Uncorked: My year in Provence studying Pétanque, discovering Chagall, drinking Pastis, and mangling French by Paul Shore | Goodreads

Source: Uncorked: My year in Provence studying Pétanque, discovering Chagall, drinking Pastis, and mangling French by Paul Shore | Goodreads

Absolutely unreadable for me. I put this thing down after 5 or so pages and just couldn’t pick it back up. This feels like, and maybe is, a collection of blog posts. Nothing more. No real narrative. Sloppy writing. Sloppy editing. And somehow it manages to not make you care about life in a small French village.

#1-star, #unreadable

10 years ago – Zurich weather


10 years ago (roughly, this was December 18th, 2007) we were in Zurich and going through what was an insanely mild winter.

The interesting part here — is how badly the internet decayed in terms of linked images. That’s a good lesson — bring a copy with me!

#10-years-ago, #zurich

Cookham To Cannes: The South of France – Lobsters & Lunatics by Brent Tyler | Goodreads

Source: Cookham To Cannes: The South of France – Lobsters & Lunatics by Brent Tyler | Goodreads

This is a light, easy, quick book about failing miserably in England and moving to France. Interestingly enough it seems that most travel/moving/emigration books I pick up start with people being miserable in England and moving somewhere else. I’ve never lived in England; it must be pretty bad given the emigration books per capita.

But I digress. This book is a series of events being “guardians” (which sounds a lot better in French than in American English) on various properties in France. The owners are wacky, mean, and generally speaking insane. Also the owners are British which I guess continues the thread of people from England being miserable in one way or another.

Worth reading? Sure, if you’re looking for a lightweight, easy read between heavier things. I enjoyed it.

#3-star, #emigrate, #france, #travel


This is the second book in The King’s Hound trilogy. And no, this has nothing to do with The Hound in Game of Thrones. This is a fairly simple story of an illuminator (the guy who did the fancy illustrations back when books were very, very rare) and a minor noble who lost his estate. The fun part is that it’s set in a historical period when England was in complete flux. Angles, Saxons (one can imagine Jutes), Danes, and of course Vikings (Danes were sort of domesticated Vikings).

Winston and Halfdan are asked to check out rumors in various villages. Along the way they encounter a murder mystery and investigate that. There isn’t much more to this, the conclusion could have gone any which way… but in the end it doesn’t matter. The real reason to read this series is “day in the life” of pre-medieval England. And in that it stands up nicely.

Give this series a whirl, don’t expect too much, enjoy.

The Powder Mage trilogy

I’ve been reading a ton of books this year – but I haven’t always made time to review them. So with that in mind let me suggest The Powder Mage trilogy. I stumbled on this series via a post-trilogy book Sins of Empire. I liked the world-building and characters enough in this book to check out the initial trilogy. And wow, I wasn’t disappointed!

If you’ve read steampunk this is sort of like that only flintlock-punk perhaps. Technology in this world is circa 1700 in many ways; flintlocks, muskets, and still people charging around with sabers and pikes. But there is sorcery too. And new on the scene is a new kind of wizard; people who power their abilities with gunpowder. It sounded stupid when I first read the description but trust me, it’s a lot of fun.


Don’t be bothered by the silly words on the cover… it’s a good book

The plot can be a little disjointed at times; every so often something happens that absolutely makes no sense. At other times we get characters popping in or out that will never show up again. But these are quibbles. I enjoyed the series immensely and tore through them. I found myself up way too late at night reading these three books.

I look for ward to book #2 of the new series when it comes available in 2018.

#5star, #fantasy, #flintlock