Some random book thoughts for December 2013

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…

Some random book thoughts for November 2013

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…

This post is about nothing (and everything)

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!

The best reason to not rely solely on an E-book reader

Last night my wife and I made our normal Saturday evening trek off to a local mall, which we do to get out of the house and grab some fresh air while getting a little exercise. Inevitably one of our stops is Barnes & Noble where we go to, as I like to put it, “visit the books”. Because I read a lot it’s not too often that there isn’t a new release from an author I follow, although I do admit to occasionally just taking note of the title–especially if it’s a best seller–and waiting until I get to one of the discount chains to grab it. But many of the authors I read don’t write in genres that make best seller lists, so it is rare for me to go more than a couple visits without some sort of purchase.

Now I have nothing against the technology of E-readers per se, and can see how they might be useful for people that travel a lot and don’t want to lug around a bagful of books, but for up and coming authors or those “non best seller” folks E-readers won’t exactly be great news in the long run. And in a world where paperbacks don’t exist an encounter such as happened last night wouldn’t have taken place, and a couple of authors might not have made two new fans.

As is my custom I wandered over to the science fiction rack where I checked out the new titles. There were a couple of new ones, Kevin J. Anderson’s The Map of All Things and Jadi Jones & Danielle Bennett’s Dragon Soul (their website is so outdated I’m not bothering to link to it). While browsing the rest of their stock I saw a young gentleman (20ish) taking a look at Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International. Having read that I mentioned to him how much I liked it and that it was well worth picking up (along with the second book, Monster Hunter Vendetta). He did grab them both, and we talked about some of the other authors we liked (he also had Anderson’s new book in his hand). Listening to our discussion was another gentleman in the aisle, who tossed in some of his opinions of his own. He also ended up grabbing both of the Monster Hunter books.

While we talked the second gentleman continued browsing and picked up a copy of Rowena Cory Daniells’ The King’s Bastard, which I’ve also read and loved. After talking about the series he ended up grabbing all three books of the King Rolen’s Kin trilogy, and the first gentleman grabbed the remaining copy of The King’s Bastard. I made note of a few of the series they talked about and we all went off on our own ways.

So two authors I enjoy reading have added two potential new fans, who will (hopefully) continue to buy their books. That likely wouldn’t have happened in an “e-book reader” dominated world.