baronessekat: (book)
King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm rather ambivalent about this book. I liked many parts of it, but in general it's my least favorite of the three thus far.

I think what made me go "eh" over it was that it would randomly change which character was narrating the story. Which, if that had been the story telling technique from book one, I'd have been more OK with it. But waiting until the third book caused me to loose interest. Same thing happened with Book three of the Divergent series.

But at least the different points of view were read by different readers, so it was easier to tell. Though I though the voice of Evangeline sounded to young, but that's a personal taste thing rather than a story telling thing.

I did like how the author continued with the exploration of Mar's PTSD and I was glad to see that she didn't dive into Stockholm Syndrome (which was a fear I had). Once a certain point was brought up by a secondary character, I totally saw how the ending was going to go, but it was a believable ending.

Will I continue with the series if there are more books? Yes. But unlike other series, I'm not sitting here refreshing the author's webpage to find out when the next book is due to be published.

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This year for war, I chronicled my activities as if writing a personal log for a sci-fi/space tv show. This came about after spending a week reading Duchess Dagmar’s FB posts about the great Crapiderm Migration across the Serengeti and watching the episode of the Big Bang Theory that ends with the guys going to a Ren Faire with Sheldon dressed as Spock.

Here are my entries:
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baronessekat: (book)
The Ides of April (Flavia Albia Mystery, #1)The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I neither liked nor disliked this book. It was just OK for me. The writing was good and the reader talented, but it just didn't pull me in. Perhaps if I had read the previous works of this author, I might have liked it more, but as it was, I had no knowledge of the author or the fact that she had written an entire other series of books set just before this one.

As far as the mystery goes, I pretty much figure out who the killer was within a chapter or two of them being introduced. That doesn't mean it was a bad story, just that if you have read murder mysteries, there were flags early on.

I can't say that I will continue in this series, but if the next one crosses my path, I won't turn away from it.

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War is just shy of 2 weeks away.

I have done NO sewing, thought I want to make a couple new tunics.

The only prep I've done really is pull out and inspect the pavilion and that's only because we used it at Pax for J's vigil. I did order a new tarp for under my tent and some new chests of drawers as last year my drawer unit failed spectacularly.

But I don't have a scroll that has to be done (though I have a backlog that would be nice to get done but at this point it won't). I have a kingdom gift exchange gift I have to finish because the first attempt was a fail and I promised the replacement would be delivered at war.

But frankly, I'm not feeling it this year. No real excitement or anticipation. I'm not even feeling much of a panic that I've not done as much (if any) real prep yet. In fact, I was talking with Un-Minion this weekend and confessed that if I were not Watch 2 this year, I'd give serious thought about not going for the full two weeks if at all.

I have determined that as long as I am not in the upper command staff of the Watch next year, I may take the two weeks off of work but only go down for a week (like Wednesday to Wednesday) and use the other days as prep/recuperation/me time. The following year is still up in the air as we wait to find out if Dagmar got the bid to be Mayor. If she does, I am going to have to be down for 2.5-3 weeks as I'll be the War Admin/XO.

I admit that I miss feeling the excitement. Heck, I'm not really feeling the excitement for the SCA in general. (in fact I've been feeling a whole lot of "why bother anymore" since war practice) And I miss that. I miss just feeling excited about anything, it is just more obvious to me in regards to the SCA.
baronessekat: (book)
The Girl with Ghost Eyes (Xian Li-lin, #1)The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

if Goodreads let us do 1/2 stars, I would give this a 3.5.

Xian Li-lin is a 22 year old widow, living with her father in Chinatown in San Francisco at the end of the 19th century. She studies Daoist traditions and strives to not bring shame on to her father. The thing that makes her unusual is that she has Yin or Ghost Eyes which means that she can see and interact with the Spirits.

She's approached by the son of one of the most important men in Chinatown, who asks her to help his friend who has a friend who died but needs help crossing over to the next realm. She agrees. From there things go sideways.

The blending of the Supernatual with traditional Chinese beliefs and attitudes at the end of the 19th century was something I had not seen before and enjoyed greatly. I do think that I would have liked this book more had a read it rather than listened to it. Not being familiar with Chinese names, it was hard at times to keep them all straight. Add to that, is that I first encountered the narrator through another series of books (also in the first person) and I had a hard time separating that series' main character from Li-lin. Had either book been in third person I do not think I would have had that trouble.

Overall, it was a fun book.

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baronessekat: (book)
The Neverending StoryThe Neverending Story by Michael Ende

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was definitely not the target audience for this book. And I can see how a person of a much younger age might have enjoyed this book. However, I felt incredibly eh about it.

if you've seen the movie by the same name, the movie is the first third of the book. I have not seen the sequels but from those that have, they encompass the rest of the story.

I found the first third interesting and I vividly recalled the movie parts as they came up. But once we reached the part where the first movie stopped, I really had trouble focusing and caring about the characters.

In the end I felt that the book was aptly named... as it felt like it was neverending.

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baronessekat: (book)
Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one a lot better than the first book and I found the first book really good.

The only way I can describe this series is X-Men meets Hunger Games. But that does it an injustice.

I'm liking that the author is giving the heroine of the story more depth and really conveys her feeling so completely over her head and out of her depths with what is happening. Unlike in Hunger Games, she didn't even initially start out asking for what happened to her, or sacrificing herself to save a family member. She did what she had to in order to survive and now she has to keep going.

I like that she is being shown dealing with the traumas. How she's being effected by PSTD (though it's not anything said but all the symptoms are there) of the torture, abuse and sheer hell she's had to endure.

And the narrator of the audiobook is really good and her voice alone grips me and drags me in and the story keeps me.

I will certainly be looking for the next book.

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Jun. 15th, 2017 02:38 pm
baronessekat: (Default)
a part of my job that is supposed to be a SMALL part of my job is to input the time cards/job reports from the slitting department, what I not-so-lovingly call "the blue sheets" (they are printed on robins egg blue paper, thus the name).

These sheets are for the production workers to log what job they did, their time (broken down into direct labor and indirect labor with indirect further broken into things like "housekeeping, lunch, quality assistance, etc), the main part number, the lot number of the part number, how many meters that part number started with, how long each roll they are cutting down to is, how many rolls they do, how many meters are they returning to inventory and so on.

Every day, I have to take these hand written sheets, decifer the horrible handwritting, make sure the times they give add up to the time they say worked, tally up the meters each job started with (if they have multiple jumbos for a job), the meters returned at the end of the job and make sure everything gets put into the system.

I have to do this for every day we are in production (which is about 360 a year) for both shifts (we are a 24/7 company). So to do all this, a good day will take me 2 hours per production day's worth of blue sheets. Mondays, my entire day is dedicated to blue sheets as I have to input Friday and Saturday's sheets in by noon to make payroll, then I get to do Sunday's as well.

But we have headed into mandatory overtime for the slitting department so there are more sheets per shift than usual. But that's not the worst part. Lately almost every sheet has had some kind of error on it. Time given but no time code (so I don't know if to bill it for direct time or indirect time) or a code with no time. Wrong job numbers given with part numbers. Incomplete job numbers. Not to mention just really horrible math (and they all have calculators) that sometimes I cannot figure out where they got the number (some are simple... they added the waste length back in instead of subtracting it... subtracted 20 in stead of 200).

But this entire week has been nothing but issues with the sheets that has caused me to have to keep going down to the production floor to get clarifications on things. Yesterday it took me 6 hours to do ONE DAY's worth of sheets, instead of the usual 2.

I'm at the point of fried from these that I go home and just sit. I don't work on the scrolls I had planned to work on, the gift exchange gifts due at the end of the month... or hell, even put stuff away. My house looks like a bomb went off in it, I have people coming at the end of the month and I just can't muster the energy or giveadamn.

I get home and go "I should do X" and I look at it. But that's as far as I get. even trying to get the wherewithal to do my daily 3x5 card for the "index card of the day" challenge I've been participating on has been tough.

I want a day off. Not going to happen but I want one. All my vacation and PTO time has been earmarked for things already. Even the upcoming long weekend for the 4th where my company is closed on the 3rd and 4th... I still have to come in on the 3rd and get the Friday and Saturday sheets done so people can be paid. At least that's holiday pay and I get triple time for those 4 hours. Not the same as a full day off but at least it's something.

Anyway, vent over. back to trying to do the necessary.

book review

Jun. 5th, 2017 01:01 pm
baronessekat: (book)
Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen (Please Don't Tell My Parents, #3)Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen by Richard Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I very much enjoyed this book, it returned back to Earth and dealing with being a teenager having superpowers and not wanting your parents to know you are the head of a middle school supervillain team.

It got back to the feel of the first book and we get to see Penny coping with her skills, her desire to be a superhero when her powers are more villainous AND dealing with the fact that all the other super powered kids in her school are coming out into the open and wanting to be part of her afterschool club.

I am interested to see where the series progresses and has been one that I am recommending to both adult and child friends.

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baronessekat: (book)
Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the MoonPlease Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon by Richard Roberts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I enjoyed this installment, it felt a bit flat and out of place. But that may be because I'm 40+ years old reading/listening to a book for kids.

But that being said, the story, while feeling a bit contrived, moved a a good pace, had great dialogue and inner monologues and I found myself laughing in places.

It was not so out of place that I will not continue with the series to see how Penny and her friends continue on the road to Superheroism... or Super Villainism.

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baronessekat: (book)
Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain (Please Don't Tell My Parents, #1)Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain by Richard Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book grabbed my attention because of the title. It sounded fun. And, hands down, it was.

13 year old, Penelope's parents are Superheroes. The two smartest ones known. And Penelope's been waiting for her powers to start manifesting so she can join the ranks of LA's Superhero community.

But when her powers do start to manifest, she's told by her parents that it's going to take a few years for them to fully form. But what she doesn't tell them is that the powers are growing faster than expected. And what those powers prove to make her into... a mad scientist. So Penny, along with her best friends Claire and Ray, who both also develop powers, team up.

They start proving themselves to the Superhero/Supervillain communities, hoping to be taken seriously. And while everyone labels them to be villains, Penny hopes to one day still be part of the Hero side.

But until then, what's a 13 year old Mad Scientist to do but have fun and show up the Grown-ups.

I completely enjoyed this book, found myself smiling throughout it and am looking forward to the next one. Highly recommend.

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baronessekat: (book)
The Princess DiaristThe Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. Especially with Carrie reading the modern stuff and her daughter reading the journal entries.

The humor had me smiling throughout the book and even the serious points were touched with Carrie's special outlook on life.

I liked how she described what it is like "being Leia" and how, even long after the movies were out, she would often ask herself "what would Leia do" to get through a difficult situation. I liked her takes on what it means to be an iconic celebrity and likens autograph signing at conventions to lap dances.

All in all, a most enjoyable book and I do see myself looking for her other books, especially if she is the one narrating the audio versions.

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baronessekat: (book)
Precipice (Awaken Online #2)Precipice by Travis Bagwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

another installment that grabbed me and pulled me in. And like the other one, left me screaming in frustration of "how dare you end it that way?!?!?!"

Once again we join Jason as his friends as he now tries to rule the Twilight Thone in the game Awaken Online, while trying to figure out what is the ulterior motive of the games A.I.

Meanwhile the creators of the game struggle to figure out what's going on in game as well. One of their biggest problems is underestimating the resolve of a teenage boy who is tired of being bullied.

I really liked following Jason as he continues to grow and develop his Necromancer persona and how he reluctantly accepts that he has become the game's Uber-bad, Ultimate Supervillan and then plays up the part when pushed. I also liked how this time he has real world friends join him and how they too start to grow and come out of their shells.

Eagerly awaiting the next book.

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baronessekat: (book)
Redshirts: A Novel with Three CodasRedshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Newly assigned Ensigns on the Starship Intrepid notice other crew members acting oddly when it comes to interacting with certain upper crew-members and when the topic of away missions comes up.

Not only is it noticeable that some lowly Ensign dies on almost every away mission, there really doesn't seem to be a reason for half the away missions to happen OR the people assigned to them make any sense. It's as if they were on a TV-show... a badly written TV show.

As a long time fan of Star Trek, I found this book hysterical. And Wil Wheaton's narration of it was spot on, and one I will be recommending to other sci-fi geeks for a long time.

This was recommended by both George R.R. Martin and Wil Wheaton

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Over on facebook there was a question asked by one of my friends about how do we Peers help non-Peers. Ok that was not the real gist of it, but that was the underlying message I took away from the very convoluted line of commentary.

I got to thinking. Well, I have two active proteges, one inactive one, one un-protege and a handful of "not even as formal as an un-protege" folk that I kinda sorta mentor when they need it. But what else could I do? My biggest observation has been that non-Peers seem to feel like the Peers are the ones who do all the stuff and they don't know how to get their proverbial foot in the door.

Well, Ekat, I told myself, you may not know all the stuff, but there is one thing you do know (even if you are only figuring it out fairly recently)... you know a hell of a lot of people within the Society. And all those people know stuff. Really cool stuff. Some are kick ass fighters, some are such talented artists, others know how to serve. And all those people live all over the globe.

So I made a public post, offering my help to any who need, be they Peer or non-Peer, regardless of what they want to pursue. As I said in the post, I may not have the answers, but I have been blessed with connections and I'm happy to introduce people.

Two hours later, I have had people IM me with questions and I was able to either help or direct them to and introduce them to folks who would know. Others have posted their fear or question in the commentary and I have been able to watch others go "hey, I do that, let's chat", or say "that's not a silly question, let me share my experience".

I too may have become disenfranchised with the SCA, but just that little bit made me realize that there is something worthwhile there. And I can help.
baronessekat: (book)
The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines SeriesThe Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and
by James Rollins (Goodreads Author), and Rebecca Cantrell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this to be rather interesting and a story that grabbed me just on the premise...three unlikely individuals - a military forensics expert, a priest and an archeologist are summoned to investigate the aftermath of an earthquake that hit Masada, Israel, revealing a long buried and forgotten tomb. It turns out that the tomb may have been home to a lost Gospel - written by Jesus, in his own blood. And from there things get "weird" and we learn that the story of the Christ may not be what we have always been lead to believe. Further, there are people... creatures that want the book as much as the Vatican does and the three must fight their way to recover the Gospel before the bad guys do... but who really is friend and foe?

Overall, I liked this book. It played on things that I have always liked... unique takes on vampires, Russian and Slavic history, biblical archeology (as I wanted to be one when I grew up) and just enough mystery. I could have done with out the overarching sexual tension between Erin, the archeologist, and Jordan, the military man, and the strange sexual tension Rhun, the priest, felt for Erin. Because seriously, just once I'd like to read a book or see a movie that has a man and a woman, both single, who have to work together NOT end up wanting to jump each other's bones.

This book also ended at just the right point to make me want to continue in the series to find out what happens next.

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baronessekat: (quiet)
Today I am experiencing a colossal case of the "nope, don't wannas".

Which directly contradicts with the colossal pile of "gottas".
baronessekat: (book)
Dear Committee Members: A novelDear Committee Members: A novel by Julie Schumacher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was an absolute treat that had me laughing out loud in several points. A collection of letters of recommendation as written by one beleaguered, disenfranchised, and rather cynical professor of English and Creative Writing at a university. It follows just one year of his correspondences to other departments, institutions, programs, places of employment as he is asked to write letters of recommendations for students (some he's only known for the 3 minutes it took for the student to ask him to write something for them), colleagues, and acquaintances.

It's hysterical to be guided through his complaints on the conditions of his academic building as it undergoes remodeling construction for the Economics Department, as he expresses his opinions about various undergrad and post-grad programs, and is constantly trying to get favors from his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend for his recommendees, though I suspect they would have better chances if he didn't keep bringing up things from his past interactions by saying things like "I'm sure you remember X situation... please don't hold that against this student". And trying to pit his ex-wife and his ex-girlfriend (who appear to be friends) against each other.

This is a book that I am glad I got the audio version for and will most certainly return to when I need a laugh.

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baronessekat: (book)
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True HermitThe Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don't know what I expected with this book, but I know I didn't get it. Frankly, I did not find the story all that "extraordinary" nor would I call Christopher Knight the "last true hermit", at least the "last" part of that statement.

Christopher Knight, at the age of 20 left the world. He abandoned his car, hiked out into the wilderness of Maine and disappeared, avoiding human contact. Only instead of living off the land, to survive, he chose to break into cabins and camps to scrounge for food, clothing and other living essentials. To avoid being caught, he never built a fire, even in the deepest depths of the Maine winters. To cook, he stole propane from the camps and used a small camp stove.

When he was caught, the author started a correspondence with him, though it appears to be very grudgingly on Knight's part. And the author flew from Montana to Maine to visit him in jail several times, despite Knight repeatedly demanding to be left alone. Once Knight was released from jail the author again flew out to see him, despite the family telling him to go away, despite Knight begging him to go away and leave him alone. It wasn't until Knight threatened to call the police did the author finally stop trying to contact him. To me, that's not journalism, that's the stalkery actions of a paparazzi.

The story did not make me hate it, and I finished the book, but I'm kinda glad I only borrowed the audio from the library rather than wasting a credit on audible. Not something I would generally recommend to others.

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baronessekat: (book)
The Invention of Everything ElseThe Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt

I gave it a shot. But when I found myself actively finding other things to do other than listening to this book, and when I did listen, I had to constantly rewind because I found my mind wandering, I realized it just wasn't going to happen.

Which is a shame, as it sounded interesting. Tesla and a friendship he had in the last bit of his life.

I can't say what it was that didn't draw me in, if it was the writing, the reading, the story, or just my frame of mind. But sometimes you just have to give up on something. And sadly , this was one of those times.

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