My Big Word Migration of 2021

I am weird with technology.

In some ways, I am fairly modern. I have a smartphone, stream TV shows, can use TikTok and all of my calendar is online.

In other ways … I am ridiculous.

I have been using Office XP for almost 20 years. Why? The biggest reason was because I had it, and it worked. Every time I’d get a new computer, I’d install it and it would function. Even after Word 2007 when docx became the file norm, I just installed the free Compatibility Pack and kept on using Office XP.

I think there was some reluctance to learn something new by upgrading, which is so ironic since I love learning. But upgrading software for me has always been difficult, especially in regards to writing and creating. I become obsessively dedicated to software. I used Netscape 3.0 until it wouldn’t open most websites.

But, as of late, the Compatibility Pack no longer seems to work, and I can’t open docx with little Word 2002 anymore. I had to go online and use the free version of Word in order to open the files, and I figured it was about time I upgraded my almost 20 year old writing software.

OH MY GOD WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO!?

So that was my first reaction to Office 365. I considered LibreOffice, but friends offered codes on their accounts for 365, so I took them up on it, since I have no idea how Word plays with LibreOffice, and with published books to deal with, I couldn’t justify the risk. I may try and play around with it in the future, since I do love open source software.

After spending some time with Word 365, there were benefits.

  • The subscription model ensures you are automatically updating, and therefore not using 20 year old software.
  • Dictation and Read Aloud features are great for writers.
  • Collaboration is easier.
  • You can back up into the cloud and get 1TB of One Drive space.
  • Docx is a smaller file size.
  • Quick Access Tab is helpful.
  • Built-in Print to PDF, but limited in function (no embedding fonts etc. I still use doPDF for that).
  • When you open a document it asks if you want to go back to where you left off, and it takes you there. So helpful for giant novels with hundreds of pages.
  • I can actually open docx files!

But there were also negatives I discovered pretty much immediately.

  • The Ribbon is huge. The Ribbon is ugly. Things were very inaccessible and hard to find. So much clicking to get places!
  • Text and fonts looked different. Not bad, just … different.
  • Doc to Docx conversion not only shrunk file size (yay!), but actual pages (huh?). I lost 1-2 pages in each book, despite the margins, fonts, spacing, etc. all being the same. It’s a mystery I need to solve. (Might be related to the fonts looking different?)
  • Zoom doesn’t remember the zoom preference per document. It always goes back to last used setting, which is obnoxious since Word 2002 remembered it per document. Why take a step backwards?
  • I reordered things on the Home portion of the Ribbon. It didn’t remember it and changed it back to default constantly. Custom stuff I added stayed, so no idea what’s going on there.
  • The Backstage area is cluttered and it takes so many clicks to find what you want. You can’t have it open to Folders instead of Documents.

I was literally close to tears with how much I hated it … which is why I never upgrade my software. But, thanks to my Google skills, I’ve managed to make Word look a bit more familiar and work better for me thus averting a full meltdown over software. Here are a few tips, if you, like me, are traumatized by the huge leap in upgrade difference.

  1. Use the Quick Access Toolbar instead of the Ribbon.
    The Ribbon is big. The Ribbon is ugly. I customized the Ribbon and it kept resetting itself. Until I found a tip online from some else that seemed to enjoy the compact layout of Word 2002 as much as I did. By customizing the Quick Access Toolbar to add the commands I use most (Bold, Italic, alignments, spacing, word count etc) and hiding the Ribbon, I managed to make it look like this:

    Word 365 header
    I moved the Quick Access Toolbar to below the Ribbon, and it looks very similar to olden Word. So much prettier.
  2. Turn off Backstage.
    One of the biggest turnoffs was what happened when I went to open a file. It would take me back to a start page of sorts, where I’d have to press Folders, then find the folder and search through it for the file to open. Took forever. This area, the start page, is called Backstage. It’s stupid.
    Turn it off under File – Options – Save and then check mark to turn off backstage for file open and save. This will pop up an old-school Open File dialog that is so much faster for finding things.

    This is Backstage. I found it useless and annoying.
  3. Change the way Word opens.
    Word default opens to the Backstage area. I found this highly annoying. In Options, I changed the behaviour to have Word open directly to a new document. Much faster. Go to File – Options – General and under Startup Options uncheck Show the Start screen. Now you get a nice, blank page to start with, perfect if you’re a writer and you need to start writing, stat. If you want to try out a template or something else, just click File and you’re in Backstage. Much nicer.

These simple three things made me much more comfortable with Word 365. I’m still stressing out, but at least there’s a minimum comfort level now. My big issue was how to convert 500+ files.

I downloaded a program called Total Doc Converter to convert my files. It was a free trial, and you have to continually click a button to keep converting unless you pay to upgrade, but since I was using it once for these files it was a small price to pay. The downside was any file with custom margins got changed back to standard, so I did those ones (my book files mostly) myself by opening them in Word 365 and using Save As and choosing docx. This maintained the margins. I also used Total Excel Converter for converting my Excel files (because I forgot new Word meant new Excel. I wasn’t ready for all of this lol).

I am still trying to figure out what has changed to shrink my book files by about 1-2 pages each. Nothing in the margins, font spacing or line spacing seems to be different. It happened with the converter and when I did it myself. I’m wondering if it’s purely a screen rendering issue, as the fonts look slightly different as well. I plan to print out some test pages to get a closer look, but if anyone knows what’s going on (did they change the default line spacing or letter spacing perhaps?) let me know. I have a ton of books I may need to overhaul after this switchover.

June 2021 Reads

I’m on track to read more than the 52 books I’ve set out to read in the year.

Fiction

Loveless (Alice Oseman)
Set at a UK college, we follow Georgia Warr, who is sorting out her sexuality while rooming with a sexually free girl her best friend Pip is crushing on. This was a wonderful book with a great message about asexuality, finding who you are, navigating relationships and the fact that platonic love can be as important as any other kind of love. The UK setting and university environment was great, and I loved all of the characters.

Moxie (Jennifer Mathieu)
Viv creates an anonymous feminist zine at her football crazed Texas high school to fight back against sexism and a multitude of unfair practices. Despite being set in present day, this book manages to bring back so much nostalgia for me of the early to mid 90s. Viv’s mom was a Riot Grrrl and Viv takes her inspiration from old zines from the 90s her mom has kept. I loved this book, and I can’t wait for Mathieu’s next one, a feminist reimagining of The Outsiders, due out in October. Moxie was made into a Netflix movie, and I thought it was a good adaptation, despite a few changes that were made.

Non Fiction

The Mammoth Book of Jack The Ripper (Edited by Maxim Jakubowski and Nathan Braund)
This is a really dense book. Small print and close to 500 pages. It gives an overview of the facts of the case, then many, many takes from other authors and “Ripperologists”. In the end … I honestly don’t care who Jack the Ripper was and it seems pointless to conjecture, so I was bored getting through this.

How to Write a Series (Sara Rosett)
A guide about writing series novels. I picked this up in hopes I could sort out future projects and how the structure of different types of series might fit what I’m planning. I learned a few things I didn’t know about different series types, and some general questions to get me started about planning future series.

Romance Your Brand: Building a Marketable Genre Series (Zoe York)
This was a great overview of putting together a lasting series. The information applies to a series of any genre, but there is a definite lean towards romance. There are lots of exercises to get you thinking about what type of series you want to write, how to maintain it and what will carry you through. As an added bonus, York is Canadian, which appealed to me as a Canadian writer.

Twins Talk: What Twins Tell Us About Person, Self, and Society (Dona Lee Davis)
I had high hopes for this book assuming it was going to be an interview/spotlight on sets of twins and hearing from them how they feel about identity etc. It’s more of an academic paper, and unfortunately the author spent more time talking about other studies and how their study would actually talk to twins, but there was actually very little from the twin sets they interviewed, which was really disappointing. I would rather have had full on interviews and that’s in. 70% of the book is analysis that was really hard to get through.

Embroidery: A Step-by-Step Guide to More Than 200 Stitches (Lucinda Ganderton)
This book was a Christmas gift so I could learn a bit about embroidery. I cross stitch and I’ve done crewel embroidery. It showed a ton of stitches, but I realized after reading and trying that I really, really can’t learn from photos. I need video to get the exact motion, because my brain loses something if it can’t see every step.

The Life of Twins: Insights From Over 120 Twins, Friends and Family (K&E Twinning Store)
I was a bit reluctant to read this, only because the authors’ seemed to want to hide their identity behind a business, which felt weird to me, especially since they feature so many named twins inside the book. But, this book did have a lot more of the personal story vibe I was going for in the previous twin book I read, I just wish it was more in depth than a one or two line quote here and there.

Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High Altitude Mountaineer (Anatoli Boukreev)
Boukreev wrote journals after his various climbs – Everest, Makalu, K2 and more. All of those diaries are preserved here. The book was completed after his death in 1997, and translated from Russian. Because he wrote it in his native language, his personality and beliefs really shine through in a way that helps to expand other books (focusing on the 1996 Everest disaster). The world lost a great mountaineer when he died. I really enjoyed this. The Sovietness of his upbringing and the change the collapse had on him really informed so much of his outlook on the mountains and climbing.

Current Progress:

36/52 – I’m ahead of schedule in my reading. According to Goodreads I’ve read just over 10,000 pages so far this year. Last year my page count was 18K but over 96 books (many of them plays).

May 2021 Reads

At the first of the month I was ahead 4 books and reading a lot more. Nice weather helps.

Fiction

You Should See Me In A Crown (Leah Johnson)
Liz Lighty is a high school senior in the Midwest, whose dreams of attending a prestigious college are in jeopardy when she doesn’t get a scholarship she was counting on. The solution? Win the prize money for being elected Prom Queen at her prom obsessed high school. A F/F romance, anxiety attacks, a great group of friends, and Liz’s experiences being a black girl at her predominantly white school all come together during the competition. I loved the little observances and feelings about her being the “other” at her school, as well as a F/F romance treated so normally.

Tailspin (Sandra Brown)
A cargo pilot crashes while taking a mysterious package to a destination during heavy fog. When he and the recipient meet up, they’re soon followed, and the pilot discovers he’s hauling more than he bargained for. I found this book interesting for the flight stuff. It’s a romance and a thriller, but I wasn’t completely engaged with it.

Roadside Crosses (Kathryn Dance, #2) (Jeffery Deaver)
The second novel of the Kathryn Dance series picks up shortly after the events in book 1. I enjoyed the book more than the first in some ways, mostly because so many of the players were already familiar to me, so it didn’t feel very crowded like the first book did. The primary case is of roadside memorials being left before people are attacked, and how it relates to a local blog that may be prompting the killer to target people.

The Broken Window (Lincoln Rhyme, #8) (Jeffery Deaver)
Another Lincoln Rhyme book that kept me guessing until the end. I also enjoyed that this one is carrying on a bit from the previous book, and Lincoln has a nemesis to worry about. Overall, I enjoy these books so much because of the characters and the intricate plotting.

Non Fiction

Everest The Cruel Way (Joe Tasker)
This book tells the story of the 1981 British expedition to climb the West Ridge of Everest in the winter without oxygen. It was interesting from the perspective of an early climbing expedition without all of the modern technology and extras people have today. Tasker died a year after this expedition on the Northeast Ridge of Everest.

Everest: Alone at the Summit (Stephen Venables)
This recounts the Everest 88 expedition to climb the Kangshung Face of Everest. It was an interesting look at a part of the mountain I didn’t know very much about, and definitely has more of a climbing vibe than other books.

Current Progress:

26/52 – I’m way behind last year, but I’m also not reading Shakespeare which is why I had such a huge number of reads last year. I’m still ahead of schedule. I’m half way through the challenge and not the year, so everything’s on schedule.

April 2021 Reads

I was one book ahead at the end of March. Reading was a bit slow despite all the time I had. I’m finding it hard to concentrate at the moment.

Fiction

The Sleeping Doll (Kathryn Dance, #1) (Jeffery Deaver)
I really went back and forth on this book. I enjoyed Kathryn Dance’s character when she was introduced in the Lincoln Rhyme book The Cold Moon. I found there to be too many characters, especially law enforcement, and too much life outside of the case. But some of the secondary characters (the cult victims) I really enjoyed their interactions and stories.

Smokescreen (Eve Duncan, #25) (Iris Johansen)
I keep reading this series even though it annoys and frustrates me. At least this time the bad guy was a woman, which is at least a change. But, as always, the baddie is a sex crazed loon. I’m really tired of that trope. The baddie is always controlling and sex crazed abusive. Always. And every character is egotistical, bullish, uber-independent to the point of stupidity and controlling beyond belief. I can’t think of anyone who’d want to actually spend time with people like this. I have one more in this series that I got as a gift, and after that I think I’m out.

The Persuasion (Eve Duncan, #26) (Iris Johansen)
Yep, I’m out. It’s another sex-crazed lunatic. It’s more characters being total hypocrites (I can look after and do everything myself!/How dare you think you can do this alone?). Ugh. I found myself skimming so much of it because they grate on me so badly. I almost want to go back and read the first few in the series to see if they were always like this and it took me time to get annoyed with it, or if it actually developed into this.

Non Fiction

Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest’s Most Controversial Season (Nick Heil)
During the initial pandemic, I read a lot of books about the 1996 Everest season, so it’s only fitting that a year later, during more pandemic, that I dip into the 2006 season. Heil’s book is a great overview of the different groups and the deaths that took place during the 2006 season on the North side of Everest. I was really unfamiliar with the North side, so it was nice to learn more about the climbing from that side.

Dead Lucky (Lincoln Hall)
Part of the 2006 North side Everest season, Hall was declared dead after summiting Everest, when he developed cerebral edema and could not be helped down the mountain. A day later, climbers going for the summit came across a relatively lucid Lincoln Hall and a huge rescue operation was undertaken. In Hall’s own words, this book covers the climbing season and his extraordinary tale of survival. I really enjoyed this one. Hall is a great writer, and reconstructing his delirious moments on Everest could not have been easy.

The Other Side of Everest (Matt Dickinson)
Still on the North side, but now we go back to 1996. The storm that killed so many on the South side (covered in many other books, see May 2020 for some reviews) is told from the point of view of climbers on the North side in this book. Dickinson didn’t climb during the storm, and this book is more about actually climbing Everest than the events of 1996. I think this book does the best job of illustrating how awful being at altitude is physically and how horrible climbing Everest is.

Legs on Everest: The Full Story of His Most Remarkable Adventure Yet (Mark Inglis)
Back to 2006 North side of Everest and here we follow climber and double leg amputee Mark Inglis. He first recounts his time climbing Cho Oyu, and then climbing the North route of Everest in the 2006 year that Nick Heil also wrote about. This book is written in a diary/conversational style. There’s not a lot of analysis on what the climb is, but more personal experience with a focus on him climbing as an amputee. Inglis’s climb took place during Lincoln Hall’s Everest experience and Nick Heil’s climb, so they are all intertwined – very different experiences of the same time period.

Current Progress:

20/52 – I’m way behind last year, but I’m also not reading Shakespeare which is why I had such a huge number of reads last year. I’m still ahead of schedule.

March 2021 Reads

At the start of the month I was about 2 books ahead of pace and now I’m just one ahead, but I blame that on a very dense non-fic book this month that took a lot of time to get through. I’m much slower than last year, but I read a lot of short Shakespeare last year so I probably won’t be on the same pace this year.

Fiction

Crashing Heat (Richard Castle aka Tom Straw)
This is, I believe, the last book released by TV character Richard Castle – in reality, writer Tom Straw who was contracted to write as Richard Castle during the run of the TV series Castle. The meta commentary is always funny in these books, but the stories are also very engaging. Heat and Rook investigate the death of a college newspaper reporter, and Rook is the prime suspect. Clearing his name sends Heat and Rook into the world of secret societies.

Expedition to the Frozen Lake (Chuck Tingle)
Yes, I have dipped my toe into the Tingleverse. Tingle writes “tinglers”, his own special brand of erotic fiction, along with other books. This is one of them, a “select your own timeline” novel that is not erotic/romantic in nature (Tingle has something for everyone). I honestly marvelled at the construction of the book – the amount of planning so that every storyline converges and has a proper ending must be crazy and I appreciate it from a writer standpoint in so many ways. As a reader, just as you’ve accepted the fact this book features a talking bigfoot named Noro Bibble, a machete-wielding sentient apple and a ghostly woman living at the bottom of the lake, the author hits you with a universal truth on loss, love, and life. People may think Chuck Tingle is writing these books as a joke, but it’s impossible to think that once you read one. His writing is a joyful acceptance of everything different in the world, and it’s sorely needed right now.

The Cold Moon (Lincoln Rhyme, #7) (Jeffery Deaver)
I was so happy to jump back into this world. Lincoln Rhyme is still Morgan Freeman in my head, and Amelia Sachs is still Riann Steele and Dellray is still … Sammy Davis Jr (I KNOW! It’s my imagination and it’s crazy, deal with it). Each book is so good, and I don’t want to spoil this one, but every time you think the case is done it spins you in a new direction and converges things that you completely forgot about. This book also introduces the character of Kathryn Dance, who figures in another series by Deaver. I was worried at first because I hadn’t read any Dance books, but discovered this was her first appearance, so next up I’m going to read the first book in that series, The Sleeping Doll.

Non Fiction

Cults In Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace (Margaret Thaler Singer)
I picked this book up out of a local Little Free Library as I had a germ of an idea for a cult-based thriller. It’s a very dense book that explains the definitions, techniques and recovery of cult members. I wish it had had case studies of specific cults (breaking down what type they are, their history, what happened to/with them etc) and maybe studies of specific people who got out, but it was mostly general information.

Current Read Count – 13/52 (I’m one book ahead of schedule)

February 2021 Reads

I had a really tough reading month in January and only got through 3 books. Here’s hoping for a better February.

Fiction

Covenant (Potomac University, #2) (Rashid Darden)
This is the follow up to Lazarus, Darden’s debut novel. It follows on Adrian and his relationship with star basketball player Isaiah and Isaiah’s reluctance to be fully out and sever ties with his girlfriend.

Push Girl (Chelsie Hill & Jessica Love)
This YA novel is about Kara, a dancer and high school student who is in a car accident that renders her paraplegic. I liked the book, but I really wish it had gone deeper. I felt like a lot was missing in terms of physical recovery and so on. But it was an YA book, so a lot of the focus was on her friends, boyfriend, school etc.

Non Fiction

Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City’s Hidden History (Eve Lazarus)
This book focuses on a lot of historical Vancouver places and buildings, their history and what became of them. There’s lots of great photos and I learned a lot about places and people I never knew about before. My dad also contributed to one of the sections in the book.

Mistakes to Run With (Yasuko Thanh)
This memoir is one of those books that makes a writer feel like they aren’t good with words and don’t have the life experience to write anything worthwhile. For real though, the poetic way Thanh recounts her life as a teenage runaway and prostitute in Victoria and Vancouver, her struggles with mental illness and her life as a writer shows why she’s won numerous writing awards.

All God’s Children (Rene Denfeld)
Denfeld is also a fiction author (I have a couple of her books in my TBR pile), but this book is non fiction about the formation and nature of ‘street families’ – connective groups formed by youth living on the streets. It deals with the violent nature of particular families in the Portland area in the early ’90s to 2000s. I really enjoyed this – an episode of ER dealt with the fantastical side of it in an episode years ago, and I liked learning more about it from a sociological point of view. It covers an extremely sad case of a young woman with disabilities, Jessica Kate Williams, and how she was turned against for violating “code” and murdered by her street family. The quotes and interview bits from the murderers is particularly disturbing. Overall, this was a great book.

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 9/52 I’m finally on pace! 

January 2021 Reads

New year, new Goodreads challenge. I’ve set my goal at 52 again (1 book per week).

Fiction  

Archangel Fallen (Spectre, #3) (C.W. Lemoine)
Book 3 in the Spectre series, it begins where the last book ended. We follow Cal as he’s pursued by the police and government and trying to uncover why members of his team are being killed. This book doesn’t have a cliffhanger ending, although it does lead into the next book. I’m a little military thriller worn out now, so I found it a good place to pause this series for now.

Lazarus (Potomac University, #1) (Rashid Darden)
This book is a re-read for me, as Darden is hosting a book club to read his works. This is the first book we’re tackling. It follows Adrian, a sophomore at Potomac who is navigating his life as a black gay man on a predominantly white campus. His involvement with a Greek organization is a primary plot point and how it affects his relationship with poet Savion.

Non Fiction

Solutions and Other Problems (Allie Brosh)
I really wish I liked this book more because I loved her previous one. Some stories were hilarious (Richard, Becky and her sister), but most fell flat. I always felt that recounting her childhood was the best of her work. The present day or recent present stuff felt forced, and considering the personal issues Brosh was suffering from (health problems, depression, the suicide of her sister), it makes sense that they didn’t have the same hilarity and joy as her previous work.

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 3/52

I’m behind by two books so far.

 

Sin City series free in Kindle Unlimited

If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can now read the Sin City series for free.

Sin City (Sin City, #1)
This link should direct you to the proper Amazon link for your country.

The Dead Woman (Sin City, #2)

Bayou Bound (Sin City, #3)

You can also read Tilt (Sin City, #1.5) for free.

If you’d like to read Piece of Work (Sin City, #0.5), a short prequel, visit the Freebies page. And if you’re in the mood for a Christmas short, Neon and Tinsel (Sin City, #2.5) is only 99 cents on all platforms.

The Sin City series takes place in 1960s Las Vegas. Tim Kelly is a petty criminal with a chip on his shoulder, and Ruby Gordon is new in town and intrigued by him. Jake Wheeler is determined to ruin everything.

2020 Roundup

So 2020 was a sucky year for all.

For my writing, it was a so-so year. First, I have to thank everyone who bought my books. I had a great year of sales after the initial pandemic slow down, and that alone kept me motivated when I wasn’t. Thank you so much for your reviews and comments as well. I appreciate it so much.

For me, writing took a backseat the past year. Not because of the pandemic, but because of personal health problems. I was diagnosed with both myalgic encephalomyelitis and fibromyalgia this year. It had been years of searching for answers, doctors appointments, medical tests etc. To finally have answers was great, even if those answers sucked (and quite honestly I still struggle with the ME/CFS diagnosis, because that one precludes me from ever donating blood again).

One of the biggest symptoms of fibro is brain fog. I experienceit enough that it made writing difficult. I also experienced a lot of pain and fatigue. Although things haven’t changed much in the symptom arena, I’m better at managing it, so I’m hoping I can get back to a regular schedule.

I did manage to do most of the editing for Book 1 of my YA series. I say most because as I edit Book 2 I think of little changes for Book 1. But I’m at a place where the major and minor storylines are set and it’s just tiny corrections/mentions at this point.

So 2021 is focused on finishing the edit of Book 2 and moving on to continue to write Book 3, which is about 50K at this point. I also have set a goal to plot a bunch of new novels, whatever comes into my head. I’d love to get back to Sin City, but I’ve hit a plotting wall in terms of trying to get from Point A to Point B but needing to come up with a solution that makes that happen.

The Sin City series is now available for Kindle Unlimited. If you have a subscription you can read for free!

I also have the goal of reading 52 books again this year. I have made mini goals to read all of Jane Austen and as much Sherlock Holmes as possible.

So here’s to a better 2021!

 

December 2020 Reads

I’m up to 91 books as of November. On we go …

Fiction  

In A Holidaze (Christina Lauren)
I wanted something for the holidays and saw this on the bestseller list and took the plunge. I say that because I don’t usually read romance (usually my romance is part of another genre like mystery/thriller etc).  Mae is reliving the same Christmas holiday over and over until she figures out what makes her happy – and she thinks it’s her family friend Andrew. I really enjoyed the emotion in this. I think what turns me off romance is the “tie it all up happy ending epilogue”. I am weirdly not a fan of that for some reason, which may explain my romance aversion. But I did enjoy the story, the characters and the romance in this book. Definitely pick it up for a holiday read. 

Spectre Rising (Spectre, #1) (C.W. Lemoine)
I’ve been a fan of C.W. “Mover” Lemoine’s YouTube Channel for a long time – I’m a huge F-16 nerd, and he flew them for the Air Force. This novel focuses on Cal “Spectre” Martin, a former F-16 pilot, who investigates when his F-16 pilot fiancée goes missing on a routine training mission. He stumbles on an international conspiracy that threatens national security. The flying sections are my favourite – his real-life expertise comes through beautifully. I’m not usually a military thriller/espionage reader, but I enjoyed the plot and the characters.

Pascal (Dark Nation, #3.2) (Rashid Darden)
This is a short story in the Dark Nation series and connects to Children of Fury. We meet the antagonist, Pascal, as a six-year-old boy and see how he is developing after his, uh, unique start in life.

Avoid. Negotiate. Kill. (Spectre, #2) (C.W. Lemoine)
This is book 2 in the Spectre series. I enjoyed it more than book 1, despite less F-16 lol. I think it’s because the story continued and deepened in intrigue. Be aware, this isn’t a book to read if you hate endings that continue on, as this book leads directly into book 3. I really enjoy Lemoine’s way of bringing Cal’s flying into each novel despite him not being active duty military. There’s a lot of use of flashback dreams which explain past missions and influence Spectre’s feelings on what’s currently happening. I’m looking forward to seeing how this entire series comes to an end with this particular storyline.

Non Fiction

Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook (Helen Sedwick)
I came across this book by chance. It’s directed to Americans, so that alone meant much didn’t apply to me. In the end, most of this information was stuff I already knew because I’ve been self publishing so long. I’d recommend it to Americans new to self publishing.

Everything You Need To Know About Birds (D.K. Publishing)
I thought this book was going to be one of those guides to different bird species, but it was more about bird facts and directed toward younger readers and was only 80 pages. The pictures were nice and the book was fine, but just not what I was looking for.

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 97/52

So far this is the best year I’ve ever had for reading. I was hoping to make it to 100, but I didn’t get a lot of reading done over Christmas. I blame that on House and Bones marathons.