Sunday, March 01, 2015

Edi's Spotlight: Dragon of the Stars by Alex C. Cavanaugh

7 comments
Dear Readers,

today I have the pleasure to present you my review of a book from an author who originally wanted to write one book.

It all started with  CassaStaR (October 19th,2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0981621067] by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  I presented my review on October 17th 2010.

 On December 21st 2011, I presented my review of CassaFirE (February 28th, 2012, pb, 240 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-0982713945] by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

On September 17th 2013, I presented  my review of CassaStorM (September 17th, 2013) [Print ISBN-13: 978-1939844002] [E-book ISBN-13: 978-1939844019] by Alex J. Cavanaugh.
At  the end of the review you could read following question and the answer from the author

Edi: I remember that you wanted to write one book. Today your third book is available which is the conclusion of the Cassa series. Beyond all the joy and happiness there is one question running around my brain like car at the Daytona 500: Do you have more stories to tell and do you want to tell more stories? 

Alex:........ That is a loaded question. Do I have another story I could tell? Yes. Will I write it? I don’t know. Music has always been a part of my life and I strayed from it for so long – now that I am playing guitar and in a band, it seems so natural. It’s where I am supposed to be. Is there room for writing? That I don’t know. I hate to disappoint anyone, but I can’t give a clear answer right now.

It took some time but all  Alex J. Cavanaugh fans did not wait in vain.


Now we have the 1st of March 2015 and in one month you can buy your copy of

Dragon of the Stars (7th April 2015)  [Kindle ASIN: B00S0DPUYU] by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

"The ship of legends…
The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. He’s poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter. He’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?
One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship? www.whatarethekargrandes.com " [Source]

Review

Clarification
How can I write and  present a review of a book which will be released on 7th of April 2015?
Because publisher Dancing Lemur Press LLC  sent me an unproofed review copy of Dragon of the Stars (7th April 2015)  [Kindle ASIN: B00S0DPUYU] by Alex J. Cavanaugh.
The review copy I read for this review stands for 271 pages divided into fifteen consecutive numbered chapters. Of course I tried to avoid spoilers and of course I will not answer the question



Cover
I think I'm not wrong when I assume that the cover shows the legendary Dragon. A while ago Zoltán Gecse from RaveAir  mentioned that the ship looks like a guitar or at least as a part of guitar. Of course I do not know whether this was intended or not. But it would be no surprise  in case you know that Alex J. Cavanaugh is a guitar player.
Nevertheless the cover shows a powerful ship and that this ship will play an important role within the story.


After the successful Cassa trilogy Alex J. Cavanaugh returns with a new space opera.
Is it old wine in new skins?    On the contrary!


Dragon of the Stars is a completely new story and comes along in a more grown up and darker tone.
It is neither hard science fiction nor tough military science fiction. It is a space opera in the best sense.

The story seems simple. Two parties compete for the supremacy over a planet with excellent resources. A legendary ship lost years ago could be the ultimate weapon to decide the conflict.
A young hero is send out to find the ship    full stop.

But  Dragon of the Stars is the new book by Alex J. Cavanaugh and anyone who read the Cassa trilogy knows that nothing is simple when it comes to books by this author.  


Lt. Commander Aden Pendar is son of a Duke. His future is more or less predetermined. To get a command is just a question of time like the marriage with Arabella, the Queen's daughter. Of course he is totally cocksure of himself. He is a well educated and talented officer but not good at leadership and his social skills are beyond average.

His life turns upside down with the conflict between the Alliance and his home world Hyrath which finally ends up in a war.

His predetermined life is going down the drain. The message that his promotion to Captain completely depends on his social and leadership skills hit him like an ice cube.

In fact this message is the end of  Lt. Commander Aden Pendar as we know him so far and the begin of the pregnancy of the new Lt. Commander Aden Pendar.

It is the development of this character which drives the story. The development is inseparably connected with the search for the Dragon

Everything what happens with  and within Aden Pendar is like a mirror of the conflict between the Alliance and Hyrath and the inner conflict of Hyrathian society. There are a lot more conflicts as one think at first sight.

These conflicts emphasize in a striking manner that the world is neither black nor white.

It shows the quality of  Alex J. Cavanaugh to describe battles without going into details but still delivering action.
The most important weapons in this battle - except the Dragon - are honor, love, fidelity, and steadfastness expressed in dialogue and gestures.

And all these conflicts culminate in a gut-wrenching climax in form of existential questions for Aden Pendar and a lot, lot, lot of other beings.

So far it seems that there is just one important character - Aden Pendar. But that is not true.
The story would not work without Cordell Byford and his son, Arabella, Queen Isidore, Councilman Roystonar, Shadvey, engineer Vardy, Captain Fyell, Duke Balderic and more. Stop!!
There is one more person which must be mentioned in a review. Tamsin Pavott.
She is an extraordinary young woman and absolute in her determination to prove herself on every level of her life. Show follows her convictions at all cost.

With that I return to the beginning. I did not mention a word about the Kargrandes. The secret will remain until 7th April 2015.

Until then you should visit

What are the Kargrandes?


Every week you will get a new hint.


Verdict


With Dragon of the Stars Alex J. Cavanaugh delivers a more grown up, more thoughtful and a bit darker story for fans of space opera.It contains  action on every level from space battles over word battles to inner battles.
The mirroring of outer and inner conflicts is intoxicating and will hook you immediately and does not let you go even after you have finished the book. There are questions and decisions which will keep you busy.


Dragon of the Stars is a thrilling space opera with inner and outer conflicts and fascinating characters.






Annotation
After reading four books by Alex J. Cavanaugh I'm sure I finally found out the secret power hidden in the depths of his books. It is the power of love. A love which has nothing to do with romance or sex. It may sound hackneyed. But Look at the core of the characters look at their motivation. Isn't it love in the end which force them to act like they act?
For a better understanding I recommend to read following article:  Love


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Edi's Weekend Wave Issue #1509

2 comments
Dear Readers,

against all odds I wrote and posted and two reviews and read five books in February. One always want more but I'm so happy about it because it says that I used my spare time properly.
Not to forget the joy I felt when posted the reviews and read the books.
In the first two months of 2015 I wrote and posted more reviews than in whole 2014!
That means I'm on a good way.


ENJOY READING ....



Edi's Guidepost

The Lighthouse
News and information straight from the horse's mouth by Lighthouse keeper ediFanoB



  1. Reading progress 
  2. First review sighted
Books
The latest report from our shelf shop net correspondent Bona
  1. New books on my shelf/reader or when one book leads to another 
  2. A countdown book deal
Blogosphere
Messages from the depths of the blogosphere by spheronaut Bona Fide
  1. Clowns
  2. Illusions
  3. Executioner
  4. Superheroes

Movies
Remote control junkie Fide and his zapping highlights
  1. In Memoriam: Leonard Nimoy

Quotes
The member of the house of quotes and a quote himself the Keeper of the minutes ( we call him Kotm) fished for you
  1. German proverbs, sayings and idiomsQuote related to body

The Lighthouse
Yay! I finished to more books and started to read two new books.

I finished

- The Return of the Discontinued Man (pb, 2014) [ISBN-13: 978-1616149055] by Mark Hodder
I wrote on GOODREADS:
"I'm totally biased when comes to the Burton & Swinburne series which I love since I read the first book.

The Return of the Discontinued Man contain a lot of time travel. You have to take care not to get lost.
Beside that it is a great steampunk adventure full of action, emotion and thoughtful moments.
The view into a possible future gave me the creeps and I felt very sad about the persons who died.

Nevertheless I'm totally eager to read book six "The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats", expected to be published in August 2015."

- The Eterna Files (hc, February 2015) [ISBN-13: 978-0765336743] by Leanna Renee Hieber.
I wrote on GOODREADS
"I received a review copy of the book.

The description sounded promising and I like the Victorian era. Furthermore I know that a lot of Victorians has been interested in supernatural stuff and to get in contact with deceased was nothing extraordinary.

Full of hope I started reading.
Around page 109 I wrote: I like it more then the average rating express.

But that changed.

The story started to meander and sometimes I felt lost and was not sure if I missed something or it has not been there.

The ending was disappointing. For me it was like the story has been cut in the middle.

In the end I'm a bit disappointed and I can't give more than three stars."


I'm

- 47 pages in Hearts of Darkness (pb, February 2015) [ISBN-13: 978-0749015329] by Paul Lawrence.
After a long time I meet Harry Lytle and Dowling again.

- 68 pages in The Shard (tentative publishing date is May 1) by Ted Cross.
The author has been so kind as to send me an ARC of his forthcoming epic fantasy novel.
So far I liked what I read. You may understand that I can't deliver any details now.
But I can tell you that I will write a review about it. 



No progress

Finally I moved the books which stayed here for month to my "to be continued later" shelf on GOODREADS.




 Enjoy your weekend ....



Books


Dear readers, I'm the one to tell you about books - only books? What about novellas and other stuff? My name is Bona. I scour shelves, shops and the net for books. If you call me a book whore I would not gainsay you. But be aware I have my own, sometimes elusive taste.

New books on my shelf/reader or when one book leads to another

The last week I bought just one digital copy.


An average rating of 4.32 of 5 stars is quite good for a science fiction debut novel. I read some reviews which praise the book. Furthermore the description sounded interesting enough for me to get a digital copy of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (digital, February 2015) [Kindle edition ASIN: 
B00LUJD700] by Becky Chambers.
"Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.

But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.

Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own." [Source]



A countdown book deal
On January 4th, 2015, I posted my review of Death by Disputation (digital 2014) [ Kindle Edition ASIN:  B00RC56VCW] by Anna Castle which is the second book in her new Francis Bacon Murder Mystery Series.  

In case you are interested in to buy a digital copy You should read following information which I got from  Anna Castle's blog:
Death by Disputation will be on sale this coming week at Amazon.
This is book 2 in the Francis Bacon series. (See the blurb and sample.)

It’s a Kindle Countdown deal; you’re rewarded for acting quickly. It should be called a CountUP because we start with the 80% discount and step up about 20% every 40 hours. Wacky, yes? But such is modern enterprise.
Here’s the schedule:
Sat, Feb 28        8:00 am         40 hr                $0.99   80% off
Mar. 2              12:00 am         40 hr                $1.99   61%
Mar. 3                4:00 pm         40 hr                $2.99   41%
Mar. 5                8:00 am         40 hr                $3.99   21%
Mar. 7              12:00 pm         40 hr                $4.99   regular price
Get it while it’s hot! If you prefer paper, that’s available at CreateSpace and at Amazon. If you buy it an Amazon, you get the ebook for free. A shelf copy and a walking around copy; the best of both worlds.



No more today, see you next week ......



Blogosphere

Hey, I'm Bona Fide. I just came back from my last foray through the blogosphere. What can you expect from me? I tell you: Everything from Art to Fart as long as there is any faint connection to books. And here is some honey from the beehive blogosphere...



Clowns
It seems they are rare today. Did you know that there have been full time street clowns in Victorian London? Read more about clowns in Victorian London over at the English Historical Fiction Authors:





Illusions
I love illusions. Have a look at the awesome pictures over at the WebUrbanist and you may understand why.

Radically Surreal: A Strange World of Mind-Bending Illusions




Executioner
Nearly three hundred years ago an executioner has been executed. Read more about it over at the English Historical Fiction Authors:





Superheroes
We see them most of the time when they are in action. But what happens the rest of the time. Do they have a secret live? The WebUrbanist revealed:



That's it for today. Come back next week for more ......


Movies


Hey, it's me Fide. I'm a remote control professional. I'm that fast that I can watch two movies at the same time.

In Memoriam Leonard Nimoy 1931 - 2015

Live Long and Prosper: The Jewish Story Behind Spock, Leonard Nimoy's Star Trek Character


That's all for today. See you next time....


Quotes

I 'm the Keeper of the minutes. But I don't mind when you call me Kotm. No, no. I don't explain to you how to pronounce.

Sometimes I run out of words. Fortunately we have a body we can use to express ourselves. But body language is not always unambiguous. Especially men struggle when it comes to female body language ...............


"Women speak two languages, quoth the Bard, one of which is verbal. The other I did not understand.

Paul Lawrence, The Hearts of Darkness, page 40, paperback edition

Monday, February 23, 2015

Edi's Spotlight: Alt Hist Issue 7 edited by Mark Lord

0 comments
Dear Readers,

so far I reviewed   Alt Hist Issue 4 and Alt Hist Issue 5.
Now Alt Hist Issue 7 is available and editor Mark Lord asked me if I would like to get a copy in exchange for an honest review and I agreed to do that.

For all of you who do not know  Alt Hist: Historical Fiction and Alternate History, let me repeat the explanation by editor Mark Lord.


"Alt Hist, http://althistfiction.com, is the new magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History. Lovers of historical fiction for too long have been denied outlets for short pieces of fiction, as the number of print and online magazines for historical short fiction is very limited compared to the popularity of fiction set in past times. Alt Hist’s mission is to provide readers with entertaining and well-written short stories with a historical setting, whether portraying actual events or events that could have happened. If you read and enjoy historical fiction, alternate history or historical fantasy then we think you will like Alt Hist." [Source]
And now without further ado my review of Alt Hist Issue 7.


Alt Hist Issue 7 (digital and print, February 2015) 
edited by Mark Lord 

You can purchase eBook and Print copies from:
And eBook copies from:

The Delivery
Alt Hist Issue 7 features seven stories by six authors and editorial by Mark Lord.

At the end of each story you get basic information about the author and a link to a website or a blog which I appreciate.
I could not detect any obvious mistakes which means the proof-reading has been done well. I mention this because it seems no matter of course when it comes to digital publishing. Also the formatting worked well on my reader.

Before I go into detail I would like to talk about the cover image. Mark Lord mentioned  the name of the painting and the name of the artist. Surrender of General Burgoyne has been painted by John Trumbull (June 6, 1756 – November 10, 1843) who was notable for his historical painting. I'm no adept which means I can't deliver an in depth review of the painting. If you would like to know more please follow the previous two links.



Editorial by Mark Lord

Mark explained that he is happy with the development of Alt Hist followed by additional information about the authors of the stories and the stories itself. He emphasized that the main purpose of Alt Hist is to provide a home for quality short fiction with a historical setting.
Anyway you get enough input to raise your nosiness.

It is always a balancing act not to give away too much of a short story. I decided to give you a short information of the content of each story based on the information you get in the editorial.


The first story of Alt Hist Issue 7 is The Vivisectionist's Daughter by Jason Kahn. He delivered an alternate view of the last days of the famous physician and anatomist Andreas Vesalius through the eyes of the construction worker Qadri.


My thoughts
What is the secret of the soul? The story give a hint and is a perfect trigger to think about the soul. well written in a prose which hooks you on soft feet.



Cold Flesh by Andrew Knighton take the reader back into Medieval England. It is a story of sow and reap. It has been a harsh life and one should not kick people who are already on the ground.
Mark Lord mentioned that this was not the first story by Andrew Knighton in Alt Hist.

My thoughts
Medieval England was not the land of milk and honey. This dark story let you think about moral and superstition.

The third story has been delivered by Pavel Nikiforovitch and the title Independence Day give the first hint what the story is about. The 4th July set in an alternate version of present day America looks really different. How patriotic must an American be?

My thoughts
I really liked the story because the end was completely different to what I expected. Patriotism can be a burden or a lighthouse in the dark. I assume that my perception of the story will differ from an American reader. 


Heff in Dearborn by Michael Fertikis set in early 20th century America. What happens when a Greek god in disguise (Hephaistos) meets the synonym for modern factory assembly lines Henry T. Ford?

My thoughts
The story give a possible explanation how  Henry T. Ford While became the the synonym for modern factory assembly lines. For me it was like reading a fable. Finding: Take care when you deal with goods.


Regularly readers of Alt Hist Issue will know Battalion 202 which is the what-if tale of British resistance to a Nazi Invasion in WW2. he following two stories belong
Author Johnathan Doering contributed two new Battalion 202 stories.

In Battalion 202: The Sheep and the Goats Jonathan Doering returns to the local policeman Harold Storey who is forced to work together with the occupying Gestapo. 


My thoughts
This is a heartbreaking story because it is about the decision on consequences for Harold Story: Should he risk his own life to aid the British resistance or not.


In Battalion 202: Set Ablaze Jonathan Doering delivers back story information in form of personal records from figures like Winston Churchill. Each record contain possible answers of these person in their own words.

My thoughts
I think this is more interesting for readers who read previous Battalion 202 stories. But it can also be of interest for people with historical interest.

The Red Vortex by Priya Sharma is the final story of Alt Hist Issue 7. She contributed a number of stories to previous Alt Hist Issues. This time Priya Sharma explore the psychology of a great figure in history.

My thoughts
Unbelievable! At the end of the story you know the name of the person described in this story which gave me the creeps.


And what do I think about Alt Hist Issue 7?

I think Mark Lord delivered what he promised: To provide a home for quality short fiction with a historical setting.
Furthermore it is the biggest issue of Alt Hist so far.
It is a good mix of different stories and again a great opportunity to discover not only so well known but promising alternate history authors. It is also good opportunity for fans of Priya Sharma and  Jonathan Doering to read more from these authors.

I should not forget to mention that you can read 
The Vivisectionist's Daughter by Jason Kahn
FOR FREE!! Just click on the link.



If this is something after your taste then let me tell you that the previous four issues of Alt Hist are still available. You want to know how to get those ones? Just follow the link: How to get Alt Hist


If you want more information about the current and the previous issues of alt hist I highly recommend to visit Alt Hist: Historical Fiction and Alternate History.
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