Around the Web

Suzanne Brockmann‘s posted an “Extras” booklet for her Force of Nature book (August 2007) – scroll to the bottom of the page to download.  Warning – it’s approx 28 MB in size, so watch out if you’ve a slow Internet connection.  It has a brand-new Sam and Alyssa short story (with Jules), plus an POV article for writers.  

I decided to try reading it using Adobe Digital Editions, which I downloaded the other day, and realised the major downside of its slick black background is that it shows up all the smudges on my laptop screen in bright sunlight.  Bah.

Naomi Novik‘s posted an excerpt from her upcoming Temeraire book “Empire of Ivory” (September 2007) on her website.  Just reading the first few sentences reminds me of how much I’m looking forward to it.

Here’s a rather long interview with Stephenie Meyer (via Locus Online Blinks) – she doesn’t give anything away on “Eclipse” (out August 2007), but it’s an interesting read if you’re a fan.  The next JK Rowling?


New Books

You know the saying about waiting forever for a bus and then three come along at once?  Or something like.  Anyway, for the past couple of weeks, while I wouldn’t exactly say that I’ve run out of books to read, none of the books in my TBR pile appealed to me. 

And then today, my latest Amazon parcel arrived.  Hurrah!  This is a long-delayed delivery – the estimated delivery date was for the beginning of the month, and I’ve no idea why it took so long to arrive. 

Here’s what was in the parcel:

Jacqueline Carey‘s “Kushiel’s Justice” – this was on the list of books I was going to buy back in June.  Hmmm… looking at that list, I still haven’t gotten hold of the Julia Quinn book or the Lois McMaster Bujold one.

21qjehhpghl__aa_sl160_.jpgAnd Kelley Armstrong‘s “Exit Strategy” – the first in her new series.  The main character is a contract killer for a Mafia family, so rather different to her long-running Otherworld series.  It’ll be interesting to see how it compares to the Otherworld books as there are no paranormal elements in these books.

Also Elizabeth Peters‘ “Devil May Care”, which I got as part of my quest to finish her backlist.  It sounds like a classic Peters book based on the backcover blurb – a young heroine, an eccentric aunt, and a haunted house…

Errr… a children’s book by John Flanagan, “The Burning Bridge” – I don’t even have the excuse of saying it’s a YA book because it’s not really YA.  Yes, I read children’s books.  This is the second in a fantasy series about a boy called Will, who’s been apprenticed into the Rangers, a sort of scout-cum-spy group for the King of Araluen.  “The Ruins of Gorlan” is the first book, and while the “Ranger’s Apprentice” series is aimed squarely at the younger reader, it’s still a fun read for me!

21mya2utbyl__aa_sl160_.jpgAnd an impulse buy, Camille Bacon-Smith‘s “Daemon Eyes”.  My impulse buys obviously aren’t limited to bookstore browsing.  This was an Amazon rec, i.e. you might like this because you previously bought X.  I can’t remember the exact reason Amazon gave for recommending it now, but seeing that the story is about an investigation agency for occult cases, I’m not too surprised it was rec’d to me!  It’s a two-in-one omnibus, with the two books originally published in 1996 and 1998, so way before the current trend for paranormal books, actually. 

I’m so spoilt for choice – I’ve no idea what I’m going to read first.  If only all my dilemmas were like this 😀

PS:  Yes, I know I’ve been tagged for a couple of things – the Rockin’ Girl Blogger by Erin, and the Blogging Meme by Kailana at Twisted Kingdom.  I’m not ignoring you – I need time to think about them!

Around the Web

Patricia Briggs has put up the cover for the third Mercy book (“Iron Kissed”, out January 2008).  Is it just me, or does the cover model look different in this one?  Actually, I thought the model for the second book looked different to the first book as well, so never mind.   

Naomi Novik‘s announced the title of the fifth Temeraire book – “Victory of Eagles”, coming out June 2008.  The fourth book “Empire of Ivory” is out in September – not long more!

I signed up for Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s newsletter and she (or her publisher, anyway) has been emailing me excerpts from her latest book “Fear the Darkness”.  So if you’re interested, go and sign up.  Which reminds me – I still haven’t read her latest book “The Dream-Hunter”.

31q2rsc8nil__aa_sl160_.jpgETA:  Just checked the UK release date for the Temeraire novel and it’s November.  And in hardcover (and double the price).  Methinks I may just be getting the US edition…

I’ve Finished It


No, I didn’t do the midnight queueing, but I was at the store the first thing Saturday morning (and bear in mind I’m not a morning person).  Apart from a few breaks for food, I’ve been reading it straight throughout the day. 

I thought it was a great end to the series – and that’s all I’m saying for now. 

I’m keeping quiet until more peeps finish the book. 

Oh, and if you haven’t figured it out already (where have you been???) and if the tag didn’t give it away, I’m talking about Harry Potter 7.

Today’s Shopping Trip

So I decided to go shopping today.  After spending an obscene amount on lotions, potions, etc, I stopped by Borders for a breather and came out with a few unexpected books – by unexpected, I mean books I wasn’t planning to get but I got ambushed by the summer offers!  And I felt I deserved a treat after braving the crowds on Oxford Street…

21i-v2bexm2l__aa_sl160_.jpgMe and Mr Darcy (Alexandra Potter) – Emily has sworn off men and booked a tour of “Jane Austen country” (i.e. somewhere in England – have no idea where exactly) where she just happens to meet a real-life Mr Darcy.  Ah, I don’t know quite why I bought it (apart from the discount) – it’s chick-lit, and me and chick-lit don’t quite get along.  Having said that, I’ve read a couple of promising reviews for this book, the heroine is an avid reader (hence the Darcy hook), and it does have a sweet cover!

21selc2bt2b2l__aa_sl160_.jpg21c4-u5kxl__aa_sl160_.jpgThe Unfortunate Miss Fortunes (Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart) – Lukewarm online reviews on this book, I believe.  In the UK, it’s published by the Little Black Dress imprint, hence the slightly different cover (yes, I was sad enough to check – heck, I’ll put the US cover up on the right).  I think the LBD imprint is trying to target younger modern women, but somehow the image is putting me off – maybe it’s trying too hard to be sassy and cute.  Anyway, it had a “Buy One, Get One Free” offer, so I picked this one and a Rachel Gibson book (see below).  Interestingly, the authors’ names are almost hidden away – in fact, on all of their books, you have to have a proper look at the covers to identify the author.  Maybe they’re trying to brand them more as a line of books, instead of by author.  Umm… I’ll stop speculating now.  Anyway, I’ve never read any of these authors before – it looks to be a light and fun read.

31g19smm0yl__aa_sl160_.jpg21ykxpvn64l__aa_sl160_.jpgDaisy’s Back in Town (Rachel Gibson) – Again, I’ve never read any of Rachel Gibson’s books before – not sure why, actually!  This is an older book, I think – the copyright page says 2004.  The LBD cover is on the left, and the original Avon one on the right.  Again, very different!  I have to say I prefer the LBD cover for this book – I like the silhouette design and the colour scheme.

E-book Readers

Heh.  My first post on this subject – mainly because ebooks are not big in the UK.  However, things could change, because for the first time, an ebook reader was featured in the lifestyle section of a Sunday national newspaper.  Sure, it was a very short article and more along the lines of a “technology of the future” device, rather than a “buy this now”-type article – but it’s a start!

As much as I want an ebook reader, I think £445 (approx US$900) is a bit steep for the iLiad.  It looks brilliant, though, and has wi-fi.  I wonder how it compares to the Bookeen (estimated price £400)?

Okay, I’ve just changed my location on the iLiad website to US and the price is now $699.  So I get to pay an extra $200 because I live in the UK?  Talk about “Rip-Off Britain”.  Until the price of ebook readers come down to a reasonable range, I don’t think I’ll be be buying many ebooks.  Sigh.

Books for July

I’ve been completely caught up in the tennis for the past couple of days, hence the lack of updates.  Just watched the Federer-Nadal final, which was the perfect end to the tournament.  Though I’m not sure what happened to Federer in the fourth set – I thought he was about to lose it for a couple of minutes.  HawkEye hasn’t been very good to him, though.  Also, the slightly irreverent BBC News live text commentary (Sunday link here) is brilliant for keeping you up to date while you’re in the office – it offers up gems such as this:

1400: The big boys are out on Centre Court after some ‘after you Claude’ dithering over who should step through the door first. Nadal does so rather grudgingly, 15-0 Federer.

It’s definitely kept me amused at my computer!  Anyway, it’s over for another year – so back to the books…

312l32zphsl__aa_sl160_.jpg21oenpzxmwl__aa_sl160_.jpgI don’t think there are many books coming out in July that I’m looking forward to – obviously, there’s JK Rowling‘s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”.  I’ve to say the more I read and think about it, the more I think Harry is going to be killed off.  So, do you think Harry is going to die?  Also, is the adult version of the hardcover better than the children’s?  I normally like the kid’s version better, but this time round, they’ve made Harry and the rest of the gang look rather weird.  Mmmm, I’ve to think about which version I’m going to buy!

21mf17n627l__aa_sl160_.jpgAlso, I will probably be getting Mary Jo Putney‘s “A Distant Magic”.  I know I’ve moaned about her paranormals and cheered the fact that she’s returning to straight historicals, but, well, the excerpt‘s rather good.  Also, the cover’s really nice – yes, I’m shallow.

21v0lokjxsl__aa_sl160_.jpgUmm… not quite sure if Linda Howard‘s “Up Close and Dangerous” counts as a July book, as it’s being released towards the end of the month in the UK.  But anyway, I’m getting it whenever it’s coming out.  Blurb courtesy of Romantic Advances:

A mysterious plane crash . . . a dangerous trek through the Idaho wilderness . . . a smoldering attraction . . . and a deadly game of cat and mouse. In her latest tour de force of romantic suspense, New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard blends these elements into a gripping story that will keep readers breathless – and leave them begging for more. For in Linda Howard’s world, trust can be a weapon, a kiss can be a threat, and intimacy can be deadly.

Bailey Wingate’s scheming adult stepchildren are surprised when their father’s will leaves Bailey in control of their fortune, and war ensues. A year later, while flying from Seattle to Denver in a small plane, Bailey nearly dies herself when the engine sputters – and then fails.

Cam Justice, her sexy Texan pilot, manages to crash-land the aircraft. Stranded in the wilderness, and struggling to douse her feelings for the ruggedly handsome man by her side, Bailey begins to wonder whether this was a mere accident. Sure enough, upon her return to civilization Bailey’s suspicions mount: Who tampered with their plane? Who’s trying to reunite Bailey and her husband in the afterlife? Trusting her life – and heart – to Cam, Bailey must outwit a killer who will stop at nothing to finish the job.

21y9-xahjdl__aa_sl160_.jpgSounds like classic Howard! 

And finally, maybe Nora Roberts‘ “High Noon”…  I don’t normally rush to get Ms Roberts’ books, but I like her romantic suspense, so this goes on to my Buy list.

Around the Web

Sarah Monette’s posted the first three chapters of her upcoming book “The Mirador” (dark fantasy – August 2007) on her website.  This is one of my definite hardcover purchases for August, as I really liked the second book in the series (“The Virtu”).  I liked the first book (“Melusine”) as well, but it was the second that really grabbed my attention.

There’s a very interesting post on the Word Wenches blog on horses *grin*.  I don’t ride, so this answered all my questions about riding sidesaddle and doubling up, and a few other questions I hadn’t thought about!

Anne Bishop‘s posted the cover of the new Black Jewels novel “Tangled Webs” (out March 2008) on her website.  Umm… unusually, I’m not in love with this – maybe because the model doesn’t really fit my mental image of how Surreal looks like (yes, it’s meant to be Surreal).  Whereas with the trilogy covers, the model fits my image of Jaenelle more closely.  Hmm… maybe that’s the problem with using photographic shots.  But I’m very much looking forward to this book!

A Look Back at My June Reading

It’s raining again and I’ve a bit of a cold – it’s turning out to be a pretty grim weekend!  But it is the end of June, and so a good (or logical, anyway) time to look at what I’ve read this month.

I read 22 books this month, which is a lot for me – the second-highest number of books read per month this year so far.  January was the only month when I read more, and that was due to the Christmas/New Year holidays and err… the fact that I wasn’t doing much at work because I was about to move on!  This time around, I’m not quite sure where I found the time.  I think I spent less time online because of the on-off broadband connection of mine (which, fingers crossed, seems to be working properly now)…

Historical romance:  I read a lot of Eloisa James – five books plus her new release “Desperate Duchesses”.  It has been an EJ glom for me – I think I’m now completely caught up on her backlist.  I also read Amanda Quick‘s “Second Sight” – a book I picked up only because it was half-price.  It’s been on my TBR pile for a while, mainly because it was part of her Arcane Society series and I’m just not keen on her paranormals.  I actually quite enjoyed it, but it still wasn’t vintage Quick – a quick and easy read, though.

Mystery:  Eight books in total here, obviously including Jacqueline Winspear‘s “Maisie Dobbs” books, a couple of Jill Churchill‘s cosy mysteries (a few more have just arrived today in my Amazon delivery) and more Elizabeth Peters – both Vicky Bliss and stand-alones.  “The Love Talker” is my favourite stand-alone EP so far, I think it’s a bit more gothic than the others I’ve read to date, with a very subtle romance. 

Hmm… actually nine books if you count Janet Evanovich‘s “Lean Mean Thirteen” as Mystery.  I was actually a bit disappointed in this one.  It was definitely a Plum book – all the usual suspects making an appearance with the trademark slapstick comedy and let’s see… Stephanie destroying her cars, Stephanie trying to apprehend her FTAs (can’t remember but I think she lost her handcuffs as well), etc, etc.  So, yes, classic Plum, but – and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this – it’s starting to feel like a paint-by-numbers book.  Nothing much happens in the overall story arc, I didn’t have any laugh-out-loud moments… and I actually didn’t finish the book in one sitting.  Maybe I just have too high expectations for a Plum book?

SF/F (including urban fantasy):  About six books, I think – not really dominated by a single author.  Let’s see, Dave Duncan, Laurell K Hamilton, John Scalzi, Carrie Vaughn, Ilona Andrews, and PC Cast/Kristin Cast.  The books by the first four were continuations of various series, while the latter two books started off series (and were by new-to-me authors).  Actually, is there a plural for the word “series” or is it a plural in itself – it doesn’t seem to sound right somehow? 

Anyway, hard to compare these six books (and probably completely illogical – as they are mostly in completely different genres, or subgenres), but I will stick with the first four authors (yes, even Anita Blake, as I’m still too heavily invested in these characters now) and not the last two, as their books/worlds just didn’t stand out from the rest of the pack. 

And I’m still after the following books – I know they’re out, but for the life of me, I can’t find them anywhere…

  • Julia Quinn’s “The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever”
  • Jacqueline Carey’s “Kushiel’s Justice”
  • Lois McMaster Bujold’s “The Sharing Knife: Legacy”