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url 2017-05-20 01:13
The Baen Free Library — Lots of free ebooks
On Basilisk Station - David Weber
Cobra - Timothy Zahn
Fledgling - Sharon Lee,Steve Miller
There Will Be Dragons - John Ringo
Caliphate - Tom Kratman
Starliner - David Drake
Draw One in the Dark - Sarah A. Hoyt
The Honor of the Queen - David Weber

Not new (been around long time), but in case any SF/F fans overlooked, publisher Baen offers The Baen Free Library -- a digital library of the science fiction and fantasy publishing house Baen Books where e-books can be downloaded free in a number of formats.


Often it's the first book in an ongoing or a backlist series.


(They also have for sale eARCs of brand spanking new books well before available at retailers at http://www.baen.com/baenebooks#eARC  )


Links to the download the ones I featured (they offer many more):


Source: www.baen.com/categories/free-library.html
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url 2017-05-01 22:08
82 -- yes, EIGHTY-TWO -- new releases in book series tomorrow!
The Gathering Edge (Liaden Universe®) - Sharon Lee,Steve Miller
A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses) - Sarah J. Maas
Cold Reign - Faith Hunter
Pawn: A Chronicle of the Sibyl's War - Timothy Zahn
Darkship Revenge - Sarah A. Hoyt
The Dark Prophecy - Rick Riordan
Alien Education (Alien Novels) - Gini Koch
The Fallen - Eric Van Lustbader
Heat Storm (Nikki Heat) - Richard Castle
Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #2) - Ben Clanton

I included a few at top of this post but see the entire list at https://www.fictfact.com/BookReleaseCalendar by clicking on Tuesday, May 2.


Guess gearing up for spring vacations and summer reading?

Source: www.fictfact.com/BookReleaseCalendar
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review 2016-06-14 21:55
Icarus Hunt (Project Reread #6)
The Icarus Hunt - Timothy Zahn

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge's Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: The Icarus Hunt

Series: -----

Author: Timothy Zahn

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 465

Format: Kindle digital edition




Project Reread:


I am attempting to reread 10+ books in 2016 that I have rated highly in the past. I am not attempting to second guess or denigrate my younger self in any way but am wanting to compare how my tastes have changed and possibly matured. I am certainly much more widely read now [both in the good and bad quality sadly] than then.
I will hopefully be going into the reasons for any differences of opinions between then and now. If there is no difference of opinion, then it was a hellfire'd fine book!
Links may link to either Booklikes or Blogspot, depending on when the original review was. 




My 2007 Review does a pretty good job of summing things up. Outlaw space captain, secret cargo, saboteurs, aliens on the hunt, shadowy Criminal Organization, mysterious crew members, The Fate of Humanity in fact.


My Thoughts:


When I read this back in 2000 & 2007, I was pretty impressed. I likened it to an Alistair McLean book. This time around though, I think I got more of a pulp noir vibe. It felt like the space captain, Jordan McKell, was a hard on his luck detective narrating his latest make it or break case.


It was interesting but really, it lacked some of the "goodness" that a first read has. Some of the punch was gone. It is inevitable with some books and it certainly was here. Which is why I knocked off half a star.


I think that this is my last time reading this. It felt like the kind of story where each time it would be less and less interesting. I liked this book and I like Zahn and I have no desire to read this into the ground. Determining this type of thing is why I am doing Project Reread.

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review 2016-04-28 21:23
Pawn's Gambit: And Other Stratagems
Pawn's Gambit: And Other Stratagems - Timothy Zahn
(I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

3.5 stars. Overall a decent collection of short stories, mostly science fiction, with some fantasy mixed in. I didn’t find any excellent, but none was really bad either, which makes for a good book to borrow, for want of actually buying it.

Some notes about the stories:

“The Price of Survival”: An interesting enough conundrum about how far two species are ready to go to survive. But while their representatives mourn about similar facts, the reasons that brought them to that point are different enough that it makes you reconsider the price to pay.

“The Giftie Gie Us”: I liked the idea behind the blind character. Still, it wasn’t my favourite story, probably because of the post-apocalyptic setting with its defined boundaries (Man hunts, Woman stays home… meh).

“The Final Report of the Lifeline Experiment”: Kind of a loaded topic here, however the experiment’s results may not be the ones you’d expect…

“Cascade Point”: One of my favourites. It deals with space travel/space bending/alternate realities gone wrong, as well as with the matter of one person’s happiness vs. the greater good. When the one person to be sacrificed will go back to a less than happy state, yet ignoring that choice will strip someone of their dignity, what should a captain choose?

“Music Hath Charms”: A bit of dark comedy here, that also raises the question of life’s worth in a different way. An alien artefact might actually kill thousands… or not?

“The President’s Doll”: Good idea (reverse voodoo, used to heal instead of harming), less thrilling execution. I’m not sure why. It just came out as flat for me.

“Clean Slate”: One of the fantasy stories, about a wizard who never got a chance to actually use his power to do good, and is ready to pay the price to do so at least once in his life, no matter what that price will be. Interestingly, the story made me think of Orson Scott Card’s writings about plot and world-building, and the author’s note confirmed why I had this feeling.

“Hitmen – See Murderers”: Another good idea that fell flat. What it posits gave me matter to think about, but the short story format didn’t leave room for more when it came to the flow of events, and I think a bit “more” would’ve been needed here to make this piece shine.

“Protocol”: In a colony where people live in fear of the mysterious Stryders, only very specific protocols allow them to survive encounters with those beings. However, what if the protocol were to fail, or if a yet undiscovered protocol was needed?

“Old-Boy Network”: Ethics and telepathy in a solar system where the wealthiest exploit whoever they want, in horrible ways. A bit heavy-handed in its criticism of ugly capitalism, though still another story that will make you think.

“Proof”: I could sense the ending coming. Still, it was a good game of cat and mouse, with reflections about whether we can trust what we see or not.

“The Ring”: A classical approach on the theme of boons and curses, of what price a man is ready to pay to get what he desires… but is it *truly* his heart’s desire?

“Trollbridge”: Urban fantasy story, about a lone troll desperately trying to protect “his” bridge, but up until now he hasn’t really bothered to wonder about other fae-like creatures. A somewhat light-hearted tale of survival in a modern world that will not leave any room to creatures of old… unless those very same creatures find another way.

“Chem Lab 301”: Not the most original plot ever, but a cute twist at the end.

“Pawn’s Gambit”: A study, through an alien-led experiment about gaming, of what would make another race dangerous or not in those aliens’ eyes… And Humans’ resourcefulness may be both an asset and a downfall here. Quite interesting, in part because the aliens’ point of view is somewhat valid, and in part because there’s still hope for humans to put their resources to witty uses.

In general, most of these stories tended to spin one or another aspect of what it means to be human, whether “a means to an end” is an appropriate way of living one’s life, about decisions and consequences, and how sometimes you may not have a choice--or may have to bend your thought processes to find another way. On the downside, some had less than stellar characters, who acted more like plot devices than real people, and weren’t very interesting.
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text 2016-04-20 13:19
Book Reviewer Interviews: John Green

So I got interviewed as a book reviewer as part of an ongoing feature over at BlondeWriteMore.  I think it went pretty well- I'm talking about me, after all- but I can't help but feel like I should've fleshed it out a bit more.  Ah, well. 


(reblogged from BlondeWriteMore)


Book Reviewer Interview


Welcome to my weekly series – Book Reviewer Interviews. 


I believe that book reviewers hold valuable insight for us writers and their answers to my interview questions make intetesting blog posts.


Please welcome my new book reviewer friend John Green and author of the blog Illuminite Caliginosus


John, thanks so much for sitting in my interview chair. Please tell us about yourself.


First one’s always the hardest. Lessee now- born, raised and still living in Brooklyn, NY. Wanted to be either a baseball player or paleontologist when I was little. Ended up joining the Marines instead, traveled the globe and can’t really say a bad word about my tour. To paraphrase Malcolm X: the plan was theirs, any mistakes were mine.

Worked for Virgin USA for over thirteen years; had a blast and met a lot of good people and had some great experiences. It was like getting paid for hanging out with your friends! If there ever was such a thing as a good retail job, that was it.


The last few years I’ve been in the Sports & Entertainment field; blogging and reviewing was something I kinda fell into, and I really enjoy doing it. I’ve met a lot of good and… interesting… people during my online career.


I’m also a member of Amazon’s Vine program and a former Top 1000 Reviewer on the site.


Been an avid & voracious reader all my life; I was that nerdy kid who’d always get “volunteered” to enter trivia contests, spelling bees, etc, and I always had to take something into the bathroom with me to read (once upon a time that wasn’t always seen as a good thing. Neither was being nerdy). One of these days I’ll finally finish my own novel and then get to see how the other half lives.


Anyone who wishes to contact me for any reason can do so via: Email / Booklikes /
WordPress / Twitter / Pinterest


What made you start reviewing books?


During my time at Virgin USA I was the Magazines Buyer for the NY stores, getting my hands on more books and reading material than I’d thought possible (rubs hands gleefully).


**The store was located in the same building where Random House had their offices, and I was on good terms with the building guys so they always let me know when RH would dump out books. Discovered a lot of new authors that way- good, bad and ugly. I’ll always be proud to call myself a Dumpster Diver.**


**Our UPS driver, Joe, offered to grab a few books for me while he was delivering up there, and part of the stack he brought back included the first three books of GRRM’s Song of Ice & Fire- all hardcovers with original artwork.**


After Virgin USA closed I spent a lot of time on Amazon buying even more books. I got in the habit of sifting through the reviews for recommendations, etc, and picked up on a few individuals I felt I could rely upon not to steer me wrong, like EA Solinas, Chibineko and others. I’d always been the one my friends and family would go to for a critique because they knew I was hard but fair, and it finally occurred to me that I should write a few reviews myself- sort of give back a little and have my say. Next thing I know I’m making steady progress through the ranks and I wondered what I could do with this.


How many books do you review a month?


It varies. I’ve slowed down over the past couple years; used to aim for maybe 5-10 a month, right now maybe half that. One of my goals is to clear out some of my TBR pile; I know- we ALL say that, but my work schedule affords me a lot of free time, so I have a good shot at it. I’ve still got stuff going back to the 2010 BEA I haven’t checked out yet.

What is your selection process for reviewing a book?


Nothing set in stone. The easy answer is “whatever catches my attention”, but defining that is the trick. I’m a very eclectic reader; I’ve always been chiefly into Fantasy/Sci-fi but right now I’m really into Steam/Diesel/Atompunk- though I haven’t seen much of the latter two so far. There’s also Lovecraftian Horror, which I think’s been under-appreciated but seems to be enjoying a renaissance now. Guess we can thank the oversaturated PNR/UF genres for that.


Both the blurb and the cover are key, of course- you never get a second chance at that first impression. There’s been quite a few eye candy covers that made me stop to check them out, only to get let down by the synopsis. So many books nowadays, especially in the YA genre, immediately drop the ball from sounding like carbon copies of each other that it’s hard to find anything worth investing time in. I swear you can choose ten, TEN, YA novels at random and the blurbs will all sound the same! How many Chosen Ones with Destined/Fated/Soulmates stories does the human race need? When’s the next Alice in Wonderland/Brothers Grimm ripoff due out? Will this end up being Gregory Maguire’s enduring legacy?


For me, it’s gotta be something at least a little different; whatever the genre it has to be something that makes it appear like the author actually had something to say- a story they wanted to tell and not just aping the latest trend to try and make a quick buck. And that gets harder to find every day.


A good one was Pagan by Andrew Chapman. It’s a PNR/UF/Horror series about vampires having existed for centuries but only certain agencies like the Catholic Church knew of them. All the books, movies, etc, served as misdirection and softening up for when they finally emerged and basically sucker-punched the entire human race. Some countries tried to make nice and assimilate them True Blood-style while others said F-that! Even the werewolves sided with humanity against the vamps. Made for a refreshing change of pace from sparkle-pires and woobie-wolves.


Read the rest of the interview here.

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