Life Without Ceilings, Mary L Gorden

Life Without Ceilings, Mary L Gorden

Life Without Ceilings: A Woman’s Career in Computers

Life Without Ceilings is the memoir of Mary L. Gorden, describing her early life as a Navy child in the years following World War II, and the fascinating and unique story of her path to a career in the emerging field of computer programming in the 1960s.

In a twist that many of us may be familiar with, being told what she couldn’t or shouldn’t do from an early age proved to be a catalyst rather than a hindrance, and Mary’s interest in science, mathematics, and engineering survived through multiple moves and a series of religious schools that either didn’t offer those subjects, or didn’t understand why a girl would want to study them. Mary graduated straight into a computer programming position with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and found herself in a niche perfectly suited to allow her to make use of her strengths.

I’ll be up-front and admit I don’t read a lot of memoirs. When I do, I’m often pleasantly surprised by how engrossed I can get in someone else’s life. Life Without Ceilings definitely fell into that category. I found myself grinning in sympathy over the ‘girls don’t’ sections, and drawn in by interests touching my own career as Mary described her time working with Visa in the early days of chip encoding. Above and beyond the fact that Mary’s story is well-worth the read, the book is very well-written and full of insights that take it far beyond a bare recital of facts.

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Heartless: A Shieldmaiden’s Voice, S. R. Karfelt

Heartless: A Shieldmaiden’s Voice, S. R. Karfelt

Heartless: A Shieldmaiden’s Voice

Heartless: A Shieldmaiden’s Voice provides a thrilling prequel to S.R. Karfelt’s Kahtar: Warrior of the Ages, introducing us to Carole Blank, an orphaned, violent misfit in the USA’s foster system. Carole’s earliest memories are of other people like her: people who can hear thoughts, people who can’t abide the chemical, processed materials and foods of the modern world. However, as those memories age, Carole begins to wonder if they weren’t merely hallucinations. Her unique fighting abilities get her into trouble right through school, and draw her into the US Marines as soon as she completes her education, where her gender and abilities lead her into unlisted service in a black ops team. Both her extraordinary skill set and her mentality make the job a perfect fit … until the unexpected happens and Carole has to make some hard choices.

This is a stunning prequel novel in the Covenant Keeper series, filling in much of the series’ back story and bringing depth and colour to the story of a unique lead character. Heartless: A Shieldmaiden’s Voice is a great read as a stand-alone book or as a part of the Covenant Keepers series. The story is decorated with scenes from all over the world and punctuated with vivid secondary characters who add their own insights into the plot. S.R. Karfelt uses Carole’s adventures to highlight a central issue in today’s society, where a female, no matter how talented or successful, is expected to sacrifice ambition and career for family. Carole’s struggles with this expectation, even more than her struggles with her alienation from society, make this a compelling, thought-provoking read.

Reviewed for Reader’s Favorite.

It’s a Nightmare, Nicole Quinn

It’s a Nightmare, Nicole Quinn

It’s a Nightmare

Nicole Quinn’s It’s a Nightmare (The Gold Stone Girl Book 1) is set over a million years into a future, in a world where humanity is split between the abused and the abusers under the rule of the Night Mare. The few who escape the system live Off-grid, scraping a living in the wilderness outside Winkin City limits. Public broadcasts of brutality provide a constant flow of indoctrination on every display surface, and examples are swift and frequent. Females are property, branded and kept as animals, and the gender imbalance runs at one female to every fifty males. Only the so-called Gold Stone girls, rare enough that only four have been found in more than a million years, escape the short life of rape and abuse. Their fate is to be eaten alive by the Night Mare, as a public spectacle. No one knows why.

In It’s a Nightmare, Nicole Quinn peels back layers of complacency to reveal a disturbing alternate-universe view of how the gender biases ingrained in our society could play out, a chilling and brilliantly-written exposé on the danger of being different. This story is one you will see playing in news headlines across your mind’s eye as you read, right down to the swaddled bodies bobbing in the current. The world of Blinkin will remain etched in your imagination in blood and grime, and the characters showcase a profound understanding of the psyche of abuse. This book is guaranteed to be a thought-provoking, deeply disquieting wake-up call.

Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite.