cathepsut: (book hand)
[personal profile] cathepsut
Here is my Books Read List for safekeeping, so I have it somewhere else besides my PC. Lost it before, when my computer died on me. I used to have it on BC, but lost it there for a while as well, when the website was redone.

I'm behind with my reading challenge for this year, but I have now read one book more than in the total of 2010, so it's not bad. I would be a lot further along, if I didn't read so much fanfic in between. But it's too much fun not to.

my read booklist with links behind cut for safekeeping )
cathepsut: (book hand)
[personal profile] cathepsut
A few months ago I found this very useful website for tracking book series. It's called FictFact. I always had this hassle of keeping track of all the series I read, when the next book will be out and what it'll be called. This website does it for you. You search for your series, follow them and then within each series mark off which books you have read, which ones are to be read, what you want to skip and so on. The website will then tell you which book in the series you should read next (if you are so inclined to do it by order) or will inform you when the next book comes out. Makes my life very easy. Currently I have 18 series listed and it's sweet, no more trawling through Amazon or the Internet, trying to figure out on my own, when and what.... On each page listing a series the site will also recommend similar books at the bottom of the page, which so far I have ignore, I really don't need to find more stuff to get hooked on.

In an effort to diversify my reading a bit and get away from all those vampires, werewolves, witches and whatnot, I have followed a recommendation from my mum and got a copy of A Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt. At first I was not interested. The woman is married to Paul Auster, sounded way too artistic and heavy to me. But, praise be Kindle, I got a free sample of the first chapter and actually enjoyed it. And Amazon in Germany is having a summer promotion and reduced ebook prices on a lot of books. So this is now at the top of my summer reading pile.

Then I got sucked in. Part of the promo on the German Amazon site were three pages of book below or around 1 Euro. I trawled through those three pages and ended up buying all this:
(prices are all back up now, must have been my lucky day)

Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster -- I figured I might as well have a go at him and see what he's all about. The synopsis sounded interesting.

Open Season by C.J. Box -- mystery set in the woods of Wyoming, sounds nicely wacky.

Mercenaries by Jack Ludlow -- historic adventure, set in Normandy before the conquest of Britain. Not really sure about this one, we will see.

Blood Ninja by Nick Lake -- ok, ok, I said I wanted to get away from my usual stuff, but who could say no to blood sucking ninjas in feudal Japan? Amazon lists this under children's books, hadn't noticed when I bought it. Hopefully it's YA, the subject doesn't really sound appropriate for little kids.

The Harlot's Press by Helen Pike -- This is more the kind of book my mum would read. Historic novel set in Britain in the early 19th century, royalty, intrigue, drama, I would be very surprised if the heroine didn't meet a mysterious, darkly handsome stranger at some point...

Ill Wind by Rachel Caine -- first book of a series that has been on my wishlist for a long time, so I had to get it. Qualifies as Urban Fantasy I guess.

Does Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Questions (New Scientist) -- "New Scientist"'s 'Last Word' celebrates all questions - the trivial, the idiosyncratic, the baffling and the strange. This selection of the best is popular science at its most entertaining and enlightening. -- sounded nicely silly and who doesn't want to know how long you can live on beer alone?

End of shopping spree!
cathepsut: (vampire cape)
[personal profile] cathepsut
I just transferred my Kindle account from amazon.com to amazon.de. I noticed the German mirror site a few days ago, not sure how long it's been there. I hope I won't regret it. There seems to be a lot of content in English. All my settings moved as well, I just lost my Kindle wishlist. But I didn't have too many books on it, so it was a quick job to find those books again and create a new ebook wishlist. So far, so good.

I just pre-ordered Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris. Delivery date 3rd of May. I hope I can get it straight away at midnight... The price finally dropped from an outrageous 23 dollars something to slightly over 16 dollars. In the German Kindle shop I save a few cents, but that'll probably vary with the exchange rate. The ebook is 1 Euro more than the paperback. I can live with that!

***

Finally finished last night, just in time for Sookie:

Sovereign (Matthew Shardlake, #3)Sovereign by C.J. Sansom

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Mysterious things are afoot in the town of York. A conspiracy of major proportions is tucked away somewhere.

As usual with Sansom, the story is alive with the sounds and smells of Tudor England. Descriptions are excellent. It's easy to get immersed into his world, you can almost feel, taste and especially smell it.

Page 122: "We walked to Stonegate as the sun rose up and the city came to life, keeping under the eaves as people opened their windows and threw the night's piss into the streets."

There is a surprising amount of swearing going on for historical novels.

When I read his books, it always makes me sad to contemplate how many beautiful things Henry VIII destroyed with his dissolution.

I keep jumping back to the computer to read up on historic events and characters mentioned in the books, it's always a very educational experience for me.

The whole question of succession regarding Richard III, the princes in the tower and the War of the Roses has always confused me a lot and now I get something else confusing thrown into the mix.

Some further reading that contains spoilers -- I suggest not looking at this until you have read the book:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_IV_o...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_%...
http://www.york.ac.uk/ipup/projects/york...

The last 200 pages dragged on a bit for me. At times Sansom's books seem to be a little too cosy, until the next twist hits you and the plot moves back to nail biting suspense.

***

Gave up:

A Taste of Crimson (Crimson City, #2)A Taste of Crimson by Marjorie M. Liu

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Giving up on this one. I made it to page 80 with several stops and starts.

I do not like the vague SF setting. It bothered me already in the first book -- it's hinted at, but not really explored and somehow it feels confined and claustrophobic to me. I know, sounds stupid, but I don't know how else to explain it.

And that the two main characters suddenly decide that they are soul mates and in love with each other after they have just met and barely exchanged any words -- it could work and it has in other books I've read -- here it just feels silly.

Not for me. Perhaps it would have grown on me after another 100 pages, but I'd rather read something I enjoy from the start...

Book Nook

Feb. 5th, 2011 11:54 am
cathepsut: (book hand)
[personal profile] cathepsut
The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, #1)The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

*a little spoilery*

I didn't like it and I'm trying to figure out why. It has all the usual ingredients of Urban Fantasy. Strong heroine has something pivotal happening to her, turns into Superwoman and proceeds to kick some ass, with some porn thrown in.

It lacks the usual critters, there are no vampires, werewolves, other shifters or witches of any kind. It's good against evil or rather light against dark. Here is where she started to loose me. What are the evil dudes actually doing that makes them so evil? There is mentioning of some criminal activity, but it's just run-of-the-mill kidnapping and burglary (I think, it's all fading rapidly from memory--this could actually have been fun if she had elaborated on it). Surely for that you do not need to be an evil hell spawn.

Where do the bad and good guys come from, why are they fighting each other... Somehow it all seems so purposeless. Even the superbad Tulpa, evil boss of the dark, was just meh.

And in every town are 12 warriors for the Light and 12 for the Dark forces... Really? Isn't that a bit silly and overly contrived? Oh, and the moment where I rolled my eyes and started the speed-reading to get through this quicker: Comic books as manuals on how it all works.

I just thought the premise of the book and the plot were silly, sorry. Other people thought this book was great, so don't let me stop you...

eReaders

Jan. 31st, 2011 10:53 pm
cathepsut: (sony ereader)
[personal profile] cathepsut
I have played with my eReaders for about a week now and here is what I think so far:

Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600

I like the touch screen, although it feels pretty unresponsive compared to my iPhone.
The way it displays pdf-files is very good.
It's pretty versatile with different ebook formats.
You can change the font size in 5 steps.

You can't use the Sony store without an address in the US. But there are plenty of other sites where you can get books and with Calibre uploading and organising them it is pretty painless.

There are a lot of features I have not tried out yet. Bookmarks, dictionary feature, note taking and so on.

Contrast is not very good and the glare is an absolute bitch. With direct light all you see is the lights or yourself. If you tilt it at the right angle or read with indirect lighting, it's ok.

The glare is the reason why this reader will probably end up on ebay. This weekend. Maybe.


Kindle 3 with WiFi

So far I like it a lot. The e-ink is indeed fabulous, there is no glare and it almost looks like real paper. It is light, it is flat, the buttons to turn pages are in a comfortable position. I like the options to not only change the font size, but also line spacing and word density in a line. Connection to the Kindle store is quick and book downloads are practically instantaneous. The keys are a little small, but useable.

Text-to-spech sounds very artificial, but it's a nice idea.
Web browsing is ok, although it froze up once when I tried facebook.

The only thing I do not like at the moment: the way pdf-files are displayed. My Sony Touch does that better.

I would buy it again, it's a great little machine. If it had touch capabilities, it would be out of this world.

Only drawback: I can only shop at Amazon. But I mostly buy there anyway.


I am now contemplating to get the Sony Touch PRS-650, it has the same e-ink technology as the Kindle and it would give me access to all those other book formats that I can not read with the Kindle. Not that I really need two eReaders... I could place a low bid on eBay and see if I get lucky. And if I do not get lucky until this summer and I still want the reader, I could ask a friend to buy it for me in the US and bring it with her (much cheaper than here). Probably a stupid idea.

Book Nook

Jan. 28th, 2011 01:45 am
cathepsut: (book hand)
[personal profile] cathepsut
On the ProwlOn the Prowl by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally caved in and got the precursor to the Alpha & Omega novels. My excuse is that I wanted to try out my new eReader. And as expected I really liked the first story, although I already roughly knew what to expect from the story. I guess that is the nice thing about book series. You make friends and it's familiar and nice to meet them again.

The second story by Eileen Wilks was pretty good as well. Interesting idea of the borders between realms breaking down and talents emerging. The heroine should appeal to fans of Patricia Briggs or Carrie Vaughn. There were some odd changes in tenses a few times, throwing me off. But the plot and characters made up for it.

I read two books in the Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance, so the world in the third story was not new to me. The story was ok, but did not really captivate me. Until the ending, that was unexpected and fun. But all in all the story lacked a red thread. The ending didn't feel as if it belonged.

Story number four was supposed to be great for fans of Laurell K Hamilton, if the blurb is to be trusted. But believe me, Anita Blake this was not. Neither early nor late Anita. The style felt antiquated and stuffy, the sex was lacklustre, it felt like a summary of another book and you were fiercly hit over the head with an ad for the next book in the series. I skimmed this very quickly.

So, #1 was nice and comfortable, #2 might be a potential new author for me. #3 was ok, but nothing great. #4 did nothing for me.

(PS: Read as a .pdf on the Sony Reader Touch)

***

In other new my WLAN router arrived today! Took me about an hour to set it all up. The stick was plug and play, very simple. For the box I followed the instructions on the CD and ended up with the router plugged in between the modem and the PC. Some head scratching followed and some swearing at the screen, then I unplugged the whole thing and connected the router to my modem and it worked 5 minutes later. I happily pulled that nasty network cable from above the footboard and around my kitchen door. Much better! I need to buy something to plug up all the holes the nails left behind.

My iPhone is insanely fast connected to the net by WiFi and I could finally register my Kindle. Downloaded a book preview from the Kindle store and it was pretty much instant delivery. I'm a happy camper! I really like the Kindle. But I'm pretty sure I will keep the Sony as well. The glare is a bitch, but I realised that .pdf-files display much better on the Sony. Plus I found some sites were books are cheaper than on Amazon.

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