No, No, No, You Can’t Make a Columnar List of Book Reviews–What? But…

Book ReviewsIt should have been simple–believe me–I tried. But strangely, my simple WordPress freebie won’t accept a columnar list. I’ve been posting reviews on this blog from the time I opened it (well, almost). Let’s just say, there’s a lot of reviews out there. I wanted to list my book reviews with a link to the original review post. Was that so difficult? Apparently so because nothing I tried worked.

Frustrated woman at computerNot tables, not columns. Can’t do tabs. An excel file wouldn’t work. Nope. Nadda. Nyet. So I gave up and shot a note off to the “happiness engineers” at WordPress. Used to be I could catch them in a live chat. Not any more. Now it takes up to several days, depending on the day of the week and the question I guess.

The reply I got from Jerry was that it is possible, but not in the visual editor. I’d have to switch to the HTML view. However, he cautioned me, it might look okay on a desktop computer but wonky on a cell phone. Yeah, thinking I read where most posts are read on mobile devices, I elected to forget the columns.

Several more interchanges with Jerry the Happiness Engineer who still exhibited patience, but now has simplified his instructions for me. (Thank you, Jerry, I needed that.)

Next…

Getting bored with the same old theme I’ve now had several years. Changed to new theme, new look (did you notice?), same old problems.

Good ole Jerry suggested using “category,” which may be construed a page(?), and add it as a tab in my menu at the top right of my blog. hmmm….much easier to see.

Thinking I originally wanted to divide the reviews by years, and this is already May of 2017, It’s probably a little late for the old tab–but perhaps a new tab for “Reviews 2017” would work. While it is not a listing per se as it displays the complete review for each–at least they would be on a (albeit LONG) page. These are in last reviewed order; not alphabetical, as are categories. So, it took some doing for this old dog, but I think I have it displayed in my top, primary, menu and that all the links work. I’m sure you’ll tell me if they don’t!

Reviews 2017 are still listed in the categories, as well as the original Review category, but I’ve gone through them in a grand sweep and once again owe you a mia culpa as you’ve gotten some notifications that I changed a post–nope–just the category. Some changes triggered a notification and some didn’t, but unfortunately a half-dozen notifications went out and my profuse apologies for spamming you! (And obviously, I changed many more than that.)

WP Categories & TagsIn my free WordPress 2016 theme, I can have lots of categories (top-level or parent), as well as sub-categories (child). My categories are listed under “Ship’s Chart” keeping that whole sailing, boating feel. (Grandpa was a captain on a tall ship.) I don’t use that many categories and thinking there’s a few I could eliminate in a general WP blog clean-up. However, that is a subject for a whole nother blog post.

A category is assigned to default if I haven’t assigned one, but I see if I elect to do a reblog I’m not given the option as it immediately publishes in the “default” category–“Publisher’s Comments.” I’d prefer to be given the option to introduce and comment on the original blogger.

It’s Spring Cleaning time! Have you considered some general clean-up or struggled with some blog changes lately? I’d love to hear about those as well as a consensus of mobile devices. Do you read your blog posts on your device? ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Telemachus – a Book Review

Telemachus by Peter GrayTitle: Telemachus by Peter Gray

Genre: Currently #5269 in Best Seller’s Rank in Kindle Store for Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publication Date:  February 2016

Telemachus – Cover – The Red Bird of Prey Becomes Obvious

Telemachus by Peter Gray presents a gripping and emotional tale using the POV from migrating birds. It quickly becomes powerful and profound in its simplicity. Continue reading “Telemachus – a Book Review”

My Hate-Love Relationship with Historical Fiction

Shannon A Thompson

I love historical fiction. In fact, I’m currently binge reading, watching, and writing it right now. But I have a beef with it. (Does anyone even say that anymore? No? Oh, well.) If you’re curious, I’m reading Stalking Jack the Ripper, watching Reign, and writing a book set in the ancient world. Very different time periods, but all can easily fall into my hate-love with the genre.

So what is my issue with the genre?

My biggest pet peeve with historical fiction is when I look up the factual story and the factual story is MORE—more fascinating, bizarre, fun, gory, symbolic, or anything MORE.

Let’s look at a few examples:

In the movie The Revenant with Leonardo Dicaprio, Hugh Glass fights his way back from the wilderness to enact bloody revenge on the two who left him to die. In real life? He actually tracked down the two men…

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Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1 – a Book Review

Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1Title: Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1

Genre: Currently #1947 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Humor & Entertainment, Humor

Publisher: Runamok Books

Publication Date: February 2017

Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1 – Cover–Where is the Jackass?

This little book is not a novel–no–it’s a collection of letters. (Bathroom reader?)

Is nothing sacred? Apparently not in Christopher L Jorgensen’s world and he’s quick to prove it in his “Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1.” The book is a collection of letters composed by the author to most everyone you can think of, from corporate heads, to heads of state, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury, London and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Italy. Continue reading “Jackass Letters: Archive Volume 1 – a Book Review”

Jubilee-The Heist to Erase Debt – a Book Review

Jubilee-The Heist to Erase DebtTitle: Jubilee – The Heist to Erase Debt by Joseph Preacher

Genre: Currently #1922 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime, Heist

Publisher: JKP

Publication Date:  July 2016

Jubilee-The Heist to Erase Debt – The cover doesn’t adequately convey the subject. However, the title is explained within the book.

This is a debut novel by Joseph Preacher who obviously has some background in code or spent some time in research to examine and explain the technical computer aspects of this book.

Aiming at the soft underbelly of the financial world built on societal debt, these five young friends each with their own tech expertise, score a direct hit. “‘How much debt do you have?’…’You are not a loan!'”

Four guys and the sister of one share their resources and the general lack of enthusiasm for the 9 to 5 routine to reap millions through exciting, well planned and executed cyber attacks. Most are childhood friends who have taken Reggie under their wing utilizing his amazing techno geek powers to hack into even the most sophisticated, multi-layered platform of security systems.

They’ve been having some fun, hitting some ATM’s as well as other financial sources, but matters turn decidedly serious when the protagonist, Roman Hawker, sophisticated braineac and leader of the group, loses his father to suicide in a medical financial fiasco due to the protracted illness of his mother.

The debt created was an insurmountable obstacle that his father deemed no longer worth the fight. Roman is devastated (as well he should be–spoiled brat), and accepts some of the responsibility, but vows to avenge his father and find some way of relieving the burdens of others with the same kind of intractable debt experienced by his father.

The group holds a noble discussion of the far-reaching ramifications of the relief of the world’s crushing debt problems. They collectively but reluctantly agree with Roman that it is a project worth the effort.

The female protagonist has a quiet thing for Roman, but feels he thinks of her as his buddy’s little sister–not a romantic interest–which is not true but smolders on the back burner.

Most of the characters are fleshed out very well, and it doesn’t take long before you hope these bad good guys can actually pull it off. Dialogue is intelligent and natural–the scenes are set very descriptively. It’s nice to be a fly on the wall.

So far, the group has been able to get in and get out, thinking they have left nothing traceable. They are practiced and coordinate like a well-oiled machine–each doing their job. They have, however, caught the attention of the FBI and behind them the quiet but corrupt secret and deadly governmental agency, who will stop at nothing to stop them. Stealing millions of dollars will get you noticed!

It is fascinating to sit on the shoulder of Reggie, studying the monitor, punching keys, and discussing computerese with Roman. It won’t make me capable of pulling any kind of caper very soon, but is fun to read whether or not you have to suspend some disbelief.

The action begins immediately and the thrilling crime, techno-cyber ride doesn’t slow. What a delightful concept to contemplate! I’d LOVE to wake up and discover I no longer had any medical bills! Wouldn’t you? And with all the cyber hacking going on around us–maybe not so unrealistic!

Bullseye!I was given a copy of this book for an honest review. There are a few edit errors. These should not alter your enjoyment of the book overall. I can recommend to anyone who has ever booted up a computer and considered the possibilities.

Joseph PreacherRosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars

The Author: Joseph Preacher loves writing thought-provoking fiction. He presents a global perspective to his stories as well as a twist in every plot. He is a former Marine and corporate finance guy.  ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

The Chicago Manual of Style and Other Style Guides for Editors and Writers

Library BooksThe Chicago Manual of Style and Other Style Guides for Editors and Writers

I love my readers! And with few exceptions, the authors with whom I work, read, rate, and/or review. So it was, recently, that one of my authors loved his review and advised I should submit it to The Bloomsbury Review for possible publication in their magazine. He was very complimentary and assured me the review met their qualifications. That led to the review website and printout of their (four-page) submission guideline.  Part of the “Style” instructions includes reference to use of The Chicago Manual of Style. Continue reading “The Chicago Manual of Style and Other Style Guides for Editors and Writers”

Of Ashes and Dust – a Book Review

Of Ashes and Dust by Marc GrahamTitle: Of Ashes and Dust by Marc Graham

Genre: Currently #54444 in Best Seller’s Rank in Books, Literature & Fiction, Literary (Historical)

Publisher: Five Star Publishing

Publication Date:  March 2017

Of Ashes and Dust – Cover conveys roughly the subject of the second half of the book.

In this debut novel by Marc Graham, he has created a heart-rending, soul-searching story of a man reflecting on his life as it literally ebbs away.

Of Ashes and Dust follows James (JD, or Jade) Robbins as the son of a poor sharecropper, more comfortable with the Negro slaves in the fields of Arkansas in 1846 than that of his close, but upper class landowners.

Growing into his teen years, he falls hopelessly in love with the daughter of the owner of the land on which his family works, and gives his heart and soul to her, pledging his undying devotion until they are split by the Civil War. He is forced to leave his family and his love, finally changing from a beautiful, passionate young man into a world weary, combat wounded veteran. The emotionally charged descriptions of the Civil War battles stab at the heart and cries with the protagonist, until he is finally mustered out to heal and rejoin his love. But things have tragically changed back home as well.

Graham poignantly paints a deeply ravaged person mourning the loss of his soul mate to another, reducing the reader to helpless tears.

Seeking to leave that grief behind, Jim Robbins finds work and leaves the state with his buddy Dave to join the railroad expansion effort toward the west. He and Dave continue their work toward the Pacific after they successfully join the rails at Promontory Point.

The author provides rich descriptive detail of the struggle laying the rail west with unerring historical accuracy, the interaction and tragedy of confronting native peoples, and the immigrant Chinese working the railroad; human lives deemed expendable. It is out west that Robbins eventually finds another love with whom he believes he can share a mutual passion and life philosophy, but it seems that Robbins is again to be denied an enduring love. Dave forces him to go on and together they sail for Australia to help complete railroad construction there.

The characters are fleshed out so well, you ache to have them somehow survive–where is my “happy ever after?” Jim Robbins is immensely empathetic. The dialogue is so natural; the author might have taken it from civil war reports or newspaper accounts along the way.

This story grabs you by the collar from the beginning, and inexorably builds upon itself until, while you know what is going to happen, don’t know exactly how until the end…and then it’s soul crushing. Sometimes you read a book that stays with you after “the End.” This is one of those.

Bullseye!I was given the book in exchange for an honest review. It is packed with intense sensitivity, love, power, loss, regret, and triumph. Recommended for anyone interested in a book that won’t let you go.

Marc Graham - authorRosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars

The Author: Marc Graham is an “actor, singer, bard, engineer, Freemason, and whisky aficionado.” If he is not actively hiking the Colorado’s Front Range with his wife and dog, he is either on his computer or on the stage. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

There is a Difference Between 5 Stars on Amazon vs Goodreads

Goodreads vs Amazon StarsI don’t understand it. And, I don’t know if there is anything afoot to change it, but as I’m sure you’ve no doubt noticed if you’ve ever moused over the stars on Amazon and Goodreads–there is a difference in the star ratings between the two. Are you one who thinks the star rating is equivalent to personal perception? Or have you read and understood the star definitions of both? I’ve run up against this before, debating what to do; set my star ratings the same on both websites–or change to more closely indicate my objective opinion on each. Continue reading “There is a Difference Between 5 Stars on Amazon vs Goodreads”

Cutesy Animal Picture Overload on Freaky Friday Features

I love cutesy animal pictures and have been known to post them before; especially dog pictures. Increased our walk!

Well, dog and horse pictures. Spider!

But then these two came across the internet and I couldn’t resist downloading them to post for my Freaky Friday Feature this week. It’s Friday! Another work week is over. It’s time to relax and have chips, chuckle, and a drinkypoo drinkie-poo. Blinking lion

Okay, the lion isn’t really a kitty, but if you have a really cute one of your favorite feline, I promise equal time. Send it to me and I’ll post! I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!