Ebooks and Ereaders

Device review: Kindle Oasis

For the longest time, I’ve been reading ebooks on my last purchased Nook, a Samsung Galaxy S2 tablet, with a side helping of periodically reading on my iPad or iPhone. But this has been bugging me for a while, for a few reasons.

The problems

One: I’m getting older, and my eyes are getting weaker. Which has made me want to go easier on them. Given this, I thought it’d be nicer to shift my digital reading back to an e-ink device rather than on devices with much brighter screens.

Two: These days I want to be less distracted by my technology. But I still love ebooks, and I’ve missed my prior experience of reading on e-ink devices. Which is to say: devices whose entire reason for existence is to do one thing, show me whatever I want to read. They can’t distract me with Facebook or Twitter or games or email or whatever. There’s something very restful in that.

Three: The ongoing slow decline of Barnes and Noble has made me disenchanted with the idea of ever buying an ebook from them again. Never mind a new device.

Four: While most of my ebook purchases these days are from Kobo, I haven’t liked reading on the Kobo device I own, a Kobo Mini. I like how tiny it is. But I don’t like that if I load it up with even a reasonable fraction of my library, its performance slows down considerably.

And while Kobo has higher-end e-ink devices, those are hard to come by in the States. There have been reports of Kobo beginning a partnership with Walmart to sell ebook cards and devices here. But as I flat out refuse to set foot in a Walmart, buying a Kobo device from them isn’t on the table.

I could go up to Vancouver and get a Kobo there. But that distance also means that if the thing breaks, there isn’t an easy way for me to see about getting it repaired or replaced.

All of which led me to do something I hadn’t ever foreseen myself doing: purchasing an e-ink Kindle. Specifically, an Oasis.

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(A quite belated) Movie review: Black Panther

This is of course a super late post given that Black Panther came out a few weeks ago at this point. But I wanted to get this written up anyway, since I did like this movie immensely, and wanted to document my thoughts. 😀

I’ve been seeing discussion posts all over the place about it, but notably on The Mary Sue and Tor.com, both of which have had multiple interesting commentaries on various aspects of the film. They’ve ranged from the overall joy of fans of color for this film, which is massive, to the rightful and eminently correct praise of the multiple awesome women in the cast.

Now, while I’ve been a solid fan of the MCU since the first Iron Man film came out, I’m also of course squarely in the White Chick bracket of fandom. As such, I cannot by definition have the same sort of gut-deep reaction of joy to this film that a fan of color could. But I will say this: given how much joy I got out of seeing Wonder Woman, I can totally extrapolate. I am delighted that this film exists, and that fans of color get to rejoice in it. The opportunity to support it by giving it my theater-going money has pleased me, and I did in fact have enough fun seeing it that I’m strongly considering seeing it again.

For the more in-depth details of things I loved, have a look behind the fold!

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Other People's Books

February 2018 ebook roundup

Binti: The Night Masquerade

Binti: The Night Masquerade

And now: the February 2018 ebook roundup!

This might wind up being my last one involving Barnes and Noble, after news this week that they’ve instituted some brutal layoffs. The Digital Reader talks about this story here, and there’s a similar and more in-depth post on tumblr here.

It’s very telling that the only ebooks I’ve bought from B&N in the last couple years have been due to ebook settlement credit or gift cards to spend. Most of the B&N purchases in this post were because I got my yearly VISA gift card from work. And I blew half of that on a B&N card because Kobo doesn’t sell gift cards here in the States, or at least not anywhere I’m likely to shop.

A few of these are ebook rebuys, for things I’d already bought on the iBooks store but which I wanted in a more accessible form. And getting B&N books into my master library in Calibre is slightly less irritating than doing iBooks.

The Amazon purchases are also because I had credit to spend. (In this case, from returning a gifted CD that I had already.)

Anyway, here’s the list!

From Amazon

Under the Empyrean Sky, Blightborn, and The Harvest, by Chuck Wendig. This is a YA dystopian trilogy by Wendig, and I got ’em all because they were on sale for 99 cents each.

From B&N

  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, by Lindy West. I don’t normally read non-fiction, but this came recommended to me. And since Dara and I got to see Lindy West as the Not My Job guest at the Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me show in Seattle this past December, where she was quite awesome, I went ahead and picked this up.
  • Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer. This must have gotten recommended to me at some point? It’s a middle grade series about a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind, with fairies involved, and probably other supernatural hijinx as well. It seems like fun along the lines of Phineas and Ferb. We’ll see!
  • Rebels and Lovers, by Linnea Sinclair. SFR.
  • The Hobbit, which of course needs no introduction. This ebook edition is the special enhanced version that has additional art and audio embedded in it.
  • Semiosis, by Sue Burke. SF. This one has been getting talked up a lot on Tor.com and I thought it sounded intriguing, so I snapped it up. Liz Bourke reviews it for Tor.com here.
  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor. SF. The final book of Okorafor’s Binti series, which so far I have enjoyed quite a bit.
  • It Devours!, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. The second Night Vale novel!
  • Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz. SF. Another book I’ve seen talked up on Tor.com in the last several months, and which I’ve picked up out of interest in the samples and reviews I’ve read there. Notably, this review by Brit Mandelo.
  • Wind From a Foreign Sky, by Katya Reimann. Fantasy. This is an ebook rebuy of a book I meant to read a very long time ago.
  • The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin. Fantasy. I’ve received multiple recommendations for this. And on general grounds of “this won a Hugo” and “why yes I do want to read more things by women and by WoC in particular”, this clearly needs to be in my library.

But wait there’s more

I do also have one more book to mention, which I didn’t pick up from a bookstore. This is Capricious: The Gender Diverse Pronouns Issue, a special issue of the magazine called Capricious. I supported their Indiegogo to do this special issue, and received it in both ebook and print form.

If this sounds like a neat thing to you, you can find out more about the special issue right over here! They’re selling the print edition through Amazon as well as B&N, although in light of the news I mentioned at the top of the post, if you want the print copy, Amazon is probably your best bet. (I can however say that the print copy is nice. It’s shaped like a book, not a magazine at all.)

17 for the year.


Tech review: iPad Pro 10.5 edition

Anna's iPad Pro

Anna’s iPad Pro

Every new January for me means the coming of my birthday! This year, since I got a nice yearly bonus from the day job, I treated myself to a birthday present: a new iPad Pro. Today on Here Be Magic, the group blog I participate in, I’ve got a post up about what it’s like to use this device to write on. Here on my own site, I’d like to expand on that somewhat and talk about what I like about this device so far, and why I decided to get it.

Long post is long! The rest is behind the cut.

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Other People's Books

Last ebook roundup from 2017, first of 2018

An overlapping ebook roundup post, because I was too laggardly to do part of this in the tail end of December. So here it is now, halfway into January!

Picked up from Kobo:

  • Into the Drowning Deep, by Mira Grant. For general obvious “because Mira Grant” reasons!
  • Beren and Luthien, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’d already bought this in print form, of course, but I wanted it in ebook too. And the ebook finally went on sale for $2.99, so I leapt all over that!

Dara gave me two titles from Amazon as a holiday gift, and I asked for these on the grounds that they were cheapest on Amazon:

  • Patience and Sarah, by Isabel Miller. Wanted this because it is described as a historical lesbian romance, and that certainly sounds like something that requires exploration.
  • The Tale of Mu, by Richard Beckham II. This has been on my list for quite a while, and as I recall, I probably noted it at a con and found it interesting enough to look up later in digital form. We’ll see if that holds true.

These were the December purchases, and they finish my 2017 tally up at 62.

Onward into 2018! Picked up from Barnes and Noble because I had a bit more backlogged credit to spend:

  • Crooked, by Richard Pett. Got this one because it’s one part fantasy and one part horror, from what I see in its blurb. With a side helping of Lovecraftian atmosphere, too.
  • Fortune’s Pawn, by Rachel Bach. SF/Romance. Grabbed this one because it sounded like fluffy fun, and because it was on sale for $2.99.

Editing to add: NO WAIT I forgot one. I just went and saw Alan Doyle perform at the Triple Door this week! And while I was at that show, I grabbed a hardback copy of his second book, A Newfoundlander in Canada. I already have this in ebook form, but I wanted a print copy too on general Because Supporting Alan grounds.

And that’s 3 so far for this new year.


Testing, testing, testing, are we back on?

Looks like JournalPress, the WordPress plugin Dara and I have been using to crosspost to Dreamwidth, has finally updated itself. The dev fixed the crossposting problem from the plugin’s end, and included a patch Dara had posted about on the plugin’s forum over a year ago. Awesome!

So let’s see if I can actually crosspost to Dreamwidth again!

Editing to add: Oh YAY it actually worked!

For those of you who may have missed it, here’s the last post I did over on angelahighland.com: my writing plan for 2018. There’s a rough of the cover art for the forthcoming Walk the Wards, featuring Amelialoren and Melisanda of the Seelie Court!


2018 writing plan (wait, I have a plan?!)

The holidays are done and I’ve had a nice long vacation, so it’s time to set a 2018 writing plan! Which is surprisingly organized of me, I feel. But it’s a level of organization I really need to aim for, if I want to get my writing back in gear this year. So let’s see if I can pull this off.

Release Walk the Wards

The goal here is to see if I can finally have the novellas that make up Walk the Wards ready to release by Norwescon. That convention falls in mid-April this year.

What this will require: getting the writing done by mid-February or so. Then beta reading has to happen, as well as a proper edit pass.

I’ve already initiated a cover art discussion with the same artist I engaged to do the cover for Warder Soul, Nicole Cardiff. She sent me a thumbnail sketch that I like, and we’ll be moving forward with turning that into an actual picture. This’ll be from the story “The Light Beyond the Gate”–the story of what happens to Jude while she’s in Faerie during Bone Walker.

Who’ll be in this picture? No less august a personage than Amelialoren, the Queen of Light and Morning, monarch of the Seelie Court in her throne room. And there will also be Melisanda ana’Sharran, warrior of the Seelie Court. So you’ll get two important Seelie women on the cover for the price of one!


Walk the Wards cover rough

Walk the Wards cover rough

And a general status check: “A Power in the Blood” and “Diminuendo” are both done in first draft form. I’m working now on “The Deepest Breath of Song”, Oscar’s story, though I will probably swap back and forth between it and the other two tales as I proceed to finish this thing up.

As of last night, the book was just shy of 55,000 words and “The Deepest Breath of Song” crossed the 10K mark. I suspect this book as a whole will be a bit shorter than Faerie Blood or Bone Walker, but I’m okay with that.

Release Queen of Ghosts

Once Walk the Wards is safely out the door, I need to return to Queen of Ghosts, my Hades and Persephone story. What has to happen here: review of edits already done, and applying of those to the manuscript.

Then I’ll need cover art for this, too. Once Nicole has finished the cover art for Walk the Wards I will probably also get her to do this book as well.

Target for when to get this done: some time this summer, but what’s more likely is maybe to have this done in time for Orycon. Which would be nice, because then I could have a new release at Norwescon, and a new release at Orycon as well.

Stand by for further updates.

Finish Warder Soul

Probably in parallel to the two above things, I’ll return to working on Warder Soul, Book 3 of the Free Court series. This doesn’t necessarily have to wait till Walk the Wards is released. But it does have to wait at least until I have finished, solid versions of “The Plight of the Warder’s Daughter” and “The Light Beyond the Gate”, because both of these are important setup for that book.

I do not yet anticipate this book being ready to release this year. But I will be trying to get it ready before next year’s Norwescon. Since I’m liking the idea of targeting release dates for conventions where I’m likely to show up and be able to sell books, this might mean having it ready by a convention in January 2019. More as I know it.