PG's Books

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

Fists of Justice

Fists of Justice - Christopher G. Nuttall This is a very good book indeed. However, although it follows nicely in the timeline of Emily’s adventures, it did feel a bit like a interlude, a little adventure story before Emily continues her education and moves on with the main story arc.

Nothing wrong with that but, personally, I do prefer the books where Emily is back at Whitehall getting on with her development. Also, a god chunk of this book is devoted to Ponzi schemes and the badness of these. As usual the angle is that Emily is, indirectly, responsible by introducing modern technology and ideas into the Nameless World.

Mr Nuttall does manage to evolve the story to one where magic plays the main role but I am afraid that, with a good chunk of the book a bit outside of my cup of tea, I’m not going to give a full set of stars on this one. There is nothing wrong with the book or the writing, which is excellent as usual, but it is just a personal preference of mine.

As I wrote the book starts of with Emily coming to Benefice and starting to learn that one of the largest businessmen in town is busy with a Ponzi scheme that, of course, is about to come crashing down. Some reviewers have claimed that the book is a bit preachy. I would not agree to that. It depicts a Ponzi scheme and its consequences fair and simple.

Around halfway into the book there is an interesting turn of events that moves it more into my own personal comfort zone. This is where magic and Emily’s real skills starts to become useful. From there on the book is as good as any of the books in this series which means it is pretty damned good.

After various adventures, betrayals and so on and so forth we, not surprisingly, arrive at the obligatory show down between Emily, her friends and the bad guy(s). Unfortunately things are complicated by the actions of her boyfriend. I have to say that I think he was a big arse both during and after the action. I am not really unhappy about how things turned out in the end.

So, the verdict is that this is a very good book. I would have rated it as great if not for some personal preferences of mine. As usual with this book series I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

The Merrimack Event (Shieldclads #1)

The Merrimack Event (Shieldclads #1) - David A. Tatum The core story of this book is quite decent. However the implementation is a bit on the weak side. The inclusion of the (small spoiler ahead) Neanderthals in the story was interesting. So was the whole idea of making parallels between the invention of the ironclad warships and the first space ships with shields.

I quite liked the main characters and how they got together to first try to win the war game and then to win a real war. Both the preparation parts, overcoming the bureaucracy, the political scheming of the career focused navy officers and the actual combat action was generally enjoyable to read.

As I wrote however, the implementation is a bit on the week side. It felt a bit like a young adult novel, written by a somewhat inexperienced author, that tried to be a bit more. Some of the ways they just threw together things were a bit … simple. The social interactions, romance bits if you want to call it that, was sometimes feeling a bit like teenage wet dreams.

I cannot give more than a three out of five stars rating but it was still an enjoyable read and I would really like to see a second instalment.

Shadow Rites

Shadow Rites - Faith Hunter Shadow Rites is another good, solid Urban Fantasy book in the Jane Yellowrock series. It is not as good as the previous installment but still very good.

It is a well written book with all the usual characters from the series. I really like Jane and her team, the bantering between them, the snarky comments, the way they work so well as a team and, of course, their ass kicking abilities. I am quite looking forward to see how the team develops with the newest addition to it. Let us just say that Jane did not see that one coming.

The story in this book focuses more on witches than vampires. Sure, a main element of the plot is the master vampire being rescued from the pit but the main bad guys in this installment are witches.

The book starts off right way on this path with a magical attack on Jane and from then on things go from bad to worse. Especially since Jane’s own abilities seems to be somewhat inhibited. This is a part of the story that I was not so found of. I really do not like when an author invents some way to handicap my bad ass heroes. Also, I did not like the stupid way that Jane blundered around before actually getting a grip on things. Come one, you have just been magically attacked and you do not really know what happened. Would it not be a good idea to try to investigate a wee bit before just continuing as usual and put yourself in harms way and discover things when shit are raining from the fan?

Apart from that I quite enjoyed the book. There was a lot of action of course although, as I wrote, I would have liked it more if Jane would have been more of her usual self.

Looking forward to the next installment.

Alarm of War, Book III: Desperate Measures

Alarm of War, Book III: Desperate Measures - H. Kennedy Hudner This book series have one big flaw. You have to wait quite far between the installments. I read the previous book back in 2014 and since I have a bit of a teflon memory, the long wait is a bit of an issue. Luckily the last book did not end in a huge cliffhanger so I did not have to go back and reread that book in order to pick up where I left off. After the first couple of pages I managed to get into the story quite satisfactory.

Desperate Measures is a good book. It is just my cup of tea. Star faring nations clash in space with big fleets, big ships and BFG’s (Big Fucking Guns). The last book ended in a quite satisfactory conclusion but the Tilleke nation apparently felt left out of the party so they threw together a new one. Actually, as it turns out, the Tilleke had the dirty hands in the previous party as well but you better read the book for the details on that one.

Apart from the usual tactics involving things that go boom the Tilleke favor subversion, sabotage and assassination and thus have intricate schemes in motion for this. As usual not my favorite stuff but the fleet actions in this book more than makes up for it.

I would say that the writing falls a bit short of similar books from my favorite authors like Doug Dandridge, Christopher Nuttall etc. but it is still quite good. The characters, the story, the action is all very good and quite enjoyable.

I also quite like that we get to follow the bad guys and read about when their, that they thought were cunning, plans starts to unravel when the Victorians decide to not play nice with the Tillekes.

The Tilleke, being the despicable fanatics they are, do have one last ace stuck up their sleeve though and this brings us to another thing I like with the book. As distasteful as it may be the Victorians do the only thing they can do in face of the last threat from the Tilleke instead of entering in some moral qualms and invent some half arsed excuse for a solution that would simply leave the problem to be dealt with by the next set of leaders some time in the future.

Bottom line, a very enjoyable book and just my cup of tea in terms of story.

Might Makes Right

Might Makes Right - Michael Anderle Okay, I am way late in reviewing the last nine books in The Kurtherian Gambit series. A tragic personal event has required my attention for some time. I am more or less back in front of the keyboard now but I have a shitload of work to catch up with and there is no way I will be able to review all nine books separately in a reasonable amount of time so here is my summary instead.

Obviously, if you have not read them all yet this summary will contain a spoiler or two.

So starting with the tenth book in the series, the Chinese have just managed to piss off Bethany Anne and the result is no surprise, ass kicking, revenge and punishment flows over the reader in a nice symphony of violence, financial warfare and creative cussing. Bethany Anne is pissed off and those who made the stupid mistake of pissing her off do not get a second chance.

Although each book generally focuses on a particular issue that requires Bethany Anne’s particular type of attention the string of all nine books moves the overall story arc forward quite a lot. In particular we move from the backwater pond, Earth, where the story has played out so far to the vastness of space. Hence my little play on Churchill’s famous speech above. Bethany Anne being Bethany Anne does of course choose to leave in style giving the dumb ass politicians on Earth, who continue to try and grab her technology, not only the finger but also slamming the door shut behind here.

The change of scenario of course means that the series takes on a entirely new angle. From being urban fantasy books with a science fiction element they turn into more of being pure science fiction stories. Having said that, the author actually manages to keep quite a bit of supernatural ambiance around Bethany Anne. Bethany Anne herself do of course kick alien ass with the same enthusiasm as she kicked human ones and so does her entourage.

In true Bethany Anne style she starts of by making new friends and removing those who think they can stand in her way. If that means conquering a few worlds in the process then so be it. However as Bethany Anne’s empire grows and she gets more and more on her plate she has less and less time for her favorite activities herself. Actually there were one or two books where I felt that Bethany Anne was almost more of a background figure.

However in the last couple of books the author solves that issue with the help of a new character that he introduces. At first I was a bit hesitant about this character but when I read the afterwords of one of the books with the authors reasoning in it I thought it was actually quite clever. Now we could both have the cake and eat it!

The books contains the usual bantering and entertaining dialogue between the various characters. But, now we get aliens thrown into the mix as well. There were some parts that I felt was less than stellar though. The parts where the “girls” where discussing “girl issues” and were more or less starting to play match makers for the male part of the team felt a bit too much teenage wet dreams to me. A minor complaint though.

On the whole the books have been great entertainment and I read them more or less in one straight stream picking the next one up as soon as I had finished one. I really needed the distraction while I was dealing with my personal problems.

I cannot wait for the next book to be published now when I have caught up with all the published ones.

It's Hell To Choose

It's Hell To Choose - Michael Anderle I’m really reading these books too fast but I simply cannot stop. This series has become addictive to me. The worst thing is that I am now six books behind with my reviews and I am struggling to keep the books apart in my head when reviewing..

The “space race” continues. Well, I guess it is not much of a race with only contestant but it is definitely a race against time. The Queen Bitch has a lot of building to do if she should be prepared when the real bad guys show up.

Of course she also has to deal with the usual asshats trying to fuck up her plans. Actually that is not entirely true. Since the cat is out of the bag when it comes to TQB’s little adventures in space her adversaries have changed. Instead of the menagerie of vampires, werewolves and just plain ordinary thugs we’re moving onto something much much worse… politicians! Well corporate businessmen and such like despicable scum bags who’s only goal in life is personal gain as well.

I’m not sure about the shift from “supernatural” adversaries to this kind of scum since I really hate that kind of human oxygen wasters but I guess it was inevitable with TQB’s increased exposure to the general public.

Well, rest assured that the Queen Bitch’s new adversaries are in for as good an ass whooping as her previous ones. However, this time not everything goes as planned for our dear ass kicking bitch. The long term result for the previously mentioned assholes are the same but not before tragedy strikes.

Well, too bad for the bad guys. Now Bethany Anne is REALLY pissed off. Next book please!


We Will Build

We Will Build - Michael Anderle, Stephen Russell According to the author this is the first book in the second arc of The Kurtherian Gambit series. This is where the series slowly starts to take on a more serious science fiction character. As can be seen from the book blurb we are now starting to talk about getting into space and having bases on the moon.

I am actually looking forward to this. The Queen Bitch in space with a whole universe of baddie’s arses to kick. Scary thought indeed. However, we’re not really their just yet. Luckily the author is not rushing things so there are still plenty of vampire (and werewolf) business going on back on Earth.

In one sense you could say that the book is more of the same. More of the Queen Bitch, more of the fun bantering between all the members of the team and of course more of the ass kicking.

However, at the same time the story moves forward, the characters evolve, new asshats pop up for a round of educational spanking (some of them for a life long lesson…all five minutes of it), new team members are introduced and most importantly Bethany’s master plan progresses.

I do not think that I have read any book series before that managed to keep the core values and the same formula for so long and still keep me interested. The author makes the story and characters evolve in a way that it is new and old at the same time keeping the good parts that make the series what it is while adding new situations and new problems to solve, either by engineering or good old violence.

In this particular part of the story the author throws in a vampire bitch wannabee that needs to be dealt with and a few minor problems such as how to put a base on the moon. You know, just the usual stuff in a days work for a Queen Bitch. The latter little issue turns out to finally put the media spotlights on TQB industries which of course opens a new can of worms (translation: lots of new story opportunities for future books) for Bethany.

So, as usual, a really good and fun to read book.

The Forever War

The Forever War - Raymond L. Weil The Vorn and the Protector Worlds including the humans go head butting again and of course this results in some nice space fights. To complicate things some of the more despicable and less intelligent members of the Profiteers shoves a truckload of sand into the machinery. However I would say that the end result of this is actually quite satisfactory.

The books starts off with quite a setback for the humans when that pesky High Profiteer Creed shoves his unloads that truck of sand of his. What he does not know is that he stuck his butt into a huge nasty anthill. I really liked how these parts of the story developed. The profiteers are about to have a shit sandwich not only served to them but forced down their throats with great enthusiam. Very enjoyable reading.

The main part of the book however is spent on the Vorn’s continuing rampage through the galaxy and the humans as well as the other protector worlds efforts of stopping them. Although the introvert faction of the Glaymons continue to stick their heads into the sand more sound mines are also heard and I see some serious clobber time coming up in the Vorn’s future. If you think a Glaymon cruiser was bad how about a battleship? I cannot wait to see the Vorn’s reaction when one of those bad asses turn up.

The Vorn’s themselves are not immune to the despicable politics and scheming illness and a considerable amount of time are spent on Prince Brollen’s machinations to grab glory and power.

The book is very enjoyable to read. There are the usual big space battles, preparations for battles and interactions between the characters and the various groups involved. I definitely look forward to the next book in the series.

The Immortality Curse: A Matt Kearns Novel 3

The Immortality Curse: A Matt Kearns Novel 3 - Greig Beck This is a new take on the Noah’s Ark myth. It is not always new takes of old mythology actually works but this one was indeed not bad. The story starts off by presenting the mystery that Matt eventually will dig in to in a rather gruesome way.

At the beginning Matt is rather reluctant to take on the case but, of course, he is eventually convinced. This is actually one of the things that I am not so happy with in this book. Matt is rather reluctant and downright wimpy and whiny most of the time. I much prefer Greig Beck’s other hero, Alex Hunter.

The story is rather interesting and presents a rather plausible version of the Noah’s Ark myth. Well apart from the whole immortality part of course but it is fiction after all. Matt is finally convinced by a rather attractive FBI agent (who’s character I quite liked) and a not so attractive old woman (who’s character was…interesting).

As we go along a few more characters are added into the mix, some of them with a rather shot expiry date and some of them less so. Like for example a fairly likable Arabian prince, a not so likable nurse/bodyguard and a few other characters of various levels of “despicability”.

During the course of the book our friends have to fight their way trough hired thugs, back stabbing treacherous “colleagues”, other treasure seekers and of course the true guardians of the ark in order to finally unravel the mystery and find the truth that they seek.

One the whole the book was enjoyable to read, definitely above average, but it falls short of getting a top score.

Monster Hunter Siege (Monster Hunters International Book 6)

Monster Hunter Siege (Monster Hunters International Book 6) - Larry Correia It feels like a long time since I got to sink my teeth into a Monster Hunter Internal story. Well at least one that takes place in the main story arc that is.

I did indeed have rather high expectations on this one and Mr. Correia certainly delivered.

The book continues the story from book five. Hell, at least as far as I remember. The last book was published three years ago and I have to confess that some of the details might have faded in my memory.

We get introduced to Owen’s father who, not surprisingly, is just as much badass as his son. He also has a secret. I do not think I can explain it without spoiling too much so I will not try but it’s a big one and it’s pretty a damned important one for the story.

As usual with books from Larry Correia it is a well written book, no bullshit, plenty of action, enjoyable dialogue and lots and lots of hardware that makes loud noises (okay there was a few Katana’s and other cutting instruments as well). Actually in this movie the amount of hardware is overshadowing all the previous books taken together. MHI is going to war! Not only MHI but pretty much the entire monster hunter community…all over the world.

With all this going on the book is a bit different from the previous books. It is on a different scale and although Owen is still the main character, and one crucial for the story, the books is not so much about the MHI team as the other books but rather about good versus evil on a global scale. I have no problem with that.

My one gripe about this book is, where the fuck is Frank? Yes, yes, I know he was briefly present in the beginning but I really miss the little altercations between Frank and the MHI team.

Overall a great book and it was so good to sink my eyes into a Larry Correia book again.

Night of the Unicorn

Night of the Unicorn - T.S. Paul Agatha’s adventures continues in the fourth installment in the series. Her rookie days are long since over and now she is the badass that is called in when magic goes bump in the night.

Agatha is back of course and so are her friends. Not surprisingly Fergus is stealing a lot of the show but this time we get to learn quite a bit about his past. As usual Agatha have a mystery to solve with its fair share of hidden secrets, twists and nefarious plots by equally nefarious characters.

These books are borderline young adult books and the story and the characters are thereafter. I have liked every book so far though, even if I am much further from being young than I would like to be.

The pacing, the dialogue, Fergus being annoying as usual, is all fun read. Agatha as well as the rest of the Federal Witch universe evolve another notch in this book and, of course, there are new hints and threads presented to the reader as to what future books may hold.

The Witches Council and the other various councils are really something I could be without though since they more often than not seems to be part of the problem and not of the solution. Typical home for political schemers and such like despicable creatures.

On the whole I enjoyed the book. A quick and easy but quite fun read.

Kneel Or Die

Kneel Or Die - Michael Anderle, Stephen Russell This book series is just so good! Sure it is light and quick reading and its never going to win any literary prices but then I really do not care about a bunch of old geeks or politically correct wankers telling me what is a good book or not. This series is unique (in my limited experience) in how it merges science fiction and urban fantasy. In addition it has plenty of fun dialogue totally ignoring any form of political correctness (aka creative cussing), plenty of action and is really my cup of tea.

The book picks up right after the big Tzar Bomba that the author dropped on us in the last few sentences of that book. As if having Tom in your head was not bad enough… Luckily the crowd in Bethany’s head do not stop her from continuing on her quest, that is save the world, kick the bad guys asses (if at first it does not work with violence, use more violence) and invent new creative cussing.

Bethany Anne is Bethany Anne of course but she has a growing entourage of very enjoyable characters that shares Bethany Anne’s beliefs in application of violence and cussing. Sure the dialog sometimes borders on slapstick comedy but it is fun.

One thing that I really like with this book series are the wow moments. That is the moments where various characters finally realizes that either, there are people that are so much better at kicking ass than themselves or, that there are things that go bump in the night. Most book series get at least the latter over with in the first book or maybe the second. This book series provides a never ending stream of these moments.

At the same time as the book is providing a lot of action, fun dialogue, wow moments etc. it also moves the main story arc forward and our heroes are constantly progressing towards their goal of getting into space.

I am a bit behind with my reviews so when typing this I have already read several other books including the next book in this series. That one did not disappoint either.


Retribution - Doug Dandridge Yet another very entertaining book from Doug Dandridge.

The machines continue to pose a serious threat to all living beings and with their ability to “reproduce” they are as difficult to exterminate as cockroaches. Unfortunately the new “allies” of the Imperials may not be part of the solution but rather part of the problem.

As usual it is a well written book with plenty of action and good characters. The story is rather predictable though. The behavior and cause of action taken by the Gorgansha dictator is especially predictable so it is not very surprising when shit hits the fan big time. When you dine with the Devil you need a very long spoon.

The space action was very enjoyable to read. A lot of things that go boom are thrown around. There are a few setbacks for the Imperials but I felt most of those were caused by some Imperials relaxing too much and relying on the machines being predictable and somewhat stupid. Well, the Gorgansha mischief was perhaps not really the fault of the Imperials.

The book ends in a kind of cliffhanger. Again the end did not exactly come as a surprise but I have to say that I am quite eager to read the next one and see what the author develops the situation into.

One the whole it was a very enjoyable read although I did feel that it was a bit simple at times. I would not go as far as to say that it was rushed but I did like the other book a tad better. But then maybe I have become spoiled by all the really good books that Doug Dandridge has written.

Wolf's Bane

Wolf's Bane - Christopher G. Nuttall, Alexander Chau With Wolf’s Bane Christopher Nuttall ends the saga of The Empire’s Corps. Well, at least the story arc that has served as the backbone of the series so far. I would not be surprised if we see more books in this universe sometime in the feature though.

It was a good last book with a good ending. After 14 books in the series I also think it was a a good time to end it.

I will not talk about the writing itself. It is in the usual Christopher Nuttall style, that is very good with good characters etc…

The headbutting between Wolfsbane and the Commonwealth progresses into its logical big showdown and conclusion. Admiral Singh gets pushed further and further into a corner and her behavior becomes more and more psychopathic. I thought this was a bit of shame actually because she lost a bit of the respect that I actually had for her.

There are a few mishaps and reverses of fortune along the way but the Commonwealth is finally going in for the kill. I was hoping this would be a major space battle, and it is (several actually), but a large portion of the book is spent on subversion and provocation of an uprising on Wolfsbane and thus the final outcome is a mix between military space action and civil unrest. Personally, the latter interests me less than the first. Also, during the endgame Admiral Singh is not as impressive as she used to be and her actions sometimes leaves something to be desired.

Having said that it is still a excellent book and a good end to the series. I was in two minds what rating I should give, primarily due to my reservations mentioned above, but in the end I decided that anything less than five out of five would be undeserved.

Under My Heel

Under My Heel - Michael Anderle, Stephen Russell I was a bit worried about the “Europe is erupting is tension and violence.” statement in the book blurb. It almost sounded like the story was going to turn into some kind of apocalypse story.

Luckily the book blurb was a bit exaggerated. The events were more or less just another terrorist attack. Apparently a rather bloody one but still. Not exactly “Europe erupting in violence”. To me that was a good thing. I am not too fond of apocalypse stories.

Bethany Anne as well as her bitches continues to kick ass. All of them are working towards Bethany’s modest goal of saving the world. In the process they are of course slaying Nosferatu’s and bad guys with great enthusiasm and a healthy dose of innovative politically incorrect language.

At the same time they are working on expanding their understanding and inventory of alien technology. It is almost as fun to read these parts as it is reading about Bethany Anne’s ass-kicking, although it is not exactly hard core science fiction. Actually it is more fiction and less science.

In contrast to the fast paced action the main story arc is moving forward in a more leisurely pace. It is just the right pace for me though. Bethany Anne and her people are evolving, the plot is evolving, the save the world part of the story is evolving etc…

I really do not want to go into details out of fear of spoiling things too much but one of Bethany Anne’s projects for technology development interacts with Bethany herself in a slightly unexpected way. This gives the author the opportunity to drop somewhat of a Tsar Bomba, at least for Bethany Anne, at the end of the book. Luckily the next books are already published otherwise I would have called it cruelty towards the readers.

Bottom line, great book and as enjoyable as the other ones in the series have been.

Dark Heir

Dark Heir - Faith Hunter This book series started of with Jane being a bit timid, almost wimpy. Fortunately she has improved a lot and the last couple of book have been really good reads. She is now both kick-ass and quick mouthed. Her interaction with the master fang-head, as she calls him, can be quite hilarious. What I do like is that it is not just mouthing off for the sake of it but there is a certain respect and the master fang-head himself is allowed to retain quite a bit of both respect and charisma.

As usual the characters are quite good. I do really like her partners and how well they work together. It is one good, do not fuck with us, team.

In this book Jane goes up again a new, or maybe one should say really really old, adversary and she has to master all her power and then some to survive the day. It is good action indeed. Of course she has to deal with the usual vampire politics both present and from the past. As if that was not enough the author throws in a bit of witch problems as well. The result is a nice witch-brew of cool vampire and other supernatural action.

One of the things that I am not too happy about is that, although Jane’s powers have evolved, she really cannot use them (read the book to find out why). This is just so silly. It is the usual hey what about this cool power, ops now she became really overpowered, okay let’s balance it up by throwing in some stupid limitation.

Apart from that this installment in the series was really good and I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into the next one.

Currently reading

Alien Games by Elizabeth Mackey, T. Lee Harris