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Books

Ebook roundup full of cats

The Jewel and Her Lapidary

The Jewel and Her Lapidary

Recently acquired from Kobo:

Temptations of a Wallflower, by Eva Leigh. Historical romance. Third in a romance trilogy by the author Zoe Archer writing under a new name.

The Jewel and Her Lapidary, by Fran Wilde. Fantasy. This is a novella release from Tor.com, and I grabbed it since I liked the sound of the blurb and really liked the cover art. (Relatedly, I also really liked this post on tor.com, in which the artist describes the process behind the cover art’s creation! It’s a pretty neat exploration of how cover art can be made in this digital age we’re in.)

Breaking Cat News, by Georgia Dunn. Comics. Grabbed this after seeing Dear Author review it. It’s a glowing review, and all I needed was one look at the included sample page in that review to go YEP I NEED THIS. It’s a brand new collection, the first released by the artist, who posts on Mondays and Thursdays at breakingcatnews.com. As of this writing, I have already read both the ebook and the entire archive on the site. Recommended. ^_^

16 for the year.

Books

Research-y book roundup post

Strange Terrain

Strange Terrain

So I was poking around doing some googling, trying to get an idea of what plot points I could use for the forthcoming novella starting Caitlin and Gabien–and I discovered a couple of books written by a lady named Barbara Rieti. She’s apparently done considerable research into the folklore of Newfoundland, which, why HELLO THERE relevance to my interests.

And heh, I feel like I leveled up a bit in Writer, buying books for actual research and stuff.

Thus, picked up from ISER Books (for the print) and Kobo (for the ebook):

Strange Terrain: The Fairy World in Newfoundland and also Making Witches: Newfoundland Traditions of Spells and Counterspells, by Barbara Rieti. For general “finding all about things that the Warders of Newfoundland need to know about” purposes.

Also picked up from Kobo:

Atlantis Fallen, by C.E. Murphy. Another self-pubbed title from her this year, a heavily reworked version of a book she wrote some time ago. Picked up for general “because Kitbooks!” purposes.

13 for the year.

Books

Quick ebook roundup

Magic & Manners

Magic & Manners

Picked up from Kobo:

  • Magic & Manners, by C.E. Murphy. Fantasy. This is userinfomizkit‘s first release in two years, her take on what Pride & Prejudice would have been like with magic. Naturally I had to check this out! Because I mean honestly, there was no way I was NOT reading this. 😀
  • Forest of Memory, by Mary Robinette Kowal. SF. And speaking of Austen-esque authors, this is a new novella by Kowal, and naturally I had to read this too.
  • The Wild One, by Danelle Harmon. Historical romance. Grabbed this because Dear Author had a review up for Book 5 of this series, which sounded like fun. But I don’t like to start a series that far in, so I went to find this one instead. And it’s actually available for free right now, so bonus!

10 for the year.

Books

Somewhat delayed book roundup post

Winterwood

Winterwood

First book acquisition post of 2016! A bit delayed, since these books have been acquired over the course of the last several weeks. Purchased in print via Amazon CreateSpace:

  • First Daughter, by Caitlin Clare Diehl. Fantasy. Got this because she’s another member of NIWA and I liked the sound of her plot blurb. Also because I was curious to see a book that’s a direct product of CreateSpace!

Purchased digitally from Amazon (for values of ‘purchased’ meaning ‘I got it for free, actually’):

  • The Legend of Yan-Kan Mar, by Holly Jones. SF. Grabbed this because Holly is a relation of mine and I wanted to support a family member with getting the word out about her work. That she was celebrating the release by handing the book out for free didn’t suck, either!

Purchased digitally from Kobo:

  • Unbound and Revisionary, by Jim C. Hines. Urban fantasy. Books 3 and 4 of his Magic Ex Libris series. Gotten since Book 4 just dropped and I need to get caught up on these!
  • Winterwood, by Jacey Bedford. Book 1 of the Rowankind series. Historical fantasy, in the Napoleonic era. Grabbed this because I really liked the sound of the plot pitch when I saw this getting talked up on Tor.com, because the cover is gorgeous, and because the words “cross-dressing privateer captain” had me ON FREGGIN’ BOARD.
  • The Witch Who Came in From the Cold and Tremontaine, both of which are ebook serials from Serial Box. I’ve been seeing these folks get talked up on Tor.com lately, as they issue stories in serial form in both audio and ebook forms, and I really liked the idea of a spy adventure in 70’s Prague featuring witches. Likewise, the Tremontaine serial is set in the same universe as Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint novels and I am on board with revisiting that setting, absolutely. So I grabbed the first episode of both of these stories to see if I’ll want to read the rest of them.

7 total for the year so far.

Boosting the Signal

Boosting the Signal: Here Be Magic Boxed Set, by Various Authors, Post No. 5

And, finally (albeit wrapping around from last week, the last of the Boosting the Signal feature posts for the Here Be Magic Boxed Set! I’ve got one more doubleheader today for you all. The first of the two posts features yet another prior Boosting the Signal guest, and yet another bestselling Carina author: Cindy Spencer Pape. Cindy’s story in the set is Devil of Bourbon Street, and she’s offering up an excerpt to tease your fancy. Her hero, Detective Quinn Carling, has a nicely understated goal in this scene: doing a good turn for a street busker. Or at least, on the surface. Check out the scene for what he’s really after!

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Here Be Magic Boxed Set

Here Be Magic Boxed Set

“Come into the café and I’ll buy you lunch—no strings attached.” It was something Toni would have done, and it seemed a good way to honor her memory today.

Her lips, devoid of makeup, quirked. “They won’t let me in—I have a dog.”

He brushed aside a vine and peered through the fence. Sure enough a big mutt—Labrador sized, maybe, but with something long-haired and spotted in its background—thumped its tail by the street singer’s feet and grinned up at Quinn. A battered plastic bowl near its head was half full of water.

Quinn smiled back at the dog. “Doesn’t he scare away the customers?” He noticed her guitar case was on a concrete bench, a good four feet to her left—probably just out of reach of the big guy’s leash.

“Nah, Olaf’s pretty mellow.” She continued to strum her guitar as she chatted, nodding her thanks to a couple who dropped some change into the guitar case. She was sort of ordinary-looking for a street performer in NOLA—no fake vampire makeup or voodoo beads, she wore faded jeans, a yellow T-shirt and battered canvas sneakers.

“Well, tell me what you want, and I’ll bring you out your meal.” Now that he’d gotten the idea of feeding her into his head, it wouldn’t let go. He could sit on the bench out there and listen, as well as in here.

“Why?” she asked easily, as if the answer didn’t much matter. There was no accusation in her tone, just simple curiosity. Tiny smile lines around her eyes suggested she was older than she’d looked at first—maybe in her mid-to-late-twenties. “Am I your good deed for the day?”

He shrugged. “Maybe.” The truth was that he had no idea and didn’t really care to analyze his own thought process too deeply. “It’s been a day. I suppose I wouldn’t mind having someone to talk to while I finish my lunch. We’re on a public street, so I’d guess you’re pretty safe.”

“Fair enough.” Giving him that same, crooked smile, she asked for a coffee, two ham sandwiches, and an order of beignets.

Quinn doubled the order, in case she intended to share with her dog. If not, she could stash the extra away and have dinner tonight as well. He’d almost swear he heard Toni’s voice in the back of his head, urging him on. Then he took the singer’s food and his refilled coffee and wandered out to sit on the bench beside her guitar case. “Been doing this long?”

“Playing guitar, or singing on the street?” She moved the case to the ground, laid her guitar inside, and slid it under the bench. The dog moved with her, plopping his shaggy butt down on the ground in front of the center of the bench—making sure he was between Quinn and his mistress.

“Either. Both.” Quinn sipped his coffee and watched her tear off a big chunk of the first sandwich and feed it to the dog. “Name’s Quinn. And you two?”

“Darcy,” she said with a mouthful off bread and ham and cheese. “And Olaf.” After another bite, she added, “Nice to meet you, Quinn. Thanks for the food.”

It might have been a polite brush-off, but Quinn decided not to take it that way. He leaned back against the fence behind the bench. “I was enjoying your music. Seemed like a fair trade.” Quinn snitched a beignet from the second basket and bit into the hot, fried dough, dripping with powdered sugar. God these were amazing. He’d never been able to duplicate the flavor back home, no matter how hard he’d tried, despite the fact that he was a pretty decent cook.

“Works for me.” She split another chunk of the sandwich with Olaf. “I’ve been playing guitar—just not very well—since I was a kid. I’ve only been trying to make a living at it for the last few months.”

“What’d you do before that?” Quinn had no real idea why he found her so fascinating. He just did. And it wasn’t only because she was a pretty young woman, though he’d have to be blind to not notice that. He was honestly curious.

“I worked at a day care center.” One of the sparrows chose that moment to land on her shoulder, and rather than recoil, Darcy laughed, making her deep brown eyes sparkle with an amber glow. “I love these guys, but dude, you are not getting any of my beignets.” To Quinn’s surprise, Olaf seemed to completely ignore the birds.

“They are pretty persistent,” Quinn stopped himself from wiping a dot of mustard from her upper lip. When she flicked out her tongue and got it, he nearly groaned. Yeah. As soon as he got home, it was time, past time, to get his sorry ass back into the dating pool.

“But they add character—something that’s very important here in the Big Easy.” She winked at him. “Mind you, I’m a Detroit girl by birth, but I’ve been here long enough to have figured out some of the basics. Where are you from? Your accent is hard to place, but you don’t strike me as a tourist.”

“Philadelphia, now” he said. “Maryland, originally. But I lived over in Metairie for a while in my misspent youth, then here in the Quarter for oh, five years or so.”

“Just here visiting old haunts?” Her eyes widened and warmed. He could have sworn she was sensing his pain.

“You could say that, I guess.” He closed his eyes and inhaled. Haunts, indeed.

“No, really. Whatever brought you here wasn’t a happy thing.” She reached over and brushed some powdered sugar off his knee. The intimacy of the touch sent a jolt through his system. “Sometimes it helps to talk to strangers—and I’m as strange as they get.”

Quinn chuckled at that, but under her determined gaze, he caved in and sighed. “My late wife is buried here. After three years of beating myself up day in and day out, I’ve finally realized that her death wasn’t entirely my fault. So I came down here to make my peace. I took flowers to her tomb today—and after all this time, I really said goodbye.”

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Boosting the Signal

Boosting the Signal: Here Be Magic Boxed Set, by Various Authors, Post No. 4

The Boosting the Signal special feature run for the Here Be Magic boxed set continues! With this post, I welcome back yet another previous Boosting the Signal guest: Veronica Scott. Veronica’s story in the set is Healer of the Nile, and she’s sent in a character interview to highlight her heroine’s goals as well as her general personality! Check it out.

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Here Be Magic Boxed Set

Here Be Magic Boxed Set

1550 BCE

When Pharaoh sends injured warrior Tadenhut home to die, his noble family asks Mehyta, the local healer, to ease his path to the Afterlife. Mehyta discovers he’s trapped between Life and Death, caught in the dreamspace. Touched by his fighting spirit and will to live, Mehyta vows to use all the powers Shai, god of fate, gave her. Together Tadenhut and the brave healer battle to overcome his injuries, as well as threats from devious family members. While struggling to rescue her patient, Mehyta comes to realize he matters more to her than any man ever has before. But even if his life can be saved, what do the omens say about a match between a highborn soldier and a simple healer?

Today we’ll interview Mehyta, but without giving away any spoilers!

What is your idea of perfect happiness? As an Egyptian, I subscribe to the principles of ma’at, that if truth, order, law, morality and justice can be kept in balance, then the world is in harmony. For myself, I’m happy at the end of the day if I’ve done well using my healing skills to benefit others. And if I can have a peaceful dinner with the man I love each evening, talking of the events of our respective days, that’s ideal. He’s my best friend! Sometimes we go for a sail on the Nile, which is a rare treat as well.

Which living person do you most admire? Pharaoh, of course! May the gods grant him life, prosperity and health.

What is your greatest extravagance? Buying special herbs and plants from other lands, that I may try new remedies and methods of healing. I have a garden where I grow as many as possible but some foreign plants fail to thrive in Egypt, despite the bounty of the Nile and richness of our soil.

On what occasion do you lie? I misled many people when I was trying to save Tadenhut’s life, not by telling outright lies, but by not explaining everything I was doing. Allowing people to think what they wished and not correcting their misunderstandings. I always told Tadenhut the hard truths, however, about his injuries.

Which talent would you most like to have? I’d like to know how to run the estate effortlessly, to know all the proper protocols for entertaining Pharaoh and his nobles. To know how much food and wine to order for a dinner, how many entertainers there should be, how to ensure the entire house is ready at the appointed hour. Fortunately there are others I trust to arrange these things on the Hunting Cat estate, leaving me free to concentrate on using my healing gifts. I’m a very shy hostess!

What is your most treasured possession? My pouch of omen stones. They were passed down to me from my grandmother, who was a true daughter of Shai, god of Fate. I don’t have all the powers she possessed, but I can read the stones and tell people their fortunes. I have beautiful spheres of many precious and semiprecious stones and usually when someone asks a question, I put my hand into the pouch and withdraw five or six stones. The right ones will come to my hand, whether the answer is going to be favorable or ominous. Then I cast the chosen stones onto the ground and interpret the pattern. When it came to Tadenhut’s fate, however, I had to cast all the stones, more than once, and seek the counsel of Shai himself.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being separated from Tadenhut for more than a day!

What historical figure do you most identify with? It is said in the time of the pyramid builders there lived a wise and beautiful female physician, Peseshet, whose knowledge of cures and spells was unparalleled. She was lauded in her son’s tomb as having been the “lady overseer of the female physicians.” I would so love to sit under the palms with Peseshet for an hour, asking questions. The scribes keep much knowledge from the past in the scrolls but I never learned to read. And often one can glean more by talking to someone anyway, rather than merely reading the dry accounts. Tadenhut has put forth word that he will pay dearly for any papyrus related to her teachings but as yet none have been located. Even Pharaoh’s library fails to provide anything more than her name and reputation.

What’s your personal motto? The ancient proverb, “There is no one who can ignore Shai.”

What is your most marked characteristic? I think most people, including Tadenhut, would say I’m stubborn. Once I decide on a course of action, I won’t give up, no matter how many obstacles are placed in my path. I’ll find a way.

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Follow Veronica Scott On: Facebook | Twitter | Official site | Amazon Author Page

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Books

Final book acquisition post of 2015

The Day the World Came to Town

The Day the World Came to Town

Forgot to get this posted in a timely fashion, so here it is at least to finish off my book acquisitions for the previous year.

Acquired in print:

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland, by Jim DeFede. Picked this up from the gift shop at the Seattle Rep, the night I saw the play Come From Away. Because I figured a) reading this was obligatory to better appreciate the play’s context, and b) the purchase would help support the Rep!

Acquired from Kobo:

The Force Awakens, by Alan Dean Foster. This is the official novelization of the new Star Wars movie, which I wanted to pick up despite the ebook being pricier than I usually like. (The wait list on the library queue was unacceptably long, and I wanted to read it NOW.) I have in fact read this now as of this writing, and can report that while it was generally a straightforward adaptation of what we all saw on screen, there are a few additional details that I wish would have made it into the final theatrical cut.

And that puts me at 79 total for the year. Which is pretty low for me, historically!