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Bombs Away: The Hot War (Hot War, The)
Bombs Away: The Hot War (Hot War, The)
by Harry Turtledove
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.04
75 used & new from $7.70

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great idea! Poor characters, September 14, 2015
What might have happened had Harry Truman decided to use a couple of atomic bombs to stop the Chinese hordes from rushing south into North Korea in 1951?

I know that option was considered, but ultimately rejected in favor of what actually happened.

Harry Turtledove, the master of alternate history (at least where plotting goes, at least in my opinion) looks at the alternative in this interesting first book of a series (duology, maybe?).

A Turtledove tradition is to tell his story from a number of disparate viewpoints, from the major historical figures (Truman, in this case) to soldiers on the ground in Korea and Europe, from both sides. As well, there are a number of civilians on both sides as viewpoint characters too.

As is usual for me, Turtledove's plots are the attraction for me, as I find the writing itself rather tedious. Some of his books are better than others, but Bombs Away is not one of them. None of the characters are that distinctive, with an added issue brought on by the international narrative of this series. That issue is that they all kind of sound alike, even the Russian/Hungarian/German characters.

Variations of "I could tell you you're wrong, but I'd be lying" when discussing various events, or "You know, you have a point there" when somebody points out the bloody obvious abound.

That's why I avoid Turtledove's books unless the alternate history grabs me, and in this case it did. The world has come close to nuclear catastrophe a number of times during the Cold War, and it's interesting to explore what would have happened if somebody had gone the opposite direction. As atomic bomb after bomb are dropped on various cities, escalating what started as a local use and then retaliation for that use, you have to wonder where it's going to stop.

(One thing I had to keep reminding myself is that this is the age just before ICBMs were created, though mention is made in the book that they are coming, so the thought of massive retaliation to wipe out everything and end humanity isn't quite there yet)

Still, there are a couple of oddities that I couldn't find an explanation for.

Once the Soviets get involved, just what is their goal for invading Germany? And then Italy? I just don't see an endgame there and nobody in the book mentions it either (Truman's a character, but not Stalin). I could see perhaps just Germany (reuniting the country under Soviet rule), but then mention is made of invading northern Italy and that reasoning went out the window.

Hopefully that will be explained in the next book.

Overall, Bombs Away kept me reading just to see what happened globally. I didn't really care about any of the characters. Turtledove thankfully kept away from the cringe-worthy sex scenes, though his references to sex were as uncomfortable as having your grandfather make such references (ewwww).

I can't really recommend this book to anybody unless you're like me: so interested in the big picture alternate history that you're able to slog through a book where you're not a fan of the writing.

Basically, if you're me, you'll enjoy it!

Kind of.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2016 11:00 AM PST


You Know Who Killed Me: An Amos Walker Novel (Amos Walker Novels Book 24)
You Know Who Killed Me: An Amos Walker Novel (Amos Walker Novels Book 24)
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The King of Dialogue strikes again, April 30, 2015
"You Know Who Killed Me" is another page-turning book by Loren D. Estleman starring his now famous gumshoe, Amos Walker. In this one, Amos is just getting out of rehab when he's brought in to help on a murder case, though this time it's only sifting through the numerous "leads" caused by a series of billboards and a $10,000 reward for information on New Year's Eve murder.

But we all know Amos isn't going to stop at talking to the lunatics. He's going to somehow get involved in other ways.

He does so in an extremely entertaining fashion, butting heads with the police and generally going where he's not wanted. It wouldn't be Amos Walker if every other character in the book wasn't mad at him at some point.

Estleman once again shows his talent for dialogue and fun situations and any fan of the genre will race through this book as well. The plot is engaging, with a few twists and turns that, while maybe not unexpected, did make me stop and say "oh yeah, of course." I also like the continuity between books that doesn't require reading every one of them, but rewards those of us who do. Walker's Vicodin addiction has been going on for a while now. It's nice to see him in rehab for it.

The only really bad thing is that this is two books in a row now where Estleman has done bad things to an interesting side character. I wish he'd stop that.

He's going to run out of them soon, and he hasn't been creating any more.

Maybe he'll start that instead.


The Companions: The Sundering, Book I
The Companions: The Sundering, Book I
by R. A. Salvatore
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $5.13
100 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars The Sundering begins with a visit to old friends, April 29, 2015
I'm guilty of reading most of the Forgotten Realms books I've read completely out of order. I try to read the specific series in order, but often I've already one series before I stumble upon an earlier series and read that one.

Thus, when I read one of R.A. Salvatore's books, I'm often not sure if I've read the previous books or ones that take place later in the timeline. Reading "The Companions," the first book in the 6-part "The Sundering" series, really brought that feeling to the forefront.

For somebody who comes into story in the middle like this, I have to say that Salvatore does a great job of making sure readers are kept up to speed without providing the massive infodumps that sometimes mar various Star Trek books. I had no trouble following along as Salvatore laid out the story before him, that of three of the original four companions of the heralded Dark Elf, Drizzt. Reborn after dying a century ago, reincarnated by a goddess in order to be at the right place at the right time for Drizzt, and to reform the party of heroes for the future cataclysmic events.

As we watched these three heroes live the 21 years before they are supposed to meet up again, I almost felt like I was watching John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, wandering the Forgotten Realms saying that they were going to get the band back together again.

It's a very good novel, with prose typical of the genre: kind of clunky, lots of exclamation marks in the narration (which I really can't stand, actually, since I don't want the author to be telling me when something exciting happens instead of actually writing something exciting) but flowing well and making the reader want to find out what happens next.

I had to laugh at the rebirth scenes, with these fully adult consciousnesses going through childbirth again. That must have been a hoot to write.

Overall, I'd recommend this novel for any fan of the Dungeons & Dragons books. It's a reliable read. You know what you're going to get, and it's good to revisit old friends.


WinnerGear Montar Car Mount Holder iPhone 6 / Plus Galaxy S5 / S6 / Edge / Note 5 LG G4 Moto X OnePlus
WinnerGear Montar Car Mount Holder iPhone 6 / Plus Galaxy S5 / S6 / Edge / Note 5 LG G4 Moto X OnePlus
Offered by Watch-Buy-Save
Price: $34.99
2 used & new from $29.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The solution to your car mount needs, April 17, 2015
I've been looking for something to let me have my phone within easy reach and able to see it while driving in my car. What good is the GPS app if it's sitting on my passenger seat? What if you want to move to the next song because you don't like what just came on?

I hadn't been able to find one that I liked, so it was nice to receive an email from MONTAR asking if I would review their universal car mount.

I figured it was worth a try.

Boy, was it ever.

The expandable grip works great for almost any size phone. My wife's iPhone 6+ fit snugly inside it, though I don't know if I would want to try something much bigger than that. The expandable clamps seemed stretched to the max. But considering how big the 6+ is, you're most likely not going to have any trouble with your phone.

The suction cup on the bottom holds the car mount securely to your dashboard. I admit that I haven't tried hanging it from the window, just because I don't like that aesthetic. It would block my view too much. But the dashboard? That sucker isn't moving.

Which brings me to the only negative aspect. While you can certainly get the car mount off of your dashboard to move it around (the box even includes a diagram of how to do it), mine was stuck so tight that it took a bit of effort to pull off. That does mean that you shouldn't have to worry about it coming off by itself, but it's a bit annoying if you decide you want to switch it to a different spot.

One final thing that I love about this car mount is that the clamps rotate a full 360 degrees.

I had my phone vertical for a little while, but found that it was distracting me a little too much in my field of vision. I simply rotated it 90 degrees and have my phone in a horizontal orientation and it works great!

I highly recommend this car mount. I've had it for a month now and it's been wonderful for me.


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Run away as fast as you can, March 8, 2015
I wish I could give this a 0. Like the other reviewers, the design is nice and would be wonderful, but it does not work as described. The charge is very slow and either it does not charge fully (overnight time frame) or just has a capability of approximately 25% recharge.

I emailed multiple times to try to get resolution of two defective items. It has now been approximately six weeks and I cannot get a response. If you feel like gambling that you will get a working item, then certainly buy it, but if it doesn't work you will NOT get a response and they do not stand behind their items.

If you want to see what NOT to do with respect to customer service and standing behind your goods, check out the Indiegogo campaign website.

Buyer beware. You'll do better buying a $10 Hong Kong cheapie - at least it will work for a week or two.


Slimger Ultra Slim Charger for Smart Phones and Micro-usb Devices Blue Fits Samsung, HTC
Slimger Ultra Slim Charger for Smart Phones and Micro-usb Devices Blue Fits Samsung, HTC

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Run away as fast as you can, March 8, 2015
I wish I could give this a 0. Like the other reviewers, the design is nice and would be wonderful, but it does not work as described. The charge is very slow and either it does not charge fully (overnight time frame) or just has a capability of approximately 25% recharge.

I emailed multiple times to try to get resolution of two defective items. It has now been approximately six weeks and I cannot get a response. If you feel like gambling that you will get a working item, then certainly buy it, but if it doesn't work you will NOT get a response and they do not stand behind their items.

If you want to see what NOT to do with respect to customer service and standing behind your goods, check out the Indiegogo campaign website.

Buyer beware. You'll do better buying a $10 Hong Kong cheapie - at least it will work for a week or two.


Slimger Ultra Slim Charger for Smart Phones and Micro-usb Devices Silver Fits Samsung, HTC and More
Slimger Ultra Slim Charger for Smart Phones and Micro-usb Devices Silver Fits Samsung, HTC and More

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Run away as fast as you can, March 8, 2015
I wish I could give this a 0. Like the other reviewers, the design is nice and would be wonderful, but it does not work as described. The charge is very slow and either it does not charge fully (overnight time frame) or just has a capability of approximately 25% recharge.

I emailed multiple times to try to get resolution of two defective items. It has now been approximately six weeks and I cannot get a response. If you feel like gambling that you will get a working item, then certainly buy it, but if it doesn't work you will NOT get a response and they do not stand behind their items.

If you want to see what NOT to do with respect to customer service and standing behind your goods, check out the Indiegogo campaign website.

Buyer beware. You'll do better buying a $10 Hong Kong cheapie - at least it will work for a week or two.


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Run away as fast as you can, March 8, 2015
I wish I could give this a 0. Like the other reviewers, the design is nice and would be wonderful, but it does not work as described. The charge is very slow and either it does not charge fully (overnight time frame) or just has a capability of approximately 25% recharge.

I emailed multiple times to try to get resolution of two defective items. It has now been approximately six weeks and I cannot get a response. If you feel like gambling that you will get a working item, then certainly buy it, but if it doesn't work you will NOT get a response and they do not stand behind their items.

If you want to see what NOT to do with respect to customer service and standing behind your goods, check out the Indiegogo campaign website.

Buyer beware. You'll do better buying a $10 Hong Kong cheapie - at least it will work for a week or two.


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Run away as fast as you can, March 8, 2015
I wish I could give this a 0. Like the other reviewers, the design is nice and would be wonderful, but it does not work as described. The charge is very slow and either it does not charge fully (overnight time frame) or just has a capability of approximately 25% recharge.

I emailed multiple times to try to get resolution of two defective items. It has now been approximately six weeks and I cannot get a response. If you feel like gambling that you will get a working item, then certainly buy it, but if it doesn't work you will NOT get a response and they do not stand behind their items.

If you want to see what NOT to do with respect to customer service and standing behind your goods, check out the Indiegogo campaign website.

Buyer beware. You'll do better buying a $10 Hong Kong cheapie - at least it will work for a week or two.


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Run away from this one as fast as you can, February 24, 2015
I wish I could give this a 0. Like the other reviewers, the design is nice and would be wonderful, but it does not work as described. The charge is very slow and either it does not charge fully (overnight time frame) or just has a capability of approximately 25% recharge.

I emailed multiple times to try to get resolution of two defective items. It has now been approximately six weeks and I cannot get a response. If you feel like gambling that you will get a working item, then certainly buy it, but if it doesn't work you will NOT get a response and they do not stand behind their items.

If you want to see what NOT to do with respect to customer service and standing behind your goods, check out the Indiegogo campaign website.

Buyer beware. You'll do better buying a $10 Hong Kong cheapie - at least it will work for a week or two.


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