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Mars, Inc.: The Billionaire's Club
Mars, Inc.: The Billionaire's Club
Price: CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Billionaires fund a mission to Mars. Who is the saboteur?, Dec 28 2013
Ben Bova has developed a writing style that incorporates great characters and a plot that keeps on giving. The pace is even and brisk, there are no slumps in it. Nor is it wound up and wound down.

What this means are that his books are a joy to read.

In this book we find Art Thrasher trying to move the USA to the next stage and that stage is exploring the planets. In fact Mars will do just fine.

The only problem is that to government such a venture is pretty low on their priority list. Thrasher thinks it would be cheaper and faster for the private sector to do it then government anyway.

Soon he is talking to various billionaires in the country with a proposal for them each to invest one Billion dollars per year for 5 years. If he can get 20 billionaires to participate he figures One Hundred Billion Dollars should get them to Mars, and back.

He raises the money and then the fun starts as he runs into brick walls when dealing with government and someone seems intent on destroying the program.
Will humanity get to Mars ?

You'll have to read the book to find out. RECOMMENDED

Agent to the Stars
Agent to the Stars
by John Scalzi
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.43
34 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Entertaining. Foundational book for author. Fully engaging, Dec 28 2013
This is the book that started it all. This is the book that John Scalzi wrote to see if he could write books. This guy was born to be an author.

As Popeye would say (after attending finishing school) "He is what he is and that's all that he is." And boy are we a better world for that.

Scalzi establishes his distinctive style - irreverent - smart ass - wise acre - know it all - in his characters, and a fast paced plot that continually - takes odd turns - doesn't go where it should go - has twist on twists - leads down dark alleys (oops that was me last Friday night after the bar - Sorry !). Anyway, you are never sure where you are going to end up plot wise with Scalzi; all I can say is you are going to have GREAT FUN along the way

The book is a simple alien arrives on Earth after a long trip with 2000 other members of his race and wants to get to know humanity. Only problem is it's natural state is like a giant booger that has been ridden hard and left out in the heat to ripen. In other words a nightmare with BO.

What better way to introduce your self to humanity then get an agent. You know, those guys that represent movie stars and sports jocks.

Thomas Stein gets this out of this world assignment and soon mayhem ensues. How do you introduce a smelly booger to humanity with any credibility.

Soon Tom (I'm his friend so can call him Tom, but you aren't so call him Mt Stein - okay !!) is on a roller coaster of dread and excitement.

Highly recommended book and author.

Dark Light
Dark Light
by Ken MacLeod
Edition: Hardcover
23 used & new from CDN$ 3.34

2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing, Shallow characters. Plot line muddy. Requires you to read first book., Dec 22 2013
Ce commentaire est de: Dark Light (Hardcover)
I skipped a bunch of pages but I'm sure they would not have rescued this disaster.

Characters are shallow and not well developed but rather just thrown into the mix.

Plot line is confusing and made no sense.

As this is book two in the series it appeared that you had to read book one to understand what was going on as it was not revealed in this book two.

Unfortunately this is not how to write a series of books. Each book must be able to stand on it's own without the reader having to go back to previous books. In this regard this book is a total disaster.

To see how a series ahould be written you can pick up any series book from Jack Campbell or Ian Douglas and immdediately you are engaged with the characters and plot line regardless of having read any previous books in the series.

NOT recommended

Mrs Hudson's Diaries: A View From the Landing at 221b
Mrs Hudson's Diaries: A View From the Landing at 221b
by Barry Cryer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.95
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Deeply disappointing book. No insight into Sherlock. Like looking through a foggy window - nothing!, Dec 22 2013
I was really excited about this book. What would be better then to get Mrs Hudson's perspective on the goings on at 221B. However, that is not really in this book.

It is at it states in the title a fictionalized diary kept by Mrs Hudson with short entries through each year. There are old pictures attributed as various people in the Sherlock time frame but not necessarily to do with Sherlock.

If I am to believe the Authors words I now know what Mrs Hudson's first name is, but I'm not even sure that Arthur Conan Doyle actually divulged that information in his books.

I am NOT recommending this book for Sherlockian fans.

For those that are interested, George Mann did a far better job of embracing Mrs Hudson in Sherlock's adventures in his anthologies. Be sure to check them out.

Whirlpool Whispure Air Purifier, HEPA Air Cleaner, AP51030K
Whirlpool Whispure Air Purifier, HEPA Air Cleaner, AP51030K
Price: CDN$ 412.30
9 used & new from CDN$ 412.30

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NON "Technobabble" review. A great machine that does exactly what it says it will. Quiet Effective RECOMMENDED Air Purifier, Dec 11 2013
First of all this review is not going to deal with any technobabble. Let's leave that to the engineers and geeks.

I'll admit that my wife has a better nose than a bloodhound. She can smell people burning garbage many blocks away and recent slash burning realy set her back. Unable to get any sleep at night because of the smoke smell she prompted me, in a very vigorous manner, to deal with it.

In addition having recently had our basement redone after flooding we had started noting fine white dust (jiprock particles) constantly forming a white film on any level surface in the house. ARGH !

For reference we live in an 1150 square foot house with a full basement

As I don't have it within my power to stop slash burning in our area the only solution was to treat the air in our house. I started investigating air purifiers and found the Whirlpool Whispure series. I bought the AP51030K and am totally IMPRESSED. Here is why:

1) The whisper in Whisperpure is totally accurate. Yes it is a machine that is running but somehow Whirlpool has managed to tame the sound it makes. Even on the highest setting it is very quiet.

2) As it was rated at 500 square feet effectiveness we had it part time in one half of the house and in the other the rest of the time.

3) We did do a full vacuum of the house, which we had done many times before without a positive outcome, and started the Whisperpure on high.

4) Within 3 days we noted no more dust floating in the sun rays coming through the window.

5) It's been 2 weeks now and the white dust that use to coat every level surface is not there.

6) Even though the slash burning has continued, my wife has been able to sleep at night (I put the unit in the bedroom on medium at night).

Overall as I said earlier I am totally impressed with this unit and highly recommend it

"A Happy Wife is a Happy Life"

Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead
Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead
by George Mann
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.55
37 used & new from CDN$ 2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A spot on Sherlock Holmes mystery by a top author RECOMMENDED, Dec 5 2013
George Mann has Sherlock and Watson down to a "t" in this new Sherlock Holmes mystery.

The setting is authentic and Sherlock and Watson, plus the characters they meet in the mystery, are all well placed within the Sherlock time line and genre.

In this adventure, Sherlock is requested by one nephew to investigate the death of his Uncle. But of even more importance is to find out what happened to the Uncles will. The three nephews and one niece are dependent on their Uncles money to survive and without the will al the uncles money will go to the state.

Soon there enters into the mystery a long lost cousin who is claiming that as he is the eldest son and therefore entitled to receive the proceeds of the estate.

When one nephew is killed and another attached it appears the appearance of th eldest son is determined to eliminate any one apposed to his claim.

Sherlock and Watson are soon knee deep in the goings on and the story ends with a nice twist at the end.

There is a secondary story about automatons stealing jewellery from the rich but this just acts as additional pressure on the police to solve both mysteries.

A well thought out and written storyline makes this a great read.

Morlock Night
Morlock Night
by K.W. Jeter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.53
33 used & new from CDN$ 2.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Very early Steampunk novel with Arthur and Merlin mixed in. Lots of fun, Nov. 25 2013
Ce commentaire est de: Morlock Night (Mass Market Paperback)
This is one of the earliest Steampunk stories.

It starts at the end of a night with HG Wells who has told his friends about his adventure with his time machine. Unknown to Wells is that the Morlocks he visited in Earth's distant future have taken his machine and are busy planning an attack on Earth.

Our protagonist Mr Edwin Hocker was at the story telling session and is on his way home after drinking way too much. He is accosted by a very pale man who questions him on what Well's stories are really about. All Hocker wants to do is get home and sleep it off but this darn man keeps asking him the silliest questions like "It's 1892 is it ?" . Of course it's 1892!

Soon Hocker is whisked away to an England that he doesn't recognize and is immediately attacked by the Morlocks.

Shortly therafter Hocker is on a quest to find Arthur's sword Excalibur which has been split into 4 weaker pieces. Soon the Arthurian age is enhanced with the appearance of Merlin.

Hocker finds his true calling near the end of the story with a true plot twist.

A great Steampunk story with Arthur and Merlin mixed in. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the Morlocks.

It would have been one more star if there was more of the steampunk genre included.

Great fun to read.

Limbus, Inc.
Limbus, Inc.
by Jonathan Maberry
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.49
23 used & new from CDN$ 4.40

4.0 out of 5 stars The employment agency from Hell. "We are hiring" No job too bizarre. You'll see, Nov. 19 2013
Ce commentaire est de: Limbus, Inc. (Paperback)
Limbus Inc is a mysterious employment agency that is hiring, it says so right on their business card. They need you for your special skills, even if you don't know what those skills are. They pay well, if you live long enough to collect.

This tongue in cheek collections of stories linked to Limbus Inc is a highly enjoyable read. It covers science fiction, horror and murder mystery within it's pages.

Story 1 - Carl who works in a slaughter house just knows he wants something more in life. Unfortunately he is really good at his job and an opportunity comes up through Limbus Inc for large money. Too bad the job isn't on Earth nor is it cattle he is killing.

Story 2 - Lance Corporal Ryan Dixon has returned from his tour of duty but just can't shake the nightmares. He is hired by Limbus Inc to find a missing girl of a billionaire. But the job soon turns into somthing way more evil. Is Ryan tough enough and committed enough to complete the assignment ?

Story 3 - Nate is hired to jump portal and do various activities that seem mundane and simple. He then comes to realize that not only is he jumping geographically but also in time. Why is Limbus Inc. having him do this ?

Story 4 - Dallas is out on his own with nothing o his name when Limbus Inc hires him to walk a dog for 10 days and pay him $2,000. What could possibly go wrong ? Wait until you read this one.

Story 5 - Sam Hunter, a low rent PI has a nose fopr everything and remembers every thing he smells. When Limbus Inc hires him to track down a 15 year old run away he soon finds himself up against a cult. However the cult has never met anyone like him.

Story 6 - is a bonus story still in the world of Limbus Inc

Good diverse story lines and likeable characters make this a good read

Solar Dance: Genius, Forgery and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age
Solar Dance: Genius, Forgery and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age
by Modris Eksteins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.25
10 used & new from CDN$ 8.28

4.0 out of 5 stars Well documented story behind and after an Art Forgery Trial in Germany. Van Gogh, Nov. 14 2013
First off I liked this book. It is in a genre I usually don't visit but I am a huge fan of Van Gogh's work.

Although the book has a plot, an interesting cast of characters and a compelling raison d'etre it is not really a story as much as it fits in a Masters Degree project.

Eckstein who is a self professed "cultural historian" is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Toronto.

He paints (pun not intended) the canvas (again pun not intended) of Post World War 1 and pre World War 2 Germany and in particular the management or more accurately the mismanagement of Van Gogh's collection of art.

It exquisitely details what is happening in the 1910's and 20's in Germany and Holland.

It details how an art dealer comes up with Van Gogh paintings almost on demand and proceeds to get them authenticated by art experts as to their authenticity, without any details on whom they came from other then a reference to an escaped Russian aristocrat.

Our protagonist, Otto Wacker, then proceeds to sell them to unsuspecting galleries and collectors.

Overall the greed, avarice and pure arrogance and narcissism of the major players collapses the house of cards that has been created.

While Wacker does in fact go to jail it is only after multiple years of investigation and a trial and appeal. The actual source of the Van Gogh paintings in question has never been revealed.

As a look at the world in Germany during this period it excels, as a pure reading book it is less successful. This does not mean it's a bad book but the purpose for it's existence is something deeper the just story telling.

Recommended as noted

The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi: A Burton & Swinburne Adventure
The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi: A Burton & Swinburne Adventure
by Mark Hodder
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.02
24 used & new from CDN$ 6.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk Adventure. Another Great Mystery and Battles with Burton and Swinburne., Nov. 7 2013
This is the fourth book in this "A Burton and Swinburne Adventure" series created by Mark Hodder. If you love this book you will also want to check out "The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man" and "Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon" and "The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack". All HIGHLY recommended

The two main characters couldn't be further apart and yet they link closely as a team seeing what is happening from different perspectives that compliments the other.

Burton is a large man and an explorer and agent of the Queen, while Swinburne is a diminutive poet.

In this adventure Burton and Swinburne are dealing with the afterlife. Burton is brought in an advised that the technology that has been implemented in the past 20 years has come from a spirit in the after life called Abhu El Yezdi.

Being a practical man Burton is highly suspicious of the so called afterlife however puts in best effort to resolve the problem. The problem being that Abdu El Yezdi has gone silent just when England needs him the most.

Resentment between England and Germany is escalating and it appears this is being driven by a group that believes in eugenics. Eugenics believes in the supremacy of the strongest but goes further by arguing that rather than wait for nature to do this that man can accelerate the process through technological intervention.

Further to Burton's qualms about the afterlife is the fact that he is due to get married. And the bride's family are not happy with their daughter's choice in a potential husband.

Lost of action, lots of twists and turns with a huge plot twist before the final battle between good and evil.

Highly Recommended.


It should be noted that Abdu El Yezdi is an anagram that tells you the end of the story. Although still cryptic, why not read the book and then you will agree that the following clearly relates to a major plot line:

Abdu El Yezdi = Bye Dualized

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