Enemy of Entropy

The Geek Who Understands You

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Plinky asked: What was the best thing about yes­ter­day?

I spent the entire day with my daugh­ter! We had a lovely time together. Isn’t she a doll?

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Woot! We won!

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It looks like the T-​​SPLOST bill was defeated by a land­slide. I’m so glad! That thing was a total boon­dog­gle. My baby girl and I spent the day together and one of the very first things we did was go vote against it!

We had a good lunch together and a frozen yogurt treat. She indulged me, so I finally got to go to In Stitches, too. They have the most incred­i­ble selec­tion of fibers! I picked up my first Glo­ri­ana silks for a char­ity stitch­ing project.

Now I’m exhausted, but happy. It was a good day!

Academy Caritas: Free Courses Online

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Today’s post at Acad­emy Car­i­tas lists some free online courses that look very good. I’m con­sid­er­ing using some of those to get back into the groove of school until I can go back “for real.”

I’m in a good mood, as I’m at the girl’s place and I got to see Steven today. Happy day!

Book Review: Entangled edited by Edie Ramer

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EntangledEntan­gled by Edie Ramer
My rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this anthol­ogy up because all pro­ceeds go to the Breast Can­cer Research Foun­da­tion, which is a won­der­ful cause. Many of the authors’ lives have been touched by can­cer in one way or another, some first-​​hand. The vol­ume is Halloween-​​themed, as well.

I don’t believe I’ve read any­thing but short sto­ries by any of these authors in the past except for Jen­nifer Estep, and I haven’t read the Mythos Acad­emy series in which her story is set. I’m more likely to read it now than I was before.

“Hal­loween Frost” by Estep and “Ghostly Jus­tice” by Alli­son Bren­nan (set in her Seven Deadly Sins series) were the most pol­ished sto­ries in the anthol­ogy. Too many of the oth­ers had plot holes, or felt like teasers to get a reader to pur­sue more of the author’s work. A short story should be self-​​contained.

Some of the authors let the “romance” get in the way of the plot­ting. If the main char­ac­ter acts like an idiot because she’s dis­tracted by the bulge in a man’s pants, why make her the main char­ac­ter of a story? Espe­cially if, as in “Sin­fully Sweet” by Michelle Miles, you fail to resolve the major plot issue you raise?

While I admire the cause for which these ladies are writ­ing, I can’t help but think a shorter, higher-​​quality anthol­ogy might have been a bet­ter bet.

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Happy News

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You are read­ing the blog of the newest board mem­ber of Grants to You, a won­der­ful non-​​profit orga­ni­za­tion based in Prescott, Ari­zona. I’m going to be doing a lot of work involv­ing the web site and serv­ing on a new com­mit­tee. I’m tick­led pink!

In other news, I got to intro­duce some­one to the Dres­den Files today! I thought every­body had heard of Butcher’s books, but in case there’s another fan­tasy fan out there who has been deprived: you want to read these, I promise. They’re about Chicago’s only pro­fes­sional wiz­ard, Harry Dres­den. He rou­tinely deals with vam­pires, demons, were­wolves — you name it. There was a short-​​lived tele­vi­sion show that should have been longer, but it died the death of so many great shows (like Firefly).

Start with Storm Front, but know that you’ll want to have Fool Moon and Grave Peril handy.

I love them so much that I keep all four­teen vol­umes (thir­teen nov­els and a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries) on my Nook as com­fort read­ing. I’m eager to read num­ber four­teen, and I can’t think of many other authors who can keep the excite­ment going that long. I’ve never encoun­tered one per­son who doesn’t like these books if they’ve read them, so give them a try!

Book Review: Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

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Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, #11)Dead Reck­on­ing by Char­laine Har­ris
My rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars

For fluff, it’s got some really dark scenes. It doesn’t have enough of a plot to be any­thing more than fluff, though. It absolutely does NOT stand alone, so don’t con­sider read­ing this book unless you’ve read all that went before it — you’ll be hope­lessly lost.

Sookie has changed so much over the course of this series that she is hav­ing trou­ble rec­og­niz­ing her­self, and is trou­bled over it, with good rea­son. Hav­ing a main char­ac­ter change is good, and I’ll say that some of that change is growth, but I can’t say it’s all growth, or all to the good. (Can any of us say that, though, about the changes we go through in our lives?)

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Book Review: Tricked by Kevin Hearne

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Tricked (Iron Druid Chronicles, #4)Tricked by Kevin Hearne
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

That was so good. Just so very good. Like the last three — well plot­ted, with good char­ac­ter devel­op­ment from a fas­ci­nat­ing cast of char­ac­ters. This time most of the mythol­ogy is Native Amer­i­can (specif­i­cally Navajo) instead of Norse or Celtic, but there’s a lit­tle spice from other tra­di­tions thrown in as well. And as before, there are always con­se­quences get­ting involved, even in good causes. I think that’s one of the biggest ways this series reminds me of the Dres­den Files by Jim Butcher.

I am absolutely going to be on ten­ter­hooks until Trapped is released!

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Morning Pages Tool

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I’ve recently got­ten back into the dis­ci­pline of doing morn­ing pages, some­thing that’s a vital part of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It’s a great way to clear your men­tal caches each morn­ing and pre­pare to write some­thing more mean­ing­ful. Tra­di­tion­ally, one writes three pages longhand.

Unfor­tu­nately, I have trou­ble with that. The arthri­tis in my hands causes ter­ri­ble cramp­ing, and I can’t read what I’ve writ­ten by the time I’m a sen­tence or two on. I get pre­oc­cu­pied by how ter­ri­ble my hand­writ­ing is and so dis­tracted that the whole point of the exer­cise is lost.

If I try to use a word proces­sor, I end up writ­ing too much. Blog­ging is no good, because I write too much and I worry about for­get­ting to mark the entries private.

750 Words is a won­der­ful alter­na­tive. It pro­vides noth­ing but a blank screen and a notice when you hit 750 words (three pages at 250 words each equals 750 words). It’s a free ser­vice! And it will send you reminder messages.

I’m tick­led pink!

Book Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne

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Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3)Ham­mered by Kevin Hearne
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. This book has a non-​​stop pace, for rea­sons that will be obvi­ous to the reader but can­not be explained to oth­ers with­out spoil­ers. I’ll just say “clear your cal­en­dar” because you’ll not find ANY good stop­ping places.

One of the things that truly impresses me is that Kevin Hearne doesn’t just show his char­ac­ters doing amaz­ing things, but shows them expe­ri­enc­ing the con­se­quences of their actions — some expected, some totally unex­pected. I truly enjoy his views of arche­types and myth, espe­cially com­ing from a char­ac­ter who walks around speak­ing to gods, hav­ing a beer with Jesus and throw­ing down with Thor.

I’m so glad that I have Tricked on hand, but I wish Trapped were out already! At least I have the extra A Test of Met­tle to read, too. I just can’t get enough of Atticus.

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Book Review: Places to Be, People to Kill edited by Brittiany A. Koren & Martin H. Greenberg

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Places To Be, People To KillPlaces To Be, Peo­ple To Kill by Brit­tiany A. Koren
My rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this anthol­ogy more than one might expect from a col­lec­tion of sto­ries about killers, but then I’ve read a cou­ple of vol­umes edited by Brit­tiany A. Koren and Mar­tin H. Green­berg now, and I trust the pair. (Green­berg has turned out so many antholo­gies that I don’t assume any­thing at all when I see his name.)

I had to explain to my fam­ily why I kept laugh­ing while read­ing “Exactly” by Tanya Huff. I’m a long-​​time fan of her work, so was already famil­iar with sib­ling assas­sins Vree and Ban­non from Fifth Quar­ter and No Quar­ter. While all of Huff’s work includes some humor, this story is par­tic­u­larly funny.

“Breia’s Dia­mond” by Cat Collins was a mem­o­rable low in the book. In addi­tion to the inap­pro­pri­ate and inept use of romance clichés, it’s all too obvi­ous early on that the mer­ce­nar­ies are being paid far too much for too lit­tle work by the necro­mancer. That isn’t fore­shad­ow­ing, it’s fore­shout­ing — or just plain stu­pid­ity on the part of the mer­ce­nar­ies. They are mur­der­ers for hire, noth­ing else, and I’ve never felt any sym­pa­thy for such. Why would I start now, sim­ply because a story is told from their point of view?

Bradley H. Sinor’s “Money’s Worth” has the feel of some­thing excerpted from a larger work. It’s good and I enjoyed it, but I think I would have enjoyed it far more in its proper context.

The only other story that is mem­o­rable enough to sin­gle out is “The Hun­dredth Kill” by John Marco. It is a lovely jewel of a story, one that stands for itself, leav­ing lit­tle to be said other than “read it.” I don’t believe that I’ve read any of Marco’s nov­els, but obvi­ously I’ve missed out on some­thing very good. I intend to rem­edy that omis­sion shortly.

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