Ken Gamble:
In Memoriam

Our Family cruise to Alaska -July 2008

Uncle Dave's Music Web Page - Buy the CD  

Kids Camp Wildwood August '06 

Visit from Niomi and Ivey 4-10-05

Hot Tub & Deck Project Updated 6-23-05

Pumphouse Remodel Updated  3-7-07.

Sari's Wall of Stone
Updated 6-23-05.

Miscellaneous Updated 5-4-05

Disney Trip 2005

Wildwood News Archives

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Currently Reading


I read a lot of books and was interested in posting a list of what I was currently reading, and maybe give a rating or review of them.  We'll see how this works out.  I tend to rate books on re-readability or how much action it has or even how fast I finish it.  If I go back to the book months later and re-read the whole thing or certain passages, it's good. I also like a series that can keep me occupied for a month or two.

ratings: 10/ One of the best books I've read. Edge of seat reading, can't put it down. Re-read it a dozen times or more.
              9/ Great book. Great scenes. Great characters. Re-readability is excellent.
              8/ Very good.  Fun book, certain passages can be re-read, over and over, the entire book maybe 2 or 3 reads.
              7/ Good, solid book.  Certain parts good to re-read, but maybe not the whole book.
              6/ Good book. Interesting read. Probably wouldn't re-read it again, but at least it would stay in my collection.
              5/ Good book. Not a waste of time, but hard to keep with the book.
              4/ Not very good.  But finished reading the whole thing.
              1-3/ Not very good. Couldn't finish it.

Currently:7/27/09. Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon.  Book 3 of Vatta's War.  

7/19/09. Marque and Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon. Rating 8/10. Book 2.  This is getting very interesting, as the main characters family comes under attack from an unknown source and interrupts her deals with starting her own business.  She takes command very well and finds some enemies of her own and is quite ruthless.  Solid story.  

7/4/09.  Trading in Danger by  Elizabeth Moon. Rating 7/10. Book 1 of a 5 volume space opera.  I've read most of Moon's books and liked them very much.  I've been waiting for this one to finish before I started reading.  The main character is a cadet and is kicked out of the space force academy in the first few pages.  She goes home and her family enilists her help in the family business of trading; gives her a ship of her own to take to the salvage yard on another planet.  But she wants the ship for herself, and gets into various scrapes trying to start up her own trading business.

6/27/09. Underground by Kat Richardson.  Rating 8/10. Book 3 of the series.  A better book than the last one.  But still too wordy and detailed, and not enough action.  I'll probably get the next book when it comes out in August, though.  Monsters from the sewer come killing the transients in Seattle.  One of the neat things about it is I recognized a few places because I'd been there!

6/23/09. Poltergeist by Kat Richardson. (No not the movie.)  Rating 7/10.  Good book, but not on par with something like Jim Butcher.  It seems a lot more procedural than having much action.  A Private Eye can see and interact with the spirit world, and is called in to investigate a group practicing sťances for a research grant, but the head of the project suspects one of the members of staging things - beyond the stuff he's staging.  Intelligent, but kind of dry writing.  Felt like it was drawn out too much.

6/15/09. Shatterglass by Tamora Pierce.  Rating 7/10.  Young adult fantasy novel about a group of kids who come into magic powers in an alternate land filled with magic.  They are brought to a magic university and train to use their magic.  This is book 8 and follows the young girl Tris as she and her teacher mage travel to another kingdom/city and try to catch a killer, as well as Tris finding and training a student of her own.  Pretty good series, and this main character is one of the more interesting ones as she's got a more dangerous magic to learn: weather magic, storms, lightning, wind. Good book though the mystery aspect kind of impedes the more interesting bits of the magic learning.

6/10/09. Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio, book 1.  Rating 8/10.  This is actually a graphic novel/comic book.  It's in black and white, but the color version is available on the internet as a web comic. I have to say it only rates a 8 of 10 because the book itself is b/w.  The color webcomic gets a 10 of 10.  I have to say it's one of the best comics I've ever read. I took a weekend to devour the entire ongoing series. It's got Adventure, Romance and Mad Science!  Phil Foglio is pure genius with his artwork, and the colorist adds so much depth to the art. The story is intelligent and funny, and there's no punches pulled, as they kill off characters left and right to further the story. The story itself?  A young woman find out she's a mechanical genius (or a "spark") and is descended from legendary Spark figures, though she doesn't know it.  Her genius has been hidden by a mechanical locket that holds back her intellect, until it's stolen, then all sorts of mayhem ensue as she tries to figure out what's happening to her. GO READ IT NOW!  You won't be disappointed.

5/30/09. Greywalker by Kat Richardson.  Rating 8/10. Pretty good urban fantasy.  This is part of a series and I went ahead and bought the rest of the books.  A female private detective died for 2 minutes and was revived.  Now she sees "The Grey" or the spirits who inhabit the space between the light and the dark of the afterlife.  The usual vampires and ghosts and other supernatural spooks make this pretty normal fare for the genre, but it's pretty well done and with a good heroine for the main character.

5/27/09. Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce. Rating 7/10. I like Tamora Pierce's books.  The Protector of the Small series is fantastic. This is book 10 or so of this series. It's a nice book, nothing spectacular, good characters, well writtten.  Easy to get through.  About a young girl who was found to have "Stone Magic" by another mage, and was taken from living on the streets to learning about her magic at a mage school.  She takes a trip in this book with her teacher to an island that has problems.  In trying to solve the problems they learn that a volcano is going to erupt, which only the stone mage can deal with.

5/19/09. The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick.  Rating 4/10.  This book had an interesting premise, and I actually liked the beginning, but after 50 or so pages I started losing interest.  I had to work to finish the book.  About a young girl who was taken as a changeling by the Faerie, and works in a factory as a slave until she breaks out with the help of a machine dragon.  It really bogs down in the middle with life in a faerie world that mirrors ours, but is too decadent.  

5/16/09 Just Another Judgement Day by Simon R. Green. Rating 5/10. Book 9 of this series.  John Taylor, private eye of the unusual, in the eternally dark city of the Nightside, an alternate reality London with everything you can imagine and some only Simon Green can imagine.  Way out there action and thrills.  I found this book at a used bookstore yesterday and grabbed it up, since it's still only out in hardback.  This was pretty disappointing, though.  Green goes through the same routines and it's getting pretty boring, even after a year-long hiatus. Plenty of action but there's so much decription of what's going on around the main character, that there's no character to the book.

5/12/09 Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris.  Rating 7/10.  Book 9 about the telepath Sookie Stackhouse and her dealings with Vampires (and werewolves, witches, Faerie, and everything else supernatural). The HBO series True Blood is based on this series (which I've ordered on DVD for next week). It's a superb series.  Though this book leaves a bit to be desired in the way of action.  The last one was much better, though this still rates pretty high.  The main character is pretty realistic and very likeable.

5/4/09 Petty Pewter Gods by Glen Cook. Rating 9/10. Another great book in this series.  There's a shakeup on the Street of the Gods and Garrett is involved in a pantheon war.  He doesn't want to be, but he's the key both sides are unknowingly searching for.  As usual he manages to turn things to his advantage though he gets roughed up all over the place.  Fun book

4/28/09. Terrier - Beka Cooper book 1 by Tamora Pierce. So I had to pull the first book out and re-read it.  Read the entry below.  Great reading.  Beka joins the police force and hopes to do great things, but first she has to pass her training "on the job" status.  She makes a few small mistakes to start with, then gets 2 cases at once dealing with some kidnappings and a mass murder.  She does ask for help from her trainers and gets a big break in both cases at once.  A very fun time in the gritty slum area of a fantasy-type town.

4/20/09 Bloodhound - Beka Cooper book 2 by Tamora Pierce.  Rating 9/10. Another excellent book from Pierce.  Told from a journal type entry, so I'd bet it was quite a challenge to write, but it was done very well.  A young woman joins the police force in a big city in a fantasy setting, with magic and knights and such.  She can hear the dead and talk to some spirits, which helps her in her police work. This one focuses on a counterfeiting ring in a neighboring city.  Our heroine gets the job of finding out what's going on and lands right in the middle of everything.

4/11/09 Deadly Quicksilver Lies by Glen Cook. Rating 8/10.  This was pretty good.  I'm planning on re-reading the next and probably stop after that.  Very strange with so many lies going about and people impersonating others that I got a bit confused, as did Garrett.

4/7/09. Turn Coat by Jim Butcher.  Rating 10/10. I've been waiting for this one - Book 11!  Ok, this was a great book.  It's about a wizard named Harry Dresden, in Chicago, who runs into all sorts of supernatural badness.  It's sort of like Harry Potter all grown up.  There a magical society that's hushed up.  And the main character is a detective who advertises the fact that he's a wizard.  'Course no one really believes, until he solves the case.  The author has so many tricks he pulls out, I'm surprised he can keep writing at this level.  Just a fast paced action adventure.  The hero keeps getting new tricks and advances his powers and reputation as the books go along.  As one of the side characters said a few books ago "Harry, if you weren't a good guy, you'd be pretty scary."  

4/4/09. Red Iron Nights by Glen Cook. Rating 9/10. One of the better books.  There's so much history involved with Garrett, there's no reason to do a lot of unnecessary backstory. This gets right into the meat of the story and keeps the twists coming.  Garrett foils a kidnapping and gets invovled with the Watch hiring him to find a murderer, who was the very kidnapper he stopped, so he solves the case quickly.  Only it's a curse that's doing the killing that spreads to another, and another...  Just when you think he's finished it gets worse for Garrett and time's running out.

3/31/09. Dread Brass Shadows by Glen Cook.  Rating 8/10.  I love the titles.  Did I mention that?  A brass paged book of nasty spells is disrupting the city and it's up to Garrett to find out where it is.  Caught between the books maker, the city's kingpin of crime, and a sorcerer, Garrett's in for a world of hurt.

3/28/09.  Old Tin Sorrows by Glen Cook.  Rating 8/10.  Another superb book.  Garrett's old Marine Corp sergeant calls in a favor.  A haunted mansion, people dying left and right under unusual circumstances.  Our hero Garrett has to muddle through and figure things out through ghosts and zombies and murderers.

3-21-09.  Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn. Rating 8/10.  

Better than the last book (below.)  And sets things up for yet another book.  Kitty deals with demons and paranormal investigators from a reality TV show are in town looking for haunted houses. They get some good footage around Kitty because so much weird stuff happens around her.

3-19-09.  Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand by Carrie Vaughn.  Rating 7/10.

This is the 5th book in this series of a werewolf who has a radio show about the supernatural.  It started out great with a werewolf hunter after the main character, Kitty.  Add vampires and other supernatural creatures and ideas and it turns out to be a good series.  The author write pretty low key, not too much action, but enough to keep the pages turning, and a medium-sized finish. This was good, but I kept expecting it to go in different directions.

3-12-09. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs.  Rating 7/10.

Book 4 of a series about a woman mechanic who can shapeshift into a coyote, and is involved in a werewolf and vampire world.  She can also see ghosts, and the Faerie have let it be known they exist, which makes it different than most of the other vampire/werewolf books out there.  I like the main character's spunk and she's smart.  Lots of creepy stuff happening makes it a great read.

3-1-09. White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison.  Rating 7/10.

Book 7 of this series about an alternate earth that went through a plague and a lot of the survivors were supernatural types like werewolves, witches, and vampires.  Lots of magic and creatures make this a very fun romp.  The author is pretty creative with most of it, but has some annoying lapses with the main characters relationships, same ol' stuff after 7 books gets old, but the rest makes up for it. Lots of action.

2-24-09.  Cold Copper Tears by Glen Cook.  Rating 8/10.

3rd book in this series.  This is the 2nd reading and it's still pretty fresh. New characters and old combine to make this one great read.  Each book takes place in the same city, but it's so different and well thought out.  Can't get enough of it.  i just got a new batch of books so this will be on hold for a bit while I plow through those.

2-16-09. Bitter Gold Hearts by Glen Cook.  Rating 8/10.

Another golden book from this series.  The thing I like about this series is that after the first book, the main character vows never to travel out of the city again, whereas most fantasy books need the characters to travel so they can set up new plots and locations and characters to try to stay fresh. The author does a great detective series by staying in the same place and familiar settings so you can get to the meat of the book.

2-1-09. Sweet Silver Blues by Glen Cook.  Rating 7/10.

Book 1. I last read this series about 4 or 5 years ago and went through this 10 or so book series in a couple of months.  The main character Garrett would be a private-eye in our society, but he's living in a fantasy world with elves, trolls, vampires, ghosts, gods, and most anything else you can think of, and the city he's in is filled with lowlifes of these creatures. Great fantasy detective noir.  Garrett is as smart-alecky as they come.  Smart, fun book.  The first one gets a lot of the set-up out of the way, so lot's of explanations, but also lots of action.  And I love the titles on these things.

1-20-09.  Cruel Zinc Melodies by Glen Cook.  Rating 8/10.

This must be book 12 of this series.  It's been a while since I've read the books, and the last few were only ok, but this one feels like it's been renewed and freshened up.  I'm going to have to start re-reading the series because it was so good and because I've forgotten a lot of the characters.  Basically big bugs threaten a building project and it's up to Garrett to figure out why.  Mayhem and magic ensue.























































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