If Kobo is here, can Amazon be far behind?
e-Reader Reviews / August 31, 2013

So now that Kobo has announced its new lineup, I’m pretty confident Amazon won’t be too far behind.  I have some updates I’d love to see in the new lineup. My absolute dream device would be an eInk/LCD hybrid.  I’d love to be able to switch between a tablet and eReader.  I don’t think that’s going to happen, though. For eInk readers, I’d love to see audio support reinstated.  I didn’t miss it when it disappeared from the Paperwhite, but at that point I wasn’t as heavily invested in Audible and audiobooks as I am now.  I would also love to see full Audible integration as we have it on the Fire, immersion reading included.  I would snap that baby up in a New York minute.  I ADORE the Audible integration on the Fire, but I do prefer reading on eInk. In terms of the Fire, of course any improvement in specs and screen would be welcome.  Not that the current Fire isn’t excellent.  I would also welcome a better way of organising content.  The Favourites drawer isn’t nearly flexible enough.  I like Kobo’s idea of a Reading Mode where you can switch off all other distractions and optimise battery…

Audible and Kindle – A Match Made in Heaven
Miscellaneous / August 14, 2013

As many of my regular readers will know, I am a big fan of both ebooks and audiobooks.  For those of you unsure about e-reading or looking to take the first step, take a look at my Newbie’s Guide to eReading.  If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. For my audiobook needs I go to Audible.  Here’s how it works.  You can either buy audiobooks at full price, with no membership or monthly commitment.  An average audiobook, say for example The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling, costs around $25 USD for non members.  A larger book, like say Fires of Heaven from the Wheel of Time may be as much as $60 USD, but most are in the $25 USD range. Alternatively, you can choose to take a membership with Audible.  The basic plan $14.95 USD per month which gives you one credit per month to use on any audiobook.  An ideal introduction to Audible.  The Platinum plan, which I have, is two credits to spend on books a month.  That costs $22.95 USD per month.  They also have an Annual plan for which you pay…

Reading Roundup – 21st June 2013
Book Reviews , Reading Roundup / June 21, 2013

This week could more easily have been described as “listening roundup” as I’ve been listening more than reading – or rather I have been listening and reading along on my brand spanking new Kindle Fire. Here is what I have been reading and listening to this past week.  I recently finished Siege and Storm in both Kindle and Audible by Leigh Bardugo, the followup to Shadow and Bone.  To be honest I was rather disappointed in this book.  I loved the Russian-style setting of the first book, and my enjoyment of this continued into the second book.  However, I found the pacing of this second book rather slow.  After a promising start, the story slows down to a crawl.  It also annoys me when young protagonists suddenly find themselves in a leadership position with no training or experience, just because they have some unrelated power.   On a positive side some new and very interesting characters were introduced, especially Sturmhond.  Also the ending picked up again dramatically and I will certainly read the final book in the Grisha trilogy to see how it all ends. I listened to Graceling by Kristin Cashore from Audible which was marked as a full…

Amazon releases Kindle Fire in Canada
e-Reader Reviews / May 23, 2013

Today a friend alerted me (thanks Stèphane!) that Amazon has sneaked its 7inch Amazon Kindle Fire tablet into the Canadian store for pre-order.  I have put one on pre-order for your reviewing pleasure.  I may return it as I did the Kobo Aura, but I do want to check it out.

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…

Kindle Paperwhite Review
e-Reader Reviews / December 23, 2012

So on my day off work this week I took a trip to Plattsburgh NY to purchase a Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve wanted one ever since Jeff Bezos presented the project launch back in early September, but they are not available to ship to Canada. I’ve been keeping an eye on Bestbuy.com for stock information and when they came in stock last week I decided to go ahead and purchase one. The bad When I first got it home, my initial reaction was, well, it’s nice, but not overwhelmingly so. I had been keen to see the new UI, but was exceptionally frustrated to know that as I had the cheaper special offers version there was only room for THREE books on the home screen in the new Cover View. THREE!!! Three!!! The rest of the space is taken up by Amazon advertising. That is ridiculous. Fortunately a quick Google search helped somewhat. Hint: From Home screen go to Settings -> Device Options -> Personalise Your Kindle and turn off Recommended Content. This will give you an extra three books on your home screen. Having said that, it is lovely to have book covers as a home screen rather than just…

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…

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…