Feed Readers and Changes

Bloglines was the first feed reader I stumbled upon way back when (i.e. when I first figured out what an RSS feed was), and I’ve been using it faithfully since.  Even when support sort of disappeared, and it stopped pulling in Livejournal updates, I still stuck with Bloglines because I’m lazy that way.

I set up a Google Reader account and transferred the LJ feeds over, but still kept Bloglines to read other blogs, which meant that my subscriptions were split between the two – a bit messy, but it worked.

Last week, Bloglines went offline for quite some time, and I finally bit the bullet and transferred all my subscriptions over to Google Reader. Which was a lot messier than it sounds, because of my existing setup that meant subscriptions were either on both readers or on one but not the other – I’m hoping that I haven’t lost any.  Also, I had quite a lot of unread posts in Bloglines, and all the Google Reader posts came up as new ones, at which point I sort of gave up and hit that wonderful button “Mark all as read”.  Relief.

So.  This was a rather long-winded way of saying I’ve probably missed most of the posts published over the past few days.  😉

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Books for April

I have been rather remiss in not posting this earlier, but better late than never, and it is still April…

Here are the new releases for April that are on my To Buy list (and in most cases, have already been bought and read):

 

61lZlurY4L._SL160_ Elizabeth Peters“A River in the Sky” (historical mystery): I posted about this last week when my copy arrived and I did a little dance of glee.

The latest book in the Amelia Peabody series is set chronologically before “The Falcon in the Portal”, which is one of my favourites in the series due to ermm… various romantic entanglements, shall we say?  For a change, “A River in the Sky” is not set in Egypt; instead Amelia & co are in Palestine, and while this expanded their adventures to a new locale, it also meant that I missed some of the familiar settings and characters.  All in all though, I enjoyed revisiting the Peabody family, and can only keep my fingers crossed that there is yet another installment in this series.

Out now US, April 29 UK (excerpt here)

 

51opJaC77NL._SL160_ Kelley Armstrong’s “Tales of the Otherworld” (urban fantasy): Another April release I have already bought, this time during my failed attempt at attending a signing.

This book collects a few more of the short stories Ms Armstrong previously published for free on her website, with all proceeds going to her chosen charity, World Literacy of Canada. I think I’ve previously read most, if not all, of these online, but it was nice to have them in a single book.  There is also a new Eve story, which appealed to me, seeing Eve is one of my favourite characters.  I would say that this collection is more for long-time fans as opposed to new readers, because of their origin as online freebies – the stories have been aimed at filling in the background of the main characters and therefore can feel somewhat open-ended if you haven’t read the full-length books.

Out now (no excerpts, but more free shorts here)

 

51hH6KJTfGL._SL160_Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s “Saltation” (SF):  The second in a duology (the first is “Fledgling”), which covers events only alluded to in the main Liaden storyline.  These two books are somewhat unique, as the authors serialised both online in return for reader donations, prior to selling both books to Baen.

I bought this during my little Baen ebook haul a couple of weeks back, and while I liked (and read in one sitting), I have to add a caveat that this is probably not a book for readers new to the Liaden universe, which is a shame, because I remember thinking that its prequel, “Fledgling”, was a perfect jumping-off point.  There were one too many references to off-screen (off-page?) events which would only make sense if you had read the previous books, and there is a bit of a cliff-hanger ending as the book brings you right up to the same point as the main storyline.

Oh, and I have to add a cover note: for a Baen cover, this isn’t half-bad.  I have just finished reading another Baen book that I really really liked, but had a cover that did it no favours.

Out now (excerpt here – a whole nine chapters of it)

 

51CqsSW-evL._SL160_ Jim Butcher’s “Changes” (urban fantasy): A new Dresden Files book and yet another April release I have already read, which must make it some sort of record.

“Changes” was hyped as a turning point for the entire series, and when the first line of the book was revealed, it looked as though that would be the case.  Verdict?  As with all of his books (okay, most – I still haven’t managed to get through the first three books of this series yet), this was a good, solid fun read – he is an excellent storyteller.  However, I continue to find Harry’s love life (or what passes for it) somewhat two-dimensional; his friendships are wonderfully strong, yet his romantic relationships fail to move me.  If that changes, this would be up there as one of my all-time favourite UF series.

Out now (excerpt here)

 

51fV53d8D4L._SL160_Jo Beverley’s “The Secret Duke” (historical romance): Oh look, an April release I haven’t yet bought.  Not for lack of trying, I was trying to find it in ebook format, but haven’t had any luck.

You know how the most fascinating characters are usually saved for the last book?  Well, this is the third book of Ms Beverley’s Secret trilogy, and in the previous two books (“A Lady’s Secret” and “The Secret Wedding”), I have been intrigued by the Duke of Ithorne, who is the focus of this story.  This book is also part of her Malloren family series, which is set in Georgian times – I probably sound like a broken record by now, but I adore Georgian-set historicals.  And Jo Beverley excels in bringing historical settings alive in her romances.

Out now (excerpt here)

 

51m7Gj-IB9L._SL160_ 51byDuc4toL._SL160_Finally, two April releases I may get: Mary Jo Putney’s latest historical romance, “Never Less than a Lady”, a maybe only because I haven’t yet read the first Lost Lords book – I really need to get around to it.

And the mystery anthology “Crimes by Moonlight”, edited by Charlaine Harris, and containing a “Sookieverse story”, i.e. a story set in her Sookie Stackhouse world, but not featuring Sookie herself.  I want, not just for the Harris story, but also because the lineup and theme sounds great, however, it’s a hardcover so I will probably practise patience!

Utter Glee

51tv4U4L7yL._SL160_The new Elizabeth Peters arrived in my post today – and I have the whole weekend to savour it.

“A River in the Sky” is an Amelia Peabody book, and ever since I found out there would be a new book, I have been counting down the days.  It has been a whole four years since the last one came out, and I was pretty much resigned to never ever having a new Peabody to read again. 

61lZlurY4L._SL160_I caved and ordered the US edition (left), because it’s out a whole three weeks earlier than the UK version (which is released April 29).  It is probably a good thing I don’t care much about having a matched set of books – my Amelia Peabody books are a lovely mix of US and UK (both old and new) hardbacks and paperbacks. 

It’s the inside that really counts.  And I have a mad irrational love for this series.

Around the Web

Karen Chance has put up the first four chapters of a free short story set in her Cassie Palmer world, the rest of the story to follow soon, hopefully.  This is the first of the short stories she’s writing to fill in the gap until the next Cassie book is released in summer 2011.  I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that date will be brought forward – in the meanwhile, I’m all for more Pritkin, Marlowe, and Mircea.

 

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s320x240 I just saw the table of contents for the anthology “Songs of Love & Death”, edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois, and all I can say is I WANT.  NOW.  I started typing out the contributors that caught my eye, then realised I was pretty much listing all of them, so here is the full list instead:

  • Jim Butcher, "Love Hurts" (a Harry Dresden story)
  • Jo Beverley, "The Marrying Maid"
  • Carrie Vaughn, "Rooftops"
  • M.L.N. Hanover, "Hurt Me"
  • Cecelia Holland, "Demon Lover"
  • Melinda M. Snodgrass, "The Wayfarer’s Advice" (an Imperials story)
  • Robin Hobb, "Blue Boots"
  • Neil Gaiman, "The Thing About Cassandra"
  • Marjorie M. Liu, "After the Blood"
  • Jacqueline Carey, "You and You Alone" (a Kushiel story)
  • Lisa Tuttle, "His Wolf"
  • Linnea Sinclair, "Courting Trouble"
  • Mary Jo Putney, "The Demon Dancer"
  • Tanith Lee, "Under/Above the Water"
  • Peter S. Beagle, "Kashkia"
  • Yasmine Galenorn, "Man in the Mirror"
  • Diana Gabaldon, "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" (an OUTLANDER spinoff)

It’s out in November, a whole seven months away.  The cover’s pretty cool too.

 

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And Seanan McGuire has been nominated for the John W Campbell Award for best new writer, one of the big SF/F awards.  I totally adored her October Daye series, so yay for her nomination!  Full list of Hugo and Campbell nominees is also up at the AussieCon website.

A Book Splurge

I have no idea what’s going on with the ebook pricing mess, but it looks to be complete chaos at the moment between publishers and retailers.  Books have disappeared from my Fictionwise wishlist, I’m hearing conflicting rumours about book availability, pricing, loyalty programmes… may you live in interesting times indeed.

Despite all this, I still was in the mood to buy books (go figure), so I hopped over to Baen’s Webscription site (because you can always count on Baen to do things right when it comes to ebooks) and here’s what I picked up:

 

51hH6KJTfGL._SL160_ Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s latest release, “Saltation”, the sequel to last year’s “Fledging”.  I’m a big fan of their Liaden books (think fantasy of manners set in space), and this was on my list of April books to get.  Instead of buying this one as a standalone, I bought the Webscription April 2010 bundle, which had six other books as well, for a grand total of $15.

 51SEG-c6xVL._SL160_Because that wasn’t enough, I also bought Nathalie Mallet’s “The King’s Daughters”, a follow up to her first book “The Princes of the Golden Cage”, which I enjoyed reading way back when.  I’ve been meaning to buy this one for ages, but have never quite gotten around to it until now.  The first book was a mystery-fantasy combo, and it sounds as though this will be similar – I’m hoping so.

519ccxjywXL._SL160_ I then recalled hearing good things about P.C. Hodgell’s (warning: music plays on website) Godstalker fantasy series along the lines of “thank goodness this series is being re-released”, so I also bought the first one (I think), “The God Stalker Chronicles”.

51ofbvRGyJL._SL160_ And finally, I picked up the anthology “Tails of Wonder and Imagination”, edited by Ellen Datlow, even though I’m not a cat person and I’ve a slight allergy to cutesy titles.  But again, I’ve read good reviews on this one, and hey, Neil Gaiman is a contributor.  Along with many many others.

With Baen’s very consumer-friendly pricing policy on ebooks (individual books generally priced at $6), my haul came to $33 for ten books.  Bargain.