Welcome, little one!
Now, to the matter at hand: I was slightly successful the other day in sneaking in a few words about Laura Montgomery's "Simple Service," although in no way could what I wrote be termed a proper review by Papa Pat. Still, you have to prime the pump.
That's a term that only a very few readers will understand. In the days before municipal water supplies existed, water came from a well, and the wells supplied that water via a hand pump. In order to create the needed suction, you poured a bucket of water down a pipe, and then pumped away. You always made sure the bucket was left filled after using the pump!
So, here are a few more buckets; these are books I have read, and am waiting to be able to review them. My hope is that by writing these thumbnails, I'll break through the block. If that doesn't work, it will at least make a down-payment on what I owe the writers for the work they put in.
"Simple Service," Laura Montgomery. Since I have already written a few lines about it here, I'll cut and paste and edit what I said about Laura Montgomery's excellent book "Simple Service: Martha's Sons, Book One." The series Montgomery has started is called "Martha's Sons." This Martha is a person of literature, living on a planet that was not what they were looking for, and thus designated as NWWWLF. She has multiple sons and daughters, and two of them in particular are the main characters of this compelling book, addressing themes of family loyalty and conflict, the difficulty of living on a planet which requires extensive terraforming, the tendency of oligarchies to resort to ever-more repressive measures to keep in power, all giving us a lovely, lovely back-story to her "Waking Late" series.
"Death's Talisman," J. F. Posthumus. She's not a bad person; not at ALL! In fact, she does her very best to rise above the wild oats sown during an admittedly wilder youth, when she was wont to smite her enemies. Now, she's with child, and she is discovering things about the baby daddy, and her mama is a bit of a nutter, and...goes on from there. I have no excuse for not reviewing this one earlier; I've had it at least since July 8.
"Star Marque Rising," Shami Stovall. I feel THE WORST about not getting this one reviewed earlier. Not only have I had a copy since last February (I think), the writer is fairly new to the scene, and deserved better treatment at my hands. The book is a glorious, exploding spaceships, evil empire space opera, with a bodacious twist: Stovall has incorporated The Prisoner's Dilemma into the writing, both literally as a drinking game the characters play, and as the primary framework for the story. I found it to be brilliant.
"The Replicant War," Chris Kennedy. It COULD be argued that this is the last Dragon review, except I didn't review the entries for the category that included this as a finalist (Media Tie-In). Most, but not all, of the CKP books I've read are in a different storyline, featuring mechs and aliens; what sets this one apart is that gamer geeks discover that the hot new game they are playing is really happening. I don't think I qualify as a Gamer, but I do recognize the appeal of an immersive experience that takes you away from the demands of work and study.
"Gold on the Hoof," Peter Grant. This is the third installment in the story of Walter Ames, a former Confederate soldier who heads west to make his fortune. Grant does a magnificent job of making the seemingly dull routine of building a transportation company, rebuilding rifles, and selling horses into something exciting. Of course, evil corrupt businessmen, liars, cheats, thieves, and thugs with guns have something to say about how things are done as well.
"Bob's Saucer Repair," Jerry Boyd. Mild-mannered Bob finds intergalactic love, and a chance to make a few bucks, when his mechanical skills allow him to get a discombobulated spaceship working again. This is PRIMARILY told humorously, but there is sufficient intrigue and gun-play to raise it far, as in WAY, WAY far, above the level of a 1960's Disney movie.
"Operation Flash, Episode 2: Hinges of Fate," Nitay Arbel. One of the MANY attempts on Hitler's life succeeds in this timeline, and Germans are given the chance to redeem Germany before the Allies do it for them. I was stationed in Germany from March of 1973 to September of 1975, and visited some of the places discussed in the book. The book does two things for me: it refreshes the horror I experienced when touring the museum located at the site of the concentration camp at Dachau, near Munich, reminding me of the evil of the murder factories put in place as a policy matter; it also reminds me that there were a significant fraction of decent Germans who resisted. I personally served with a former Wehrmacht soldier, Herr Gerhard Schroff, and a former Luftwaffe clerk, Frau Elsie Geist. Neither had been Nazis.
Small rant, by me. I also spent time in East Berlin, administered by our former allies in that conflict. In 1975, it was VERY easy to see the iron fist, because the velvet glove was awfully threadbare. Yes, evil exists, and it must be resisted by people of conscience.
It's too easy to think "I never would have supported such an obviously wicked government!" Before we get TOO self-righteous, though, remember, among others, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney. They died, because they were working to make it possible that babies like my new great-grandson would be able to vote one day.
This was not NATIONAL policy; it was, however, an act supported by local policy.
Just something to keep in mind.
Okay, those seven books are those I have read, but not been able to review, from authors who have entrusted me with their works. In addition to those, I've also re-read some Heinlein, who I tend to go to when I need inspiration, and so on. Besides these, there are at least that many which are in the queue to be read, that I haven't gotten to yet. I will.
Peace be on your household.