Ebook Reader Envy – and a Tiny Haul

I was killing time in Waterstones today, and started playing around with the Sony Reader Touch they had on display.

Bad, bad move.  I now really want.

I had convinced myself that I was perfectly fine with my PRS-505 but oh, the touchscreen.  It was beautifully responsive, and I found navigation completely intuitive (although bear in mind I’ve been using a Sony Reader for almost two years now).

My main concern was the display quality because I’d heard that the trade-off for the touchscreen was a decrease in e-ink clarity (as the touchscreen adds a layer above the e-ink display).  But there was a Sony Reader Pocket right next to the Touch, and comparing the two screens, yes, it is probably just that wee bit less sharp, but really, not a massive issue if you’re reading in a well-lit room. 

£230.  Maybe at Christmas.


41K28wvJBOL._SL160_ Oh, and I did leave with some paper books.  There was a 3-for-2 offer, so I spent a very enjoyable half an hour choosing my books, ending up with “Fire” by Kristin Cashore, a Susanna Kearsley (I think it’s “The Shadowy Horses”, as it was on the New Releases table) and George Mann’s “The Osiris Ritual”.

51LHNPGyZCL._SL160_ The latter two are new to me – I picked up the Kearsley because so many people have rec’d her books and her recent interview at Word Wenches intrigued me. 

61zPMJrnxpL._SL160_ And I’ve been meaning to get a Mann book ever since I read his short story “The Shattered Teacup” (link via tor.com) on his publisher Snowbook’s website.  Steampunk’s the in thing, isn’t it?  It is unfortunately the second book (the first is “The Affinity Bridge”, which wasn’t included in the offer), but I’m thinking (and hoping) it works as a standalone.


A Belated Thank You

To Nath, who went to Kelley Armstrong’s signing in Montreal earlier this month (and did a very detailed write-up of the Q&A session with Ms Armstrong).

Guess what arrived in the post a couple of weeks later?



Yes, Nath very kindly got ME a signed book.

There was much “OMG I don’t believe this” when the parcel arrived.  I had a a bit of a fangirl moment along the lines of “Kelley Armstrong actually wrote my name”!  Yes, I’m sad, but seriously, it totally made my day. 

Thank you Nath!!!

Books for October

A bit late with this post, but September had so many releases I wanted – I’m determinedly not thinking of the number of books I added to my TBR pile last month.  And October is shaping up to be just as good.


510CGKLV3pL._SL160_ First up, Sharon Shinn is flooding the New Releases shelf – I’m not complaining though!  I’ve just ordered “Quatrain” (out now).  I’ve been waiting ever so impatiently for this quartet of fantasy novellas set in Ms Shinn’s various worlds (Twelve Houses, Samaria, Summer at Castle Auburn and Heart of Gold).  A very cool fact she mentions on her site:

While these four stories take place in radically different worlds, a lot of little details tie them together. For instance, the titles roughly correspond to the four elements; all four open with an almost identical sentence. And a few other things like that. 🙂

I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.


51f9e0JbBNL._SL160_ Ms Shinn then has a YA fantasy called “Gateway”, which she says is set in an alternate St. Louis (out Oct 15) – here’s the blurb from her site:

Adopted from China and raised in St. Louis, Daiyu is a teenage girl who one day steps under the Arch—and finds herself in an alternate version of her familiar city where almost everyone is Chinese.  She has been brought here by mysterious strangers to help them bring down the corrupt ruling government, but to do so, she must play a dangerous part among the elite members of this society.  Very quickly she learns to trust no one except a young man named Kalen.  He will help her carry out her plans and then find her way back home—but she is not so sure that, when her task is over, she’ll be able to leave Kalen behind.

I love the cover of “Gateway” – very striking.


51QZXBtejQL._SL160_ And finally, she has a story in the “Never After” anthology (together with Laurell K Hamilton, Marjorie Liu, and Yasmine Galenorn), which is intriguingly described as fairy tales with a feminist twist.  This one is out Oct 27.


513iaE1vtOL._SL160_ Moving on from Sharon Shinn (excellent interview here, btw, if you haven’t already read it), Kelley Armstrong has her latest Otherworld release out now as well, “Frostbitten” (urban fantasy).  Elena is definitely one of the narrators in this one, but I can’t remember off the top of my head if she is the only one. 

Ms Armstrong also released a free mini-story called “Recruit” (PDF link), that I believe is linked to the events leading up to “Frostbitten”.  I’m a sucker for freebies.


518m9fIkHlL._SL160_ Finally, and I almost forgot because it’s already sitting on my bedside table, Juliet Marillier’s “Heart’s Blood” (fantasy) is also out now (US and Australian editions out Nov 3).  I’ve read and loved every single one of her Sevenwaters books (I really need to catch up on the rest of her backlist), and this one sounds just as amazing.

And I adore the atmospheric UK cover.

From her website:

A haunted forest. A cursed castle. A girl running from her past and a man who’s more than he seems to be. A tale of love, betrayal and redemption…

Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress of a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan’s family and his people; the woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.

And yet the derelict fortress is a safe haven for Caitrin, the troubled young scribe who is fleeing her own demons. Despite Anluan’s tempers and the mysterious secrets housed in the dark corridors, this long-feared place provides the refuge she so desperately needs.

As time passes, Caitrin learns there is more to the broken young man and his unusual household than she realised. It may be only through her love and determination that the curse can be lifted and Anluan and his people set free…

I somehow don’t think I’ll run out of books to read this month.

A This and That Post

So many things, so little time.  A few things that have caught my eye this week:

For those UK readers considering the Kindle (and yes, that would include me), NextRead has an excellent post summarising what you will and won’t get.  After shipping and taxes, the cost is around $387 according to this MobileRead post.

I’ve decided to hold off for several reasons:

  • Firstly, I want a UK store – why would I want to be held hostage to exchange rate fluctuations?  And pay for shipping and taxes myself?  And buy a UK power adaptor?  The launch does feel rushed.  They’ve certainly grabbed headlines by doing a massive worldwide launch, but there looks to have been some trade-offs.
  • Secondly, I’m put off by the price: $387 roughly equates to £242.  Too expensive to be an impulse buy, and let’s face it, I’ve a perfectly-working Sony Reader.  And then there’s the surcharge of approx $2 on top of US retail prices.  I’ll be curious to see what the pricing is like – both for the reader and for the ebooks – when they do launch the UK store.
  • Thirdly, and probably most importantly, I want a ereader that supports the epub format, because that is rapidly becoming the common format across the industry (both Waterstones and WH Smith, among others, sell epub books).  By only supporting the Amazon (Mobipocket-based) proprietary format, the Kindle will tie you in to buying books from Amazon*.

So I’m holding off for now, but I’m glad to see ebooks becoming more and more mainstream.

* Unless a store sells DRM-free (i.e. non-protected) Mobipocket books.


51d7iMeTL._SL160_ A post on Word Wenches alerted me to the fact Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney are releasing their older books via a new UK publisher, Everlyn.  I think I already have the books listed so far, but the new covers are gorgeous and very very tempting.

Jo Beverley is doing a signing tour across England to support the re-releases (4-17 November 2009), and if I lived nearby, I would definitely want to go.  Very cleverly, it’s billed as “… retracing the steps of her characters as they flee across the South of England”.


5189d1W8bxL._SL160_ Recommended read of the week: Ilona Andrews’ “On the Edge”.  I love her (their?  I’m never sure of how to refer to two writers writing under a single pseudonym) Kate Daniels series, so this was an auto-buy for me.

The authors call it a “rustic fantasy”, as opposed to “urban fantasy”.  I sort of think of it as fantasy romance, and actually, it reminded me of Western historicals.  A very entertaining read, and I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

And I know the cover is not universally loved, but I like.  The male model matches my mental image of Declan exactly.

Reviews are up all around the web: The Book Smugglers (7 – Very Good), Angieville (Angie quoted one of my favourite passages in the book, and has more review linkage), Literary Escapism (loved), Dorkgasm (3 1/2 out of 5) to name a few.

Let me know if you’ve reviewed “On the Edge” and I’ll add a link.

A Non-Book Post

Or not really.  It is book-related.

51OzGhiWwL._SL160_ I am so excited about the BBC’s new adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma”.  This is my favourite Austen book.  Romola Garai’s playing Emma – the last movie I saw her in was “I Capture the Castle”, and I thought she was great in it.  It’s a four-part adaptation, with the first being on tomorrow (Sunday) night at 9pm.  I can’t wait.

Secondly, Channel 4 finally brings “True Blood” to terrestrial TV (or Freeview, in my case) – starts Wed 9 Oct.  Yay!  I’ve been dying to watch this and see if it matches my vision of the Sookie Stackhouse books.  I don’t have massively high expectations based on the reviews I’ve read so far, but I am still very much looking forward to it.