Thursday, November 12, 2009

BTT: Too Short?

When I first looked at this week's Booking Through Thursday prompt, I thought the question “Too Short?” referred to the length of a book. Instead, it asks, “Do you read everything all the way through or do you feel life really is too short to read bad books?”. Deb also says, “I’d always heard that, but I still read books through until the end no matter how bad they were because I had this sense of obligation.” and I can definitely identify with that sense of obligation.

In one of my earlier BTT posts I tell about forcing myself to finish reading Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson, even though I was hating it. I concluded “While I couldn't get that time back, I did decide that I would no longer consider it a failure if I abandoned a book part-way through. It's rare that I give up on a book. I have been known to set one aside for a very long time and eventually return to it. But when I just know I can't find anything to enjoy in the book and I'm not interested in any of the sequels, I'm now willing to just admit I picked a book that isn't going to work for me and move on.”

In fact, I do keep a list of books that I've started but not finished reading, and why I didn't finish it. Where I can, I also record the page or chapter where I abandoned the book. This will help me find my place if I later decide to pick up the book and finish it.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

What are people reading on the plane?

That's the question I just have to get answered when I travel. I am always peeking at book covers or even accosting the few readers who are carrying Kindle or Sony e-Book devices to see what books are popular. I get a lot of suggestions for books to read from fellow travellers.

Seated in my row on today's flight is a woman from Midland, Texas, who is carrying a Kindle 2. She's reading True Blue by David Baldacci, and we talked just a bit about Baldacci and his books. In fact, the very first book I read on my Kindle (and the first e-Book I bought from was Baldacci's Stone Cold, third book in his Camel Club series. When I opened the package containing my Kindle in February 2008, I had just finished reading The Collectors and the sequel had recently been released in hardback. I availed myself of Amazon's $9.99 pricing for best-sellers and immediately purchased, downloaded, and read the book.

On the row behind me, a young woman is reading The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma, third in this young adult series by Trenton Lee Stewart. I purchased the Kindle edition of the first book in this series, simply titled The Mysterious Benedict Society, in July 2008. I'm not sure when I started reading it, but I finished it on 2 August, and recommended it to Jan and Gretchen. I definitely want to pick up both The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma. I only need to make time to read them. Unfortunately, that may need to wait until I catch up just a bit more with the books I owe to swappers at BookObsessed.

Kiln People by David BrinAnd me, what am I reading? It's Kiln People by David Brin. I really enjoyed his Uplift novels and The Postman, but for some reason I had been reluctant to start reading Kiln People. I picked up the paperback from John Nicol a long time ago, probably in 2003 or so, but have just had the book sitting on my shelves waiting for me to get around to reading it. I offered it in the SFF VBB at BookObsessed, and Wendy picked it out and there I was. Now obligated to mail it to her. And since I consider it a personal failing if I have to mail a book unread, I'm now well engrossed in the story—page 293 of 568—and thoroughly enjoying it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

24-hour Read-a-Thon summary

I kept a very simple timeline in a plain text file which I updated each time I changed activities. This allowed me to see that I spent 16 hours and 39 minutes reading books and the other 7 hours and 21 minutes reading blogs, posting blogs, reading fora about reading, etc.

This is my timeline

7:01 -- Post to reading blog
7:15 -- start reading Mark of the Lion at page 138
8:50 -- to Old West for breakfast
10:15 -- pause to update BookObsessed & blog
10:24 -- blog update
10:47 -- resume reading Mark of the Lion at page 238
11:48 -- pause to update BookCrossing & quick look BO; create reveal
12:09 -- return to Mark of the Lion at page 288
12:59 -- finished Mark of the Lion; prepare lunch; blog posting
13:03 -- blog update
13:43 -- resumed reading with Visions of Sugar Plums
14:48 -- serious break to move around
14:51 -- blog update
15:11 -- return to Visions of Sugar Plums, page 109
15:41 -- finished with VoSP (164 pages)
16:13 -- post to blog (though it's time-stamped 15:53 since that's when I *started* writing it)
16:15 -- resume reading with Wedding Belles
17:15 -- break to update @ BookObsessed & create next blog post
17:35 -- resume reading on Kindle -- heading to dinner
19:25 -- @ home; update blog, check @ BO, upload photos
19:56 -- posted comment on the "Books that Bite" challenge at
20:00 -- back to reading Bitten & Smitten, location 1698
20:56 -- short break; blog post, BookObsessed
21:28 -- return to reading Bitten & Smitten, location 3012
22:32 -- another break; tried a mini-challenge at
22:48 -- resume reading Bitten & Smitten @ chapter 24, location 4819
23:17 -- finished Bitten & Smitten; blog updated including index & 2009 pages, checked PUF Swap, looked @ 24-hour Read-a-Thon home page
23:45 -- quick visit to "Irish" since I had a wonderful trip to Ireland in September
23:52 -- start next book, Shakespeare's Christmas, snack (pear & almonds)
01:00 -- a break @ page 70; quick challenge at; visited Veronika at because she signed up just before me
01:23 -- return to reading Shakespeare's Christmas at page 70
03:01 -- @ page 112; but have been dozing & re-reading, particularly p 105
03:10 -- taking a break again; chocolate & Diet Coke; quick trip to BO, mini-challenge, and visit to (Jaime because my daughter has the same name)
03:55 -- return to Shakespeare's Christmas at page 115
05:06 -- next break; page 199; blog post, quick check at BO & RaT home page. visit to Icedream who claims to be Reading in Appalachia at
05:24 -- return to Shakespeare's Christmas at page 199
05:55 -- finished Shakespeare's Christmas; updated lists
06:13 -- reading again, A Village Affair
06:39 -- sleepy, @ page 15
07:19 -- posted end-of-event meme

During the 16+ hours I was reading, I completed four books: Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda, Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich, Bitten and Smitten by Michelle Rowen, and Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris. These were books 111-114 read in 2009. I also read 47 pages in Wedding Belles by Haywood Smith and 15 pages in A Village Affair by Joanna Trollope. The total number of pages that I read was 1070.

Jaime at Confessions of a Bibliophile had a nice template that she used each time she posted to her blog. I think I'll put together something similar to use for the next Read-a-Thon.

This was fun, but now it's time for a nap.

Winding it up

It's 6:40 in the morning, only 20 minutes more and I'm not engaged enough with my book to keep my eyes open. I finished reading Shakespeare's Christmas just a few minutes before 6 and took a very short break to update my master lists and check the 24-hour Read-a-Thon home page for any challenges for the last hour. By 6:15, I had picked out the next book I'd start—A Village Affair by Joanna Trollope—and settled back on the couch to resume reading. But, as some books do, this one is starting slowly and I'm struggling to stay awake. So, I decided to spend some time catching up my blog rather than run the risk of falling asleep in the last few minutes of the Read-a-Thon.

End of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
5. How many books did you read?
6. What were the names of the books you read?
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
8. Which did you enjoy least?
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

1. Until a few minutes ago, I was convinced that the hour from 2 to 3 am (hour 20, I think) was the most difficult. But now I'm not sure if it was then or now.

2. I'm not sure “high interest” for me would be the same for someone else. I found I read pretty fast in books that were part of a series where I already knew the main characters. Two of the books I completed during this Read-a-Thon were part of familiar series: Visions of Sugar Plums is a special holiday novella in Janet Evanovich's zany mystery series starring Stephane Plum and Shakespeare's Christmas is the third of five books in Charlaine Harris's cozy mystery series starring Lilly Bard.

3. This was my first year to participate. I picked up on some ways to improve it for myself, particularly the idea of using a template that would make it much easier to quickly post something on my blog and get back to reading.

4. I was glad to see comments posted to my blog by people who had never visited before. I don't know if these were from cheerleaders or readers, but it was encouraging to see that someone was noticing the newer postings.

5. I completed four books, one of which had been started before the Read-a-Thon began. I also read 63 pages in two other books.

6. I completed Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda, Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich, Bitten and Smitten by Michelle Rowen, and Shakespeare's Christmas by Charlaine Harris. I also read the beginnings of Wedding Belles by Haywood Smith and A Village Affair by Joanna Trollope.

7. I guess the book that was the most fun was Bitten and Smitten, though I'd also have to point out that Mark of the Lion is very high on the best books of 2009 list.

8. Surprisingly, Visions of Sugar Plums was not as much fun as I had hoped. I don't know if it was just my mood at the time or the book was too short or what, but it didn't have enough of the zaniness that I was anticipating. It was good for a smile or two, but not the full-on belly laughs in High Five where we meet Randy Briggs for the first time.

9. I wasn't a cheerleader, though I did stop by a couple of blogs and leave comments.

10. I'm definitely on for the next Read-a-Thon. I think I'll spend a little bit of time preparing so I can manage the role of reader more effectively.

In my next post, I'll summarize the whole she-bang.

Down to the wire

I'm reading slowly—much more slowly that usual. Must be fatigue setting in, or just the fact that it's the wee hours of the morning. The last break I took (Time for a mini-challenge) was almost exactly 45 minutes long. It took me almost 20 minutes to put together my blog post, including finding images of the book covers online. Google is my friend.

I'm getting close to the end of Shakespeare's Christmas; now at page 199 (of 242) and starting the final chapter.

I'm sipping a Diet Coke, but unfortunately it's caffeine free so there's no kick there to help me keep my energy up. Oh well. Onward and upward as they say!

Time for a mini-challenge

In honor of Miss Adison who is 4, Dana issued a challenge to link and/or post pictures of my favorite 4 reads either from childhood or from now. Well, this is a challenge that I can rise to; especially for Miss Adison. After all, my father and my son both carry the masculine form—Addison—as a middle name.

Now let's see. One of the first books that comes to mind is Babar the Elephant. While I somehow missed Winnie the Pooh and didn't discover him until I was in Junior High, I was apparently one of the few who had read Babar over and over again. Second would be one of the many Little Golden Books that I could read by myself. One that comes to mind is The Poky Little Puppy. Third would have to be The Bible Story, a ten-volume set of illustrated bible stories. I'm not sure when my parents purchased these, but as far back as I can remember, the entire set was in our house. And last, a somewhat random choice from my elementary days would be Heidi.

Babar the Elephant   The Poky Little Puppy   The Bible Story   Heidi

Six hours to go

Since I'd already read one Christmas book during the Read-a-Thon, I decided that I'd read Shakespeare's Christmas next. I'm currently on page 70 and thoroughly engaged in Lily Bard's newest adventure. In the reading period from 23:52 to 01:00, I also ate a small, but healthy, snack—a bosc pear and 10 raw almonds. Normally, I try to make an afternoon snack from fruit plus almonds, but today I saved it for the middle of the night since I knew I'd need some additional fuel if I were going to stay up all night.

In this short break, I posted a comment for Shel's mini-challenge and took a peek at what Veronika is reading at True Harbour. I'm going to keep this break as short as possible so I can get back to Arkansas and help Lily solve another murder.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Status at Hour 17

I just finished reading Bitten and Smitten, the 113th book I have read in 2009 and the 14th read in October. I've updated the lists I keep on my laptop, marked the book read in the Kindle by attaching a note to it, and updated the home page and list of books read in 2009 posted right here at this blogging site.

The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert       Shakespeare's Christmas by Charlaine Harris

After a quick look at the Read-a-thon home page and a glance at the PUF Swap going on at BookObsessed, I'm going to start on my next book. Not sure if it's going to be Shakespeare's Christmas or The Tale of Hill Top Farm. Both are books that I owe to fellow BookCrossing and BookObsessed members, but right now I'm just not very sure which one is going to grab my attention. Of course, in my next post, I'll be sure to include my progress in whichever book I'm reading. Until then...

14 hours and going strong

Bitten and Smitten by Michelle RowenThe clock just ticked over to 9pm, 14 hours into the Read-a-Thon. I'm ready to start reading chapter 16 of Bitten and Smitten, making me just a bit more than 50% of the way through the book, or approximately 210 pages into the 400 page paperback. Of course, I'm not reading the paperback edition; I'm reading it on my Kindle. I purchased from on 1 September for only $1.99. It was a special offer by Hatchette books; the price has now gone up to $5.59. I've only recently started reading PUF novels, so I figured I'd snatch it up at the special price because I knew I'd really enjoy it when I got around to it. Well, I was right. I'm really having a good time with it tonight. The downside is that the sequel—Fanged and Fabulous—is also available for the Kindle (at $5.59) and I'm very tempted to purchase and download it so I can just keep reading when I've finished Bitten and Smitten. I think I'm going to have to exercise some self-control and read one of the many books that I've promised to send to BookCrossing members instead of spending money tonight.

It's time to fill my glass, take a quick look at BookObsessed, swing by the Read-a-Thon home page, and then get back to Sarah Dearly.

Dinner-time reading

Dinner tonight was at a restaurant we'd not visited before: La Milpa in Denton. I ordered a dish whose Spanish name translates to “chicken with squash and corn” which was served with the ubiquitous rice and beans. One thing that's really nice about taking the Kindle out to dinner is that I don't have to balance the excess cutlery on the book to keep it open to the page I'm reading. Instead, I just grabbed the dish that had all the sugar and sweetener packets in it and used that to prop up the top of the Kindle. An occasional tap on the “Next Page” button and I'm making pretty good progress through my book.

Decided to read yet another Vampire novel. This time it is Bitten and Smitten by Michelle Rowen. I'm about 30% of the way into the book (location 1698 of 5666); the middle of chapter 9 (of 27). The hardcover edition has 390 pages and the Mass Market paperback has 400. So if the 5666 locations of the Kindle edition is mapped to 400 pages, then my current position is equivalent to somewhere around page 120.

I'm going to take a quick look at the Read-a-Thon home page and then get back to reading while Dear Hubby watches SEC football: Auburn vs LSU and Florida vs Mississippi State.

Hit my first dud

It's really not a dud, but I'm 47 pages into Wedding Belles by Haywood Smith and I'm just not enjoying it. Now that's a shame, because I was so thrilled to see this one on the shelf at the library and even though I knew it was going to cut into my progress reading the books that I owe to other book swappers, I eagerly checked it out and brought it home. But I'm not enjoying it. It's starting out with a much more serious tone than the previous two in Smith's “Red Hat Club” series—at least I think it's starting out more somberly. Could be that my memory is bad given the number of years since I read either of the other books.

So, I'm going to pick up my Kindle and see what speaks to me from it. I have picked up almost every free book that Amazon has offered and many freebies from other sources, so there are a lot of books to choose from and many of them are excellent titles. Since it's getting close to supper time, I'll take my Kindle to dinner and post again when I get home.

Elsewhere in the world

Participating in this 24-hour Read-a-Thon, it's very easy to get totally single-minded and do nothing but read and blog about reading. So, during this break, I'm taking a few minutes to read the blog postings from two other readers.

First up is Ruby Ramblings by fellow BookCrosser and BookObsessed member TheRubyCanary. Ruby lives in South Korea, so for her, the Read-a-Thon began at 9pm. She's already in the wee hours of the morning (6am, if I've done the math correctly) while I'm sitting here at mid-afternoon. Like me, she's finished one book and moved on to a second one.

And just for grins, I picked another “Ruby”, ruby loves adventure. Now, I've never met this Ruby—not even online—but all book lovers have this attraction to each other, don't we? Ruby2 lives in Manilla and is also in her wee morning hours as I post. She's reading fantasy books, Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer and Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone.

So! I've finished my second book, Visions of Sugar Plums, which is probably best called a novella. The story takes up 164 pages in the book, but there are 3 or 4 blank pages at the beginning of each chapter, so the number of pages actually “read” is much less. I'm moving along to book #3. Will spend a couple of minutes perusing the large number of available books to see what catches my attention. Another update in about an hour.

Read-a-Thon pause

I need a break that involves moving around! I suddenly realized that I'm doing a quick little “head nod” every few minutes and I'm not making any progress in my book. Must be due to fixing lunch during my last break and scarfing it down as I started reading Visions of Sugar Plums.

Beth Fish posted a mini-challenge asking “bet you're starting to look at your snack stash. I'm not talking meals at this hour. I'm talking about food that helps you keep reading along. So this is what I want to know. What's in your snack pile?”. My only snack is something to drink. I started with a Diet Coke first thing this morning because I like my caffeine carbonated. Then, I moved to iced tea. I'm no longer snacking—I've lost around 35 pounds since mid-April and I'm now wearing a brand new pair of trousers two sizes (TWO sizes) smaller than I was wearing in April.

Instead of snacking, I'm eating healthful meals. I started with breakfast at The Old West a local diner. Of course I read all the way to the diner, while we ate, and all the way home. I'm not fond of breakfast and one major change I made in my diet was to make sure that I eat every morning. Today I had an omelet made with egg whites & lots of veggies, one slice of dry whole wheat toast, and some fresh strawberries. For lunch, I made soup from the left-overs of last night's crock-pot chicken. I just love my immersion blender because it's so easy to concoct a decent soup from left-overs.

Eating while reading is a bit tricky, particularly soup ... while sitting on the couch. Yeah, I should have sat down at the kitchen table, but instead I brought my soup bowl and glass of iced tea back to the couch and proceeded to resume reading. I have four spots on my t-shirt from drips that didn't make it to my mouth, but I didn't spill anything on my book! Priorities, you know.

OK. I need to move around a bit so I can stay awake and then I'm going to return to Visions of Sugar Plums— page 109 of 164.

Another Read-a-Thon Update

Well, I didn't bother to read any posts at the official web site—I just plunged right into posting and reading. I've now finished reading Mark of the Lion and will put into my “To Be Mailed” stack instead of the “To Be Read” stack. But now having taken a look at the official site and the various challenges—which I'm having some trouble figuring out time frames/limits for—I see a nice meme to start off the event. Even if I'm too late in responding, it provides a good introduction:

  • Where are you reading from today?
  • 3 facts about me …
  • How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
  • Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
  • If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?

Where am I reading from today? Well, the only answer that is likely to be accurate for the entire 24 hours is “within 30 miles” of my home in Sanger, Texas. I already have the habit of reading in the car (no, I'm not driving at the time) and reading at meals, so the big difference for me today is that I'll spend much more time reading and less roaming all around the Internet.

3 facts about me … First I'm an avid and voracious reader; mostly fiction and many different genres. Second, I'd say that books constitute a big part of my leisure time. Not only do I read a lot, but the two online communities where I spend most of my time are BookObsessed and MobileRead. And the third fact I'll share right now is that I own two electronic book readers: a first generation Kindle and a Sony PRS-505. I think it's only fitting that I use both of them at some point during this 24-hour Read-a-Thon.

How many books do I have in my TBR pile for the next 24 hours?I didn't set aside any books specifically for the Read-a-Thon. There are 29 books registered at BookCrossing which I owe to various members of BookObsessed, and I will probably start one more in that stack sometime during the day. I also have a book checked out from the library that I need to read so it can be returned; 'way too many electronic books queued up on my Kindle and Sony readers; and I just received a new book from Bibliocrates which meets the suggestion to pick something short and fun to read—Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich.

Do I have any goals for the read-a-thon?My only goal is to stick with this for the full 24 hours. I'll try to spend 10 minutes or so each hour reading about reading—not only blogs associated with the Read-a-Thon, but also the fora at the two online communities I frequent.

And, since this is my first Read-a-Thon, I don't have any advice to recommend at all.

Read-a-Thon update

I'm now at page 238 in Mark of the Lion and taking a pause to update my blog and check the progress in the PUF Swap at BookObsessed. It dawned on me that I hadn't prepared my reveal for the swap and I needed to do that as well as send it via PM (personal message) to a couple of the swappers.

Mark of the Lion by Suzanne ArrudaPage 238 out of 338; roughly 70% of the way through the book. I am definitely enjoying it and quite pleased that there are 5 more in this series. The back of the book reads:

In 1919, when most women only dream of adventure, Jade del Cameron lives it. After growing up tough on a New Mexico ranch and driving an ambulance on the front lines of World War I, she can fire a rifle with deadly precision and stare down men maddened by shell shock. Still suffering trauma from the Great War, she sets off for Africa determined to fulfill a man's dying wish...

With his last breath, Jade's beloved David asked her to fine the brother he only recently learned he had. All clues point Jade to the East African city of Nairobi, where she soon has reason to belive that David's father was murdered. She hears the natives wihisper about a laibon—a witch doctor—terrorizing the land. They speak of being attacked by wild beasts that bear strange shaved patterns and bone beads in their fur—signs of animals being mystically guided by an avenging human.

In a land where tribal traditions clash with the so-called civilization of unruly British expatriates, Jade must draw upon all her ingenuity and courage to unmask the truth, expose the killer...and stay alive to fight another day.

Dewey's 24-hour Read-a-Thon

So I'm up at 7am on a Saturday, kicking off my participation in Dewey's 24-hour Read-a-Thon for October 2009. This event has been going on for some time, but I just became aware of it. In fact, I didn't even make up my mind whether I was going to take part until last night. But here I am.

24 hours? Are they kidding? OK, OK. It's a humane 24 hours. Breaks are allowed for meals and trips to the potty. As the FAQs say, the aim is "For 24 hours, we read books, post in our blogs about our reading, and visit other readers’ blogs.

I'm starting off with this kick-off post and Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda. I'm on page 134 of this mystery set in East Africa in 1916. I was pleased to discover that this is the first novel of a series. The sixth book was released in hardback this year, so assuming that I can track all of them down, I have some pleasant reading ahead. When I finish this book, it is going to Lori, a BookCrossing member who selected it from the 2004 or Later Virtual Book Box at BookObsessed.

OK. Enough blogging. On to the reading!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Roundup of 3Q books

It's hard for me to accept that 2009 is now 3/4 over. I've read 99 books so far this year compared to 105 in 2008. And, my page counts are a bit lower as well.

In July, I read 11 books— seven paperbacks, one audio book, and three electronic editions—with 3581 pages. As with previous months, the paperbacks had been offered to members of BookObsessed in swaps and VBBs (virtual book boxes). I did take time out to read two more of Janet Evanovich's zany mysteries starring Stephanie Plum: Lean Mean Thirteen and Fearless Fourteen. I had stumbled upon a special price for the Kindle edition of Lean Mean Thirteen and snatched it up. When I finished reading it, I wasn't done with Stephanie, so I used the built-in wireless connection in my Kindle to immediately purchase and download Fearless Fourteen given that the Kindle price was the same as the paperback.

August was a month in which I broke all my records for reading: 17 books and 5123 pages. August 2008 I read 15 books and December 2008 I completed 16 books. Chief reason why I read so much in August is the semi-annual conference held by SHARE. This year's Summer Conference was held in Denver and we drove up and back, giving me 4+ days to read in the car. Eleven of the books were paperbacks, two were audio CDs, and four were electronic editions.

I couldn't keep up the pace in September. We did take a trip driving from Dallas to Atlanta and then to Richmond, and I should have been able to finish at least one book, if not two, between Dallas and Atlanta, but I wound up sleeping most of the way instead of reading. And, the last two weeks of the month we were vacationing in Ireland. Although this was a “Fly-Drive” trip, I spent most of my time watching the road rather than reading. I didn't take any paper books with me to Ireland—other than the travel guides—but I did buy a couple of books. I mean, can you imagine me passing up every bookstore I passed?

Prior to leaving the USA, I had read six books and was well into the seventh which I left in Chris's car at the airport. I took my Kindle and a brand new BeBook reader with me and read on both of them the little bit of time that I took to read. I also picked up two books at a charity bookshop in Galway. I read one of them right away and took it to The Long Stone Pub in Dublin where I left it on a shelf with other BookCrossing books.

The genre breakdown shows that the bulk of my reading in the third quarter were mystery novels, 15 of the 38 boooks. Fantasy, science-fiction, and PUF books added up to 11 more. There were six of those books that I have trouble classifying, so I just call them “mainstream”, three romance/chick-lit novels, and one each adventure and historical fiction.

  • July
    1. Talk Nerdy to Me by Vicki Lewis Thompson
    2. Nessie and the Celtic Maze by Lois Wickstrom & Jean Lorrah
    3. Death by Inferior Design by Leslie Caine
    4. The Whole Truth by David Baldacci
    5. Gone with the Nerd by Vicki Lewis Thompson
    6. The Ghost and the Dead Man's Library by Alice Kimberly
    7. Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon
    8. The Ghost and the Femme Fatale by Alice Kimberly
    9. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
    10. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
    11. The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith
  • August
    1. A Summer Affair by Susan Wiggs
    2. Offspring by Steven Harper
    3. A Kiss Remembered by Sandra Brown
    4. Expendable by James Alan Gardner
    5. Naughty Neighbor by Janet Evanovich
    6. Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
    7. Vigilant by James Alan Gardner
    8. Minerva Wakes by Holly Lisle
    9. Soul Intent by Dennis Batchelder
    10. Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik
    11. What's a Ghoul to do? by Victoria Laurie
    12. A Novena for Murder by Sister Carol Anne O'Marie
    13. Demons Are a Ghoul's Best Friend by Victoria Laurie
    14. Hog Wild by Cathy Pickens
    15. Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris
    16. The Three Miss Margarets by Louise Shaffer
    17. Shaker Run by Karen Harper
  • September
    1. In the Company of Others by Julie E Czerneda
    2. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
    3. Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber
    4. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
    5. One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
    6. At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost
    7. Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur
    8. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
    9. Recipes for a Perfect Marriage by Kate Kerrgan
    10. Navajo Courage by Aimee Thurlo

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Road Trip Reading

I just love a long road trip because I have plenty of time to read. I just got home from a 10-day trip to Denver. Only four days were actually spent “on the road”, but that was plenty of time to catch up with a number of the TBR books that I’ve promised to various people at BookObsessed. From 20th through 30th of August, I read:

  • Patty Jane’s House of Curl by Lorna Landvik, a paperback owed to MsJoanna who took it out of a VBB
  • What's a Ghoul to do? by Victoria Laurie, a Kindle book that was the first in the Harper Connoly series
  • Demons Are a Ghoul's Best Friend by Victoria Laurie, second in the Harper Connoly series and owed to Riannone who won it in a PUF Swap.
  • A Novena for Murder by Sister Carol Anne O'Marie, owed to blackadder75 who took it from a VBB.
  • Hog Wild by Cathy Pickens, a really good cozy mystery which I owe to Tribefan who took it out of a VBB
  • Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris, owed to blackadder75 for the Cozy Mystery Exchange
  • The Three Miss Margarets by Louise Shaffer, a terrific mainstream novel that I owe to Spiderchic from a monthly swap
  • Shaker Run by Karen Harper, owed to LoriPed who took it from a VBB

Monday, July 13, 2009

2Q 2009 - Summary

Here's a quick roundup of the books that I read during the second quarter of 2009—April, May, and June.

April was a very average month in that I completed 9 books containings 2627 pages. Of these, there were two trilogies. Nora Robert's Sign of Seven trilogy: Blood Brothers, The Hollow, and The Pagan Stone. Jacqueline Lichtenburg's Dushau trilogy: Dushau, Farfetch, and Outreach.

Every book read in April was mass-market paperback, every one registered with BookCrossing, and every one sent to a member of BookObsessed. The Nora Roberts trilogy went to BooksnBeer, promised to her since the December 2008 YBS swap, while the Lichtenburg trilogy went to KathyB who won them in April's Series Swap. Two of Vicki Lewis Thompson's “Nerd” books were mailed to Jordanne who won them in February's YBS swap.

In May, I took a long combined business and personal trip which gave me plenty of time to read: 13 books, 4474 pages, and only one was a conventional paper book. I did “read” one book via unabridged audio CD, and the rest were electronic books loaded onto either my Kindle or Sony reader.

By June, I knew I had to buckle down and apply myself to the large stack of books which I had offered in swaps and VBBs at BookObsessed. I only completed eight books in June, with a total of 2407 pages. Half of those went to reading pals at BookObsessed, one was an unabridged audio book, and the other three were electronic books.

Breakdown by genre: 9 mysteries, 8 fantasies, 5 science-fiction, 3 PUF (paranormal & urban fiction), 2 romance/chick-lit, 1 historical fiction, 1 non-fiction, and one book that defies definition so I called it “mainstream”.

  • April
    1. Nerds Like It Hot by Vicki Lewis Thompson
    2. Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts
    3. The Hollow by Nora Roberts
    4. Dushau by Jacqueline Lichtenburg
    5. Farfetch by Jacqueline Lichtenburg
    6. Outreach by Jacqueline Lichtenburg
    7. Death of an Obnoxious Tourist by Maria Hudgins
    8. My Nerdy Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson
    9. The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts
  • May
    1. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
    2. The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday by Alexander McCall Smith
    3. Winter Study by Nevada Barr
    4. In Twilight's Shadow by Patti O'Shea
    5. Pendragon: The Merchant of Death by D J MacHale
    6. Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas
    7. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
    8. Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs
    9. Ashes to Ashes by Lillian Stewart Carl
    10. Hal Spacejock by Simon Haynes
    11. Swapping Lives by Jane Green
    12. Nessie and the Living Stone by Lois Wickstrom and Jean Lorrah
    13. Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin
  • June
    1. The Price of Silence by Kate Wilhelm
    2. HeartSick by Chelsea Cain
    3. The Art Thief by Noah Charney
    4. The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly
    5. Milford Spitz and the Very Fast Machine by James S Hoch
    6. A Betrayal in Winter by Daniel Abraham
    7. The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
    8. Nessie and the Viking Gold by Lois Wickstrom & Jean Lorrah

Thursday, June 11, 2009

BTT: Niche

This week's prompt at Booking Through Thursday, asks:

“There are certain types of books that I more or less assume all readers read. (Novels, for example.)

But then there are books that only YOU read. Instructional manuals for fly-fishing. How-to books for spinning yarn. How to cook the perfect souffle. Rebuilding car engines in three easy steps. Dog training for dummies. Rewiring your house without electrocuting yourself. Tips on how to build a NASCAR course in your backyard. Stuff like that.

What niche books do YOU read?”

Would you believe that I can't think of a thing? I read very few non-fiction books and even very few magazines. But I do read lots and lots of novels. The majority of the books that I read are mysteries (cozy and hard), science fiction, and fantasy. Actually, fantasy is a fairly new genre for me. At some time in the lost-from-memory past, I must have run across a fantasy novel that I didn't enjoy—probably a swords-and-sorcery type— and disliked it enough that I blamed the whole genre rather than that particular book. But, after encouragement at BookObsessed, I picked up a couple of recommended books and I'm now making up for lost time.

Two other genres have been added to my menu because of the folks at BookObsessed: PUF (paranormal and urban fantasy) and Historical Fiction. And, with both of these, there are a lot of very good books available from the used book stores. While I have to plop down top dollar for the newest book from Janet Evanovich or Orson Scott Card, I can satisfy myself picking up the backlist from PUF authors like Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison or historical fiction writers such as Sarah Dunant and Philippa Gregory.

So, unfortunately, while this week's Booking Through Thursday prompt didn't really apply to me and my reading, it did prod me to think about the types of books that I've been reading.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kindle: Samples

In Monday's post, I talked about how I use features of Amazon's Kindle to mark books that I might want to read in the future. While the “Save for Later” list is available, I don't find it particularly convenient since I tend to avoid using the Kindle's Whispernet to browse the Amazon bookstore. Rather, I am most comfortable browsing and shopping through my laptop and its Firefox browser.

Therefore, I currently have 51 samples on my Kindle. Once I have bought a book—or decided from the sample that I just don't want it—I delete the sample. Any samples still on my Kindle act as a reminder when I'm trying to decide what to read next. Here's a sampling of the samples on my Kindle; books that I want to buy and read. Eventually.

Blue Smoke and Murder by Elizabeth Lowell

Blue Smoke and Mirrors by Elizabeth LowellBlue Smoke and Mirrors by Elizabeth Lowell is one of the earliest samples I downloaded; well at least the earliest that hasn't been deleted. This particular book draws some of its characters from St. Kilda Consulting, a company formed by ex-military and ex-law enforcement officers who accept jobs in the shadowy world where official agencies can't operate. St. Kilda was introduced in Always Time to Die, which I read in late 2007, and pops back up in The Wrong Hostage, which I read last year. This particular series combines strongly written suspense with romantic attraction. Amazon classifies the books first as “Mystery & Thrillers” and second as “Romantic Suspense”. I don't care what they call it, it's just a genre that I enjoy, and Lowell is an author whose books I always enjoy. There's another book in this series that I should read before Blue Smoke and Mirrors, so I need to add Innocent as Sin to my wishlist.

Mysteries, Thrillers, and Suspense

There are a number of other samples of mystery novels on my Kindle—some romantic, some cozy, and some just straight mystery or thriller. Notable are:

Alpine for You by Maddy Hunter Crooked Heart by Christina Sumners Black Order by James Rollins Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Fantasy and Science Fiction

I'm a long-time fan of science fiction and have recently starting reading fantasy. There are many SF/F books that I want to read eventually, and I have the following samples on my Kindle:

Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin Undertow by Elizabeth Bear The Mirrored Heavens by David J Williams The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly Today, I completed the fourth book read in June and the fourth mystery in June. Yes, every book I've read so far has been a mystery. Therefore, I'm going to make sure to pick another genre for the next book. Year-to-date, I've read 22 mysteries—the one genre that dominates my reading list. Well, if you were to combine the science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal books, they'd add up to 23 and be just slightly ahead of mysteries.

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure had been on my wishlist for a long time before SciFisstrs sent it to me as a Boxing Day present last December. I'm fortunate that she included two others in the series and I can read more about Pen (short for Penelope) McClure, co-owner of a mystery bookshop, and Jack Shepard, the former PI and ghost who haunts her shop.

The other mysteries read thus far in June are The Price of Silence by Kate Wilhelm, Heartsick by Chelsea Cain, and The Art Thief by Noah Charney. I posted a review of Heartsick a couple of days ago, and put a very small review of The Art Thief on Goodreads.

The Price of Silence by Kate Wilhelm HeartSick by Chelsea Cain The Art Thief by Noah Charney

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Edge of the World, Kevin J Anderson

Today's Orbiteer newsletter from Orbit books carries an announcement that Kevin Anderson's first fantasy novel, The Edge of the World was released this week. And, the newsletter asked for bloggers to help promote the book by posting the widget you see below. It's my pleasure to do so—for several reasons. First, is that I have enjoyed several of Anderson's SF novels, particularly his Craig Kreident novels from the 1990s. Second, Orbit books has been very generous in offering a $1.00 e-Book each month and it's nice to have a chance to pay back the favor.

I will point out that not only is The Edge of the World available as a trade paperback, the e-Books are available for Kindle and Sony readers.


Update: 19 April 2012——Well, they've removed the video from the Internet and the widget no longer works. So I'm replacing it with a copy of the book's cover.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Books and Travel

The Library Book by Maureen SawaYou never know what you'll run across when following random links on the Internet. While reading some old blog posts, I ran across an amazing fact which I've since confirmed by a Google search.

Such was his love of learning that the scholarly grand vizier Abdul Kassem Ismael (935-995) of Persia never left home without his personal library. On his many travels as a statesman and warrior, Ismael traveled with 400 camels who carried his 117,000 volume library wherever he went. Even so, his personal librarians could locate any book almost immediately, because the animals were trained to walk in alphabetical order.

It appears that this is a true fact since it has been quoted in Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts, A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel, and The Library Book: The Story of Libraries from Camels to Computers a book for young readers by Maureen Sawa.

I wouldn't attempt to carry my entire library with me, but I never take a trip without carrying several books along. In fact, I have a small box about 10x15 inches—with books in it arranged spine up so I can see the titles—which goes into the trunk of the car when hubby and I leave the house on one of our cross-country driving trips. Right now, the box has 14 books from various genres so that I have some variety to choose from. But, the box is impractical for a trip that doesn't involve taking the car.

Enter the Kindle and Sony PRS-505 readers. Each one of these is loaded up with over 100 titles—a mixture of contemporary novels and classics. Talk about options! With a couple of SD cards, it would be possible for me to carry 117,000 titles with me just like grand vizier Abdul Kassem Ismael. It might be more difficult for me to locate a specific title because neither the Kindle nor Sony offer robust organization or "folders" for the books. If I had a laptop or netbook with me as well as the readers, then I could easily locate the book I wanted to read and push it to one of the readers. Not as good as traveling with personal librarians and camels trained to walk in alphabetical order, but I guess it beats having to feed the lot of them.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

HeartSick by Chelsea Cain

HeartSick by Chelsea CainIt took me just over four months to reach the end of this fascinating mystery suspense novel. First, one must note that I have been “reading” the unabridged audio CDs rather than a text edition. Second, I only listen to books on CD when I'm alone in the car. When there's someone else in the car (like my husband), I let him drive and I stick my nose in whatever book I'm reading at the time. Besides, he wouldn't enjoy listening to my books. On Friday, I had to drive myself to the office in town and that gave me the opportunity to listen to the ninth and last disk.

Heartsick wraps one murder investigation around another as Detective Archie Sheridan pulls together a task force to find out who is kidnapping teenage girls, murdering them, and dumping their bleach-soaked bodies around the Portland area. It's been two years since serial killer Gretchen Lowell kidnapped Archie, tortured him, and then surprisingly released him and turned herself in. Archie bears both physical and emotional scars, abusing painkillers and other prescription drugs and barely making it from day to day. But now there's a new serial killer and Archie must pull himself together if there's any hope of catching him and ending the string of murders.

Many reviewers have drawn a comparison between HeartSick and Silence of the Lambs, which I can't really address since I never read the books about Hannibal Lecter, nor saw the movies. All I know about them is from the previews I saw on television. I believe, however, that one way in which the two are similar is in the ongoing relationship between Lowell and Sheridan as he visits her prison weekly. Lowell has promised to disclose the locations where she buried other victims—some 200 or so if she is to be believed. She uses this promise as a means of manipulating Archie—continuing her sadistic torture even though she is securely incarcerated. Archie feels, however, that he's the only one who will get this information from her and she might even be able to give him some insight into the mind of the newest serial killer he's tracking.

In addition to the law enforcement professionals and psychologists on the task force, a young reporter, Susan Ward, has been assigned to follow Archie around and profile the processes that he goes through to track down and apprehend this murderer. The current investigation is intermingled with flashbacks to Archie's own torture and suffering, tying the two cases together. Relationships are also intertwined.

This was a fascinating suspense novel, and I'm particularly glad to discover that there is a sequel available today and a third in the series will be released in September. I'm putting Sweetheart and Evil at Heart on my wishlist.

Heartsick is available in a Kindle edition, hardcover, mass market paperback, and audio download as well as the CD edition I read.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Book swapping -- an update

I am an active member of a group of book swappers who hang out in an online forum at BookObsessed, which means that there is a constant flow of books into and out of this house. Yesterday's mail brought a real bonanza from fellow swapper CdnBlueRose.

The first books I pulled from the package were #2, 3, and 4 in Alan F. Troop's “Dragon DelaSangre” series. When CdnBlueRose offered these in the October 2008 SFF swap, she apologized that she could not include the first book in the series. Since I was thrilled with the description of the books, I told her not to worry because I was sure I could find a copy of book #1 somewhere. And, I did. I bought the Kindle edition of The Dragon DelaSangre on 28 October 2008, and read it in January 2009.

The Dragon DelaSangre by Alan F Troop Dragon Moon by Alan F Troop The Seadragon's Daughter by Alan F Troop A Host of Dragons by Alan F Troop

The saga starts with The Dragon DelaSangre. From its back cover:

For centuries, they have lived among us.

A secret race as old as time, they have inspired our greatest legends, our grimmest fairy tailes, and our grandest nightmares. Changelings by day and slayers at dark, they call themselves People of the Blood. Mankind calls them Dragons. But few have survived to this day and none have stepped forward to tell their story. Until now.

The Dragon DelaSangre speaks

Here at last are the private confessions of one Peter DelaSangre...of his isolated youth on an island off the coast of Miami...of the pleasures he finds in fortune, fine art, and music, and the hunt for human prey...of his lonely balancing act between the worlds of humans and Dragons, neither of which feels like home...and of the overwhelming need that will finally give his life purpose: to find a female of his own kind.

Dragon Moon is the second book in the series and continues the story of Peter DelaSangre. The back cover of Dragon Moon reads:

The confessions of the Dragon DelaSangre continue....

Four long, lonely years have passed since the murder of Peter DelaSangre's beloved wife. Although he is devoted to caring for their young son, Peter longs for a mate, someone to fill the void left by his wife's death. But only one female can satisfy his deepest desire: Chloe Blood, the younger sister of his dead wife. Intending to claim her as his bride, Peter travels to the wilds of Jamaica and settles on a lush tropical estate, where he plans to bide his time until Chloe comes of age.

But there are those who do not take kindly to Peter's arrival. And they will stop at nothing to make sure that Peter doesn't leave Jamaica alive.

Third in the series is The Seadragon's Daughter. It's back cover tells of another dragon race:

For three years, Peter DelaSangre and his beloved Chloe have lived in peace, nurturing their young children in relative happiness—until people begin to disappear from boats and islands off the coast of Miami. Rumors from the mainland force all eyes onto their private island retreat. But something more threatening than mere unwanted attention lurks in the watery depths surrounding the DelaSangres, waiting for the opportune moment to strike.

Suddenly, a mysterious young female appears near Peter's island. Her name is Lorrel. She is part of a sea-dwelling dragon race thought extinct for decades. And despite her seeming innocence, she will force Petre to confront his family's cold, dark past, and his own vulnerability—and threaten to separate him from his loved ones forever....

The fourth and last—at least for now—book in the series is A Host of Dragons. The back cover piques my interest, saying:

Two years have passed since Peter DelaSangre's return to his secluded island home. And although his wife remains cold and jealous about the seductive seadragon who took him away, life is peaceful there. That is, until a strange sailboat carrying twelve mysterious foreigners docks nearby. Soon Peter's daughter has been kidnapped, his ancestral archives have been ransacked, and a massive, sinister corporation called Oudere Raad has set out to destroy the family fortune.

It is only a matter of time before Peter discovers the frightening truth tying these events together. And the visitors, led by his most formidable opponent yet, have come on a mission....

Heart of Stone by C E Murphy Next was a book which I won in last November's Fantasy swap, Heart of Stone by C. E. Murphy. Turns out that it is the first of a trilogy, so I have even more to look forward to. The blurb on the back of the book says:

Okay, so jogging through Central Park after midnight wasn't a bright idea. But Margrit Knight thought she'd encounter a dark new world filled with magical beings—not to mention a dying woman and a mysterious stranger with blood on his hands. Her logical, lawyer instincts told her it couldn't all be real—but she could hardly deny what she'd seen...and touched.

The mystery man, Alban, was a gargoyle. One of the fabled Old Races who had hidden their existence for centuries. Now he was a murder suspect, and he needed Margrit's help to take the heat off him and find the real killer. And as the dead pile up, it's a race against the sunrise to clear Alban's name and keep them both alive....

Interestingly, prior to joining this online group, I rarely read fantasy novels and hadn't read any of the paranormal fantasy or paranormal romances that are so popular (and prevalent) these days. The first paranormal book that I read was Dead Until Dark, the first in Charlaine Harris's “Southern Vampire Mysteries” series starring Sookie Stackhouse. This series has been made into a television series on HBO called True Blood. I'm struggling to stay a bit ahead of the series, but that's probably a good subject for a future blog post. The first paranormal book that I swapped was Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews. I sent it to BooksnBeer and in return, I received Staying Dead from Xeyra.

Predator by Patricia Cornwell And last, but definitely not least, CdnBlueRose included an extra book for me which she selected from my wishlist: Predator by Patricia Cornwell. This is the fourteenth book in Cornwell's mystery series starring forensic examiner Dr Kay Scarpetta. When I finish reading this one, there are still two more books for me to get and enjoy. And, since J has started reading the series, I will pass this book along to her before I swap it to someone else.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

BTT: Sticky

Over at Booking Through Thursday, Laura posted this week's prompt: “This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”

Well, well. This isn't going to be easy, because I tend to forget details shortly after I finish the last page of a book. I'll remember whether I liked it or not and I may remember the basic theme or plot, but I'm not going to be able to give a detailed summary even a day or two after I've finished reading the book. I'm sure that even after I list fifteen books, there are going to be many others that are more deserving to be tagged as “unforgettable”.

  1. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  2. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
  3. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
  4. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  6. A Severed Wasp by Madeleine L'Engle
  7. The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  8. Full of Grace by Dorothea Benton Frank
  9. The Harrad Experiment by Robert H. Rimmer
  10. Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott
  11. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
  12. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  13. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  14. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  15. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Whew! Did it. And, that's it until next week's Booking Through Thursday.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Kindle: Save For Later

In my wishlist post, I mentioned the “Save for Later” list unique to the Kindle. You can only add books to this list or remove them through the Kindle's network connection to Amazon's Kindle Store. Because it's rare for me to spend much time with the antenna turned on, I don't use this option very often, but it may be interesting to see what I've put onto my list.

Total Control by David BaldacciThe first two books I added to my list were by David Baldacci—Total Control and Saving Faith. (Yes, I know that these links go to the paperback edition pages at Amazon instead of the Kindle editions, but then I figure that there are fewer Kindle users than simply readers and the Kindle users can follow the on-page link to the Kindle version.) The very first book I read on my Kindle was Stone Cold, which I selected because I had just finished reading its predecessor, The Collectors in paperback. My thoughts were that the first book should be one that I was really interested in and which I was totally committed to reading. That way, if I wasn't happy with the reading experience, it would more likely be due to the device than the book.

Next, I added all three of the “Acorna's Children” trilogy: First Warning, Second Wave, and Third Watch. This series by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth A. Scarborough follows the adventure of Acorna's twins Korii and Ariin as they travel—through time and space—trying to find the cause of a plague that's endangering galactic civilization and its cure. Since I had already read the first two books in the series in paperback, I didn't want to buy the Kindle editions right away. But, when I get ready to read the third one, I'll buy all three and read them in order. That will provide a nice reminder of what happens leading up to the last book.

Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth MoonAnd, since I'm such a fan of science fiction, I quickly added all of Elizabeth Moon's “Vatta's War” series. I've particularly enjoyed reading this series since I discovered the first book in 2004. It's now up to five books and I've only read the first two, so there's a lot of enjoyment there once I purchase and download the rest of the series, if not all of it. I read Trading in Danger in 2004 and Marque and Reprisal in 2005. That leaves Engaging the Enemy, Command Decision, and Victory Conditions. And, by the time I finish reading those, perhaps there will be another in the series.

The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian A long time went by before I put any more books on my “Save for Later” list—after all, I just didn't turn on the antenna all that often, and then only to allow book purchases to be transmitted to the Kindle. But, there were occasions when I would not only fire up the antenna, but also view Amazon Kindle's Blog via the Kindle Daily Post link in the Kindle Storefront on the device. And, sometimes I'd see a book that looked particularly interesting and would add the book to my “Save for Later” list. That can explain why I have The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch on my list.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Cheap is good; free is better

It's a new month and there are new specials available for eBook readers. (And I use “readers” to mean both the people and the devices that they use.) Over at the Dear Author blog, I found a notice that Warner Forever—an imprint of Hachette Book Group which publishes romance titles—is offering several titles at the special price of $1.99 during the summer. Four titles are available in June and can be found at the discounted price in both the and Sony eBook stores.

If you are into romance novels, check out one or more of these titles:

  • A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore
  • My Wicked Enemy by Carolyn Jewel
  • Between the Sheets by Robin Wells
  • Too Far Gone by Marliss Melton

A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore My Wicked Enemy by Carolyn Jewel Between the Sheets by Robin Wells Too Far Gone by Marliss Melton

And Orbit Books (another imprint of the Hachette Book Group) is offering one title every month for only $1. June's book is Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan. I'll probably pick that one up, but may wait just a bit. After all, for a couple of days, Amazon sold the May book—Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin—for $0.00. If I can pick up this month's book for free, I'm not too proud to click the “Buy Now with 1-Click” button.

Of the 156 books I have purchased for my Kindle from, 82 of them were free and 21 more were under $2.00. And these were not classics and out-of-copyright books such as those I downloaded from MobileRead, the majority of them were current-release titles whose publishers were offering for free as a promotion—usually to get readers to start into a series and like it so much they'll buy the rest.

For Love of Mother-Not by Alan Dean Foster Last night I picked up two more free books for my Kindle from, and snagged the same two titles from Sony's eBook store for my Sony PRS 505. The first was For Love of Mother-Not by Alan Dean Foster. This book is the fifth in Foster's “Pip & Flinx” series, but it is the first in the chronology. It was written as a prequel to fill in some—but not all—of Flinx's background. Starting with The Tar-Aiym Krang in 1972, the series has finally come to a conclusion with the publication of the fourteenth book, Flinx Transcendent, which wraps up all the storylines that fans have been following for over 30 years. All fourteen books in the series are available for the Kindle, which is great news. Not only do I want to read the end of the series, but I'd like to start over and read it all the way through.

Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold! by Terry Brooks The second book I picked up for free was Magic Kingdom for Sale—Sold, the first book in the Magic Kingdom of Landover series. Originally published in 1986, it's clear that this freebie is being offered as a tie-in to the forthcoming publication of the sixth book in August 2009. Right now, only the first and third books are available in a Kindle edition. I'm hoping that by the time A Princess of Landover is released in August, the rest of the series will be available in electronic editions in the various eBook stores.