2012 Monday Book Picks

My 2012 Monday book picks from the Blog

Princess Valerie's War: A Space Viking Novel by Terry Mancour
The second in a series that follows on to one of my favorite books, Space Viking. This is follow up book to Prince of Tanith, which was my pick back on 12/12/11.. There is clearly at least one more book after this one.

The Man From the Broken Hills by Louis L'Amour
The master of the American Western sets the bar high with this tale of Milo Talon showing what it means to ride for the brand.

Obama Sutra - An Illustrated Guide To 57 States of Ecstasy by Stilton Jarlsberg
This book is fornicating histerical! A humorous look at all the problems, screw ups, coverups and flat out incompetance of our Dear Leader explained in terms of doing the nasty! If you don't get one of the 'positions', don't worry, at that end of the book he gives the details behind each one.

Perigee by Patrick Chiles
A near future novel about the way we should be traveling now! A ripping good yarn with steely eyed Missile Men and Women doing the Right Stuff. To make it even better, the science is so hard it throbs.

The Sixth Column by Robert A. Heinlein
The first published work by Robert Heinlein, originally as a serial in the pulps of the 1940s. Based on an outline by John Campbell, Heinlein took some of the edge off the overt racism in the outline. Keep in mind that was written in the 1940s and incidents such as the Rape of Nanking were know. It's good Heinlein, not great Heinlein.

The Steampunk Detective by Darrel Pitt
A light hearted hat tip to Sherlock Holmes, with a thinly disgusied WWI vet operating in a Steampunk 1920s. The author includes characters and references from multiple sources of the Holmes era, including Bram Stoker's Dracula. The detective's young ward, an orphaned high wire artist, is a references to Bob Kane's best known character's first sidekick. There have been a bunch of books lately that float on sea of historical and literary references, ranging from the extremely well done (the Anno Dracula) series, to bizarre shock lit (The Adventures of Ned the Seal). The Steampunk Detective falls somewhere in the middle of that. This book can be read by young teens (or younger), where the other two would not be a good choice for young audience.

Hope n' Change: The First 100 Daze by Stilton Jarlsberg, MD
The first e-book from the Hope n' Change webcomic is now available! Check it out and enjoy!

Knox's Irregulars by J. Wesley Bush
Nice bit of Military Science Fiction. It has powered armor, drone attacks, high tech aircraft and down and dirty partisan Guerrilla warfare.

Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up by Katie Pavlich
Here are the details about the blood drenched Obama policy of supplying Mexican drug lords with firearms, while at the same time working to deny Americans their Second Amendment Rights. Not only have numerous Mexicans lost their lives to the Obama policy of having the ATF supply firearms to Mexican Drug cartels, US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by a Mexican drug cartel member using a weapon supplied by the Obama adminstration.

SEAL Team Six: The Novel by Chuck Dixon
A nice action novel about SEALs in the unit formerly known as SEAL Team Six. Here they are hunting Islamic terrorists who are finding and grooming "home grown" terrorists. It's not about the fancy gear, or the politics behind the scenes, it's about Good Guys finding and killing Bad Guys. For a $0.99 Kindle ebook, it certainly delivers value for your money. When I finished it, I was happy to find out it was the first in a planned series.

Act of Valor by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi
The Memorial Day edition of the Monday Book Pick is the book version of the movie Act of Valor. Filmed with real Navy SEALs playing Navy SEALs, the story follows a SEAL team on a series of missions that starts with the rescue of a DEA agent being tourtured by drug dealers. We're not talking faux tourture like water boarding either. Intelligence gathered on that mission puts them on the trail of a terrorist planning on bringing death and destruction to America. Multiple reviews by combat vets state that this is one of the most realistic military movies they have ever seen.

The Monster in the Mist (A Chronological Man Adventure) by Andrew Mayne
Executive Summary: Steampunk version of Doctor Who, with a bit of other pulp references tossed in. I give it a thumbs up for being a fun read and definately worth the $0.99 for the ebook download. It's the first in a series, with the second book also out in the wild. The hero is clearly based on the 11th Doctor, who only travels forward in time. He spends long periods in storage beneath a building he owns in Boston, coming out only when the clockwork computer that monitors events decides that there is something worth cracking him out of cold storage. This time, it is a rash of disapperances in the fog that brings him out in 1890. He even has a companion. A young woman who maintains the office and keeps up on current events. The hero Smith, just Smith, also has a warehouse of gadgets that would make Doc Savage proud, but he won't show up for a few more decades.

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
I saw this book in the "New Science Fiction" section at a local bookseller. So "new" means published in the last 100 years, since this book was originally released in 1912! It is a classic, well worth the reprinting. One of the favorite early childhood books of both my brother and myself. I still have that hardcover edition with the Ape-English dictionary in the back.

Loose Cannon: The Tom Kelly Novels by David Drake
A pair of Cold War with Aliens thrillers sharing the same hero/anti-hero, Tom Kelly. Tom Kelly is a spy, and not the sauve, Vodka martini drinking type of spy that that era made famous. Nope, Kelly is a roll up your sleeves and get the job done, regardless of where the chips may fly type of spy. The ladies still love him, probably because is a seriously "bad boy." Ok, not a bad "boy", he is a man who lives by his rules, not the rules of the agencies that employ him. If you are looking for gritty action with a healthy dose of aliens, settle down in a comfortable chair and get to know Tom Kelly.

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
Mr. Newman starts with the premise that the so-called "heros" of Bram Stoker's Dracula screwed the pooch and were slaughtered like the incompetent buffoons they appeared to be. With them out of the way, Dracula pretty much has his bloody way with England. This includes having his bloody way with Queen Victoria. Yup, Prince Consort Dracula. Being a vampire becomes fashionable in Jolly Old England. Causes a bit of an upheaval to the social order. Yup, the Vampires are out of the closet for good. I really enjoyed this book and even better, it is the first in series.

Tax Payers' Tea Party: How to Become Politically Active -- and Why by Sharon Cooper with illustrations by Chuck Asay
Since the vote for Independence was passed on July 2, 1776, I'm going with a political book the founders would have approved of. This book is about citizen government, i.e. a government that works for the citizens not the other way around. It is a manual on how to get involved in politics at a grass roots level. It encourages people to become knowledgeable on the current political issues and lists ways to effectively communicate with elected government representatives.

Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race by Dick Morris
With Drudge running the story that Dr. Rice is on the shortlist for a VP pick by Gov. Romney, I have to go with this 2005 book that details how then Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice could beat then democrat frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale by Mike Resnick
Executive Summary: Steampunk at the OK Corral, with Indian Medicine Men casting real Magick (for a dash of Shadowrun tossed in for flavor). Bonus points for a young Thomas Edison with a specially harded bronze mechanical arm. Other than that, it's a pretty historically accurate recounting of the events leading up to, and the events after, the Gunfight at the OK Corral. It reminded me a lot of the movie Tombstone, to the point where I heard Val Kilmer's Doc Holiday in my head while reading the book. This could be because both Resnick and the folks who did Tombstone did a lot of research on the topic. Even with the Steampunk Plus elements, it was a fun read.

Red Shirts by John Scalzi
Scalzi takes a humorous, and also deadly serious look at one of the most famous themes of Television SciFi. Why Ensign Ricky doesn't beam back up with the ship's command crew. At the same time, he has fun with the topic of his earlier book, "Agent to the Stars", the day to day work of Hollywood. As the author points out in the book, the theme is not new, but he does have an interesting take on it. One thing I did find interesting was that in list of "world as myth" examples, he left out "Number of the Beast."

Eyes of the Hammer (The Green Beret Series) by Bob Mayer
Fast paced military fiction set the 1980s with that late 80s Golden Age of Tom Clancy Techno Thrillers feel. In this case it's Columbian drug lords being targeted by Green Berets and the rest of the Special Operations Command. The Drug Lords have their moments, but they don't fair well against in the long run against the U.S. Military. A good read with Good Guys and Bad Guys, and most of the Bad Guys get what is coming to them. There are the standard themes running through that you can pick up in other Military Fiction, typically written by former enlisted or NCOs, including the concept that the only good officers are mavericks.

The Martian Emperor (A Chronological Man Adventure) by Andrew Mayne
Second in the series. The first was my pick back in early June. In this book, our hero and heroine pick up a number of months later. They travel to New York City by way of Smith's private, and off the books, train, in order to face a new menance. The "Emperor of Mars" is blackmailing the Earth. They run into his old friend Theodore Roosevelt, and have a series of adventures. During the course of said adventures, we learn some more about Smith and his background. A ripping good yarn and well worth the $0.99.

The Jefferson Allegiance by Bob Mayer
A political thriller with conspiracies linked to secret branches of organizations founded by the Thomas Jefferson (author of the Declaration of Independane and the third President) and Alexander Hamilton (first Secretary of the Treasury). Plenty of action and lots of history. A tasty bit of reading for somebody like me, who likes thrillers, conspiracies and American history.

OSS Commando: Final Option by Charles Sasser
A military thriller set in the final days before the D-Day invasion in 1944. The hero is Captain James Cantrell, a former Chicago homicide detective, now a member of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services). His mission is to keep the secret of the D-Day landing location from the Germans. He has a landing craft sunk underneath him, survives a bombing attack in downtown London, parachutes into Nazi occupied France, breaks into a heavily guarded castle, and has not one, but two beautiful women to deal with. One a Nazi spy and other a member of the French resistance forces.

Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by G.J. Koch
It's a Space Opera! It's a pulp Story! Humor, romance, sex robots, a princess on the lamb, and the best pilot in the Galaxy! If want fun, adventure, and even more raw sewage that you swing a smugger's space ship at, this is your book. It's not high art, but a fun read!

Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan
From 1919 comes the original "Buck" Rogers novel. He wasn't called "Buck" until later, after the comic strip picked up steam. Here he is just Anthony "Tony" Rogers, a WWI vet trapped in a cave mine and emerges centuries later to help lead the second American revolution as they take down the Han Overlords who took over the world centuries eariler. A good solid adventure story with a couple of decent and one really bad sequels written decades later.

No Easy Day by Mark Owen & Kevin Maurer
This is an autobiography of a US Navy SEAL, and member of DEVGRU, who took part in Operation Neptune Spear. That was the mission where Osama bin Laden died of acute lead poisoning, when one of the SEALs shot him in the head. It is a very stright foward book that tells the story of how Mark Owen (not his real name) trained and deployed prior to the mission, as well as the boots on the ground perspective of how the operation took place. It is not a political book, the authors don't have political axes to grind. They do make an honest assesment of VP Joe Biden though. A good and honest read. Well worth the money and time invested.

2008 Monday Book Picks.
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