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So What Have you Read Lately? And other favorite books!


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1 hour ago, TheAuldGrump said:

In the eighties I was living with a Rosicrucian. It likely built up my own wellspring of context. ::D:


The Auld Grump, I did try to warn her about the convolution, but she had enjoyed Holy Blood, Holy Grail. *EDIT* Which lead to Dan Brown...<_<


Which might lead to "Preacher"?

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On 8/17/2019 at 10:50 PM, TheAuldGrump said:

I very much enjoy the Sword, Spells & Stealth series (the series title - in my head I call it the NPCs series). ::P:


I am also passing fond of his Fred, the Vampire Accountant series.




I am getting heartily sick of the Harem Fantasy that is so damned prevalent on Kindle Unlimited. I picked up a book, based entirely on the title - An Orc at College.


I even suspect that I could have enjoyed it, but then it turned into Happy, Happy Harem and I lost all interest.


I suspect that the sub-genre has a small but loyal core following so that Harem Fantasy will always sell enough to make a profit, but will never grow beyond that loyal core. <_<


I blame Orc Roadtrip for my picking up Orc at College - I was hoping for something similar, I guess. (I enjoyed Orc Roadtrip - and am waiting for the sequel. Orc at College... was not it.)


The Auld Grump

Reverse harem is just as bad.




I am pretty sure most of the writers are men, and just swapping the genders. The result is boring, boring soft core porn.

22 hours ago, paintybeard said:


Which might lead to "Preacher"?

I LOVE Preacher. Garth Ennis is da bomb.

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1 hour ago, paintybeard said:


I haven't seen it yet either.


Very nervous at the prospect of Tulip as a brunette.

It's... Enjoyable. Not nearly as much fun as the books, but I had a good time with it.


Tulip is the only real departure from the visual character design, and although she's NOT the Tulip found in the books, I really do like her. Ruth Negga is one of the more engaging members of an engaging cast.


If you get really really nerdragey about stuff like Tom Bombadil* being cut from Peter Jackson's movies, then the differences here will also make you pretty upset... But, although I like the books better, I think the changes made were good choices when carrying the story over to a different medium in a different time.




*I really miss him. But it was the right call.

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Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D, written by David Kushner and illustrated by Koren Shadmi Graphic novel--or graphic nonfiction, I guess, or whatever would be the appropriate term--chronicling the development of Dungeons & Dragons. Mainly focuses on Gary Gygax's life and largely seems to want to split itself between playing fanboy to Gygax and providing a sort of how-to primer for folks new to RPGs. Feels a bit unfocused but enjoyable enough.





Matt Bell's A Tree or a Person or a Wall. Stories that tend toward the magically real, fairy tales and the weird. Kind of ran together for me and always seemed to be reminding me how clever they are. That's probably just a me thing, though; I'm not the right audience for this book. Skipped and skimmed after a while and just had to lay it down. Highlight: "Dredge."





The Tales of the Last War, edited by Mark Sehestedt. Anthology of stories set in the Eberron Dungeons & Dragons setting. Fair to middling on the whole--it always seems so incredibly hard to work up good fantasy short stories, for some reason--but they do give an all right sampling of some of the different thematic elements of the pulpy, magic-tech influenced game setting.





Tim Waggoner's Thieves of Blood. A fairly generic fantasy story following some fairly fun characters--albeit suffering from a bit of the classic nervous-around-girls and morally-tortured angst streak that runs through a fair portion of the D&D novel catalogue.





Tim Waggoner's Forge of the Mindslayers. A rather rambling and uninspired middle entry that sees a growing cast of characters constantly turning about and traveling without ever seeming to make headway as they face rowdy military captains, some undead, and some foes from the past with designs on a powerful magical device.





Tim Waggoner's Sea of Death. Okay, I'm just gonna say it: Weresharks. But hear me out: Things actually come together pretty well, if a bit too neatly at the end. The large, ever-growing cast unfortunately lacks room for everyone to shine, but the adventure wraps in satisfying enough a fashion.





Don Bassingthwaite's The Binding Stone. A great start to a trilogy of books that showcases the flavor of the Eberron setting rather well. Maybe the best first hundred pages I've ever read in a Dungeons & Dragons novel, or at least since I was ~12 or whatever and started the Dragonlance Chronicles. Action-packed and moves right along, pretty clean prose. A fun read. (And, oh! I love that cover.)





Troy Denning's The Parched Sea. The first entry in the Forgotten Realms' Harpers series, this book is, most definitely, Lawrence of Arabia adapted for D&D. Pretty much. I'll be honest, though: I'm apparently a sucker for this sort of thing. I have no idea why. It surprises me every time. Denning drops in a fair bit of exposition, especially early on, but once I settled in things read along smoothly. Maintained interest throughout. Ending isn't terribly surprising but doesn't shy away where it could and is more rewarding, probably, for it.

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Reading the Skeleton With A Heart series - which begins when a Necromancer, in an act of desperation, accidentally raises a Death Knight.


Which immediately begins rampaging around - smiting evil, doing good deeds, saving lives... No Anti in this Paladin.


A bit of a goofball, at first it seems that he is still missing a good deal of his mind, but as you slowly learn more of his background you realize that, no, he has always been a goofball.


A very, very powerful goofball. (With hints that a lot of his goofiness is either to distract from the power, or just to put people at ease.)


But his heart is in the right place... oh, wait... that isn't his heart, beating away in there.


Fun, light reading, not very serious, good when you are in the mood for silliness.


The Auld Grump - a lot more enjoyable than the Happy Happy Harem crap that Kindle Unlimited has been shoving at me, at least.

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I've just finished re-reading an excellent history book titled "That Sweet Enemy", by Robert and Isabelle Tombs.


It covers the relations between France and Britain between 1688 to 2003. And it centres itself on the perceptions and prejudices that the 2 countries hold about each other. So as well as covering the obvious things like diplomacy and battles the book discusses literature and the arts, finance, tourism, fashion, "culture" and just about anything else you can think of. 


 But perhaps what is most amusing are the 2 authors. Mr and Mrs Tombs are a married couple, he is British and she is French. And it's plain that they don't always agree! Every so often throughout the book they write a sort of summary chapter, and take alternate paragraphs to put their own point of view, which usually includes implying that their partner is talking nonsense! I imagine their must have been some fairly terse times chez Tombs while this book was being written. 


Highly recommended, there is a LARGE chapter on the American War of Independence for those whose interest lie in that direction.

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Don Bassingthwaite's The Grieving Tree. A solid middle entry in the series, full of travel and things in-between. Reminiscent of Empire, minus the big reveal. The characters' strong personalities drive things along very well as they work to uncover and foil the plans of a rather evil dragon serving his very evil master.





Gabrielle Harbowy's Gears of Faith. A sort of lesbian-lit take on Harry Potter ported to the Pathfinder setting. The pacing is rather brutal: Over the first ~150 pages a gnome cleric and her crusader lover move to the big city of Absalom to enroll in magic college and are vaguely affected by a possible MacGuffin while making friends with a transgender halfling and discovering a new local bar and new friends. Things pick up toward the end from there, and there are some interesting bits and ideas along the way, but those looking more for fantasy adventuring than the romantic/social chronicling of a young couple might give it a pass.





Elaine Cunningham's Elfshadow. A surprisingly fun read. Harpers across Faerun are mysteriously murdered by an assassin, and Danilo, a notorious fop in Waterdeep social circles, goes undercover with occasional Harper agent--and both suspect and possible target--Arilyn to discover the killer's identity. I read this book ~20 years ago and was rather put off by Danilo's buffoonish persona, but upon revisiting it as part of a Forgotten Realms book club I'm plumb charmed to death by his wit and silliness. Time makes dandies of us all, I suppose. A mildly convoluted mystery with serviceable action and adventure, Cunningham's characters really carry the day here.





Jean Rabe's Red Magic. An unfortunate mix of convoluted mad wizards' scheming and hapless agents' bumbling about in defense of good. The main characters of the novel were so flat and unlikable I nearly found myself rooting for the villain at times. Just not enough here to pull it out. The action is dull and the insight into Thay, an interesting part of the Forgotten Realms setting, not quite deep enough. A bit of a struggle to finish.





Don Bassingthwaite's The Killing Song. A worthy conclusion to one of the better fantasy (and especially D&D) series I've read in years. The party splits to run down separate threads of the threat facing not only them but all of Eberron. The cast is given plenty of time to shine, on the whole, and we get a fun look at Sharn, the City of Towers, the calling-card highlight of the setting. The plot's a little thin at spots, and the main thread of this book probably would've been more effective if it'd been built from the last (if it was present at all, I totally missed it); I'm not sure I was satisfied with how things wrapped between Geth and Singe, and things feel rushed at the end; but what a fun read.

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3 minutes ago, Corsair said:

I have been digging through the Starfinder rulebook the last few days. WOW, lots of stuff to try to absorb. Hopefully I won't make too many mistakes at tomorrow's game as a total noob.

what kind of character are you playing and what level? you can limit down what you need to know based on that

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