Saturday, February 26, 2011

K3 - and a green cover

Did I mention that I upgraded from the Kindle 1 to a Kindle 3? During the two and a half years that I used my first generation Kindle, 93 of the 351 books that I read during that time were read on the Kindle. I was totally happy with the K1 and was not even tempted when Amazon brought out the 2nd generation. But then came the announcement of the third generation reader which had WiFi connectivity and I knew I wanted it. I only thought about it for a very short while before making up my mind. On 1 August 2010, I placed my order for one of the new 3G + WiFi Kindles—in black!

To top it off, I bought one of the lighted covers in green. It's wonderful. The light pulls out of the top corner of the cover, and it draws its power from the Kindle itself. So when I fall asleep while reading and the Kindle puts itself into stand-by mode, the light turns off too. Now that's convenient for reading in bed.

The Outsider by Ann H Gabhart The first book I read on my new device was The Outsider by Ann H Gabhart. This was a freebie offered in July 2010 by the publisher, Revell. This book was very well written—a good plot, believable characters, and a great setting—unlike many of the free books that I have picked up along the way. Here's how the book is described at Amazon:

For as long as she can remember, Gabrielle Hope has had the gift of knowing—visions that warn of things to come. When she and her mother joined the Pleasant Hill Shaker community in 1807, the community embraced her gift. But Gabrielle fears this gift, for the visions are often ones of sorrow and tragedy. When one of these visions comes to pass, a local doctor must be brought in to save the life of a young man, setting into motion a chain of events that will challenge Gabrielle's loyalty to the Shakers. As she falls deeper into a forbidden love for this man of the world, Gabrielle must make a choice. Can she experience true happiness in this simple and chaste community? Or will she abandon her brothers and sisters for a life of the unknown? Soulful and filled with romance, The Outsider lets readers live within a bygone time among a unique and peculiar people. This tender and thought-provoking story will leave readers wanting more from this writer.

The reviewer made an excellent observation. When I finished reading it, I knew that I would be getting additional books by Ms. Gabhart at some time in the future.

Flag in Exile by David Weber Since finishing The Outsider in September 2010, I have read 10 other books on the new Kindle. The most recently finished book was Flag in Exile by David Weber. This is the fifth book in his Honor Harrington series, all of which can be purchased without DRM from WebScription.net

As Flag in Exile begins, Honor has been forced into indefinite leave from the Royal Manticoran Navy and has retreated to the planet Grayson to take up her role as Steadholder while she tries to heal her bitter wounds. But the People's Republic of Haven is threatening Grayson, and the Grayson Navy desperately needs her experience.

There's this little problem however, that Grayson is a culture totally dominated by men. The population has been having enough trouble accepting that for the first time in history, a woman has been appointed Steadholder. Now, they're being asked to adjust to the fact that a woman will be going to war and will be leading the defense of Grayson.

A totally enjoyable addition to the Honorverse, and I've already started reading the sequel, Honor Among Enemies.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Blooger Hop: 25-28 February 2011

Book Blogger Hop It's definitely time that I returned to participation in the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books. Her question of the week comes from Jen B. who blogs at I Read Banned Books

Jen's question asks, “Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?”

I have to say that I'm very happy with the title I finally settled on. “Reading in Texas” is definitely appropriate. Of course, should I ever move, it would no longer apply and I'd have to think about changing the title. Fortunately, the URLs which lead to my blog do not contain the word “Texas” so it would be pretty easy to change the title at the top of the page!

It appears to me that most of the hoppers share my answer—they like the title of their blogs. Now that I've posted about the Hop, it's time to go bound around the blogosphere and see what other reader-bloggers have been reading.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

BTT: Something Old, Something New

Booking Through Thursday logoIt's Thursday, so that means it's time for another Booking Through Thursday prompt. This week, bloggers are asked:

All other things being equal–do you prefer used books? Or new books? (The physical speciman, that is, not the title.) Does your preference differentiate between a standard kind of used book, and a pristine, leather-bound copy?

I'm basically cheap. I prefer used books—second-hand, half-price, BookMooched, and swapped. Most books I'm only going to read one time, so if I read a used book, it has cost me quite a bit less. And, because I actively swap books, I pass along my books (after reading) to someone else.

When searching for the right link to use to Amazon's used book Marketplace, Google took me to a lot of sites—including Amazon—with information on selling and buying used textbooks. Which started me thinking about my textbooks back when I was a student. I always bought a new book if it was available, and I tried to sell my books back to the bookstore, griping about how little they were willing to pay me for my book. When it came to textbooks, I really didn't want any else's notes, highlighting, or underlining taking my attention from the text itself. And, I rarely marked in my books, so whomever was lucky enough to buy one of my second-hand ones got a good deal indeed.

I have a couple of books that I have tagged as “Permanent Collection“, but I haven't purposely bought brand-new books just because I plan on keeping them. The basic consideration is the condition of the book. And, I'm counting on being able to find another copy if I ever need to replace one of those books.

As I commented when I posted this link over at Booking Through Thursday, “For me, it’s all about the story, not the package that the story is in. I buy used in preference to new, and electronic if that’s cheaper than used.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WWW...Wednesday: 23 February 2011

WWW_Wednesdays icon It's been a month since I last posted a response to MizB's WWW ... WEDNESDAY meme from her Should be Reading blog. She asks three simple questions:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

1:  Yesterday morning, I started reading No One You Know by Michelle Richmond. When I headed to bed last night, I was just starting Chapter 10. Note that these are short chapters, and there are 40 of them in 306 pages. I expect I'll finish this book on Thursday or Friday. On my Blackberry, I'm now reading Honor Among Enemies by David Weber, the sixth novel in his Honor Harrington series of military SF. I sporadically read on my Blackberry, so I can't predict whether it will take me months and months to finish this book or whether I'll get so wrapped up in it that I finish it off quickly. And, in audio, I'm still listening to Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn. I'm now ready to start listening to disk 8 the next time I must drive myself around.

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond Honor Among Enemies by David Weber Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn

2:  There's no point in listing all the books which I have finished reading since my last WWW...Wednesday post. I keep the list of books read in 2011 up-to-date, serving as a reminder to me as well as anyone who follows this blog. These are the four books which I most recently read: Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley; The Second Wife by Elizabeth Buchan; Cruel Intent by J A Jance; and Trial By Fire by J A Jance. The first two are books which I have promised to book swappers at BookObsessed, and the other two are books #4 and #5 in Jance's mystery series starring Ali Reynolds. I'm sure I'll wind up sending them to a BookObsessor or BookCrosser, but it was quite fun to read a book just because I wanted to and not because it was owed to someone.

Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley The Second Wife by Elizabeth Buchan Cruel Intent by J A Jance Trial By Fire by J A Jance

3:  Next up most likely will be Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler or High Stakes by Erin McCarthy. Both are the first book of a series and I do have at least one other book in each series so if I'm totally entranced I can keep reading about the same characters. I'm sort of leaning toward High Stakes because I think it's going to be a lot more light-hearted and I may really need some cheering up after I finish reading No One You Know

Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler High Stakes by Erin McCarthy

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: 22 February 2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. My teaser today comes from page 30 in No One You Know by Michelle Richmond. I'm not far enough into the book to even describe it—other than repeating the blurb from the back cover. I can tell you, however, that while it is a novel about a murder, it isn't a typical mystery novel at all.

My mother was always supportive, and nothing would have pleased her more than to have many fronts on which to praise me. But while Lila's intellectual gifts made her a magnet for spontaneous and genuine praise, I knew our mother had to work a little harder with me.

No One You Know by Michelle Richmond From the back cover:

All her life Ellie Enderlin had been known as Lila’s sister—until the day Lila, a top math student at Stanford, was murdered, and the shape of their family changed forever. Twenty years later, Ellie is a professional coffee buyer who has never put down roots. When, in a chance meeting, she comes into possession of the notebook that Lila carried everywhere, Ellie returns home to finally discover the truth about her sister’s death—a search that will lead her to Lila’s secret lover, to the motives and fate of a man who profited from their family’s grief, and ultimately to the deepest secrets even sisters keep from each other. From the bestselling author of The Year of Fog (“Highly recommended [for fans of] authors like Jodi Picoult and Jacquelyn Mitchard.”—Library Journal, starred review), this is a riveting family drama about loss, love, and the way hope redefines our lives—a novel at once heartbreaking, provocative, and impossible to put down.

Anyone can play along on Teaser Tuesday! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Reviews: The Gideon Trilogy by Linda Buckley-Archer

The Gideon Trilogy tells the story of two young teens, Peter Schock and Kate Dyer, who are catapulted back to the 18th century due to a chance encounter with an anti-gravity machine. The first book, The Time Travelers, is set both the present and 1763. Fortunately, upon arrival in the past the teens are befriended by Gideon Seymour, a reformed cutpurse now in service to the Byng family of Derbyshire. As The Time Travelers ends, Kate's father has located the kids and attempts to bring them home—unfortunately, Peter is left behind.

Book two, The Time Thief, begins as Kate and her father return to the present, but instead of Peter being with them, they brought back the Tar Man, a criminal from 1763. While the Tar Man quickly adjusts to modern-day London and embarks on a crime-spree, Kate and Peter's father attempt to return to 1763 to rescue Peter. But, a flaw in the time machine deposits them in 1792, in which they encounter a grown-up Peter.

The final book, The Time Quake, ties up the lost ends. Not only is Peter rescued from 1793 and returned to his own time and family, but we learn that due to splintering of the time line, another version of Peter remains behind to grow into the young man who encounters Kate and his father in 1792.

I don't remember when I picked up a copy of The Time Travelers, but in June, I offered it in the Teen VBB (Virtual Book Box) at BookObsessed and in August, it was selected by Melissa in Kansas. Although the rules of the VBB allowed me until 28 February to get it into the mail to her, I decided to deliver it in person in December. That did, however, mean that I hadn't finished reading it before I turned it over to her. So, I asked my library to locate a copy—which they very quickly did—allowing me to finish reading it before the end of the year. Having such success with the library, I had them order in the other two books in the trilogy, and I was able to finish the series by the end of January.

The two books which I read in January are counting toward the TwentyEleven Challenge as well as the 42 Challenge.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Beginnings, 18 Feb 2011

Book Beginnings on Friday is a bookish meme sponsored by Katy at A Few More Pages. Here's what you do: share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments section . Include the title and author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you are so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and if you liked or did not like that sentence. Link-up each week at Katy's place.

I'm currently reading The Second Wife by Elizabeth Buchan. It begins:

On my Wedding day, I got dressed in a red silk full skirt, to hide my ten-weeks pregnant figure, and a black jacket. For a considerable time I hovered in front of the mirror in the cramped bedroom of my flat, fiddling with the lie of the skirt, adjusting my makeup and wishing I could wear high heels, but pregnancy made my feet hurt.

In January, 2004, I read Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Buchan. It's the story of Rose, a 40-ish woman whose husband leaves her just as she is fired from her job. Turns out her assistant Minty gets both the job and the husband. The "revenge" in the title referred to Rose's transformation from depression to a competent and confidently independent woman.

Now, in The Second Wife, Buchan continues the story of the fractured family, but from the point of view of the other woman, Minty.

It must have been a real challenge to write Minty as deserving of sympathy and admiration when she was so clearly the villain in the earlier book—self-centered and calculating. But Buchan carries it off deftly. Don't just read one of these books—read them both.

Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan The Second Wife by Elizabeth Buchan

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 Challenges: the first update

So, six weeks into this new year, how much progress have I been making on the challenges that I accepted? While I don't post enough items to the blog itself, I am doing a pretty good job in keeping the challenges status page up to date.

Starting with the first challenge that I accepted—TwentyEleven Challenge—you can see that I have completed two categories completely, meaning that I've read four of the twenty required books.

For the 42 Challenge, while I have completed 6 of 42 items, I have written reviews of only one. I need to buckle down and get those reviews written and posted either here or elsewhere so that I can cross them off my “to do” list.

The same situation exists with the Mystery and Suspense Challenge. Knowing that I would read many more than the target of 12 books, I extended the challenge a bit by charging myself to read and report on 12 books that fall into separate sub-genres. So, while I've read a total of 6 mysteries this year, only 4 of them will be counted toward this particular challenge. And yes, I need to get all the reviews posted.

Now where I'm making the most progress is in the Book Bucket Reading Challenge—where I'm attempting to work my way through books that were in my possession long before the year began. So far, I've completed 8 of the 50 books that I listed in late December. All-in-all, I'd say I'm making progress toward this goal and I definitely expect to complete the challenge well before the end of the year.

That leaves me with a couple of challenges that I haven't made much progress toward. The one that I think is going to give me the most trouble is the Take A Chance Challenge. Not only have I not read any books for this challenge, I've not even begun to make plans for adding any books into my reading schedule which would count toward this goal. Oh well, the year is young. I have a road trip coming up at the beginning of March, and I know I'll get a lot of reading done then. I'll just need to find one or two books which will help me meet this challenge and put them into my traveling library.