Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stretching by Bob Anderson

This is a truly excellent book, I have had my copy for well over ten years, refer to it on a regular basis to this day.

Mr. Anderson, has taught stretching to professional sports teams including, the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

I originally purchased this book becaue I was in martial arts, and was looking for ways to improve my flexibility for Tae Kwo Do.  It served me very well in that role.

As I got older I started to use it to deal with and treat work related issues, repetitive stress injuries in my hands & bad back.

One rather unique and very useful feature of this book, is the section of Routines for different sports or problems.  Show specific stretch routines for boxing, which are different than the ones for running.  Also has one for sitting and back pain.

Stretching is an invaluable resource for any athlete or anyone having problems with joints or flexibility.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hammered: Iron Druid book 3 by Kevin Hearne

I like Hammered much better than Hexed I think it might actually be may favorite of the series to date. We find out more about Atticus and his friends, lot of back story is filled in on his friends.

I do get the feeling though reading this of a RPG (Role Playing Game), Atticus might end up with a truly interesting collection of magical weapons and artifacts if this keeps up.

 One minor quibble I have though, it seems that Kevin Hearne likes to throw sex scenes in more in the fashion I would expect from a TV show or movie than most of the books I read.  It is done for comic effect, or along with violence, not really because of any attachment of the characters involved.

It seems clear that Atticus, despite being over 2000 years old still deals with the opposite sex about as well as a 12-14 year old when feelings are actually involved as opposed to lust.  It is clear that Atticus & Granuaile are in love with each other, but they can't even say the word "love" without it being "pretend".

Makes the characters seem far more shallow in my opinion.  Really, Atticus and Oberon have a deeper relationship than Atticus can handle with women.  And Oberon is a dog!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Troynovant. If your looking for a more sophisticated & erudite Blog

Eclectic doesn't begin to describe Troynovant in my opinion.  It has many reviews and comments on literature, TV, movies, etc.  There are multiple writers who contribute, a regular panel and guests.  It is almost more of a online magazine than a typical blog.

Well worth spending several dozens of hours exploring.

If you use computer a lot, give Cleartype a try. Clear & crisp text, reduces eyestrain.

If you spend many hours a week on computer like I do, try the cleartype setting on your computer.  It is something that is already there you just have to select it.

Here is a youtube that shows very clearly how to turn it on, if you don't like it just change back.

Kevin Hearne's Offical Website

Kevin Hearn's Offical Website, I found more than a couple of chuckles on his website.

Writer's Grove, Kevin's Blog on his webpage.

Free Short story in pdf format, from the author, set little before Hounded.  I liked it, was very good.

I would like to see Kevin do more short stories or even short short stories, just have them in chronological order IMO.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hexed book II in the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne

Kevin Hearne's second book in the Iron Druid series Hexed continues the story of Atticus, the last Druid, living in modern Arizona.

I don't like this book as much as the first one, not sure why, I think the pacing is a bit different.  Not bad pacing, just not as smooth a fit with my reading rhythm.

I have already started book three which I am liking much better than Hexed.  Book three reminds me more of book one, but I still recommend reading Hexed
because book three won't make much sense without reading book two first.

After more thought and finishing the third book, I realized part of what I didn't like about Hexed was how weak Atticus seemed in this book vs the first one.  In the first book he personally kills two gods, the first one without any real effort.

So the amount of effort and help he needs in the second book to deal with problems that are far less than a god trying to kill him personally just doesn't make sense.

Plus I know a bit about guns, so the whole "steel jacket bullets" just didn't make any sense.  Normally, only older (like WWII) or Com Block military rifle ammunition will have steel jackets.  Or Com Block handgun ammunition.  I think he could have handled that better by just stating since the gun was a steel (iron) weapon they wouldn't work against that enemy.

So I guess it is nitpicking.  But he uses Holy Arrows in the same book, so stone or wood tipped arrows would have worked well IMO and fit with the story.

I do really like Coyote, and am looking forward to seeing more of Coyote in the fourth book based on hints already dropped.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hounded: The Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne

A great first novel by Kevin Hearne!

If your like me, you have a handful of authors that you love and treasure deeply.  Your always waiting for their next book to come out, save for the few days it takes to read their current masterpiece.

So when I discover a new author, even if they are only okay, it brightens my week.  Since I will have something new to read.  Plus one more author making me wait impatiently wait.

When I find a new author, that is good enough that I say forget sleep.  That is for TV watching!  I get giddy.

Hounded: The Iron Druid is such a novel, even better there are already three books out in this series.  I finished reading Hounded in one sitting.  I immediately ordered the next two books, on my Kindle, and started reading the next book right away.

Though I was tired enough I soon went to bed, I continued reading for another 40 minutes or so on my Blackberry, PDA/Smartphones work better for reading in bed than the Kindle IMO.  The lighted screen works better in the dark for me.  I much prefer the Kindle's Screen though for long periods of reading.

Hounded: The Iron Druid is what I would call light, amusing reading.  I would describe it as a mix of Lois Bujold and Patricia Briggs with a sprinkling of Terry Pratchett.  He adds snippets of Shakespeare, TV shows, movies, & modern slang for comic effect. 

Some of the fight scenes are very amusing, some are so so, Romance he handles more like Bujold does in the Miles books, your not going to find description of sex scenes.  Action stops "before the bedroom" pretty much and resumes afterwords.  Though both women and men get chances to admire hot members of the opposite sex with little or nothing on either in romance scenes and for shapeshifting.

Some people may be offended or more likely annoyed by religious comments, but this is fantasy novel that has a Druid as a central character.  I can't think of any other possible negatives.

If there is something more you would like me to cover in review please post below.  I am trying to balance providing information about the book for people while avoiding spoilers.

I really like this book, will be posting reviews on the next two books soon.  Will also provide some more information on Kevin Hearne in future reviews.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Aikido: The Way of Harmony by John Stevens

Aikido: The Way of Harmony

Is a very good book, 4 out of 5 stars, I wish they had color photographs though that would raise the price of the book significantly.  That is the only reason I am giving it 4 stars.

Aikido is a gentle art, it is what I normally recommend to people asking about a martial art for self defense.  Though I really don't like the term "martial art" specially as applied to Aikido, the name can actually be translate "the Way of harmonious spirit."

This book provides clear explanation of many of the techniques of Aikido.  Provides a clear view of what the art encompasses to anyone interested.

Highly recommend to anyone curious about Aikido, or anyone trying to decide on which martial art to study.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Get out of Money Trouble: "America's Cheapest Family"

5 out of 5 stars!  I don't give those out often, but this book deserves it!

America's Cheapest Family:  Gets You Right on the Money
is one of the best starting places I have found for dealing with money trouble.  Clear, easy to read book with very well laid out chapters.

One thing they do that I haven't seen anywhere else, for money books, is they provide three different actions you can take at the end of each chapter.  They are actually three different levels: beginner, intermediate, & advanced.   Though they use cute names and picture to help you remember. 

Easy to read format, bare minimum of tables or charts, so you don't have to understand the topic material before you read it.

They also clearly believe in helping others, something I believe in myself and respect in others.

My only complaint about their book is their section on food & groceries.  It makes sense from pure dollar perspective.  But they seem to totally ignore health & nutrition concerns.

Which will actually cost more in the long run, which medical and other health related expenses.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 starts rating though.  I haven't found a better book for beginning & intermediate level of personal finance.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kindle problems & FAQ

Common issues with Kindle from what I have seen so far include, using Mobipocket, or some other non Amazon desktop software, to load books onto Kindle can be a little frustrating.

Because it will load them into the "wrong" folder, by design the Kindle will only show items from 2 or so files.

To read a book you will need to make sure the file is in the "documents" folder.  Also, you can't NEST folders, the kindle won't see them if you do that.  Unless you want to that on purpose to organize stuff, but you will need a PC/laptop then to shuffle items into view on the Kindle.

For audio AFAIK it only works with MP3 files, and putting them in the "audible" works better for me than the "music" file.  You can pause, fast forward, pick specific file, etc.

Now if you want to listen to MP3 WHILE reading then you will have to put the MP3 file in "music" folder.

Also remember unless it is disabled, because of copyright issues, the Kindle can read any ebook you have on it out loud to you. 

For putting non DRM books onto your kindle you will need a PC/laptop.  I either use Mobipocket reader on my PC or a simple folder. Mobipocket lets you send one or many or all new ebooks easily to the Kindle.  Only problem is Amazon changed Kindle so the "ebooks" folder where Mobi sends the books to will not show up on your Kindle screen.

It is in the Kindle memory just not accessible.  Go to "my computer" click on Kindle so it opens, select all the books in the "ebook" folder and move them to "documents" folder.

Right mouse click on your project gutenberg book, or whatever, click "save as" pick the folder you want to save it in.

Once the book is on your computer all you have to do is connect your Kindle, I use "My Computer" select Kindle (just like using a flash drive) and open the file on computer with Ebooks.  Simply drag Ebooks you want on your Kindle to the "documents" folder on your Kindle.  The Kindle may have an "ebooks" folder but that won't show up for you to read.

Or if you get it in another folder it probably won't show up on the Kindle's Screen.

If you have any questions or problems that I haven't covered or my descriptions are not clear please post below and I will do my best to help.

Kindle can be a pain at times, I still like mine though.