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Purposeful Perversity

Snoozing Snarkily

February 9th, 2014

Originally published at Enemy of Entropy. You can comment here or there.

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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January 26th, 2014

Originally published at Enemy of Entropy. You can comment here or there.

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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Originally published at Enemy of Entropy. You can comment here or there.

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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December 26th, 2013

Belated Windows 8 Review

Me smiling

Originally published at Enemy of Entropy. You can comment here or there.

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.

December 7th, 2013

Originally published at Enemy of Entropy. You can comment here or there.

A friend, Kather­ine Shec­ora, posted a link to an arti­cle on Dave Ramsay’s site about 20 Things the Rich Do Every Day along with her own excel­lent com­men­tary. I started to com­ment on her post, but my remarks got so long that Face­book wouldn’t let me post the com­ment. Then I was going to write my own Face­book post, but as I was doing it, I real­ize that it has been far too long since I posted any­thing to my own blog, and this would really be bet­ter here anyway.

Let me just say right up front that I’ve never liked Dave Ram­say. I think he’s a self-​​righteous ass­hat. I know that lots of peo­ple swear by him, but I think his meth­ods are too sim­plis­tic and dis­miss many of the bar­ri­ers to suc­cess that peo­ple who are truly poor or in abu­sive sit­u­a­tions have to deal with, not to men­tion those with chronic ill­nesses and other issues.

So — on with these sup­posed habits of the rich. I have some ques­tions Ramsay’s claims. Where did he get these fig­ures? What sort of method­ol­ogy was used? How many peo­ple were sur­veyed, by whom, and what are the cre­den­tials of the peo­ple doing the study? What is con­sid­ered “wealthy” and “poor” for the pur­poses of this study? Where is this study pub­lished? Is it peer-​​reviewed?

Ah — Ram­say got his infor­ma­tion from another “guru” mak­ing a liv­ing sell­ing advice on how to get rich, Tom Cor­ley. I didn’t find wher­ever it is that Cor­ley makes all the claims that Ram­say cites, but I found SOME of them, thanks to some­one else’s blog post. It’s pos­si­ble that the rest of the claims are in Corley’s book, and I’m cer­tainly not about to buy it to find out. Cor­ley talks about “sta­tis­ti­cal data” and says, ” I spent five years study­ing the daily habits of over 200 wealthy peo­ple and over 100 poor peo­ple. I tracked over 200 activ­i­ties that sep­a­rate the wealthy from the poor.” The study sup­pos­edly resulted in his book, Rich Habits — The Daily Suc­cess Habits of Wealthy Individuals.

So no, there’s no peer-​​reviewed data here. And he isn’t a sci­en­tist of any sort, nor does he have any train­ing in doing soci­o­log­i­cal research. He’s a CPA. He doesn’t give any infor­ma­tion that I could find on his method­ol­ogy or def­i­n­i­tions. Very sloppy. There were a total of approx­i­mately 300 peo­ple involved in the study, but it doesn’t say that they were all involved for five years — just that he was doing his “research” (I use that term loosely) for five years.

So, let’s get on with these habits that sup­pos­edly set the rich apart from the poor!

  1. “70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calo­ries per day. 97% of poor peo­ple eat more than 300 junk food calo­ries per day. 23% of wealthy gam­ble. 52% of poor peo­ple gam­ble.“
    How is “junk food” defined here? Con­ve­nience foods? Fast food? Any­thing other than the sort of organic, gluten-​​free, free range, non-​​GMO stuff you have to go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to buy for mucho dinero, then have the knowl­edge, resources, and time to pre­pare? (That’s assum­ing you can GET to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, since they aren’t in poor neigh­bor­hoods.) If you haven’t already done so, please go read Linda Tirado’s won­der­ful arti­cle, This Is Why Poor People’s Bad Deci­sions Make Per­fect Sense. And let’s be hon­est here — by “gam­bling” we’re talk­ing “buy­ing lot­tery tick­ets” right? The only peo­ple I know who buy those reg­u­larly are at least mid­dle class, but I don’t go around ask­ing peo­ple about their gam­bling habits, to be hon­est. The one per­son I know who had an online gam­bling addic­tion would have been upper mid­dle class. Poor peo­ple don’t usu­ally have com­put­ers and inter­net access, and there aren’t that many legal ways to gam­ble in most of the country.
  2. “80% of wealthy are focused on accom­plish­ing some sin­gle goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.“
    What con­sti­tutes a “sin­gle goal” here? Sur­vival, as Kather­ine pointed out? Get­ting your kids raised safely? How about keep­ing a roof over your head, or keep­ing your job so you can do that? I guess the only things that count as “goals” by these guys’ stan­dards are things like “make part­ner within X years” or “buy a vaca­tion home”?
  3. “76% of wealthy exer­cise aer­o­bi­cally four days a week. 23% of poor do this.“
    The truly “wealthy” don’t have to work, so of course they have time to do aer­o­bic exer­cise four times a week! They can afford per­sonal train­ers, too, not to men­tion gym mem­ber­ships. Far more of the “poor” have phys­i­cally demand­ing jobs, have to spend extra time get­ting to and from work because they don’t own their own vehi­cles, work more than one job, can’t afford ANY extra child­care in order to spend time at a gym IF they could afford a gym mem­ber­ship, and cer­tainly can’t afford per­sonal trainers!
  4. “63% of wealthy lis­ten to audio books dur­ing com­mute to work vs. 5% of poor peo­ple.“
    Audi­ble is great! But how many of the poor can afford audio­books? Bor­row them from the library, you say. Well, more and more library branches are being closed every­where — it isn’t as if libraries were the high­est pri­or­ity in most county bud­gets in the first place. Branches in poor areas are often closed first. Even when they aren’t closed out­right, their acqui­si­tion bud­gets are sliced to rib­bons. But let’s say our poor peo­ple are able to get access to a library that has audio­books avail­able. Okay, SOME of them have smart­phones on which they could lis­ten to audio­books, if the books are the right kind — I don’t know about your library, but mine has a lot more of the older books on CD than Over­drive audio­books that you can down­load to a smart­phone. If you don’t have your own car, you can’t lis­ten to those so eas­ily. If you don’t have your own com­puter and tech­ni­cal know-​​how, you can’t rip them for lis­ten­ing on your phone (of course, doing that is of ques­tion­able legal­ity any­way). That’s assum­ing you have a smart­phone or other mobile device on which you can lis­ten dur­ing a com­mute. Some peo­ple don’t have them, par­tic­u­larly poor people.
  5. “81% of wealthy main­tain a to-​​do list vs. 19% of poor.“
    I call bull­shit on this one. Seri­ously? I’m just not believ­ing it. To-​​do lists, gro­cery lists, chore lists, you name it — I know plenty of peo­ple who cer­tainly aren’t WEALTHY who make lists ALL the time. Does it only count if they’re on dead trees or something?
  6. “63% of wealthy par­ents make their chil­dren read two or more non-​​fiction books a month vs. 3% of poor.“
    See above regard­ing libraries. Also — HA! I want to see proof that these rich kids actu­ally READ two non-​​fiction books a month. Is this stuff actu­ally required by their pri­vate schools? I am a BIG fan of read­ing, and the encour­ag­ing thereof, but I don’t think any­body can effec­tively “make” kids read any­thing and have it do any good.
  7. “70% of wealthy par­ents make their chil­dren vol­un­teer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% of poor.“
    I’m call­ing bull­shit again. Was there any proof of this sup­posed vol­un­teer work? Was it time spent at church, or some sort of actual ser­vice to the com­mu­nity? I can tell you how I was spend­ing my hours — being forced to go to church every time the doors opened. Tak­ing care of sib­lings. House­work. Going to my own jobs (mul­ti­ple). How many of the rich kids have to work, or take care of younger sib­lings, or clean house?
  8. “80% of wealthy make Happy Birth­day calls vs. 11% of poor.“
    Birth­day calls, really? Did they count other forms of con­tact, or only phone calls — are those some­how mag­i­cal? Did any­body con­sider that some of the poor DON’T HAVE PHONES??? Or that they might need to use asyn­chro­nous com­mu­ni­ca­tion due to the dif­fi­cult of mak­ing con­tact due to their work schedules?
  9. “67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% of poor.“
    How can the wealthy write down their goals, mul­ti­ple, when item two says that 80% of them are work­ing towards a SINGLE goal? Does writ­ing a goal down invoke some kind of magic?
  10. “88% of wealthy read 30 min­utes or more each day for edu­ca­tion or career rea­sons vs. 2% of poor.“
    It’s a lot eas­ier to find time to read if you have leisure time in which to do it, and access to relevant/​interesting read­ing mate­r­ial! So we have the library/​money issue again, in addi­tion to the time issue. How many of those “wealthy” peo­ple are just spend­ing time online, any­way — are they actu­ally read­ing in a directed man­ner, or just surf­ing, like most peo­ple do? (Most of the poor don’t HAVE inter­net access.)
  11. “6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% of poor.“
    This is one of the things that make me say “HA!” I just don’t believe it was a ques­tion on a sur­vey. The wealth­i­est peo­ple I’ve known were VERY out­spo­ken! The poor­est were far more afraid to speak up! I think this item is sup­posed to imply that poor peo­ple are poor because they don’t know when to shut up, or when it’s appro­pri­ate to be out­spo­ken, or how to use tact.
  12. “79% of wealthy net­work five hours or more each month vs. 16% of poor.“
    Again, the wealthy have far more time to devote to such things than the poor do — and they are gen­er­ally in pro­fes­sions that ben­e­fit far more from doing so. If you’re doing menial work, net­work­ing doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. You don’t improve your work at the fast food joint by net­work­ing with other burger flip­pers or cashiers.
  13. “67% of wealthy watch one hour or less of TV every day vs. 23% of poor.“
    I bet they spend every bit as much or more screen time, though. The poor are just less likely to have com­put­ers and inter­net access.
  14. “6% of wealthy watch real­ity TV vs. 78% of poor.“
    The wealthy have access to a greater vari­ety of enter­tain­ment, so they aren’t stuck with the crap that’s broad­cast. What per­cent­age of what’s on broad­cast tele­vi­sion any more IS real­ity TV, any­way? The few times that I’m exposed to it, it all seems like real­ity shows. How much time are the wealthy spend­ing using smart­phones, tablets, com­put­ers, and other devices? How much time do they spend watch­ing other things on television?
  15. “44% of wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of poor.“
    How many jobs are the poor work­ing? How many hours of sleep are they actu­ally get­ting? Again, I refer to Linda Tirado’s arti­cle, in which she said, “Rest is a lux­ury for the rich.”
  16. “74% of wealthy teach good daily suc­cess habits to their chil­dren vs. 1% of poor.“
    What kind of “good daily suc­cess habits” are we talk­ing about here? How to make it to payday/​the end of the month when there isn’t enough to eat? How to fix all the things that don’t work in the crappy place you can afford to live in, because the land­lord sure as hell won’t do it? How to reduce your chances of being a vic­tim of crime in the shitty neigh­bor­hood you have to live in? How to read tran­sit maps and fig­ure out how to get to school/​work/​the store/​the clinic? How to take care of fam­ily mem­bers rang­ing in age from infancy to old age? How to do the bud­get dance to try to keep all the util­i­ties turned on?
  17. “84% of wealthy believe good habits cre­ate oppor­tu­nity luck vs. 4% of poor.“
    That isn’t even a sen­tence. I don’t know what they’re try­ing to say. They think their good habits cre­ated their opportunities/“luck” ? I think that in most cases, they inher­ited cap­i­tal, or at least got a solid start and good edu­ca­tion, that gave them those oppor­tu­ni­ties and “luck.” Yes, good habits can help — but nobody does it alone.
  18. “76% of wealthy believe bad habits cre­ate detri­men­tal luck vs. 9% of poor.“
    See above.
  19. “86% of wealthy believe in life­long edu­ca­tional self-​​improvement vs. 5% of poor.“
    How many of the poor had a decent edu­ca­tion to start with? How many of them were given any rea­son to think that edu­ca­tion had ANY value? How many of them have had any real oppor­tu­nity to get a good edu­ca­tion? How many edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties are avail­able to the poor? They cer­tainly have far less time than the wealthy do to spend in self-​​improvement, and a hell of a lot less money to spend on it.
  20. “86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% of poor.“
    I won­der how many of those poor are truly lit­er­ate? I won­der what we would see if we com­pared the schools in which they were edu­cated to the schools in which the wealthy were edu­cated? I know, per­son­ally, that you CAN get a decent edu­ca­tion in a shitty school — but you have to work at it harder, and you need SOME sort of sup­port, some­where. You also need some kind of encour­age­ment to develop a love of read­ing. You need access to read­ing mate­r­ial at some point. You do real­ize, don’t you, that some schools don’t have libraries — things that many peo­ple take for granted in their schools? (I attended one of them.) How are the kids in those schools sup­posed to develop a love of read­ing with NOTHING TO READ? I’m also won­der­ing how many of these peo­ple report that they “love to read” but haven’t actu­ally picked up a book for leisure read­ing in years, or couldn’t dis­cuss a book to save their lives (I find that’s often the case with peo­ple who claim that they “love to read”).

Over­all, NO. Just no. The entire thing reeks of self-​​righteous bull­shit, and a poorly-​​designed set of ques­tions that doesn’t prove any­thing other than that the per­son who came up with this stuff doesn’t under­stand a bloody thing about sci­ence or sta­tis­tics. But it cer­tainly gives the peo­ple who want to do so lots of excuses to sprain a mus­cle while pat­ting them­selves on the back.

September 28th, 2012

Originally published at Enemy of Entropy. You can comment here or there.

Bleeding Out (OSI, #5)Bleed­ing Out by Jes Bat­tis

My rat­ing: 2 of 5 stars

Woof, I made it. I wasn’t sure that I would, as this novel started out nor­mally and devolved into a stream-​​of-​​consciousness mess. I was seri­ously moti­vated to keep going, though, because I read the rest of the series and this is the last book in it.

So I pushed on through, got to a bit of light in the tun­nel, and then there was more muck. Really, Mr. Bat­tis — this is a pop­u­lar work! Or did you just feel like, “Hey, this is the end of my con­tract, I can do what­ever I want…” That’s the feel­ing I got, hon­estly. It doesn’t moti­vate me to pick up what­ever Bat­tis pub­lishes in the future.

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September 15th, 2012

Originally published at Enemy of Entropy. You can comment here or there.

Endgame (Sirantha Jax, #6)Endgame by Ann Aguirre

My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Endgame is the final book in the Sir­an­tha Jax series, accord­ing to Aguirre, and it def­i­nitely shows. Every­thing gets wrapped up very sat­is­fac­to­rily. Noth­ing new is intro­duced. Jax’s rela­tion­ships with March and Vel are both expanded in a delight­ful man­ner, and I love the way that works out. She also gets to develop a not-​​quite-​​motherly rela­tion­ship with Sasha, March’s adopted son.

The entire vol­ume takes place on Laheng, home of the Lahen­grin. We’ve only met the race through Loras so far in the series, but their story is touch­ing. This is Loras’ story as much as any­thing, the story of the fight to free the Lahen­grin from the Nicuans and from the need to be owned (or “pro­tected” as it is called). The action is bru­tal — Aguirre doesn’t hide the real­i­ties of war. She doesn’t dwell on it in an obscene man­ner, though, so the book is readable.

Read­ing the end­ing of a won­der­ful series is also bit­ter­sweet, but at least Aguirre has stated that she’ll revisit this uni­verse.

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September 13th, 2012

Originally published at Enemy of Entropy. You can comment here or there.

Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels World, #1)Gun­metal Magic by Ilona Andrews

My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

I’m fairly sure that I missed a Kate Daniels book, because I don’t recall some of the events referred to in this book. That annoys me, and I’ll have to go back and read what­ever the last one was out of order now. It’ll be worth it, though, because Ilona Andrews’ writ­ing is always fun. Gun­metal Magic is no exception.

This is the first novel to focus on Andrea Nash, Kate Daniels’ best friend. Exposed as a shapeshifter, she’s been kicked out of the Order. She had just cho­sen to obey orders from a supe­rior offi­cer instead of fight­ing with the Pack, which led to a breakup with her lover Raphael. Now she has to rebuild her life from a shat­tered ruin.

Andrea is a fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter, abused repeat­edly in her ter­ri­ble child­hood and raised to be ashamed of and hide her shapeshift­ing nature. Her rela­tion­ship with Raphael is informed by their bouda nature, but her human side isn’t left out by any means.

I par­tic­u­larly enjoy the part that Atlanta plays in Andrews’ books, but as a near-​​native Atlanta I’m bound to be biased in that respect.

This vol­ume and the bonus novella “Magic Gifts” are def­i­nitely worth­while read­ing for any fan of the Kate Daniels series.

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September 11th, 2012

Originally published at Enemy of Entropy. You can comment here or there.

In Session: Dr. Morgan Snow with Steve Berry"s Cotton Malone, Lee Child"s Jack Reacher & Barry Eisler"s John RainIn Ses­sion: Dr. Mor­gan Snow with Steve Berry’s Cot­ton Mal­one, Lee Child’s Jack Reacher & Barry Eisler’s John Rain by M.J. Rose

My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve never read any­thing by any of these authors before, so my per­spec­tive on this piece is prob­a­bly going to be skewed com­pared to that of most readers/​listeners. How­ever, it was free on Audi­ble briefly and looked inter­est­ing, so I added it to my library. I hap­pened to be in the car a long time today and this is what I had down­loaded on my iPad, so this is one of the things that I lis­tened to.

I found all three sto­ries to be very engag­ing, and found myself inter­ested in read­ing more about each char­ac­ter involved in the sto­ries. What fas­ci­nated me the most, though, was Rose’s account of how the sto­ries were writ­ten — the dif­fer­ent ways the authors chose to work with her, how she pre­pared to write from the point of view of other authors’ very well-​​known heroes, and so on. I would rec­om­mend this to any­one inter­ested in writ­ing as a cre­ative endeavor for that por­tion in particular.

The fact that the nar­ra­tors who nor­mally per­form the voices of each char­ac­ter in their own series appeared in this per­for­mance adds an addi­tional touch of pro­fes­sion­al­ism to the record­ing, as well.

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Originally published at Enemy of Entropy. You can comment here or there.

Forever Werewolf: Forever Werewolf\Moon KissedFor­ever Were­wolf: For­ever Werewolf\Moon Kissed by Michele Hauf

My rat­ing: 1 of 5 stars

Full dis­clo­sure: I was given a copy of this book to review. I’m glad I didn’t buy it. I imag­ine I might have been harsher.

In For­ever Were­wolf, Tryst is just deliv­er­ing a pack­age to Wulf­siege on behalf of his father’s secu­rity com­pany when he gets trapped there by an avalanche. He doesn’t mind, though, because the recip­i­ent of that pack­age has a lus­cious daugh­ter, Lexi.

Female were­wolves are rare, and those few are pro­tected like the pre­cious trea­sures they are. Even though Tryst wasn’t brought up in a pack, he knows that much. He also knows there’s some­thing very strange about the fact that Lexi isn’t claimed by any of the males in the pack — in fact, they seem to give her a wide berth. She’s obvi­ously highly intel­li­gent and com­pe­tent, and she’s beau­ti­ful. She’s far more allur­ing to him than her spoiled, pam­pered princess sis­ter could ever be.

Lexi is fas­ci­nated by Tryst, despite being warned away from the half-​​blooded wolf by her ail­ing father. He seems inter­ested in her, as well, but she fears that’s only because he doesn’t know her crip­pling secret: she hasn’t ever shifted. A were­wolf who can’t shift can’t mate, so she’s use­less in the eyes of the pack.

Tryst is warned away from Lexi by her father, head of the pack, as well, but he can’t seem to stay away from her. She’s like no other woman, were­wolf or mor­tal, he’s ever encoun­tered. What is it that draws them to each other? Is it worth risk­ing their lives for?

It was obvi­ous to me from the first pages of the book that Tryst and Lexi would get together, and that it would cost Tryst many bruises and much grief. The bad guy was all too obvi­ous, as well — if the aver­age reader can’t iden­tify him in the first men­tion, I’ll be shocked. (Per­haps I should be more spe­cific and say “expe­ri­enced romance reader” instead.)

As for Moon Kissed, it was so for­get­table that I’d have to look up the main male’s name. The female was Bella, some­thing I only recall due to bad mem­o­ries of Twi­light. Oh, wait, the male was Severo! Right then. Severo saves Bella from vam­pires who chase her, while fright­en­ing the hell out of her him­self, grop­ing her, and offer­ing absolutely no expla­na­tions of the strange new real­i­ties her world is sud­denly encompassing.

After that event, Bella learns that her best friend Seth’s new girl­friend is a vam­pire, some­thing Seth just hadn’t quite got­ten around to men­tion­ing. Seth explains that Severo (whose name she doesn’t yet know) is prob­a­bly a were­wolf, from her descrip­tion of him and his actions. Severo has, in the mean­time, started stalk­ing Bella to pro­tect her from the vam­pires he’s sure will con­tinue to hunt her (for rea­sons unknown to him when he starts on this plan of action). After see­ing Seth with vam­pire Evie, with whom Severo has his­tory, Severo real­izes that Evie prob­a­bly sicced the vam­pires on Bella due to jealousy.

One of the many, many things that both­ered me about this book is that Bella is sup­pos­edly a web designer, but she never seems to work. She cer­tainly doesn’t have a lap­top, which would be de rigeur, and she lives in a ridicu­lously upscale place (an apart­ment with its very own heated pool?) for some­one in that pro­fes­sion. She can afford a lot of dance lessons, too — but her real source of income or cap­i­tal is never explained. Appar­ently Hauf was just look­ing for a pro­fes­sion that could be “done any­where” and some­one sug­gested “web designer” so she grabbed that and ran with it.

Of course, Severo is also sup­posed to “do some­thing with real estate” — how believ­able is that as a char­ac­ter detail? I guess we’re sup­posed to just accept that he’s rich, can spend his time as he pleases, and let every­thing else go with­out ques­tion. How is it that he has a Brownie for a house­keeper? What’s the rela­tion­ship between Faery and were­wolves and vam­pires? Who knows?

The story does not get more believ­able as it goes on. Of course Bella falls in love with her stalker and trusts him com­pletely. There are evil vam­pires. There’s one good vam­pire, just to show that they aren’t uni­formly bad. But you can tell where Severo and Bella’s rela­tion­ship is going in the ear­li­est scenes, and that’s the most impor­tant part of the book, because it’s a romance. There are com­pli­ca­tions but they’ll be over­come, or it wouldn’t be a romance.

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