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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014

Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014

This quarter I only read 36 books and a more balanced mix between non-fiction and fiction. You can see the list of all books read here, and favourite books here. There is even a favourite list of authors each year here

Fiction:
1. Hawk - Steven Brust - Vlad Taltos Book 14
2. Ring of Time - Andrew M. Seddon
3. Modo Ember's End - Arthur Slade and Christopher Steininger - Hunchback Assignments Graphic Novel
4. Firstborn - Brandon Sanderson
5. Freeing Tanner Rose - T.M. Gaouette - Faith and Kung Fu Book 1

7. City Of Screams - James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell - Sanguines 0.5
8. Chronos and Old Facts - Anthony Horvath

Non-Fiction
6. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable - Patrick M. Lencioni
9. A Visit to Church - James Hahn
10. The Supreme Gift - Henry Drummond - Adapted by Paulo Coelho

It was a better year than I expected. on Goodreads I only expected 75 books.

Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011
 

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
 
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More 

Statistics Books Read By Year:

130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996





Monday, 29 December 2014

Freeing Tanner Rose - T.M. Gaouette - Faith and Kung Fu Book 1

Freeing Tanner Rose
Faith and Kung Fu Book 1
Createspace
ISBN 9781494305062


This is the second novel I have read by T.M. Gaouette and I have enjoyed both immensely. However the pace and intensity in this story was gripping. I barely put the book down and read it in two extended settings. When I finished this novel, I was really wishing for more. It was only when I went to do some research for the review that I discovered it is the first in a series called Faith & Kung Fu. 

This story was a very intense read. From the moment Gabriel met Tanner Rose he was apprehensive and reserved. Gabriel and his mother live in the country, he studies martial arts and is a young man of faith. Tanner Rose is a very young Hollywood starlet who dresses and acts beyond her years. At every Turn Gabriel's patience and fortitude seems to be tested by this girl his mother has brought home. Gabriel and Tanner's mother were roommate in university and even though they have chosen very different path's Miss Ruth took Tanner in to try and help. Both Ruth and Gabriel have strong faith and personal practice. Tanner thinks they are just country hicks, and feels like she is being abandoned, punished, and neglected by her mother for pulling her from her party scene lifestyle. Will Gabriel's steadfast faith and strength help ground Tanner or will her wild addictive and self-centered traits rub off on him.


"There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13) 

The characters are wonderfully written. The solid honest ethical life of Gabriel and his mother in contrast to Tanner and her Hollywood shenanigans is a stunning look at faith in the midst of modern life and culture. The story was compelling and an absolute page turner. I can highly recommend it. It is one of the best Christian Fiction stories I have read in years, and one of the best Catholic Fiction stories for young adults I have ever read. In many ways it reminds me of Regina Doman's writings. Good solid writing crafted into an awesome story. Freeing Tanner Rose is to be the first of four books in the Faith & Kung Fu series. And I cannot wait to read the next installment. It was an excellent read.

Books by T.M. Gaouette:
The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

Faith & Kung Fu Series:

Author Profile and interview with T.M. Gaouette






Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas
From Book Reviews and More.

Hope you have a blessed holiday season, and may you find many good books under the tree, or sent to you device for eReading.




Monday, 22 December 2014

Ring Of Time - Andrew M. Seddon

Ring of Time
Andrew M. Seddon
Splashdown Books
ISBN 9781927154380
eISBN 9781311340863
ASIN B00P7C7C0W


I must be honest and state that I absolutely love Andrew M. Seddon's Saints Alive Volume I - Saints of Empire and Saints Alive Volume II - Celtic Paths so when I had the chance to receive a review copy of his latest novel Ring Of Time I was thrilled. The book did not disappoint. Seddon has a stunning ability to take readers into the past but learn lessons they can apply daily in their lives. Some books I devour, and go back and reread, others I read and the seldom come to mind again. This book I had to take my time with, to savor, taste and wait and come back to it again. If this book were a meal it would be a rare dining experience, intended to be relished and recalled fondly again and again.

Set in the 27th century, it is a series of stories told to us by Dr. Robert Cragg, he is the first time-travelling historian. Humanity has reached new heights of technology, they can send someone back in time and retrieve them. Suffering from the loss of his daughter and wife, he volunteer's to be the first to test this new technology, in fact he becomes famous as a time-travelling historian. He is running from his pain and loss into ancient Rome. But instead of encountering dry dusty stories he finds people, many of who he comes to care about and even a few love. The places and time's he visits are:

The Ghosts of Kourion, Cyprus, AD 365
Tyndareus and Krikor, At Sea, 15 BC
Moonrise over Metzada, Judea, AD 74
The Slipper of Sulpicia Lepidina, Britain, AD 103
Dust of Caesar, Italy, AD 79
Eudaimon, Egypt, AD 132
Asellina's Last Fight, Britain, AD 84
Doctoral Dissertation, Rome, AD 113
In the Mists of Britain, Britain, AD 62
Kobrinia, Britain, AD 257
The Arms of Venus, Melos (undated)
The Philosopher's Ring, Egypt, AD 415


But bouncing around time seems to be taking a toll on his health and he knows his number of trips to the past is dwindling. He must make some decisions about the past and about his future. He has had the pleasure of walking the sands of time and he has interacted with commoners, nobility, sailors, businessmen, zealots, legionaries, druids, gladiatrix and philosophers  and through it all, he finds people he can interact with, learn from and he finds he enjoys the past more than the present. . For Robert the past is not dead and gone, but alive. More alive than he ever expected to feel after all he has lost.

The story is wonderfully written, not only does the past come alive for Robert, but for us the readers also. It is an incredible read and one of the best books of the more than 115 I have read so far this year and one of the best of the past few years. It is an excellent read!

Well done Andrew well done.


Books by Andrew M. Seddon:
Saints Alive Volume I - Saints of Empire
Saints Alive Volume II - Celtic Paths
Imperial Legions
Iron Scepter
Walking with the Celtic Saints (with Neil & Gerlinde Kennedy-Jones)
Ring of Time

Contributed to:
Sky Songs
Sky Songs II
Infinite Space Infinite God II
Fungi #20
The Tanist's Wife and other stories


Author Profile and interview with Andrew M Seddon.


Monday, 8 December 2014

Firstborn - Brandon Sanderson

Firstborn
Brandon Sanderson
Tor
ISBN 9781429952989
AISN B003V4B4GQ


There are a few hallmarks of great stories, at lease in my opinion. One of the big one's for me is does the story stay with you. I finished this story about a month ago and yet it keep's coming back to me. I have now reread it. My first impressions were 'What an Incredible story!'. And that feeling has only intensified. This is likely the best science fiction short story I have ever read and to be honest probably the second best short story I have every read.

Two brothers who have never really met, Varion the greatest warrior the empire has ever known, and Dennison his younger brother, born while Varion was away at war. Varion who has never know defeat and Dennison who has never known victory.

This was an amazing story that really has stuck with me. I highly recommend it. Great writing, excellent characters and break neck pace. My only regret is that it is a short story. I would love to read longer versions of this story, or more stories with these characters.
 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Butternut and Spaghetti Squash Soup


Butternut and Spaghetti Squash Soup 

Made this fall soup this week, has a nice sweet and savoury flavour. 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
2 tsp sage
2 tsp ground ginger
1 Large Butternut Squash
1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
6 medium Carrots
1 Large Onion
1L Organic Chicken Broth

Prep:

Halve and clean insides of Squash. Halve and peal onion, wash carrots. Rub down all with mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning, about 1 tsp of each. Roast in oven for 45 minutes turning every 15 minutes. Once out of oven peal squash and cube all vegetables.


Cooking:

This soup can be done in the crock pot or on the stove top. Add cubed vegetables to crock pot or stove top pot. Cover with organic chicken broth, add rest of seasoning. If stove top simmer for 3 hours. If Crock pot cook for 8 hours on high or 12 hours on low. Once vegetables crumble with a fork purée either with an immersion blender or in batches.


I served garnished with a sprinkle of Italian Seasoning.


For this and other Gluten Free recipes I have collected check out this shared Evernote Notebook.

For other Spaghetti Squash Resources click here:

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Clean Eating and More


Clean Eating and More

Based upon a number of recent conversations lately I have decided to put up this post. First I have made a lot of changes over the last 18 months, in my eating, exercise and more. I started doing DDP and went more than a year without missing a day on the mat. The big changes I made were going gluten free and for the most part avoiding dairy. I have also been reading books, watching documentaries and following blogs about health and nutrition. Here are some links and jumping off points for you.  

Dirty Dozen Clean 15 from David Suzuki

The dirty dozen and the clean 15 refer respectively to the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use, according to the Environmental Working Group.
Why do we care?

Pesticides are toxic by design! Different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including hormone disruption, cancer and brain toxicity.

But for most people, switching to organic produce is a gradual process. Because organic foods tend to be more expensive than their counterparts, making informed choices in the produce aisle helps minimize pesticide consumption while keeping the budget in check!

Should you avoid the dirty dozen?

Absolutely not! Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a healthier choice than processed foods. Besides, non-organic processed foods are sure to contain a slough of chemicals too! Instead, let the guide dictate your allocation of organic vs. non-organic purchases.

Why eat organic food?

All of this opens up a bigger discussion about the choice to eat organic food - and the reasons that not everyone does. Often, the decision comes down to bottom line.

Non-organic foods usually cost less money. But there are other costs - hidden costs - that have to be considered too. These include abstract factors like the cost of demanding more from the earth than it can produce and the long-term health costs associated with ingesting chemicals. Also included are tangible variables, like the government subsidization of industrial agriculture and our relative comfort (or discomfort) with foreign investment in commercial Canadian agriculture.

There are also ways to offset the increased out-of-pocket expenses incurred by prioritizing organic foods.

Committing to cooking whole foods from scratch - alongside careful meal planning, home gardening and food preservation - can largely counteract the cost of organic food purchases.
The process is gradual. Change takes time. And all of us have to work within our budgets.
Which is where the dirty dozen and the clean 15 come into play. The list is a resource to help you make the best choices for your health and for the earth, whatever your current budget or state of greenness.

The Dirty Dozen (in order of contamination)
Apples
Celery
Sweet bell peppers
Peaches
Strawberries
Nectarines
Grapes
Spinach
Lettuce
Cucumbers
Blueberries
Potatoes

The Clean 15 (in order of least contamination)
Onions
Sweet Corn
Pineapples
Avocado
Cabbage
Sweet peas
Asparagus
Mangoes
Eggplant
Kiwi
Cantaloupe
Sweet potatoes
Grapefruit
Watermelon
Mushrooms

Next Wheat Belly- Dr. William Davis

I have been collecting Gluten free recipes for 18 Months.
General GF Food Stuff
With links to original sources.
Smoothies
Juices

Some other great links:
Christina Russell - Body Rebooted
Stacey Morris 
Reboot with Joe - Juicing for Weight-loss and Health

Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions.

Peace and Strength!
Yours, learning to be
Steven R. McEvoy

  Book Reviews and More
  Yogi By Accident
  McEvoy's Musings
  LinkedIN
  Twitter/SRMcEvoy 
  Twitter/YogiByAccident 

CompTIA IT PRO, A+ ITT, A+ DT, A+ RST, Network+, Security+
Microsoft MCSE, MCSA, MCP, MCTS, MCITP, MOS
Apple ACTC, ACSP, ACA
DDP Certified Instructor

"Now we can travel with more books stored in our telephones than the ancient Egyptians kept in their vast library at Alexandria."
           Mike Aquilina

"No tea cup is big enough nor book long enough for me to be satisfied." 
           C.S. Lewis

"When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left over I buy food and clothes!"
           Erasmus


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Carrot and Butternut Squash with Sage and Ginger Soup


Carrot and Butternut Squash with Sage and Ginger Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil
5 cups rainbow carrots, peeled and chopped
2 butternut squash (about 4 cups or 2 lbs), chopped
2 cups rainbow peppers stemmed and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon sage rubbed
1/2 inch piece fresh turmeric pealed and grated
8 cups bone broth or beef or vegtable
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
5-7 fresh sage leaves

This soup can be done in the crock pot or on the stove top. For the crock pot I used the juices from a roast with potatoes and carrots as my stock. Sauté carrots until tender, sauté  butternut squash until browned and tender, sauté  rainbow peppers and tomatoes. Add all to crock pot and add seasoning add more stock as needed until vegetables are covered. Cook for 5 hours on high or 9 hours on low. Puree with an immersion blender or blend in batches. put back in crock pot and add juice and zest of 1 lemon mixing well. If you want to lighten the color, add 1/2 cup cream or sour cream. Serve and garnish with a spoon of hemp hearts and more lemon zest.

Note: if you are cooking on the stove top you might need to add half again to the sage, ginger and turmeric.

The recipe based on Carrot and Ginger Soup with Lemon Zest by Amy Myers MD.




For this and other Gluten Free recipes I have collected check out this shared Evernote Notebook.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Blast Off – Tony Abbott and Joanne L. Scribner - Danger Guys Book 2


Blast Off
Danger Guys Book 2
Tony Abbott (Author)
Joanne L. Scribner (Illustrator)
Open Road Media
ISBN 9781480486348

It is great to see these older stories from Tony Abbot back in print. Open Road Media had republished in their entirety Two of Tony Abbot's earliest series, both Danger Guys and Weird Zone. There are 6 books in this series and I have read the first two, they are fun stories they children enjoy. They are geared to a slightly younger audience than some of his other books. They are good reads, that I am enjoying sharing with my son. 

This is the second adventure of Zeek Pilinsky and Noodle -  aka Henry Newton. This story begins with Zeek and Henry realizing that the carnival is in town. As soon as they hear the sounds from the fair, they head that way. But like in the first adventure things do not go as planned. They go for a rocket ride and really end up going for a rocket ride. They "We cartwheeled over the library. Then we corkscrewed around the town hall dome about ten times. Finally we were jerked backward in our seats and we sailed up over Main Street." p.14 The rocket zooms around town and ends up in a secret lair on their school grounds and they end up in the clutches of Mr. Vazny a former science teacher calling himself Morbius. He plans on bombing the town and using the rocket he just stole from the carnival to do so. It's up to the danger guys to save the day again.


This is a fun fast paced story. It is a good chapter book for beginner readers. The book comes in at 51 pages with a number of wonderful illustrations by Joanne L. Scribner. It also has the first three chapters of the next book to hook young readers. Give Zeek and Noodles a shot and I am sure you will enjoy their adventures.

  
Books By Tony Abbott:

Goofballs
1. The Crazy Case of Missing Thunder (2012)
2. The Startling Story of the Stolen Statue (2012)
3. Superhero Silliness (2012)
4. The Mysterious Talent Show Mystery (2013)

5. The Scary Story of the Ha-Ha-Haunted House (2013) 

Underworlds:
1. The Battle Begins (2012)
2. When Monsters Escape (2012)
3. Revenge of the Scorpion King (2013)
4. The Ice Dragon (2013)


Danger Guys
1. Danger Guys (1994)
2. Danger Guys Blast Off (1994)
3. Hollywood Halloween (1994)
4. Danger Guys Hit the Beach (1995)
5. Danger Guys on Ice (1995)
6. Danger Guys and the Golden Lizard (1996)

Time Surfers
1. Space Bingo (1996)
2. Orbit Wipeout! (1995)
3. Mondo Meltdown (1996)
4. Into the Zonk Zone! (1996)
5. Splash Crash (1997)
6. Zero Hour (1997)
7. Shock Wave (1997)
8. Doom Star (1997)

Weird Zone
1. Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars (1996)
2. The Incredible Shrinking Kid (1996)
3. The Beast from Beneath the Cafeteria! (1996)
4. Attack of the Alien Mole Invaders! (1996)
5. The Brain That Wouldn't Obey! (1996)
6. Gigantopus from Planet X! (1997)
7. Cosmic Boy Versus Mezmo Head! (1997)
8. Revenge of the Tiki Men! (1997)

Secrets of Droon
1. The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (1999)
2. Journey to the Volcano Palace (1999)
3. The Mysterious Island (1999)
4. City in the Clouds (1999)
5. The Great Ice Battle (1999)
6. The Sleeping Giant of Goll (2000)
7. Into the Land of the Lost (2000)
8. The Golden Wasp (2000)
9. Tower of the Elf King (2000)
10. Quest for the Queen (2000)
11. The Hawk Bandits of Tarkoom (2000)
12. Under the Serpent Sea (2001)
13. The Mask of Maliban (2001)
14. Voyage of the Jaffa Wind (2002)
15. The Moon Scroll (2002)
16. The Knights of Silversnow (2002)
Special Edition 1. The Magic Escapes (2002)
17. Dream Thief (2003)
18. Search for the Dragon Ship (2003)
19. The Coiled Viper (2003)
20. In The Ice Caves of Krog (2003)
21. Flight of the Genie (2003)
Special Edition 2. Wizard or Witch? (2004)
22. The Isle of Mists (2004)
23. The Fortress of the Treasure Queen (2004)
24. Race To Doobesh (2005)
25. The Riddle Of Zorfendorf Castle (2005)
Special Edition 3. Voyagers of the Silver Sand (2005)
26. The Moon Dragon (2006)
27. The Chariot of Queen Zara (2006)
28. In the Shadow of Goll (2006)
Special Edition 4. Sorcerer (2006)
29. Pirates of the Purple Dawn (2007)
30. Escape from Jabar-Loo (2007)
31. Queen of Shadowthorn (2007)
Special Edition 5. Moon Magic (2008)
32. Treasure of the Orkins (2008)
33. Flight of the Blue Serpent (2008)
34. In the City of Dreams (2009)
Special Edition 6. Crown of Wizards (2009)
35. The Lost Empire Of Koomba (2009)
36. Knights of the Ruby Wand (2010)
Special Edition 7. The Genie King (2010)
Special Edition 8. The Final Quest (2010)

Don't Touch That Remote
1. Sitcom School (1999)
2. The Fake Teacher (1999)
3. Stinky Business (announced, not published)
4. Freak Week (announced, not published)

Cracked Classics
1. Trapped in Transylvania: Dracula (2002)
2. Mississippi River Blues: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2002)
3. What a Trip!: Around the World in Eighty Days (2002)
4. Humbug Holiday: A Christmas Carol (2002)

5. X Marks the Spot: Treasure Island (2003)
6. Crushing on a Capulet: Romeo and Juliet (2003)

Haunting of Derek Stone
1. City of the Dead (2009)
2. Bayou Dogs (2009)
3. The Red House (2009)
4. The Ghost Road (2009)



The Copernicus Legacy
The Forbidden Stone (2013)
The Serpent's Curse (2014

Novels
Kringle (2005)
Firegirl (2006)
The Postcard (2008)
Lunch-Box Dream (2011)

Author profile interview with Tony Abbott.


Monday, 20 October 2014

Blood of My Blood – Barry Lyga - I Hunt Killers Book 3

Blood of My Blood
I Hunt Killers Book 3
Barry Lyga
Hachette Book Group Canada
LB Teens
ISBN 9780316333498

Of late there have been a number of trilogies that have let me down, they started off amazing and went downhill; each successive book just a bit more disappointing. That was not the case with the Jasper Dent or I Hunt Killers trilogy. With each book I had a greater respect for Lyga's powers as a wordsmith. My first response was 'Wow! An amazing conclusion to the series. With every book I read by Barry Lyga my respect for him as a writer goes up.' And reflecting back after thinking about the book for a few weeks I can honestly say this is one of the best series I have ever read. I average over 100 books a year, and to be honest waiting for the final installment in this series was painful.

As fan's will know book two ended with three simultaneous cliff hangers. Our friends Jazz, Connie and Howie are all in life threatening danger, without a lot of chance of things improving. In fact things are going to get worse, much worse. And Jazz realizes the only way he will ever catch his father is to break the law, lots of laws and maybe even do things he never ever wanted to do.

To go back to my first impressions, wow! One of the greatest things about Lyga's stories is the characters, and the growth of the characters in this story is incredible. The pace of the story and plot twists are at times overwhelming. The story is very very well written. This book was so addictive, I stayed up reading and did not put it down until I was done even though I had to work the next morning.

Blood of my Blood is an amazing story in an excellent series.  


Books by Barry Lyga:
I Hunt Killers:
I Hunt Killers (2012)
Game - I Hunt Killers #2 (2013)

Blood of My Blood - I Hunt Killers # 3 (2014)

I Hunt Killers Short Stories:
Lucky Day (2014)
Career Day (2012)
Neutral Mask (2013)
Blood Boy (2014)

Brookdale High:
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (2006)
Boy Toy (2007)
Hero Type (2008)
Goth Girl Rising (2009)

Bang (2017)

Archvillian:
Archvillain #1 (2010)
The Mad Mask - Archvillian #2 (2011)
Yesterday Again - Archvillian #3 (2013)

Other Books By Barry Lyga:
Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A definitive Guide (with Alison A.W. Lyga - 2004)
Wolverine: Worst Day Ever (2009)
MangaMan (with Colleen Dorren 2011)

Unsoul'd (2013)
After The Red Rain (2015)
The Secret Sea (2016)

Short Story Project 2017
The Ghosts at 95
Loving The University
The Ideas of March
Four Minutes
Pulse vs. the Killing Fiend
Her Decade
...

Contributed to:
Geektastic (2009)
Who Done It? (2013)

Author Profile and Interview with Barry Lyga

Author Profile and Interview with Randall Banner






















































Friday, 17 October 2014

Wee Danny - Gerard Brennan

Wee Danny
Gerard Brennan
Blasted Heath Books
ASIN B00GYZLHRU


One of the readers of my review blog suggested I give Gerard Brennan a try. The first one I tried was good but not great it was a collection of short stories called Other Stories and Nothing But Time. Reading it I could see where the recommendation came from, it felt kind of like reading Chuck Palahniuk or Irvine Welsh but not quite. This one was much much closer and I see why Brennan is compared to those two.

This is a novella set in the world of Wee Rockets. The main character is Danny Gibson a young tough serving time in a facility for young offenders. Danny is not tall in stature but he is tough as nails and also smart, even if that brain is often turned to destructive tendencies. He is learning how to act in front of his staff, the teachers and even his educational psychologist. But there are some things he just cannot let go. He will not show weakness. And he is vindictive. But something strange happens; Conan Quinlan a new detainee has found a soft spot in Danny's armour. Conan is on the autism spectrum and the teachers do not thing he is in the right facility. Danny sort of takes him under his wing.

This story really surprised me. It was rough and raw like other stories by Brennan I have read, and yet this one over comes that anger and harshness and shows us something else. The story was really well done and immediately upon finishing it I started reading the novel set before it Wee Rockets.

Books by Gerard Brennan:
Wee Rockets
Wee Danny
The Point
Breaking Point
FireProof
Undercover
Other Stories and Nothing But Time
Welcome to the Octagon

Books Contributed to:
Requiems for the Departed
Streets of Shadows
Twelve Mad Men
The Tabacco-Stained Sky
True Brit Grit




Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Updated 2016-04-13

This post has been redacted because of personal conviction. I would appreciate if you say a prayer for me. 

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. 
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. 
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, 
O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, 
thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, 
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. 
Amen.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Hawk - Steven Brust - Vlad Taltos Book 14

Hawk
Vlad Taltos Book 14
Steven Brust
TOR
ISBN 9780765324443
eISBN 9781429944823


Quick review. Wow! After 14 books and Vlad is still getting better! Stayed up way to late but read it in one sitting, literally could not put it down. Vlad is back and making more waves than ever!

Full review. There were some wonderful elements in this story, specifically Vlad being forced to take a few days to mend and during that time he recalls a few different conversations which separately would not mean much to almost anyone. But as we know Vlad is not anyone. He thinks he has found a way to get right with the organization, to get the monumental price taken off his head. And all he needs to do is borrow a magic lock pick, a device that prevents sleep, an enchanted musical instrument, a magical egg, the help of a few friends and more than a little luck. But as we have watched Vlad grow over the years and the two things he almost always has going for him is good friends and luck.

The majority of this story is set back in Adrilankha with a short visit to Dzur Mountain. As we know because of the Phoenix stones that Vlad wears in an amulet that no eastern magic nor sorcery can be used against him or to detect him. Because of the stones there is a lot of walking. Someone has made the price on Vlad's head personal, and the number of attacks and their brute force is getting increasingly dangerous. While recovering from one of these, Clad has a spark moment and comes up with a plan. Pulling together memories from his grandfather's fencing lessons, drinking sessions with Kiera the their and Daymar. Vlad asks a favor and sets up a base of operations in his old offices with Kragars and the help of many others he just might be able to pull it off again.

This was a wonderfully written novel. With ever novel by Steven Brust I read I appreciate his skill as a writer more. I have been reading his books for over 30 years now and eagerly anticipate each new one and as of yet none have failed to entertain. This one was addictive; I did not sleep in order to stay up reading. It is one of the best of the Vlad books. An amazing book in a great series!


Books by Steven Brust:
Vlad Taltos Publishing Order:

Jhereg (1983)
Yendi (1984)
Teckla (1987)
Taltos (1988)
Phoenix (1990)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Dragon (1998)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Jhegaala (2008)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa (2011)
Hawk (2014)
Vallista (TBD)

Vlad Taltos: Chronological Order:
Taltos (1988)
Dragon, main chapters (1998)
Yendi (1984)
Dragon, interludes (1998)
Tiassa, section 1 (2011)
Jhereg (1983)
Teckla (1987)
Phoenix (1990)
Jhegaala (2008)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Tiassa, section 2 (2011)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa, section 3 (2011)
Hawk (2014)

The Khaavren Romances:
The Phoenix Guards (1991)
Five Hundred Years After (1994)
The Viscount of Adrilankha, published in three volumes:
The Paths of the Dead (2002)
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Sethra Lavode (2004)

Other Books:
Brokedown Palace (1986)
To Reign in Hell (1984)
The Sun, the Moon & the Stars (1987)
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille (1990)
Agyar (1993)
My Own Kind of Freedom (2008)

Co Written:
The Gypsy (1992) with Megan Lindholm
Freedom & Necessity (1997) with Emma Bull

Incrementalist (with Skyler White):
The Incrementalists
The Skill of our Hands

Incrementalist Short Stories
Fireworks in the Rain - Steven Brust


Strongest Conjuration - Skyler White

Short Stories:
An Act of Contrition - Liavek (1985)
An Act of Trust - Liavek: The Players of Luck (1986)
A Dream of Passion - in the convention chapbook for Ad Astra (1986)
An Act of Mercy - Liavek: Wizard's Row (1987, with Megan Lindholm)
An Act of Love - Liavek: Spells of Binding (1988, with Gregory Frost and Megan Lindholm)
Csucskári - Excerpt from The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: First Annual Collection (1988)
A Hot Night at Cheeky's - Liavek: Festival Week (1990)
Looking Forward: Excerpt from Athyra in Amazing Stories, March (1993)
Attention Shoppers - Xanadu (1993)
Abduction from the Harem - in Timewalker Issue 14 (October 1996)
Drift - Space Opera (1996)
Valóság and Élet - in Sandman: Book of Dreams (1996)
Calling Pittsburgh - in Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny (1998)
When the Bow Breaks - The Essential Bordertown (1998)
The Man From Shemhaza - in Thieves' World: Enemies of Fortune (2004), reprinted in Year's Best Fantasy 5 (2005)
Klava with Honey - Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #4 (2005)
Chapter One - in Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #6 (2007)
The Desecrator - on tor.com (2011)
Fireworks in the Rain - on tor.com (2013)

Friday, 10 October 2014

Nylon Angel - Marianne de Pierres - Parrish Plessis Book I

Nylon Angel
Parrish Plessis Book I
Marianne de Pierres
Orbit
ISBN 9780451460370
ASIN B00GW4ROCA


When I finished this book my first thoughts were that it is a dark, gritty first novel with lots of bite! In part it feels like a cross between Mad Max and Ultraviolet. And I could easily picture Milla Jovovichas Parrish. This story has a lot of violence, some assault, and lots of abuse. It is set in the future where there are two worlds, those who live in protected walled cities and are those who live beyond the control of law in the poisoned wastelands outside the cities. Parrish chose to leave the cities and take the chances in the Tert a toxic strip of land outside the city limits, with a poisoned environment and poisoned people.

She starts working as a body guard and makes the mistake of being hired out by Jamon Hondo, now he life is a living hell again. And she would do almost anything to get out of it. Including taking really huge risks. Parrish Plessis is now living between a rock and a hard place and the space to move just keeps getting tighter. Parrish makes a deal with one of Jamon's rivals and things just keep going from bad to worse. She is being chanced by the gangs in the tert with a huge price on her head, but the authorities for the murder of a media sweet heart Razz Retribution. But the one thing Parrish knows better than anything else it is how to survive, and no matter the ods against her she keeps pushing on!

This book had a lot more violence than I normally read. But like a great action movie, it fits in the story. It is well written and was a great read. It is the second book by Marianne de Pierres that I have read but it will defiantly not be the last. If you want a dark gritty read with a strong female lead this ia a book for you - Think a female Mad Max!



Books by Marianne de Pierres:
Peacemaker series:

Peacemaker
Mythmaker

Parrish Plessis series:
Nylon Angel
Code Noir
Crash Deluxe

Sentients of Orion series:
Dark Space
Chaos Space
Mirror Space
Transformation Space

Burn Bright YA series:
Burn Bright
Angel Arias
Shine Light

Other books:
Glitter Rose 
Serious Sas and Messy Megda

Books as Marianne Delacourt:
Sharp Shooter
Sharp Turn
Stage Fright