New Books for the Week

I dropped by my usual bookstores today looking for Patricia Briggs’ “Cry Wolf” – no luck, unfortunately, as it’s listed as an August title. 

But I came away with a couple of books from the Sale table by authors I’ve heard of but never read:

  • Claudia Dain’s “The Courtesan’s Secret” (historical romance) – This is the second book (I think, am not sure if this is a series?).
     
  • Kresley Cole’s “A Hunger Like No Other” (paranormal romance) – I’ve been reading raves about her books, so I figured it was worth getting.  I *think* this is the first one, so I lucked out there.

And I also picked up “The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance”, which is an anthology with quite a number of contributors who will be familiar to most readers of urban fantasy.

So it was quite a productive trip, despite the lack of “Cry Wolf”. 

Ooooh, and the copy of Julia Spencer-Fleming’s “I Shall Not Want” that I won from Keishon’s giveaway arrived today as well.

Advertisements

Sony Reader Coming to the UK

It took a while, but we’re finally catching up. 

Waterstones will start selling the Sony Reader in September (for £199), while Borders / Books Etc here have the iLiad Book Edition in stores.

I’ve had a peek at the iLiad, and while I love the fact the screen size is so much larger than the Sony Reader, I can’t justify spending £399 on another ebook device (plus I have all my ebooks in LRF format, and I’m not prepared to spend hours converting them to the Mobipocket format!)

I’m happy that Sony is releasing their Reader here in the UK, mainly because now I don’t have to live in fear that I’ll break mine with no easy way to get it repaired.  I’m wondering about UK ebook pricing though, I’m hoping that they will be cheaper than paper books.

Virtual Bookstore?

No matter how convenient and cheap buying books online is, it’s just not the same as browsing in a bookstore.

However, I came across this site the other day that appears to be trying to recreate the bookstore experience.  Zoomii pulls data from Amazon.com, and displays them as books on shelves.  You can use the Categories link on the left menu bar to quickly go to the section you want. 

It’s a bit slow, even over a broadband connection, and I think there is potential for additional features (I would love to have New Releases by genre, for instance).  And it’s obviously only available for Amazon US (and Canada).

Despite all this though, I definitely think there is something there worth pursuing – I can see myself spending quite some time browsing these shelves online!

TBR Day: Anne Stuart’s "Night of the Phantom"

This is posted as part of Keishon’s TBR Day challenge, which is aimed at encouraging us readers with the towering TBR piles (you know who you are) to start tackling the books that have been languishing in there for eons.

*******************************

Book: Night of the Phantom (contemporary romance)

Author: Anne Stuart

Copyright Date: 1991

Why did I buy this book?  I read a couple of Anne Stuart’s older books last year and really liked them, so have been keeping my eye out for more of the same.

Why did it sit in my TBR pile for so long?  I need to be in the right mood for reading contemporaries, because it’s not one of my favourite genres.

What is it about?  Ms Stuart describes this one as “…a dreamy, erotic take on Phantom of the Opera crossed with Beauty and the Beast, with ghosts and crazed fundamentalists thrown in for good measure.”  And that’s a pretty spot-on description!

Megan Carey discovers her father, a construction business owner, has been cutting corners and using substandard materials using designs by a famed but reclusive architect.  Somehow, the architect, Ethan Winslowe, has discovered this, and is threatening to turn her father in unless he turns up in person at his house.  Megan lets her father persuade her to go in his place and plead his case.  What she hasn’t counted on is the fact Ethan lives in the middle of nowhere, the nearest town is populated with hostile people, and oh, he lives in complete darkness due to some sort of unspecified disability… or is it deformity?

So what did I think about it?  I loved the gothic-ness of the storyline.  How Ethan lives in complete isolation with only his faithful manservant for company, and how he hides himself away in darkness.  And the build-up to Megan wearing Ethan down and him finally revealing himself – I was dying of curiosity to find out exactly how he looked!

Ms Stuart said in the foreword that she just let herself go OTT with this one, and the story did have some pretty fantastical elements.  For instance, Megan is constantly moved between different rooms, each with a different theme – she starts off in a medieval dungeon-like room, is then moved to a castle room, a Southwestern-styled room, a Park Avenue penthouse, etc, etc.  And the townspeople were just plain creepy.

What didn’t work for me though was the mystical connection between Ethan and Megan, and how they could hear the other “calling” them.  It was working very well as a straight contemporary (obviously suspending your disbelief to some extent!), but once the paranormal elements came in, it changed the story somehow, and I just found myself flipping through the pages to get to the end.

Finally, as a side-note, although this is a contemporary, it was written in the early 1990s, so some elements felt slightly dated.  For instance, there was mention of items not really used nowadays, such as traveller’s cheques, and lack of reference to everyday items, for instance, no mobile phones!  This didn’t bother me, but it made me realise how many changes there have been to everyday life in the past decade or so.

My conclusion?  I loved the atmospheric set-up, but the mystical parts didn’t work.  I’ll still look out for more of Ms Stuart’s backlist, but this one wasn’t a keeper for me.  C+.

(Mini) Book Haul!

For some reason, it feels like ages since I actually went out and bought books.  Even though I seriously doubt that.  Anyway, I hit some of my favourite bookstores today and got:

Kelley Armstrong‘s “The Summoning” (YA urban fantasy): Yes!  Finally.  It wasn’t easy to find – it was hidden away in the “Teenage Fiction” section in Borders, and not even facing out.  But I’m good at finding books I really really want.  Even better, it’s in mass market paperback here in the UK.  Which is good because I splashed out on…

Naomi Novik‘s “Victory of Eagles” (historical fantasy):  I caved and bought the US hardback version.  Is it just me, or does it look relatively slim?  And my copy has really jagged page edges.  Not that I’m complaining (much).  I can’t decide whether to read this or “The Summoning” first – if only all dilemmas were like this.

 

I also picked up a couple of other paperbacks I’ve been meaning to for ages:

Sherwood Smith‘s “The Fox” (fantasy) – This is the second in her Inda trilogy.  I have the first in hardcover, but decided to be sensible and wait for the second to be released in paperback before buying.

Tanya Huff‘s “The Heart of Valor” (military SF) – I’ve ummed and ahhhed over this for ages, but I do want to read it. 

 

Oh, and I saw Diana Wynne Jones‘ “The House of Many Ways” as well, which I did want, but couldn’t convince myself to pay £10.99 (£2 off in Borders and Blackwells if anyone’s interested) for it.  And yay, I’ve just checked and the reward for my restraint seeing it with 50% off at Amazon.  Excellent.

Because Everyone’s Doing It

My Wordle

I tried to restrain myself, but finally caved – this is the Wordle from my blog’s RSS feed.  I’m thinking it’ll be cooler if it took all the content from my blog, instead of just the most recent posts, but I guess you can’t have everything.

I’m slightly uninspired when it comes to blog posts at the moment, I admit.  Hmm… what about I start posting about the books I’ve read?  But… that would mean I have to think.

Another July Book

510Lu7dL-aL__SL160_ I missed Suzanne Brockmann’s July release off my list of July books that I want!  “Into the Fire” (romantic suspense) is out July 22 and is the latest in her Troubleshooters series.  I’ve loved the last two books (“Force of Nature” and “All Through the Night”) but mainly because of Jules.  Now that his HEA has been (hopefully) resolved, I’m wondering which lucky couple she’s now going to focus on for the next few books…

A bonus sampler PDF (large file) is available from her site to download – I haven’t read it yet, but the cover says it has an excerpt from ItF and a never-seen-before Troubleshooters short story, which is good enough for me.

On an Unexpected Roll

I don’t normally win free books (okay, I don’t normally enter giveaways either, which probably accounts for it) but recently, I’ve won two:

  • Keishon from avidbookreader.com loves Julia Spencer-Fleming‘s crime/mystery series featuring Rev Claire Fergusson and police chief Russ Van Alystyne.  I won a copy of the latest book “I Shall Not Want”, which has been getting pretty good reviews around the blogosphere – am looking forward to reading it!
     
  • Marg, Ana T and Kailana from Historical Tapestry held a Georgette Heyer season recently, with some associated contests.  I contributed a guest post and won a Heyer of my choice.  I asked for “Powder and Patch” as my own copy is falling to pieces as a result of being read so often (and poor binding, let me hasten to add – I treat my books well!). 

So thank you very much to both sites for hosting the giveaways!