Archive for the ‘What I’ve Read’ Category

Book Review: The Dog Stars

June 1, 2018 Leave a comment

For me, The Dog Stars pushed quite a few personal buttons. Set on the Colorado Front Range. Check–lived there for ten years. Main character is a pilot. Check,–I am a Commercial Pilot & CFI. Has a dog named Jasper. Check–mine was a Siberian Husky. Influenza infused post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy. Check–who hasn’t read The Stand? (Hmmm, which also ends up in Boulder, Colorado…) Heller’s story has its own showdown between good and evil, but his story is much more personal than epic. The narrative style takes some getting used to at first, but craftily fits Hig’s tale perfectly, so stick with it. The awards won by the book were well-deserved. (5 of 5 Stars)

The Dog Stars on



Categories: What I've Read

Book Reviews: Billy Mitchell, Long and Short…High & Low

May 25, 2018 Leave a comment

Billy Mitchell: Stormy Petrel Of The Air [Illustrated Edition] by [Miller, Roger G.]

A too brief biography of an early aviation game-changer, who, after dogfighting the likes of of the Red Baron during World War I, came home to do battle with the military-industrial complex in a mission to establish an independent air power service branch–a fight that that ended in his court martial, but paved the way for the Army Air Corps success in World War II. Stormy Petrel of the Air is a good high altitude fly-over look at the father of the United States Air Force, but left me hungry to learn more about Mitchell. (3 of 5 Stars)

Link to Stormy Petrel of the Air at Amazon

Billy Mitchell: Founder of Our Air Force, Prophet Without Honor by [Gauvreau,Emile, Cohen,Lester]

On the one wing, Prophet without Honor is an interesting up-close look at General Mitchell from a man who knew him personally, offering insights into Mitchell’s relationships with other aviation pioneers like Glenn Martin and Hap Arnold and detailing his battles on behalf of air power against the Army and Navy brass before Congress, in the press and in the court room. On the other, Gauvreau’s obvious reverence and near idol-worship for the father of the U.S. Air Force became somewhat tiresome. His contemporary perspective also led to assumptions about the reader’s knowledge which left open some pretty big gaps, the worst of which was an inadequate explanation of the early Twentieth Century “Aviation Trust” working against Mitchell.  (3 of 5 Stars)

Link to Prophet without Honor at Amazon

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: The Cold Dish (A Longmire Mystery)

May 19, 2018 Leave a comment

The Cold Dish: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 1) by [Johnson, Craig]

Like most, I came to the Longmire series dishonestly, i.e., via Netflix. The written word may disappoint those too heavily invested in liberties taken by the TV series over the course of six seasons. Vic’s not blonde. Henry is physically much more bear-like than Lou Diamond Phillips. And Walt is a lot more verbose than on the screen–which, of course, is to be expected since the book is told from the sheriff’s first person point-of-view. But the essential Longmire elements–Wyoming, the Cheyenne nation, murder and the pursuit of justice by a dusty, dedicated lawman–are all there and the story worked for me just as well and in some ways even better in novel form. (4 of 5 Stars)

A Cold Dish on



Categories: What I've Read

Book Reviews: The Red Knight of Germany

April 20, 2018 Leave a comment

Written in 1927, less than 10 years after Richthofen’s death in World War I, Floyd Gibbons gives an up close look, time-wise, at the former cavalryman and avid hunter who became World War I’s “Ace-of-Aces.” The best part of the book is also one of its weakest. The author tracked down and interviewed many of the pilots who survived being shot down by the Red Baron for their side of the dogfight to compare with Richthofen’s own after action reports, which was fascinating. But about halfway through, it started to feel like the book had become just a long, detailed cataloging of the Baron’s 80 victories. Then I realized that pretty much was the sum total of this man’s entire life.  (4 of 5 Stars for Aviation Aficionados; 3 of 5 Stars for others)

The Red Baron of Germany on Amazon

Book Review: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

April 13, 2018 Leave a comment

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by [Peterson, Jordan B.]

Pretty presumptuous, eh, to write a book telling people how to live their lives…what with rules, for Christ’s sakes. Especially nowadays. And to use religious mythology to boot!

Peterson’s core premise is that stories which have survived for thousands and thousands and thousands of years with themes common across many different religions and cultures might actually have some value to human beings as guideposts for understanding life and making the best of it.  His lectures seem to be an earnest and forthright exploration of that observation.  12 Rules for Life attempts to put the results of his inquiries into practical action for individuals.

Whether or not you agree with Peterson’s musings, conclusions and prescriptions, a fair and open-minded reading of his book will yield thought provoking insights. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to 12 Rules for Life  on Amazon

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Fowl Play

March 23, 2018 Leave a comment

Fowl Play by [Spencer Green, Jay]

You know you’re reading “on the edge” when poultry meat processing has become a team sport rivaling the NFL and FIFA.  But, personally, that’s what I like about self proclaimed ne’re-do-well Green’s forays where no satirist has gone before. His plunderous bounty of crazy characters, turbulent plot twists and scalpel sharp barbs is a just reward.

As always, make sure your seat belt is snuggly fastened and your seat backs and tray tables are in their full, upright and locked position.  In the event of rapid decompression, place your oxygen mask on first–but, then again, there really shouldn’t be any children along on this ride. (5 of 5 Stars)

Link to Fowl Play on Amazon

Categories: What I've Read

Book Review: Secret of the Attal

March 16, 2018 Leave a comment

The Secret of the Attal: A Michael Chrome Novel (The Attal Series Book 1)

Huh, what a concept:  a story about aliens on earth that doesn’t involve war and conquest between our species and theirs.  A convenience store in Ohio is where SETI has its “Eureka!” moment when the owner is approached by a regular customer who reveals himself to be from that place “where no man has gone before” and actually asks for his assistance.  It seems that some of the extraterrestrials–who have been here  the whole time looking over shoulders of scientists as they listen for radio transmissions from outer space–aren’t playing well with others and are rigging the game of climbing the alien’s version of the corporate ladder against his son. A fun and refreshing family-friendly read.  (4 of 5 Stars)

Link to Secret of the Attal on Amazon

Categories: What I've Read
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