My Review of “Uroboros Saga Book 7” by Arthur Walker

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Amazon link: Uroboros Saga Book 7
Author: Arthur H. Walker (@ArthurHWalker)
Goodreads Author Page

Thumbnail sketch: Set entirely on Mars — site of some of the most gripping and gritty action in earlier series entries — the latest Uroboros Saga book introduces some compelling new characters who seamlessly flow into the continuing futuristic sci-fi storyline.

4 Stars

 

My Take On Uroboros Saga Book 7

The ending of the sixth book in this fun, futuristic sci-fi series (see my review) answered some lingering questions and wrapped up enough loose ends that it almost seemed like a finale. Perhaps that’s why reading Uroboros Saga Book 7 felt somewhat different to me than earlier entries. Part of that may also be the focus placed on some new characters and part may be having the action take place entirely in one location — I may be wrong, but I believe a first for this series. Continue reading

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My Review of “The Fleet At Flood Tide” by James D. Hornfischer

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Amazon link: The Fleet At Flood Tide: America At Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945
Author: James D. Hornfischer (@navy1944)
Author’s website

Thumbnail sketch: Clear, concise overview of the final year of WWII in the Pacific Theater, beginning with the campaign for the Marianas Islands that provided the pivotal bases used in both the firebombing and atomic attacks on Japan. Focus is primarily on strategy but the author skillfully weaves in personal narratives from both sides that illuminate larger themes.

5 Stars


My Take On The Fleet At flood tide

Outside of one college class on Ancient China — one of the minimum two classes in Asian history required to earn a BA in History at the school (had I stayed around long enough, that is) — my interest in the past has always been focused on Europe. I’m conversant enough with the big picture of history in Asia, especially from World War II on, but I’ll never be accused of having deep knowledge of the area. Continue reading

My Review of “A Man of Shadows” by Jeff Noon

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Amazon linkA Man of Shadows
Author: Jeff Noon (@jeffnoon); website

Thumbnail sketch: An urban landscape of light, dark and the places in between is the setting for an imaginative and fantastical Urban Noir tale. Searching for a runaway girl in a city stalked by a seemingly invisible serial killer, private detective John Nyquist must come to grips with time itself or risk losing himself — and her. 4 Stars


My Take On A Man of Shadows

One of the oldest metaphors around is light and darkness standing in for good and evil. God separated “light from darkness” in Genesis, Shakespeare’s love-besotted Romeo compared Juliet to the sun, and a Scottish prayer asks for protection from “things that go bump in the night.” In  A Man of Shadows, author Jeff Noon’s electric prose and stylized imagery blur this simple idea into a fever dream of a tale about light, darkness, family, loss and time.

This review is based on an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) received through NetGalley. The book is scheduled for release on August 1, 2017. Continue reading

My Review of “Allies and Enemies: Fallen” by Amy J. Murphy

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Amazon link: Allies and Enemies: Fallen
Author: Amy J. Murphy (@selatyron); website

Thumbnail sketch: Opening book of a sci-fi space opera trilogy, with well-drawn characters and action scenes; a plot that steers clear of cliches; and set in an interesting ‘universe’ with potential for any number of plot directions. If you liked the TV show Farscape, you’ll likely like this (as I did). 4 Stars


My Take On Allies and Enemies: Fallen

One of my all-time favorite TV shows — I have the entire series on DVD & have re-watched from beginning to end several times — is Farscape. It was fun and rather inventive, I thought, in how it told an over-arching story. Things like cloning Crichton so when the group split up he could be with both parties (and thus creating a truly unique love triangle with Officer Aeryn Sun).

This book, Allies and Enemies: Fallen by Amy J. Murphy, has a distinctly Farscape feel to it. Some of the elements are very similar to the TV show, but I’m not suggesting this is intentional on the author’s part. Much is also very different. What isn’t different, though, was my enjoyment — especially when the author surprised me by taking the story in unexpected directions.

Continue reading

My Review of “Answering The Call” By Stephen L. Wilson

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Amazon link: Answering the Call: With the 91st Infantry Division in the Italian Campaign During World War II
Author: Stephen L. Wilson

Thumbnail sketch: Well-written, straightforward memoir of one married couple’s experiences during World War II. Provides a good overview of later stages of Italian Campaign, a front often overlooked by Americans, but those looking for a grunt’s-eye view of combat won’t find it. 4 Stars

Note: This review is based on a copy of the book provided by the author for that purpose. It is my policy to only review books I enjoy; taste is subjective and what I dislike others may rave over.

 

My take on answering the call

The scope of an event the size of World War II is daunting. Millions upon millions of people were involved in some fashion, in nearly every corner of the globe. For most folks, what they’re taught about such a war and what they learn (not necessarily the same information) is reduced to broad strokes — battles, campaigns, etc. At times those directly involved in the fighting are featured, with their combat experiences usually taking center stage.

Such is not the case with Stephen Wilson’s Answering the Call, the WWII memoir of U.S. Army officer Allen Wilson and to a lesser extent his wife Barbara. Allen, who joined Army ROTC as a freshman at the University of South Dakota, served with distinction in Italy from mid-1944 to the end of the war, and then as part of the Allied occupation force in Italy and Austria.

Continue reading

Review of “Europe in Winter” by Dave Hutchinson

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Amazon link: Europe in Winter (The Fractured Europe Sequence Book 3)
Author: Dave Hutchinson (@HutchinsonDave); website

Related:
My review of Europe in Autumn
My review of Europe at Midnight

Thumbnail review: Outstanding entry in series of imaginative genre-blend of SciFi and spy thrillers. Interesting and complex characters, engaging and fluid prose, and an inventive (and suddenly much-too-real) premise combine for a fast, fun read. 5 Stars

 

My take on Europe In Winter

I cracked open Europe in Winter believing it was the final entry in a trilogy (more on that below). The first book, Europe in Autumn, was a bit uneven at the start but throughout I enjoyed the author’s prose and imaginative dystopian vision of a Europe where borders are in flux and parallel dimensions possible. We met Rudi, a chef turned courier-slash-international spy, and accompanied him on several “Situations” that appeared to be isolated events. Continue reading

Review of “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis

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Amazon link: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Author: Michael Lewis; website

Thumbnail sketch: As informative as it is infuriating. Follows the few folks who recognized the coming disaster of the Housing Bubble popping. Highly readable; doesn’t get bogged down in technical details of finance. 4 Stars

 

My take on THE BIG SHORT

A lot of folks have already reviewed The Big Short, and generally I don’t do big write-ups on traditionally published works. Mr. Lewis is a wonderful writer, making a subject that could be deathly dull very readable. Even though we know what’s going to happen, he’s crafted a gripping narrative that doesn’t get bogged down in technical details. I still can’t explain exactly how a derivative works — I know they were invented by already-rich folks looking to make more money — but that isn’t important to the story. Continue reading