Review of Amalgam, The Valaran Chronicles: Book 1

Many thanks to Michael for an great review.

Michael Griffith’s review
May 11, 12

This book is 4.75, but I still would consider this a must read for Sci-Fi fans. I can’t remember if it is posted in the synopsis so I will say it here, Do not read this book if you are not comfortable with adult scenes. With that said the scene is done as well as it could be considering. But for my review, I really enjoyed this book. I felt that the changing of perspectives worked very well to give the reader a total view of what was going on. The author provided enough information to allow the reader to follow the series of events and provide adequate back story, but did not put so much detail and information that the book became tedious at an point. There was an adequate amount of action scenes to progress the story and keep the reader interested. There were some story lines that were brought up that were not concluded that I felt could have been wrapped up easily but those were not critical so the author may be giving the reader the ability to put in his or her own ending to that plot line. I did feel that the book was short, but considering all that is involved in this story I think the length is perfect.

Now for the Sci-Fi aspect of the story. This is a very good Sci-Fi story that contains alien races, androids, and AI. Wells works all of these elements into a contrast with pre-industrial society of Redwall. I also liked that Wells allowed the advanced elements to be decaying and to allow them to have a weakness that is not seen in many Sci-Fi stories.

My favorite Character is definitely Hobs. There are many reasons for that but the main is that I find that I want to be in his shoes, even though he has faced tragedy and hardship but he does make the most of what he has been given, granted he does have some secrets that allow him to do more than most other people would have been able to do. I also find that I root for Lena, and I understand why her story ended the way it did but I would have still liked it to have ended the way it appeared it would at the beginning of the book.

I found that I instantly hated Roland and all that he represented. I think the author makes it easy to hate him, but that may just be because of my concepts of proper behavior. Other people may feel that Roland was in the right for what he did, and I will understand their views but I think that most people would side with me in that Roland received his just deserts. Also I felt that I severely disliked Pol, mainly because of his attitude toward the other characters, not because of his defense of some of his son’s actions. I cannot fault a father for wanting to protect his son, but I do feel that there was not much that he could have done to influence his son, but there are some things. Most of those deal with Pol’s own ambition and his elitist attitude that was passed onto his son.

So I really liked the novel and I highly recommend it for any Sci-Fi reader. I cannot wait for the next book in the series and I can’t wait to see what Hobs gets into.

Review of The Watchers by Jon Steele

The WatchersThe Watchers by Jon Steele

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was a great read; I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend this book to anyone that likes this genre.

Steele created three solid characters in Jay Harper, Marc Rochat and Katherine Taylor. You will find yourself cheering for Marc (who reminded me of Quasimodo), as le guet of the Lausanne Cathedral as he helps Taylor find redemption. Steele keeps you wondering about Harper until far into the story.

The location of the story is the small Swiss town of Lausanne, much if it revolving around the Cathedral where Marc calls out the hours and cares for the bells. Enter his Angel, Catherine whose life he changes; and Harper unsure of who he really is and why he’s there.

Be ready for twists and turns, as Steele weaves a masterful story around you. There are four parts to the story, and people have to actually follow the threads of the story.

This is a story was hard to put down, and I am sorry that it is over.

View all my reviews

Server Virtualization

Sorry to all my book blogging followers, putting on the IT hat today.

The question has been ask many times, “Which hypervisor is the best to use?”

Some give the whitty answer, “The one you like to use?”

That actually isn’t far from the truth as we will explore. There are three major players in this field, four if you include Virtual Box. They are VMWare, Citrix and Microsoft. Having used all three, these are the one I will explore (apologies to the Virtual Box fans in the audience…)


The most expensive solution that I have seen is VMWare (they are working on their pricing model). VMWare has its free solution, ESXi – which is limited in its functionality, i.e. no vMotion, no HA (for more information see: Once you start adding features that you require you actually see the true cost of VMWare. If ESXi suits your needs then go for it, its free.

From what I hear (sorry haven’t experienced this) VMWare is very good on the support side once you have purchased their product, and their forums are helpful if you are using the free version.

So why do so many people buy VMWare? Part of the reason I believe is that many admins will virtuallize all of their servers with the free version, and then discover they need a feature and must upgrade. Because they are already running on ESXi, they stay on that platform, rather than do the work required to switch to a different platform.

VMWare cost calculator:


Citrix XenServer, this is the platform I am currently using.

Xenserver has all the same essential features as VMWare, yet I personally find it easier to use and manage.  All you VMWare admins don’t throw stones, I said its my opintion. I have the Advanced License, with mutiple servers in a HA Pooled environment. This pooled environment connects to multiple sans for VHD storage.

On the support side, I have had many issues with Citrix. They require you to buy a support package with them. The forums have been useful however. Just like VMWare, there is a free version of XenServer which you can use.

Between the two of these, I would say download the free versions and test both – see which you like.

Xenserver cost calculator:


Hyper-V is microsofts entry in the the VM world running on Server 2008 R2. The preferred install is to a stripped down Core configuration. There implementation of VMotion and XenMotion is Live Migration (don’t be fooled it isn’t the same thing).

Multiple Hyper-V servers can be managed using Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager which is a nice utility. For a pure Microsoft shop, this is not a bad option for virtualizing, however you much understand Microsoft’s licensing model. Hyper-V is easy to use, the one thing I would suggest is setting a logical default location for all the files.