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Lost Sales 2014: Week of November 16-22

It’s been about 4 months since I last logged a Lost Sale! I realize that often I am willing to jump through quite a few hoops to get my preferred books but…I’m getting sick and tired of that. When will business people realize that if you cut off access to an entire segment of the population…people cannot buy your goods?

Just to recap, here are my primary reasons for abandoning a sale:

[Author] Bullshit
Exclusive Contracts
Geographical Restrictions
Not Available in preferred store/format

 

 
Nice Dragons Finish Last20-Nov-2014
Book: Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers #1)
Author: Rachel Aaron/Rachel Bach
How We Met: I saw a post somewhere on Goodreads that there was a new UF series released by Rachel Aaron. Since I’ve read her before and my friends all loved Fortune’s Pawn (Rachel Bach)…
Problem: Exclusive Contract [with Amazon]. This book is only available on Amazon Kindle (US/UK only). I do not own an Amazon Kindle. I checked Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords AND the author’s site. I even queried the author. Nothing.
Resolution: Will not purchase – cannot purchase.
Amount Saved: $1.99 Sale Price/$4.99 Regular Price

Review: Ciara’s Song by Andre Norton

Ciara's Song

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The wonders and adventures of Andre Norton’s “Witch World” saga have thrilled millions. Now comes a new chronicle about the hidden realms of the Witch World.

Ciara of Elmsgarth is only a small girl when the edict is issued by the Duke of Kars: KILL ALL WITH WITCH BLOOD, AND TAKE ALL THEY OWN.

A greedy mob murders her family, but Ciara is protected by the powerful Lord Tarnoor and his son, Trovagh. Safe in the isolated, siege-proof citadel of Aiskeep, Ciara and Trovagh grow, marry, and raise children.

Then the folly that grips Karsten worsens. Bigotry and corruption lead to crime, civil strife, war, and poverty — and the rise of an evil sorcerer, a black mage on a vendetta to destroy all Ciara has, and everyone she holds dear.

I love this book and the sequel The Duke’s Ballad.

This is one of the few books in Andre Norton’s Witch World series that I feel allow for new reader explanations. It’s also an unusual Fantasy book by today’s standards: It’s mostly a stand-alone, it follows the lives of three generations but it’s under 300 pages. This is one of the strengths of Ciara’s Song, in my opinion.
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Video Game Review: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (PC Only)

van helsing I

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The core concept originates from one of the protagonists in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, namely Van Helsing, the legendary vampire hunter, in this case set in a similar universe that resembles Europe in the 19th century, where monsters, magic and weird technology is real. Our protagonist is the son of the legendary Van Helsing who takes upon himself his father’s duties – a young man trained to slay monsters and rescue innocent souls, confident in his abilities as a hunter but still lacking the experience in using these abilities in real life.

Young Van Helsing is a gothic noir hero with a flair for the dramatic and Romantic gloom, who sees the world in black and white, taking everything a bit too seriously. He is the protagonist of his own grand tale, narrating his own adventures almost continuously.

And now he will face the most incredible adventure of his life, when the strange twist of fate brings him to the aid of the ancient and noble monsters of Borgovia threatened by a menace even more frightening than they ever could have imagined. Now the vampire lords and the werewolf clans need the greatest hunter of all times to fight the scientific nightmares appearing in their realm, created by a Frankenstein-like mad scientist who intends to give birth to a new age of enlightenment.

Van Helsing travels to Borgovia, to the kingdom on the very edge of the map, to the dark place where all legendary monsters used to roam. He will explore the snow-capped mountains and forests of the wilderness and walk the sprawling, gothic city of Borgovia, the town of black stones, marble spikes and gloomy courtyards where the helpless citizens need a new hero to free them from the nightmares of science.

I’m what you would call a “casual” girl gamer. I like to game but I don’t do it as a full time hobby (like reading). I do own quite a few games but I’m rather particular in my gaming habits. I prefer hack & slash (H&S) RPG games that allow me to point and click. I also prefer smaller scale RPG games vs MMOs/MMORPGs – I prefer to play single player at almost all times.
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Wings of Fire Anthology Review: The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin *spoilers*

Wings of Fire

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Dragons: Fearsome fire-breathing foes, scaled adversaries, legendary lizards, ancient hoarders of priceless treasures, serpentine sages with the ages’ wisdom, and winged weapons of war…

Wings of Fire brings you all these dragons, and more, seen clearly through the eyes of many of today’s most popular authors, including Peter S. Beagle, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K Le Guin, Dean R Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, and many others.

Edited by Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Eclipse) and Marianne S. Jablon, Wings of Fire collects the best short stories about dragons. From writhing wyrms to snakelike devourers of heroes; from East to West and everywhere in between, Wings of Fire is sure to please dragon lovers everywhere.

GRRM is…an incredible writer. He manages to jam a lot of things and a lot of emotion into few words (when he wants to).

GRRM also seems to be a big fan of rape. I’m NOT saying that he has/wants to/dreams of raping someone personally…but he damn sure seems to be unable walk away from any opportunity to rape someone in prose. *rolls eyes* And that shit makes me upset. I don’t want to hear any BS about “realistic” either – these are GRRM’s authorial decisions and nothing more.

So. “The Ice Dragon” is the story of Adara and her family. Adara was born during a very cold winter and her mother died in child birth. Adara was “full of winter” – she could be outside and barely feel the cold, unlike her siblings. Adara was not just physically cold, she was emotional cold as well. She didn’t smile, didn’t cry and rarely showed emotion. Adara could play with ice lizards when others could not – the body heat that other people created would melt and kill the ice lizards. Adara also had an Ice Dragon. Made from ice with the breath of pure winter, Adara’s ice dragon would come to her in the winter…extending each winter year after year.
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Wings of Fire Anthology Review: Stable of Dragons by Peter S. Beagle

Wings of Fire

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Dragons: Fearsome fire-breathing foes, scaled adversaries, legendary lizards, ancient hoarders of priceless treasures, serpentine sages with the ages’ wisdom, and winged weapons of war…

Wings of Fire brings you all these dragons, and more, seen clearly through the eyes of many of today’s most popular authors, including Peter Beagle, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Charles De Lint, Diana Wynne Jones, Mercedes Lackey, Ursula K Le Guin, Dean R Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Garth Nix, and many others.

Edited by Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Eclipse) and Marianne S. Jablon, Wings of Fire collects the best short stories about dragons. From writhing wyrms to snakelike devourers of heroes; from East to West and everywhere in between, Wings of Fire is sure to please dragon lovers everywhere.

I’ve been working my way through a Romance anthology, Hot Alpha SEALs, and I was starting to get burned out. Too many “meh” novellas in a row. I decided to try to mix it up a bit and start on a different (Fantasy/Sci-Fi) anthology: Wings of Fire. I’ve had this book on hold for quite some time now so this is a good time to start. I have pretty decent hopes for the entire anthology – this is the second anthology I’ve bought that has been edited by Jonathan Straham (the first was Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery with Lou Anders).

The first story in Wings of Fire that I’ve read is “Stable of Dragons” by Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn). “Stable of Dragons” is a poem. A very interesting and yet exceedingly odd poem. Only a few pages long with slightly unusual formatting, “Stable of Dragons” tells of a man who owns a barn full of dragons. There’s a twist to the poem that I don’t want to spoil but it totally surprised me and thus required a higher rating than the 3-3.5 stars I had originally planned to give.

Coursera: Online Games Week 2

This week in Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative

This week the class is going to dig a little deeper into Tolkien, the social aspect of MMOs and take a look at one of my favorite epic poems: Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.

Readings
– J.R.R Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring (complete novel)
– Robert Browning’s poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”

Gameplay
This week’s in-game activities ask you to explore (or if you are a more experienced player, help others to explore) the social world of LOTRO. You have two options for completing the in-game assignment:

1. If you are in one of the four Coursera kinships, participate in the games planned for Saturday, July 26, 2014. Take a screenshot of yourself and some of your kin mates at the games.
OR
2. If you are not a member of one of the Coursera kinships, you should join a kinship and have a conversation with another member of the kinship in /kinship chat. Then travel to your kinship house and take a screenshot of yourself in front of or inside it. If your kinship does not have a house, travel to one of the housing areas on your own and explore. Find an interesting place to take a screenshot of your character in the kinship area.

I’ve started watching (well, listening) to the videos for this week already. I’m SUPER excited about Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came! I first ran across this poem in college and I even got a chance to study and discuss it one-on-one with a professor. Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came was also Stephen King’s inspiration and muse for his magus opus: The Dark Tower series (which was originally titled series titled “Wizard and Glass.”

I have to admit – I’m a little behind. I haven’t completed all of the readings and gameplay for last week as of yet. O_O I need to get on it as I have some assignments to turn in.

Flights of Fantasy: July 2014 Books of the Month

The July 2014 Flights of Fantasy group reads and my early decision on reading them. I meant to have this posted early last week for those who are joining in on the reads. 😦

 

Red RisingYA/MG:
Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1)
Decision: Maybe

The war begins…

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable – and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda…

 
 
Ancillary JusticeSci-Fi:
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1)
Decision: Maybe

From Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Award nominated debut author, Ann Leckie, comes Ancillary Justice, a stunning space opera that asks what it means to be human in a universe guided by artificial intelligence.

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Continue reading

2014 Book Purchases: May

I always start the draft for these monthly book purchase updates at the beginning of the month. It gives me a chance to look back over the previous month and encourage myself to do better throughout the coming month.

Update: I went over my book budget by $1.22. That’s not too bad. Not too bad at all… But I still need to work on my spending.

 
 
Cordelia's HonorBook: Cordelia’s Honor
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Cost: $0.58
Format: Trade Paperback
Date Purchased: 07-May-2014
Notes: Omnibus Edition, FoF read Shards of Honor as a group for April 2014
 
 
Howl's Moving Castle (trade)Book: Howl’s Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Cost: $4.75
Format: Trade Paperback
Date Purchased: 07-May-2014
Notes: Gift
 
 
FederationsBook: Federations
Author: John Joseph Adams (Editor)
Cost: $0.01
Format: Trade Paperback
Date Purchased: 08-May-2014
Notes: Picked up on a whim from the library, discovered a short (sequel to The Ship Who Sang) in the Brainship series by McCaffery. HAD to purchase ASAP. Review Here
 
 
BounceBook: Bounce
Author: K.M. Jackson
Cost: $0.99
Format: ePub Ebook
Date Purchased: 12-May-2014
Notes: Dear Author strikes again…
 
 
Bone RiderBook: Bone Rider
Author: J. Fally
Cost: $1.10
Format: ePub Ebook
Date Purchased: 13-May-2014
Notes: Damn Dear Author review! Had to buy after reading the review.
 
 
Beast Master's PlanetBook: Beast Master’s Planet: Omnibus of Beast Master and Lord of Thunder
Author: Andre Norton
Cost: $0.21
Format: Hardback, Omnibus
Date Purchased: 16-May-2014
Notes: Andre Norton Collection
 
 
Blood SongBook: Blood Song (A Raven’s Shadow Novel)
Author:
Cost: $6.94
Format: Hardback
Date Purchased: 16-May-2014
Notes: FoF May 2014 Group Read, borrowed from library but decided to purchase
 
 
It Happened One WeddingBook: It Happened One Wedding
Author: Julie James
Cost: $6.64
Format: MMPB
Date Purchased:
Notes: OMG! LOVED IT. Found a new author! Review Here

 
 

 
 

May 2014 Totals:
Total Books Purchased: 8
Total Amount Spent: $21.22
Malazan Books Purchased: 0
(M) Amount Spent: $0
(O) Amount Spent: $21.22
Potential Sales Abandoned: 0
Money Saved (Lost Sales): $0.00
May Budget Available (not including Malazan purchases): -(1.22)

Review: Alta (Dragon Jousters #2) by Mercedes Lackey *Spoilers*

Alta

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National best-selling fantasy legend, Mercedes Lackey created a vivid, dynamic fusion of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms of ancient Egypt with the most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.
In the second novel in Mercedes Lackey’s richly-conceived Dragon Jousters series, the dragonrider Vetch escapes to Alta, the subjugated land of his birth. There, he hopes to teach his people to raise and train dragons-and build an army that will liberate his homeland.

NOTE: This review will contain spoilers for the first book in this series, Joust. If you haven’t read Joust, please do not read this review unless you are ok with spoilers.

This one is cute. I enjoy this book but not as much as Joust.

Alta continues the story of the serf Vetch from Joust. In Alta, Vetch is no longer known as the serf “Vetch.” He is “Kiron, son of Kiron,” a displaced but well-born son of Alta and a dragon rider. Kiron arrives in Alta, gets settled and becomes a jouster-in-training almost immediately. He is also given lessons: reading, writing, philosophy and history. Throughout the book the reader can see Kiron’s change from unlettered serf to educated noble by the way he speaks and carries himself. I felt Lackey did a good job showing Kiron’s maturation.

Kiron has achieved his goal: he is no longer a serf – he is a free Altan and dragon rider. But in Alta all is not what he expected: there’s something rotten at the core of Alta and Kiron seems to get into the midst of things very quickly.
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2014 Book Purchases: April

I always start the draft for these monthly book purchase updates at the beginning of the month. It gives me a chance to look back over the previous month and encourage myself to do better.

I already feel that I’ve spent too much money on books this month – Sad, aren’t I? 🙂

I’m going to have to try harder. But I’m nervous about April because it is my birth month. I always find a way to indulge myself in April…

01-May-2014 Update: Yaaaay! I managed not to go over my $20 budget!!! 😀

Wind-Gone-MadBook: Wind Gone Mad
Author: L. Ron Hubbard
Cost: $2.99
Format: Paperback
Date Purchased: 02-Apr-2014
Notes: Shits & Giggles, plus that cover! O_o

 

 

The Phoenix EndangeredBook: The Phoenix Endangered (The Enduring Flame #2)
Author: Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory
Cost: $4.50
Format: Hardback
Date Purchased: 02-Apr-2014
Notes: Second in a series
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