Review: Attack the Geek by Michael R. Underwood

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Attack the Geek (Ree Reyes, #2.5)Attack the Geek by Michael R. Under­wood

My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Excuse me, but SQUEE! More Ree Reyes! More Drake! More East­wood and Grog­nard! Yes, more Geekomancy!

Michael Under­wood is back with a delight­ful novella and if I have ANY com­plaints, it’s that this is a novella instead of a novel. That’s just because I am a greedy fan­girl reader. The story itself is fully devel­oped, and the novella is exactly the right for­mat for it.

Attack the Geek def­i­nitely isn’t the place to start in the series, as it relies on pre­vi­ous knowl­edge of the char­ac­ters and the uni­verse, but if you’ve read the pre­vi­ous nov­els, you will NOT want to miss this install­ment when it is released on April 9.

Now I’m left hun­gry for Ree Reyes #3, though!



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Review: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and SexBonk: The Curi­ous Cou­pling of Sci­ence and Sex by Mary Roach

My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

Fas­ci­nat­ing stuff! Vast amounts of sheer geek­ery about sex, sci­ence, and the inter­sec­tion thereof. If you’re look­ing for sex tips or sala­cious read­ing, look else­where. If you’re look­ing to howl with laugh­ter with­out being able to explain WHY to most peo­ple, this is your book.

Okay, one might glean the occa­sional sex tip, but I don’t think they’re any­thing that com­mon sense couldn’t tell you. And you’ll have to wait for the very last chap­ter for the best bit.

I’ll be adding more of Roach’s diverse works to my to-​​be-​​read stack soon!



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Review: Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open RelationshipsOpen­ing Up: A Guide to Cre­at­ing and Sus­tain­ing Open Rela­tion­ships by Tris­tan Taormino

My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

I have to be hon­est. When I ini­tially heard about Open­ing Up by Tris­tan Taormino, it was in asso­ci­a­tion with some­one I can’t stand, and I child­ishly let that asso­ci­a­tion color my impres­sion of the book. I didn’t really con­sider read­ing it. I finally got around to read­ing (okay, lis­ten­ing to) it this past week, and I’m sorry I didn’t do so sooner. It’s so good that I’m con­sid­er­ing pur­chas­ing a print copy to have on hand in my lend­ing library, and maybe even an ebook copy so that I might eas­ily ref­er­ence pas­sages from time to time.

None of the infor­ma­tion is new to me, exactly, but it is put together very well. The sec­tions on issues to consider/​issues that might arise in each style of respon­si­ble non-​​monogamy were espe­cially appre­ci­ated. I was dis­ap­pointed that there isn’t a sec­tion in her web site for read­ers, but per­haps the print copy has repro­ducible checklists.

The chap­ter on STIs was very good, although I think that a list of spe­cific STIs for which non-​​monogamous peo­ple should request test­ing would have been helpful.

In any case, I do rec­om­mend this book. It’s replac­ing Love With­out Lim­its as my go-​​to rec­om­men­da­tion for new poly­folk to read.



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Review: Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo by Vanessa Woods

Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the CongoBonobo Hand­shake: A Mem­oir of Love and Adven­ture in the Congo by Vanessa Woods

My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

I nearly put this book down after the first chap­ter, because I wanted to learn about Bono­bos, not atroc­i­ties in the Congo. I stuck with it because it was the most inter­est­ing of the audio­books that were already on my phone when I was mak­ing a long drive, and I got halfway through it dur­ing that drive. I was hooked by then, and needed to know what hap­pened to these par­tic­u­lar Bono­bos and the humans around them.

Now, I still don’t feel that I needed the explicit descrip­tions of vio­lence. I could have under­stood what was going on with­out that. But then, I’m par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive to such things, and I did already have a pretty good idea of what was going on in that part of the world. I sup­pose some read­ers may have needed those descrip­tions to “get it.”

I really loved the rela­tion­ships that devel­oped between Woods and the var­i­ous Bono­bos, and how her net­work of friends and fam­ily grew over time. I am envi­ous of the con­nec­tion she has with her hus­band, Brian Hare. The infor­ma­tion shared about the exper­i­ments is truly fas­ci­nat­ing, and the competition/coöperation theme that runs through the book is vital to under­stand­ing not just chim­panzees and Bono­bos, but humans.

I was lis­ten­ing to the book in the car the other day, and heard the fol­low­ing at the end of chap­ter 34. It caused me to cry.
“If there are those you love, who­ever or wher­ever you are, hold them. Find them and hold them as tightly as you can. Resist their squirm­ing and impa­tience and uncom­fort­able laugh­ter, and just feel their heart throb­bing against yours. Give thanks that for this moment, for this one pre­cious moment, they are here, they are with you, and they know they are utterly, com­pletely, entirely loved.”

All in all, yes, I rec­om­mend the book. Just be warned about those descrip­tions, and if you choose the audio­book ver­sion, don’t lis­ten with lit­tle ones around.




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Belated Windows 8 Review

I’ve told a few peo­ple that I don’t really see any advan­tage to Win­dows 8 over Win­dows 7. I have to eat my words now.

Before I put Win­dows 8 on my four-​​year-​​old HP lap­top, I checked with HP to make sure that it was 8-​​compatible, and they said it was. AFTER I did the upgrade, I learned that they aren’t putting any Win­dows 8 dri­vers out for it! So some of the hard­ware func­tions don’t work prop­erly. The hard­ware man­u­fac­tur­ers say, “We only deal with HP, go to them.” Now, I was dual boot­ing with 7 any­way, but hadn’t actu­ally booted into 7 on the sys­tem until this week. And dang, it’s slow in com­par­i­son, even with the proper dri­vers. I thought that maybe dual boot­ing was partly to blame — not likely, but maybe.

Because of issues with my employer’s soft­ware, I’ve decided to ded­i­cate the lap­top as a work-​​only com­puter, and that means it has to run Win­dows 7. I’m fin­ish­ing up a clean install of 7, then I’ll image it, and every time the work stuff causes a prob­lem, I can recover and move on quickly. Any­way — I was right. Before I blew away the 8 par­ti­tion (recently upgraded to 8.1), I timed how long it took to boot. And I just timed the boot on the clean 7 install. Even though I had been using 8 for maybe six months, with­out all the proper dri­vers, it boots three times as quickly as 7. (Both OSs are Pro-​​64 bit ver­sions.) For what it’s worth, I am boot­ing from an SSD with both — that, of course, makes more of a dif­fer­ence than ANY other upgrade.

So yes, Win­dows 8 IS a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence on a sys­tem that can han­dle it. I haven’t found any­thing that I can’t do com­pared to Win­dows 7 (except access my employer’s VPN, and that’s due to their restric­tions). I do find the lack of the start menu to be a nui­sance, but it’s eas­ily fixed with the addi­tion of Clas­sic Shell or one of the many other util­i­ties designed to fix that prob­lem. I am told that 8 does not play well with vir­tual machines, if that’s impor­tant to you.

I don’t have a touch screen and haven’t missed it. I never use the Metro inter­face for any­thing, and I’m wholly unim­pressed with the native Win8 appli­ca­tions. I don’t like the app store. I don’t need my com­puter to be like a phone or tablet, but it seems that’s where things are converging.