Friday, January 8, 2010

Books to Look For In The Coming Year

Our camera woes are not over it seems. The beastie we picked up from Wal-mart Monday isn't going to work out. Helene and I will return to Bryan on Wednesday and try again.

It isn't like I would be outside anymore than I have to be right now. The weatherman said we could expect tonight to be the coldest in ten years. Another station said if their projected low develops it would dislodge the record set in 1913! That being said I'm here to tell you the days aren't that much warmer.

Bear, Helene and I bravely trudge out for feed in the mornings and then rush back to the heater. Bear is torn between going outside to do his business and seeing how long he can hold it.

Once we are back inside we look for things to do. There is only so much computering we can handle. Our taste in day time TV shows vary a bit. Helene has seen about all the World War Two she can stand for a while and I can't deal with RachelRayOprahJerrySpringerMontel. About the third time you hear the same news on Fox or CNN it wears thin. Thankfully both of us are avid readers.

I'm currently working on They Rode for the Lone Star / The Saga of the Texas Rangers by Thomas W. Knowles. It's an excellent book on a fimular subject. Like most history buffs covering a perferred subject as much as anything I look to see what new view points or information this book may offer. This author doesn't disappoint.

There are a number of fiction series Helene and I follow, science fiction, mystery and fantasy are all covered.

The first of the books I am looking forward to snuck up on me. For years Patrick F. McManus has entertained readers with his short stories about outdoor adventures, misadventures, near and complete disasters. We first picked up one of his short story collections when driving cross country on a vacation. Helene read while I drove and there were several points where she had to stop reading until she could get over fits of laughter.

Two years ago at, Barnes and Noble, I found a mystery novel he had written titled The Blight Way. It was the adventures of the Bo Tully, sheriff of Blight County, Pap his scoundrel father and his best friend 'Dave the Indian'. It was as funny as I expected a Patrick McManus book to be and an extremely well crafted mystery in the bargain.

I bought the second book in the series, Avalanche, the week it was released and found it to be every bit as entertaining and well crafted as the first. I recently discovered the third book in the series, The Double-jack Murders is already out. If at all possible I will be getting it Wednesday depending on which camera we settle on.

In April there will be a treat for those of you with a liking for hard boiled PI's who are also wizards. Jim Butcher writes a wonderful fantasy adventure series called The Dresden Files. Many of you will have seen the short lived series on the Syfy channel. You owe it to your self to check out the books regardless if you loved the TV version or hated it. Harry packs a .44 magnum revolver for times when magic just won't do. Through the books he grows into a force to be reckoned with.

They are well plotted, fast paced mysteries that will have you cringing in some places and laughing so hard you can't breathe in others. The twelfth book in the series, Changes, is due out sometime in April 2010. There is no exact release date listed on Butchers web site at this writing.

In June of 2010 we change gears with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum mystery, adventure series. Sizzling Sixteen is due out on June 22, 2010 and Helene and I have it on our calendar. We will be in Barnes and Noble that day. Stephanie Plum is a lovable, completely incompetent, incredibly lucky bounty hunter. These books are also extremely funny and don't make the mistake of thinking you have them figgured out. There is always a sting.

Helene and I make a point of buying these as Audio books so we can hear them together. In addition to being entertaining they avoid the fisticuffs over who will read them first. They also eliminate the "have you gotten to the part/DON'T TELL ME! DON'T TELL ME!" eruptions.

Janet started as a romance writer and it still shows in the Plum series. In fact, I have a confession to make here. Helene and I (yes - I) enjoy her writing so much we have tracked down her romances as well. There are always hilarious situations and stories that want to be mysteries or action adventure. Look for the crazy old lady with the gun!

'The thugs scattered like roaches when you turn the lights on. One was heard bellowing "Where did that old bat get that bazooka!"'

Not an exact quote from any of the stories but a re-occurring theme, usually staring a ".45 long barrel" revolver, that always delights.

For some years, in addition to the numbered books (One for the Money, Two for the Dough - you get the picture) Janet has also written what she called the "Between" books that feature a hunk named 'Diesel' who calls himself an 'unmentionable'. Stephanie thinks he's something between a 'Super Hero' and an 'Alien'.

Rather than another between story, this year Diesel is getting his own book. The title and exact date have not been released yet but look for it to show up sometime in late August or earlier September 2010.

This will make September a busy month. For those of you who like post crash, or disaster or post apocalypse books S.M. Sterling has what folks call 'The Change' series.

Imagine one day electricity stops working. Engines no longer work, or fire arms. In the words of one character "They took all our toys away!"

No clue who "they" are but the series starts with Dies the Fire and traces civilization re-establishing it's self from chaos. Weapons and tactics once thought obsolete re emerge in a fantastic tapestry of different approaches by diverse groups.

I personally have two problems with the series.
1. If an archer holds their bow correctly it is possible to shoot, even a heavy long bow, without hitting your bracer with the bow string every single time. Perhaps I havn't used 100+ pound long bows but I did pull an 80 pound recruve.
2. I don't see how a culture that relied on knives as much as this one could make such little use of the Kukri. Truth be told, I can't recall them ever being mentioned.

In something well over 2,000 pages these are my only complaints.

The High King of Monitval will be released sometime in September 2010. I will list the date as soon as I learn it. Helene and I will be at Barnes and Noble that day to pick it up.

If anyone feels I have over looked a special book, stand alone or series, that is going to be released this year, please tell me about it.

It is supposed to be in the 50's this coming week so I will be getting to work on the range. Hopefully I will have pictures to show my progress.


  1. Good thing we recently got gift certificates to Carousel Used Books! Our reading habit can get expensive. So many good ones out there.In addition to our favorites above:

    Betsy, The Vampire Queen-- for chuckles

    Crime Seen -- Psychic and PI solve crimes

    Strip Maul -- stories of suburban werewolves

    The Ship That Sang( 1st in series) - space opera with brainships, etc.

    PMS Outlaws -- don't push a woman too far; she'll seek revenge

    Too many more to list!

  2. 1. A Heartwarming and Adventurous Tale of Friendship and Fortune
    Beyond the Golden Sunset and by the Crystal Sea by William Dunigan is the adventurous tale of a serendipitous meeting between two boys and how their lives are forever changed
    2009-02-17, 230 views, By Eloquent Books