So off we go on December’s book thoughts…
After a couple of starts and stops (some of which I described last month) I finally had time to restart King Breaker by Rowena Cory Daniels. It’s the conclusion of the “King Rolen’s Kin” series and picks up right where the third book, The Usurper, ends. It was three years between the release dates of the books and it was worth the wait. The ending is almost anticlimactic, with the final battle between the two main protagonists taking less than a single page. Looking back on the entire story the “winner” really doesn’t win anything he wants, which is what the four book series is ultimately about. Daniels ties up most of the lose ends of the story very well, although it wouldn’t take much for a new series taking place afterward to emerge. One can only hope…
Next up was Swords of Exodus by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari. It’s the continuation of the story they started in Dead Six, and while it contained much of the same flavor as the first book it was nowhere near as good. It was a no better than the average action-adventure story, and when you consider how good Correia’s other series are it really missed its mark. The plot was little more than an excuse to write about multiple killings by the heroes and brought absolutely nothing new to the table. To be blunt, I expected better from Correia.
Having finished Swords of Exodus I was looking for something quick to read while I waited for Tom Clancy’s final book, Command Authority, to come out (more on that below), so I grabbed Devil’s Bargain by Tony Daniel off the to-read shelf. It’s one of those Star Trek Original Series pulp-style novels so I knew it would be nothing but light reading. I laughed throughout the book, which is not a good thing considering it wasn’t written to be a comedic novel. It pretty much hit on every Star Trek cliché you could come up with: it mentioned Khan, it had Spock mind-melding with the Horta multiple times, and of course Captain Kirk having sex with a beautiful if only marginally alien woman. The only thing missing was Scotty yelling that The Enterprise “cannea take much more of this”, although I’m betting the original draft of the story contained that as there are two places where that would have fit perfectly. It could have been worse, I guess.
The book I just stated today was Sir Apropos of Nothing by Peter David, because after looking at my schedule for the upcoming week or so I don’t know when I’ll make it to grab the new Clancy tome. That’s the only book I know of that I’ll be buying this month, although one never knows what I might find. In November I finally grabbed The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu, but still have not picked up Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach (aka Rachel Aaron). That one might get pushed off into the new year.
Other books I picked up last month were Himmler’s War and Rising Son by Robert Conroy, and A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin. I also bought a couple omnibus editions and The Ninth Circle by R.M. Meluch, which are the books of his “Tour of the Merrimack” series. The to-read shelf is started to grow wildly again. I guess I could pick worse things than books to be addicted to.
Until next time…
I know what you’re thinking: what’s this hockey stuff doing on his non-hockey blog?. Well, I’m going to tell you. Both the lists of active former Worcester Sharks and San Jose Sharks end up on Sharkspage, but while I posted the IceCats list there a couple of seasons it didn’t seem like it belonged. So, since this space is all mine I decided it belonged here.
Below is a list of every former player for the Worcester IceCats still playing pro hockey, and where they are playing this season. The teams that are listed are the highest level a player had played this season. Back-up goaltenders and other players that were signed but did not appear in games are not listed. When you consider the last IceCats game was played in the 2005-2006 season, there are still a lot of guys playing. This list is accurate as of November 1st. Players in the NHL are in bold.
Jason Bacashihua – Straubing Tigers (DEL)
Christian Backman – Frolunda HC (SweHL)
Lubos Bartecko – Chomutov Pirati (Czech)
Radim Bicanek – Karlovy Vary HC (Czech)
Brendan Brooks – Dornbirn EC (Austria)
Ivan Ciernik – Augsburg Panthers (DEL)
Daniel Corso – Ilves Tampere (SM-liiga)
Greg Day – Graz EC (Austria)
Jon DiSalvatore – Munich EHC (DEL)
Brian Fahey – Salzburg EC (Austria)
Trevor Gillies – HIFK Helsinki (SM-liiga)
Mike Glumac – Zagreb Medvescak KHL (KHL)
Michal Handzus – Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
Jochen Hecht – Mannheim Eagles (DEL)
Jeff Hoggan – Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
Barret Jackman – St. Louis Blues (NHL)
Aaron MacKenzie – Denver Cutthroats (CHL)
Jay McClement – Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Mike Mottau – San Antonio Rampage (AHL)
Jame Pollock – Nuermberg Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers (DEL)
Libor Prochazka – Kladno (Czech)
Ryan Ramsay – Schwenningen Wild Wings (DEL)
Arvid Rekis – Riga Dynamo (KHL)
Bryce Salvador – New Jersey Devils (NHL)
Curtis Sanford – Yaroslavl Lokomotiv (KHL)
Peter Sejna – Rapperswil-Jona (Swiss-A)
Igor Valeev – Chelyabinsk Traktor (KHL)
Sergei Varlamov – Donbass HC (KHL)
Patrick Wellar – Hershey Bears (AHL)
Alex Westlund – Wheeling Nailers (ECHL)
Dennis Wideman – Calgary Flames (NHL)
Jeremy Yablonski – Idaho Steelheads (ECHL)
Konstantin Zakharov – Minsk Dynamo (KHL)
This is going to be a relatively short update as I only read a single book in October because I was so busy finishing up some other projects I didn’t have much time to read and, perhaps more embarrassingly, I misplaced one of the books I was reading.
In last month’s update I posted that as soon as I mashed the “publish” button I would be starting King Breaker by Rowena Cory Daniels, and that’s exactly what I did. And the few pages I read were awesome (as I expected, Daniels is a great writer) but I was drawn away from the book by some other things that came up and I put the book on my desk to continue a little later. Only it was four days before I would be able to pick it up again, and it was then I noticed it wasn’t on my desk anymore.
I searched high and low for King Breaker, but it was nowhere to be found in my house. One of the problems I was having searching for it was I was certain where I left it and didn’t take anything out of the house, like a bag or briefcase, that I could have absentmindedly tossed it into. Add to that I had some deadlines for projects going and it turned into a complete mess.
After a couple weeks of searching I hadn’t given up, but when I saw The Black Box had been released in mass market paperback I picked it up and started that book knowing like the other Michael Connelly novels it would be a quick read so even if I found King Breaker I wouldn’t have two books going at the same time like I had in September. The Black Box is a lot like the other Bosh novels, and I say that not as a negative but as a good thing. After so many novels using the same setting keeping it fresh can’t be easy, but despite using some of the same hooks from earlier books Connelly comes up with a very good story. With the passing of so many of my favorite authors there’s a good chance I’ll be “upgrading” Connelly to one of the few authors I buy hardcovers for. But alas, after reading The Black Box I still hadn’t located King Breaker.
Finally getting frustrated I gave locating it my full attention and spent almost four hours doing nothing but looking for it, and I eventually found it in the box of paperbacks I had already read. That box was in my basement, which means that for some reason without realizing I was doing it I carried that book down the stairs to my game room and dropped it into that box. It had to be me because my wife generally does not go down there and never (and I mean never) brings books down there. So once again, as soon as I finish up all the ongoing projects I have to do King Breaker will be up again.
I didn’t buy much last month because I didn’t really have time to go looking for anything. I did finally pick up Hunter of Sherwood: Knight of Shadows by Tony Venables and a couple by Terry A. Adams, The D’Neeran Factor (which is an omnibus edition containing Sentience and The Master of Chaos) and Battlegroud (the sequel to those two books). I have not picked up The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu yet, but I’m hoping to grab that this week sometime.
As for stuff scheduled for release in November the only one that is on my list is Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach (aka Rachel Aaron). Of course there’s always a chance I’ll stumble into other stuff. Heck, it’s probably likely.
Until next time…
I was culling through some of my unfinished posts deciding what was worth finishing and what wasn’t and should be deleted. I pretty much deleted them all. Many of them were things I wanted to say about certain subjects that I just never got around to finishing or are no longer news items and posting about them now made little sense.
The one post that I read, edited a little, and then almost posted was about how much it stinks to know you’re reading the last book in a long series. It’s timely for me because I’m doing that right now (King Breaker by Rowena Cory Daniells, the fourth book in her “King Rolen’s Kin” series), but everyone knows the letdown you get when you arrive at the end knowing there won’t be any more. Not really enough there for a blog post other then naming a whole ton of series ending books. Plus, like I said, we’ve all been there so there’s not much more to say.
Another was a follow-up on the shows I was DVR’ing this fall and which new shows I liked, but to be honest the book is still out on most of them. I’ve already given up on Hostages. It’s terrible. The Blacklist is already getting repetitive and we’re only a handful of shows into the season, but NBC has ordered a whole season worth so I’ll probably keep watching. But all in all not a whole lot to post about there either.
I had a pretty good post asking why there are so many people writing reviews for classic novels. I’m sure their thoughts on books like Great Expectations and Moby Dick were wonderful but I questioned why. I decided against posting it because while it was an amusing piece who am I to tell people what they should and shouldn’t blog about. I did save a few of the quips though and will use them for something a little more appropriate.
Both my Red Sox and Patriots had great comebacks last night, but if that was something you cared about you’d already seen the highlights and read enough fan reaction, so even if I were really wanting to blog about it I don’t think I could bring anything new to the events, so I probably won’t bother.
Worthy of a mention is Rachel Aaron, author of the “Eli Monpress” series, has another series starting on November 5th with a book called Fortune’s Pawn. Because the book is so different from the Monpress books she’s writing under the name Rachel Bach. You can preorder through links to the major online retailers on on her official site. I loved the first three books in the “Eli Monpress” series and have the last two on my to read shelf, and as soon as I know I have enough time to finish them both I’ll be starting them.
Maybe next time I’ll find something more specific to blog about…and then will actually finish and post it!
A few friends mentioned to me over the last couple of days that they were surprised that I’ve made no mention on the passing of Tom Clancy, who is one of my all-time favorite writers. Truth be told, I did start a couple postings about his death but each time I discarded it because the words really weren’t coming in a way that I’d liked. After a couple paragraphs it would sound like I though he was some god-like persona who was the greatest writer ever or that I was so distraught that I could never go on. Both, as you may have guessed, are far from the truth.
Clancy was a very good writer who wrote some of the best action/thrillers of the last thirty years or so. But he was no Hemmingway, Twain, nor Dickens. He was simply a good author of good books who will be missed by his readers.
By all accounts Clancy was more than a little full of himself, and that was OK. That sort of arrogance drove him to write better stories and to take on other venues that authors traditionally didn’t venture in to. Those other opportunities were one of the reasons Clancy took a seven year break from publishing novels. Between 2003′s The Teeth of the Tiger and Dead or Alive (with Grant Blackwood) in 2010 fans learned to live without Clancy mashing out a novel every couple years or so. With Command Authority coming out in December readers will have to face again the likelihood of no more Clancy stories.
Looks like this is going to turn out to be a very long post, so let’s get right to it…
As I mentioned in last month’s posting 13 Million Dollar Pop by David Levien was the next up from the “to-read” shelf. Just like two of his earlier detective books books, City of the Sun and Where The Dead Lay, 13 Million Dollar Pop is a pulp-style story featuring detective Frank Behr. This novel is a little different in that Behr is no longer working on his own but is instead working for a top level detective/investigation agency. With plot points reminiscent of John Grisham’s The Firm Levien weaves and interesting story centering around a failed attempt on the life of someone Behr was assigned to protect. While the book probably won’t win too many awards it was an enjoyable read.
Next came The Keepers of the Library by Glenn Cooper, which is the third book in an (at least as far as I can figure out) unnamed trilogy centering on an ancient hidden library. It is a very good series that is unlike anything I’ve read before. The first two books, Secret of the Seventh Son (AKA Library of the Dead) and Book of Souls are pretty much “must reads” to understand what is going on in The Keepers of the Library because they whole theme of the trilogy is set up in the first half of the first book. Cooper tells a great tale here, and I’m hoping his other novels get released in the US soon.
Third up was Dan Brown’s Inferno, a book I wasn’t planning on reading for some time as I don’t buy Brown’s books in hardcover. I was lucky enough to arrange a “trade” of sorts with a friend who had purchased it. He took several of the paperbacks I’d already read and lent me his copy of Inferno. A “win” for both of us.
Like all of Brown’s books Inferno is about as improbable a story as you can get, but he still hooks readers in with his great high-paced storytelling style. Despite a glaring math error (saying what it is will spoil the book) Inferno still delivers on multiple fronts. His plot twist that sets up the finale might not hold up well on a second reading when one can read the story knowing the outcome, but it doesn’t detract from the book so much that it fails. Fans of Brown will not be disappointed with Inferno.
One of my much anticipated September purchases, W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton, interrupted the book I had started and the 23rd book in the “Alphabet series” featuring Kinsey Millhone was the best one yet. Grafton has really hit her stride the last few novels and despite writing for the same main characters for so long is still able to keep it fresh and manages to add so much more information about each of them without contradicting herself and her previous books. What’s really amazing is there has been no real duplication of major plot points in the 23 books except for the ones that were intentional. That in itself is an incredible feat. I gave it five stars on Goodreads.
The book I was briefly reading after Inferno that was interrupted by W is for Wasted was A Blight of Mages by Karen Miller. It’s the prequel to the four released books in Miller’s “Kingmaker, Kingbreaker” universe, and despite knowing where the book had to end up it was a great story told by Miller. Looking at many of the reviews afterward I think people really missed the key component of the story: that someone treated as a god in the later books actually lead a significantly “less than a god-like” life while they were alive. The only negative about the novel was brought up on a blog post I forgot to bookmark so I can’t reference it (sorry to whomever it was) that said like the other four books in the series A Blight of Mages could have (and maybe should have) been broken into two books. There was a lot more story to tell that Miller glossed over, and a second book would have been great for those things.
The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu was a book I picked off the shelf when it was released just because the cover caught my eye, and the details on the back sounded interesting and amusing so I bought it. The Lives of Tao is a very good story, but I can tell you for certain the blurb on the front by Myke Cole “…laugh-out-loud funny…” is absolutely untrue. There is nothing in the book that is laugh-out-loud funny, and I’m hoping that people looking for something like that and not getting it don’t overlook how good The Lives of Tao really is. It’s nothing new by any stretch of the imagination and has a well used plot device, but it’s a very good start to what could be a decent series.
After finishing The Lives of Tao I was in a little bit of a quandary. I didn’t want to start a long book because a couple days later a book I really wanted to read, King Breaker by Rowena Cory Daniels, was being released and I didn’t feel like doing what I did with A Blight of Mages and putting down one book for another so I was reluctant to start anything. As luck would have it while looking for something in some boxes still left unpacked from our move a year ago I stumbled into Casca: The Mongel that somehow ended up in a box with some other odds and ends. The book, like many of the others in the series before it, was credited to Barry Sadler (yes, that Barry Sadler) but was ghost written by others. It’s a very short book and I figured it was perfect for the time I had.
While I remember the other “Casca” books as being pretty good this one was downright terrible. Perhaps they were all this bad and in my youth I just thought they were good, but for whatever reason Casca: The Mongel is one of the worst books I’ve read in a long while. I gave it two stars, mostly because I did recall liking the earlier books. It should have been one star, but I can’t see anyone purposely going out to get the book over that one extra star so I’ll just leave it as it is and move on.
To make matters even worse, when I went out a week ago last Tuesday to get King Breaker my local Barnes & Nobel didn’t have it on the shelf yet and no one there could answer to me if they even had copies in the store (more on that later). So after ordering King Breaker I again was faced with what to grab next. I had recently picked up a few remaindered “Star Trek” paperback to have in the car in case I needed an “emergency book”, so I grabbed one of those. Weight of the Worlds by Greg Cox is an incredibly average book. It’s a stereotypical Star Trek original series story that brings nothing new to the table. After finishing it I could see why it was remaindered. Unless you’re a die-hard Star Trek fan don’t bother with this one. Of course if you are you likely already have it. I just hope you didn’t pay full price.
For books I picked up last month there was the previously mentioned W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton. Because I was unable to get neither King Breaker by Rowena Cory Daniels nor Swords of Exodus by Larry Correia & Mike Kupari on the day they were released I ordered both from Amazon. The real winner there is N.K. Jemisin, as for me to get to the $25 level for free shipping I went off my “get from Amazon when you need to” list and picked up A Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun. As soon as I mash the “publish” button I’ll be starting King Breaker.
The list of stuff I’m looking forward to this month is pretty short, so far just being Chu’s sequel to The Lives of Tao called The Deaths of Tao. Last month Hunter of Sherwood: Knight of Shadows by Tony Venables was on my “look at” list, and as I didn’t get a chance to I’ll likely look for it on Friday.
Until next time…
We’re a week into the new fall TV season and already my DVR is getting a workout. I don’t watch many shows, but every one that I do I make sure to DVR it so I won’t have to scramble if I miss an episode.
Monday night I’m recording two shows, both on at 10pm Eastern. The Blacklist, staring James Spader as one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives who surrenders to help catch other criminals, is on NBC while Hostages runs at the same time on CBS. Hostages is a mini-series that centers on the family of a doctor scheduled to operate on the president. With Hostages running just 13 episodes I’ll likely watch that until the end, but The Blacklist is going to need to keep me interested to keep me watching.
Tuesdays it’s two of my favories, NCIS and NCIS:LA. I’ve been watching them since they’ve been on and haven’t missed an episode yet. While NCIS runs on CBS at 8pm Eastern ABC has Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that’s “must see” for me. The first episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t disappoint, and I have high hopes for the series. Its biggest problem is it’s against of the juggernauts of prime time, so we might see ABC move this one to another time slot looking for an audience.
Thursday it’s Elementary because I’m an unapologetic fan of Lucy Liu. The series is pretty good, so that’s a plus. I find it funny that in the Elementary “universe” there is no fictional Sherlock Holmes nor apparently a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle unless he existed and just didn’t write any Holmes stores.
On Sunday it’s The Mentalist, a show that’s pretty bad and yet I’m completely hooked. It’s the same story over and over again and my wife and I refuse to miss an episode.
Gone from last season is Arrow, the CW show about my favorite superhero Green Arrow. Well, it was at least about a character named Green Arrow. The rest was crap. When there were several episodes on the DCV in July it sort of made itself clear I wasn’t watching, so I deleted them and it.