A History of ….. Journaling

I WAS going to title this post “A History of Violence” where I detailed my mis-spent youth kneecapping old ladies for protection money but since that Illegitimate Rat Aragorn already made a movie by that name I figured the self appointed guardians of all things legal, or goons, would knee cap me. So better safe than sorry. Also,  this mention about said movie is in no ways an endorsement of it. It is a “real” violence filled movie [as opposed to John Wick] and I found it extremely disturbing.

Last year I posted about my Book Recording and the journey that has been and continues to be. Today I want to talk about journaling and the various kinds of journals that I’ve used over the years. I love this kind of thing to be honest and is probably the closest I’ll ever come to being all arts&craftsy.

I started my journaling back in middle grade. I’d scribble in an 8 1/2 x11 spiral notebook for a couple of pages, then tear them out a week or 2 later, throw them out and not write again for months. It never even occurred to me to write in something more permanent. Of course, I suspect most of my writings was about girls anyway, so no big loss 🙂

However, when I began attending Bible School in the fall of ’97,  I began writing every evening in this little guy:

j1Little 4×5 inch notebook. I ended up writing in 5 of these suckers


j2Corn and potatoes. I was well on my way to a Pulitzer, even back then!



After awhile, I felt my needs increasing and I moved up the Classy Scale a step. Not a lot, but I was definitely upwardly mobile.

j3You think I’m obsessed about journals, you should see some of the entries I made about various pens I try and what works and what doesn’t. And that hasn’t stopped. I just did an entry in my latest journal about 4 months ago about the joys of using the Pilot G2 premium gel roller fine tip pens.


Then I graduated in 2000 and life got real. I had a job, a car, I was renting a place of my own, I made my first proposal. After that it was time to start expressing my inner torment and utter pain in a journal that meant business. I wanted something that would last the ages and remind me in years to come just how much suffering and anguish I had gone through. Yeah, I was that guy.

j4Pure black, like the pain and misery deep within my soul. Sense a theme yet? 😀


Oberon Design to the rescue! I’ve used that cover for 4 of the black blanks and it is still as good condition as when I bought it back in ’05 or ’06.

j5But a journal looks even cooler and more soul’y when it has a real leather removable, re-usable cover on it.


Then I met Mrs Bookstooge [well, she wasn’t Mrs Bookstooge at the time, obviously!] and once I’d filled up my latest tome of despair, I quit journaling for almost 5 years. But getting married makes one a hostage to fate and once again life hit me in the nads and I had to write. But I was beyond black, I wanted something to express how mystical and above the common man my thoughts were.

j6There are CLASPS! and lots of shiny lines! The “Common Man” does not write in such a tome as this.


Nowadays I write in something that opens, and stays open [VERY important when writing while sitting in a pew], and will look cool on my shelf.

j7The text on the flap is “Arthur Conan Doyle”.  No clasps, but the flap makes it easier to write in in public.


j8My journaling now is usually a gigantic bitch session, where I vent on paper so I don’t vent in public. Names of jerks and super-jerks blurred for reasons. I AM that grumpy old guy, whooo!


What does the future hold? Well, I’m glad you asked  *grin*  I am currently writing in this small leather journal as a medical journal, keeping track of my blood sugars, food eaten, insulin taken, with times and amounts. It’s a lot of detail but it is what I have to do to keep my diabetes under control. I like the tie, but sadly Barnes&Noble only has it in 5×7 [which is pictured] and nothing larger. If you know of a nice leather, tie down journal that is in the 7×10 or preferably 8×11 range, please let me know in the comments. Lined or unlined doesn’t matter.

j8 (1)This leather one travels with me everywhere now.  And it has its own G2 roller gel pen *wink*


And there you have it. More information about Bookstooge and Journaling than you ever wanted, thought possible or even knew existed. Remember folks, I am a Dichotomy [make sure you say “dichotomy” in an appropriately sepulchral tone of voice]. I use a machete or a pen with equal ease and familiarity.  Except for when I’m tired, then I’m just a problem.


The Christmas Bowl (Eyeshield 21 #32) ★★★★☆

christmasbowl (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Christmas Bowl
Series: Eyeshield 21 #32
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Scan



The special training happens and all the other top players from the defeated team help the Devil Bats train so they can beat the Alexandres, who have won the Christmas Bowl ever since it started. Of course, Agon, that paragon of evil who I’d throw under a bus, doesn’t honor his agreement and goes to the Alexandres. What a bastard.

Then, the Christmas Bowl. The Devil Bats take the immediate offensive and begin a huge drive. Only to have the Alexandres stop them cold, stone cold! Everything the Devil Bats try fails. Monta realizes that he is simply out-talented by Taka Honjou, son of his baseball idol and that Honjou has been training his own son for years as a catcher.. It almost breaks Monta. Then it’s the Alexandre’s ball. Their quarterback is a girl named Karin.

The volume ends with Karin throwing a perfect pass to Yamato, the Alexandres running back. Sena catches him, is blown off, catches him again and is blown off again.


My Thoughts:

So, this game is going to be 5 volumes long, or maybe just 4 if they do the last volume as a wrapup, but I doubt that.

I have to admit, I was feeling a bit bored. It was still good football, but still, you can only draw things out so much. How many times have the Devil Bats been immediately shut down? How many times have they been outclassed? How many times has Hiruma played mind games and Sena run faster than anybody else? I really hope the rest of the game doesn’t bore me.

Now, Karin. I’m sorry, and I’ve mentioned this before, but a girl playing American Football? No. She’s obviously going to be a big part of this game, as she’s the quarterback for goodness sake. But it is so inconceivable that the whole idea throws me out of the game. It would be like Arnold Schwarzenegger, back in his Terminator days, entering a Miss Busty Bikini Contest and be given real thought to by the judges and the crowd. It would be ludicrous. So I’m just switching off my brain for this and hope it doesn’t get too much more unbelievable.

EyeShield 21 v32 c286 extraA Real Tom Brady  /sarcasm





  1. The Winner Is… (Vol. 31)
  2. This Is American Football (Vol. 30)
  3. Second Quarterback (Vol. 29)
  4. Showdown at Tokyo Dome (Vol. 28)

♪Some of My FAVORITE Things♪ (Part 7)

The idea for this series of posts was inspired by Lashaan at Bookidote. He asked what some of my favorite books were during my initial start of my Malazan Journey.  That got me thinking, as I do have a “favorite” tag that I use in Calibre. So I did some exhaustive investigating [typing in “favorite” and hitting enter in Calibre is a real workout!] and out of the roughly 2900 books that I’ve read since 2000, there are around 300 that earned the Favorite moniker. There are a bunch of Favorites that are duplicates, as I’ve obviously re-read some of my Favorites time and time again.

However, listing 300+ books all in one post seemed like information overload. Therefore I have decided to do a much smaller list each month until the end of the year. You will get to see what I like in manageable doses and I get “thought free” posts  😀  Win-Win all around. I’m simply listing them Alphabetical by Author with just a word or four attached.


Patricia Wrede

Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Mairelon the Magician duology
Frontier Magic Trilogy

I’m currently re-reading the Enchanted Forest Chronicles and they’re as fun as ever. Mairelon is a Magical England story with a young Lord taking on a street rat as his apprentice and raising her as a Lady. Frontier Magic follows Ef, the 13th child of a 13th child as the United States begin to push west.


Phillip Wylie & Edwin Balmer

When Worlds Collide
After Worlds Collide

I found this duology from the 50’s in the library in the early 90’s and I’ve been reading and re-reading it ever since.  The American Can-Do spirit can overcome even rogue planets!


Raymond Feist

A Darkness at Sethanon
Magician: Apprentice
Magician: Master

The original Riftwar Saga.  A typical European fantasy world, with knights and magicians, etc, gets invaded by japanese’esque warriors from another world. And that’s the least of the problems. The Riftwar Universe has been wrapped up in the last couple of years, but beyond these 4, I never cared for most of it and stayed away.


Riichiro Inagaki & Yusuke Murata

Eyeshield 21 manga

Another series that I am currently reading. A sports manga about American football in Japan.  Doesn’t sound like much I know, but my goodness, this has all the Heart and Soul of a young man growing up!


Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time (13 books)

I will complain as much as the next person about this series but in the end I still like it even with all its faults. It tells a fantastic, epic story. Also, Jordan dying in the middle of the series was great drama. While Sanderson finished this off, it is still Jordan who birthed it.


Sean Russell

The Shadow Roads
The Isle of Battle
The One Kingdom

Another recent re-read that stood up well. A slow, river like journey through a land where 3 magical siblings arise again and their father and uncle must battle death incarnate. Of course, in true Russell style, most of the story is told from other character’s viewpoint. The Children of Wyrr might be the main movers and shakers, but it is the people of the time who flesh and clothe the story.


Stephen Lawhead


The Pendragon trilogy. It is an Arthurian legend story from a Christian perspective.


Steve Bein

Daughter of the Sword
Year of the Demon
Disciple of the Wind

The Fated Swords series takes place in Japan in both modern day and far past. The present focuses on one policewoman who becomes heir to a Fated Blade and must face off against other artifacts of power in the hands of nutjobs and terrorists. The far past has chronicled the beginnings of the swords and how they’ve been used through history.  Probably the closest I’ve ever come to a Police Procedural.  Also, I absolutely love these covers.

These should be clickable for Hi-res versions.


Steven Erikson

Gardens of the Moon

I used to have the entire Malazan Book of the Fallen listed in my favorites, well, except for the last 3 but with my current re-reading I am finding they are even better written than before but the Existential Whine cuts like a buzzsaw through my skull.



And that wraps up this month’s Favorites. I’ve only got 1 more post’s worth of Favorites, so this little monthly segment will be ending soon. I was hoping to stretch things out to the end of the year, but each time I got excited and added an extra author or 3 and bam, I wasn’t going to make it to year’s end.





  1. Previous Favorite posts




Sword of Caledor (Warhammer: Tyrion & Teclis #2) ★★★☆☆

caledor (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Sword of Caledor
Series: Tyrion & Teclis #2
Author: William King
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 268
Format: Digital Edition



It has been 100 years since the previous book. Tyrion and Teclis are both becoming more adept at their roles and how they fit into Elven Society.

The book starts out with them and a bunch of humans on a quest to find the Sword of Caledor. Going through jungles, swamps and eventually ending up at a dead city, they find the Sword.

Once back home, Tyrion is called upon to take part in a tournament to decide the champion of the new Everqueen, as the previous one suddenly died, all because of Malekith’s long term plans. Teclis must decode a bunch of scrolls he took from the dead city that seem to describe the end of the world.

Meanwhile, Malekith has bound the demon from the previous book and is invading the Light Elves/Asur’s homeland. He uses the demon’s ability to use portals to spread his army across the land and plans on destroying city after city in one fell swoop. He also sends an elite contingent to the Tournament to capture the new Everqueen. With her bound to Malekith, the Asur will have to follow him.E

Tyrion foils said capture, but the book ends with him and the Everqueen on the run and the land about to be overrun by dark elves.


My Thoughts:

My initial thought when we meet the twins and their human entourage in a jungle searching for the sword, was that these elves were not Tolkien’s elves but that they seemed familiar. Further on, I realized that they reminded me of the Melnibonéans from Michael Moorcock’s Elric Saga. Decadent, superior and on the decline without even realizing it.

My second thought, when Malekith invaded with a whole boatload of boats [sorry for that, but couldn’t really think of another turn of phrase], was “Where are the watchers, the scouts, Joelendil Farmer?” Why didn’t SOMEBODY see a whole bloody army invading? I don’t get the impression that the Asur homeland was a vast, unpopulated realm. Maybe it is, but if so, me having no knowledge of the land denied me knowing that. It just came across as authorial “Because I said so!”

My third, and final negative thought, was, “this is depressing as all get out”. The Asur were ennui laden jerks, the Druuchi [the elves in thrall to Malekith, the other son of Aenarion] were all spies, tattletales and backstabbers and the humans were greedy pigs hardly even worth looking at.

Action-wise, this had some good stuff! The battles to find the sword of Caledor, in the jungle, in the dead city, were pretty good. Had a good mix of dinoaurs, ghosts and undead [sadly, no undead dinosaurs]. The slaughter at the Tournament was a bit “meh”, as none of the super-duper warriors, besides Tyrion, seemed to fight back and even Tyrion had to pull a rescue and run mission.




  1. Blood of Aenarion (Book 1)

Secret of the Phoenix (Omega Force #6) ★★★☆ ½

secretphoenix (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Secret of the Phoenix
Series: Omega Force #6
Author: Joshua Dalzelle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 295
Format: Digital Edition



Jason Burke and the crew of the Serenity, dang it, the Phoenix, are hired by an archeologist to transport her to her former dig site and provide protection. She seems very familiar with the team and ship, provides very little concrete information about herself and at every stop Jason and Crew stumble onto other beings trying to kill them.

Turns out the archeologist’s father Indiana [ha, just kidding] was the former captain of the Phoenix and he knew it’s secret: that it was carrying 1 of the keys for a gigantic star destroying weapon. Now Omega Force has all 3 keys. They decide to go to the Death St…..errr, Super Weapon and destroy it.

The problem with that plan is two-fold. One, the ConFed want the key and the weapon and are chasing after Omega Force with a whole bloody fleet. The second problem is that the Super Weapon is actually a sentient AI and it doesn’t WANT to be destroyed.

But the A-Team, no, no, no, OMEGA FORCE is nothing if not resourceful and it’ll take more than Skynet…errr, the Sentient AI and a war fleet to prevent them from carrying out their mission.

As you can tell, I got this mixed up with a LOT of other stories.


My Thoughts:

For all of my snide asides above, I still enjoyed this quite a bit. Probably the most of the series so far in fact.

I did have a big issue though, so lets get that out of the way. If you have a key that is split into 3 parts and only those 3 parts can give access to a Super Weapon, WHY THE PHRACK DO YOU BRING ALL THREE KEYS TOGETHER? I would think that destroying the key/s you have would do the job of keeping the Super Weapon out of everyone’s hands? Why risk someone recovering the most valuable resource in the quadrant/sector/galaxy/universe/whatever or stealing it from you? It just made zero sense to me.

Now, it did make for a great story. So I give Dalzelle that. This was thoroughly fun with plenty of space fighting as well as individuals on the ground. I prefer a good ground pounder battle myself to space ships zipping around going “pew, pew, pew”, so the Galvetic Marine battles were nice.

This was definitely the ending of one chapter for Omega Force. With Book 9, Revolution, having come out recently, I know that there will be at least a second chapter to this series. While not original or mind blowing, it is good escapist fun in space.

On an unrelated note, I know that Crusher and the other Galvetic warriors don’t look like this, but this is what I always picture them as:



★★★☆ ½


  1. Return of the Archon (Book 5)
  2. The Enemy Within (Book 4)
  3. Savage Homecoming (Book 3)
  4. Soldiers of Fortune (Book 2)
  5. Omega Rising (Book 1)

July ’17 Roundup & Ramblings



Ok, the facts and nothing but the facts to start off here. 19 Books [yeah baby!!!] and 8002 [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!] pages. Now, 1100 of those pages were Don Quixote and I’d been working on that for 8 months, but still. I was pretty stoked at those numbers.

Looking at the numbers [books, pages and ratings] this was a pretty fiiiine month. No DNF’s and several Epic reads.

I think that Children of Dune was my favorite read of the month. It had some stiff competition though from Monster Hunter Siege, The Shadow Roads, Sungrazer and Beyond the Shadows. Having that many good reads makes this a good month for me by any estimation.

Least favorites for the month were definitely Instinct and Destiny of the Sword.

Eyeshield 21 is still ripping along. I’ve only got 6 more volumes to go in this manga series and I have to say, volume 31 was just as good, just as funny and just as feelzy as the first volume. Thumbs up.

I completed Don Quixote. That felt like a milestone. The whole process of note taking was interesting and going so slowly really allowed me to “get” the story. However, it took effort and work and I’m going to be taking a break from doing that kind of read again for awhile.

My Malazan Series Re-read stalled big time with my read of Memories of Ice. It went from being my Favorite of the series to the point where I started dreading continuing my read. Existential Pain and Sorrow don’t titillate me any more, they just grind me down. So it is hard to want to keep reading. I’ve got about 25 series I cycle through on my kindle and I’ve pushed this off to every other cycle now. Hoping the extra time between allows me to recover.

And speaking of series on my kindle. Lashaan asked me sometime ago if I planned on reading “new” books from 2017 since I’m doing a lot of re-reads and stuff. I hadn’t thought of it too much, but I’ve created a High Priority series and whenever I see something that I really, really, really want to read (Monster Hunter Siege for example) I’ll add it to the High Priority series. And I cycle through that every 9 series or so instead of the usual 25. Whenever it gets to the bottom of the first page of my kindle, I just read the next one in there and start the cycle over.  I’ve currently got Joel Shepherd’s Kantovan Vault, Tal Klein’s The Punch Escrow (Thanks Mogsy for your review!), and one other that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

To wrap this Rambling up, it’s Cover Love time. It was a tie between Memories of Ice and All Darkness Met.

memoriesoficeA Tiger-man. With Swords. How is that NOT totally awesome?


coverI’m Batman! (said in deep gravelly voice)





Monster Hunter Siege (MHI #6) (ARC) ★★★★☆

seige (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Monster Hunter Siege
Series: Monster Hunters International #6
Author: Larry Correia
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 399
Format: Digital Advanced Reading Copy


Synopsis: Super Spoilers!

MHI finds out that a group of Hunters is still alive in the Nightmare Zone, after being sucked in there from the story in Legion. Owen has the prophecy talk with his Dad, finds out he has been chosen to fight a World Ending Being that can hold its own against the Old Ones.

Coincidentally enough, the rescue mission that Own wants to run to get the survivors will take them right to the Big Bad Guy. So there is a lot of getting ready, figuring out how they’re going to survive the Zone and how their going to get back to the portal.

The push to get to the portal is pretty intense. Multiple Hunter Companies are taking part and it is on a Russian island. They bring a tank. Only Owen gets through the portal, as his Chosen One status is a bit better than Anakin’s and he rescues his comrades. Only to be captured and frozen in the ground for 6 months.

He escapes back to our world only to find that the Big Baddie has escaped and is on the loose. And his wife and newborn son are missing.


My Thoughts: Spoilers x5

This was an e-arc, so any errors in words, grammar, etc in the book were ignored. But by gum, reading this early was worth it.

The previous book in the series, Nemesis, really blew me away, So my expectations were pretty high. I KNEW my expectations were high and looked over my previous MHI reviews to help ground me. It was good that I did. I ended up enjoying this quite a bit and I wasn’t disappointed because it wasn’t Nemesis 2.0.

There was a lot of setup to this story. There had to be. It was 6months to a year I think? Lots of logistics, training Hunters to work together who just 3 months ago were competitors, at best, and enemies, at worst. Throw in the multiple languages, the fact that the portal to the Nightmare Zone is on a Russian island and the Russkies don’t want to admit that the island even exists and you’d better have some solid planning under your belt.

I like reading about Owen. He’s not a slimeball like the guy in Monster Hunter Memoirs and he’s someone I like reading about. One of the reasons I like him is because he’s everything I am not. He’s big, he’s tall, he’s emotionally stable and doesn’t go into a tailspin if his wife doesn’t text him, he’s a leader and he’s wicked good with guns. Reading these books, for a couple of hours I can be somebody who I want to be.

The invasion of the island was tops. Skippy the orc flying a helicopter is always amusing to read about. A tank versus a giant was wicked cool and 100+ hunters in armoured jeeps versus a whole island of monsters, well, that is just what I want to read about.

When Owen goes into the Nightmare Zone by himself, the action didn’t slow down very much. He’s on the run from the Big Baddies’ lackeys the whole time and it turns out that the guys he needs to rescue have been taken by a High Hunt of Fey. He singlehandedly invades their castle, frees his men and then stays back to fight the leader of the Hunt so his men can escape. A 6’5”, 300 pound man versus a 7ft tall nigh indestructible warrior? Yes please! And it is a fantastic one on one fight.

Only to be interrupted by the Big Baddie. Who has been using Owen the whole time for his own ends. So the book ends with the Big Baddie out in the world and Owen’s wife and son unreachable. That kind of catch fits exactly with the previous MHI books. The main story wraps up and then Correia throws out a hook so you’ll read the next book. It’s worked well enough on me that I don’t even mind anymore. But it is something to be aware of.

Another solid entry into the Monster Hunters International series. Good stuff.

However, that cover. I am not a fan of sexual fan service. That cover is nothing but sexual fan service. Ignore the cover, seriously.

The links below, to previous books, are probably just as spoiler’y as this. Just so you know.




  1. Monster Hunter International (Book 1)
  2. Monster Hunter Vendetta (Book 2)
  3. Monster Hunter Alpha (Book 3)
  4. Monster Hunter Legion (Book 4)
  5. Monster Hunter Nemesis (Book 5)