Sunday, June 27, 2010

Did you all know my books are all available on the Kindle now? While EC offers ebooks in several formats, the Kindle is gaining in popularity. Check out the list of my titles to see what you don't have yet and add to your collection today!

Quick poll...what format do you like best for your ebook reading? Those of you reading this via a reader will need to click through to vote.

What format do you prefer for your ebook reading?
Microsoft Reader
other free polls

As always, play safe!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Two weeks, two more books. Seems that's all I do lately, but really, I do a LOT of other stuff besides read. Honest! I have a new Quick Quickie coming out at EC probably at the end of summer or early fall, I've not one, but TWO other novels started (writing them, not reading this time!). Plus my son just graduated from high school, my daughter's home for the summer and I hear a cabin in the woods just a' callin' my name...

So really it's amazing that I get ANY reading done. Of course, these two books were both easy reads (at least for me). Both are in the Young Adult category and both are older books. In fact, the first one seems to be currently out of print, although I did manage to find some used copies available online.

Crossroads for Chela by Dorothy Witton is the first of the two. It tells the story of Chela, a Terascan Indian living in the high Sierras of South America. Chela chafes at the life her family and traditions have laid out for her and when "outsiders" come to her village, the new ideas they bring threaten her way of life.

The story was first published in the 1950's, but the events of the story are timely even today. I truly enjoyed this book and would love it if some publisher picked it up again to make available. In fact, I might even teach this book with a class of 9th or 10th graders!

The second book, Jackaroo by Cynthia Voight, is the first in her Kingdom series of books. While the plot was interesting and the characters intriguing, I have to say I didn't much care for this book. I love the fantasy genre and this would fall into that category. But when writing fantasy, the author has to spend time building up the world so it's understandable to the reader. Too often I found myself going, "What? Where did that come from? Did I miss something?" because either the action skipped ahead or the characters referenced something that hadn't yet come into play...and not in a good way that would pique one's interest, but rather in a way that had this reader, anyway, shaking her head and feeling lost.

So, two young adult novels, one no longer available and I wish it were; one still around and I'm not planning to read any more of the series.

Hmmm...I really should be putting all these books in at Library Thing...

Play safe!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Okay, trying out some code I just installed on the blog. But nothing can be easy, so I'm not sure it works. If it did, when you hover over the title for Secret Submission, an Amazon link should pop up. Did it?

edited: Whee! It did! I am such an HTML illiterate, I'm always surprised when it works like it's supposed to.

Now, next question. Do you find the pop-up helpful or annoying?

Friday, June 11, 2010

BecauseI haven't posted any reviews of the books I've been reading, you might be tempted to think I haven't been reading. Sorry, but nothing keeps me from reading! The book that took me all of May to read was Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke and the first half of June was dedicated to The Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris.

I picked up Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell at Borders in early May. Let me warn you now, the print in the paperback is exceedingly small and even with my glasses on I had trouble at times. The book is 1006 pages long and there are a lot of words the publisher has tried to cram onto the pages to keep it to that length. If you can find it in hardcover, it might be an easier read on the eyes. In fact, the small print size is one of the reasons it took so long to finish. I kept putting it down because my eyes hurt after an hour or so.

The book reads like a non-fiction, telling the story of these two men from viewpoint of a never-named narrator. This device is furthered by the use of footnotes that, ostensibly, explain the references to other (fictional) works. While I found some of the footnotes entertaining in their own right (many read like little short stories), after a while, they became tiresome. Especially when they ran for several pages and I lost track of the story proper. Still, an interesting way to tell the little side-stories that often crop up when one is writing a novel of this length.

Overall I found the story mildly entertaining -- I did, after all, keep coming back after resting my eyes. But the non-fiction approach to the storytelling made it quite dry reading at times. For instance, it seemed that the beginning stretched forever before the story got out of the exposition and the main conflict was introduced. And if you're looking for a lot of action, this book is not it. If you like scholarly discussions of magic and power struggles between two opposing magicians, then this is definitely up your alley.

The second book, The Yellow Raft in Blue Water, has been taught in high schools for years so I figured it was high time I actually read it as well. I had no introduction to it, I just picked it up off the shelf and started. I didn't mind it too much, although, again, I found the storytelling a little to dry for my tastes. Raymona's story moved along and I found myself just sort of skimming along the story much as she skimmed through telling it.

But then the book shift's point of view and I found that unsettling, if not surprising. I figured it had to as Ray's story didn't have too many more places to go and there was a whole lot of book left. I found Christine's story even less compelling that Ray's and it sat on my desk gathering dust for several days before I was bored enough to pick it up again.

One of the English teachers told me she loved the book because it was like peeling an onion. That each person's story peeled away another layer until you got to the last point of view (I won't reveal the spoiler, although you'll probably figure it out halfway through the book). Only when you reached the core story did you find the truth. Of course, that assumes I'm still interested in finding out the truth when I finally get there. Overall, I'd give this one a bye unless you're a fan of the Contemporary American Novel. Which, apparently, I ain't.

So two more books to add to my list for this year's tally! Till later, Play safe,