The Big Sigma Collection: Volume 1 – Joseph Lallo

What a great collection.

Having really enjoyed ‘Bypass Gemini’ i jumped straight into the rest of the books.

This collection also features 3 short stories that give more background to some characters in the main novels, which were really enjoyable to read.

I really can’t say enough about Joseph’s writing, i’m a total fan and totally hooked. Even though the known universe is about to end if nothing’s done, Joseph still manages to get lots of fun and shenanigans in the stories and makes it work so well.

Really good sci-fi as well. Pushing the boundaries but never overstepping.

And now all that’s left to do is read the last book in the series… ‘Temporal Contingency’

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Bypass Gemini (Big Sigma #1) – Joseph Lallo

Now this is a writer who is obviously having fun.

Admittedly there’s a thin line between a writer having a lot of fun with a story and the story becoming a little ridiculous and this book does seem to skim a little close to that line on occasion, and then it’s just up to the reader whether they might feel that line has been crossed. For me, at least, i just enjoyed this as a totally fun read. And right about now in my life i really needed a good fun read.

While my normal taste in sci-fi is rather highbrow – Le Guin, etc. – this book came like a refreshing breath of fresh air in it’s nothing but a full on romp around the galaxy with broad array of characters and shenangians. Yes, there’s a serious side to it, millions are going to die unless our protagonist can sort his shit out, but that doesn’t hold Joseph back from having fun with it along the way.

As in all of Joseph’s books, the characters are wonderful, widely varied and really brought to life, leaving you wanting further appearances in future books.

You can find this book for free on Amazon and then if you like it you can buy the rest of the series – so it’s a proper ‘try before you buy’. And i think that’s another great thing about Joseph, in that he gives away the first books in his 3 series as tasters and then let’s the reader make their own minds up freely as to whether they want more or not. I got hooked in this way on ‘Book of Deacon’ then ‘Free Wrench’ and now this. And that for me is the mark of a good book, do you buy the rest of the series or walk away and never come back? The answer to all 3 of Joseph’s series is yes, yes and yes again for me. I bought the rest of the books to this series straight away and can’t wait to read more.

So get yourselves over to Amazon and give Joseph’s writing a try if you haven’t already done so. For fantasy you want ‘Book of Deacon’, for steampunk ‘Free Wrench’ and sci-fi it’s this book ‘Bypass Gemini’.

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Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy – Miyamoto Musashi

Another book that’s sat on my Kindle for years unread. But having just finished David Kirks’ books it really felt like the right time to read this.

It’s hard to judge this book in any real contemporary terms because it simply has no place in the contemporary world. It’s an anachronism from a time and place that is no more and will never be again.

It is aimed solely at the samurai warrior, but maybe there are those who are ultra competitive who do contact sports, and also military personnel, that could still gain a lot from reading it – which doesn’t apply to me.

It is, however, an incredible view into the mind of one of the greatest strategists (swordsmen) from Japanese history, and it really gives you the genuine thoughts and attitude of a Samurai in regards to fighting and killing with swords. It’s probably the most amoral thing i’ve ever read, and in that aspect alone it’s quite wonderful because it is so genuine.

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Cipher Hill (Free-Wrench #5) – Joseph Lallo

More wonderful, shenaniganic fun aboard ‘Wind Breaker’.

Sadly, for now, this is the last book in Joseph’s ‘Free Wrench’ series, but i certainly hope he’ll be adding some more at some point. Captain Mack and the crew are just too much fun to leave them here forever.

I really can’t say enough about Joseph’s writing, it’s perfect in every way. His ‘Book of Deacon’ series is just the same quality of writing and so far he has never left me disappointed at buying any of his books.

If you enjoyed watching ‘Firefly’ then i would totally recommend a look at this series of books – i really can’t see you being disappointed.

Once i’ve cleared my Kindle backlog a little more i’ll definitely be diving in Joseph’s ‘Big Sigma’ series next before coming back to re-read the whole of ‘Book of Deacon’ adding in the new stories that Joseph has added since i last read it all. Writers like Joseph is why i love books.

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Sword of Honour – David Kirk

I loved this book. Far better than the first – which i gave 4 stars.

Looking back over the 2 books it felt to me like David gained in confidence writing tales about Musashi and also that he has come to know him better – like he’s beginning to get inside his head more.

But then i suppose the first book was more about Musashi the youth, just beginning to find himself, and this book is more of Musashi as a young man puzzling over what he’s found and finding more – and this reflects well in the writing of both books.

Once again, David’s writing is superbly descriptive without overdoing it. The story just keeps on moving and i just didn’t want to put it down – like the first book, no pregnant pauses await within, it’s just full gas all the way.

I do hope #3 won’t be too long, i’m hooked!

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The Unwanted – Steam Punk

For a give away short story one maybe shouldn’t complain, but it takes time to read stories and i feel this was a waste of it.

We are given characters who were raised and trained from childhood to fulfil their adult roles, who are apparently the best at what they do, but who then come across as incredibly flawed and weak.

Then there’s the editing, seriously, did someone just type this down and run it through a spell checker before publishing it?

I do feel there’s a good story hiding behind the faults, which kind of adds to the annoyance.

Ho hum…

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Child of Vengeance – David Kirk

David has taken the tales of Miyamoto Musashi and created his own story from these, so some of this is loosely based in what is told of the real man and some of this is based entirely from David’s imagination.

All told, it works really well, but there just seems a step too far here and there, which, for me at least, was distracting a little. While it has been compared to Shogun by some, for me, it just doesn’t have that same level of believability to it.

But then, if i want the real tales of Musashi then i could, of course, go and read them.

It certainly keeps you reading. It’s pretty much non stop without the annoying pregnant pauses of most stories and David really does portray the period very well.

All in all, i got this book and the next in the series for 99p each on Kindle – which is an absolute bargain for this kind of story telling – and i’ll be diving back into Musashi’s world in the second book later today after finishing a little short story i picked up – i’m looking forward to it very much.

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The Calderan Problem (Free-Wrench #4) – Joseph Lallo

It struck me while reading this book that the ‘Free-Wrench’ saga is pretty much a Steampunk version of ‘Firefly’. If you liked ‘Firefly’ then you’ll love this saga.

Brilliant!

All our favourite characters are back from the first three books and a few more new ones besides, the shenanigans get more complex as each book builds upon the last one – the saga keeps getting better.

Joseph’s writing is it’s usual, wonderfully imaginative stuff expressed in nice easy flowing prose.

All a really good, fun, read with a loveable set of characters.

Read my review on the first three books by clicking here.

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Free-Wrench Collection: Volume 1 – Joseph Lallo

Totally enjoyable!

Having become a fan of Joseph’s writing with his ‘Book of Deacon’ saga i was pleasantly surprised when this turned up in my Bookbub alerts at 99p, and curious as to how he would get on in the Steampunk genre – i simply couldn’t resist.

And i’m glad i didn’t resist. Joseph’s writing is as good in this series as it is in the Book of Deacon series, the characters are excellent, nothing is ever too far fetched, etc..

And i simply had no choice but to buy the 4th book in the series and jump straight into that.

Anyways, for anyone into Steampunk or even anyone who is Steampunk curious or even you’ve never heard of Steampunk, you can’t really go wrong with this trilogy in one cover. Start reading today!

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BUSHIDO:The Soul of Japan, An Exposition of Japanese Thought – Inazo Nitobe

I’ve always found Japanese history, particularly that of the Samurai, fascinating. But living on the other side of the world in a completely different time in a completely different culture one can never truly know what these people and the time and place they lived in was really like.

What we can do is simply enjoy these snap shots from the past about a culture long gone that we may still have something to learn from.

Originally published in 1900 the setting for this book is between the end of feudalism and the beginning of modern Japan and is, to my mind at least, a wonderful view of the past and what that can possibly mean for the future.

A very interesting book for anyone who enjoys reading and learning about Japan, especially the historical influences of Bushido on modern Japan.

I gave it 4 stars as it does use some very long words and i did find myself using look-up on my Kindle a great deal which does detract from the flow of the book. But it’s definitely worth the effort and you do learn a few things along the way.

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