What’s on my Tablets?
Tech Reviews / August 2, 2012

So, I now have both an Android Nexus 7 and an Apple iPad. Many of the apps I have on both, so here’s a rundown of them. (NB iTunes links are for the Canadian store). All apps are free unless otherwise specified. On Both e-Reading Kindle (Apple iTunes, Google Play): Amazon’s app for accessing their e-book content. This is one of the first apps I downloaded. Kobo (Apple iTunes, Google Play): the app to access Kobo ebooks. The tablet version includes Kobo Pulse, Kobo’s interactive e-reading community. GoodReads (Apple iTunes, Google Play): GoodReads is the social network for readers on which I am very active. I also use it to keep track of my reading. Feel free to check out my profile. Zinio (Apple iTunes, Google Play): Zinio is the app and content provider I use for magazines. Although I have it on both the Nexus and iPad, the iPad’s larger 10 inch Retina display screen makes reading magazines an absolute joy. That is one type of reading I much prefer to do on my tablet than my eInk e-reader. Overdrive Media Console (Apple iTunes, Google Play): Overdrive is the app used to access Overdrive’s large library of ebooks for…

The Serpent’s Head: Revenge by Julian Malins – Review
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / June 7, 2012

The genre of political thriller is not one I read particularly often, and it usually has to have a very interesting premise for me to pick it up in the first place.  This one did catch my attention: what could happen if wealthy and influential individuals lost a loved one in a terrorist attack and had the means, motive and opportunity to take personal revenge? The first half of the novel introduces the protagonists, describes the initial terrorist incident which sparked the titular revenge, while the second half follows its setup and first stages of execution.  One thing I found detracted from the novel slightly was the abrupt end.  I understand this is the first in a two book series, and it felt as though the ending was neither a tied up ending nor a lead in to book two.  I found the characters to be well developed and in general sympathetic – at times it was all too easy to forget that what they are planning will cost the lives of many innocents in the name of personal revenge.  The author does very well though in the way he describes their grief to gain the reader's empathy. The descriptions…

April/May reads
Reading Roundup / May 6, 2012

This last couple of months I've got through a few good books, and rather than reviewing each individually, I decided to write a post discussing all of them.  On the fourth of May no fewer than four new releases were downloaded to my Kindle, so I am happy I had a week off work to read them all. Fair Game – Patricia BriggsThis is the next book in the Alpha and Omega series, and it was the usual enjoyable Briggs fare.  Anna and Charles are interesting characters and it's fun to see their development.  I was particularly interested in the end game changer – I understand it's impacting the Mercy Thompson series, too.  I had been surprised that Briggs was planning a new Mercy book.  I'd felt the character had come to the end of her story, but this will add a new dimension.  I look forward to Frost Bitten next year I gave Fair Game four stars. The Iron King – Julie Kanawa.This is an ebook I borrowed from the library.  A Young Adult novel, it is the usual tale of modern teen finds she has an undiscovered past and hidden powers, finds herself in a fantasy world.  It's…

eBook borrowing with Overdrive
Tech Reviews / December 1, 2011

A past blog entry of mine related my frustrations with borrowing from the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec. I expressed my frustration at the difficulty I had finding a book and loading it onto my Kobo eReader. Recently, the BAnQ moved to the Overdrive ebook lending system, and I have to say it’s a HUGE difference in ease of use.  Last Saturday my husband and I went to see the movie The Help and as I enjoyed it I decided to borrow the book on which it was based.  I logged into the BAnQ’s Overdrive site and discovered that both copies of the book were out.  (Libraries can only lend as many copies as they have licences for that book.)  However, there was a handy link nearby: Place a Hold.  I entered my email address to register my hold. So, this evening I got an email from BAnQ saying the book was available, providing a link and directing me to My Holds page on the Overdrive system.  A couple of well guided clicks and a login later, the book was downloading to my computer and then a drop and drag moved it to my Kobo.  All in all, it took maybe…

A Few More Thoughts on the Kobo eReader
e-Reader Reviews / October 13, 2011

So I have been using the Kobo now for almost a week, and I must say I have enjoyed using it.  The touch interface seems responsive and is fun to use.  There are many things I prefer about the Kobo user interface to the Kindle interface – the use of book covers for one thing.  Some of those are very attractive and the Kindle’s text-based user interface seems a little basic by comparison.  Of course, I have not seen the UI for the Kindle Touch, but from the video of the Amazon press conference it seems as if it is still predominantly text based.  Amazon’s Collections feature where you can categorise your books into user defined groups for easier searching is one thing I find hard to live without.  Currently I only have a few books on the Kobo, so choosing/finding one is not too tricky,  but on my Kindle I have over 30 pages of books. A lot of the things I like about my Kindle are UI based.  I enjoy sharing on my Facebook page and Twitter feed when I find an interesting passage or have finished a book.  I just find that more intuitive on the Kindle…

Kindle vs Kobo
e-Reader Reviews / October 7, 2011

As those of you who follow my blog will know, I am a strong advocate of e-reading and in particular, Amazon’s Kindle. I have had a Kindle now since January 2010, and have built up a significant library of ebooks.  However, I’ve recently become very frustrated with Amazon’s US-centric focus and am beginning to wonder if the Canadian Kobo might be a better way to go.  With this in mind, today I purchased a Kobo Touch e-reader and plan to take advantage of Chapters’ two week return policy to review it and decide whether that is the way to go. I believe both of them are good, reliable e-readers and I don’t think a purchaser would be disappointed in either.  Both have the eInk display which is easiest on the eyes. At the point where I was considering going into ereading, before I bought my Kindle, I did experiment with both Kobo and Amazon stores and customer service and was equally happy with both.  At that point the Kobo ereader was not yet on the market.  As of yet, I have not unboxed it, but from what I understand, the following are the relative merits of Kindle and Kobo. Kindle…

eBook Borrowing from the BAnQ Montreal – followup
Tech Reviews / September 22, 2011

Further to my blog entry yesterday regarding ebook borrowing from the BAnQ in Montreal, I received a very useful and informative reply from them which I would like to share with you: Thank you for sharing your comments regarding our ebook collections. We recognize that the process includes numerous steps and can be cumbersome at some times. Please find below some information about recent developments in our services. Finding ebooks on our portal Regarding the visibility of our ebook collections on our website, we have recently implemented a new page entirely dedicated to ebooks. There is a link to it on our homepage, at the right side (where it says Livre numériques on a green banner). The page has not been translated into English yet, but we hope that our subscribers will be able to navigate our ebook collections easily from this page and will find answers to most of their technical difficulties in the page’s FAQ (Foire aux questions)  :http://www.banq.qc.ca/ressources_en_ligne/livres-numeriques/index.html. This page is updated regularly. Once you are on the Livres numériques page, you may use the search box to search for ebooks in the Iris catalogue (it is a different search box from the one that you have used on our Online Resources pages)….

The Joys of eBook Borrowing
Tech Reviews / September 21, 2011

Amazon recently announced that their flagship Kindle ebook reader was now capable of borrowing from public libraries.  As my ebook budget is a source of, um, friendly banter between my husband and me, this is one functionality that was very welcome to me.  However, at this point, this ability is only available in the US. I know from past experience that the Montreal public library, of which I am a member, does have some limited ebooks to borrow, so I decided to check it out.  When I last checked several months ago, the selection available, at least in terms of my preferred genre of fantasy, was extremely limited, especially in English.  Well, it is the main city of Francophone Canada, so I guess I’ll forgive it for having most books in French.  In all fairness I believe their selection has improved markedly since my initial investigation 18 months or so ago. My experience borrowing from the library was painful and I felt it would have been easier to write the darned book.  I am no technophobe by any means, in fact more the opposite, but I found the numerous stages ponderous and unnecessary.  I really hope Amazon’s process is much easier….