Reading Roundup – January 30th 2015
Uncategorized / January 30, 2015

The big news this week is that I have finally managed to track down a Kindle Voyage to purchase – yay!  It’s not available in Canada, and it’s been out of stock on for weeks.  I managed to order one from Best Buy so this weekend I will be making my yearly pilgrimage across the border to pick it up.  It does really annoy me that Amazon always delays selling it to Canada when the UK and German markets get it at the same time as the US.  Anyway, that’s my rant this week.   I have chosen to pay extra this time and include 3G connectivity.  The main reason I’m doing this is because I read on my Kindle a lot away from home – busses, cafes, the break room at lunch – and I’m missing the fact that it doesn’t then update my reading progress.  This means that Whispersync for Voice doesn’t always update and work the way it should.  I’m hoping that the 3g always on connectivity will help with that.  Yes, I know, I could always connect to a WiFi network but I don’t always bother if I”m just having a quick 10 minute read….

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / January 28, 2015

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson is the second in his YA contemporary fantasy trilogy Reckoners about ordinary humans turned megalomanic villains when they received superpowers.  It continues the story – begun in Steelheart – of David and the Reckoners who aim to bring down the despotic Epics.  If you enjoyed Steelheart, you’ll likely have fun with Firefight – it’s more of the same.  It continues on the theme of power corrupting and strength of spirit perhaps overcoming this. What I liked Expanded world and character set.  In this instalment David and the Reckoners leave Newcago, the location of the first book, to go take on a new Epic, Regalia, in Babylar, in other words, New York.  It’s always fun when an author takes you new places, and Sanderson’s world building is excellent.  His take on New York is unique and adds to the whole scope of the novel.  As well as new locations we also meet new characters.  They are a lot of fun and and are reasonably fleshed out. New layers in the whole origin of the Epics plot.  In this book, David learns more about the cause of the Epics’ superpowers and their weaknesses.  I imagine we’ll learn even…

Reading Roundup – January 23rd 2015
Reading Roundup / January 23, 2015

One of my most anticipated reads of 2015 is V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. It sounds such an intriguing premise – various parallel worlds and certain people can travel between them.  This week Tor released an excerpt which I devoured.  It has really whetted my appetite and I look forward to its release on February 24th. Speaking of excerpts, one very useful thing about the Kobo Aura is its ability to read articles you have saved to the online archiving service Pocket.  This is built into the Kobo software, no extra setup needed.  What I like to do with excerpts like these is email it to my Pocket account rather than read it on Tor’s website.  A minute or two later it appears on my Kobo, with the convenience of reading on an eReader including font changes and other personal settings.   This week I’ve been listening to Death Masks, the fifth book in The Dresden Files series.  I’ll do a review soon, so won’t say too much more about it. Added to my library this week There were a couple of preorders I added to my list this week.  The first of these is Fool’s Quest, the second…

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – Review
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / January 21, 2015

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss which I reviewed a while ago.  Lola focusses on a different character who forms part of the same social group as Anna, the protagonist from the first book.  Like Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a cutesy YA romance novel with great characters.  It is an easy, fun read and I really enjoyed it. What I liked The character.  Lola is an engaging protagonist and I enjoyed reading about her emotional journey.  The challenges she faces were well portrayed and I liked how she overcame them.  The supporting characters were also well developed, particularly Nora, and gave a good foundation for Lola’s romance.  Although I didn’t enjoy the love triangle, it was consistent with Lola’s growing self understanding in the book. The writing style  Perkins’ writing style is very fresh and immediate and easy to read.  I fairly flew through the book. Lola’s non traditional family.  It’s fair to say that Lola is growing up in a rather non traditional family.  I appreciated the way Perkins portrayed this as just a variation of contemporary family…

Reading roundup – January 16th 2015
Reading Roundup / January 16, 2015

Good morning, welcome to another reading roundup.  The biggest item of note this week is that I am now Bluetoothed up to my hearing aids so I can listen to my audiobooks directly throughly hearing aids.  Yay!! It’s lovely to have the audio directly in my ears without having to wear headphones which are painful with my hearing aid.  I tested it with Firefight, the Brandon Sanderson novel I had been enjoying – it works really well and I can enjoy my audiobooks again.  On the TBR list for this week is Jim Butcher’s Death Masks – the fourth in his Dresden Files series narrated by James Marsters.  Good stuff. In a previous entry I have mentioned the web series Green Gables Fables, a modern retelling in transmedia format of the classic Anne of Green Gables series.  Those of you familiar with the source material will know there is a truly heart wrenching moment towards the end of the first book.  The series reached that point this week, and I have to say I found the last video a real tearjerker to watch.  I’ve not been so emotionally engaged in a web series since Lydiagate broke in The Lizzie Bennet…

His Fair Assassin Series by Robin LaFevers – Review
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / January 13, 2015

Robin Lafevers’ His Fair Assassin series is a young adult historical fantasy series set in sixteenth century Brittany.  It tells the stories of three young women who are affiliates of a convent dedicated to Mortain, god of Death.  Yup, we’re talking teenage nun assassins.  In old Brittany.  With supernatural powers.  LaFevers has blended historical fact into her fictional world, most notably the struggles of Anne, Duchess of Brittany, and her attempt to keep Brittany free of French rule.  Each of the three novels focuses on and is told from the viewpoint of one of the young nuns and each of books progresses the overall plot. I picked up the first book, Grave Mercy, while I was in the midst of a reading slump and had already picked up and rejected several good books.  Within a chapter I was hooked.  LaFevers’ narrative style, world building and characters drew me in right from the start.  I ended up marathoning all three books in the series one after another – I just couldn’t put them down. What I liked The historical setting.  I really enjoyed LaFevers’ basing her world on real historical facts and people.  I felt this gave a very strong, solid…

Reading roundup – January 9th 2015
Reading Roundup / January 9, 2015

So welcome to my first reading roundup of 2015!  Yay!  The first thing I want to talk about this week is my GoodReads reading challenge for 2015.  I failed to achieve my goal of 100 books last year – I read 91 – and I noticed that because I was listening to more audiobooks, books were taking me longer to finish.  This year I have set my goal for 75 books.  That’s still just under a book and a half a week. My family was also very generous to me over the festive season.  I was showered with Amazon and iTunes vouchers – thanks everyone, you know me well!  I also received the gift of Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please! book in my Christmas stocking.  I look forward to reading that. This week I did something I don’t often do – I accepted I was never going to finish a book and removed it from my currently reading list.  The book in question was Endgame by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton.  I’m sorry, but life is too short to stick with a book that really isn’t doing anything for me.  You can check out my review to see why I dumped…

Endgame – The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / January 7, 2015

Endgame by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton is a YA novel in which a group of young people, known as Players, have to fight for the survival of a section of humanity in Endgame.  For generations, certain bloodlines have been privy to a secret; Endgame is coming in which humanity will be judged and culled by a mysterious group of aliens.  Only a subset will survive.  Which groups will survive will be determined by the winner of Endgame.  I understand that this book contains real-life puzzles for readers to solve which will lead to a real world prize. I will start by saying that this book ended up in my didn’t-finish pile.  I thought the concept was interesting, but I had several issues with the execution.  I read around 50% and then found that I was really struggling to pick up the book to finish. What I liked The concept.  This is what drew me to the book.  I found the idea of a group of people battling for the survival of their ethnic group intriguing.  I liked that humanity in general is unaware of its pending destruction and only those who are chosen to represent their groups and their…

Most anticipated books of 2015
Miscellaneous / January 5, 2015

Now that it’s 2015, I would like to share some of my most anticipated books of 2015.  Let’s get started! The first of these is Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  This is a prequel to the three books currently published and tells the backstory of series antagonist Queen Levana.  For those of you who don’t know the Lunar Chronicles, they are sci-fi retellings of classic fairytales.  The characters are kick ass, the world building is fantastic and they are a brilliant read.  I’m really looking forward to Fairest, which is released on January 27th 2015.  The final book in the series, Winter, is due for release in the autumn of 2015. I’m also excited for A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.   I loved Schwab’s Archived and the premise for this one sounds interesting – parallel universes, with certain people having the ability to travel between them.  Sign me up!  A Darker Shade of Magic is released on February 24th 2015. One book I’m surprised I’ve not seen on more Most Anticipated lists is The Skull Throne, the four book in Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle.  I’ve loved the previous books in the series and find…

2014 – My Reading Year
Reading Roundup / January 1, 2015

Happy new year everyone!  I hope 2015 is a good one for you.  It’s about time I got on and did my review of my reading year.  It was a good year in general.  I did have a couple of major reading slumps, which meant that this was the first time in many years that I didn’t make my GoodReads challenge.  I had set my challenge at 100 books of which I read 91, which isn’t too bad going, I suppose.  My challenge goal didn’t take account of the fact that this year I listened to far more audiobooks than previously.  These do take me much longer than reading a Kindle book, but are very enjoyable. Some stats One reason I love GoodReads is that is can give you some interesting stats and a record of your reading progress.  Here are some of mine. I read 91 books in 2014.  The longest of these was Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance, which weighed in at a whopping 1,088 pages or 48 hours and 15 minutes of listening pleasure.  I gave my father-in-law this audiobook for Christmas – it will take him a bit of time to get through it! I rated…