Wisdom of MY Words

Random Musings & Book Reviews

01 August

23 Steps Inn Review

I booked this B&B after a thorough internet research. There was only one TripAdvisor review but the website presented good reviews. I booked for Tues 12 July and Weds 13 July 2016. The photos do not represent the Hennessy Room and the website did not mention that there are no blinds in that bedroom, so I woke up with the chickens around 455AM.

But I couldn’t get to sleep the night before because it was freezing in the room and at 11PM when I was shivering with the spare blanket from the futon loving wrapped around me by Jon, he turned on the heat. Jon turned on the heat in the room because we knocked on the owners door

We were unable to turn off or down the Air Conditioning. The AC could ONLY be controlled by Lynnea and Ted. The owners told us to knock on their door with issues, but they did not answer! So my husband put on the heat because it was FRIGID in the room.

As you can see the curtains are set up in such a way that not only do you not get any dark, but you also don’t get any significant daylight! The room was dim and both my husband and I had work to do, which we were unable to do because this room is established incorrectly. The curtains have ONE side clip for you to put them on the side, but they are not on both windows. There should be four (4) clasps, but there are only two (2) as shown, to pull aside the drapes. This reno was clearly done by an incompetent moron.

The Hennessy Room did not have silverware, water glasses, napkins or paper towels, no tissues to blow your nose, no nightlight in the cavernous glaringly white bathroom.

The shower was long (~15 feet) and tiled, and unmanageable for me without handicap bars (and I’m not handicapped).

The Gray Dog Deli website states that they serve dinner Tuesday nights but close at 4PM. Contradictory and confusing. When we arrived at 430PM on Tues 13 July 2016, Ted told us that no place was open for dinner.

The WI Health Department should go to that B&B because they don’t have blinds. In Minnesota, where I live, it is illegal to have a bedroom or sleeping room that does not have blinds.

I would like a refund of my charges, and I would like to make sure that the B&B is operating legally so that other tourists don’t get hoodwinked like we did.

09 May

Muslim Girl By Umm Zakiyyah

I’ve read several of Umm Zakiyyah’s novels, and I respect her writing. I’ve written reviews for each of her books, that were on pay sites. She dumbs down her subject matter for a young audience. That’s an amazing capability to have, and a good one to wield as a young adult novelist. Yet I have to be honest and say that every time I read a book of hers I feel like there’s, HONEST TO G-D, subliminal messaging, like that old SNL skit. I read Umm Zakiyyah’s books and I feel filthy. Just dirty. Islam and the patriarchal system that runs it makes me ill. MuslimGirlBook

As a woman not raised in Islam, I can no longer read Zakiyyah’s books because the control over women by men oozes off the pages. This says a lot about the author. If she can make my skin crawl because I see the level of control men have over women, and women over girls, in Islam, she not only describes Inaya’s conservative Islam in her attitude, and behaviour, but she demonstrates the fury that exists between men and women in Islam.

But moving from Saudi Arabia to America with an uninterested stepfather, Inaya experiences bigotry in a DC tri-state area school. A school administrator assumed that because Inaya is religious she must be Christian. That hatred is the same hatred that pits Muslim against Jew. It’s the kind of hatred that is supposed to be eradicated in public schools.

It’s a good book, and Zakiyyah is a good writer. I can only hope that at some point she notices how patriarchal her religion is and can foment social change because her writing could reach millions, and before more of her sisters die from FGM, which is endorsed by the Qu’ran.

15 February

Scott Wood Needs Hate Mail

I am trying to sell Jack’s iPhone on eBay, as we’ve sold the Mini Me’s old iPhone and mine. Jack had a company phone, but quit his job and I persuaded him, after months of nagging, to get an iPhone 5s. He then gave his 4s to the Mini Me for a month.

The Power button doesn’t work. This happened with one of our two year old 4s phones, and I disclosed it on eBay and it sold for $300. A guy from Colorado won the auction this week. His name is Scott Wood and he lives in Colorado. He has been sending me inappropriate messages through the eBay interface. Rude. Vulgar. Swearing. Insulting. He called me a cunt. A cunt. It dates him. Unless he’s British, which I highly doubt as his vocabulary and punctuation puts him at the low end of the totem pole.

Po Box 630287
Highlands Ranch, CO 80163
United States
(303) 683-3709

15 February

Guilty Wives by James Patterson

I have never put down a Patterson book, Guilty Wives is way different. I love his stories, particularly The Women’s Mystery Murder Club series. It starts with the outrageous situation with incredibly wealthy wives on vacation fornicating with strangers and drinking far more heavily than I’ve ever managed. (And I have had an hangover or two.) GuiltyWivesBookBut then the women are in a French prison, accused of killing the French president, and subjected to all kinds of torments. It’s clearly S&M based. I suspect the problem is the male co-author who has his own fantasies about women. They aren’t mine! I’d truly encourage Mr. Patterson to get back on track with good, intriguing stories. Not Mr. Ellis’s view of womanhood.

This story is told in flashback – four women go to Monte Carlo for a “girls weekend” – a weekend that leads to a sentence in a French prison. Why? What happened? What the women do not know is that their husbands have followed them to Monte Carlo and are watching them as they enjoy the city and all it has to offer.

The story of their weekend unfolds – they gamble, enjoy the beach and dine in the finest restaurants. They dance and drink and drink and drink.

It is clear they are not innocents – but are they guilty and of what?

The first twenty three chapters do make you want to know what happened, how it happened and who made it happen….

Four lovely women go on a vacation to a luxurious spot in Monte Carlo. They feel ready to be pampered as they each come from marriages where the spark of love is missing.

After enjoying the festivities, the women meet a number of men and continue their partying on a wealthy man’s yacht.

They are unaware that their husbands had followed them and have their own plan to rid themselves of their unfaithful wives.

The women also didn’t know that one of the men they were with was an influential politician in disguise.

The action explodes when gunman attack the yacht and kill a number of the men.

I can tell that James Patterson and David Ellis worked hard to help the reader visualize both Monte Carlo and France but there is such thing as TOO MUCH description and this entire book is a clear example of that. On the plus sides for this book, it was a great suspense read but it dragged on FOREVER and didn’t really pick up until you were about 70% into it.

15 February

Get a Clue to Competency IMDB

No, no, no, and seriously wtf? If you’re going to write a review, especially on a highly-trafficked site as IMDB and you write: “After graduating college, Piper moved to New York and was cast in a short film called Single Spaced (1997).” No one EVER graduates college you dumb cunt Aurelia.

Covert Affairs Description

Why doesn’t IMDB let people edit previous posts that have bad grammar?

20 January

Stones: Data (Stones #1) by Jacob Whaler

I get numerous emails weekly asking me to read a book, and I used to download free Kindle books daily that I found on Twitter; so I’m not sure which of those things I did to find Stones by Jacob Whaler, but I’m glad I did. In Colorado, while skiing, teenager Matt Newmark finds a stone that changes his life when he is 22, after not letting him die at age 16. The year is after 2151, and people rarely go outside any more, there are Freedom Camps that want to rise against the establishment, Matt, a Japanese American and his girlfriend Jessica, who believes in Jesus, which is frowned upon in this decade. Then there is Kent Newmark, a lawyer who investigates corporate malfeasance, a Japanese history professor, a Shinto priest, and at the top of the food chain, a Polish Auschwitz survivor, Dr. Ryzaard, whose greed for power and control rivals Hitler’s. Ryzaard will do anything to get Matt’s newly acquired stone, even kill.

Descriptions were rich and layered, but my Kindle said it would take me 14 hours to read the book. I panicked! My Kindle is now two years old, and it readjusts based on my reading speed, but still, 14 hours? It readjusted at 12% to 8 hours and that’s pretty much, give or take, how long it took me to read this 550 page book. I was intrigued! Stones: Data (Stones #1) had all the hallmarks of an amazing book: Love. Technology. Freedom. Power. Compliance. Individuality. Religion. Autonomy. Corruption. Control. Government. History. The Stones.


Besides the jax, and transports from DIA to Japan in six hours, it really didn’t seem like the future at all! Shinto gates every where. Japan in trade agreements with China and a hatred of America. The Bible out-dated. It could be a warped 2014! I liked the quotes from Art of War and the infusion of Japanese words. The level of corporate corruption was believable, but Ryzaard, well, I didn’t understand why he was so power-hungry. He wanted to make a world full of sheeple, which is exactly what Hitler wanted, and he had lived over 200 years and didn’t know that what he wanted was a bad idea. That seemed a little far-fetched. I had a hard time reconciling the fact that the SS killed his father, mother and sister; but Ryzaard was still OK with murder. He felt that murder benefitted him. He either was mentally ill or completely deluded. He was horrifically corrupt.

I also didn’t understand the shape of a woman and her saying We Are the Allehonen. Was Whaler implying that the shape of a woman means creation? I thought for all the time the book wasted on details that didn’t matter, they could have spent a little time on the Shinto priest explaining Allehonen better!

Kent is still grieving for his dead wife 12 years after the fact, which seems depressing and a bit unrealistic, he’s also a control freak about his son Matt. But Kent’s adventure cross-country from Colorado to New York City, traveling through the Freedom Camps, stealth and cloak modes for Matt’s and his jax, surveillance equipment and tricks of detection, and Kent unknowingly being followed by The Children. Unfortunately, while I lied Kent and all I got bored and started skipping all of his sections except for a cursory read to make sure I knew what was going on with his character. All of the elements built a marvelous plot that kept me steam-rolling through the book dying to know what happened next.

While it was an amazing book, my pet peeve was that the book was too voluminous! It was crazy long! This brilliant thriller was slowed down by descriptions, numerous POVs, and mundane scenes that were repetitive. Close to the end of the book the plot soared! Unfortunately it happened so close to the denouement of the book that the reader couldn’t enjoy that great writing at the end!

Sadly the ending was ridiculous. Boring. Matt & Jess going of in to the figurative sunset, looking up at the starry sky and holding hands, kissing. They are together on Matt’s world. Ryzaard is alive, the Shinto priest is dead; and Matt will worry about Ryzaard destroying the world later. I would have preferred an analysis of what him and Jessica went through at the hands of the monomaniac and his minions.

@krautgrrl says that this a great book, suitable for 14 year olds and above. Don’t be bothered that you may skip a lot of pages, if it doesn’t hurt the plot for you, don’t worry about it. The book did get long, so it’s OK to stop, put it down and take a break, or skip pages. Enjoy! And look for me on the web and more of my reviews on Amazon.

15 January
Comments Off on Berserk by Tim Lebbon

Berserk by Tim Lebbon

As a teen I loved these sorts of horror books, in the basement of used bookstores or in my mother’s bedroom, hidden from me with Harold Robbins and the frustrated woman porn books. The ones I liked for horror were Stephen King, John Saul, or Bentley Little.

I have no memory of any of them now, just bits and pieces that infiltrate my dreams. This is one of those books I would have found in a bookstore and snatched up because a) creepy cover, b) vampyres, and c) it’s British! On top of that, who the hell has heard of Tim Lebbon? Is that a nom de guerre? I had to do Lebbon and this scary ass girl on the cover a favor and buy the book. It cost one dollar plus tax for the paperback. Cheap!

I’m a horror book and movie aficionado. Now that I had cancer and can’t seem to do much, and network TV, as droll as it is, was off the air due the Christmas holidays, I read this book.

It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever read, but it’s also certainly not the best. The pub. The over-heard conversation about Steven. Steven’s parents go on holiday, to someone in England. They are from Wales. A mass grave is unearthed while Steven’s body is searched for, and a girl is found alive amongst all the dead. Obviously she’s a Vampyre. She doesn’t like that term. She calls herself a Berserker.

There are some nice, creepy moments, but overall I found it just to be an okay read. It’s very British on occasion, like when the farmer thinks that Cole is Bond! That was hysterical! I did really like the scene where Cole has the pseudo-hallucinations about the dead woman. That was very emotional and disturbing, yet also sexual. The descriptions were hot. Her black panties. Her white muscular thigh.

I liked Cole, but he needed more life flushed in to him. He was loads better than most bad guys who are doing good, but he needed to be three-dimensional, instead of just two, as he was like Flat Stanley.

That being said, I read the whole thing because I kept hoping I would catch a glimpse of the London or Wales I know and love. I kept reading even though I was bored, the writing a bit bland and very predictable, because I wanted some landmarks I knew to show up in the book. They didn’t, which I suppose ultimately made me sad. I did find it odd how much they were driving though. It seemed they were going to Cornwall and started in someplace like Wick and drove about 16 hours, which means they saw an awful lot of Scotland, but Lebbon never mentions Scotland at all.

@krautgrrl (on Twitter, and the web) says: it’s a fast enough read, so if you’re into this sort of thing, it’s worth a quick read.

21 October

The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb

Besides the tedium of reading independently published books to see what the landscape is like, since I reside in the frozen hinterland of Minnesota, I also read MN-based authors to see the landscape. Webb is a MN-based author, so I picked up the book.

Hallie James/Halcyon Crane picks up and leaves Seattle/Puget Sound for Grand Manitou Island, an island much like any other island in the US situated in the waters of Lake Superior. Now, as a gal who grew up with Lake Michigan shimmering it’s grey-blue glassy water on an overcast day, viewed from her dormer window, I have never understood the fans of Lake Superior. That being said Crane is so grandiose and naive that her character became quite grating.

No one ever moves to an isolated small island town and is automatically befriended (except perhaps by a gentleman who wants to get in her knickers.) Moving to small isolated, inbred towns is what makes horror stories and movies great. It is also what creates despondency in new residents. They aren’t welcomed!

Minneapolis, that big city down from Duluth that can’t support a Neiman-Marcus, happens to be just as icy. If you are not an indigenous Minnesotan, you are not welcomed. Minnesotans go away for college and come back to their high school friends and extended family. New comers, even those of us who come here for University, are unwelcomed.

Crane believes she’s owed explanations from the residents of this insular island because she moved there after her father died, and after being notified that she was left millions and a gorgeous mansion by her renowned-photographer mother.

There are malevolent ghosts, there is a weird guy who runs the coffee shop, and a local lawyer, who is in charge of her mother’s estate. The attorney and Crane dine together, taking a carriage to dinner, since no cars are allowed on the island (oh! That sounds like Mackinac to me!) Then, suddenly they are in love!

Most of the Crane story is told by a witch, Iris, who had to be over 105 years old. I liked the book overall, I just thought there were major flaws in Crane’s personality. She just isn’t believable. My daughter went to Duluth for college last year and could not stop telling me how much she absolutely despised Duluth. The weather, the cold rude people, the complete abandonment of anything close to society, the abundance of snow and trees and nothing to do but drink because it was so bloody awful there. She’s a MN girl, my daughter, and she only made friends with people from St. Paul and some Twin Cities suburban kids, she made no friends from Duluth or other rural towns; she said they were all ass-backwards and closed down. That made me laugh, and made me pick up this book.

I honestly WANT to like Webb and her writing, but I can’t get there. We tweeted and she’s one of those women who thinks her perspective on everything, especially Minnesota, is right and there is no room for any one else’s opinion. Her tweet to me also said “casserole,” which is NOT a Minnesota word, these people call it a “hot dish.” The whole concept of hot dish has eluded me for years until I did some research.

The annoying book, “How to Talk Minnesotan,” states, “A traditional main course, hot dish is cooked and served hot in a single baking dish and commonly appears at family reunions and church suppers.” In short, a hot dish is a casserole, and the name is purely Minnesotan.

The origins of the casserole/hot dish are shady. Wikipedia says it evolved from budget farmers needing to feed their large Midwestern families. Another theory is that it originated from the Norwegian word “varmrett”, meaning “warm dish”. Both make sense, as there are both a lot of farmers and a lot of Norwegians in this region. In turn, casserole comes from the French word for “saucepan”, in reference to the baking dish.

Minnesota is mostly Scando, not much French, so as someone who is French (and a fluent speaker), I’m going with the whole Scando thing.

But, I digress. The Tale of Halcyon Crane was an easy read, but don’t be surprised if you find the book hard to swallow, like a starchy, tator-tot hot dish.

04 September

A Game of Proof by Tim Vicary

This book is actually called, A Game of Proof (The Trials of Sarah Newby 1). I found this book on Twitter. There are some good Indie authors, and some not so good. Vicary falls in to the good category. Sarah Newby is an attorney in the British legal system, and she has worked hard to get that position. She had two children young, Simon, at only 16, and lived in awful counsel housing. When she finished her A-Levels, she realized she loved academia, and continued studying. She re-married and had a second child, but continued to go for a law degree. She wanted her children to grow up different from herself. Her Simon is my Simon. A red-haired little terror who ends up being charged with the rape and murder of his girlfriend Jasmine. After meeting with different counsel while on remand, Simon begs his mum to plead his case as his defense attorney. She reluctantly agrees.

Ironically, Sarah believes all those days studying where for the benefit of the children; but they don’t see it like that; they resent her for never being available, for always studying or working. Her husband Bob is also angry that she works so much. While her motives are pure, it’s understandable that her children are resentful.

The novel is fast-paced and Sarah’s perspective is interspersed with the omnipotent narrator who shows the Police aspect of cases, and their views of defense lawyers. When the jury leave, after Simon’s trial, for deliberation, everything hangs in the balance for Sarah as well as Simon. In tandem, a woman is killed and she says her killer stated he killed Simon’s girlfriend, but the Judge will not change the course of the trial. He wants the jury to come back. If Simon is found guilty, he would go to Prison for three or four years and then be able to able the murder conviction if someone else is caught, if he’s found not guilty, he can walk free.

The reader is on tenter hooks, looking in to Sarah’s head and hearing her believe the jury is against her and her son. The last 10% of the book cleans up everything that happened for the first 90% and it is well done.

This is a must read for people who like thrillers. But don’t be surprised that the British legal system is almost identical to America’s (albeit they wear wigs and robes!) It’s not mentioned, but of course the Brits don’t have the United States Constitution, so they can’t “Plead the Fifth,” or any of that sort of stuff that Americans can, as an FYI.

29 August

The First Day of 8th Grade

This is how the past 24 hours have gone. Besides two small sojourns this summer; one for lax camp at University of St. Thomas and an AYM trip to the Dells my 13-year-old has been home, all summer. My 18-year-old daughter was home for a little over half of it and foul at that, until she realized it best to move on and out, which she did, with not much great aplomb. I have gone on several trips but most of my days have been consumed with feeding said teen boy.

This was a typical day: Wake up. Read. Remember that I should be writing that book. Write. Tweet. Read some more. Use a lot of toilet paper. Son wakes up at an ungodly hour after noon. Make him an appropriate breakfast, lunch or brunch meal. Clean up meal. Tweet. Read Twitter. Read Kindle. Ingest some pills. Nap (or just lay about in bed and read.) Get out of bed. Make my son another meal. Sometimes clean up all the way, sometimes half-way and sometimes not at all. Later, in the evening, realize, after more reading and most likely starting my second book for the day, that I should clean up, because now I have to cook ANOTHER meal.

Yesterday my son went back to school. They are out of uniform because it is “too hot for a uniform”? However, the kids are expected to wear appropriate attire. This is a Catholic School, so good-Sunday clothes, is what I think of. That means, no short-shorts, no short skirts, no lycra, no tank tops (or lax penneys), no BB shorts where your naughty bits sort of stick out of the fabric, so basically my son is stuck wearing something non-uniform that looks uniform, plaid or striped shorts and a cute polo. This is understandably WAY TOO HOT for school. He came home drenched yesterday after school. A sheen of sweat dribbling from his face. It’s summer. In Minnesota. Why should I sweat? We are close to Canada after all. The complaining about the clothes began. It didn’t end, except when he was plugged in to MineCraft.

An email was sent to parents from the Middle School Coordinator telling all us parents what a great job we did not dressing our kids inappropriately on the first day of school. We are parents for G-ds sake, we do know how to dress our children, thank you for noticing. While he was at school I finished all four of my remaining Game of Thrones. The Starks, the Lannisters, Oh my! Every time I watch something geeky like this I realize I really should nag the husband to go to ComiCon, but he thinks we’d be pronouncing our geekiness to the world. Well, yes, that is true, but isn’t that the point?!

After my son arrived home he watched the beginning of The Descent with me and I tweeted. Then I thought about high schools. Thinking about high schools made me think of Heike, so I Googled her and the bitch stole my husband’s ideas! Her blog, which she hasn’t touched in a year, is called “BecauseAnneSaidSo,” which is pretty damn close to what the husband used to name her computer directories, “BecauseHeikeSaidSo.” One idea stolen. I read a blog post. A van down by the river? The husband says that ALL THE TIME. We used to compare their house to a van down by the river owned by her husband (which she says!) and then she mentions a missing kidney, which was a constant refrain when Simon was in high school because of Charlie and Candy Mountain. Now Charlie is 22, or 23, and has a kid, out in California.

By this time it was time for me to make my teenager another meal. The first one was chicken wings with homemade honey mustard dipping sauce. The second was grilled cheese. I have yet this morning to go round-up plates from his sister’s old bedroom and his room and start dishwashers and, most likely, the washer. You might ask why I am not working? I’m writing a book! Don’t you read?

So after my visible agitation that Heike stole my husband’s ideas and he should sue her, said in jest, of course, I had to debate with my son what to wear today. He wanted to wear poly basketball shorts. I said No. About 10 times. I said No because his junk sticks out and that would not be good-Sunday clothes. I convinced him to wear a different pair of striped shorts and his pink polo. There was a 15-minute debate last night about the polo being too hot, and 95F with a dew-point of 74% is hot, and somehow a lax tee would be less hot, but not good-Sunday, which I suppose is arbitrary, but still, I’m the parent.

This morning he was wearing the pink polo and he looked so preppy and cute, I wanted to eat him up. He was slow. I said, Come on Whitney, it’s time to fly! He responded with something else, and I sadly have to admit that my son doesn’t know who Whitney Houston was, but he knows the Beatles. Riddle me that! I certainly hope we get another cheery email that tells us what a great job we are doing dressing our children in non-hoodlum or slut wear today.

The highlight of my day is the fact that Douglas Wickard’s new book, A Perfect Setup. Thank G-d for Twitter.