March 27, 2009
I decided to get an e-book reader because my bookshelves are stuffed. Surprisingly, this is not as fun as it sounds. I was also sick of trying to keep track of which books I own, which I got from the library after a series went hardcover, and which books are only available in the dreaded trade paper format that I have such an irrational dislike of. And finally, my library is a bit limited and my nearest bookstore is slower than dirt when it comes to stocking new genre novels. I love being able to buy and immediately start reading a new book, even if it’s 11:30 pm, raining cats and dogs, and I’m in my PJs.
September 4, 2008
- Like many things associated with hotels, the internet access is a rip-off. And even if I’d decided to pay for it, I doubt if I would have had the time or inclination to post.
- There are tons of those little “Free Sample Chapter” books floating around. That’s nice, but it’s going to take forever for me to get through them because I’m hardly going to prioritize reading a collection of teaser chapters over everything else on my plate. The one complete book I got for free went straight into my “read soon” pile, even though it doesn’t sound like something I’d be into.
- You need to line up early even for some of the book-related panels or else you’ll end up 6 people behind the last person that fits through the door.
- Rachel Caine is really nice.
- As interesting as some of the fan panels going on at the same time may sound, it really is worth it to line up and get in to see the third Firefly celebrity panel of the weekend. The cast members who attended were that entertaining, and each day’s event was better than the last.
- Even small, informal panels could use a moderator, because someone needs to curb that one guy’s tendency to spend ten minutes talking about random bullshit instead of letting the rest of us listen to the authors talk about the topic. The panel is only an hour, nobody cares about how you’re a unique little snowflake who started reading adult fiction at a very young age (just like almost every other hard-core reader in the world).
- Despite the widespread mockery of people who go to a con and can’t maintain basic hygene standards, there are still people who do this. Trying to cover up your funk with cologne just makes it worse. In fact, everyone in that type of situation should just leave their perfume at home. Some of us are sensitive to that stuff, and if you get on an elevator with me while doused in it then you’ve just given me an icepick-behind-the-eyeballs level headache that will last for hours.
- The book sellers in the dealer rooms aren’t that hot, most didn’t have much better selection than my local chain shops. There was a small-press booth that was interesting. But it was too crowded to really spend much time browsing and I didn’t want to buy their pricey trade paper format without at least reading the first few pages. I was really hoping for a booth with some out-of-print used books, but it either didn’t exist or was hidden too well for me to discover.
- This is something that I already knew, but rum is the perfect party liquor. It mixes well with so many different things that you can easily just stick a small bottle in your bag and spike whatever kind of soda or fruit juice that’s convenient.
- If you’ve managed to properly squeeze every last bit of fun out of the weekend, it’s going to take days to rest up and get back to a normal schedule.
August 28, 2008
Earlier I posted about the differences between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and how tricky it can be for fans to know which books fall into which category without doing a little research. I’ve never been shy about my distaste for many of the recent romances I’ve read, so I decided to put a little thought into the reasons for that.
August 15, 2008
Is it just me, or is the line between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance getting increasingly blurry? Some writers and publishers seem to be trying to appeal to fans of both styles, though of course with that approach they risk alienating readers who strongly prefer one subgenre or the other.
First I should explain how I think of each genre, so you understand where I’m coming from.
I love books.
I love the whole process of reading them – turning the pages, shifting my grip to keep from breaking the spine too badly, and looking around for a makeshift bookmark because all my “real” bookmarks are impossible to keep up with. I love the unblemished look of new books and the smell of older ones.
So my growing fascination with e-book readers makes me feel a little dirty. Yeah, I’m into technology. But it’s one thing to want Google Maps on my phone, and it’s another to seriously think about curling up with some gadget for my reading time. For years I just couldn’t see myself doing it, but recently that’s changed. Some of the reasons have to do with my area and its library system and shops.
But the biggest thing that’s giving me e-reader envy is that I’m getting sick of constantly struggling with format issues.
July 9, 2008
Here’s a few things that have caught my eye.
- already released -
Night Shift, by Lilith Saintcrow
The Iron Hunt, by Marjorie M. Liu
The Last Vampire, by Patricia Rosemoor and Marc Paoletti
- July 29 -
Cry Wolf, by Patricia Briggs
Nightwalker, by Jocelynn Drake
- August 5 -
Gale Force, by Rachel Caine
Storm Born, by Richelle Mead (read the first chapter here)
I’m not sure if I’ll get around to reading all these or not. I think I’m getting pickier.
September 10, 2007
Family issues have kept me from updating (or even reading as much as usual) in recent months, but things are getting back to usual so hopefully I’ll have a few new reviews posted soon.
June 3, 2007
I’ve spent the last week or so reading the first Dark Shadows books, ones that were released starting in the 1960s to tie-in with the television show. If you aren’t familiar with it, Dark Shadows was a gothic soap opera that became popular after introducing a vampire character and other supernatural elements.
Over the years it had a little bit of everything, ghosts, werewolves, gypsy curses, and even time travel. There was an attempt to update it in the 1990s that failed because the schedule was constantly being changed, and another fairly recent try that didn’t make it to air. The Sci-Fi channel used to show it, but stopped because they hate me and because they’d rather find time for stupid bullshit like this.
Anyway, I’ve read the first four novels and am halfway through the fifth. They’re all very short (around 150 pages) so it hasn’t taken very long. I won’t say they’re good, but they’re entertaining enough for fans of the show or people who like cheesy gothic mysteries.
The first five books are:
- Dark Shadows
- Victoria Winters
- Strangers at Collins House
- The Mystery of Collinwood
- The Curse of Collinwood
Victoria Winters is the heroine so far. She’s an occasionally annoying foundling who is hired as a governess for the mysterious Collins family, and believes the secret of her past may be connected to them. Based on the story so far, she must be right. She only occasionally does any teaching, so they have to have some other reason for keeping her around. Victoria bothers me as a character because she’s constantly flipping between believer and skeptic. She’s like Mulder and Scully in one person, if that one person was not too bright, lived in an old spooky house, and was constantly fending off both murderers and older, mostly wealthy men.
Each cover features the vampire Barnabas Collins brooding at Victoria (except for The Curse of Collinwood, where he’s actually showing fang). This is a blatant and pretty pathetic marketing ploy when you realize that none of these books actually have Barnabas Collins in them.
None of these early Dark Shadows books have supernatural activities so far. The crimes are mostly mixed up with Collins family drama, though there are some very Scooby Doo moments where bad guys try to frighten poor Victoria with things that seem ghostly. Book five may have zombies in it, I’m not far enough along to know if they’re real zombies or just local fugitives. In fact, I’m getting impatient with The Curse of Collinwood, because the whole thing feels like one pointless, repetitive argument about whether there are real zombies on the loose or just some crazy, hippie fugitives. The zombies/fugitives only make an appearance to get the argument started again. At this point, I’m hoping that both Victoria and Burke Devlin get their brains eaten.
Of course I know that won’t happen, because if Victoria died then there wouldn’t be anyone for Barnabas to brood at when he makes an appearance. I’m assuming that the vampire finally shows up in the next one. I’m prepared for this to be wishful thinking, but he’s on the cover of book six (again) and it’s titled Barnabas Collins. I’m really looking forward to some of the later novels which will probably feature my favorite character, Quentin. There are almost twenty books with exciting titles like Barnabas, Quentin and the Frightened Bride.
Assuming I can actually find them all, this is going to be great.
May 5, 2007
The latest books by Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong have joined Charlaine Harris and Jim Butcher in getting hardcover releases. It’s a definite sign of the popularity of the genre.
This is great for the writers, because they’re getting more money and attention. And the increased visibility is great for the fans, because more novels of this type are getting released.
It still makes me just a little cranky. My book budget is already stretched, and my shelves are nearly full. There are only a few authors that I buy in hardcovers these days, as much for space reasons as financial ones. So for some authors I have to remember two sets of release dates, the date I can get their new book from my city’s library and the one when I can buy a paperback copy.
I know, I know, poor little me.
I’m just hoping they don’t start putting out too much urban fantasy in that larger trade paperback format. Now there’s an annoying trend. They’re more expensive, less portable, and don’t fit in very well with my shelving system. People keep trying to tell me that they’re better quality paper, but that’s never something that’s mattered to me in everyday reading. I’d rather have something cheap that will easily fit in a purse or even a large pocket.
Maybe I’m strange, but I’d rather own more books than fewer really nice editions.
April 9, 2007
Urban fantasy is a type of fiction that involves a supernatural story in a modern setting. I’ll mostly be writing about books that fall into this category, though I’ll also be mentioning other media and even books from other genres that may be interesting to urban fantasy fans.
I’ll say right up front that I don’t enjoy urban fantasies that are primarily romance novels. I love a hot romantic subplot as much as the next gal, but for me it needs to stay a subplot. If the story only serves to move the characters from one make-out session to another, I’m not going to like it. In fact, I’m probably going to make fun of it. No offense to those who enjoy them, I’m the last one who needs to criticize anyone else’s taste. I’ve just never been a romance novel fan, and a romance novel with vampires in is still a romance novel.