August and September Reading List

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Well – things kinda got away from me, and I haven’t kept the blog up to date with what I’ve been reading / listening to. Sorry about that. I’ve proven that I can burn through audiobooks. And I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but, I listen to them at normal speed 😉

I listen in the car on the way to work, and on the way home. Depending on what I’m doing in the office, I listen while at work too. Some of my job involves some pretty repetitive, mind-numbing things, and they can be very conducive to listening to audiobooks.

Let’s jump in to what I’ve been reading…

1)  Cold Welcome: Vatta’s Peace, Book 1 by Elizabeth Moon Narrated by: Brittany Pressley

Command Decision: Vatta's War, Book 4 by Elizabeth Moon

Interesting when a series switches narrators. In this case, I liked the new voice, but the differences in character voices and pronunciations did take a little getting used to. Specifically with Aunt Gracie’s voice, which was so distinct before, and is now very, very different…

This book begins a new chapter in Ky Vatta’s life, and for the first time, we see her planet-locked when her transport crashes into a remote area of her homeworld. Instead of commanding a ship and fleet, she has to lead a group of soldiers from her homeworld and keep everyone alive long enough to be rescued…

2) Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin

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Having finished all of the Vatta books, I found myself wanting more spacey goodness. Enter Tanya Huff’s Confederation series. Much more Military SciFi than the Vatta pieces, I found myself instantly liking Torin Kerr – the protagonist for the series. She’s smart and quick with a jibe or smartass comment whether verbally or in her own thoughts. The story is compelling – following a major battle with major casualties, Kerr is ordered to put together a single platoon for some ceremonial duties. This soon proves to be more than that when her platoon becomes stranded with a bunch of diplomats smack in the middle of an area reserved for the more aggressive of the local species. It’s up to Kerr to get her people out alive – which becomes a major theme throughout the series…

3) The Better Part of Valor by Tanya Huff Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin

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Great follow-up book, and introduces a new element to the series during the exploration of a derelict alien spacecraft that isn’t as derelict as first believed. And the Others, the enemy in the war the Marine’s were formed to fight, have also found the ship…

4) The Heart of Valor: A Confederation Novel by Tanya Huff Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin

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Torin Kerr returns to Crucible – the training ground for Confederation Marines. Here, she runs into trouble when it appears that the Others have somehow infiltrated the systems and turned them against the trainees. Originally assigned to keep a Major and his doctor alive, she now has a whole platoon of newbies who need her help if they’re going to survive…

5) Valor’s Trial: A Confederation Novel by Tanya Huff Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin

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This one was excellent. Kerr finds herself almost immediately in a POW camp, which is impossible because everyone knows the Others – that enemy they know so little about – don’t take prisoners. Yet here she is, and here are a ton of other Marines, all being held prisoner. And something about the camp makes them want to stay, to give in to despair. Kerr is known for getting her people out alive, and now she has an entire army of captured Marine’s who need her to get them out…

6) The Truth of Valor: A Confederation Novel by Tanya Huff Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin

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This was great! It presented Kerr as the ‘fish out of water’, and forced her to deal with the issues of coming out of the military and settling into life as a civilian again. Having learned some difficult truths in the previous book, gunnery sergeant Torin Kerr decides to leave the Marines and build a life with Craig Ryder on his salvage ship, The Promise. As it turns out, you can take the gunnery sergeant out of the Marines, but you can’t take the Marines out of the gunnery sergeant… Not easily. And when Craig is kidnapped, Kerr calls on old friends to help her get him back.

7) An Ancient Peace: Peacekeeper, Book 1 by Tanya Huff Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin

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This starts a new chapter for Torin Kerr. Life as a salvage operator didn’t work for her, not really – so she reinvents herself and builds a team of her former Marines to work as a pseudo-strike team for the justice department – they become Peacekeepers. Kerr isn’t the only one dealing with things – the entire Confederation are dealing with a post-war existence. As are the Others – who call themselves The Primacy.

8) A Peace Divided: Peacekeeper, Book 2 by Tanya Huff Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin

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Continuing the Peacekeeper series, Kerr and her team find themselves having to work with a team from the Primacy to rescue a group of scientists taken prisoner by a joint-Confederation/Primacy group of mercenaries. This created an interesting tension – how do you work with people who were once your enemy?

Ok – this concludes my military sf binge, but not my audiobook binge.

I have to admit, I’ve been very down lately. Lots going on and I’ve been finding it difficult to write. I wanted something to spark that again. This reminded me of how I sparked that particular fire once before, and I decided to grab something I’ve already read – and multiple times – and see how that went…

9) The Eye of the World: Book One of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan Narrated by: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer

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I love this book, and the series as a whole. Often, I joke about how I struggle to find authors who admit to reading it. Many say it was ‘too commercial’ for them, or that it went on far too long and they gave up. That’s ok – I still love them.

This book hit the spot and did rekindle the spark. I’ve been thinking more and more about my writing and where I want it to go.

As for the audiobook itself – I loved it. Did think it was weird to have Kate Reading for like two chapters (maybe three?) out of…fifty? Fifty-two? Tripped out by the pronunciations, which were different in my head than in the audiobook. I decided to keep going, though, and listen to more of The Wheel of Time…

10) The Great Hunt: Book Two of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan Narrated by: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer

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A lot of authors use the Heroes Journey in their stories. One thing I like about The Wheel of Time is how Rand fights for three books before allowing himself to accept the destiny being thrust upon him. In the second book – this book – he denies it over and over as a new character he encounters – Selene – continually tries to tempt him with being a great hero, one they will sing songs about and write great poems. And in the end, he still doesn’t accept it even when it’s pushed into his face.

11) The Dragon Reborn: Book Three of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan Narrated by: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer

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In the third book, Jordan moves away from his main character. Think about that for a second. Who does that?! Jordan did. Here we get a focus on Perrin, Matt, Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene. And I loved it. And it’s not until the very end that The Dragon is truly Reborn…

Ok – that’s it. But when I write the October update, it’ll start with Book Four…

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