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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