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Books

Barnes and Noble ebook settlement credit roundup

Ghost Talkers

Ghost Talkers

Earlier this year, y’all may recall, a lot of ebook customers got a lot of credit from the settlement of the lawsuits pertaining to ebook pricing. I’m still annoyed that agency pricing has returned as fallout from this, because it’s put a big dent in my ebook buying.

On the other hand, it also means I got a boatload of credit from Barnes and Noble for my history of purchases with them.

Part of me is a bit wry about this, given that I have moved my ebook purchasing by and large over to Kobo. But hey, I’m still willing to go scarf books on barnesandnoble.com if I don’t have to pay for them, so hey! It took me a while to decide on the titles I want to get. I have however finally finished up spending that credit tonight, so here’s a roundup of all the things I got as a result of the credit drop.

Purchased from bn.com in print:

  • Elfquest: The Final Quest Volume 2, for generally obvious “because it’s delightful to be able to buy new Elfquest graphic novels again” reasons. I’ve been buying the individual issues in digital form direct from Dark Horse, but I absolutely wanted print copies as well. So I’m racking those up in print as they come out.

And, here are the ebooks I’ve gotten over the last several weeks, most of which were acquired tonight:

  • The Bone Whistle, by Erzebet YellowBoy. Contemporary fantasy. I had my eye on this story way back in 2007 when it was originally published by Juno Books, with the author using the name Eva Swan. I never was able to get a copy, though, before Juno shut down. She later released it herself under the name Erzebet YellowBoy, so I finally was able to grab it in ebook form.
  • Le combat des dieux, by Élodie Tirel. High fantasy. Book 3 of her Luna series for young readers. This is of course the third of the series I’ve been reading in French to try to improve my reading comprehension in that language, and since I enjoyed the second one (at least what I could pick up of it), I’m moving onward to the third. I continue to be rather charmed by how the series seems entirely unrepentant about hitting all the classic fantasy tropes hard. 😀
  • Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal. Historical/WWI fantasy. Grabbing this one because I’ll pretty much grab anything Kowal chooses to release, and this is her latest novel, about a squadron of mediums whose job it is to get intelligence on the front from the ghosts of recently slain soldiers.
  • Arabella of Mars, by David D. Levine. SF. Pretty much my entire feed of followed blogs and social media pals lost their minds over this release, so yeah, the buzz, it is strong with this one. And it sounds like great fun, with a blend of SF and steampunk viewed through a lens of English colonialism. Sure why not, I’ll have some.
  • Radiance: A Novel, by Catherynne M. Valente. SF. This is another recent title in the vein of SF with a heavy side helping of classic/pulp flavor, only this one also throws in a hefty dash of classic cinema flavor as well.
  • An Accident of Stars, by Foz Meadows. Fantasy. Specifically, portal fantasy. Grabbing this because I’ve read several of Meadows’ blog posts and appreciate her way of expressing herself. And also because portal fantasy with several leading female characters? Fuck yeah, I’m on board!
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers. SF. Because again, the buzz is strong with this one, a novel that started life as a self-pub release and later got itself a formal book deal. Plus any SF novel that invokes Firefly in its buzz is pretty much bound to get my attention.
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle. Horror/Lovecraft pastiche. This one got a lot of attention because of revisiting Lovecraft–and specifically, one of his most racism-steeped stories, “The Horror at Red Hook”, bringing an African-American perspective to the events that story mentions. Since I’m one of the folks who likes Lovecraft’s worldbuilding but has a hard time dealing with his racism, I expect to particularly appreciate this one.
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson. Another Lovecraft pastiche, this time bringing in a female perspective. Given that I very much liked the She Walks in Shadows anthology that came out last year, I expect to like this too. Particularly given how I came out of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath with a very strong “WTF DID I JUST READ?!” reaction!
  • The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match, by Juliana Gray. Historical romance. Picked this up because I saw it favorably reviewed on dearauthor.com (you can see me in the comments on that link). And because I’m charmed by the idea of a romance featuring older characters.
  • HEX, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. Horror. This is the English translation of a best-selling Dutch horror novel, which I saw get some positive buzz on Tor.com, such as this review here. This story sounds like it blends the modern and the gothic very well, and I liked what I read of excerpts, so I’m going to dive into the full book. Plus I appreciate being able to read something that originated in a non-US market.
  • False Hearts: A Novel, by Laura Lam. SF. Picking this up again because of seeing it plugged on Tor.com (really, those folks at Tor.com are a large contributor to my book purchasing decisions!), and specifically, because I saw this nice little short story set in the universe of this novel. Between that and being intrigued by the premise of a pair of (originally) conjoined twins as the protagonists of the story, I wanted to pick this up.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm, by Greg Keyes. Bought because I’ve quite liked the two movies in the current Apes franchise, and because I wanted to see what the prequel story setting up the plague we see in Dawn would be like. Also, because I’ve read stuff by Keyes in the past so I know he’s capable of laying down a good story.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, by Alex Irvine. This is the official novelization of the movie which came out a couple years ago. Because hey, I liked the story! And I do still like a movie novelization every so often!
  • It Takes Two to Tangle, by Theresa Romain. Historical romance. This went onto my queue a couple years ago entirely because of this review on Smart Bitches Trashy Books. And, now that I’m refreshing my memory about the book and see that I had in fact dropped a comment on that review, I am pleased to be reminded about this novel’s delightful opening line.
  • Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho. Steampunk/fantasy. Yet another strong-buzz book, with Tor.com contributing heavily to my hearing about this one. I particularly like that both of the lead characters are people of color.
  • The Last Witness, by K.J. Parker. Fantasy. I heard about this one through Tor.com because it is in fact one of their releases! The protagonist is someone who makes his living by ridding people of unwanted memories. Except now he’s been targeted by someone because of one of the secrets he now holds. Sounds fun!

This roundup all by itself doubles my total of acquired books for the year, taking me up to 36.

(And I should note for the record that some of my ebook settlement credit went to things that are not books: namely, two MST3K DVD boxed sets! But I think that any of my fellow fans of cheesy movies will agree that more MST3K in one’s library is always a good thing.)

ETA: OH HEY I forgot one. I also grabbed Jo Walton’s The Just City, because Tor.com has an ebook club now and that was this month’s freebie. Make that 37 for the year!

Books

Influential authors meme

I got tagged on a couple of writer-related memes going around Facebook. I don’t do memes per se, including tagging people on them, as I’ve said before. But I will absolutely use them as an excuse to write up something here on this blog! First, there’s the Influential Authors meme, on which I got tagged by Shawna Reppert.

From her post:

The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. List 15 authors (poets included) who have influenced you and who will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can identify in no more than 15 minutes. Tag at least 15 friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing the authors my friends choose.

Let’s do this thing. These are not in any particular order.

  1. Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. Julie Czerneda
  4. Tanya Huff
  5. Doranna Durgin
  6. Anne McCaffrey
  7. Naomi Novik
  8. Rachel Caine
  9. Susanna Kearsley
  10. Wendy and Richard Pini
  11. A.C. Crispin
  12. Patricia Briggs
  13. Mercedes Lackey
  14. Terry Brooks
  15. Esther Friesner

And I know I am probably fudging on things to list the Pinis here, given that Elfquest is a comic book series, not a book series. But I take the liberty of including them because a) as I’ve mentioned before on this site, they are a huge influence on my perceptions of what elves ought to be like in my stories, and b) if you wanna really get technical, there are Elfquest stories in book form, so there. I do have all the Blood of Ten Chiefs anthologies, as well as the novelizations of the first three graphic novels!

Tolkien is on this list for reasons which are similarly obvious to anybody who knows anything about my personal history as a reader as well as a writer; noting him among my influences for worldbuilding as well as language geekery. Likewise Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters, who is a formative influence on what I like in leading men in a story, and the level of romance and suspense I want.

Anne McCaffrey’s influence on me cannot be understated–I did, after all, spend years in Pern fandom, both offline and online. And I still have a lot of Pern fanfic on my hard drive, as well as all my surviving roleplay logs from PernMUSH. All that time I put in playing F’hlan, bronze Tzornth’s rider, and his daughter Mehlani was character practice, you guys!

Julie Czerneda and Tanya Huff are both on this list on general “I want to write like them when I grow up” grounds. I love Czerneda’s worldbuilding and rich portrayals of alien species. And Huff’s here because a) she is awesome, b) she’s a fellow Great Big Sea fan and HOW CAN I NOT LOVE THAT, and c) she was my initial introduction to how you can have queer people in a story and not have the fact that they are queer be full of OHNOEZ DRAMA!

That said, Lackey is on this list because she actually beat Huff to the punch in alerting me that you can, in fact, have queer people in a story. Shoutout to all my fellow readers of my generation who were gutted by Vanyel. Second shoutout to all my MUSH-playing pals who wanted to get a Valdemar MUSH going, and could not.

Doranna Durgin is here because before she wrote paranormal romance, she wrote a lot of fantasy, and her earliest fantasies are among my favorite of her books. Her urban fantasy as well. To this day her A Feral Darkness ranks very, very high on the list of pinnacles to which I aspire when I wing out urban fantasy of my own.

Novik is here because good lord I love me some Temeraire, and in particular I love her handling of the dragons in her world as characters in their own right. I love her dragons even more than I loved the dragons in the Pern books. She is a glorious example of how to write non-humanoid characters.

Rachel Caine is on this list because I would gleefully sacrifice a few pounds of flesh to gain her ability at pacing.

Kearsley is kind of an extension of the influence of Michaels/Peters. I deeply admire Kearsley’s pacing, though hers is much different from Caine’s; while Caine pretty much sets a plotline on fire right out of the gate, Kearsley takes more time and gives you a lot more atmosphere. I love Kearsley’s way with building atmosphere, as well as her skill at setting up relationships that eventually charm my socks off. The Shadowy Horses, I am looking straight at you.

A.C. Crispin, gods rest her, is here because her glorious Han Solo backstory trilogy, even if it’s relegated to non-canon status along with the rest of the Star Wars EU, was everything I ever wanted in Han Solo backstory. The new forthcoming movie is going to have a REAL high bar to clear to top her stories, I’m just sayin’.

Patricia Briggs is here for reasons very similar to Durgin–in that I found her before she turned to urban fantasy and in many ways I actually prefer her earlier fantasy novels. What I like about her in particular is how she set up secondary world fantasies that nonetheless were very relatable to contemporary eyes. She’s arguably some of the influence on how I wrote the Rebels of Adalonia books.

Terry Brooks has to get props for being some of the earliest high fantasy I ever read, since I found him at the same era of my childhood when I found Tolkien. And some of my earliest surviving writing has a lot more to do with Brooks than Tolkien! And unlike a few other high fantasy authors of the era (e.g., Eddings), I actually still periodically hunt down Brooks novels I haven’t read yet. I’m still working my way through his setup of the backstory for the Shannara world.

Last but not least, Esther Friesner is here as another early influence on my urban fantasy and in particular on my portrayal of elves. In particular, her books New York by Knight and Elf Defense had early resonance on my budding writing brain!

***

So there ya go. As I said, I don’t usually tag people on these things, but if you’re a fellow writer and you want to play too, go for it! And drop a link in the comments to your own post, so anybody who finds mine can find yours.

Other People's Books

Dragons and doorways ebook roundup

League of Dragons

League of Dragons

Short but sweet, just because I’m cleaning out my inbox again and wanted to file the receipts for these! Picked up from Kobo:

League of Dragons, the final Temeraire novel by Naomi Novik. Picked up because duh, Temeraire! \0/ My love for this series has been long-running, from the very first day I heard it pitched as “Patrick O’Brian meets the Dragonriders of Pern”. I mean honestly, how could I not love a series that’s what you get if you take Aubrey and Maturin and make Maturin a dragon?

Tor.com says that League of Dragons sticks the landing, and Dear Author liked it too. (And I may not often comment on Dear Author but yeah, if they’re going to go and review one of my favorite fantasy series even though they’re usually a romance site, fuck yeah I’m going to speak up in that comments thread. 😀 )

And Tor.com has a lovely Temeraire reread series of posts that Kate Nepveu just did. Her reviews of the books lit a fire under me to finally get caught up on the series. I found Crucible of Gold very satisfying, and Blood of Tyrants uneven, despite it involving an amnesia plot (and I am a known sucker for amnesia plots). I’ve started League as of today. More thoughts on this to come.

(And also, let it be noted that I am sad, SAD I TELL YOU, that I apparently cannot acquire the entire Temeraire series in French in ebook form. I went looking, because once I eventually finish doing Harry Potter in Trilingual Form, Temeraire would be a very strong contender for another multi-lingual reread!)

Meanwhile, I also scarfed Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway while it was briefly available for $2.99 in electronic form. (Its standard price is $9.99 right now and that’s a little more than I’m comfortable paying for a novella.) But! I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about this story (including a lot of buzz at the aforementioned Tor.com), so I’ve been wanting to give it a go.

This makes 18 titles acquired for the year.

(Which, for those of you who pay attention to these posts, may strike you as a surprisingly low number given my book-buying history; here we’re halfway through the year already and I’ve barely cleared two digits. This would be because I am disgruntled at the return of agency pricing, which has made ebooks a lot more expensive from the big publishers again. So I’ve been making an effort to get caught up on reading books I already own, and for newer things by authors I don’t know yet, I’ve been checking those out from the library.)

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.