Have you ever tried OpenOffice? Why not?

OpenOfficeSo I’ve decided I have had it up to the gills with Microsoft Office!

Let me explain – I worked in an office for many years and used MS Office like most people do. I received some great training and turned into the local word processing and Excel wiz. All lovely, except then I had a baby and another, and decided to stay at home and build another career.

Best decision ever, except I really couldn’t afford MS Office after a while. The personal license was fine but eventually I was forced to upgrade for business use, and honestly, $399.99 per year is not something I can afford. Add this to the atrocious interface change that happened quite a few years ago now, and I was on the net, researching alternatives. 

Enter OpenOffice!

I found Open Office. I was a little suspicious of it, given that it is free, but soon fell in love with it. It has the same familiar interface like the old MS Office and did I mention, it’s free?

The learning curve was alright although there are tips and tricks to get the most out of the software. After using it for a few years now, I have to say that it matches MS Office in functionality. And it’s free. For business and private use. To be copied, developed, played with. 

Why aren’t YOU using it?

So question to you: do you use OpenOffice? If not, have you ever looked at it? What’s stopping you from using it? I’ve created a little questionnaire to find out what issues people have with the software. What would you like to be able to do with it but have never managed to figure it out by yourself? Please fill out the questionnaire and let me know – there is a lot of knowledge swirling around in my head and I’m sure I can help a few people 🙂

Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon

Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon

My rating:  5 of 5 stars

Fatal Shadows Josh LanyonThe story

One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening.

Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien’s shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself.

Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer’s list.

My take on it

Somebody pointed me towards Josh Lanyon and boy, am I glad they did! Given that Josh is listed under LBTG and Gay Thriller / Romance on Amazon, I probably wouldn’t have discovered these books by myself. I started reading Fatal Shadows without being aware that the protagonist and love interest are both male. Not that it made the slightest bit of difference – I finished the book within a day and a half, it was that awesome 🙂

The protagonist is Adrien English, mystery writer and owner of the Cloak and Dagger bookstore in LA. Adrien is a kick-ass, yet strangely vulnerable hero. An acquired heart condition makes it difficult for him to tolerate sudden physical or emotional stress. He doesn’t let it hold him back but occasionally, his physical condition impacts on the plot. I love the way the author has handled this. Rather than dump a physical handicap on the hero as a means of making him more interesting, the heart condition is an integral part of the plot.

Adrien becomes the suspect in the murder of one of his oldest friends and employees. Jake Riordan, one of the detectives investigating the case, is bisexual but so far in the closet, he’d do pretty much anything to not be exposed. There is an immediate attraction between the two men which grows stronger throughout the book. Both men are struggling against it for different reasons.

What made the book so amazing to me is the wealth of supporting characters, from Adrien’s overbearing mother to the members of a book writing group meeting at Cloak and Dagger. Add this to the cohesive plot, great characterisation, very cool dialogue and the at times lyrical descriptions, you have an exciting thriller with a great romance woven through, with a touch of 1940s noir storytelling.

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Do you agree? Did you like it? Share your thoughts and comments below!