27 April 2011

Review: Burn Down The Sky

The Book:

Earth is sun-scorched and the world is riddled by a plague known as the Wiccan virus. A group known as the Hands of God hires roving bands of marauders to hunt down girls on the cusp of womanhood for their own needs.  The horrors the young girls deal with are something no parent wants to face.  When Jessie's camp is attacked and her youngest daughter is taken, this mother will stop at nothing to get her child back.

25 April 2011

In My Mailbox (8)

Welcome to post number eight of In My Mailbox. In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren to highlight books received for review, won or purchased. Titles link to Goodreads, authors to their website or page.

Normally I do not do these posts weekly, however this past week I happened to go on a couple jaunts that ended with a few piles of books that I wanted to share.

For Review:

A friend sent me a link to Julie Hyzy's blog where she was promoting her next book in the Manor House Mystery series, Grace, Interrupted. Offering a book for a review, and being a BIG fan of her White House Chef Mysteries, I threw my email into the giveaway pot. While I did not end up getting a copy of that book, Julie was gracious enough to offer her first in the same series, Grace Under Pressure, along with a couple bookmarks.  Did I mention she autographed the book too?


So, as I mentioned I happen to be on a used bookstore kick. Now that I have started collecting series that I want to own and keep, while the pretty shiny new books are wonderful, there is something about browsing used books and finding those little gems. Sometimes it happens to be a cover design you really like, or that middle book that somehow went out of print and lo and behold, there it is! My travels this past week took me not only to Red Fox Books in NY (as noted from my earlier post) but this day to Grey Matter Books and Troubador Books in Hadley, plus Cherry Picked Books in Easthampton. Originally scoured because Cherry Picked was supposedly going out of business, the owner informed us that he was in fact staying open. Yay for that!

(Turns out I ended up at another used bookstore on Sunday (The Book Bear) but I will leave that post - and those piles of books *cough* for another post.)

Group #1 - Fantasy

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce.
Furies of Calderon, Academ's Fury and Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher.

Group #2 - Mystery

Blood Orange Brewing and Dragonwell Dead by Laura Childs.
The Poyson Garden and The Tidal Poole by Karen Harper.
Queen's Ransom by Fiona Buckley.

Group #3 - Lesbian Mystery & Fiction

Vital Lies, A Killing Cure and The Iron Girl by Ellen Hart.
Liberty Square, Sleeping Bones, Amateur City, Murder at the Nightwood Bar and The Beverly Malibu (in an omnibus) by Katherine V. Forrest.
Bad Moon Rising by Barbara Johnson.
18th & Castro by Karin Kallmaker.

Group #4 - Non-Fiction

Culpepper's Color Herbal edited by David Potterson.

Well, I guess this is not really a pile, as I couldn't find any gardening or cooking that I truly wanted (this time). I remember this book from my days working at Waldenbooks. It was always on the shelf.

I am well on my way to getting complete collections of many of the series titles I was able to acquire. However, I admit to having started some new ones too.

Happy reading!

20 April 2011

Kindle Library Lending: What Don't We Know?

Today Amazon announced the creation of the Kindle Library Lending. Partnering with OverDrive, patrons that have Kindles, or Kindle applications on their computer, phone, or device, will be able to check out titles from participating libraries. You can find the announcements from both Amazon and OverDrive on their websites.

As a librarian who oversees our consortium's OverDrive catalog, I found out the pertinent details for me and my libraries:

  • The Kindle Library Lending will go through the OverDrive "Virtual Branch" - aka our Digital Catalog.
  • All of our previously purchased titles will be available to Kindle customers.
  • Titles will be directly loaded to Kindles and readable there or on the Kindle apps.
  • Kindle users will be able to highlight and make margin notes, just like on purchased Kindle titles, but those won't be seen by any other patron that downloads the title. Also, if they purchase a copy of the title, or check it out again through the library, any notes will be available again.
I don't own a Kindle (but hey, any excuse for more gadgets!) so I am not up on the Whispersync technology that is referred to in Amazon's article. However, what this does tell me is that obviously Amazon stores customer info somewhere on their servers when they own a Kindle to make this stuff work. How does this apply to patron information? Is there anything that can be scooped up from the API that Amazon will get hold of? My guess is "No", but I don't know what will happen with the ebook-turned-Kindle-format-delivered-from-library-to-device.

So, let's go point by point:
  • I am glad that there will be one interface to deliver the materials. Different devices or not, the digital catalog is where we direct patrons. It is important to libraries to still have some branding in regards to that. Not that the multi-step checkout procedure doesn't have its downsides for sure, but maybe this will kickoff some more improvements with the OverDrive interfaces. 
  • We will not be purchasing an Amazon format ebook. The EPUBs (and PDFs?) already acquired will now have the capability to be read on a Kindle, besides the other devices already compatible.
  • What I am gleaning from the statement from OverDrive is that when an ebook is checked out, there will be a "Deliver to Kindle" link. Wireless download capability is great instead of sideloading, and not having to purchase an additional format will help. There are questions from the other side of the fence though, which I will get to in a bit.
  • The additional features available to Kindle users is a definite boon in their favor. I know I was extremely distressed when PDF titles I have loaded to my NookColor do not remember the last page read. 
There are lots of articles by great librarians and library advocates in regards to this issue. Many of them are asking the questions I have:
It was Hadro's piece that made me start on this post. I think "deluge" is an apt word to describe what will see when this becomes available.

I want to look at the bottom line - they say we will not have to buy another format, that all of the ebooks available and purchased will be deliverable to Kindles. The question is - how, exactly? Who is underwriting the cost of these additional formats? Whether libraries have to license them outright or not, it is still another format. OverDrive also stipulates that "the Kindle Library Lending program will support publishers' existing lending models."

To me, this means HarperCollins titles are still off the table (my consortium is not purchasing them at this time) and Macmillan and Simon & Schuster will not appear in digital format for our patrons any time soon. This also means that the "one-patron/one-copy" model will still be in effect, with that many more patrons with Kindles vying for the copies available and racking the holds ratios back up to the record highs we saw in January. We are going to have to buy more copies; with library budgets as strained as they are, I foresee longer wait times and more choices to be made about how to reallocate budgets by format.

But that is okay, right? Amazon knows that their Kindle customers (as they are always referenced in the articles by Amazon and OverDrive, not "library patrons") can shoot right over to the website and get that title if they don't want to wait that long. It is why they are Kindle customers after all.

This is going to be a topic of conversation for a while, especially as more specific information comes to light. We don't know exactly how it will all work or when we are going to get this, but I am cautiously optimistic this will be of benefit to everyone involved.

Note: I don't speak for my libraries on my blog and all opinions expressed here in this post are my own. I am on vacation, people, I shouldn't have to talk shop anyways!

Review: Twilight's Dawn by Anne Bishop

Warning: Some spoilers for this book and previous ones in the series.

The Book:

Head back to the Realms of the Black Jewels and become immersed once again in the world of the Blood.  Four novellas take moments of time through the lives of Janelle, Daemon, Lucivar, Surreal and Saetan as they continue to live their extraordinary, ordinary lives.

The Yarn:

For anyone who has read Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series, these four stories are amazingly heart-wrenching. Each book takes a period of time among the previous books, and while the cast of characters remains the same, what happens is enough to shake the Realms.

18 April 2011

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren to highlight books received for review, purchased or otherwise received. Titles link to Goodreads, authors to their website or blog.

I really wasn't sure if I was going to have a post for the last two weeks. It has been pretty busy-crazy for me at work making headway on the new design for the public catalog my network will have later this year. Add to that the fact I will be traveling this weekend to see my family, I haven't had time to go to the library or a bookstore at all.

That hurts. Truly, it does.

However, when I arrived home on Friday afternoon, I discovered a package on my doorstep. Inside it was this:

I have been waiting anxiously for Sheepish when I discovered that Catherine Friend was publishing it in May. Her first book about her farming exploits, Hit By a Farm, is a favorite of mine. Many thanks to Da Capo Press for providing this copy for me to review.

I am on vacation this week, so I hope to be able to not only catch up on some reading but also some book shopping! Well, in between the work and a presentation to prepare and gardening and niblet-chasing and chores and...

I think I will be ready for a vacation from my vacation!

13 April 2011

Spirit Dances by C.E. Murphy

The Book:

Joanne Walker is surviving. After almost being killed by a cannabalistic serial killer to dealing with a domestic homicide, she faces the challenge of attending a Native-American dance concert with her boss, Captain Michael Morrison. It's a transformative experience - and one that causes Joanne to turn into a coyote. Add to this a mystic killer, disappearing homeless and a possible supernatural creature that shouldn't exist, Joanne must go to the edge of mastering her shamanic abilities before someone else dies.

06 April 2011

Review: The Knitting Diaries by Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery, Christina Skye

The Book:

Three authors come together to bring stories of love and knitting: Debbie Macomber tells the tale of a girl and her mom and their special list of twenty wishes, but what about Ellen's desire for The Twenty-First Wish?  Coming Unraveled by Susan Mallery has one young woman's dreams of Broadway dashed and her return home is marred by a mistrustful friend of her grandmother.  In Return to Summer Island, Christina Skye shows how one woman that while a horrible accident may have taken away one piece of her, she can draw another path for herself, in life and in love.

04 April 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

It's Monday In My Mailbox!

Actually, you could hand-deliver it wrapped in a bow and I still wouldn't want a Monday, yet I get one every week.

Ok, back to work...In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren to highlight books received for review, purchased or otherwise received. Titles link to Goodreads, authors to their website or page.

For Review:

A edict was put out across the internet for new reviewers at The Lesbrary, and I was happy to answer the call! I will be doing monthly guest reviews there starting later this month. I also picked up a couple titles through NetGalley.

Turning Point and Turn For Home by Lara Zielinsky. A love story and its sequel. Two actresses discover their feelings for each other.

The Knitter's Life List: 1001Knitting Adventures to Fill a Lifetime by Gwen W. Steege (Storey, September).  I don't know if I will even accomplish 1001 projects in my life, but this looks like it will be fun and inspirational.

Slow Gardening: A No-Stress Philosophy For All Senses and Seasons by Felder Rushing (Chelsea Green, July). I tend to want results fast in my garden, so the thought of finding a slower and more mindful path to gardening is intriguing.

In The Mail:

I didn't get anything in the mail, but my daughter did. She participated in a publisher survey about teen reads and book trailers. For doing that, they sent her a book!

That Summer by Sarah Dessen. I may have to sneak this off my girl's shelf in the middle of the night.


A last minute stop at the local big bookstore (plus a coupon in my inbox) netted me this title:

Urban Homesteading by Kelly Coyne and Eric Knutzen. One of the first titles I ever saw about this topic will now grace my bookshelves.

From the Library:

Captive Spirit and Captive Heart by Anna Windsor. These are #4 and #6 of the Dark Crescent Sisterhood series (Yes, I am reading out of order again.) Great urban fantasies about women with elemental powers.

Crown of Crystal Flame by C.L. Wilson. I read the first four of the Tairen Soul series fast when they came out, so having such a long time to the last book was a hard wait.

Landscaping with Fruit by Lee Reich. I am debating if I want to plant berry bushes in my yard, so I hope this is a good resource.

Are you into some good books this week?