Rob's Blog

Archive for November, 2014

November 30th, 2014- Christmas card 2014 on the way!

by on Nov.30, 2014, under Cartooning, Illusration

2014-1130-Christmas2014-Pencils

I’m working on this years Christmas card. Here are pencils.

The location is The Ivy House in Ocala, Florida. It’s an 1890 house that has this wonderful Southern restaurant in it. Great food for a reasonable price.

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November 26th,2014- Book: ‘Black Site’ by “Dalton Fury”

by on Nov.26, 2014, under Books

Black Site (Delta Force, #1)Black Site by Dalton Fury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

‘Black Site’ strives to cover every aspect of the military mission(s) that the main character endeavors upon and does so impressively. Seems little there is left out, despite the knowledge that not all can be revealed without veering into the reality of American military operations that the author claims to know. Despite the complexity of all that happens int the book, it is written in a clear fashion making so much easier to digest.

This is still another entry in the overflowing literary area of espionage by former military-turned authors. This one is much like the others, especially the recent variety that deal with middle east issues. In fact, the writing is much like many of them.Possible too many of them. Turns out Mark Greaney was involved with writing this. Greaney is also writing his own series along with continuing Clancy’s Jack Ryan series. Is Greaney also writing this series? It’s known that Dalton Fury is a pen name and this book reminds me of Greaney’s The Gray Man.

However, ‘Black Site’ reminds me of many of the other new espionage novels being spit out today. All written well and full of action. I’m not finding a real writing style in the majority of these books. So many read as if all were written by the same person. If not for different publishers, I’d wonder if this genre wasn’t the opposite of the William Johnstone Clan set of books all being handled by ghost writers. In this case are many being handle by a few writers using different names and lots of assistants? I’ll stop these ponderings.

Despite all the above, this is a very good book, though it also lacks style. Very readable, exciting and well worth the expense.

Bottom line: I recommend this book.

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November 26th,2014 – 1 of my newest watercolor paintings: Christmas at Silver Springs, Florida.

by on Nov.26, 2014, under Illusration

2014-1126-l-Christmas-SilverSprings

Christmas at Silver Springs! Meant to post this final version of the artwork earlier. Took me a while to get back to. Made especially for a group I’m with, the Marion County Springs Festival. This will also be available as cards and prints.

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November 24th, 2014 – Caricatures in Mount Dora, Florida

by on Nov.24, 2014, under Caricatures

I was doing the caricature thing Saturday night at a wedding in Tavares, Florida, and here are a couple of photos…

2014-1124-Gig-Valentine-1 2014-1124-Gig-Valentine-2 2014-1124-Gig-Valentine-3 2014-1124-Gig-Valentine-4 2014-1124-Gig-Valentine-5

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November 23rd, 2014 – Book: ‘Sixkiller, U.S. Marshall- Day of Rage’ by William W. Johnstone

by on Nov.24, 2014, under Books

Day of Rage (Sixkiller: U.S. Marshal, #2)Day of Rage by William W. Johnstone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a good western tale of John Henry Sixkiller by the Johnstone Clan. It’s a bit more complicated than most Johnstone Clan books with far more developed side characters. This is second in this series and both have far more plot development and far more attention to setting. Overall this story of gold, bad guys and banks is one of the better entries in the entire Johnstone Clan library.

Seems to me the dialogue, though other wise written well for reading was a bit dogged with a lack of authenticity to the times.

Bottom line: I recommend this book.

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November 20th, 2014 – Book: ‘Morse’s Greatest Mystery and Other Stories’ by Colin Dexter.

by on Nov.20, 2014, under Books

Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other StoriesMorse’s Greatest Mystery and Other Stories by Colin Dexter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not usually a fan of a short story collection, but this one is outstanding. I also don’t give five stars lightly. I feel the overall book deserves them. I’ll add that not all may love this set of stories. Those who love real mysteries will love these. Those who love James Patterson or Sandra Brown are likely not to like them.

Dexter really has a flair for crafting a short mystery. No easy task. Sorry there is only one collection of short stories. Still hope for more from Dexter.

The tales in the book are all mysteries with great characters, stories and terrific writing.

Bottom line: I recommend the book!

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November 16th, 2014 – Book’ The Case of the Lame Canary’ by Erle Stanley Gardner.

by on Nov.19, 2014, under Books

The Case of the Lame CanaryThe Case of the Lame Canary by Erle Stanley Gardner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What stands out as the best parts of ‘The Case of the Lame Canary is the interaction between the Perry Mason, Della Street and Paul Drake characters. Gardcner is at the top of his writing skills with consistency and character development.

This is also true of the rest of the cast of this novel. Distinct characters developed throughout the book. This all helps wading through a very convoluted and overly concocted story by Gardner.

This book revels Gardeners ability to write great characterized and his ability to work too hard to use elements to create a book.

As I read the book I could see how Gardner had a set of distinct parts he worked real hard to fit together. This makes the book feel very forced to a conclusion. You know there is a conclusion at the end, but keep seeing many pages ahead as Gardner tries to weave in some nonsense leads that,in any other of his books, Mason would have been written to figure out.

Though I don’t care for the overall story, the writing is top notch and,again, just reading character interaction is outstanding.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 6 of 10 points.

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November 14th, 2014 – Newest watercolor painting!

by on Nov.14, 2014, under Caricatures

2014-1113-SentinelIllustration

This was a commissioned project of the publisher of the Orlando Sentinel and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. The request was of a caricature of the publisher and of his travels back and forth between cities. Request was to include plane and car he traveled in. Also, to include Marriott he stayed in Orlando. I asked for more likes of the publisher to fill out for space – and make it more fun for me. I added the city scapes. On teh Fort Lauderdale side I included the Sun Sentinel building, a few other well known structures and the founding structure in the area, the historic Stranahan House. On the Orlando side, the Sentinel buidling, otehr structures and the Lake Eola fountain. My knowing both cities was a big help getting this done.
This is a 16″x20″ watercolor painting on Arches watercolor board.

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November 12th, 2014 – Book: ‘The Case of the Ice Cold Hands’ by Erle Stanley Gardner

by on Nov.12, 2014, under Books

The Case of the Ice Cold HandsThe Case of the Ice Cold Hands by Erle Stanley Gardner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This volume of the law life of Perry Mason moves as fast as most others and then slows, as usual when the story lands in the courtroom. In this story the story really slows int he courtroom as an intricate set of legal moves sets up the conclusion. A bit tough to get through and I think it all could have been written more clearly.

This Gardner story is a bit more plodding in places and repetitious. This is a later Mason book and maybe that has something to do with it.

As usual, the main characters are hardly described at all. The passing characters are well described and very consistent. The setting is also well mapped out literally.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 6 of 10.

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November 8th, 2014 – Book: ‘Key Biscayne – The Romance of Cape Florida’ by Jim Woodman

by on Nov.08, 2014, under Books

Key Biscayne The Romance of Cape FloridaKey Biscayne The Romance of Cape Florida by Jim Woodman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful book of history! Well written and thorough to it’s goals. The book has a great airy feel in it’s construction and makes reading far more enjoyable than history books can usually be.

Author Woodman does focus most on pre-1900 and whips up the 20th century, up to it’s publication of 1961, in just a few pages.

Bottom line: I highly recommend this hard to find book.
So hard to find, I had to add it to Goodreads.

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November 6th, 2014 – Book: ‘The Spanish Conquistadores, Men or Devils?’

by on Nov.06, 2014, under Books

The Spanish Conquistadores, Men or DevilsThe Spanish Conquistadores, Men or Devils by John Francis Bannon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a must read for anyone wanting to understand or are studying the Spanish conquistadors. This volume gives various views from experts as to whether the conquistadors were the good guys or the bad guys. Each entry is an excerpt from an expert’s larger examination of the subject. Reading each essay gives the reader much to think about and consider.

The selections and notes of a bit of background of each is very readable.

Bottom line: I recommend this book.

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