Saturday, July 30, 2011

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

iconiconI was thrilled to get a lend offer from my new Nook buddy, the one who lent me both Shiver and Linger.  Just like the others, I finished the book pretty quickly.  I'm terribly disappointed that the trilogy has ended now, and the ending is even a little bit of a cliffhanger, though I won't say why.

I always struggle with how much to say about the later books in a series.  I hesitate to say too much, because I know that will spoil certain things for readers who are still reading the earlier books.  In this case, though, I don't know how to talk about the book at all without mentioning that the new hitch in Grace and Sam's relationship is that Grace is now a werewolf.  Being bitten saved her life initially, but now it might destroy it.

The biggest threat to the wolves, and by extension to Grace and Sam, all along has been certain residents of Mercy Falls who want to hunt and kill them.  There is also Shelby, one of the members of the wolf pack you meet in Shiver, who is aggressive and possessive.  In this book the problems with her and the townspeople come to a head.

Like I said, it's something of a cliffhanger ending, and the author has made it clear that it's the last book.  Too bad!  I really would have liked to know whether Grace... But no, I can't tell you that!  You'll just have to read it for yourself.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

iconiconAs always with Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books, The Titan's Curse was a quick but enjoyable read (I finished with it Monday night, though the post about the ebook reader app updates had to come first to keep the news timely).  After the tongue-in-cheek Witches of Chiswick, I have to say I really enjoyed a compelling fantasy adventure like what Riordan's books always offer.

As always, I really enjoyed how much Riordan takes real mythology and weaves it into his books.  I swear, kids are probably learning tons about Greek mythology just by reading these novels.

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but this entire series is based around a plot that Kronos and the other titans have to destroy Olympus and take the gods' places.  And Percy is always somehow involved.  This time, a good friend of his is kidnapped, so he and the others on his quest have to get her back and foil the plot before the winter solstice.

Two books left...  I'm really looking forward to seeing how the series pans out!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

B&N and Amazon bow to Apple's demands... at last

First of all, do note that due to a publishing snafu, yesterday's book review of The Witches of Chiswick got pushed back to the 19th.  I've corrected the date to yesterday's date, so it should show up in the proper place now, but you may miss it if you get blog updates via a reader or if you follow my blog via your Blogger dashboard.

I have other news as well.  It appears that Barnes & Noble and Amazon have both capitulated to Apple's demands, or at least the updated demands, which was mainly to remove the direct link to their web store from the app.  Last night, while checking for app updates on my iPhone, I noticed that both Nook and Kindle had updates waiting.  Sure enough, both updates removed the link.

Of course, the deadline was actually nearly a month ago, so these updates are late in coming — but supposedly Apple was working with them to bring them into compliance with the new rules.  I also seem to remember from another article that Apple backed off a bit and said the June 30th date was more of a guideline than a deadline.  Okay, whatever.

For most of you who read ebooks on your iPhone or iPad, this won't change much of anything for you, except that you'll have to the ebook store's site via your web browser instead of tapping a link inside the app.  In other words, it just creates an extra step — if you shopped from your iThing in the first place.  Personally, I find it much easier and faster to do my shopping on the computer, and download the new titles to my device when I am done.

Of course, there are no doubt some idiots in the world who won't be able to figure out how to shop without that link in the app — but they probably aren't buying many ebooks, either.

What are your thoughts?  Will these app changes alter your shopping and reading experience substantially?  I for one am glad that Apple didn't win with their initial bluff, which would have placed severe limitations on readers, if not eliminating the ability to read on iThings altogether (unless of course you support iBooks, which I don't).

Of course, the biggest way Apple's demands affected me was by encouraging me to get my own Nook back in April, out of concern that I wouldn't be able to read on my iPhone anymore.  Even if that didn't come to pass, I'm still glad I got my Nook — it offers a much more enjoyable reading experience than the iPhone!

I'd love to hear from others.  Has this had any impact on how you read — or shop — for ebooks??

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Witches of Chiswick by Robert Rankin

iconiconThe Witches of Chiswick was the July selection for the fantasy/sci-fi book club my husband and I have started going to, on the invitation of an old friend of mine.  It's not what I normally have chosen to read, and I can't say that reading it has changed my mind at all.  I had a hard time getting into it, and when we went to the book club we found almost everyone said the same about it.

It's a funny book, with lots of tongue-in-cheek humor and plot twists that are obviously meant to be satirical, but as another member of the book club said, it's like all the funny bits are just thrown together — there's not much of a plot, nothing terribly compelling at least, and it doesn't really flow very well.  It's an interesting book to read for a good laugh, but that's about the nicest thing I can say about it!  I was glad when I was done and could move on to something else.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Advantages of ebooks

The other day on The Cheap, there was a post called Are You Addicted? that pretty much sums up how I feel about my Nook.  Hundreds of ebooks with me at all times?  Check.  Shopping anywhere, anytime, without having to drive somewhere or wait for a book to be delivered?  Check.  No more boring waits at the doctor's office or anywhere else at that matter?  Check.  Lots of accessories to have fun with?  Check.  (I have 3 different colors of backs for my original Nook, and 3 or 4 choices of sleeves and cases — and I'm always looking for more!)  Tons of cheap or free reads from bookstores and the library?  Check.

Yep, I'm definitely addicted!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A new resource for cheap ebooks

For those of you who prefer the ebook experience, or just like the good deals to be had if you are willing to look, there is a new website worth checking out:  I've been following these guys on Facebook for a while, and they come up with some good deals, both free and cheap.  It's worth taking a look and maybe adding them to the blogs you follow.

iconHere's a great deal that I found on their site just this morning: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for just $0.99. We were just talking about this book last night at the fantasy/sci-fi book club I've recently started attending.  I guess they'd read it earlier in the book club, and really liked it.  I'd never been terribly interested before, but with so many positive recommendations, I started thinking I'd check it out.  At this price, I guess I'll be reading it sooner than I thought!

And then, while looking up the listing in order to create an image link for the first book, I realized that right now all three ebooks in the trilogy are 99 cents each.  Wow!  Usually the first book in a series gets discounted as a way to promote the series, but all three?  That's unheard of... and probably won't last long!  Here are all the links — grab them while you can!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More on Borders

NPR did a story on Borders, and what the chain's closing will mean for us.  For authors, it'll mean that print runs will be smaller, since a large percentage of copies of each book were sent to Borders — and now those copies don't need to be printed.  And for those who work in the publishing industry, it'll mean fewer jobs, since publishers had personnel dedicated to working with Borders — and they'll no longer be needed.

There's also been talk about how this will affect consumers.  The NPR article mentions that some of the major publishers invested in Borders when they were struggling, and although this article doesn't say it, a blog post I linked to yesterday when I announced that Borders is closing theorized that we might see prices rise as publishers try to recoup their losses.  And of course, as both the article and blog post point out, there will be fewer bookstores from which to buy books.

So, I'm curious.  Does Borders closing all their stores affect you?  And if so, how?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Borders is closing!

I saw a rather unexpected announcement this morning on Books on the Knob: Borders is closing all stores.  I guess their Chapter 11 bankruptcy only held off the inevitable for a few more months.

It won't make a huge difference to me, since the only Borders in my immediate area, located in the mall just across the road from my favorite Barnes & Noble, closed when they filed Chapter 11 earlier this year.  I think there are some other stores located in my general area, though.  If I weren't so set on reading ebooks for the rest of my life, I'd visit and see if I could get some good deals on books.

Books on the Knob reminds us that if you have bought any ebooks from Borders, make sure you back them up on your computer.  There are basic instructions in the blog post I linked to up above.  I know losing your library if the bookseller goes out of business is one of people's major fears about ebooks — but don't worry, you still get to keep them, as long as you remember to back up the file!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Passion by Lauren Kate

iconOver the winter I read both Fallen and Torment by Lauren Kate.  Hers is one of the fallen angel series that is so popular now in YA fiction.  Although I like the series well enough to continue reading it to find out what happens, I have to admit it's not my favorite.

Passion in particular was a bit of a disappointment, mainly because I thought it was going to resolve everything and be the last book, but it ended up being almost more of a cliffhanger than the previous book.  The next book, Rapture, is due out in the spring, which means another good 8 months of waiting to find out what happens.

The thing is, I've never felt very compelled by Luce's story.  She's changing, but initially I thought she was kind of a baby, and I don't have much patience for weak characters.  In Passion she did show more spirit, though — instead of waiting around to be saved, she took matters into her own hands, which I respected.  But I still find that I have some difficulty caring very much about what happens to her.

Looking back on my review of Torment, I commented then too that I liked that Luce was starting to show some independence.  Hopefully she will continue to do so — and hopefully the fourth book won't get too religious.  Since the title is called "Rapture" and since Lucifer and his fallen angels are trying to erase the world and start over, I'm a little worried that it could get too religious for my tastes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Lost Hours by Karen White

iconWhen my holds on The Lost Hours and The Peach Keeper came up at the library at the same time, I remarked on how similar the plots seemed to be.  Both books were about a young woman finding out about the secret past of her grandmother and her friends.  And in both books, the grandmother was unable to tell her secrets to her granddaughter herself, so the young woman was left to find out what happened as best she could.

The way the two novels played out, and the secrets the main character discovered, were very different from one another, however.  Where The Peach Keeper was a little lighter and had some undercurrents of magic running throughout the novel, the secrets in The Lost Hours — and the way in which they unfolded — were much darker.

Both books were compelling, but reading them almost back-to-back, I think The Lost Hours had a much more serious message.  Whereas The Peach Keeper was more about enduring friendship, The Lost Hours was much more focused on the tragedy that tore friends apart.  Even the motto, about how life is painful and you just have to keep getting back up on the horse when you fall off (literally and figuratively), demonstrated how much more serious the novel was.

It's a great novel, though — as evidenced by the fact that I stayed up until 4am Wednesday night, even though I could barely keep my eyes open, in order to finish it!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Anything Goes by Lucy Moore

iconI've been picking away at this book for a little while, and I finally finished it earlier in the week.  Anything Goes was one of my choices of books to read as part of my research of the time period for a novel I want to write.  It's also relevant to my wedding blog, so I posted a brief review of Anything Goes on My 1920s Wedding.

The book is amazingly well organized, with a separate chapter for each subject it covers.  It discusses the jazz movement of the era, as well as Prohibition, organized crime, and the influence F. Scott Fitzgerald's books — with its characters based on his wife, Zelda, the epitome of the 1920s flapper — had on the culture of the decade.

The research I'm doing is to try to get a feel for the 1920s, and specifically 1920s Chicago, to create an authentic setting for my novel.  This book did a great job of illustrating what the 1920s must have been like for those who lived through it.  It makes you feel the high spirits and enthusiasm that permeated the decade, ending with the devastating (but, in hindsight, inevitable) stock market crash of 1929.

A highly recommended book for anyone interested in learning more about the Roaring Twenties.  I have a few other books I'll be reading as I research the setting for my novel, so 1920s fans, stay tuned!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Last Child by John Hart

iconI know I like a lot of what I read — I enjoy reading so much that I rarely meet a book I truly dislike.  But believe me when I saw that it's rare that I ever read a book I enjoy as much as The Last Child.  This was an unbelievable book, one that still has me thinking about the characters and the plot days after I finished reading it.

The Last Child is primarily about Johnny, a 13-year-old boy who is looking for his twin sister, missing for the past year.  He believes everyone has failed him — the police, for not having found her, his father, for having left him and his mother, and his mother, for getting addicted to drugs and getting involved with a man who abuses both of them.  So at 13, he is doing everything for himself, from the grocery shopping to hunting for his sister.

It's also about Hunt, the detective who has become obsessed with the little girl he failed to bring home and the family whose hearts were broken as a result.  And, finally, it's about a man named Levi Freemantle, a black man whose role in the story keeps you guessing until the very end.

The story seems a bit slow at first, as it sets up Johnny's daily life: avoiding his mom's boyfriend, taking care of his mom, skipping school, and canvassing neighborhoods in his North Carolina town while he looks for his sister.  But it picks up when another girl, the same age as his sister when she was taken, goes missing.  Between Hunt's investigation and Johnny's efforts to find his sister, the story gets bigger and bigger the deeper you get into it — so big that it's not all cleared up in one brief climax.  It takes 100 pages to resolve everything, and believe me, it's impossible to put the book down until they do!

I would definitely rate this book among the best I've read this year, right up there with Water for Elephants and The Passage!

What comes after Harry Potter?

On the eve of the release of the final Harry Potter movie, NPR had an interesting radio spot:

What Book Will Fill Harry Potter Gap?

The book buyer they interview is from a local independent bookstore here in Denver, the Tattered Cover.  She talks a little bit about what is coming next.  Apparently they are making movies of the popular YA Hunger Games trilogy, and she also talks about how shapeshifters and fallen angels have started replacing witches, vampires, and werewolves.  (I was a little surprised she didn't mention Twilight.)  Interesting, because I was just talking about these exact trends in YA dark fantasy just the other day with my husband.

What about you?  Do you think there will ever be anything to replace Harry Potter, or that will even come close?  How big a Potter fan are you — did you go to a midnight showing last night, or are you planning on seeing the final movie this weekend?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Some changes coming to Livre du Jour

Barnes & Noble, my favorite affiliate for books and ebooks, has switched affiliate programs.  Now, instead of using the Google Affiliate Network, they are using LinkShare.  I'm not sure how I feel about this yet, as it is causing me to have to set up a new account and change all of my many links — and I have less than a month in which to do it.  However, it will force me to do some much-needed maintenance on old posts, so maybe there is a bright side to all the extra work.

It will mean an improvement in links for my readers, however.  Barnes & Noble recently redesigned their site so that they have product pages that list all editions of a book: hardcover, paperback, and ebook.  Google's affiliate program didn't make it very easy to link to those pages, so I had to choose a single format to link to.  Although it's arguably slightly more time-consuming, LinkShare does make it easy to link to their multiple-format listings, which will make it easier for my readers to find their preferred format for any book reviewed here.  In addition, all product links will be set to open in a new window, which will make it easier for you to buy books without losing your place on my blog.

I'll be making the changes over the next few weeks, and all of the new reviews will include the new affiliate links.  As always, please let me know if you have any problems with any of the links, or find something wrong with any of my posts, by leaving a comment or contacting me directly.

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

iconI've been tearing through books lately, reading faster than I can write reviews it seems, so I'm playing catch-up.  I read this book over the weekend, finishing it in little more than a day — it was so good I could hardly put it down.

The Peach Keeper is about two women who become unlikely friends, Willa and Paxton.  Paxton has been renovating Willa's old family home, which hasn't been in her family since the 1930s, when her family suffered serious financial problems.  The two women stumble on a mystery and discover that their grandmothers were best friends as girls, and that everything they know and value may not be what it seems.  It's a love story for both women, but also a tale of finding yourself — how the past does (and doesn't) define us, and how sometimes we need to be reminded of the importance of friendship.

Some years ago, I read Garden Spells, also by Sarah Addison Allen.  I was delighted to see the main character from that novel make an appearance in this one.  She didn't have a big role — it was just a cameo, really — but it made me smile that the author found a way to pull her character into the story.

Although I liked Garden Spells, The Peach Keeper was a much better novel.  The mystery of what happened to their grandmothers in 1936 will keep you reading as fast as your eyes can devour each page!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Horseplay by Judy Reene Singer

iconAfter reading 13 Bullets, I was feeling a little burned out on the books I'd been choosing.  I'd been going through books very rapidly, with quite a few of them young adult or children's, and dark fantasy as the main theme.  I decided I needed something different, and, going through my Nook library, found Horseplay, a novel I bought a month or two ago and hadn't read yet.

The novel is about a 30-something woman who decides she has had enough with her possessive, cheating husband, and leaves him in order to pursue a new life in the horse world.  Against the advice of her sister, she moves from New York to North Carolina to work as a groom at an exclusive show stables — a job usually given to teenagers.  She makes friends, has relationships with a couple of different men, learns to be a better horsewoman, and most importantly, learns some life lessons about people and about herself.

From the perspective of a horse owner, the book was a delight.  A lot of the horse stuff I could really relate to, and Judy's narrative voice (the character is named Judy, same as the author) is hilarious.  It was a fast read, lighthearted and laugh-out-loud funny, not to mention exactly what I needed after all the darker stuff I've been reading lately!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

13 Bullets by David Wellington

iconI honestly wasn't sure, when I started 13 Bullets, whether I would like the book or not.  I saw it months ago when I started checking ebooks out from my library, and it interested me then, but I checked it out once without having a chance to read it.  Since then, someone gave it a fairly mediocre review on my library's website — only 3 stars — so I was a little worried I wouldn't like it.

It was a bit different than most vampire novels out right now — more of a cop thriller-type, rather than the kind that glorifies vampires — but I ended up liking it more than I thought I would, based on the review at my library.  I have a feeling someone saw the subtitle — "A Vampire Tale" — and picked it up, expecting something like Twilight.  Of course, they'd be disappointed, but I think as a reviewer it's important to appreciate the genre within the context of the genre it belongs to.

David Wellington's vampires differ dramatically from what you usually see.  Instead of sexy, compelling figures that just barely border on being monsters, his truly are monsters.  They are ugly — bald heads, pointed bat-like ears, and lots of teeth — and they need more and more blood over time, making them bigger monsters the older they get.

So there's no question in the reader's mind that Laura Caxton and her new partner, Arkeley, are doing the right thing in killing every vampire they can track down.  Arkeley has been obsessed with eliminating the rest of the vampires in the area since his sting operation in the 80s failed to kill one of the elderly vampires he found, and he wants nothing more than to finish the job he set out to do.  And as much as he seems to resent having to work with Caxton, it becomes apparent that she is involved in this too, and that he needs her help.

13 Bullets is definitely a different take on vampires, but I actually ended up enjoying it.  It's not as memorable as many of the vampire novels I've read — Anne Rice comes to mind — but it was good fun in its own rights, and like I said before, so different as to almost be a different genre than your average vampire novel.

Monday, July 11, 2011

George R.R. Martin A Dance with Dragons countdown!

iconMy husband was been waiting impatiently for A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin's fifth book in his series A Song of Ice and Fire.  Tomorrow the wait is over, and the book (and ebook) will be available.  And actually, if you want to be precise, the wait will be over tonight — the ebook will be available at midnight East Coast time, which means about 10pm here in Colorado.

Our decisions regarding this book shows how much ebooks have impacted our reading habits.  Since Michael got an iPad a month or so ago, nearly every book he's read has been an ebook, read on the iPad in Bluefire Reader.  He's bought a few ebooks from Barnes & Noble, but he's also been taking full advantage of the ebooks available from our library.  As a result, he's been trying to decide what to do about A Dance with Dragons.

I own the first four books in the series in ebook format, of course, and Michael owns them in physical form — A Game of Thrones he owns in mass market paperback, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords he owns in autographed trade paperback, and A Feast for Crows he has in hardcover.  He wants to buy A Dance with Dragons in hardcover, just to have it in the same format as the others (even though they are all different).  However, he likes the convenience of ebooks, and intends to do his actual reading on the iPad with the ebook version.  I'd be buying the ebook anyway, I guess, and I'm hardly one to point out that he's buying the physical version just to put it on a shelf — as an amateur book collector, I do a whole lot of that myself!

Like I said, the ebook will be available in just a few hours.  In the meantime, here is an article on NPR on A Dance with Dragons, posted a few days ago, about how George R.R Martin's series reflects our generation's views of good versus evil, and how that has changed from Tolkien's day.

Ebook sales for the grown-ups

I posted yesterday with some links to great sales on children's ebooks.  Here are a few more ebook promotions I'm seeing for the month, this time for the grown-ups:

iconMy husband Michael recently read another book by C.J. Box, Three Weeks to Say Goodbye.  He really liked it, so when we saw Blue Heaven, another book by the same author, was on sale for $2.99, we snatched it up.  This one actually went on sale last month, so I don't know how much longer the promotion will last, but I don't recommend waiting long to buy this one if you're interested!

iconI actually don't know anything about Blood Prophecy, its author, or when the book went on sale, but I found it on a list of bargain ebooks for the Nook.  It looks like an excellent combination of supernatural, history, and an adventure that takes the reader from Puritan New England to Egypt and back.  I'll be buying this one — it looks like good fun!
iconThis edition of Hush is actually a re-release of a book that is already out, in a special promotional edition that includes some bonus material.  It's also a pre-order, and won't be available for another week, but I recommend "buying" it now if you are interested.  You card won't be charged until the ebook becomes available, but the special edition and the special price may go away once the book becomes available — I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that in any case, this deal won't be available for long.

iconOut of the Darkness appears to be one of a series of books about a group of people called the Offspring, who have special powers as a result of a scientific experiment.  Each book appears to focus on a couple different members of the Offspring, and the dangers they face.  Out of the Darkness and one other title, A Perfect Darkness, are both on sale for $2.99, while the other ebooks appear to still be $7.99.  Might be a good, inexpensive way to check out the series and see if you are interested.

iconAfter all of these thrillers and dark fantasy novels, we need something a little more lighthearted!  Rules of an Engagement is just that — a historical romance by Suzanne Enoch.  Looks like fun!

I don't know about you, but I'm loving all these summer ebook sales!  Happy reading!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What's going on with Apple and the ebook apps?

You might remember that back in February, Apple laid down the gauntlet for ebook sellers, insisting that all ebook reader apps needed to give Apple 30 percent commission on the price of any ebook purchased or read via the apps.  Since the ebook sellers themselves only get 30 percent commission, that would eliminate their profits, and thereby make it pointless for them to offer ebook reader apps at all.

Another requirement in Apple's announcement was to limit the selection of ebooks in the app to only a few thousand.  Barnes & Noble has millions of ebooks for sale on your site, so you can imagine how this would limit them.  Then, only those ebooks available for purchase via the app could actually be read in the app.

All of these limitations were blatant efforts to eliminate the competition iBooks was facing, or at least to make sure that Apple was making money off of the competition instead of their competitors.  It's especially disgusting when you consider that a year or so before iBooks came out, Steve Jobs was extremely negative about ebooks, saying that there wasn't a market for them and therefore he wasn't bothering.  When, lo and behold, it turned out there was a market for them, Jobs responded by trying to steal that market from his competitors who had, frankly, been smarter than him in anticipating the market's demands.

Apple set a June 30th deadline for all ebook sellers to change their apps.  (This was partly why I decided to buy a Nook a couple of months later — I love ebooks and wanted to make sure I'd still be able to read them.)  But apparently, they quietly changed their demands in June, probably because it became obvious that ebook sellers were going to call their bluff.  Their new policy eliminates the demand for a 30 percent commission, and instead requires that ebook sellers remove any buy buttons or links to their site from their apps — an attempt to make it harder for their customers to buy from them (still an attempt to redirect ebook buyers to iBooks).

So far, few apps have complied with Apple's new demands.  Articles on the subject question whether this will be the end of Kindle, and anticipate a showdown looming on the horizon.  Meanwhile, Borders has updated their app to comply, but their partner, Kobo, has not.  Neither Kindle nor Nook apps have been updated to comply (I have both).

I wonder what's going to happen with all of this.  Apple made too big a stink of this in February to back out gracefully, but I'm guessing that if Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo hold rank, Apple will most likely quietly give up, just like they did in June when they revised their demands.

Children's and YA ebook promotions for July

Some more ebooks have gone on sale since I last posted about the month's sale ebooks and free ebook promotions.  (A note about those free Sourcebook ebooks — they are still free as of about noon Colorado time on Sunday, but I don't anticipate they'll be free much longer.  In fact, I think it's quite possible the promotion will end tomorrow, so download them while you still can!  Sourcebooks has the best free ebook promotions, but if you snooze, you lose!)

Here are a few noteworthy sales on children's ebooks:

iconBridge to Terabithia is one of my all-time favorite children's books, and although I've read it many times and still own the paperback copy my mom bought me in fourth grade, I'm thinking about buying this just to have it in ebook format.  It's only $1.99 right now, and I anticipate the sale will probably last the rest of the month.  Bridge to Terabithia is arguably one of the greatest children's books of all time, and I think having it on your virtual bookshelf is a must, kind of like having a good selection of classics.

The Princess Diaries isn't a classic, like Bridge to Terabithia, but it's a well-known title by an excellent YA author, and the first book of a whole series about one of our most memorable princesses, Mia.  If you saw the movie you know that Mia is the embodiment of many preteen and teenage girls' dreams: She is a normal, dorky girl who finds out that she's actually a princess.  For $1.99, this is a favorite in YA fiction.

iconMany women will remember reading Ramona Quimby, Age 8 as girls.  It's still a favorite of children's literature, and would be a great addition to your ebook collection if you need something to keep your daughter entertained this summer.  As you can probably imagine from all the children's ebooks going on sale lately, many people are finding that ebook readers are great for kids, too, and not just adults!

iconHere's another children's classic that's on sale for $1.99.  Old Yeller is a sad book, but one that every dog-loving child reads at some point or another — and a favorite that often lasts into adulthood, too.  If this is a favorite of yours, as well, don't hesitate to add it to your collection — this sale won't last forever!

Like I said, a lot of people are starting to use ebook readers to entertain their children, as well.  Color tablets such as the iPad and the Nook Color often have interactive picture books for younger children, and of course many older children and teens will love reading on ebook readers as well.  You'll have to teach your child how to properly care for an ebook reader, of course, and you might want to set restrictions on where they can take it.  Or you can just keep some children's ebooks on your own reader, just in case you get stuck somewhere (such as the doctor's office, or an airport) with your kids, and need something to entertain them for a while.

Regardless of whether your child has his or her own ebook reader, or just borrows yours, there are some great ebook promotions so far this summer to save you money and still keep your kids entertained!

A word about commenting on Livre du Jour

I don't know why exactly, but Livre du Jour receives a lot of spam comments, much more than any of my other blogs.  Often I receive fake comments, usually just a generic message and sometimes written in poor English, which I suspect are from spammers trolling for blogs that might approve spammy comments.  I have my blog set so that I have to approve all comments, so usually I just mark the comments as spam and delete them without posting.

The other day, however, I approved one that seemed possibly legitimate.  I decided to respond and make it obvious in my response that I had read the anonymous comment, hoping that would dissuade the commenter if it was a spammer.  Unfortunately, I have since been inundated with spam comments on that particular post, receiving at least one or two of them a day.

It's not too much trouble to mark each comment as spam as they come in, but it is annoying.  I suspect the spammer (or spammers) didn't even read my response to their comment, probably just searched and saw that I approved their comment in the first place, so this may be a waste of breath (or typing).  However, I wanted to reiterate to my readers that although I love comments and I try to approve them quickly, I do screen out all spammy or suspicious comments.  If your comment makes it sound like you haven't even read the post you are commenting on, I probably won't approve it, even if it doesn't contain a link.  This incident makes it clear why I have to be so careful.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Morning Glory by Diana Peterfreund

iconI didn't realize until I started reading Morning Glory that it's a movie novelization, rather than a book that was turned into a movie.  I don't usually read those, but I've been reading (and enjoying) a lot of Diana Peterfreund's books lately, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I ended up really liking the book.  I like Diana Peterfreund's writing style and sense of humor, and even though the style of this book was different than that of the Secret Society Girl series, it was still enough like her other stuff to keep me happy.  I especially liked some of the humor that didn't come directly from the dialogue (which I assume was probably taken directly from the movie), such as narrator commentary from the story's heroine, or the way things were described.

At first, while I was reading the book, my husband Michael suggested that we ought to see the movie now.  At the time it sounded like a good idea, but when I started looking at the pictures of the cast online, I realized that no one looks quite the way I envisioned them.  Funny how the book was based on the movie, and I'm still worried about the movie not being up to snuff!  If it weren't for Harrison Ford being in it, I don't know if I'd want to see it at all.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson

iconI was having a bit of a hard time deciding what to read after Linger.  I was feeling like I was getting a bit burned out on YA, but 100 Cupboards was checked out from the library and I wouldn't have it much longer.  I also figured it would be a fairly quick read (which it was).  It was a fun book, and one I would highly recommend for elementary school kids.  I'd even recommend it to certain fun-loving adults I know!

The book is about Henry, a boy whose journalist parents are kidnapped while doing a story in another country, forcing him to move in with his aunt, uncle, and his three cousins until the matter is resolved (which could be a while).  In his attic bedroom at their house, he finds that one of his walls is full of tiny cupboards, which turn out to be magic passageways to other places.  With the help of his cousin Henrietta, they begin exploring the cupboards, only to find that some things in the cupboards never should have been released.

It was a great book, but now that I'm done with it I think I may stay away from the younger genres for a little bit.  I'm definitely feeling burned out on children's and YA fiction right now.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Free ebooks July JACKPOT!

I knew there would be more freebies after the holiday weekend was over!  The first of the month falling on a Friday or over the weekend usually seems to mean we have to wait until the weekend is over.

Today's freebies are all Sourcebook promotions, so download them FAST if you want them.  Sourcebook freebies never stick around for more than a couple of days!

iconNormally $9.99, Lady of Hay is a historical novel about a modern-day woman who starts remember someone else's life (or maybe her past life?) while under hypnosis.  I swear I've seen this for free before, or maybe it was just on sale and I didn't buy it.  Sounds like an interesting read, though, so I'm glad to have it now!

iconKiss at Your Own Risk is the first ebook in a fantasy romance series, and it looks like the normal price is $5.59.  Sounds like a witches-and-demons type of fantasy.  Could be interesting!

iconAnother ebook usually priced at $5.59, The Fire Lord's Lover sounds like more traditional fantasy.  The heroine is Lady Cassandra, who is secretly training as an assassin.  She is betrothed to the Elven Lord's son, but her mission is to kill him and his father.  Naturally, though, there is other evil at work here.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that she and her new husband end up allies and fall in love... but even if it's predictable romance, it still sounds like fun!

iconThe Mistress's House looks to me like one of the best of the bunch.  There's no mention of the time period in the book's description, but based on all the talk of English nobility, this sounds like a regency romance.  I did enjoy those once upon a time, so I'm looking forward to reading this one!

iconOne more free Sourcebooks title for you to snatch up while the promotion lasts!  This romance looks like it'll be a lot of fun.  The hero returns from America after 6 years to find that his fiancee is at the center of a huge scandal.  She hasn't been acting very ladylike, but she has her reasons: She's trying to find out who was behind her cousin's death.  And now that her fiance is back, she needs his help!

Sourcebooks always has the best freebies, but they don't last long!  Get these books ASAP, because they likely won't be around more than a couple of days.