PG's Books

Computer engineer/software developer, movie (especially Sci-Fi) fantast, audio/video equipment and gadget geek, book reader and photo amateur.

Never Forsaken

Never Forsaken - Michael Anderle The story continues and Bethany Anne & Co are as fouled mouthed and ass kicking as ever. I have to say that this book series has become one of my favorite urban fantasy series. It is fairly straightforward in terms of story, has great characters, has lots of no-bullshit action, there is no wimping, moaning and such like boring introspection from the main characters and has a somewhat difference mix of supernatural lore and science fiction than many books in the gengre.

Bethany Anne’s adventures continue from where the previous book ended. Her to-do list for this book only has a few items on it. Like getting the new werewolves integrated into her team, finding Michael, teaching a few ancient vampires the error of their ways, turning her favorite mutt into a suitable “supernatural” companion for the Queen Bitch, oh, and of course continue to prepare for saving the world. So just another day on the job for Bethany Anne.

As usual the characters are great. Especially Bethany Anne. The interactions are … inspired. The action is as kick ass as it should be for a Queen Bitch. We get to watch a few of the “security arrangements” that has been installed on her ships in action when a few misled souls thinks it would be a good idea to appropriate her naval transportation. Spoiler, it is a really really bad idea.

Pete has gone from being a spoiled and arrogant arse to becoming a major asset. That includes some “upgrades” to his abilities to inflict pain onto those unworthy of Bethany Anne’s respect.

The dog introduced in the previous book has become a permanent, and suitably menacing, companion to Bethany Anne.

The main story arch was moved forward in a fairly calm pace, unlike the general action which is swift and … violent, which suits me perfectly. This is a cake I want to keep eating for a long time. I have to restrain myself to read something else in between my fixes of Bethany Anne and not to binge read all the books already published so far.

Needless to say my rating for this book is a full set of stars.

Desperate Fire

Desperate Fire - Christopher G. Nuttall This is the fourth and final book in the Angel in The Whirlwind series. Every good thing has to come to an end. Well it is the final book in the current story arc at least and given how much Kat has advanced in ranks the last two books I think it would be difficult for the author to write any more books where it is all about Kat.

As can be deduced from the book blurb the religious fanatics (hmm, these guys remind me about someone…) are about to get their arses kicked so they of course do what religious fanatics always does. Throws more things that go boom around themselves and kill more people and it really matters very little whether the people killed are the enemy or their own. Luckily Kat & Co is not a “lead from behind” person so the response is not exactly what the religious dickwads was expecting.

Actually I was a bit worried from the blurb that there would be a lot of political bullshit about whether to accept peace etc. etc. blabla and so on but luckily this was not the case.

Kat is back, of course, and so are most of her friends. However, due to the responsibilities heaped onto her, she is not really the main character she was in most of the previous book. I kind of miss the old Kat that was the Captain of a single ship and had a hands on role in most operations.

The books is as excellently written as the previous ones. Great characters, good action and just the right amount of “glue” tying the various bits and pieces together. From a technical point of view this book is just as good as the other ones in the series.

So I guess you are wondering why I gave this book one star less? Well, this is really due to reasons of personal taste. I missed a bit that Kat was no longer the centerpiece in the same way as before. There was also quite some time spent on the humanitarian crisis after the religious fuckfaces (trust me, they deserve that epitet) screwed everything upp. Yes, this was quite realistic, well written and I am sure that a lot of people liked those parts. Me personally…not so much. Finally I felt that I, or rather Kat I guess, was being robbed from the joy of giving the religious fanatics the ass whopping they deserved by some tragic events in the final chapters of the book.

So the final verdict is that this is a book that is at least as good as the rest of the books in the series but one that I, due to personal taste, was a little less thrilled about than the other books in the series. I did still find it a very good book though.

Bite This

Bite This - Michael Anderle I really like this book series. It is fast, fun and action filled reading.

The story of the ass kicking vampire and her team of bad assess continues. As usual it is a fast paced book with lots of action. Having said that the main story arc advances but not as fast as one would believe. For me this is a good thing. Even though there are lots of things happening it does not feel rushed.

The science fiction part of the story is still not taking up a huge amount although it is slowly creeping into the books. This is another thing that I like together with the fact that, even though other people are now getting the “treatment”, Bethany Anne still is the dominating big, bad and intimidating bad ass vampire chick.

Bethany Anne is, well, Bethany Anne. Bad language? Only if you are (over)easily offended. Fun language? Hell yes!

I think this book is the one of the books I have read so far where most of the threads were left open at the end. There is really not much of a conclusion to anything. Actually it does even end in a bit of a cliffhanger. Normally that would annoy me and I guess it actually does a bit but I cannot say that it diminished my enjoyment of this book. Maybe that is because the next one is already published so I know I can pick it up when I want.

Well, the bottom line is that I truly enjoyed this book (as I have with the previous books in the series). If you are already a fan of the series this one will not disappoint.

Dark Mind

Dark Mind - Ian Douglas I find it difficult to rate and review this book. Overall I found it quite enjoyable to read, enough for a four star rating, but I also got the feeling that the book series is not progressing as I would have liked and has perhaps even outstayed it’s welcome a wee bit.

The first books were rather straightforward space adventure pitting humans against a technologically superior foe. Great action, technically and scientifically sound, great characters and generally well written.

In the latest book you sometimes get the feeling that the author is struggling to invent more and more mysterious and complicated enemies and plots. The enemies are everything from intelligent bacteria to huge planet sized brains. The action is generally fairly one sided where the various alien entities beat the crap out of the humans and any victories for the home team is not won by superior tactics and military prowess but by various complicated schemes using things the humans do not really fully understand.

In addition to this little gripe of mine the author spends a lot of time wandering out into technological and, sometimes, philosophical musings. It is difficult for me to complain about this since I generally like science fiction that has a solid foundation in science but you can have too much of everything. In this book I felt like there was just too much info-dumping going on. It was like a musical where the plot is interrupted by some song and dance every so often except in the book it was interrupted by these long blobs of text which did not really move the plot forward.

However, despite this I quite enjoyed the book. It could have been better as far as I am concerned but it is still a good and well written book.

Witness Enchantment

Witness Enchantment - T.S. Paul Agatha & Co have left the FBI Academy and are now on their first real mission as real agents. Yes, it could be said that this happened already in the third book but in that book it still did not feel like they had both feet outside of the academy. In this one the Academy is hardly mentioned and Agatha is the big bad boss more or less running the show herself.

I like that the book moves the overall story arc forward and, at the same time, handles the part of the story that concerns this particular book. The way it was done made the book feel that it had a finished story and at the same time took part in a bigger overall story which I guess was the intention of the author. There are some nice action parts in the book and Agatha’s reputation for being a bad ass witch is somewhat improved. Agatha also further develops her powers and there are some nice twists in the story that hints of great things to come.

As if trying to keep the nice but incredibly wimpy and naive witness alive was not enough Agatha & Co also have to deal with some family issues in the form of Agatha’s aunt. This woman is not only evil and despicable but also psychopathic, scheming and downright stupid. There are some moments that I really did like when Agatha and said aunt encounters each other but on the the whole I did not like this character at all. Sadly enough she might be playing a fairly important role in future books.

Of course the complaining Unicorn is more or less omnipresent.

Overall, a not too deep but fun and enjoyable read. Actually, so far I think that the Federal Which would could well make the foundation for a decent TV-show for young adults and upwards.

Ruins of Empire

Ruins of Empire - Jay  Allan The continuation of Tyler Barron’s adventures in the war between the Confederation and the (communist) Union continues. This time the stakes are obviously high as can be seen from the book blurb.

It is a good and entertaining book. It flips between the fight for the ancient relic and another big clash between the Confederation and the Union. Loosing any one of these conflicts could spell the doom for the Confederation. Personally I was not too happy about the jumping back and forth between the two threads. Sure, it made for a good story with plenty of pressure but both events are easily good enough for a whole book each.

As usual there is plenty of combat action in the book but also a fair amount of personal interaction. The Union political officer is a particularly nasty piece of work and it is indeed a joyful event when Barron & Co finally gets their hands on this scumbag.

The book introduces a new character, the freighter and smuggler captain Lafarge. I definitely like this woman. Strong, resourceful and she takes no shit from anyone. Needless to say she and her ship and crew plays an important role in the story.

I have to say that I was a wee bit disappointed with the ending. I cannot say much about it without spoiling too much but let’s just say that I would have liked the Confederation to retain a bit more advantages from the outcome.

On the whole though it was a soundly entertaining read. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Love Lost

Love Lost - Michael Anderle As the book blurb states Bethany Anne gets seriously pissed off in this installment of The Kurtherian Gambit series. That is of course not everything that goes on in this book but a vampire in rage is always a good ingredient for this kind of book.

While Bethany Anne undertakes some serious ass kicking she is also, contrary to what the book blurb seems to imply, continuing to work towards the goal of preparing for the bigger threat. It is quite interesting how the various vampire and werewolf clans are not really the main threat but merely a nuisance to be dealt with. The science fiction aspect of the book series is slowly asserting itself however. Even though the book is still mostly a vampire book.

The book is as great as the previous book in the series. The usual ingredients are there like great characters, fun bantering between them, nice and steady progression of the main story arc and then of course we have the intimidating, gorgeous primo bad ass herself.

I really like how the author still, even though this is the third book, manages to continue to make it feel kind of fresh with new variants of wow (or in some cases whoops) moments when various characters are confronted with the concept of vampires or, in the case of vampires themselves, learns how far down the food chain they actually are.

This was the third book in this series and I have read them back to back so I am going to make a quick detour and read something else now but I do not think it will be long before I rush back for the fourth book.

Queen Bitch

Queen Bitch - Michael Anderle As I wrote in my review of Death Becomes Her I am somewhat hooked on this book series. It is great fun to read. It has a rather original take on vampires and the heroine as well as her team is foul mouthed and kick-ass (and she is good looking apparently).

The books continues the story right after were the previous book left off. The book has plenty of “surprise moments” where either some future team member is made aware that there are things that go bump in the night or some bad guy comes to realize that Bethany Anne’s bumps in the night usually means someone is about to die…violently! I quite like “surprise moments” so that bumps upp the enjoyment factor for me.

The main thread, that was started in the first book, continues but luckily the author avoids the pitfall of advancing it too fast. Bethany Anne slowly but surely works towards the final goal but she has a few minor tasks to perform first. Like putting together a team, actually “organisation” is probably a better word for it, and shaking up the UnknownWorld, getting rid of the undesirables etc…

As I wrote, a few “minor” tasks. Once that is done the the REAL work of saving the world can begin.

There are plenty of enjoyable moments in the book. Everything from amusing bantering in the team and enlisting new team players to creatively and violently disposing of the less desirable elements of both the human world and the UnknownWorld. Everything accompanied by a healthy dose of, as the book blurb defines it, creative cussing.

I found the book well done and thoroughly fun to read with lovely characters. There are really no dull characters in the book. Stupid perhaps but not dull and the life expectancy of the stupid ones are rather low anyway.

I am already on book three in the series and I love every minute of reading it. I think I am about to get a overdose on this series soon so I guess I have to squeeze in a few other books after the third one.

Death Becomes Her (The Kurtherian Gambit Book 1)

Death Becomes Her (The Kurtherian Gambit Book 1) - Michael Anderle This is not your everyday book about vampires and werewolves. Sure they cannot stand sunshine (most of them at least). They regenerate. The are strong and fast as hell. They eat iron and shit bullets. But they are not supernatural beasts. Although most of this book reads pretty much as your everyday supernatural vampire story (a pretty good one though) there is a science fiction story lurking underneath. A story that has the promise of making this a very interesting book series.

The story is perhaps a somewhat light kick-ass style action/adventure story but I think it is a good one. I rather quickly started to like the main character a lot. She is a seriously powerful, foul mouthed, kick-ass vampire. She also surrounds herself with equally likable kick-ass characters as the story progresses. Actually, so far, there has been very few characters that I did not like and the ones that were not supposed to be likable, well let us just say that they are either only hinted at and not really presented … yet or they quickly becomes extras in red t-shirts when Bethany Anne gets pissed off with them.

The story? Well it is really difficult to say much about it without revealing to much. This is the first book in the series and there is of course a lot of introduction and world building going on. As I wrote above it shows quite a lot of promise of becoming a great story arc.

I guess I have to say something about the language used. The author is dead on when he states that Bethany Anne has nothing against cussing, only uninspired cussing. I guess that is one of the reasons that I like Bethany Anne. If you care more about which words that are used and not so much about the story then this is not a book for you. Personally I do not care if the author uses words like “fuckface” or whatever as long as it is not done to cover up sloppy writing and in this book it is not as far as I am concerned.

I have already read the second book in the series and started on the third one and I am pretty much hooked on Bethany Anne & Co.

The Zero Blessing

The Zero Blessing - Christopher G. Nuttall Magic without magic. No this is not a variant of the old saying “Any sufficiently advanced science is magic”. This is about a magical world and a daughter of a powerful magical family. A daughter which has … no magic. In a last desperate attempt to try and lure out the magic, they they are convinced that she has, her parents are sending her to a magical school.

Here we thought that Emily in Schooled In Magic by the same author had a difficult time and then Mr. Nuttall brings the concept of difficult to a new level. As everyone can image, going to a magical school without being able to do magic is difficult to say the least.

However, if that was all there was to it the story would be a bit bland. So, of course, Caitlyn finds out that she has a few other tricks up her sleeve.

This book is a variant of Schooled In Magic. It is set in pretty much the same universe with the same rules of the game but a different school and a main character that has this slight … handicap.

It is a good book. The characters are, as always, mostly likable and the ones that are not are getting enough nasty surprises that they do not become too intrusive on the reading pleasure. This book, being the first in the series, is very much about introduction and stage setting for the adventure that awaits us. It was still quite enjoyable to read though.

It is impossible to review this book without asking oneself whether this is “just” a copycat (by the same author) of Schooled In Magic? I would see it more as another story in the same universe. Yes, on the surface, it is quite similar. However, the lead character and her abilities are very different. Different enough that both series stands on their own. I for one are eager to see where the author goes with Caitlyn’s development.

I have conservatively rated this book 4 out of 5 stars. It is a very good start but it is the first book and it suffers a little from having to spend time on the set up of the story. Also, I have to admit that I am not yet 100% comfortable with a main character without magic. For that reason and that reason alone I do prefer Schooled In Magic so far.

Call to Arms (Blood on the Stars Book 2)

Call to Arms (Blood on the Stars Book 2) - Jay Allan Call to Arms takes off were Duel in The Dark finished. The inevitable War with the oppressive, communist inspired, Union has begun and to no ones surprise it does not start well for the Confederation. That is what you get when you divert military budget to short sighted buying of votes. It is a very good piece of military science fiction adventure with a few twists, plenty of action and likable characters (heroes).

As with the previous book this one focuses primarily on the Dauntless and her crew. As before Dauntless has to take on a formidable foe with little or no support from the rest of the fleet. The rest of the fleet are running for their lives after all. Tanks to a series of twists and unexpected events Barron & Co ends up with a one-shot opportunity to strike a crippling blow to the Union war machine. Of course it is not going to be a walk in the park and the Dauntless … well let us just say that those repairs did not last very long.

Again, as in the previous book the viewpoint flips a bit back and forth between Dauntless and the Union fleet Admiral. I hesitate to say that I liked this guy, he is supposed to be a bad guy after all, but I enjoyed the character up to the end. Then it went a bit downhill. I was really eager to read about his reaction when news about Dauntless undertakings reached him but it never really came about. He just surmised what might have happened when things did not go as planned and then he went … ehhh, I guess you have to read the book to find that out. Too much of a spoiler otherwise.

There is a interesting underlying thread to the entire story arc. As advanced as these people seems to be with prosperous and expanding federations, alliances and unions, it is actually a post-apocalyptic universe. We are following what remains of some larger, more advanced empire that somehow managed to go all big bang on themselves. It is perhaps the “more advanced” parts that are the most interesting part in that it hints about forgotten technologies that might be rediscovered. Indeed, the book blurb for the next installment in this series do strongly hint that the series is going to venture down that very path.

I have to say that I am quite looking forward to this.

Culture Shock

Culture Shock - Alexander Chau, MR Christopher G. Nuttall The author has decided that every second book in The Empire’s Corps series is a “side story” usually about some specific subject, most often a political one. Sometimes it is still a very entertaining book, sometimes not so much. Especially if you really do not like politics in your reading. I am afraid that this one was more of the latter for me.

Now before we start let me make it clear that, technically, the book is as good as I would expect from this author. It is well written and I do like the characters. Well, the ones I am expected to like at least. There are plenty of assholes in this book.

The book is on the subject of immigration. In particular immigration from vastly different cultures. A subject that deserves discussion for sure. Especially a honest and factual discussion. However, regardless of whether I agree with the authors opinions on the subject or not, I rarely find books with too much political undertone in them very enjoyable.

Not only is the politics both boring and frustrating but the story does become somewhat predictable. Especially if the author tries to mirror reality which I believe this author does. 50 000 immigrants are dumped on a relatively small human colony more or less by force. Said immigrants are fanatical to the extreme, bigoted and treats their women like dirt (I guess you can see where this is going…). The sitting leaders of the colony are too inexperienced and too weak to handle the situation. Anyone with a minimum of intelligence can predict what happens next.

There are a number of characters that were quite enjoyable to follow even though it was quite frustrating to see them getting screwed over by the weak and appeasing politicians. These parts of the book almost felt like some kind of combined drama/reality show.

In the end the die hard fanatics turns out to be just as stupid and disconnected from reality as expected, the more realistic elements of the political establishment took over and the more deplorable elements of the fanatics got dealt with. Not until shit had hit the fan of course and equally of course, it was the innocent population that had to suffer as well as clean up the mess.

I have to say that I do not like to write a rather negative review for this author since his works normally pleases me greatly. However I would, again, like to point out that there is nothing wrong with the actual quality of the writing. My gripe with the book is strictly subjective and personal as far as the story goes.

The New Prometheus

The New Prometheus - Andrew Dobell The New Prometheus is an okay read. Nothing to write home about but a decent piece of futuristic action story. The core setting is perhaps a bit overused nowadays. Evil mega corporations are more or less controlling society and the governments are little more than puppets in the hands of the corporations. Not that original. There are a few twists that makes the story a bit more interesting though.

The corporations in question deal in cybernetics and they do not only control by means of political power but they literally control people by means of cybernetic implants. Apparently few people have avoided getting these implants even though they are not really forced upon them. The main character, Frankie, is one of those people that has managed to avoid implants … until now.

The rest of the book is a fairly action filled roller coaster ride with a log of world building, rescue operations, disposing of corporation agents in various more or less messy ways and in particular our setting up our heroin and what I assume will be her team of good guys. The corporations have absolute zero respect for anything resembling law and order, of course, and pretty much fields there own armed forces who do not hesitate to start firefights (with heavy weapons) in the middle of a city. Can you say collateral damage?

I think it is a decent enough book. Not fantastic but good enough for me to be interested in the next one. The book does not really have that much of a conclusion other that it is start to hit back at the corporations. There is an interesting little twist happening on the last page though.

Universe in Danger

Universe in Danger - Raymond L. Weil This is a good read, above average for sure, but I do have a few gripes about it. I wonder if the author is overextending himself a wee bit in trying to get out new books in the various book series he has going at a rather high pace.

This book starts yet another series in Raymond L. Weil’s universe filled with heroes, enemies, allies, space battles and so on and so forth. It is an enjoyable read. A lot of the old friends are back, there is lots of action and the story is nicely expanding on previous books.

However this is also where I have a few gripes. The story is growing into a super space opera encompassing thousands of galaxies and it is starting to feel a bit to huge for me. Sometimes I feel like the attention to detail is suffering and too much attention is on expanding. Bigger is not always better regardless of what your girlfriend tries to tell you.

Not only is the scene somewhat overwhelming but so is the pace. Our friends in the galaxy far far away (sorry I could not resist) are up against an overwhelming foe, the “Anti-Life”. On the positive side they have plenty of new Originator technology to boost their defensive and offensive capabilities but will it be enough. Well, spoiler ahead, it will not and thus we get to my biggest issue. The Humans and the Originators appears to be blurting out new and enhanced weapons, shields etc… with a snap of the fingers. New ships are built, and becoming obsolete, and upgraded and so on at a rate that is simply not realistic. After a battle our friends returns home and wham, their shields and weapons are suddenly 20% stronger. The enemy deploys a warp dampening field and, surprise surprise, someone invents a anti warp dampening field on the spot. To me this feels like a wee bit too much. I really like when the good guys comes up with new technology and surprises for the baddies but it is a bit too fast and easy in this book.

Okay that was my griping for today. What the book blurb does not mention is that, in addition, to all the intergalactic events taking place, the humans and their allies in their home galaxy have a few problems of their own. The former proxy races of the AI’s as well as the AI’s themselves are on the march. This makes for some nice space battles as well as new potential allies. I quite liked these parts of the book.

Then there is of course the search to discover if there are actually any more surviving Originators which rounds of the story nicely. On the whole this is a good book with a few faults. I am looking forward to the next one.


Fathomless - Greig Beck This is a quite okay thriller/fantasy book from Greig Beck. It is a wee bit like Jaws on steroids. Big chark…check. Stuck on boat…check. Shark jumps onto boat…check. Shark wrecks boat…check. Shark…oh no, that would be a spoiler. Anyway, I quite liked it.

Greig Beck must have some kind of love for dark and musty places deep under ground and preferably with some underground lake in them. At least it is a recurring theme in his books. Although the shark plays the center role in the book there is a lot more to the book than the shark. The author throws in a little bit of Journey to the Center of the Earth as well. As there often is in Greig Beck’s book there is a bit of scientific explanation as well to make the incredible somewhat less incredible.

I quite liked the characters, especially the Russian billionaire and his female assistant and protector, not to mention the Russian harpooner. Most of the other characters were quite good as well.

There is a nice mix between suspension, mystery research and action as well as a twist or two. I really felt like I wanted to read the next page to see what came next most of the time.

There were a few things that I did not like that much. Mild spoiler ahead. The first one was the use of thermonuclear devices for the dual purpose of sabotage and prevention of future access. Can you say overkill? That was just over the top. No one noticed that someone threw nuclear weapons around, seriously, even in Alaska that is just a joke. Governments all over the world would be up in arms about a nuclear device going off above ground.

The other thing I did not like was the green fanatics showing up sabotaging everything. Apart from the fact that I do not like fanatics very much these ones where possibly even dumber than they usually are. Especially their dumb ass leader annoyed the bloody hell out of me. These green assholes kind of sabotaged not only our heroes’ plans but a lot of the last part of the book for me as well.

Otherwise, as I wrote above I quite liked the book. The ending? Well it was a bit unimaginative. That has to be said. Standard horror movie type ending straight out of the box.

Day of Infamy

Day of Infamy - Doug Dandridge I have to say that I procrastinated a wee bit before starting to read this book. The title scared me somewhat. With that title I was afraid that things were going to make a turn for the worst and the book to be a bit sad. Well, the shit did hit the fan big time but it was not as bad as I thought and the book was great. This is probably the most combat filled book in the series. It is almost non-stop action from start to finish.

The book starts off with following the Cacas infiltrating human core space with wormhole equipped ships in preparation for their sneak attack. Naturally the do succeed since otherwise we would not have much of a story would we. During this time the book switches between the infiltrators and the humans going about their business. As you can read in the book blurb the Alysium and Crakista political caste decide to do what politicians do best, screw things up. So by the time the Cacas decide to make their move quite a bit of products that have passed the digestive tract of various species are ready to be thrown into the fan.

I will of course not tell you exactly what the Cacas have planned but I would say that it is not really a spoiler for anyone with moderate intelligence to state that the Donut is high on the Cacas hitlist. When they do move the humans are, of course, taken by utter surprise. This annoyed me a little bit since they did have intelligence warning that the Cacas probably had developed wormhole technology and the targets they hit were not exactly surprising ones.

Anyway, once the Cacas begin to move it rather quickly turns into not one, not two but three large slug-feasts in three different places between the Cacas and the humans. This is a dire day for the humans and the losses rise quite quickly. After the initial surprise the humans fight back, no surprise there, but for what happens next you have to read the book. Too much spoilers otherwise.

There are a few interesting things that I can mention though. Mr. Dandridge throws in a few twists and hints as the story develops. One that causes much grief for Sean but which I believe will serve as a major plot element in future books. There are also hints of new technology, supposedly military, about to be ready to help the humans. I always like new stuff. Especially if it is going to give provide some nasty surprises for the bad guys.

The book is written with the excellence that we have come to expect from Mr. Dandridge. There is just enough detail to the story without it turning into an endless series of dialogues or monologues like, for instance, the latest books by David Weber, the characters are good, even the Cacas are interesting and the action is great.

As usual I can hardly wait for the next installment in the series.

Currently reading

Alien Games by Elizabeth Mackey, T. Lee Harris