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I'll read just about anything.

Currently reading

The Moor's Account: A Novel
Laila Lalami
Management: A Practical Introduction
Angelo Kinicki, Brian K. Williams
Kadi Fedoruk
Batman: Blind Justice
Sam Hamm, Denys Cowan, Dick Giordano
Digital Art (World of Art)
Christiane Paul
Exploring: Microsoft Excel 2013, Comprehensive
Mary Anne Poatsy, Keith Mulbery, Jason Davidson, Robert Grauer
Exploring: Microsoft Access 2013, Comprehensive
Mary Anne Poatsy, Cynthia Krebs, Eric Cameron, Jerri Williams, Robert Grauer
QuickBooks Fundamentals Learning Guide 2014
Doug Sleeter
Land of Love and Drowning: A Novel
Tiphanie Yanique
Progress: 153/358 pages
The Danish History
Saxo Grammaticus


Landline - Rainbow Rowell More like 3.5 of 4 stars.

This is the first book by Rainbow Rowell that I’ve ever read. It was the first selection in Book Riot’s Riot Read and I nice light read to kick off a book club.

Georgie McCool is a thirty-something sitcom writer that has been married to her college sweetie since, well, college. She mostly has everything people are supposed to have: a couple of kids, a successful career that is about to break big, a nice house, and a loving husband. Well, maybe. Georgie and Neal have fallen into the same rut that most couples do and their relationship is in trouble.

In order to get her big break in showbiz, Georgie has to duck out of Christmas with Neal’s family in Omaha. To her surprise, Neal decides to take the kids and go without her instead of staying home with her. One night, while at her parents house, Georgie calls Neal from a landline in her old room because she has the worst cell phone battery in the history of cell phones. She manages to talk to Neal but quickly realizes this isn’t Neal her Husband but Neal her College Boyfriend.

Can she use this connection to save her marriage? Or should she change history use this connection to “break up” with Neal before they have a chance to be unhappy?

This is a cute story, rather predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. I found it to be a nice palate cleansing book to read after that big “heavy” read that weighs on the mind for days after finishing.

Red Rising

Red Rising - Pierce Brown I can't fairly review this book as I didn't finish it. The little part that I did read seemed to come from books that I have already read. Once I got to something to a plot point that seemed to come directly from a third recognizable book, I had to stop. I didn't find the story interesting enough to go on and I felt like there were huge holes in the narrative.

Sinister Wisdom, 93, Southern Lesbian-Feminist Herstory 1968-94

Sinister Wisdom, 93, Southern Lesbian-Feminist Herstory 1968-94 - Julie R. Enszer I was cruising the Internet, earlier this summer, looking for any kind of local bookstores. That I know of, my county only has one small used bookstore and a Barnes and Noble. I try to keep an eye out for independent bookstores that sell new books but none have cropped up. Then, I found a feminist bookstore that is an hour away and in another county.

Hmmmm Road trip?


Not likely.

At least, I kept thinking that I’d go but then find a ton of reasons to not go. I decided the best thing to do would be to order some books and go pick them up, which happens to be an option. This is when I happened across Sinister Wisdom: A Multicultural Lesbian Literary & Art Journal. The subtitle is what really grabbed my attention: Southern Lesbian-Feminist Herstory 1968-94.


The South has a lesbian-feminist history? Wait…what’s a herstory?

I ordered the journal along with a book by Virginia Wolfe and a few days later I was bound for what turned out to be a very tiny bookstore that seems to be a major asset to the local community. I’m not sure that I will go back but I’ll probably try to support it in some way.

On to the journal.

Sinister Wisdom was founded in 1976 and is currently published out of Berkeley, California four times a year (I’m not sure if it was founded in California). It is “a multicultural, multi-class, lesbian space. We seek to open, consider and advance the exploration of community issues. We recognize the power of language to reflect our diverse experiences and to enhance our ability to develop critical judgement, as lesbians evaluating our comity and our world” (from inside front cover).

This particular issue, 93, concentrates on The South from 1968-94 in the form of collected interviews, poems, song lyrics, memoirs, and supplement information that can be accessed via a QR code or special web address listed at the end of certain sections. I will admit that I didn’t check out all of the supplement information but I was surprised by what I read.


I lived in Florida from about 1975-93, when I joined the Navy and left for 20 years and then returned after I retired. I had no idea of the things that were going on just 40 miles from my home. From health centers to the North Forty to peace marches and women’s shelters, it’s all here straight from some of the people that participate or founded it. It is fascinating. The articles are easy to read and filled with personal stories and emotions from the writers.

The only thing that tripped me up was the use of herstory or womyn in some places. I had never seen this practice before and I can only guess as to why it was done. It is possible that it’s a generational thing as I’ve read other feminist material that promised not to use the word “herstory.” I am actually having problems typing this review as my iMac keeps changing it to her story (grrrrr). This wasn’t a distraction from the work, just something that made me go hmmmmm.

You can find more about Sinister Wisdom (and order copies) at www.sinsterwisdom.org.

Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters

Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters - Jessica Valenti I recently found a quasi-local feminist book store that was starting a book club and Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti was their first selection. Since the book store is in a college town, this book must have been a good choice because it seems to be aimed at college age women. I am not part of the target crowd and wasn’t terribly impressed.

Valenti breaks feminism down to its core elements and explains it well enough. She even uses a dialog that is conversational and makes no apologies for her use of profanity. I actually found the tone enjoyable and very easy to read. Most of the major misunderstandings about feminism are addressed and she admits where more work is needed. So, what didn’t I like: if you are a conservative Christian you can just fuck off. Yes, we need to come together and fight the good fight but don’t you dare be, date, or fuck a Republican. Way to bring all sides together. Good job. I also found it irritating that she would argue against calling women names on one page and then turn around on the very next page and call a senator a jackass. Good job proving that feminist aren’t man haters. Let’s all respect each other and have a dialog except for that jackass. Hypocritical much?

I found the entire notion of feminism making me better at sex just silly. Self-confidence and knowing what I want from my partners makes me better at sex. The idea that feminism is responsible for that seems like a notion that only an academic would dream up. Like I said, I’m not the target audience for this book. Maybe college students need to hear that feminism makes them better at sex, I just don’t buy it.

So, who is this book for? I would say that anybody knows absolutely nothing to very little about feminism could start here. It does address a great many topics and stereotypes about feminism and it is a very quick and easy read.

I should add that I read an older edition of the book. While looking for a copy of the book for the book club meeting I noticed that an updated edition was about to be released. My book club was meeting before that edition was released (why would you pick a book that was about to be updated) so I read the earlier edition. I ended up missing the book club meeting due to a family medical emergency and it seems going to that meeting was the only way to find out the next book or anything else about the club. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

Gone Girl: A Novel

Gone Girl: A Novel - Gillian Flynn I was stumbling along with Red Rising by Pierce Brown so I decided to take a break and try something else. So, I picked up Gone Girl and 30 pages in I accidentally skimmed this article on Book Riot (major spoiler). Multitasking at its finest lead me to only pick up on one of the spoilers in the article and it didn’t do any major ruining of the book. At least, I don’t think it did.

I love this book. It is a well crafted Did He Kill His Wife story. Almost all of the characters are worthy of the readers dislike. Except for Go. She is the only character in the book that I liked at the beginning and still liked at the end.

The story, on the surface, is simple enough: Nick and Amy meet, fall in love, get married, and live mostly happily for a few years. When the economy tanks and both loose their jobs, Nick moves his wife from the big city to a small town in a middle state. She’s not happy about it. Their marriage begins to stumble and one day Amy disappears and all eyes turn to Nick.

The narrative switches from present day search for Amy to Amy’s diary entries that seem to tell a side of the marriage that no one outside the marital home could know.

But maybe they don’t. I can’t really tell you because spoilers.

I hate this book. If you clicked on the link above to the Book Riot article (seriously, DON’T, unless you’ve already read Gone Girl) just know that I agree 100% with the article. I hate what it represents. And, I think the ending was a little extreme and not plausible.

The Murder Farm

The Murder Farm - Andrea Maria Schenkel Disclaimer: I received my copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

Bad things are happening at the Danner farm and I don’t just mean all the dead bodies. This short book dishes out spousal abuse, child abuse, incest, and lots of small town rumor. Set some time in the 1950s in a small Bavarian farming community that is now terrified that a killer is on the lose.

The tale is told from a revolving point-of-view of townsfolk and witnesses with an intermingled narrative of what was going on at the farm. I found this a little confusing, until I realized that the witnesses seem to be talking to an unvoiced interviewer. Once I understood the format, I really got into the story and couldn’t put it down.

I read, someplace, that this is a fictionalized telling of an actual murder. I did a little Google Fu and I found the 1922 unsolved murder of the Gruber family and maid in Germany. I think it is safe to confirm that this real murder is the source for this story. Schenkel does wrap up her tale with a possible reason for the murders, which I did feel a little meh about.

The Murder Farm is short but full of detail and creepy intrigue. A great time filler for a flight or an afternoon poolside.

Shadow Force - The Garden Planet

Shadow Force - The Garden Planet - J.R O'Neill 3.5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received my copy of this book from the author in return for a review.

I didn’t know anything about this book when I received it, and I was quite please with the pace and action. Jon Rider is a former soldier turned bounty hunter for Space Force, and he is the best in the business. He was tracking down the slippery Max Decker when he gets called off the case to help save Earth and possibly the entire solar system.

Rider and two others are sent out to infiltrate a terrorist organization and try to get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction. All of them are the best at their trades and each one brings a past that they must come to terms with to accomplish the mission. They head out with the best ship and unlimited resources to promptly start a few international (galactic?) incidents, do some spying, save some slaves, and maybe complete their intended mission.

Overall, I enjoyed to story and I look forward to the next installment. My only concerns are with character development and editing. The characters do come across a little under developed, the story does make up for this but I found myself thinking that they were a predictable. The book is in need of an editor. I found myself getting tripped up over a lack of punctuation a few times. I would have rated it higher if the editing had been better.

I recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a good, fast-paced, action story.

Microsoft Office Word 2013 Manual t/a Gregg College Keyboarding & Document Proccessing

Microsoft Office Word 2013 Manual t/a Gregg College Keyboarding & Document Proccessing - Scot Ober, Jack E. Johnson, Arlene Zimmerly Handy guide for Word if you need to use the basic functions in Word.

Microsoft Word 2013: Illustrated Complete

Microsoft Word 2013: Illustrated Complete - Jennifer Duffy, Carol Cram Good step-by-step directions of nifty things to do with Word. Good prep for the MOS exam.

Orders is Orders

Orders is Orders - L. Ron Hubbard Disclaimer: I won a free copy of this book through a GoodReads First Reads giveaway. Thanks to the publisher, Galaxy Press, for providing this copy.

Orders is Orders is about a couple of Marines sent on the difficult mission of reaching a U.S. Consulate office 200 miles inland from the coast of China. No big deal if it weren't for the invading Japanese that have pretty much decimated the route needed to reach their destination.

The story is pretty straight forward and nothing really surprising happens. There are a couple other characters that are picked up along the way but none of them are really developed. Of course, it is a quick story. I think the goodreads listing says that it has a 168 pages but only 120 of them are for the story.

I'm not a fan of Hubbard's work but I would say this is the best one of his works that I've read. If you have a few hours that need killing and you want something light to read, this is a good option.

Moby-Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Moby-Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Herman Melville Well, it is a 600+ page nonfiction book about whales, whaling, and sailing in general, with a fictional story about a whale that seems to have a taste for human body parts thrown in to try to make it interesting. Yes, I get that there is more to it than that but I was too bored most of the time to care. Glad I read it. Glad it's over. Never gonna do it again.

Cover of Snow

Cover of Snow - Jenny Milchman I don't really have anything to add that hasn't been said in another review. And, for those that rated it higher, I wonder if we read the same book. The only thing I'm wondering as I type this is about the quote currently posted at the top of the Goodreads page for this book:

"Jenny Milchman’s Cover of Snow is a remarkable debut, a gripping tale of suspense in the tradition of Gillian Flynn, Chris Bohjalian, and Nancy Pickard."

I wonder if Gillian Flynn, Chris Bohjalian, and Nancy Pickard have seen that quote. Have they read this book? And, are they pissed about the comparison?

Death to the Brothers Grimm

Death to the Brothers Grimm - Emory B. Pueschel, Kate Jonez, Lee Widener, John Edward Lawson, Eckhard Gerdes, Jessica McHugh, Jess Gulbranson, M.L. Roos, Garrett Cook, Jeremy C. Shipp, Kirk Jones, Crysa Leflar One line from the introduction to this collection, possibly, ruined the entire thing for me. “Destroy the Brothers Grimm.” The editor wanted “new stories that twisted the sterilized and cutely mouse-eared folktales of our time and returned them to darker places…” This implied to me that the editor has never read the original Brothers Grimm folktales; therefore, he might not understand the concept of a folktale.

Regardless, the authors for this collection set out to destroy the Brothers Grimm and they succeeded, so much so, that some of the original folktales are not recognizable at all. I did not find any of the stories that I read twisted or horrific. At best, I would say a few were a little weird.

Full disclosure, I received an advance copy of the book from one of the authors specifically to review it. I put off writing a review for a bit because I like the author that gave it to me and I am really disappointed in what I read in this collection.

Also, I did not read the entire book. I broke-up with it about halfway through it. None of the stories that I read could hold my attention. I frequently found myself thinking of other things I could be reading and then I would have to reread passages to figure out what I had missed. In the end I decided it was not worth it so I have set it aside. Maybe I will try again one day but I doubt it.

Don't Fear the Reaper

Don't Fear the Reaper - Michelle Muto Promising start!

The opening chapter of Don’t Fear the Reaper by Michelle Muto is a very powerful way to begin a story: with the death of the lead character by suicide. This chapter alone had me hook, line, and sinker. I wish it had maintained that level throughout the story.

Keely Morrison commits suicide to find peace after the death of her twin sister. What she finds on the other side is far from peaceful. Stuck in purgatory until a test decides her fate she is left with two guides: a demon and a reaper. The demon is there to make sure she fails her test, possibly. The reaper has bet his soul that she will pass and move on to heaven. Can she trust either of them?

Probably not.

The suicide in the story is never glamorized. The damage Keely has done to her family and friends is conveyed very well and Keely both sees and feels the pain that she has caused. She is also forced to come to terms with the fact that she did successfully commit suicide.

My biggest complaint with Don’t Fear the Reaper is the minimal character development. I felt that the author got too far out in the weeds of developing what purgatory was like that she missed some chances to really flesh out the characters. I hope these characters are developed further if this is to be a series.

My last comment is directed towards the ending: it was obvious. So much so that when it finally happened, I felt whacked upside the head with it.

Overall, Don’t Fear the Reaper is decent read. I look forward to reading more from Michelle Muto and watching her grow as an author.

Widow's Might

Widow's Might - Sandra Brannan I received this book along with In the Belly of Jonah and Lot's Return to Sodom as part of a promotion with Friday Reads. I was supposed to take part in a Twitter chat with the author but I missed it because it was held in the middle of the work day.

Widow's Might is the third in a series by Sandra Brannan. It is not important to have read the first two books before reading this book but there are far too many unnecessary references to the first stories in an attempt to drum up interest in the first two books. For me, it managed to make me loose interest in this book.

The basic story revolves around a serial killer that escaped the FBI years ago and has started killing again. The original FBI agent just happens to be in town so he gets another crack at the case. Liv Bergen is not a cop or an FBI agent but the FBI wants her. As a matter of fact, a couple of the agents want Liv for themselves. This plot detail does absolutely nothing for the story. Liv is the central character in the story but I can't say that I cared about her much.

The "whodunit" part of the story is fleshed out with a bit of South Dakota history, which I thought was the most interesting part of the story. Unfortunately, I found the ending drawn out with far too many, "wait, wait why" moments. The FBI, or maybe it was me, figured everything out and explained it nicely but then it took 15 pages for the killer to explain it all, AGAIN. By the time everything was finally wrapped up I wanted the killer to shoot me, also.

Overall, Widow's Might is a very easy and forgettable read that didn't make ever want to read another of the Liv Bergen mysteries.

Gerald's Game

Gerald's Game - Bill Russell, Stephen King Oh Stephen, you had me at, well, you didn't really have me with this book. One of the things that I've always enjoyed, and found the scariest, of King stories is the possibility that a woman could find herself handcuffed to a bed, at the summer house, in the off season, and the hubby keels over dead. What are all the things that could possibly happen?

The story opens with Jessie and Gerald skipping out for a romantic day at their summer house on the lake. Things are going great (not really) until Gerald has a heart attack and dies while Jessie is handcuffed to the bed. The keys, of course, are on the other side of the room. The couple took off from reality mid-week in October. It’s going to be a few days before anyone misses them, probably a few days longer than Jessie can survive.

Most of the story consists of not just what Jessie does to attempt survival but the mental spiral she descends through. Jessie has some childhood issues that must be relived in detail. Sometimes I felt that it wasn’t really necessary to travel back to Jessie’s summers on Dark Score Lake with her family but, in King fashion, it all tied together nicely at the end.

A lot of things happen in that small bedroom throughout Jessie’s ordeal. The longer Jessie is stuck the more her grip on reality is loosened and even I was left wondering if there was really a man standing in the shadows of the room. I did have about a 25 page white knuckle stretch towards the end but it didn’t last long enough to take me to the end of the book. I felt the ending was a little drawn out and I actually put the book down so I could sleep with only seven pages remaining.