Mystery Ranch


This time, apparently Grandfather has an estranged sister, living nearly on her own out in a giant ranch house somewhere or the other. She keeps running off the help, so of course Jessie and Violet (being the girls) go to help her –and miraculously have no trouble doing so. It’s kind of hard to believe, but it’s nice to have another change of scenery. And hey, I always love reading aloud books in my ‘creaky old woman voice’. :D


Investigating Cryptocurrencies: Understanding, Extracting, and Analyzing Blockchain Evidence

I find Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies endlessly fascinating. They hit a number of my personal interests, in particular low cryptography and level network protocols/data formats. I’m generally familiar with how blockchains work in general and have actually played a bit with demo implementations of the same technology. That being said, there are a lot of details on the business and variety between different technologies that I find less than knowledgeable about.

The book will not help you build your own cryptocurrency.

The book is not a detailed technical deconstruction of the technologies behind cryptocurrencies, although I do cover them in sufficient detail for you to be able to understand the concepts and explain them to others.


The Yellow House Mystery

Remember Surprise Island ? Remember

Then Henry said, “Grandfather, that’s one thing we can’t understand. Why didn’t we ever get to go into that little yellow house? Doesn’t it belong to you?”

Mr. Alden looked at his grandchildren. Then he said quietly, “That’s another story.”


City of Blades

“Welcome to old Voortyashtan,” the captain says with false cheer, waving at the mouth of the Solda. “Though you can’t see much of it these days. It’s moved, y’see, about three hundred feet. Vertically, straight down.” He grins and laughs wickedly.

City of Blades surprised me.


Shock Wave

Shock Wave is yet another crazy book. Par for the course at this point. This time around, we have shipwrecks, sea serpents, diamonds, and a strange ‘acoustic plague’ that kills every living thing within a hundred kilometers. The bad guys are evil, the good guys are going to win in the end, and it’s going to be a crazy story along the way.

Characterwise, it’s more of the same. It’s fascinating to see a fairly believable love interest for Pitt in Maeve1. And we have more and more from the side characters, in particular Giordino with Pitt and Rudy Gunn and Admiral Sandecker doing their own part to save the world. Giordino even gets a big show hand to hand fight at the end, although why in the world he didn't just shoot her, I'll never know . Also another transgender villain? Why? Again, it’s just a few lines, but … why?


Spoon River Anthology

The Spoon River Anthology is yet another of those books I last read in High School which came back up when I decided to branch out and read some more poetry. In this case, it was actually a whole production where each person in the class would memorize a different poem and then we made a platform in the woods, dressed up, and recited them. Pretty cool actually.



Surprise Island

The second Boxcar Children book and the first of the formula that would come to define the series. It’s summer and the children are off to an adventure to an island Grandfather owns , more or less by themselves (although two other adults live on the island). They make a house, explore, find mysteries, and generally have an idyllic time.

“Now, tell us, Grandfather,” cried Henry. “We ran all the way home from school.”


World Without End

The Pillars of the Earth was quite a ride of historical fiction, introducing us the people of a small English city of Kingsbridge in the 12th century. When I learned that there was a sequel (World Without End) set in the same town but hundreds of years later, I was intrigued. A timeskip with the same setting but different (descended) characters hundreds of years later isn’t something I’ve often seen and it’s fascinating when done well. Add in that World Without End is set during the years of the Plague… I was intrigued.

For the most part, World Without End did well. It has big shoes to fill following up to Pillars of the Earth. In comparison, the building seems smaller (a bridge and a tower instead of the entire cathedral), the conflicts seem smaller and more petty, and the characters feel more anachronistic. There are any number of times when I wonder if people of the time period were really that ‘modern’ or is that an invention of Follett.


Inca Gold

Man these are getting long. 20 hours on the audiobook. Even at 2.5x, that’s a while. It probably doesn’t help that every. single. time. a measurement is mentioned, it has to be converted. Is that the same in the print version? Because it’s maddening…

Pitt’s heart pumped a good five liters (a gallon) of adrenaline through his system, but he remained calm and clinically surveyed the towering figure that looked like a monstrosity out of a science fiction horror movie.


The Road Not Taken and Other Poems

On one hand, I read Robert Frost many years ago. Perhaps I remember it all. I could tell you that say this is all just refreshing my memory.

Or perhaps I don’t remember a thing of it, other than the vague idea of The Road Not Taken and nothing more.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.