Month: June 2013
Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable
This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is Companionable. I was so impressed with the photos of the photos of the dogs on the site, I decided that a photo of my ‘best friend,’ Daisy was the perfect way to show companionable. Daisy is almost 15 years old. She formerly belonged to my daughter, but when her second child was born, her small house suddenly became too small, so my wife decided that since our former dog Chong died, we could use another ‘child’ around the house. I think it was mainly to give me an excuse to get up every morning and take her for her morning constitutional. Despite her age, Daisy is a lot like a puppy, and looks forward to our morning walk, or just sitting on the deck with me as I write in my journals and stare at me with her soulful brown eyes.
Review of “The Italian’s Inexperienced Mistress” by Lynne Graham
Angelo Riccardi is the grandson of notorious crime family head Carmelo Zanetti. When Zanetti is dying, he summons Angelo to his bedside to tell him the awful secret of his family, including the fact that his late mother had been swindled by English fraudster Donald Hamilton and then dumped. Although he has always been on the right side of the law, his Italian heritage surfaces as he vows revenge on Hamilton.
But then, he meets Gwenna, Hamilton’s daughter and sparks of all kind begin to fly, more so when he includes her in his web of vendetta.
I have to begin by confessing that I’m not normally a fan of romance novels. Too many ripped bodices and heaving bosoms, exquisitely beautiful maidens and unbelievably handsome swains for my taste. But, Lynne Graham’s The Italian’s Inexperienced Mistress is not your usual cloyingly described sex scenes interspersed with a few paragraphs of purple prose narrative. I mean, it has a lot of the obligatory coupling, grappling, and heavy breathing, enough in fact to satisfy fans of the genre. But, it is also a novel of high intrigue, suspense, and not a small amount of humor. Part Cinderella, part Great Gatsby, Angelo’s adventures, Gwenna’s inner turmoil, and the path of their relationship will keep you turning the pages.
Daily Prompt: Island of Misfit Posts
Never tried this before, but I did this one, and it was fun.
Diplomatic Life: I Get Paid to Make Decisions, Not Wait for Instructions.
This post is about my time as US Ambassador to Cambodia (2002 – 2005):
Weekly Photo Challenge: The World Through Your Eyes
Actually, this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is the world through my eyes, but you’ll have to use your eyes and your brain to determine what my view of the world is.
Interview on “Until You Walk the Path You Don’t Know Where it Goes”
Internet radio personality Theresa Chaze will be interviewing my tomorrow on her BlogTalk radio show, “Until You Walk the Path You Don’t Know Where it Goes.” This will be my third time on her show, and we’ll be talking about my recent books, what life’s been like since I retired from government service and went into writing full time, and my writing habits, among other things. Theresa’s shows are always fun and interesting, so you won’t want to miss it – and, I’m not just saying that because I’m on the show. Check the following link for air time and other information:
Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves
Okay, I’m a little late – actually, a lot late – with this challenge. This week’s photo challenge is curves. Check it out, and if you’ve a mind to, give it a shot (no pun intended). I went through my thousands of digital photos trying to find the one that best illustrates the theme. I couldn’t make up my mind, so I decided to go with more than one. I’m not sure if you agree with me, but here’s my offerings:
Review of “Manhattan Transfer” by John E. Stith
Manhattan has been stolen! Not a person named Manhattan, nor the drink, nor some objet d’art with that unlikely name. No, the island – the whole freaking island of Manhattan – has been sealed in a transparent dome, dug up, and lifted off the earth.
When it reaches its destination (?), the people inside the dome can see other domes containing other cities. Then begins a frenetic effort to survive, determine their circumstances, and hopefully, escape.
John E. Stith’s Manhattan Transfer is science fiction in the epic style. With aliens aplenty, mind-boggling technology, and puny humans who must somehow prevail against impossible odds. Told from multiple points of view, Manhattan is a story shown primarily from the point of view of Matt Sheehan, a former soldier, who was riding the subway to his new job when the train was sliced up. He finds himself taking the lead in efforts to get out of the predicament the city’s residents find themselves in. After some searching, they find the abducting aliens, an arachnid-like race they call Archies. The question then becomes, are the Archies the dangerous predators they appear to be, or is there something else at work.
You’ll have to read the book to find out, and, I assure you that you’ll be shocked. This is sci-fi as sci-fi was meant to be. A story told on a grand scale through the efforts of individuals to make sense of their environment. Heroic deeds; and some acts that are less than heroic. The characters, even the aliens, are believable; the technology is described in a way that makes you want to believe; and, the action is consistent with the environment Stith has created.
If you like science fiction, don’t miss this book. If you’ve never read science fiction before, make this your introduction to this genre. You won’t be disappointed.
Review of “Ryann” by Paul Dorset
Ryann, by Paul Dorset, is a pithy novella about Ryann, a slave, or sclava, in the castle of Lord Cala, who seeks to earn enough coin to buy her freedom. Taken as a sclava after her parents died, she must labor from dawn to dusk, and suffer the unwelcome attention of the lord’s evil son, Master Bramwell.
One-by-one, Ryann watches her friends die at the hands of Bramwell, a spoiled scion of the lord of the manor, who must struggle with his own demons. Finally, Ryann realizes that there is only way out for her, she must duel with Bramwell.
The action, as she prepares for her fateful encounter, is non-stop and the emotions are raw and nerve-jangling. Although written for a young audience, Ryann will also appeal to older fans of the genre. This is a well written short piece that can be read in one sitting, and at the end will leave you wanting more.
Review of “Iron Bonds” by Billy Wong
In Iron Bloom, author Billy Wong delighted and entertained readers with the tale of Rose, a reluctant warrior, and the warrior Finn, as they went on a quest seeking magic – the one thing that frightens Rose. While it was a good book, I felt it needed some maturation and seasoning. Well, Wong is back with Iron Bonds, the second in what could be a trilogy, or even more, about Rose the indomitable warrior, Finn, who is now the modern world’s only mage, and the scholar Derrick, as they try to find the lost art of spell casting. Of course, the problem is, Rose, who by now is all alpha female, is itching to get into the fight that is plaguing their country – and, naturally, her alpha instincts win, and she’s off to battle.
Wong has matured in this second book. Like a marathon runner, I think he’s found his pace. But, he also demonstrates the ability to do even more. Crisp dialogue, nonstop action, and enough human drama for two seasons of ‘Peyton Place,’ Iron Bonds is everything a good slash and burn fantasy novel should be.
My hat’s off to Wong for a tale well told. A solid four-star book.