Around the Web – and a Bookstore Closure

The last day of November (yes, I am very aware of how inactive my blog has been for the past month) and it is absolutely freezing.  I wonder if we’re in for snow this year?

Anyway, a few posts around the blogosphere that have caught my eye lately:

Ilona Andrews posted about the difference in writing styles between her Kate Daniels and Edge books – it’s a lot more than just first-person v. third-person POV.  Fascinating stuff.  I also love the note about how her Samhain SF novella “Silent Blade” was written in the style of a Harlequin Presents (or M&B to us UK readers) – no wonder it felt so familiar!

On, their art director, Irene Gallo, posted about The Covers that Got Away, that is, covers that for some reason didn’t make the final cut.  We’re not talking the small tweaks we tend to see for most covers; instead, the two examples she gives are radical redesigns.  I adore the original Charles de Lint cover with a skeleton puppet – I’ve never read his books but that cover would have definitely caught my attention.

And finally, not blog-related but certainly book-related, Borders UK went into administration last week (note that they are a completely separate company from the US operation).  I’m not entirely surprised by this – the last time I went in there, their ground floor was crammed with non-book displays, which left me wondering who they were targeting.  I mean, if I wanted plush toys or jewellery boxes, I certainly wouldn’t have thought of going to Borders!

Sad news, however, not just for the employees who must be pretty much in limbo now, but also for readers.  I remember when Borders was the best place to get American imports in London – now, with the internet allowing you to purchase a wider variety of books for lower prices (and possibly more quickly too), it was probably a losing battle.

Waterstones is now the only specialist bookstore chain in London – and yes, I am all for supporting local independents, except there aren’t actually any near me!  Note to self: must go more often to Charing Cross Road.


Books for November

Mid-November and I’ve only read two books.  At this rate, I’ll need to stop eyeing up the new releases, else it will be a losing battle against my TBR pile.  Maybe it’s a good thing there aren’t that many November releases that I want.  I think.

415lXZ2a4HL._SL160_ I’m definitely going to get Nalini Singh’s “Blaze of Memory” (paranormal romance), the latest in her Psy/Changeling series.  An autobuy for me really – this series has not grown stale and I love the strong romance in each book, combined with the excellent overall plot arc and world-building.  So far, Ms Singh just keeps on getting better and better with each book, although saying that, I’m slightly embarrassed to say that “Angel’s Blood”, the first book in her other series, is still sitting in my TBR pile.

Out now (excerpt here)


51E4VozoVZL._SL160_ 517ByqgtCEL._SL160_ And then there’s Charlaine Harris “Grave Secret” (urban fantasy), the fourth book in Ms Harris’ “other” series, i.e. the one that is getting slightly less attention than her Sookie Stackhouse books.  I think this is the final book, but I’m not 100% sure.  Renee of Renee’s Book Addiction and Carolyn of The Thrillionth Page did a rather timely “Sleeper Series” post on these books.

I’ve just checked and the UK version (published by Gollancz with the cover on the right) isn’t out until January.  I wish the publishers would sync up their international releases.  Also, I much prefer the US covers for all of Charlaine Harris’s books.  The UK ones are pretty generic UF, IMO.

Out now (US anyway) and PDF excerpt here


51XvbGmfmUL._SL160_ And finally, I have just bought the anthology “The Dragon Book” (fantasy), edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, and with stories by some of my favourite authors, including Naomi Novik and Tamora Pierce (and yes, it’s a Tortall story and no prizes for guessing the main character).  Oh, and Diana Gabaldon.  Ana from The Book Smugglers reviewed it last week, and I pretty much ordered it immediately.

Out now (more details on contributors here, with an excerpt that I haven’t looked at, because it’s a large PDF)


The maybes for November?  I will probably get around to buying Katie Macalister’s “Me and My Shadow” (paranormal romance), the latest in her Silver Dragon books, at some point.  IIRC, my copy of the previous book in this series had some chapters in the wrong order, which didn’t exactly improve my reading experience, especially since I didn’t figure that out until much later in the book. 

And Linda Howard’s “Ice” (romantic suspense) – normally an autobuy author, but I hear it’s a hardcover coming in at 200-odd pages.  And I haven’t adored her most recent books.  Probably a borrow-from-library book for me.

Linkage and Stuff

Via Jessica’s Monday Morning Stepback post at Racy Romance Reviews, I hopped over to Courtney Milan’s blog where she gives her take on Publishers Weekly’s top ten books of the year – the all-male one.

51WXT83sEfL._SL160_ And wow.  Both the post and her responses in the comments?  I am in awe.  Plus I learnt what disemvoweling means – though God forbid I ever need to use it in my little corner of the internet.

Anyway, having been thoroughly impressed, I wandered off to browse the rest of her site, and ended up reading the excerpt of her upcoming historical romance “Proof by Seduction” (January 2010 release).  I can’t remember the last historical romance I read, but I loved her writing, the scene made me laugh, and the book is so definitely going on my To Buy list for January.



On a different note, unless you’ve been under a rock (or internet-less), you’ve probably have heard of the launch of Harlequin’s digital-only publisher Carina Press.  I don’t really pay attention to publishing news, well okay, I’m interested but don’t get all excited about it, but this one grabbed my attention. 

Why?  Because a major publisher is actually going to try the DRM-free model for ebooks*.  It’s about time.  Let’s face it, pretty much every single DRM format can be hacked if you know how to use Google.  I’m hoping this marks a major turning point for the ebook market.  Too optimistic?  Perhaps.

* Yes, I know Baen does it (and I love them for it), but they only do SF/F.



510CGKLV3pL._SL160_ Finally, I finished reading Sharon Shinn’s “Quatrain” recently – her collection of short stories set in four of her different worlds.  I loved.  It was like revisiting old friends and I reveled in the familiarity.  I’m pretty sure it would work for readers new to her books, but I don’t think I’m objective enough on that count.

The Samaria story especially reminded me of how much I adored that world and her writing.  This sentence stayed in my mind for ages after I closed the book (the protagonist is listening to a quartet of angels sing):

I heard the pale-oak tenor, the black-satin alto, and the crystal-line soprano lay their individual architectures over [Stephen’s] flawlessly planed foundation.