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Miscellaneous Archives - Page 3 of 13 - Canadian eReader

Category: Miscellaneous

And now for something different… LEGO Dimensions!

Those of you who follow my blog know that I generally review books and audiobooks, so this review is somewhat different.  Today, ladies and gentlemen, I will be discussing LEGO Dimensions, the new video game from the folks at LEGO and Travellers’ Tales.  My playing this game has seriously eaten into my reading time.

For those of you who have never played a LEGO video game before, they are level-based humorous games in which you smash objects to create the solutions to puzzles.  They are a lot of fun.  You unlock in game rewards by collecting mini-kits, red and gold bricks and LEGO studs which you can exchange for new characters with different puzzle solving abilities and other new abilities to solve more puzzles to unlock even more stuff.

Dimensions is rather different in that it’s the company’s first foray into the toys-to-live world meaning that you must fork over hard cash for real-world LEGO sets to unlock the characters and content in the game.  The starter pack includes the game, the toypad. the bricks to build the Dimensions portal and the Batmobile and the mini figures of Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, Batman from DC Comics and Wyldstyle from the LEGO Movie. Gameplay is divided between the fourteen levels of the main storyline each based on one of the fourteen franchises in Dimensions, additional franchise specific levels and fourteen free roam Adventure Worlds each specific to one franchise.  In order to access the franchise specific content you need to purchase additional LEGO sets which come in Level packs (to access a new level and which contain one character, one vehicle and one gadget) team packs (with two characters,  a vehicle and a gadget) and fun packs containing one character and one vehicle.  .  Each of the team/fun packs gives you access to the Adventure World of that franchise.  So for example, by purchasing the Wicked Witch fun pack for $14.99 you gain access to the Oz Adventure World.  Of the 14 Adventure Worlds, the starter pack only gives you access to three, and none of the franchise specific level packs.  This is a serious limitation and something to be seriously considered.

Personally, I supplemented the starter pack with the Wonder Woman, Wicked Witch, Gollum, Gimli and Cyborg fun packs, the Scooby Doo team pack and the Back to the Future level pack.  I have preorders placed for the Doctor Who level pack, the Ghostbusters level pack, the Doc Brown fun pack and the Cyberman fun pack.  These have not yet been released.

First, it has to be said the game is a heck of a lot of fun.  There is so much humour in the game, at levels which will appeal to both younger and not so young players.  Having the real world component makes the experience very interesting – at several points you have to put down your controller and go and physically put together LEGO bricks to continue the story.  The toypad is also heavily integrated into the game and is used as far more than a way of introducing characters into the game.  You are constantly moving characters around the toypad to solve puzzles.  It is very ingeniously done.

One of the joys of the game is the mashups that are created between the 14 franchises.  It leads to some hilarious moments.  For example, it turns out that Wyldstyle and Wonder Woman enjoy bonding over girl talk and coffee and Gandalf is annoyed at the Wicked Witch for giving magic users a bad name and he suggests she tone down the evil!  I have definite plans to take The Doctor joyriding in the Batmobile through the streets of Minas Tirith as soon as the Doctor Who pack is released.

Having said that, the constant blocks because you haven’t purchased a certain character with a certain skill set are tedious and frustrating in the extreme.  One of the first puzzles you come across in the game is a swarm of ghosts which the game, very helpfully, tells you can only be dealt with by Peter Venkman whom you can obtain by forking out $30 for the Ghostbusters level pack, which isn’t even available until January 2016.  You are constantly faced with such roadblocks, and, while they don’t prevent you from completing the main story adventure it becomes very, very tedious after a while.

There is a lot of enjoyment to be had in the game – I’m still getting a lot of fun out of it several weeks later – but if you purchase it, be aware that your experience will be rather limited unless you are prepared to fork out lot more money than that for the already expensive starter pack. 

I gave LEGO Dimensions four stars out of five.

Upcoming releases in September

Oh my poor wallet.  September seems to be one of the busiest months for new book releases and there are seven upcoming books about which I am super excited.  Without further ado, here’s the list.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Having just finished Heir of Fire, I am impatient for Queen of Shadows, the next volume in the Throne of Glass series. Heir of Fire was for me the strongest so far in the series and left some very interesting storylines to be followed in the next book.  I look forward to the confrontation between Celaena and Arobynn and to see how Dorian is affected by the events of Heir of Fire.

Queen of Shadows is released on September 1st and I have preordered it on both Kindle and Audible formats.

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Also released on September 1st is Holly Black’s and Cassandra Clare’s The Copper Gauntlet.  This is the second in the Magisterium series, which, like Harry Potter, is set in a school for magic.  Despite the comparison with Harry Potter, it’s the contrasts with that series that make the Magisterium so interesting.  I did enjoy the Iron Trial, the first book in the series, so I’m interested to see what book two has in store for Calum and his friends.

I have preordered this in Kindle format.

William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge by Ian Doescher

This is the third and final book in Ian Doescher’s retelling of George Lucas’ epic Star Wars prequels in Shakespearean format.  While I have not enjoyed the prequel trilogy as much as the original one – like the films – they are very cleverly written.  I do wish there would be audiobooks produced for the prequel trilogy as the ones for the original Star Wars were wonderful.  As Doescher himself said, Shakespeare is meant to be listened to, not read.

The Sith take their Revenge starting on September 8th and I have preordered it in Kindle format.

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion Rules is a young adult dystopian novel in which a superpower maintains peace on Earth by holding prisoner the children of world leaders.  If their country starts a war, the children die.  We follow the story of one such prisoner of peace, Greta and how her life and world view is altered by a new arrival.  I actually don’t know a great deal about this one, however, the premise seems intriguing and reviews are positive.

I’ve preordered this in Kindle format – I may add the Audible one before the book is released on September 22nd.

The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet by Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley

Following on from the success of the web series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the writers are continuing the story in novel form in The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet.  This will continue the story of Lydia, the youngest sister after the events of the LBD.  Lydia was one of my favourite characters and her character development was so beautifully written and portrayed by actress Mary Kate Wiles.  I see that Mary Kate will be narrating the audiobook.

Although I have a Kindle preorder, I will likely cancel that and preorder the Audible version if it becomes available before release date of September 28th.

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher. Author of The Dresden Files.  Steampunk.  Aerial shenanigans.  Talking cats.  I’m convinced.

My preorder is placed to download to my Kindle on September 29th.  

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo is the author of the Grisha trilogy.  While I did have a few issues with that series, one of its key strengths was the worldbuilding.  Bardugo created a wonderful Russianeque fantasy world with a fascinating magic system.  Six of Crows is a new series set in the same world, involving some kind of heist.  It sounds very promising.  The first couple of chapters are up on Amazon for free if you want to check it out. 

My preorder should hit my Kindle on September 29th.

So there you have it.  Those are the books about which I’m most excited in the coming month.  Which of these will you be picking up?

Upcoming releases in July

July is quite a quiet month in terms of books about which I am excited.  There are three new releases which I am anticipating.

The first of these is Ian Drescher’s William Shakespeare’s The Clone Army Attacketh.  This is the second in Doescher’s reimagining of the Star Wars prequels (the original trilogy has already been adapted.)  Regular readers of my blog know how much I love these adaptations – they are witty, very clever and a lot of fun to read/listen to.  I am very disappointed, however, that neither The Phantom of Menace or The Clone Army Attacketh are available in audiobook format.  Random House Audio’s full cast productions of the original trilogy adaptations were nothing short of brilliant.  I have contented myself to preorder The Clone Army Attacketh in Kindle format, which is released on July 7th.

This month sees the publication of two novellas in series I am following.

Pale Kings and Princes is the next novella in the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy series by Cassandra Clare and guest authors.  This one is co-authored by Robin Wasserman. I adore Clare’s Shadowhunter world and have been loving these novellas to tide me over in the wait for The Dark Artifices.  Pale Kings and Princes promises to be be particularly intriguing as the blurb promises more information on the Blackthorns, main characters in the Dark Artifices.  This novella is released also on July 7th and I have preordered it on Kindle.

July 28th sees the release of Heart of Tin, the next novella in Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series.  The second main novel in the series, The Wicked Will Rise, really whetted my appetite – I’m anxious to know more.  This novella focusses on the Tin Woodman, one of heroine Amy’s antagonists.  From what I’ve seen of the other prequels, No Place Like Oz, The Witch Must Burn and The Wizard Returns, it is not necessary to have read the novellas to enjoy the main series novels, but they help to add depth and context.  In any case, they are fun reads.  I don’t believe the novellas are available in hard copy, so I have preordered Heart of Tin in Kindle format.

On a slightly different note, I’m anxiously awaiting the launch of Apple Music in the next hour or so.  Now, I will not claim to be an expert in this area, but I do enjoy listening to music.  Currently, I use Rdio for my streaming needs and I really like it.  I don’t use a radio service.  I’m not too adventurous when it comes to exploring music.  Assuming the song library is the same as Rdio’s may main reason for considering switching is the fact that I am an Apple girl, living in an Apple world.  All my music is purchased from, or uploaded to, iTunes, and I listen to it purely on Apple devices.  It would be great to have my streaming integrated with my iTunes library.  I will let you know what I think.

Upcoming releases in May 2015

There are three books being released in May about which I am very excited.  Some good books to have ready for my vacation in a couple of weeks!

A Court of Thorns and RosesThe one about which I am most excited is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas of Throne of Glass fame.  This is a retelling of the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast and tells the story of Feyre, a young woman who becomes entangled with the mysterious fey in order to save her loved ones.  I understand this will be the start of a series of books as well. I’ve loved the Throne of Glass series and the five chapter sample which has been released has only served to whet my appetite. A Court of Thorns and Roses is released on May 5th 2015.  I can’t wait!

The HeirThe next upcoming release I’m looking forward to is Keira Cass’s The Heir.  This is a new story set 20 years after the events of The Selection and deals with the attempts of America and Maxon’s daughter to find her partner in a Selection of her own.  I’m also really looking forward to this one.  The One, the final book in The Selection was one of my top reads of 2014 – if you remember, it’s The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.  I look forward to seeing what’s gone on in Ilea in the last 20 years and if Maxon and America have been able to achieve their aims.  It’s not often that you get to see the aftermath of a dystopian series 20 years later.  The Heir is also released on May 5th 2015.

The Sword of the NorthThe Sword of the North is the second in Luke Scull’s grimdark series The Grim Company.  It’s been a while since I read book one, so I can’t remember much about it.  I do remember though that I was very invested in the characters at the time.  Book two is on preorder and should hit my Kindle also on May 15th.

Are you planning to pick up any of these?  Let me know in the comments.

Most Anticipated releases of April 2015

Good evening dear readers!  I’m sorry I’ve not blogged for some while.  I’ve been busy adjusting to my new graveyard schedule, and that’s going to go on for some while, so I may not be blogging regularly for some while.  On the plus side, I did get through a few audiobooks – I will be publishing a reading roundup at some point soon in which I will discuss some of them.

In any case, here are my most anticipated upcoming releases.

Texts from Mittens: A Cat Who Has an Unlimited Data Plan written by Mitten with help from Angie Bailey.  Strictly speaking, this isn’t an April release as it’s released on March 31 – deal with it.  For those of you who haven’t met Mittens, he’s a tuxedo cat who maintains close communication with his caregiver via text.  I follow Mittens on Facebook and he’s hilarious.  He’s publishing a book of his collected texts and it promises to be a fun read.  I preordered it on Kindle

William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace.  One of my top reads of 2014 was Ian Doescher’s adaptation of George Lucas’ Star Wars into Shakespearean language.  Now it’s time for the prequels, the first of which, The Phantom Menace, is released on April 7th.  I’ll likely grab this in audiobook format – if it’s like the original trilogy Random House’s full cast production will be stellar.  Incidentally, if you preorder, you can get some cool swag from the publishers.  Now, I will admit to some misgivings; the original Star Wars trilogy had a strong narrative and timeless themes which made the adaptation to Shakespearean style work very well.  The same cannot be said of the prequels which had too much reliance on special effects for my taste.  However, I have faith in Doescher that he will come up with something memorable.  I’ve preordered this on Kindle.

The Black Reckoning (Books of Beginning Book 3) by John Stephens.  Published on April 7, this is the final book in Stephens’ middle grade trilogy.  I did enjoy the first two, and am happy to pick up the third.  The series is difficult to explain – kids having all kinds of adventures while trying to save the world – so best to check it out for yourself.  I preordered it on Kindle.

Dream a Little Dream (The Silver Trilogy).  Written by Kerstin Gier and translated from the German by Andrea Bell, this is the first in a new series from the author of the Ruby Red trilogy.  Amazon recently released the first five chapters free, so check it out. The first five chapters don’t really give away much about the world or the plot, but it’s enough to see that Gier (and Bell) have retained the witty, snarky style that was so charming in Ruby Red.  The audiobook is narrated by Marisa Calin who did such a fantastic job with the Ruby Red trilogy.  Dream a Little Dream is released on April 14th.

Rogue by Julie Kagawa.  This is the second in Kagawa’s YA series about dragons posing as modern day teens.  The first book was a lot of fun, so I will pick up the sequel in Kindle format. This is released on April 28,2015

Let me know in the comments if you’ll be picking up any of these.

Most anticipated books of 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 Brett’s world building wonderful.  I look forward to seeing how Arlen gets on fighting the Corelings.  The Skull Throne is released on March 31st 2015.

Later this year sees the release of a new book in Keira Cass’s Selection series.  It follows the next generation of Schreaves and new Selection.  I am looking forward to getting back into this world.  The Heir is released on May 5th 2015.

Next up is the continuation of Mark Lawrence’s Red Queen’s War series.  His Broken Empire series really sneaked up on me, and built up book after book, so although Prince of Fools, the first in the series, didn’t grab me as strongly, I’m still keen to see where it goes.  The Liar’s Key is released on June 2nd 2015.

2015 sees the start of a new Rick Riordan middle grade series, this time based on Norse gods.  For me, Riordan is one of the most engaging middle grade authors writing today and has appeal for both young people and adults.  I have the feeling that Loki, Thor and all could provide a lot of scope for Riordan’s trademark humour, so I’m really looking forward to this one.  Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is released on October 6th 2015, which can’t come soon enough.

Also on October 6th we have Shadows of Self, which is a new novel by Brandon Sanderson set in his Mistborn world.  Geez, that guy is prolific!  I’m constantly amazed at his ability to maintain quality with the amount of books he releases.  We have not had a new novel in this specific universe for some years, and I’m really looking forward to it.  The Mistborn universe is one of my favourites of Sanderson’s.  Roll on October 6th.

The final book I wish to mention is Cassandra Clare’s Lady Midnight.  This is the first book in a new series set in Clare’s Shadowhunter world.  There was  a lot of setup for this book in the final book of the Mortal Instruments – City of Heavenly Fire – and I am so pumped for it.  I had been a little anxious about the LA setting, but CoHF laid my fears to rest.  At this point there is no specific release date for Lady Midnight – it is anticipated in the autumn of 2015.  I can’t wait.

What books are you looking forward to?  Let me know in the comments.

The seven scenes in fantasy literature that made me cry

There are some critics who claim that fantasy literature is in some way a soft option; that in choosing to write in a more fantastical world, telling emotional character truths can take second place to worldbuilding. This post is my attempt to debunk that myth.  There have been several scenes in fantasy literature which had me bawling like a baby.  These aren’t necessarily death scenes, but simply beautiful writing illustrating the deep impact the situation has had on the character.

Olver’s story in A Memory of Light, the last book of the Wheel of Time.  This particular section was just so powerfully emotive.   For those of you unfamiliar, Olver is a young orphan – around eight years old – in the Wheel of Time universe who was adopted by Mat Cauthon and his warband.  Being brought up in a war camp, he exhibits a lot of his “uncle”’s enthusiasm for battle and the band has a hard time keeping him away from battle.  In the particular scene that had me sobbing, Olver has become separated from his friends and is being attacked by bestial Trollocs as he desperately tried to hide.  All of his bravado is stripped away and you see him for what he is; a young child confronted with the reality of war and of his own impending death.  But the beautiful thing about this scene is that, despite the horror and apocalyptic situation – the world is seriously turning to custard by this point – help does come to Olver and in the most awesome way.

The Grey Havens, The Lord of the Rings. Yeah, this one had me a blubbering mess.  By this time we’ve spent around 900 odd pages (or  nearly 10 hours of extended Peter Jackson movie time) and we’re down to the core hobbits and Gandalf who started the whole adventure. We have had more than enough time to understand the depth of the love these four little hobbits share.  The realisation that the Shire has been saved but that Frodo can no longer be at peace to enjoy it and that the Fellowship is truly dissolving is hard.

The Prince’s Tale, The Deathly Hallows.  In this particular scene, Rowling finally reveals Snape’s true motivations.  The whole emotional beat of the chapter is encapsulated in the revelation of Snape’s Patronus and his response to Dumbledore’s query about his love and loyalty “Always”. <sniff>

The Walk to the Forbidden Forest, The Deathly Hallows.  Basically that whole section of Deathly Hallows is pure weep territory.  Coming as it does after the first great Battle of Hogwarts and its casualties and the Prince’s tale, Harry’s walk to his fate is so moving with the ghosts of his parents and the Marauders.  The words he shares with them are just so moving, especially his query about whether death hurts.  Poor, brave Harry.

The ziplining epilogue, Allegiant.  For me, this epilogue was far more moving than a certain earlier scene which I personally felt was robbed of its impact by the way it was written.  This epilogue however was beautiful.  The group’s decision to honour fallen comrades in this way was a lovely throwback to an earlier time where they were all relatively carefree.   It shows how much the deaths meant to Four in particular in that he would face this fear of his one more time in their honour.

Epilogue, Clockwork Princess.  This was simply gorgeous.  The Infernal Devices contained one of the most moving love triangles I have read and this epilogue brings it all to a perfect resolution.

Ending, Emperor of Thorns.  This ending hit me emotionally like a ton of bricks.  The character development of Jorg Ancrath is so wonderfully written.  The fact that he makes the choices he makes at the end shows just how far he has come from the little prince trapped in the thorns of the first book.

What most of these scenes have in common is that they have real resonance for the characters involved, and for me at least, the author has done his or her work well to have me care for these characters.

Which scenes do you find most moving in fantasy literature?

Let me know in the comments.

Holiday packing

Tomorrow I leave for a week’s vacation, including two long coach trips.

More difficult than deciding what clothes to pack is deciding what books and audiobooks to download to my Kindle Fire for the trip.  I only have 16GB on my Fire – next time I will go for 32GB at least! – and I’m not certain what internet access I will have during my trip.  So I need to decide what books I’m likely to want to read/listen to over the next week.

The first book I have chosen is, of course, Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Assassin.  Having reread much of the Realm of the Elderlings series, I’m anxious to know what she has in store next for Fitz and the Fool.  That’s the one I intend to start as soon as I board the coach.

Before embarking on my reread of Robin Hobb’s works, I’d been listening to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.  I will certainly continue that this trip if I get the chance.

Continuing my cutesey romance change of scene from epic fantasy, I have also downloaded Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss.  It’s supposed to be excellent and I look forward to that one.

On August 26th the long awaited next instalment in Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer trilogy, The Broken Eye, is released.  This epic fantasy series s narrated by the wonderful Simon Vance, and the second book in this series probably did more than any other book to hook me into audiobooks.  This has been added to my holiday reading list, too.

In case I am desperate to sleep, I have added Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon, the first in his Malazan Book of the Fallen.  I apologise to any Steven Erikson fans here, but I’ve attempted to read this several times now and fallen asleep each time.

My inlaws are planning on taking us on a short road trip through Michigan and Illinois, so I thought Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent might be an interesting one to listen to in the car if they are so inclined.

I’ll probably get nothing more read than Fool’s Assassin, if that, but at least I will have some choices if my mood changes!

What did you read on holiday this year?  Let me know in the comments.

Evelynne’s Trip through Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings – Introduction SPOILERS

Realm of the Elderlings

My Summary Post
Progress: 5/5 (100%)
24 July, 2014 — 16 August, 2014
Completed!

100%

As you may have seen from my reading roundup this week, I have set myself a significant reading challenge for the next three weeks. Before I set off on vacation on August 15th I hope to have reread part of Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series. I hope to finish: Assassin’s Quest (848 pages/ 37 hrs and 39 mins audiobook) – I’m currently around a third of the way through this – Ship of Destiny (912 pages/33 hrs and 38 mins audiobook), Fool’s Errand (672 pages/24 hrs and 47 mins audiobook), Golden Fool (712 pages) and Fool’s Fate (936 pages). I will be mixing reading with listening to the audiobook, where one is available. I am attempting to read all this to be ready for the release of Fool’s Assassin.

This is a significant challenge, and in order to complete it I’m going to hold myself responsible to you, dear readers of my blog. Instead of my usual twice or three times weekly blog posts, I will attempt to do short, daily posts with an update on where I’m at and a few quick thoughts on what I’ve read that day. There will almost certainly be spoilers if you have not read the series. As I’ll be reading on my Kindle/listening to the Audible audiobook any progress will be noted in percentages.

The story so far

In the first two books of the we are introduced to our protagonist, FitzChivalry, the illegitimate son of Chivalry, deceased son of the King. We are also introduced to the world of the Farseers and the two magic systems of the Skill (telepathy and/or emotional manipulation, generally linked to the Farseer bloodline) and the Wit (an affinity with and an ability to form a strong mental link with animals). The Wit is considered a “dirty” magic, and those who practice it do not do so openly. Our hero has the innate ability to practice both forms of magic. We also get to know Fitz’s friends and allies – his uncle Verity, aunt Kettricken, royal assassin Chade, stable master Burrich, the king’s Fool and Fitz’s Wit bond partner, the wolf Nighteyes. He has a love interest in local candlemaker Molly. The antagonist of the series is his uncle Regal, who usurps the Kingship aided and abetted by the members of his Skill coterie.

The major threat of the series are the Red Raiders who harry the coast of the Six Duchies. They have the ability to “Forge” their victims, which amounts to removing all humanity from them. These victims are then released by the Raiders to pillage their own way across the Six Duchies.

We follow Fitz from his childhood where he is trained by the King’s Assassin Chade to take over his duty to dispense the King’s Justice. During his first assassination assignment in the Mountain Kingdom, he is constantly undermined by Prince Regal who has designs on the throne despite being behind Verity in the line of succession. He barely escapes this confrontation with his life. He supports Verity in his attempt to deflect the Red Raiders through his use of the Skill but is left at home in Buck when Verity leaves to seek the aid of the mythical Elderlings.

Regal uses Verity’s departure to seize the throne by assassinating King Shrewd and declaring Verity dead. Attempting to kill two birds with one stone, Regal has Fitz accused of regicide and also of practicing the Wit. Regal’s Skill coterie tortures Fitz mentally and his thugs beat him to the point of death. Fitz escapes by faking his own death, allowing his body to lie near to death while his spirit takes refuge with Nighteyes, his Wit companion.

The third book starts with Fitz’s struggle to regain his humanity after his torture and death and time spent with Nighteyes. Once recovered, he makes a failed attempt to kill Regal and his coterie. His attempt is spoiled by Verity who Skill imprints a command to “come to me” in Fitz’s mind. Fitz has no choice but to make the long trek to beyond the mountains to join Verity. Nighteyes has gone off to join a wolf pack and Fitz has joined up with minstrel Starling (who has realised who he is and is hoping to witness some epic events by following him.)

That is the point at which I have left our hero. He and Starling are currently negotiating with some smugglers to cross Blue Lake to continue their journey.

Join me for the continuation.

Checking out Kindle Unlimited

kulogo_small

As I anticipated in my reading roundup, this morning Amazon launched its ebook and audiobook subscription service, Kindle Unlimited.  It’s not yet available to Canadians, but I was able to use my company’s US address to sign up for the 30 day free trial to check it all out.

Kindle Unlimited is competing with other ebook subscription services such as Scribd and Oyster.  I currently have a Scribd subscription, but I tend not to use it very much, mainly because it’s not tightly integrated with the rest of my ebook library.  Also, I’m not so fond of the app for Android – it doesn’t have the same options as full Kindle books.

The good

Like most of the Amazon ecosystem, Kindle Unlimited is very easy to use.  You can browse the titles from the Kindle Unlimited link on the homepage:

Kindle browse

When you choose a title it will say Read for Free

Readforfree

Also you can navigate from your Kindle Fire:  a KU book will say Read for Free

Screenshot 2014 07 18 09 56 07

Note that you cannot pick up audiobooks on their own.  They must be paired with a Kindle Unlimited ebook with Whispersync for Voice.  There is a section called Listen and Take the Story with you.  If you choose a book from there, it will be paired with the Audible audiobook.

Once you click on read for free, the book is added to your Kindle library like any other book.  It does have a symbol beside it stating it was from the Kindle Unlmited selection

Kindleucontent

Any matched Audible audiobook appears in your Audible library with a similar note

Audible

All of the books I tested worked perfectly.  In addition, they remained in my library when I switched back to my Canadian address, although I was unable to add any more new books.

In terms of ease of use Kindle Unlimited integrates perfectly with the Amazon/Audible ecosystem unlike its competitors.

The bad

US only.  Sigh.  

With Kindle Unlimited you’re renting the books in a sense.  If you let your subscription lapse, they will disappear from your library.  

The selection doesn’t include books from the Big Six publishing houses, so the selection doesn’t include a great deal of popular titles.  None of the books I had on my Amazon wish list were available for Kindle Unlimited. I did found several that interested me, mainly The Lord of the Rings.  I had the one volume compendium, but the three individual books came with the audiobooks.  There were also a few cat mysteries which I picked up as well as a supernatural suspense or two.  Scribd on the other hand is partnered with HarperCollins so, for example, all of Robin Hobb’s backlist is available.

I will certainly be monitoring the selection over the next month, but given that apart from the Lord of the Rings audiobooks there was nothing I picked up today that I would be sorry to lose from my library I suspect I will not be renewing my subscription.  Maybe IF it comes to Canada and IF the selection is expanded I might consider it.

By all means, take advantage of the free month to check it out for yourselves, if you’re in the US.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

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