A Newbie’s Guide to eReading
e-Reader Reviews / May 20, 2013

Ereading still causes a lot of confusion.  I thought it might be useful to put together a post of some common questions regarding ereading and to do my best to answer them. What is eReading?Simply put, ereading is reading a book, comic, magazine or other similar content on an electronic device rather than in hard copy. Why should I give up my paperback and switch to ereading?Like many things, ereading is not an either/or activity.  There is no reason why you cannot read books in both hard copy and ebook formats.  It is very much a personal choice. Having said that, there are pros and cons to ereading.  I have listed some here to help you decide if ereading is right for you. Pros:Convenience.  With ereading you can carry your entire library around with you on your eReader, smartphone or tablet.   Can you imagine carrying around all 14 hardback books in the Wheel of Time series?  With ereading that is no issue. Likewise, if you’re living in a small space, an ereader takes up much less room than forty shelves of books. Accessibility.  Most ereaders and ereading applications allow you to adjust the font size to suit your eyesight.  This…

Kobo Glo – First Impressions
e-Reader Reviews / October 6, 2012

I’ve had my hands on the Kobo Glo for a few days now, and it is a very nice device. I took some pictures to compare it with my Kobo Touch and Kindle Touch. Here is a picture of the three devices with the Kobo Glo unlit To my eyes, the Kobo Glo’s screen is noticeably lighter than the Kobo Touch’s and on a par with that of the Kindle Touch, making more of a contrast between the screen and text. With its 1GHz processor, page turns on the new Glo are considerably faster than on the Kobo Touch and the Kindle Touch. You may notice from the images that the Kobo Glo has dropped the physical home button. Personally, I’d have preferred that they keep it. Access to the Home screen is now via on-screen menus. The Kobo Glo comes with a slightly updated UI, which, according to the forums, and my own experience, is still rather buggy. Once or twice I noticed that the device got stuck on a page and I had to turn it off to get back to reading. I imagine a firmware update will be coming soon to fix this. It’s annoying, but not…

Initial reaction to the Kobo and Amazon product launches
e-Reader Reviews / September 6, 2012

So in the last 48 hours both Kobo and Amazon have released details of the next iterations of their ereader products. Full details can be found at the Kindle and Kobo websites. It should be noted that I watched the Amazon press conference, but all I know of the new Kobo offerings is what Kobo has put on their website. At the lower price point end of the scale, Amazon has refreshed the screen and reduced the price of their base model Kindle – it now costs just $69. It doesn’t have a touch interface. The Kobo base end model is now touch based, but reduced in size to a 5 inch screen. It costs just $79 dollars. As an advocate of e-reading it’s great to see that the entry level models are so reasonably priced. Naturally, I was most interested in the touch readers. The big selling feature of both the new Kobo and Kindle touch devices is the front lighting to allow you to read when in a darkened environment. I often like to read in bed in the morning when I wake up, and don’t like to disturb my husband sleeping next to me, so this is…

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (spoilers)
Book Reviews , eBook reviews / June 16, 2012

I would love to say I loved this book, and indeed there was much I did enjoy about it.  I found the main characters to be engaging and well written.  The world building I thought was excellent. I enjoyed reading it and will certainly read the sequel, Bitterblue. What really let the novel down in my opinion was the poor pacing.  I felt too much time was spent on the wrong things.  For example we seem to spend several chapters wandering around in the snow with Katsa and Bitterblue and yet the final confrontation with Leck, to which the entire book has been leading, is over within half a page or so.  This left me feeling somewhat cheated.  In addition, this confrontation occurs still some way from the end of the novel; I kept expecting another twist, not setup for the next novel. I also felt the author missed some golden opportunities to explore some interesting themes, such as how do those who have grown used to power cope when they are powerless?  It is touched upon briefly, but I would have welcomed a deeper exploration of these. Having said that, I think these are things the novelist will become…

Kobo Vox – Update
e-Reader Reviews / June 9, 2012

I've had a day to play around with this now, and at this point I'm unlikely to keep it.  As I mentioned in my initial post, my main use for this would have been as a multi-platform e-reading tablet.  From what I've seen, it's going to struggle to fulfill that purpose, for me at least. What I liked The inbuilt functions seemed to work fairly well.  The main Kobo app is almost identical to the one on the iPad and works in much the same fashion.  I tested the Email, YouTube and Zinio apps, and again, all of them worked reasonably well.  My existing content downloaded to the machine with no trouble.  I also found the capacitive touchscreen to be reasonably responsive, which was a criticism I'd read in other reviews. I particularly liked the Kobo widget which brings your currently being read content right to your home screen. Being used to iOS, it took me a little time to get used to Android, but it wasn't that difficult.   You also can't really argue about the price – $169 is a pretty good deal – if you're prepared to accept the limitations.   I also really liked the 7…

Checking out the Kobo Vox
e-Reader Reviews / June 8, 2012

As I received a nice tax rebate today, I decided to check out the Kobo Vox 7 inch e-reader Android tablet.  For the Canadians amongst you, FutureShop is offering $10 discount. Now, it’s possible I will return it before the return period expires; the reviews I’ve read and seen on YouTube have been rather negative – sluggish, unresponsive machine, poor quality build – but I will see for myself. I am not expecting it to be comparable to the iPad – Apple’s tablet has a dual-core Apple A5X custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip with quad-core graphics and 1GB of RAM compared to the Vox’s 800 Mhz processor and 512 RAM – and of course with at least $400 difference in price, you wouldn’t expect them to compare.  I intend using them for different purposes.  I expect my iPad to remain my go to tablet of choice, and the Kobo to be purely e-reading based.  The main advantage I’m hoping to get from the Vox is that I will be able to read books from all three of my main sources – Amazon, Kobo and the local library – on one e-reader sized device. This will also be my first experience with Android….

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…

The Harry Potter ebooks are HEEEEERRRREEE!!!
Book Reviews / March 27, 2012

What an absolutely wonderful surprise I had on reading my Twitter feed this morning (thanks @Elmblade43!) to find that the Harry Potter ebooks are now available for purchase through the Pottermore store.  This was unexpected to me as I'd not seen any prior announcements that the store was due to open; I'd expected it to be delayed until after the opening of the Pottermore site to the general public given how the original beta launch of the Pottermore site was launched. I had many misgivings about the Pottermore store given how poorly the beta site was handled.  However, from the moment I went to the store it was clear I was in much safer hands.  The first step in the process was to create a Pottermore shop account (not the same as your Pottermore account, meaning that non Beta Pottermore fans can still purchase the books.)  This was all pretty straightforward.  The rest of the purchase process was too; select the books (I opted for the bundle of all seven for a 10% discount) – and it has to be noted that they are very reasonably priced – $7.99 – $9.99. The next stage was the one which caused me…