers roam between the different areas but some like only one division. In our book club we have both kinds of readers. I tend to roam between different divisions with space opera my favorite. We have one member who loves paranormals, another likes alternate history, still another member likes cyber punk, one member is a hard science fiction fan and one just loves book clubs and had never read Science Fiction before joining. A group this diverse makes choosing books to read and discuss a challenge. We started with a Stephen King book. Not an author I would read, but hearing the thoughts of his fans was interesting. We decided that we would continue by concentrating on some of the classics in Science Fiction. For the next few days I am going to share some of the group thinking on Journey to the Center of the Earth, Stranger in a Strange Land, and Downbelow Station. If you have read any of these books post a comment and add to the discussion.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bella Vista Public Library

You will hear about book club members tomorrow.

I think the Bella Vista Public Library deserves it own post. After all this is where the Science Fiction Book Club meets. It is a unique public library. No tax dollars or public funds were used to found the library. Volunteers and donations have allowed the library to exist for many years.

When I moved to Bella Vista it was a retirement village governed by the Property Owners Association. Bella Vista Village was started as a vacation and retirement community in the 1970’s. Located in Northwest Arkansas on the Missouri border the founder envisioned a community of around 10,000 made up mostly of retirees. Until the late 1990’s that was the bulk of the residents. Retirees have lots of time and when not playing golf (we have multiple golf courses) they wanted to read. Some of the ladies of the village started a library in one room of one of the clubhouses. That was the start of the Bella Vista Public Library. It was run entirely by volunteers. More people moved in and more space was needed. A grant was obtained to build a library building to serve a population of 10,000. Anyone who lived in Bella Vista could get a free library card; after all it was a public library. Because Bella Vista was located in an unincorporated area of the county we had no tax base for the library to draw on. The POA and several groups contributed funds to buy books and hire a library director. The Bella Vista Public Library had to rely on volunteers and donations to stay in business. Things in Bella Vista Village changed when Northwest Arkansas experienced a large growth in population. While there were still a large number of retirees in the Village, the population began to shift with younger families moving in. The population grew rapidly from 10,000 to 26,000. The library adapted to the meet the changes in population. The funding for the library did not change. The library still depended on volunteers and donations to survive.

Two years ago there was initiative to change the status of Bella Vista. The initiative passed and Bella Vista incorporated. We still have the POA for all the recreational amenities but we now have a city government for other services. Both the city (with public funds) and the POA donate but as yet there is no dedicated tax base for the library. The funds from the POA and the city are not guarantee from year to year and are not enough to run the library. Bella Vista Library still depends on volunteers and other donations to exist. Visit the Bella Vista Public Library site to see this unique library.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Science Fiction Book Club (not the one where you buy books)

Our library started a Book Club devoted to Science Fiction. We have been meeting for 5 months and are still a small and select group. At our last meeting in addition to the book we were reviewing we talked about was why we were staying so small. The library has a large number of people checking out Science Fiction books and a high percentage are women. That was the main reason the library started the book club. After sharing our experiences as Science Fiction readers we came to some conclusions about why we are not attracting more members.

First; Science Fiction readers hide their addiction. I know in my case I never talked about what I was reading. I discovered Science Fiction around the age of 9. I found The Trouble on Titan in our library, read it and was immediately hooked. However, I quickly found that sharing what I read caused people to look at me like I had 2 heads. I quit admitting my favorite books were Science Fiction. To this day when my Mother sees me reading Science Fiction she says, “Oh, you are reading one of those books!

Second; Science Fiction readers are loners. Being a loner means you do not join groups. Does that fit you? To a certain extent it is a fit for me. I do join some groups but I don’t want to commit too much of my time. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a hermit. I like to be around people but I also treasure my time alone. After non-stop socializing I like to find a good book and spend time reading. I had rather spend time reading than join most groups. I can disappear for days at a time. I don’t miss other people because I am reading and my friends are in the book. After all that time alone with my books I come up for air and want to see people again. I join friends before I disappear again to read.

So our book club is staying small because people do not want to admit they read Science Fiction and Science Fiction readers would rather read than join a group.

Even though we are small we are dedicated to keeping the group going. Tomorrow I will share a little about the group and how we choose the books we are reading.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen


This is the first book in a new series by Agatha winning author Rhys Bowen. The series features Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie. Lady Victoria is 34th in line to the British throne explaining the title of the book, Her Royal Spyness. Her bother has cut off her allowance and there are plans to marry her off, so she decides to strike off on her own. Leaving her brother’s home in Scotland, she travels to London where nothing in her education has prepared her for work. After a brief and unsuccessful job as a store clerk she comes up with the idea to start a cleaning service. On her first job she finds a body and plays a part in solving the crime. There are a wide range of characters in the book. Some are fictional and some are historical. The two blend seamlessly to move the story forward. This is a gentle little mystery. There is not a lot of violence or blood. The story is characters rich and character driven. While a lot of the book helps set the scene for the series there is enough plot to hold a readers interest. Rhys Bowen gives us a fascinating glimpse into the world of British Royalty in the 1930’s. In this setting Lady Victoria should have ample opportunity to solve mysteries. If you like mystery and enjoy historical settings you will love Her Royal Spyness. I look forward to many other books in this series.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Starship: Mutiny, Book One by Mike Resnick

Science Fiction and Space Opera

Starship: Mutiny, published by Pry in 2005, is the first military science fiction novel by veteran writer Mike Resnick. Mike Resnick created the Birthright Universe over 25 years ago and had been writing stories set in that universe ever since. This story is set in the Birthright Universe during the Republic era, 3000 years in the future. The Republic is at war with the Teroni Federation. Wilson Cole has won two victories for the Republic, but in doing so he has disobeyed orders and lost two ships to secure the victories. For his efforts he has been sent to the Theodore Roosevelt as the ship’s second officer. The Teddy R, as it is called by its crew, is not a happy ship. Old, ready to be retired but kept in service because of the war, the Teddy R. is posted in the Phoenix Cluster, on the Rim and away from the main battles. This set-up is ripe for all kinds of problems and conflicts. Cole is very likeable, the Captain is not. The war comes to the Phoenix Cluster and the story moves from there. The entire story is told with snappy dialog that keeps the story moving. If you need to know something, one of the characters will tell you. The pace is fast moving and I did not want to put the book down. This is military science fiction and space opera at its best. I would give Starship: Mutiny 5 thumbs up. There are two additional books already out and a third due out this month.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Strength and Honor, A Novel of the U.S.S. Merrimack, by R.M. Meluch

Military Science Fiction, Space Opera

In a previous post I talked about the Tour of the Merrimack series. I just finished Strength and Honor, A Novel of the U.S.S. Merrimack by R.M. Meluch. Like the other books in the series this was published by Daw. The copyright is November 2008. The fact that I have already finished this book helps explain my large “to be read” pile. The third book in the series, The Sagittarius Command, could have been the last but it left some large unresolved issues. Strength and Honor, the fourth novel, brings the story to a conclusion. The military and personal themes are woven skillfully into the novel. There were some places where I would have liked a slightly different resolution, but all in all by the end of the book I was a satisfied reader. If you like Science Fiction and Space Opera, read this series. R.M Meluch has written a series with great characters, and a plot filled with unexpected twists and turns. I highly recommend the U.S.S. Merrimack series.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My “Too Be Read” Pile

Every now and then instead of sharing a book I will share some of my thoughts about books. Today is one of those days. I love books and pick them up at a variety of places. One of my great fears when traveling in my RV is that I will run out of books to read. As I prepare to leave I stockpile books and leave with a large supple. Then I buy books all along my route. I buy new. I buy at used book stores. One of the best and cheapest places to buy is at library book sales and library run book stores. I am unable to pass up a book that looks interesting. I always have more unread book coming home than I had when I left. I don’t stop buying when I get home. I follow several writers groups and blogs and when I hear a recommendation that appeals to me I check it out at the library or I go buy the book. As a result I have a huge “to be read” pile at home. My children have threatened to do an intervention. I have a goal to finish most of my “to be read pile” in the next six months. I have to finish a book every 2 days in order to do that. I also have to resist buying books for the next six months. That should still leave me with a large stockpile to take on my next trip in April. So do any of you think I have a problem? One good thing, I am unlikely to run out of books to share in the next six months

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Alternate History

His Majesty’s Dragon is a new twist on two old themes. It is a fantasy novel about dragons and it is an alternate history novel about the Napoleonic Wars. This unlikely combination works. Dragon’s play a big part in the Napoleonic wars and both England and France use them in aerial combat. Dragon’s are also rare and any new dragon that hatches is welcomed. Will Lawrence is a sea Captain in His Majesty’s navy. He captures a French frigate that is carrying a dragon’s egg. The egg is about to hatch and the dragon will bond with one person. Somce England is in great need of more dragons and Will cannot get the ship to land before the egg hatches lots are drawn to see who bond with the dragon and become part of the aerial corp. Will lot is not drawn but the dragon when he hatches makes his own choice and Will is who he wants. Thus begins a life change for Will. In spite of their value, the Aerial Corp is not a respected arm of His Majesty’s military. Will must adjust to like away from the sea and to life as a partner to the dragon Temeraire. The story is a new look at a well known part of history. The addition of dragons and aerial combat changes this part of history. Temeraire the dragon is a rare breed of dragon and an interesting character. Dragons are intelligent and full of personality and Temeraire no exception. Temeraire is also a rare breed of dragon. This is the first book in a series about Will and Temeraire. If you like alternate military history His Majesty’s Dragon is a must read.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Airs Beneath the Moon by Toby Bishop

Winged horses are not new in fantasy and Airs Beneath the Moon published by Ace follows the same path many other stories trod. In spite of that, the story held my attention. Larkyn Hamley of Deeping Farm finds a starving horse and takes her home. The horse has a winged colt but dies in a difficult birth. The colt bonds with Lark, a bond that is for life. Winged horses are at the heart of the Duchy of Oc. They can only be flown by women and the Academy of the Air chooses a noble girl to bond with each colt. Lark has to leave home and try to survive in the hostile environment of the Academy. That is just the start of the story. There is danger to the Academy from the new Duke, a secret discovered by Lark, and surprising friendships in the making. While the book has a conclusion it leaves many things unresolved. It may be the first book in a series. If you like winged horses and strong heroines read Airs Beneath the Moon by Toby Bishop.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Myriad, Tour of the Merrimack #1 by R.M. Meluch

As you can guess from the title (The Myriad, Tour of the Merrimack #1) this is the first book in a series about the U.S.S. Merrimack. Daw published the first book in this series and the first book in ten years by R.M. Meluch in 2004. I don’t know what the M stands for but the R is Rebecca. The Merrimack is captained by the magnetic, fearless, energetic John Farragut. The ship includes a Marine detachment lead by Lt. Colonel, T.R. Steele. They are on the trail of the Hive, an alien life form that can live in the vacuum and destroys everything in its path. Joining the crew of the Merrimack is Augustus; a Palatine Empire genetically and cybernetically enhanced patterner, on loan to help in the search and destruction of the Hive. The Palatine Empire were former enemies but the Hive has made them reluctant allies. The Merrimack stumbles on a group of three colony worlds that the Hive has overlooked. This group of planets is a paradox that no one can explain. The result of this discovery leads to some unexpected events. There is never a dull moment in this book. There are enough twists and turns to keep anyone’s attention. The interaction between the characters keeps the plot moving at a brisk pace. Start this series for a thrilling story that is hard to put down. I recommend The Myriad to anyone who likes space opera and military science fiction.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Heart Duel by Robin Owens

Paranormal Romance

Heart Duel is the third book in Robin Owens Science Fiction Romance series set on Celta. Celta is a planet where physic powers replace the tech of our world. Flair is the physic power and everyone has it to some extent. For some flair also reveals their heartmate, the person they are destined to be with for life. A person’s flair develops strength during a series of passages. It is during one of these passages that a heartmate is usually revealed. The fact that Holm Holly and Lark Collinson are Heartmates was not revealed during a passage because Holm Holly had to grow enough to be Lark’s heartmate. They are an unlikely pair of heartmates. Lark’s flair is for healing and she hates the street dueling that takes place on Celta. It was in a street duel that her healer husband was killed. Holm Holly’s flair is for fighting and he is a member of the premier fighting family on Celta. While Holm accepts the attraction between he and Lark, she refuses to accept that the attraction is anything other than a passing fling. It is certainly a romance, but the actions of Holm and Lark lead to some unexpected results. There are 7 of the award winning Heartmate books. I had read all but this one. I knew the result of Holm and Lark accepting that they were meant to be together but I was unprepared for the dark nature of the book. I would not recommend that anyone start with Heart Duel, but if you read the series this is a must read.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days by Susan Grant.

How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days is the third book in Susan Grant’s Otherworldly series and it is one of my favorites. It takes an unlikely hero, Reef, and a suburban housewife, Evie, on a series of desperate adventures. Reef stands for Robotically Engineered Enemy Fighter. Reef is the villain in the first book in this series. He is a cyberpowered assassin who has been programmed and sent to Earth to kill Earth’s connections to one of the extraterrestrial powers. He was not successful and found himself with his internal computers turned off and his programming no longer working. It turns out he was not anything like his programming. Enter, Evie, as divorced suburban housewife with family connections to that same representatives Reef was sent to kill. Evie has her own set of problems. Someone thinks her chocolate business is laundering money for the mob, and her ex-husband want to take their two children. What Evie needs is a bodyguard and Reef ends up with the job. Evie gives Reef 10 day to prove he can do the job and thus the title; How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days. Evie and Reef both have issues and the solution for both makes this an exciting read. I recommend you read How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days. This book is a recent Prism Award winner.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Charm School by Susan Wiggs

The Charm School by Susan Wiggs is set in the period before the Civil War. The book is a reprint. The Charm School was originally published in 1999. Isadora Peabody is the ugly duckling in a wealthy Boston family. Ryan Calhoun is a charming handsome southerner who is captaining one of the Peabody ships. Behind Ryan’s carefree exterior there is a serious and vital duty he feels he must perform. Isadora manages to secure a place on Ryan’s ship and finds a freedom she has never know. Both experience a life changing experience on the voyage. The fun is in the journey. It is wonderful to watching Isadora shed her stays and proper clothing as she loses her shyness and becomes the beautiful swan. As Ryan notices Isadora he finds in her someone who will help him make good in keeping his promise to his best friend. Together they overcome the problems that face Ryan. This is the first of two stories about the Calhoun brothers. Ryan and Isadora appear briefly in The Horsemaster’s Daughter, another reprint from 1999. Isadora, Ryan, and all the sailors on board keep the story lively and fun. Ryan's ship is Isadora's charm school.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Slave to Sensation, a paranormal romance, by Nalini Singh is set on an alternate Earth where the human race is divided into three distinct types. There are the normal humans like you and I, the Psys who have mental powers, and the Changelings who are part human and part animal. The Psys embraced Silence, the removal of all emotions many years ago, because of the high incidence of insanity and serial killing. The Psys became the leaders in government and business living apart from humans and Changelings. The Changelings live with their own kind removed from both humans and Psys. There is little interaction between the three groups. This first story in the Psy/Changeling universe sees Lucas, a Changeling whose animal is a leopard, reacting to Sascha, a Psy who feels emotions. In Slave to Sensation there is a Psy serial killer who has killed one of Lucas pack mates, a big attraction between Lucas and Sascha, and a psychic web that Sascha must escape in order to leave the Psy. The book has great pacing and tension and interwoven as part of the story are characters that will be featured in later books. I recommend Slave to Sensation to any of you who like paranormal romances.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Wives Tales By Lara Santiago

Be warned.  The Wives Tales by Lara Santiago are erotica.  If you do not like hot sex do not read these books.  However if you like a well written story with lots of hot sex and great characters try any of The Wives Tales.  There are four.  They are The Miner's Wife,  The Executive's Wife,  The Lawman's Wife and the The Mercenary's Wife.  I read The Miner's Wife first.  This is the story of Hannah and Brutal.  The Miner's Wife  had a great plot and was well paced.  What impressed me the most was that the sex was a logical part of the story.  Both Hannah and Brutal are characters that I liked and I was glad to see both of them in later stories.  The stories fit together and make a great read.  The books are published by Siren Publishing and are available in print and  ebooks.  I bought  all of The Wives Tales in the ebook form at

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair

As I promised this is another book where time travel is used as part of the plot. Gilliaine Davre’ (just plain Gillie) wakes up after a battle to defeat the Fav’lhir and finds that she has been sent 350 years into the future. To complicate matters the the accident that sent her into the future is seen as a divine sacrifice and she has become a goddess. Simon, her sentient crystal ship is badly damaged. The Fav’lhir have finally recovered from the defeat Gillie handed them 350 years ago and are back for another try at conquest. There is also space station commander that Gillie very attracted too. Gillie just wants to be blend into the background but events conspire against her. Linnea Sinclair calls this a Science Fiction Romance. I call it a Science Fiction Space Opera with a romance thrown in. This is one of my favorite books by Linnea. It is a keeper. I have reread it several times and loved it every time. If you like Accidental Goddess look for other books by Linnea Sinclair.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dauntless, The Lost Fleet, by Jack Campbell

John “Black Jack” Geary was discovered in his hibernation capsule one hundred years after he fought in the first battle against the Syndics. He finds that he is a legend, a legend that far exceeds his actual deeds. His time in service makes him the senior officer in the Alliance fleet that has just suffered a stunning defeat and is trapped in Syndic space. It becomes Geary’s duty to get the fleet back to Alliance Space. The plot sounds familiar; other authors have used it with varying degrees of success. Jack Campbell in Dauntless, The Lost Fleet uses it extremely well. I was hooked from the first page. In Dauntless, The Lost Fleet Geary starts on an adventure that will last through 6 books. Four of the books have been released. The fifth comes out in April of 2009. I have watched John Geary grow as the series progresses. The plot also expands and grows as the series continues. The first book has enough action and adventure to hook anyone who loves Science Fiction Space Opera. You get an extra bonus if you love Military Science Fiction. Jack Campbell is a pen name for John Hemry, a retired Navy Officer. He uses his military experience to write believable military stories. Dauntless, The Lost Fleet is a well planned start to a great series. Look for another story that uses the same premise, being tossed forward in time, tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Old Man's War by John Scalzi

“I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the army.” So starts Old Man’s War, a different kind of military science fiction. There are two books that follow Old Man’s War; The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony. These books tell the story of John Perry and those are his words. The Earth of Perry’s time was the source of colonist for new planets (all from overcrowded third world countries) and soldiers for the Colonial Defense Force (all from the industrialized nations). If you signed up for the Colonial Defense Force all you knew was that you would leave Earth never to return, you would have to fight, and you would be made young again. People on Earth knew very little about what happened outside of their planet. The Colonial Union had become the voice for humans in space and the Colonial Defense Force was the army to enforce and protect the Colonial Unions’ policies and colonies. One of the Colonial Union’s policies was to keep Earth in the dark. This is the theme and the main conflict in this gripping series of stories. When you start with John’s story in Old Man War you don’t see this as the main theme. By the end of The Last Colony, everything falls in place. Old Man’s War is a great stand alone story. The book is filled with surprises. Old Man’s War starts as a military story and near the end you find it is also a love story. If you read the entire series it becomes humanity’s story and Earth’s story. The military part of the story becomes less important and the human aspect takes over. There are many surprises before the story arc in the three books ends where it began, at John’s wife’s grave. John Scalzi in Old Man’s War has written a must read for those of us who love Science Fiction.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dark Light by Jayne Castle

This is the latest in Jayne Castle’s Harmony Series. Jayne Castle is a pen name for Jayne Ann Krentz. So far there have been 6 books in the series. Dark Light continues the story of a group of Earth colonist who settled Harmony when the Curtain (a vast energy field) appeared. The Curtain allowed interstellar travel. Thousands left Earth to settle new planets bringing with them all the comforts of home. Trade between Earth and the new planets allowed the settlers to continue a very comfortable lifestyle. Then just as the Curtain appeared it vanished, leaving the settlers of Harmony on their own. They had to adjust to a new way of life. Old technology did not work and the new technology was based on the fact that Harmony had been settled before. The former settlers vanished leaving behind only ruins and amber. Amber caused new skills to appear among the settlers. Some people could resonate with amber and that became the basis of the new technology. But the former residents of Harmony also left behind ghosts and traps. Ghost hunters appeared and thus the basis for this series of stories. Each story is filled with adventure, conflict and of course love. But love never comes easy, nor is it recognized at first. Dark Light is the story of Reporter Sierra McIntyre and Ghost Hunter Guild boss John Fontana. They come from two very different backgrounds. Working together they generate some resonance of their own. And what Harmony story would be complete without a dust bunny. Elvis, Sierra’s dust bunny, has his own role to play. If you are a fan of this series, enjoy. If you have never read any of Jayne Castle’s Harmony books, start here. You will be searching for the other five. Dark Light is a great addition to the Harmony Series.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SMR Publication Sale

Steve Miller and Sharon Lee of SMR Publication and authors of the Liaden Books are holding a sale. SMR has been located in the basement of Steve and Sharon’s home. SMR is moving and will have its own office and location. This means moving all the book cartons opened and unopened from the basement to the new location. A book that is sold does not have to be moved, therefore the sale. Between now and November 7th or until the move is finished Steve and Sharon are offering 20% off on all titles. To get the discount just put openbox in the coupon box on the order form. I ordered copies of the Liaden Universe Companion, Volume 1 and Liaden Universe Companion, Volume 2. Having the companion books will make it easier to find and read my favorite stories from the Chapbooks. If you have never read any of the Liad books this would be a good time to order one. Be prepared to be hooked. These are some of my favorite comfort books (books to read and reread). If you are a fan this is a good way to get missing books to add to your collection. Go to to order.

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Book by Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas has a new book, Tall, Dark, and Texan. It will be released tomorrow, Oct.28, This is the third book in her Whispering Mountain Series. If you have never read anything that Jodi Thomas writes pick one of her book up. You will be in for a treat. She sets all of her books in her native Texas. She writes both contemporary and historical romances. She writes with a smooth easy style. The pacing in her stories is excellent. Nothing is rushed, romance proceeds at a believable speed. She builds the tension letting the reader enjoy the journey. Her characters stay true to themselves and react in a believe manner. The Widows of Wichita County, Finding Mary Blaine, and Twisted Creek are three of my favorite Jodi Thomas contemporary romances. For historical fiction check out the Wife Lottery series. Starting with The Texan’s Wager published in 2002 and ending with The Texan’s Reward published in 2205 you can follow the lives of 4 fascinating women as they look for a home and find unexpected love. The great thing is you don’t have to wait for the next one in the series to be published; you can get them all right now. Jodi Thomas is a guest this on this week. If you leave a comment you are entered to win a Jodi Thomas book. Be sure to check out this award winning author.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

My son introduced me to this series last spring (2008). He had me read The Hedge Knight, a short story, to introduce me to George R.R. Martin’s writing style. I liked how he wrote so I read A Game of Thrones. Be warned if you like A Game of Thrones you will want to read the entire series. I have now read all the published volumes in the series. I have a few other warnings about reading A Game of Thrones. You never know who is going to be killed off. No characters are safe, main characters, secondary characters, any can go, new characters are introduced and some characters disappear leaving you wondering when or if they will reappear. The books are written in a series of small scenes. Each scene features one of the important characters. As you read you are being switched from character to character, and from place to place. It could be confusing, but Martin in A Game of Thrones and each of the succeeding books, keeps the pace of the action moving forward. Martin is a perfectionist and as a result has taken a long time to write each book. Deadlines come and go and fans will still be waiting for the next book in the series. If you start reading now you can skip waiting for the books already published, but you will join the rest of us waiting for the next book. I have favorite characters in the series and am anxiously waiting the next book in The Song of Fire and Ice series. I have watched 2 deadlines come and go. All I can do is wait. For more information visit George R.R. Martin's web site at

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Baen Free Books

FREE! FREE! FREE! Yes, Baen does have a free library. The books can be downloaded to your computer or other reading devices or they can be read online. What is the catch? Most of them are the first of a series.
Baen wants you to get hooked and buy the rest of the series. Some of the titles available are:

With the Lightning by David Drake, Part of the RCN Series
Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
1812: The Rivers of War by Eric Flint.

This is a excellent way to check out authors you have never read, series you are not sure about or just without spending any money. There is a button to donate money if you are so inclined, but that is your decision. Follow this line to start reading free.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Baen Books

If you like Science Fiction and you like to read on a hand held reading device or on your computer you should check out Baen Books. Baen sells the entire release for each month (usually 6 books) for $15.00 or you can buy individual books for $5.00. The monthly list is a mix of new releases, first releases in paperback and re-released titles. If you want an old favorite just check their catalog. Baen often picks up authors who no longer have a publisher but have a loyal following. Steve Miller and Sharon Lee, authors of the Liaden books, are an example of authors who arrived at Baen after their publisher went out of business. If you can’t wait for a certain book to be published check and see if it is released as an ARC. These usually come out months before the regular publication date and sell for $15.00. Authors like David Weber, David Drake, Catherine Asaro, Elizabeth Moon, John Ringo and Eric Flint are published by Baen. For those of us who read all the time Baen Books helps stretch our book buying dollars. Check out

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Husband Trap by Tracy Anne Warren

Violet and Jeannette are identical twins, or almost identical twins. Violet is bookish, wears glasses to see and is painfully shy; Jeannette is a social butterfly, the favorite daughter, spoiled and willful. Two hours before her wedding to the handsome Duke of Raeburn Jeannette backs out. To keep the family from the ruin and scandal this will cause Violet takes her place. This is an old plot trick that is used for a fresh and entertaining story. I could not help but pull for Violet. She is a such a charming character. The Duke misses all the clues but I still liked him. On the other hand I was glad to see Jeannette disappear early in the book and stay gone until the end. If you like romance and light entertainment this is a book for you. Even though you know where the book will end, it is fun to follow Violet and the Duke’s journey.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wildrose Press

I have recently purchased eBooks from Wild Rose Press. So far every book I have purchased has been enjoyable. Heart of Stone by Sandra Kay and Letters from Home by Jo Barrett were pleasant well written romances. The story lines are predictable but handled in a way that kept my attention throughout the books. The Prize by Debra Doggett was outstanding and is reviewed on this site. Since I am a prolific reader I always like to find a new source of reading materials. I also like the saving that that I get buying eBooks. Wild Rose has many of its books on in the multiformat that downloads on my eBook Reader. The reader is also reviewed on this site. This format can also download and be read on the computer. There are also free stories you can download to check out different authors styles. If you enjoy a good story check out the offerings at

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

EBookwise Reader

My first post on this blog was a book available only as a ebook. I read it on the EBookwise 1150 ebook reading devise. This is a hand held reader sold at It is about the size of a paperback book, is under a pound and has a backlit screen. It fits easily in one hand and the button to turn the page is conviently located on the left side of the screen. Mine has the 64 megabyte card and will hold about 100 books. Any book offered at Ebookwise will load on the reader. Multiformat books at will also load in the reader. In addition any book in plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), Microsoft Word documents (.doc), HTML (.htm or .html), and Rocket eBook Editions (.rb) will also load in the reader. Baen offers all of their ebooks in .rb. The downside is the number of books that are in formats that are not compatable with the reader, the upside is how many books are compatable with the reader. I load it up when I travel and don't have to worry about carrying paperback and hard cover books. When fully charged the battery lasts 9 to 10 hours or you can read with it plugged in to house power. The price is much lower than many ebook readers. The unit with the 64 megabyte card is $139.00. I have gotten my money's worth in the year I have owned mine. There are full directions for uploading books and I found the directions very easy to follow

Monday, October 20, 2008

Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mystery Series

I purchased Murder on Astor Place the first book in the Gaslight Series several year ago and was immediately hooked. Victoria Thompson has written a very well researched series set in New York during the time Teddy Roosevelt was cleaning up the New York Police Department. Each book (there are currently 10) looks at the different groups that lived in New Your during this time. One main character is Sarah Brandt, the daughter in a upper crust New York family. She has broken with her family and is a mid-wife to the people in the lower classes in New York. Frank Malloy is a Irish cop who trys to blend the culture of the Police Department with good police work. They are the product of two very different classes and under ordinary condition would never have met. The two main characters are very well developed. The pacing of the stories and the tension between the two characters is well written. The secondary characters are well written and very believeable. I own copies of the entire series and have loaned them out friends who have loved them as much as I do. The series is best read in order. If you love mysteries this is good series read and enjoy. I hope Victoria continues to write about Sarah and Frank and the mysteries they solve together.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Prize By Debra Doggett

Futuristic Romance

I loved this book. Debra Doggett has written a beautifull paced book with the right amout of tension between Cardis (the female) and Stellan (the male). Stellan is a native of a backward planet where the spaceship Cardis is traveling on crashes. Using a tradition from Cardis's planet Stellan has three days to convince her take him as her lifetime mate. The premise is not new but the author gives it fresh new life. (more)

Both characters have issues that are easy to identify with. I hated for the book to end and I hope this is just the first book Debra Dogget publishes. The book is published by Wild Rose Press and is available only as a e-book. You can purchase this at Fictionwise, Amazon Kindle and Wild Rose Press.

3:00:00 PM
by JC Jones
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