Stuff and Nonsense: ebook

Showing posts with label ebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ebook. Show all posts


The Queen of Ieflaria

Princess Esofi has made the long journey to Ieflaria to wed Crown Prince Albion, someone she has been betrothed to since childhood. Although they have never met, they have exchanged many letters, and Esofi is looking forward to her marriage … or, rather, was. The prince has died, leaving Esofi and Ieflaria in precarious positions. Esofi does not want to return to her homeland (from my reading it seemed almost as if she couldn't) and Ieflaria doesn't want her to go, as they really need the magic she brought to fight off the dragons pillaging the countryside.

Esofi needs to marry someone royal to stay in Ieflaria. Someone like Adale, Albion's sister. And that would be an excellent solution to everyone's problems ... except Adale never expected to be the heir, is completely freaked out by the idea, and is pretty set on doing a runner. As an alternative to Adele, there are always the Terrible Cousins ... except, well, they're terrible.

Let me just be honest with your here -- I preordered The Queen of Ieflaria because Twitter promised me poofy dresses, fire-breathing dragons, adorable kittens, and girls kissing girls.

It did not disappoint.

I liked Adale and Esofi -- both very different characters, but each interesting and compellingly-written. Their romance grew slowly from an initial tentative liking into something tender and sweet and rooted. They were so cute together. Every scene with just the two of them getting to know each other left me grinning like a goof and wishing for more. Indeed, I would have been perfectly content if the entire novel had just been a series of scenes in which Adale and Esofi exchange amusing banter while wearing fabulous clothes.

I do wish the secondary characters were a bit more fleshed out. Most were very one-note -- for example, Lady Mireille was very snotty, "Lady Lisette" was very sneaky, and Adele's friends simply seemed like a mass of drunken puppies. I also felt the world-building was a bit uneven -- sometimes Esofi's interior monologue felt very infodump-y and other times I felt I was being tortured with hints of Things That Might Be Important. But, hey, The Queen of Ieflaria is both a debut novel and the first in a series -- I expect the world-building will improve as Calvin goes on and concepts/subplots that are unclear will become crystal.

Ultimately, while I feel The Queen of Ieflaria does need just a little more polish, it was still an extremely enjoyable read. I look forward to reading the rest of the series, Tales of Inthya, when they are released. The second book, Daughter of the Sun, will be out in November and I hope it contains more floofy dresses and even more kissing. Hooray for pansexual princesses!

The Queen of Ieflaria by Effie Calvin. NineStar Press, 2018. Kindle edition.


A Cousinly Connexion

At eighteen Jane Ash fell in love with Edward Wincanton, an ensign in the Royal Navy. The youngest son of a local squire, Wincanton did not seem to Jane's father a suitable match for his only daughter. After some thought, for he was inclined to indulge her, Mr. Ash refused his consent to the match. Jane wept. Ensign Wincanton, his leave up, returned to his ship. Life went on.

Unlike several of her favourite heroines, Jane did not go into a decline, or join the Navy in the guise of a cabin boy, or sit mindless in a ruined tower twining jonquils into her tangled locks. As she was a sensible girl and fond of her father and brothers, she very soon entered again into their ordinary country pursuits. If she occasionally sighed without apparent cause or read the naval news with more eagerness than might have been expected in a female of tender years, her family were careful to take no notice.

A Cousinly Connexion was leant to me by a coworker who enjoys Georgette Heyer's Regency romances ever more than I do. She said it was a charming, thoroughly old-school Regency and she was right. A Cousinly Connexion is a sweet and rather delightful read. The novel begins with a nod to Persuasion and goes on to nicely subvert a few common Regency romance tropes in the form of The Absent Father, The Tulip, etc.

Simonson has a good grasp of Regency culture and history and I felt fully immersed in the time and the place. The characters, too, seemed born to the age -- a nice change from the many historical romance novels I've read where it seems the author thought it was good enough to put thoroughly contemporary people in period dress and let them fling themselves at each other. It never is (unless you've written something like Austenland, but that's a very different kind of romance).

Simsonson wrote five Regency romances and, while they're hard to find in print (my library system owns a paltry two), they are all available as ebooks from Uncial Press. Huzzah.

A Cousinly Connexion by Sheila Simonson (Amazon Digital Services, Kindle Edition)


A Tale of Two Cities, Four Ways

Charles Dickens's birthday is coming up next week so I thought I would celebrate and break in my snazzy slip-cased clothbound set by reading A Tale of Two Cities. Because I don't like to do things by halves, I've tried to completely immerse myself in the novel (and, possibly, drive myself barmy) by reading it in every format possible.

A Tale of Two Cities, 4 Ways

  • At home: I read the clothbound 2011 Penguin edition
  • At the doctor's office: I read on my Kindle Keyboard
  • At work: I read on my phone using the Kindle Android app
  • In my car: I listen to it CD (Tantor Audio, 2008)

I like the audiobook best, so far. Simon Vance is doing a brilliant job bringing the characters and story to life -- the audiobook just rips along, while the novel fairly plods in places. Dickens is one wordy mother and sometimes, frankly, I don't know what he's driving at with some of his more long-winded passages. Following along with the audiobook clears up most of my confusion!

Anyway, I expect things will soon become very exciting. What with Monsieur the Marquis being killed in his bed for crimes against humanity, Charles Darnay obtaining Dr. Manette's permission to wed Lucie, and Mme Defarge all busy-busy knitting, the Revolution can't be far off!


Bandwagon, I'm (Sorta Kinda) On It

So. I have a Kindle. Not the sexy new Touch or Fire all the hip kids got for Chrismukkah, but the plain old Kindle Keyboard (Wi-Fi). The Husband bought me one just before we went to England in September. You’re thinking that was a sweet and loving gesture, but it was really a self-serving one. The Husband is tired of me shuttling half tons (tonnes) of literature from one continent to another -- and I always return with more than I departed with! Once, I brought so many books home with me that my suitcase weighed too much and we had to pay an extra baggage fee. The Husband has never forgotten this.

Kindle, Old School

Kindle = no tonnage fees.

So, my Kindle Keyboard was pretty sweet and I downloaded a bunch of free books onto it before we left to keep me busy. Everything was ticking along just fine right up until the middle of our holiday, when part of the screensaver stopped going away. Bits of Audubon birds, just sitting there. Grr. While Amazon was great about replacing the device when I returned home, I still had to tote a couple chunksters onto the plane to keep me from climbing the cabin walls. (I like flying. I do not like planes. It's a bit of a problem considering many of the places I'd like to visit require rather long flights. I'm sure the answer is medication, but I'm a control freak and worry what decisions I might make under the influence of something that plays with my brain. Like, I might start chatting with perfect strangers. Nooo).

Anyway, I’ve downloaded tons of free eBooks from Amazon and sites like Baen Free Library. Theoretically, I can also download free Kindle eBooks from my library consortium, but it's a wee bit complicated and I can't be arsed. I know, I know. I'm a librarian. I should be right out front, leading the patrons into A New Age of Reading ... and I am, at work. At work, I will happily show you how to download an eBook using a library computer and then transfer it to your device. At home, I snark and dig my heels in. There are too many steps involved in downloading a library eBook to my Kindle Keyboard. My library experiences should be better, goshdarnittoheck. But, I know, much of it has nothing to do with my library consortium and everything to do with DRM and the publishing industry's ostrich-brained, knee-jerk reaction to change.


On a happier (?) note, one of my coworker's loaned me a Kindle eBook, Sheila Simonson's A Cousinly Connexion, and that was a pretty interesting experience (also a fun read). As I expected, she had no access to the item while it was loaned to me, but I hadn't expected such a short loan period -- a mere fourteen days! I'm a fast reader, but I can see where someone like The Husband, who reads in fits and starts, might find the loan period rather restrictive. It doesn't even look like I can reloan Kindle eBooks -- Kindle Lending Help says "eligible Kindle books can be loaned once for a period of 14 days." Bah.



A few weeks ago, I bought an Android OS smartphone. Besides playing too much Angry Birds on it, I have been reading free books using Kindle for Android. Yes, because I don't get enough "free" books from my library.

While prefer physical books to digital ones, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm on my phone takes up a lot less room in my handbag than a paperback does and I always remember to stuff my phone in my bag, but I don't always remember to do so with a book.  This means there have been too many occasions lately where I went somewhere hideously dull and, having optimistically misjudged the amount of time I will spend there, neglected to bring a book.  But now I have books on my phone and otherwise mind-numbingly boring hours are guaranteed to fly by!  Seriously. All the hours I've pissed away in the ER these last few weeks?  They would have been utterly unbearable without Understood Betsy.

Currently downloaded to my phone:
  • Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
  • A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
  • Her Father's Daughter by Gene Stratton-Porter
  • The Bent Twig by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • Hillsboro People by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I own a beautiful hardcover edition of A Girl of the Limberlost, but it's too cumbersome to read on my lunch break. Also, I'd worry about smudging the pages with my sandwich-y hands. My smartphone wipes clean, you know!

I also installed the Overdrive Android Audiobook app so I could download digital audiobooks from my library's catalog, but I am less than thrilled with that library service as the selection is very small, the lending period is too darn short, and I can only have three items "checked out" at a time (and can't "return" anything early). When it comes to library audiobooks, I think I'll stick with CD books or Playaways as there are more to select from, they circulate for three weeks, and can be returned at anytime before their due date.