Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Edi's Lighthouse Ledger: Read in June 2010

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Dear Readers,

this is the last day of June 2010. Time for a monthly summary. From reading, reviewing and blogging point of view it has been the worst month in 2010.

I posted in sum three reviews. That is more than the number of books I read.
I read the introduction and seven of the nineteen stories of
Swords & Dark Magic (July 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0061723810], edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders.
"Swords & Dark Magic is the most important new fantasy anthology to be published this decade. Featuring new stories from the bestselling and brightest writers working in the genre, including: New York Times bestselling authors Scott Lynch and Garth Nix; genre greats Michael Moorcock (with an all-new Elric novella), Michael Shea (with a fully authorized new Cugel the Clever adventure), Robert Silverberg (with an all-new Majipoor tale), Glen Cook (with an all-new Black Company story), Gene Wolfe, and C. J. Cherryh; and hot new writers who've been re-inventing swords and sorcery like Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Tim Lebbon, and many more." [Back of the book]

And I finished one - only one - book:
A Plague of Sinners (May 2010, 448 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-1905636914], by Paul Lawrence
"July 1665. The great plague rages rampant outside London’s city walls. Harry Lytle makes a welcome return after his trials and tribulations in The Sweet Smell of Decay to investigate the murder of the Earl of St Albans. A grisly dinner-table death starts Harry off on the trail, and it’s not long before his familiar accomplice, Dowling the butcher, joins him on the case. Their master, Lord Arlington, head of the King’s intelligence service, tasks them with uncovering the name and motive of the Earl’s murderer. But there will be plenty more deaths and scrapes for Harry before the name is revealed."

The only positive things is that I liked A Plague of Sinners a lot. I wrote in my review:
A Plague of Sinners = satisfying extraordinary good historical thriller

Don't worry I won't "torture" you with an epic lamentation. There are several reasons why it happened.
And to be honest I want to forget this month as soon as possible. I said to myself: LOOK AHEAD!
Which is difficult because I'm German and we like to lament. But we also like to make plans. And in this case I'm no exception.

I will post my plan for July on Friday because it is still in progress.

Let me end this post with a music video which fits to my current mood.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Edi's Spotlight: A Plague of Sinners by Paul Lawrence

3 comments
I keep my promise from yesterday and "torture" you, my dear readers, with a review. It is the review of the only book I finished so far in June 2010.
It is a historical thriller. Come with me on a time travel back to London in the year 1665.Welcome to the second novel in The Chronicles of Harry Lytle series. In April 2010 I reviewed The Sweet Smell of Decay (June 2009, 448 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-1905636426], by Paul Lawrence. I liked the debut a lot and wrote:

You like historical thrillers set in 17th century England, with a lovable "hero" and an extraordinary sidekick in a twisted story, porcupined with historical information, witty,hefty and alluring prose? Then you must read The Sweet Smell of Decay.

That leads directly to the question: Could A Plague of Sinners (May 2010, 448 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-1905636914], by Paul Lawrence top The Sweet Smell of Decay? Before I will give you my answer have a look at the cover which fits well and read the spoiler free blurb.
"July 1665. The great plague rages rampant outside London’s city walls. Harry Lytle makes a welcome return after his trials and tribulations in The Sweet Smell of Decay to investigate the murder of the Earl of St Albans. A grisly dinner-table death starts Harry off on the trail, and it’s not long before his familiar accomplice, Dowling the butcher, joins him on the case. Their master, Lord Arlington, head of the King’s intelligence service, tasks them with uncovering the name and motive of the Earl’s murderer. But there will be plenty more deaths and scrapes for Harry before the name is revealed."
Like Smell of Decay, A Plague of Sinners is dived into 28 chapters. You find a quotation at the head of each chapter. This time all the quotes are related to astrology in general and medical astrology in particular. The quotations are from William Bell's Christian Anthology [ISBN-13: 978-1933303024]. I recommend to read them twice: Before and after a chapter. That helps to find the connection between the quote and the chapter.

Now let us talk about the three W's. Is that a question mark on your forehead? Let me solve the riddle.
Three W's means: What = the story, Where = the world, Who = the characters
Anything not mentioned their you will find under the heading additional thoughts. Finally you get my recommendation and some additional infos.Here we go.

The World
The story is set in London of 1665 which is a baneful place in the year of the Great Plague. I tried to avoid to use the statements from my The Sweet Smell of Decay review but that is nearly impossible. I have to repeat again that Paul Lawrence learned his history lesson very well. The depiction of London under the pressure of the plague is scary. In my review of I wrote:
"I can tell you that in this case we must be glad that books does not contain any smell of the stories!!
If your imagination works more than well you should prepare yourself in following way before you start reading:
Put a clothes-pin on your nose and place a bucket beside you ......."
You should do the same before reading A Plague of Sinners. But additionally you need a mirror to check your body for bubo and you should definitely wear:
A wide-brimmed black hat worn close to the head, a primitive gas mask in the shape of a bird's beak, a long, black overcoat, a wooden cane and leather breeches [Source], when you visit houses marked with a read plague cross.

To keep it short the whole description of London and surrounding, the people who inhabit the area, the society and manners are again absolutely extraordinary and frighteningly down-to-earth!!!
Whenever you get the opportunity to visit the Museum of London. Please do it. There you can proof Paul's descriptions word by word. I know what I'm talking about because I visited the Museum of London in 2007.
'Nuff said about the world.

The Characters
The main characters are Harry Lytle, a young, former clerk who is now working since eighteen months for the intelligence service.In the meantime Harry is a bit more experienced after his first case. He is still nosy, open-minded and honest. And he still gets a bloody nose because he can't avoid to run his head against a wall. I think that will never change. Then we have David Dowling, a devout, arcane and pious butcher with a knack for forensics. He is much more than a sidekick. And a lot of people underestimate his intelligence. Finally remarkable is Jane, Harry's fiery redhead housekeeper, who does not sound like an housekeeper when she talks to Harry. For me it is obvious that Jane and Harry like each other a lot. But I would not call it love.
It will be interesting to see how their relationship will develop within the next novel(s).
Beside these three main characters we meet more people who are relevant for the story but some of them you would heavily avoid to meet like Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death. Yes indeed, Harry and David "meet" the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I can assure you, that they are human beings but the act like ..... no, I can't tell you that. Paul Lawrence delivers good depictions of all characters from Bedlam inmate up to Lords like Lord Arlington.

The Story
A Plague of Sinners - for me the title is a play of words. On the one hand you have the real plague and on the other hand you have the sinners who kill people as gruesome as the plague. At this point let me note that the Plague and the Black Death - epidemics - is a topic on its own. If you want to get more information as delivered in the book then you should follow this link: Plague

"When Heges fell face first into his dinner after giving birth to an almighty sneeze, the rest of us just sat and stared at the gravy dripping down the backs of his ears. We watched in silence, gaping at the back of his large unmoving head and the pieces of lamb and fish stuck in his hair. His mouth gaped open and a thin stream auf sauce dribbled from the side of his mouth. Still we waited, willing him to blink, sit up again and wipe the food from his forehead." [p. 1]
These are the opening phrases of A Plague of Sinners. It seems Paul has a knack to jump right into the story which I like. Again the whole story is told from Harry Lytle's point of view. And again Paul Lawrence mastered it well. The reader doesn't know more than the hero. So you have every freedom for your own speculations. And to be honest there are a lot of twists and turns until Harry and David solve the murder of the Earl of St Albans. And these twists and turns are far from being simple. It is fascinating to see how cleverly thought out the story is. The reader is intrigued from the beginning until the end and I promise you that you can't stop guessing. And as a surplus you learn about the influence of religion and astrology especially under the pressure of the plague. Paul has a talent to slip in these informations without being patronizing.
For me it was incredible to read how fast Harry and David change from persuing to being persued. And there is action, a lot of action. You never know what will happen next. Awesome!
For me me there is one obvious difference between I think the main difference between The Sweet Smell of Decay and A Plague of Sinners. The story is more complex. And the whole story is walked by a prose which is a bit more alluring, hefty, witty and vulgar than before. Story and prose build a wonderful unit.


Additional thoughts
What else to say? For me A Plague of Sinners was a satisfying read. It contains everything what I expect from an extraordinary good historical thriller. Or in other words

Recommendation
You really want a recommendation after this review? OK. I try to deliver one. I use my recommendation for The Sweet Smell of Decay as a base. But A Plague of Sinners deserves an own one.

You like intelligent, action paced historical thrillers set in 17th century England, with two lovable heroes who find their way - fighting, bleeding, thinking, pious - through a highly twisted story richly interspersed with historical information and delivered in a witty, hefty and alluring prose then you must read
A Plague of Sinners.

Or let me express it with a simple equation:

A Plague of Sinners = satisfying extraordinary good historical thriller

ADVICE: It is not mandatory to read The Sweet Smell of Decay before A Plague of Sinners but I highly recommend to do it. Why? If you don't do it you will miss a great read and the development of the main characters.

Additional information

Some more information about William Bell's Christian Astrology [ISBN-13: 978-1933303024].
"Named "Christian" to avoid hassles (some things never change), this is the most famous, the most celebrated astrology book in the English language. It has been prized by students ever since its first publication in 1647. The Horary Astrology in these pages, in the hands of a master, is no mere parlour game. It is demanding and precise, combining science and art. Properly used, it will give answer to any well-defined question. William Lilly, famous throughout England for his almanacs & forecasts (he predicted London's Great Fire of 1666), lived during the English Civil War & was a minor historical figure in it. Into his studio came the rich and poor, nobles and commoners, with problems great and small. This new edition restores Lilly's original page layouts, with marginalia. Modern spelling throughout, this edition includes Lilly's bibliography, his original index & a new glossary. Also includes his original woodblock charts, and their modern versions. This is Lilly's great work as he himself knew it.In this volume: Book 1, An Introduction to Astrology, containing the use of an ephemeris; the erecting of a scheme of heaven; nature of the twelve signs of the Zodiac, of the planets; with a most easy introduction to the whole art of astrology.
Book 2, The Resolution of All Manner of Questions, by a most methodical way, instructs the student how to judge or resolve all manner of questions contingent unto man, viz, of health, sickness, riches, marriage, preferment, journeys, etc. Some 35 questions inserted and judged." [Source]
For more information about the famous English astrologer William Lilly follow this link.

There is one more good news:
"The third chronicle is currently in the process of being edited and should be available early in 2011." [Source]
I assume we will meet Harry Lytle in London of 1666. I look forward to read a story set around the Great Fire of London. And I promise you that I will definitely read and review it.


About the Author
Paul was born in Wales, grew up in England, and spent several years living in, and nosing around, London. After joining BP he spent time working and living in Spain, Portugal and Japan before settling in Sydney, Australia, where he now lives with his wife and four children. He has author pages on Facebook and Goodreads [Source]

I highly recommend to visit the World of Harry Lytle which offers detailed information and Paul adds continuously more content.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Edi's Weekend Wave #26

3 comments
Hello and welcome to issue #26 of Edi's Weekend Wave. I must admit I look forward to upcoming Sunday. Germany vs England - the will be a game full of passion and emotion.

don't want to complain but the last week has been very disappointing for me from reading point of view. I instantly hope that it will change soon. Fingers crossed ...
Anyway on upcoming Monday you will get a review, a special one. So look forward. Enjoy reading ......

Edi's Guidepost

The Lighthouse
News and information straight from the horse's mouth by Lighthouse keeper ediFanoB
  1. What a month ....
Books
The latest report from our shelf shop net correspondent Bona
  1. Books received this week
  2. More science fiction for me: Hellhole by Kevin J Anderson and Brian Herbert
Blogosphere
Messages from the depths of the blogosphere by spheronaut Bona Fide
  1. Space Operas ...
Movies
Remote control junkie Fide and his zapping highlights
  1. The Green Hornet
  2. Gulliver's Travel
  3. Inception
Quotes
The member of the house of quotes and a quote himself the Keeper of the minutes ( we call him Kotm) fished for you
  1. German proverbs, sayings and idioms Ruin . . . . .

The Lighthouse

What a month! From reading point of view June 2010 is a complete disaster. So far I finished just one book! Four days to go until end of month. Would be a dream to finish a second book. Reasons? Several. Believe me that is totally frustrating. Same is with reviews and with posts. I imploringly hope that July will be a better month.
Enough lamentation.
I must pull myself together. I need a small but realistic plan for the rest of June.
Tomorrow I will get up early - when it is cool outside - and write a review. About which book? That will be a surprise. And this evening I will finally start reading The Dream of Perpetual Motion (2010, 432 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-0312558154] by Dexter Palmer and Dante's Journey (2010, 366 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-1953188094] by J C Marino.I hope it will work when I go to bed earlier and try to use the small hours when it is still cool and fresh outside.

That means you can expect a review on June 27th and a month end post on June 30th.
Enjoy your weekend ....

Books

Dear readers, I'm the one to tell you about books - only books? What about novellas and other stuff? My name is Bona. I scour shelves, shops and the net for books. If you call me a book whore I would not gainsay you. But be aware I have my own, sometimes elusive taste.

This week we received (drum roll) two books like last week. They are completely different but have one similarity: both are books of a series.
Let's start with fantasy.
Terra Incognita - It is an age of sailing ships and unexplored seas, incomplete maps with entire areas marked "terra incognita." Two joined continents, two different cultures, two opposing religions. [Source]
The Map of All Things (2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0316004213] by Kevin J Anderson is the second book in the Terra Incognita series.
"After terrible atrocities by both sides, the religious war between Tierra and Uraba has spread and intensified, irreparably dividing the known world. What started as a series of skirmishes has erupted into a full-blown crusade.
Now that the Uraban leader, Soldan-Shah Omra, has captured the ruined city of Ishalem, his construction teams discover a priceless ancient map in an underground vault - a map that can guide brave explorers to the mysterious Key to Creation. Omra dispatches his adoptive son Saan to sail east across the uncharted Middlesea on a quest to find it.
In Tierra, Captain Criston Vora has built a grand new vessel, and sets out to explore the great unknown and find the fabled land of Terravitae. But Criston cannot forget his previous voyage that ended in shipwreck and disaster . . . and the loss of his beloved wife Adrea, who - unbeknownst to him - fights to survive against palace intrigues and constant threats against her life in far-off Uraba. For Adrea is now the wife of the soldan-shah and mother of his adopted son . . .
The Map of All Things continues Kevin J Anderson's epic fantasy of sailing ships, crusading armies, sea monsters and enchanted islands." [Source]
The next book has nothing to do with fantasy and science fiction. But it belongs to great series where none of the "heroes" is younger than 70. And I can tell you when I will be as alive as the protagonists of the Gladdy Gold series when I'm that old I would by totally glad.
Getting Old is Très Dangereux (2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0440245421] by Rita Lakin is the sixth adventure of Gladdy Gold and her "Gladiators. And believe me I can't wait to read what the will do this time.
"In Fort Lauderdale, self-proclaimed private eye Gladdy Gold is less interested in her cases than in her whirlwind romance with silver-haired Jack Langford. But just as Jack is about to pop the question to Gladdy, a curvaceous redhead from France interrupts with a mysterious agenda. She and Jack, it turns out, will always have Paris. And to make the matters worse, the seductress is being stalked by a killer.
Michélle DuBois is famous for her steamy bestselling exposés - and now someone wants to silence her forever. While Jack is bodyguarding his former lover, Gladdy must save her busybody friends from the pricey séances of a phony-baloney New Age guru. That's when Gladdy comes face-to-face with a dear departed friend with a message ....
Between a little jealousy and a geriatric assassin, Jack is in more danger than he knows. And Gladdy is the one woman with the je ne sais quoi that could just save this life." [Back of the book]
Come on, did you ever read a book with a geriatric assassin?

It seems there will be another interesting science fiction book for me. It will the beginning of a new series and it will be published in October 2010. I talk about Hellhole (October 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-1847374264] by Kevin J Anderson and Brian Herbert.
"Only the most desperate would ever dare to make a new home on Hellhole, a planet ravaged by natural disasters. Persistent volcanic eruptions, destructive storms and recent damage inflicted by asteroid impact make the planet a dumping ground for undesirables, misfits and charlatans. But its location out on the wild frontiers of the Constellation, among the Deep Zone worlds, makes it the final refuge for those fleeing from the rule of Diadem Michella Duchenet - a tyrant with a sweet face, but a dark and heardened heart.
General Adolphus, the military leader exiled to the planet when he was defeated in the first revolution against the Diadem, is determined to transform Hellhole into a place of opportunity. While the colonists are diligently working to develop the planet, the General is forging secret alliances with the leaders of the other Deep Zone worlds. He dreams of turning his prison into the centre of a new coalition of planets free from the Diadem's iron grip.
Back on the decadent capital planet of Sonjeera, surrounded by corruption and consumed by the plots and feuds of the old guard nobles, Diadem Michella is confident that the General has been neutralized. She has no idea of the revolt growing in the Deep Zone . . . or does she?
But what no one knows is this: the planet Hellhole, though damaged and volatile, hides secrets of historic magnitude. Lurking beneath the surface are the remnants of an obliterated alien civilization, detailing an unrecorded past, which, if unearthed, could tear the fragile human civilization apart." [Source]
Sound like stuff I would like to read.

No more today, see you next week ......

Blogosphere

Hey, I'm Bona Fide. I just came back from my last foray through the blogosphere. What can you expect from me? I tell you: Everything from Art to Fart as long as there is any faint connection to books. And here is some honey from the beehive blogosphere...

Do you read science fiction? Do you like space operas? Than I have a great link for you
SF Signal MIND MELD: The Best Space Operas in Science Fiction.

I like steampunk and I work with PCs. That means I like gadgets like this steampunk USB drive which you can see when you follow this link.

When you think fake ATM is a problem of the western world only you are wrong. Just read Fake ATM in Beijing steals from bank customers.

That's it for today. Come back next week for more ......

Movies

Hey, it's me Fide. I'm a remote control professional. I'm that fast that I can watch two movies at the same time.
But don't worry. All the stuff I present to you will be shown at normal speed.

Surprise, surprise. I found three trailers for you. One for summer 2010, one for Christmas 2010 and one for January 2011.

Let's start with the future. In January 2011 another masked superhero movie will hit the cinemas. I talk about The Green Hornet. Watch the trailer. Seems to be a more funny movie. And following the trend it will be in 3D.


Christmas time is perfect for familiy movies. And it seems this year there will be a movie which I would like to see. Gulliver's Travel starring Jack Black.
Plot:
"Lemuel Gulliver, a free-spirited travel writer who, on an assignment to the Bermuda Triangle, suddenly finds himself a giant among men when he washes ashore on the hidden island of Liliput, home to a population of industrious, yet tiny, people." [Source]

Do you remember the novels by Jonathan Swift?

Finally there will be a movie which will hit the cinemas in July 2010: Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
"Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming"
Watch the impressive trailer.



That's all for today. See you next time....

Quotes

I 'm the Keeper of the minutes. But I don't mind when you call me Kotm. No, no. I don't explain to you how to pronounce.
In one way or the other ediFanoB is a weird character. And sometimes I do not really understand why he acts like he acts. Sometimes it looks ruinous for me. That is the reason why I searched for quotes containing ruin.
Here we go ...

"The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.
Clarence Darrow, US defense lawyer (1857 - 1938)


"An enemy can partly ruin a man, but it takes a good-natured injudicious friend to complete the thing and make it perfect.
Mark Twain,US novelist (1835 - 1910)


"Crying is the refuge of plain women, but the ruin of pretty ones.
Oscar Wilde, Irish novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)


"The happiness of most people we know is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.
Ernest Dimnet


"My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can't decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.
Rita Rudner, US comedian

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Edi's Lighthouse Chatter: The Storm Guardians by Stephen Zimmer

0 comments
As promised yesterday, today I present you - how shall a name it - my package of the week. Some of you may know that I like Stephen Zimmer and his books.
He is the author of Crown of Vengeance (pb 2009, 612 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-0982565612], the first book in The Fires of Eden series.
This is the cover, the setup and the trailer.
"Imagine you go out for a walk. After a while a thick and strange mist comes down within minutes. Can happen. But to look in a unusual blue-greenish sky after the mist has disappeared is nothing you would expect. And that is what happens to eleven inhabitants - just people like you and me - of a midwestern town in United States. Janus Roland and the others have entered the world of Ave. A world on the edge of war. A mysterious being called The Unifier is on the way to gain the power over Ave for his more mysterious master. But the people of the Saxan Kingdom and the tribes in the Five Realms confederation are the last bastion and the last hope for the peoples of Ave.... And what is the role of the people from earth?"
For more information read my review of Crown of Vengeance.

Stephen is also the author of a second series: The Rising Dawn Saga. I read and reviewed The Exodus Gate (pb 2009, 566 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-0615267470], the first book in the series.
"Benedict Darwin, host of a popular late night radio show that deals with the paranormal, comes into possession of a virtual reality simulator that turns out to be something far greater and more powerful than he ever expected.
Supernatural powers from the Abyss and their human allies are working tirelessly to bring about a One World Government, bridging the boundaries of time and space to bring back the Nephilim, the offspring of Fallen Avatars and humans, who were destroyed in a Great Flood that occurred long ages ago.
On the verge of enslaving the entire world, the vast forces within the Abyss under their proud and defiant ruler Diabolos are more powerful than ever before, and they hunger to shake the foundations of Heaven itself. A Convergence of unprecedented proportions is underway, as meticulously designed plans from malevolent otherworldly powers, set into motion at the foundation of the world, begin to unfold.
In the face of this rising storm, other powers begin to come together to resist. A most unlikely group begins to form, including high school student Seth Engel and his friends, who witness pony-sized wolves during a hike in a forest where wolves have not been seen in decades, to Benedict, his niece Arianna, and even souls existing within the afterworld. The Exodus Gate sets in motion many new forces and unexpected allies that are not going to allow their world and those beyond to fall without a fight."
I did not like the whole book. I have had some problems with what I call the religious trace. For details please read my review (follow the link above).

BUT I promised Stephen to read an review the next book in the series: The Storm Guardians (pb 2010, 543 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-0982565636].
"Storms break out across the world and the realms beyond, as the Convergence seeks to advance its worldwide agenda, and Diabolos unleashes great powers from the depths of the Abyss.
The Fallen Avatar Beleth’s legions pour across the boundaries of Purgatarion, even as the Night Hunt is loosed once again, in the modern world. Dagian readies for a monumental unveiling of Babylon Technology’s greatest invention, a technology that holds grave implications for every living person on the face of the world.
It is a time when the Exiles in the Middle Lands, the An-Ki, and many others are falling under the shadow of the Abyss. Guardians of all forms, great and small, must rise to resist as the storm of darkness spreads. From high school students Seth, Jonathan, and Annika, to Ian, Arianna, and the others of humankind that have been drawn into the spiraling course of events, choices with dangerous consequences have to be made.
An epic tale of resolve and heroism, The Storm Guardians takes the reader farther and deeper into the Rising Dawn Saga."
Stephen talked about his book on Memphis television station WPTY and you can watch it now:


So far I told and showed you a lot about Stephen Zimmer and his books but nothing about my package of the week. It is directly connected to The Storm Guardians.
Your assumption is true. Stephen has been so kind as to send me a copy of The Storm Guardians. So far, so good. That is neither unusual nor special. But I received a package and there was a lot more space than you need for a book.
Beside the book I received:
Two poster, two A4 cover cards,three bookmarks, nine art cards featuring illustrations by Matthew Perry and ..... a t-shirt.
It was like Christmas. As you all know pictures tell more than thousand words I show you everything I got. From my point of view Matthew Perry did once again a great job with the cover and the illustrations.
Row one = Two posters, The book and two A4 cover cards
Row two = Back of the Book, Nine art cards and three bookmarks
Row three = Four art cards part one, Four art cards part two
Row four = T-Shirt, T-Shirt with two A4 cover cards
Click on picture for larger version

































Does this look like bribery? Maybe for some people. But not for me. Stephen will get nothing more than a honest and fair review of The Storm Guardians.

Anyway I want to say thank you to Stephen. I like the content of the package a lot and I look forward to read and review The Storm Guardians. I'm nosy to see whether it works better for me or not. I try to be cautious with promises but I'm sure that you can read my review of The Storm Guardians in July 2010.

Dear Readers, that gives you the opportunity, to read my reviews of Crown of Vengeance and The Exodus Gate.
If you want to read something beyond mainstream then go, buy and read

Crown of Vengeance

The Exodus Gate

The Storm Guardians

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Edi's Weekend Wave #25

2 comments
Hello and welcome to issue #25 of Edi's Weekend Wave. I don't want to complain but the last week has been very disappointing for me from reading point of view. I instantly hope that it will change soon. Fingers crossed ...
Anyway on upcoming Monday you will get a review, a special one. So look forward. Enjoy reading ......

Edi's Guidepost

The Lighthouse
News and information straight from the horse's mouth by Lighthouse keeper ediFanoB
  1. What I do and try to do ....
Books
The latest report from our shelf shop net correspondent Bona
  1. Books received this week
Blogosphere
Messages from the depths of the blogosphere by spheronaut Bona Fide
  1. Bona Fide goes visual ....
Movies
Remote control junkie Fide and his zapping highlights
  1. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Quotes
The member of the house of quotes and a quote himself the Keeper of the minutes ( we call him Kotm) fished for you
  1. German proverbs, sayings and idioms AUSTRALIAN PROVERBS . . . . .

The Lighthouse

As I told you last week, I watched several 2010 FIFA World Cup games. Of course it is a lot easier to watch TV instead of reading books or blogging when you are drained.
Anyway A Plague of Sinners (May 2010, 448 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-1905636914], by Paul Lawrence is a great read. I like it very much. I'm halfway through. It seems I'm not the right reader for short stories. In the meantime I read several stories of Swords & Dark Magic (July 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0061723810], edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders. But I'm not really happy with them because every I time when I get comfortable with the writing of an authors the story ends. Maybe there will be one or more authors where I want to read more.
Hopefully I can start reading The Dream of Perpetual Motion (2010, 432 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-0312558154] by Dexter Palmer within next week.
I don't know how but I found a little bit time to play Super Mario Galaxy 2 and it is absolutely awesome!!
Enjoy your weekend.....

Books

Dear readers, I'm the one to tell you about books - only books? What about novellas and other stuff? My name is Bona. I scour shelves, shops and the net for books. If you call me a book whore I would not gainsay you. But be aware I have my own, sometimes elusive taste.

This week we received (drum roll) two books. Today I present you one. The other one deserves an own post which you can read tomorrow. It has been a pleasant surprise because I received not only a book ....

Blood Royal (2010) [ISBN-13: 978-1906735302] by Jonathan Green which is the 6th book in the PAX BRITANNIA series. Ad I like the series a lot.
"Magna Britannia reels from the events that we saw some of its citizens mutated into hideous insect hybrids. The strets are awash with rumors of a twisted new religion created from the destruction surrounding St Paul's Cathedral. In Europe, the spectre of wars rears its ugly head, a war fought by unnatural beings. In the centre of the chaos, hero of the Empire, Ulysses Quicksilver, must maintain his calm, while madness reigns and he fights to protect civilisation itself. From the insect-haunted streets of a shattered London, to the cold snowy wastes of Russia, Ulysses finds himself on an adventure into the heart of a dark and bloody empire." [Source: back of the book]

I really look forward to read it (I know, I know, I write this too often). By the way, the book contains an additional story titled White Rabbit.

No more today, see you next week ......

Blogosphere

Hey, I'm Bona Fide. I just came back from my last foray through the blogosphere. What can you expect from me? I tell you: Everything from Art to Fart as long as there is any faint connection to books. And here is some honey from the beehive blogosphere...

This week I could not spend much time in the blogosphere. I'm afraid of opening my google reader. I don't want to drown in unread items. So I thought about alternatives. And this is the result: Bona Fide goes visual. That means I will offer you some interesting links which mostly are not related to books. But sometimes we should have a lookt beyond books. Hope you like my unorthodox selection ....

The Man In The Iron Mask

Unusual and Marvelous Maps, Part 2

Real Ghost Ships: 10 Mysterious Abandoned Sea Vessels

Troopers Behaving Badly: More Off-Duty Stormtrooper Bloopers


No Dearth of Darth: 100 Artistic Versions of Vader

Anyway there is No Escape

That's it for today. Come back next week for more ......

Movies

Hey, it's me Fide. I'm a remote control professional. I'm that fast that I can watch two movies at the same time.
But don't worry. All the stuff I present to you will be shown at normal speed.

Summer is coming nearer and that means less movie trailers. Instead of a movie trailer I present you two videos about the upcoming game (2011) The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. The game has been one of the E3 2010 highlights. Don't miss to read the IGN E3 2010: The Witcher 2 Preview. Now enjoy a gameplay video and part one of the developer's diary.




That's all for today. See you next time....

Quotes

I 'm the Keeper of the minutes. But I don't mind when you call me Kotm. No, no. I don't explain to you how to pronounce.
2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Today as tribute to the Australian team I present you Australian proverbs. Why? Because the guys did a great job versus Ghana. Finally it was a draw but in my eyes Australia is the winner by hearts. Here we go ...

"Those who lose dreaming are lost.
Aboriginal Australian proverb


"Keep your eyes on the sun and you will not see the shadows.
Aboriginal Australian proverb


"A 1000 miles journey starts with a single step.
Aboriginal Australian proverb


"The more you know, the less you need.
Aboriginal Australian proverb


"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home.
Aboriginal Australian proverb

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Edi's Lighthouse Chatter: Sign Of Life

2 comments
Dear Readers,

just want to let you know that I'm still alive and so is the blog. It is just a period of time where a lot of things don't go the way I wanted. Happens!

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Anyway I will be back with my Weekend Wave on Saturday and a special post on Sunday.

Beside that I hope to present some reviews soon.

In the meantime enjoy reading ...... books.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Edi's Spotlight: Combined review of Burning Skies by David J. Williams

2 comments
Hello dear readers,
following review will be posted here and over at Seak's Stamp of Approval. You may ask why. In order to get answer for this question, just continue reading.....


This is nothing new under the sun. Two guys decide to write a combined review. This is something new ..... for us. It is our debut. For the first time ever Seak and ediFanoB went into a huddle – virtually. Mails made it possible.
Enough chitchat! Before we go into details we proudly present our "victim.
Science fiction - 22nd century - Settlements on the moon - Space stations - Cyber space - Terrorism - Second book in the Autumn Rain series ...... This is (drum roll):

Burning Skies (2009) [ISBN-13: 978-0553385427] by David J. Williams
"Life as U.S. counterintelligence agent Claire Haskell once knew it is in tatters - her mission betrayed, her lover dead, and her memories of the past suspect. Worse, the defeat of the mysterious insurgent group known as Autumn Rain was not as complete as many believed. It is quickly becoming clear that the group's ultimate goal is not simply to destroy the tenuous global alliances of the 22nd century - but to rule all of humanity. And they're starting with the violent destruction of the Net and the assassination of the U.S. president. Now it's up to Claire, with her ability to jack her brain into the systems of the enemy, to win this impossible war.
Battling ferociously across the Earth-Moon system, and navigating a complex world filled with both steadfast loyalists and ruthless traitors, Claire must be ready for the Rain's next move. But the true enemy may already be one step ahead of her."
Neither of us is either as talented as David J. Williams nor we are literary critics.
That means we can deliver only a whiff of the Burning Skies pace and atmosphere.
But we deliver you our honest impression of the book. We talk about things, the three W's.
Come on you should know what does this means:
What = the story, Where = the world, Who = the characters
Finally we round off the picture with additional thoughts and er, er, er, a recommendation.

And now lift the curtain. and read the two two cents from Seak and ediFanoB:

The Story

Seak
Loved the story especially the twists and turns that come out of nowhere. You're convinced that a character is on one side and suddenly he's on the other, but is he really? Who knows. The Burning Skies kept me guessing the whole time while surprising me constantly.

Edi
Burning Skies continues where The Mirrored Heavens ended. And David J. Williams is getting better which is a surprise because Burning Skies has been a great read. There is more action, more intrigues, more fights, more character insights. It is a gripping mix of brawn and brain. The twists and turns forced me to read several passages again. Who is friend or fiend? Who follows which plans? There is no time to stop and think about it because you have permanently fight for you live. You even don't know if your memories are real or just hacked by someone else. The story is told in present tense which intensify the story. The point of view changes often which can be a bit confusing at times. All in all it is an extraordinary good "middle" book of a series. It is even possible to read Burning Skies without know The Mirrored Heavens! But I highly, highly recommend to start with The Mirrored Heavens because it makes it easier to understand the story and it is an awesome read. Anyway I like to use pictures.
Burning Skies is like a roller coaster ride where you wear a helmet with no visor and you get permanently conflicting information of your surrounding and yourself. And during the ride you have to hit the bull's eye with darts. ATTENTION: Don't forget to breathe!


The Characters

Seak
I really like Spencer for some reason. Maybe I relate to him the most. I love a story where the little is expected of a character, but he blows you away and overcomes the odds. I also can't get the scene out of my head of Linehan jumping through space without a suit on. That was just plain awesome and he's just plain crazy.

What's great is that you're going back and forth between each of the characters so quickly that although it's harder to get to know them, the sense of mystery about each of them is kept up. The power-team of 3 is also just cool. What can't they blow their way through?

Edi
The paperback copy contains a page titled Dramatis Personae which shows the names and the aka of the main characters. I think you need it because David J Williams uses sometimes the first name or the last name or the aka for his persons. That makes it difficult to identify them during the faced paced action. Each of the main characters has his own background story and personality which makes them believable. I must say I have been fascinated by Claire Haskell aka Manilishi. Used by different parties, never sure about her own memories but intelligent. She is a highly skilled super-razor. what will be her fate? You never know who will survive. Survive as a human being or as a peace of software.


The World

Seak
The world is a very real not-to-distant future. The idea behind the Zone is completely realistic, I mean, everything's already connected digitally and it's almost like the hackers (razers) have realistic magical powers to be able to quickly hack an attack before it comes at them.

The world building in general was a bit confusing for me because of the fast-paced nature of the story. I had a hard time visualizing the Europa platform especially during the huge fight scene that goes on for half the book.

Edi
I agree with Seak in this case. My paperback copy contains a picture of the EUROPA PLATFORM with explanations which is helpful. The interesting thing is that David J. Williams took a lot of things directly from NASA papers. Anyway I highly recommend to read his guest posts over at Mentatjack where the author explains parts of the technology.
David J Williams Guest Post1 - Space-elevator
David J Williams Guest Post 2 - O'Neill-cylinders
David J Williams Guest Post 3 - Project Orion
And of course you should not miss a visit of the Autumn Rain Trilogy site.


Additional thoughts

Seak
I still think the razer/mech pairing is awesome and creates some interesting twists because of how much the razer knows that the mech just has to accept. I liked the idea of programmed memories and objectives. You have to start the mission before you even know what you're supposed to do. That was really interesting especially the way Williams worked that to further the plot.

Edi
The whole concept of the series is great. From beginning to end Burning Skies (and also The Mirrored Heavens) is an unbelievable good mix of continuously action, technology and physics on a high level which catapults you though the story. Can't wait to read the conclusion of the series: The Machinery Of Light. And this mix , this perfect mix of physics, technology, and action continuously propels the action in Burning Skies, from start to finish.

Recommendation

Seak
Definitely recommended. I liked Burning Skies even more than The Mirrored Heavens. We got to see more of the characters' point of view and there was even more non-stop action and it was really cool too. :)

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Edi
I don't have a rating system. I thought it would be a good idea to give word to one of the characters. And this is the message I received from Strom Carson (aka the Operative): "What the f*ck you want from me? You shouldn't trust Seak and ediFanoB. They are definitely members of Rain. Why the f*ck you hesitate to buy and read Burning Skies? We deliver you a hell of a ride. I promise you non-stop, breath taking action. We f*ck your brain until you no more longer know if you are male or female. Do you really exist? Or are you just a peace shit of software which easily can be deleted? There is only one way to find out: Read the Autumn Rain trilogy!!!" I'm sorry for the rude remarks. You will understand when you read the books.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Edi's Weekend Wave #24

2 comments
Hello and welcome to issue #24 of Edi's Weekend Wave. I don't want to complain but the last week has been very disappointing for me from reading point of view. I instantly hope that it will change soon. Fingers crossed ...
Anyway on upcoming Monday you will get a review, a special one. So look forward. Enjoy reading ......

Edi's Guidepost

The Lighthouse
News and information straight from the horse's mouth by Lighthouse keeper ediFanoB
  1. This and that
Books
The latest report from our shelf shop net correspondent Bona
  1. Books received this week
Blogosphere
Messages from the depths of the blogosphere by spheronaut Bona Fide
  1. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  2. Dante's Journey by J. C. Marino
Movies
Remote control junkie Fide and his zapping highlights
  1. A short film
  2. Jonah Hex news
Quotes
The member of the house of quotes and a quote himself the Keeper of the minutes ( we call him Kotm) fished for you
  1. German proverbs, sayings and idioms AFRICAN PROVERBS . . . . .

The Lighthouse

Next four weeks I will havemore than one look at 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. I will definitely watch all the games of the German team. a look at the FIFA 2010. My reading is going down the drain. After twelve days in June not even one book finished. Anyway I will definitely read and review following three books:
A Plague of Sinners (May 2010, 448 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-1905636914], by Paul Lawrence, Swords & Dark Magic (July 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0061723810], edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders and The Dream of Perpetual Motion (2010, 432 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-0312558154] by Dexter Palmer. The rest will depend ...
Of course I try tofollow my schedule but as my colleagues always say a plan is just a plan.


Books

Dear readers, I'm the one to tell you about books - only books? What about novellas and other stuff? My name is Bona. I scour shelves, shops and the net for books. If you call me a book whore I would not gainsay you. But be aware I have my own, sometimes elusive taste.

This week we received more books than we read and has been a little bit sad in case of reading. We received just one book. That means we did not read even one book. Shame on you ediFanoB. We expect you will read more next week. And now straight away to the book .....
The Folding Knife (2010, 501p.) [ISBN-13: 978-1841495125] by K.J. Parker is her 11th full novel. I own copies of seven books.The rest will follow.
"Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. Basso the Murderer. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man. He is ruthless, cunning and, above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he's only ever made one mistake. One mistake, though, can be enough." [Source]
I admire K. J. Parker's writing. Beyond my admiration I deliver you three good reasons why you should read The Folding Knife too. The Folding Knife by K. J. Parker (reviewed Liviu Suciu)
Blood of the muse: The Folding Knife by K. J. Parker
Grasping For The Wind: The Folding Knife by K. J. Parker

No more today, see you next week ......

Blogosphere

Hey, I'm Bona Fide. I just came back from my last foray through the blogosphere. What can you expect from me? I tell you: Everything from Art to Fart as long as there is any faint connection to books. And here is some honey from the beehive blogosphere...

270x300

As you may know, #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, is launching a grand cycle of his own, The Stormlight Archive. Book one, The Way of Kings, introduces the three protagonists who will be our windows on the world of Roshar and the drama about to unfold there....

Today, in association with Tor Books, we are thrilled to be launching an exclusive preview of The Way of Kings. It comes out in print, audio, and ebook form on August 31st, but right now, you can read the prologues and the first three chapters only on Tor.com.

The preview is available to registered users, so sign in with your Tor.com username and password to read it.

You can keep up with all our posts on Brandon Sanderson and the Stormlight Archive on our Way of Kings Index page.

In case you are an avid book blog reader you know this information. Don't worry, I don't post the whole preview. If you don't like to sign in then you should visit Aidan's blog A Dribble Of Ink. He got permission to offer download of the text in different formats. Of course it is for free. I hope to read it within this weekend.

Anyway I like to add some more information. Due to Tor the Stormlight Archives should consist of ten volumes.
Due to Amazon The Way of Kings is listed 1008 pages long. And finally this ist he product description from Amazon.de:
"Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Brandon Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own, one every bit as ambitious and immersive.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths,

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.
The Knights Radiant must stand again."
Recently blogger fellow Seak reviewed Dante's Journey [ISBN-13: 978-1935188094] by J. C. Marino. Once again I have to say a big thankyou to Shellie from Layers of Thought. She told J.C.Marino about me and my blog. A few days later I received a mail from the author asking me if I would like to read and review his book. Based on Seak's review I said yes. I know that sounds crazy due to my reading experience in the past 12 days. But I hope that will change soon.
"A flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world-Hell itself. Joe was in hot pursuit of his family's killer, drug lord Filippo Argenti, when both were killed, and isn't about to let a little thing like death slow him down. So, with a healthy dose of New England stubbornness and the help of a mysterious guide, Virgil DiMini, Joe must evade angry demons, and search ever-lower through the rings of the original Dante's Inferno in hopes of finding justice for his wife and children. However, Joe will soon discover that behind every sin lies a secret and each secret revealed could land Joe in an eternity of hot water... VERY hot."

That's it for today. Come back next week for more ......

Movies

Hey, it's me Fide. I'm a remote control professional. I'm that fast that I can watch two movies at the same time.
But don't worry. All the stuff I present to you will be shown at normal speed.

This week I present you a real gem. Hollywood showed interest in this sci-fi short movie:
"Chris Black possesses a power that could lead to the destruction of the current regime, and they will stop at nothing to destroy him. The chase is on as Chris runs for his life in this sci-fi thriller set in an alternate and futuristic Los Angeles." [Source]

For more information visit: THE RAVEN FILM on Facebook

I posted about Jonah Hex in issue #18 of Edi's Weekend Wave. Now I found a new video for you. Bullets, bullets, bullets ...
Jonah Hex Exclusive Clip

Trailer Park Movies | MySpace Video


That's all for today. See you next time....

Quotes

I 'm the Keeper of the minutes. But I don't mind when you call me Kotm. No, no. I don't explain to you how to pronounce.
2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. And what else can you expect than African porverbs. Here we go ...

"No one tests the depth of a river with both feet.
African proverb


"A camel never sees its own hump.
African proverb


"Everybody has been young before, but not everybody has been old before.
African proverb


"Do not try to fight a lion if you are not one yourself.
African proverb


"Not to know is bad. Not to wish to know is worse.
African proverb


"Knowledge is like a garden; if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.
African proverb

Monday, June 07, 2010

Edi's Spotlight: Swords and Dark Magic - Part I

0 comments
As I told you before, I want to read and review an anthology. The book contains and instruction and 17 stories.
I will read and review in pairs except today where I review three stories.
Before we go into details let me say thank you to EOS for the ARC of Swords & Dark Magic (July 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0061723810], edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders.
"Swords & Dark Magic is the most important new fantasy anthology to be published this decade. Featuring new stories from the bestselling and brightest writers working in the genre, including: New York Times bestselling authors Scott Lynch and Garth Nix; genre greats Michael Moorcock (with an all-new Elric novella), Michael Shea (with a fully authorized new Cugel the Clever adventure), Robert Silverberg (with an all-new Majipoor tale), Glen Cook (with an all-new Black Company story), Gene Wolfe, and C. J. Cherryh; and hot new writers who've been re-inventing swords and sorcery like Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Tim Lebbon, and many more." [Back of the book]

Advice
You should definitely read the very informative introduction by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders.

I never reviewed short stories before.For me it is really different. We will see where it ends ......


Bloodsport (17 pages) by Gene Wolfe who is best known for his Book of the New Sun series.
This has been my first Gene Wolfe read.

To be honest I read the story twice and I'm still not sure whether I understood it or not.
This is the story about the knight Valorius- told by himself - who takes part in the Game. The Game is played by kingdoms and it is chess like with real persons as token. Valorius meets a female token named Lurn .
Every word more would be a spoiler ...

My take: It is definitely not my favorite story of the anthology. I read it with a kind of distance.


The Singing Spear (11 pages) by James Enge, the author of the Ambrose series.
This is a story about Enge's favorite character Morlock Ambrosius, a wandering magician and swordsman who has obviously a problem with alcohol. The Singing Spear is a weapon named Andhrakar which has been made by Morlock. And this weapon influences people....

My take: An introduction to the unusual character Morlock Ambrosius. After this story you will know whether you want to read more stories with Morlock or not. The story is clearly structured and contains a bit humor.


A Wizard in Wiscezan (34 pages) by C J Cherryh, author of more than fourty books and winner of several prices. And yes, I don't now any of her books.
This is the story of the magician Cazimir Eisal who lost his interceder and now lives hidden together with his last remaining apprentices Willem, Jezzy and Almore. One day a stranger named Tewk appears and change their lives ...

My take: I really liked C J Cherryh's prose. The story contains dosed action, a pinch of humor and magic. It is a story about trust and self-confidence. I definitely need to have a deeper look at one of her series.

That's all for today. More stories coming soon.
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