Monday, January 31, 2022



Robert Charles Lee
 is a retired risk scientist with over twenty-five years of academic and applied risk analysis, decision analysis, and risk management experience in a wide variety of contexts. He has authored over one hundred peer-reviewed scientific works, as well as over one hundred technical reports for industry and government agencies. Prior to the professional risk work he worked in laboratories a bit, but otherwise was a manual laborer until he reckoned that he could use his brain for a living.

Robert has a BS in Botany, a BS in Science Education, an MS in Environmental Health, and a Certificate in Integrated Business Administration. He is ABD (all but dissertation) in a Toxicology PhD program. He is an ordained Minister and has an honorary Doctorate of Metaphysics from the Universal Life Church and is a Member of the Nova Scotia L’Ordre du Bon Temps, or Order of the Good Time.

He was born in North Carolina and lived there for over twenty years, but has since lived in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Alberta. He was also homeless for a time while a laborer in the Western United States. He currently resides in Colorado.

Robert and his wife Linda have climbed hundreds of technical and non-technical mountain, rock, ice, and canyon routes, hiked thousands of miles in several countries, and skied many miles of vertical feet at resorts and in the backcountry.

Robert is an avid amateur photographer, largely of outdoor subjects. He is a musician who plays hand, stick, and mallet percussion, and who can sing, but rarely does for unclear reasons. He is an amateur sound engineer and producer and has recorded more than a thousand written and improvisational instrumental pieces with other musicians to date. He was trying to learn to relax in retirement, but then he discovered non-technical writing. He has written a memoir and a poetry collection and is working on short stories.

Through Dangerous Doors is his latest book.

Visit his website at or follow him on Goodreads.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m retired from work, so you’d think I’d relax a lot. However, my wife and I recently moved to Colorado from New Mexico, in a pandemic and a crazy housing market, so the move and remodeling has taken up most of my time in the last few months. Otherwise, I mostly hike, ski, take photographs, and play music. I used to read more before I started writing.

When did you start writing?

Assuming early school essays and such don’t count, I started writing scientific articles and reports in graduate school. After I started technical mountain climbing in my 30s, I wrote a few trip accounts for friends and family, but I didn’t put a lot of effort into this, and never sought to publish them. An exception was an article about a climbing trip my wife and I made to Scotland. It was a particularly entertaining story because the conditions were absolutely miserable, but we made the best of it. A climbing magazine published it, but unfortunately the editor snipped out much of the humor, which was disappointing. My memoir Through Dangerous Doors is my first major popular publication.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

Having a first manuscript accepted by a publisher.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

Given no pandemic (!), that’s a good question. When I was younger, perhaps a major city such as London or New York City. I haven’t spent much time in world-class cities, and I’d expect they’re all fascinating. These days, I’m happy to stay in the US West. Perhaps the northern California or Oregon Coast, because I haven’t lived near the ocean for 25 years.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Play drums, and stretch.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

I’ve thought about a short story about someone who becomes a racist, as an adult. I grew up in in a virulently racist White Southern US culture in the 1950s and 60s. I can understand how a child immersed in such a culture would become a racist. I didn’t, but I may have been an exception among my cohort. A more interesting question is how someone who grows up in a more ‘normal’ setting becomes a racist later in life. I find it amazing that racism, as one of the most disgusting aspects of human thought and culture, has endured to this day. Creating sympathetic characters would be difficult, though.

Back to your present book, Through Dangerous Doors, how did you publish it?

I initially tried to go down the typical literary agent/major publishing house route, but became frustrated. I find the traditional publishing world to be a strange industry, as it seems to actively discourage the clients who make it money. Seriously, what type of business says things to talented people such as “send us something, we might take months to review it if you’re lucky, if you don’t hear from us we aren’t interested, and DON’T contact us in any event.” I was unwilling to spend the money (for editors, etc.) and do the work associated with self-publishing. Self-publishing also seems to have less prestige than going through a publishing firm, although this may be changing.

So, I’m lucky I found a small publishing house who was interested in my memoir. They use a ‘hybrid’ model in which the author pays a reasonable fee, but they get professional editorial, distribution, marketing, and similar support. The author also receives a higher royalty percentage than large publishing houses provide. The only disadvantage of a small firm, as far as I can determine, is a lesser degree of marketing and visibility. For example, my book was unlikely to appear on the NYT Best Seller list, even if lots of readers loved it.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

I didn’t travel for research, but the book covers a wide range of domestic and international travels, which I suppose is post hoc research. These trips were associated with different types of risk, so they’re important to the story. If I had anticipated writing a memoir, I would have kept a journal. Fortunately, I have a good memory, as well as photographs and my wife’s memory for the latter half of my life.

Why was writing Through Dangerous Doors so important to you?

We live in highly risky times. As a former risk scientist and someone who pays careful attention to risk, I probably realize this more than the average reader. So, aside from telling entertaining stories, it was important to me to communicate the need for thinking rationally about risk. Many of the stories I tell may lead readers to think I’m irrational or ‘crazy’, but I’m still alive because I learned how to manage risk in a rational fashion. One review on Amazon put it this way: “You can kick back and enjoy the read and its many 'holy s&%t' moments, or you can take up the challenge to think about -- and to digest -- the lessons learned and the impacts of choices and associated actions and outcomes”. I thought this was bang-on.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

In the case of this memoir, my memory. I never kept a journal, because I never planned to write a memoir. I expect a journal would facilitate any sort of writing.

I’ve written a poetry collection, and a draft collection of short stories. The ideas for these largely arose from observation of the world and its inhabitants, as well as inner exploration and dreams in the case of some of the poems.

The non-writing arts can also provide indirect ideas. For example, I play music, and watch lots of movies. I don’t know if these sources have explicitly provided writing ideas, but I reckon any sort of artistic stimulation can have spin-off effects.

I haven’t, however, actively searched for writing ideas. They just pop in my head. I suppose I’m lucky in that respect.

Any final words?

I hope readers enjoy the book!

In a life defined by risk, Robert Charles Lee experiences a poor and free-ranging childhood in the racist South of the 1960s. After his father dies, the family grows dysfunctional. As a result, teen-age Robert seeks sanity and solace by rock climbing solo and driving cars fast. He wins a scholarship and graduates from university, but still seeks to escape the South.

Moving to Alaska and the Western US, Robert works in a series of dangerous and brutal jobs. He meets and marries Linda, who enjoys climbing and skiing difficult mountains as much as he does. Simultaneously, Robert trains in the science of risk to become a respected professional risk scientist.

Robert shares his remarkable story as he guides the reader through a series of dangerous but rewarding doors, culminating in a vivid journey of adventure and risk.

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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Stacking the Shelves (1)


Hopefully this year I can get on track and start participating in some of these memes - I love reading what other book lovers are up to. Here is what this one is about:

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! And audiobooks. Don’t forget audiobooks!

In other words, if you can read it or if it can be read to you – no matter how you got it – it belongs in Stacking the Shelves.

The Stacking the Shelves meme was originally hosted at Team Tynga’s Reviews. For the last few years it’s been co-hosted at Team Tynga’s and here at Reading Reality.

Reading Reality became the one and only host of Stacking the Shelves when Team Tynga’s Reviews closed its virtual doors in 2021.

You are welcome to use my Stacking the Shelves image. I’d like to give a big SHOUT OUT to Michelle@Because Reading – Ms. Limabean Designs herself – for the image.

SO…create your own Stacking The Shelves post. You can use my graphic or your own, but please link back to Reading Reality so more people can join the fun!

I am posting Stacking The Shelves on Saturdays, but feel free to post yours any day that fits you.

Be sure to visit Reading Reality on Saturday and add your link so others can visit you!

Visit other participants’ links to find out what they added to their shelves!

So many books, so little time, and so many glorious stacks!

Another quiet weekend around here, which is fine with me. I have books I have to read and am just looking forward to spending some time with my husband and girls. I am still going through some of Mom's things and also plan on trying to inventory some of my books...recently purchase one I already owned...AGAIN! LOL!

I have some reviews I have to catch up on, they are:

Book of Night by Holly Black
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters and Seymour the Introduction by J.D. Salinger

Purchased from BOTM:

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I have quite a few books coming and will update next week. I look forward to looking at what everyone else is reading Happy Saturday!

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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Book Review: The Maid by Nita Prose

Title: The Maid
Author: Nita Prose
Release Date: January 4, 2022
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Mystery
Format: Ebook/Hardcover/Paperback/Audio
Pages: 280
Source: Netgalley


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • “A twist-and-turn whodunit, set in a five-star hotel, from the perspective of the maid who finds the body. Think Clue. Think page-turner.”—Glamour

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—Glamour, W magazine, PopSugar, The Rumpus, Book Riot, CrimeReads, She Reads

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

Molly is one of the most unique characters I have ever encountered in reading. I have read some reviews that say they think she is possibly on the spectrum and I would have to agree. I thoroughly enjoyed how she was portrayed, very scheduled in what she did every day, and even through the loss of her Grandmother she continues following her routine because it is what she knows and thrives on.

When she finds a guest dead in one of the rooms, and becomes a suspect it is hard to believe. She has become more than friendly over time with the wife of the dead guest and when she finds out the betrayal that she was involved in it changes everything. Thankfully she has some really great friends who are more than willing to go to bat for her and help her in any way they can.

A good mystery, not earth shattering but a book that I would recommend because it was enjoyable and held my interest. 

Meet the Author:

Nita Prose is a longtime editor, serving many bestselling authors and their books. She lives in Toronto, Canada, in a house that is only moderately clean. Follow Nita on Instagram @nitaprose or Twitter @NitaProse 

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo 
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook/Hardcover/Paperback/Audio
Pages: 398
Source: Barnes & Nobel


“If youre looking for a book to take on holiday this summer, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has got all the glitz and glamour to make it a perfect beach read.” —Bustle

From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & the Six—an entrancing and “wildly addictive journey of a reclusive Hollywood starlet” (PopSugar) as she reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

This is my first book by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I have obviously heard so much about all the books she's written, and to be honest I chose this one first because of the cover. 

This was a solid read. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Evelyn and Monique, and although I had a pretty good idea why Evelyn asked for Monique to write more than just an interview for the magazine that she works for, but her life story. I loved the reasoning behind why Evelyn ended up with 7 really got a feel for how Hollywood ran and or continues to run. I loved reading the stories about the actors, directos, fans, etc...

I felt like this is a good solid book that does have a twist. Did I think it was predictable? Not completely. I enjoyed the plot and the relationships throughout. 

Meet the Author:

Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of the New York Times Bestselling novels Malibu Rising, Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, as well as One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. Her books have been chosen by Reese’s Book Club, Read with Jenna, Indie Next, Best of Amazon, and Book of the Month. Her novel, Daisy Jones and the Six, is currently being adapted by Hello Sunshine into a limited series for Amazon. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Friday, January 21, 2022

Book Blogger Hop - Average Monthly Reads


This is an interesting question. It certainly depends on the month. There have been months where I read a few books and others where I have read 2-3 books a week. I would say I usually read at least 1 book  a week. I have been a little slower lately due to a new job that just seems to wear me out a little more. The hours are a little longer and go later as well so by the time I get home and get supper done I just want to watch a little tv. I do read daily but sometimes it isn't as much as I want.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Book Review: Comfort Me with Apples by Catherynne M. Valente

Title: Comfort Me with Apples
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Release Date: November 9, 2021
Publisher: Tordotcom
Genre: Sci Fi/Fantasy
Format: Ebook/Hardcover/Audio
Pages: 103
Source: Netgalley


Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.

It's just that he's away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.

But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband's face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can't quite meet her gaze...

But everything is perfect. Isn't it?

What an incredibly interesting book! I absolutely loved Sophia and the fact that she continued to notice things that were meant to be kept hidden. Who was her husband? And why were there so many rules in Arcadia Gardens? And why, even in her own house, did she continue to find things that didn't make sense, and honestly scared her?

I can't say much more without giving this one away, and even though it didn't end how I wished, the story leading up to the ending and the characters were some that I really enjoyed. 

Meet the Author:

Catherynne M. Valente is an American fiction writer, poet, and literary critic. For her speculative fiction novels she has won the annual James Tiptree, Andre Norton, and Mythopoeic Fantasy Award - winning anthologies Salon Fantastique and Paper Cities, along with numerous "Year's Best" volumes. Her critical work has appeared in the International Journal of the Humanities as well in numerous essay collections. 

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Monday, January 17, 2022

Book Review: An Honest Lie by Tarryn Fisher

Title: An Honest Lie
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Release Date: April 26, 2022 
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover/Audio
Source: Netgalley


“I’m going to kill her. You’d better come if you want to save her.”
Lorraine—“Rainy”—lives at the top of Tiger Mountain. Remote, moody, cloistered in pine trees and fog, it’s a sanctuary, a new life. She can hide from the disturbing past she wants to forget.
If she’s allowed to.
When Rainy reluctantly agrees to a girls’ weekend in Vegas, she’s prepared for an exhausting parade of shots and slot machines. But after a wild night, her friend Braithe doesn’t come back to the hotel room.
And then Rainy gets the text message, sent from Braithe’s phone: someone has her. But Rainy is who they really want, and Rainy knows why.
What follows is a twisted, shocking journey on the knife-edge of life and death. If she wants to save Braithe—and herself—the only way is to step back into the past.
This seething, gut-punch of a thriller can only have sprung from the fiendish brain of Tarryn Fisher, one of the most cunning writers of our time.

My first finish of the year. I am glad I started with a book by Tarryn Fisher. Ever since The Wives I make sure that her books get added to my TBR pile as soon as they become available. Was this my favorite book of hers? Sadly, it was not. Of the 3 that I have read this would come in third. Does that mean it was a bad book? Absolutely not. It just didn't offer me the thrills of the last two. 

Rainy and her mother go through a tough time and her mother takes her to meet Taured, a friend from years ago who has converted an abandoned prison into a community of people who have what he believes is a common goal. After a bunch of drama and trauma, Rainy tries to start a new life and eventually moves to live with her boyfriend across the country. Here she meets a group of call them all friends would be a stretch but she does have a connection with a few of them. 

When they invite her to a trip to Vegas, she reluctantly decides to go. This is where the story really picks up. Vegas is not too far from Taureds 'compund' and she thinks she may have some unfinished business with him. But Taured is the least of her problems - she has someone from her past who is hell bent on seeking revenge, and when one of the girls from the trip ends up in trouble, even though it isn't one of Rainy's besties, she feels she has no choice but to help.

To be honest I did feel that the current storyline was a little thrown together as this story really relied so heavily on the past and what happened to Rainy and her mom. Still a solid read but just not my favorite. 

Meet the Author:

Tarryn is a New York Time and USA Today bestselling author. She lives in Seattle with her children and husband. Her heart is dark but she loves you with it anyway. Tarryn is the founder of Guise of the Villain, a fashion blog, and has written twelve published novels. Tarryn is a Slytherin. 

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