Armchair BEA: Interview and Introduction

This is BEA week. Who or what is BEA you might ask?

BEA is Book Expo America, the show where book people do business. And it’s usually in New York in early June. It certainly is this year, although there are rumors about 2016 in Chicago.

Not all of us get to make it to NYC for BEA. Although many of us wish we could.

(Most years, for me, it’s a logistical problem. The American Library Association Annual Conference is in late June, and I am committed to attend that. Two conferences in one month is very expensive. There is overlap, but it’s not the same. I really want to go to BEA!)

Because so many bloggers want to get to BEA, and can’t quite manage, some of the enterprising among us invented the fantastic Armchair BEA! (There’s armchair football, why not Armchair BEA? I ask you?)

The kickoff event for Armchair BEA (see, see!) is an interview. Each participating blogger is supposed to interview themselves. (There’s a list of questions here, if you’re curious)

1.Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I started blogging in April 2011. We were about to move (again) and were packing up our huge book collection, trying to figure out what to keep and what to weed. I’m a librarian and weeding books is hard. I thought I’d be writing a lot about libraries, and it has turned out that I’m doing a lot of book reviews. Which I love.

The other things. I blog here at Reading Reality, sometimes known as Escape Reality, Read Fiction! I am also The Rocket Lover at Book Lovers Inc. My husband is the techie here at Reading Reality, although we are both die-hard geeks. Our cats otherwise run the house. Which moves frequently. Chicago to Anchorage to Tallahssee (FL) to Chicago to Gainesville (FL) to Atlanta. (I’m originally from Cincinnati, but that’s a whole bunch of moves ago!)

2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?

I’m listening to The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon and reading Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies by Cynthia Cooke. My favorite book this year is probably Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck, and I need to get the review written.

3. What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?

The feature that I’m proudest of is Ebook Review Central. Every Monday (except Memorial Day, so far), I cover the output of one or more of the ebook-only or ebook-mostly publishers for a month. Later today it will be Samhain who are ebook-mostly. I pull together all the reviews for their titles each month and highlight three with the most and best reviews. And I maintain a database with links to all the reviews. I also cover Carina, Dreamspinner, Astraea, Liquid Silver, Amber Quill, Riptide, Red Sage and Curiosity Quills.

4. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?

There are two posts I would want everyone to read (yes, I know, the question said one). Back in February, the Oklahoma Chapter of the Romance Writers of America suddenly changed the rules of their writing contest to exclude same-sex entries. Not because they couldn’t find any judges, but because their chapter members felt “uncomfortable” with stories that had, in fact, won the contest in years past. My post titled Hot Buttons Popping was syndicated by BlogHer.

BEA is a book expo. And it is also an exposition of traditional publishing. My background is in libraries. One of the big issues facing public libraries is how to handle the ebook revolution when most of the “Big 6” publishers will not license ebooks to libraries under any conditions. But exactly who are the “Big 6” anyway, and what does that mean? I couldn’t resist an attempt at describing them in 9 Rings, 8 Planets, 7 Dwarfs, 6 Publishers.

5. Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

It’s not that my tastes have changed, it’s more that they’ve expanded. Which is bad, in a way, because I have access to even more books than I did when I was working in a library. I get a lot of first novels and ebook-only books, because I promote them on Ebook Review Central, and because I get them through book tours for review. So many neat new authors and series. But I still love all the things I always have, like science fiction and fantasy, and urban fantasy. There are so many wonderful books, and I want to read them all.

(Banner design: Nina of Nina Reads; Feature image design: Sarah of Puss Reboots; Rainbow pencils photo credit Horia Varlan on Flickr)


Stacking the Shelves #4

Compared to last week’s Stacking the Shelves, this one is one whole column less stacked. Really, truly.

And some of there are a couple of these that just kind of, well, showed up. I’ve gotten on some publishers’ lists to get print ARCs. At least, I think that’s how the print ARCs make their way to my doorstep.

The whole concept of the Stacking the Shelves meme is that we get to give a little bit of love to those books that make their way to us whether or not they will ever get full review treatment. Or, for that matter, whether or not we have a clue why they arrived in the mail.

Tynga’s Reviews hosts Stacking the Shelves. I am one of the many eager participants.

One egalley on my shelf this week that I’m beyond thrilled about is Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. This is the sequel to The Discovery of Witches, which was awesome. Shadow of Night has been on my wishlist since I first heard about it. And officially since it first showed up on NetGalley, way back. But I didn’t get it from NetGalley. It turned up on Edelweiss, and I got it from there. So if you also want Shadow of Night, check Edelweiss.

From the Author or Publisher:
Decoy by Michaela Debelius
A Dark Anatomy by Robin Blake (print ARC)
The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams (print ARC)

From Sizzling PR:
The Dressmaker’s Dilemma by Theresa Stillwagon
Afterburn by Sonia Hightower
Guy’s Angel by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
City of the Gods: The Descendant by S.J. McMillan

From Bewitching Book Tours:
Succubus Lost by Tiffany Allee
Kidnapped by Maria Hammarblad

Purchased from Amazon:
Lover Unexpected by Brindle Chase
Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost (it’s on sale! for $1.99!)

Purchased from Audible
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon. Narrated by Jeff Woodman and Rick Holmes (unabridged audiobook)

For Book Lovers Inc.:
The Blacksmith’s Lover by Heather Massey

From NetGalley:
A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious by Mary Wine
I Only Have Eyes for You by Bella Andre

From Edelweiss:
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Everything is an ebook unless specifically stated otherwise. That’s why I’m always surprised when a print ARC comes in the mail.

I’m planning to treat myself to some of these for the Memorial Day weekend. What about you? Any special reading planned for the weekend? Or are you stocking up for the summer at the beach?

What stacking up on your shelves this week?

What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? AKA The Sunday Post 5-20-12

It’s Sunday, do you know where your books are?

Mine are back home, after a trip to Cincinnati to see my mom for Mother’s Day. It was a great trip (I also got to see some of my cousins), but it’s good to be back home with my husband and my cats. Also where my big computer and double-monitor set-up is. I work better in my own space.

The combination of My Mostly Virtual Nightstand and The Sunday Post (see Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer for complete details) is a chance to recap, showcase upcoming important events, and talk about the books I have on my nightstand or iPad for the week after this.

Moving right along…

If you are interested in a chance to win a copy of either a fun contemporary romance or a hot romantic suspense story, take a look back at my reviews of Bad Girl Lessons (the contemporary) and Satisfying the Curse (the suspense). The giveaways for both titles (Lessons giveaway) and (Curse giveaway) still have a few days to go.

Coming up this week…LOTS!

On Monday in addition to Ebook Review Central (this week’s feature is Dreamspinner Press’ April titles) I’m participating in a Cover Reveal for Kinley Baker‘s new fantasy romance, Denied. (There’s a tour-wide Amazon GC giveaway)

Also on Monday, I’m also participating in the Diamond Jubilee Blog Hop being organized by Romance at Random to celebrate the upcoming release of Ruthie Knox‘ new book About Last Night. Ruthie Knox will be at Reading Reality on June 8.  Lots of book prizes tour-wide on this blog hop.

Tuesday, May 22, I’ll have the Cover Reveal for Succubus Lost, the sequel to Tiffany Allee‘s urban fantasy/paranormal romance Banshee Charmer. I really liked Banshee Charmer, so I’m looking forward to Succubus Lost quite a bit. I’m interviewing Tiffany on May 31 and I’ll be reviewing the new book in June.

Not to be done with Tuesday, I’ll be interviewing Lauren Clark, the author of Dancing Naked in Dixie, and reviewing her book as part of the Bewitching Book Tours release celebration, which does include a tour-wide Gift Card giveaway.

Wednesday, May 23, Reading Reality will have a guest post from Lilly Cain, the author of the science fiction romance Confederacy Treaty series, and I’ll be reviewing the first book of the series, Alien Revealed also as part of a tour for Bewitching Books.

Thursday I’ll be reviewing Seized, the first book in Lynne Cantwell’s Pipe Woman Chronicles, as part of a Goddess Fish Virtual Book Tour.

Looking forward to the following week, Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day in the U.S. The official start of summer. Living in Atlanta, unofficially, it’s already summer!

I only have a few books that have publication dates next week, or that I have on tour. The holiday may have something to do with that!

The book tour scheduled for next week is Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire by K. Reed. It’s both post-apocalyptic and a Regency romance. I’m really curious to see how that combination works out.

I have four books I picked up from NetGalley. NetGalley is like book shopping, except that I pay with my time to write the reviews instead of my money.

The Bewitching Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell is the sequel to The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale. Earlier this year, Carina Press gave away some of their early titles to subscribers to their newsletter, and I “bought” Twisted Tales then. But I need to read it to review the sequel. Lucky for me, they are both relatively short.

Black Stiletto: Black & White by Raymond Benson, is also a sequel, this time to The Black Stiletto. But I picked this from NetGalley specifically because I read the first book and was absolutely fascinated. The Black Stiletto is the story of a woman in the 1950s and 60s who becomes a masked vigilante, rather like Batman. Except that in this story, her secret identity isn’t revealed until her son discovers her diaries over 50 years later.

A Gentleman Undone is by Cecilia Grant, the same author who wrote A Lady Awakened. Lady Awakened was a debut romance that no one was neutral about. Readers either loved it or detested it. I quite liked it, enough that I want to see if she can do it again.

Because everyone has raved about Larissa Ione’s Lords of Deliverance series, I grabbed Lethal Rider. But I need to read the first three books first. And before Rogue Rider comes out in November.

I also have something from Edelweiss. I take fewer books from Edelweiss, because they timebomb on my iPad much quicker. But every once in a while there’s something I absolutely can’t resist.

Steampunk is one of my weaknesses. So, when Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris’ Janus Affair  popped up on Edelweiss, I was so there. This is the second book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, and I have the first book, Phoenix Rising, and I’ve been meaning to read it. Getting Janus Affair from Edelweiss should get me to do it.

My other big weakness is science fiction romance. So I have Luminous by Corrina Lawson, the second book in her Phoenix Institute series. And I have the first book Phoenix Rising, somewhere in my iPad, just waiting for me.

And I just did a double-take. Yes, the first book in both the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences and Phoenix Institute Series have the same title; Phoenix Rising. I triple-checked to be sure. Weird coincidence.

As they say, that’s all the news that’s fit to print for the next couple of weeks. I’m going to be busy, busy, busy. I foresee LOTS of caffeine in my future! (My drink of choice is Diet Coke with Lime)

I’d love to know what you’re looking forward to this week!


In My Mailbox #2

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren as a way for bloggers and readers to share the books they bought, borrowed or received that week.

When this meme started in 2008, I suspect the mailbox was an actual mailbox, whether or not it looked like the one in the graphic. For me, the mailbox is mostly an email inbox. But the principle still applies.

And sometimes it’s real mail. You’ll see.

Ebooks I received from their authors or publicists:

Wreck of the Nebula Dream by Veronica Scott
A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards
Intangible by J. Meyers
Lowcountry Punch by Boo Walker
Third Rate Romance by Tim Martin
The Mine by John A. Heldt

Ebooks I received for reviews for Blog Tours (Tour company name in parens):

Wanted: Handsome Alien Abductor by Myra Nour (BTS)
Staring into the Eyes of Chance by Kay Dee Royal (Bewitching)
Finding My Faith by Carly Fall (Bewitching)
The Zurian Child by Jessica E. Subject (Sizzling PR)
Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr (Little Bird Publicity)
The Great Outdoors by Becky Moore (Sizzling PR)


One new assignment for Book Lovers Inc.

Auraria by Tim Westover




Five from NetGalley. I’ve been trying to resist but the April Carina Press books were posted, there was lots of SFR or SFR-ish, and I caved. And Pern was the first SFR I ever read, so yes, Sky Dragons does fit in this list.

Sky Dragons by Todd McCaffrey
Desert Blade by Ella Drake
Darkest Caress by Kaylea Cross
Zero Gravity Outcasts by Kay Keppler
Cruel Numbers by  Christopher Beats






And nearly last, one steampunk from Edelweiss

Tarnished by Karina Cooper




Last, but definitely not least, the big box I shipped from PLA arrived. I haven’t opened it yet, because, well, it’s under the cat. She thinks I got it for her!

Ebook Review Central, Carina Press, January 2012

It’s a new year at Ebook Review Central. This issue covers the January 2012 titles from Carina Press. And what titles they were!

There’s an old phrase that goes “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. Undoubtedly, that’s just as true for women. I see the application of it every week when I run down the reviews for the new titles. The same book (this week it’s Stephanie Julian’s Sex, Lies and Surveillance) can be rated 5 out of 5 by one reviewer, and the ever-frustrating DNF (Did Not Finish) from another.

I do think that the “Wallbanger” review is going to slowly disappear from the reviewing lexicon. No matter how much I detest a book, I can’t afford to throw my iPad against the wall in frustration.

The three featured titles this week are all different. We have one urban fantasy, one science fiction romance, and one contemporary romance. The one thing they do have in common is that all three titles are part of series, so readers either knew what to expect, or are looking for more from these worlds or relationships in the future.

First up, Zoe Archer’s Chain Reaction. Ms. Archer is not only an established author in print, but Chain Reaction is the sequel to Collision Course, published by Carina Press in April 2011. Chain Reaction is science fiction romance, taking place in a space opera universe where a plucky rebel alliance of elite pilots and engineers is fighting against an evil empire. In this entry to the series. the warrior-pilot is the female of the duo and the nerd-engineer is the male, which makes the romance even more interesting. She’s the alpha and he’s the beta in this equation.

The urban fantasy featured entry is Don’t Bite the Messenger by Regan Summers. The messenger of the title refers to Ms. Sydney Kildare, one of the highly-paid and generally short-lived crew of human messengers who try to survive long enough as couriers for the vampires who have taken over Anchorage Alaska. Vampires are an economic boom, but they wreck havoc with electricity, among other things. And they usually try to enslave any humans who get near them. Sydney just so happens to be immune. When Sydney suddenly becomes a target, one man tries to save her. Too bad he’s not what he appears to be. Don’t Bite the Messenger looks like the start of an excellent urban fantasy series. Vampires go to the Southern hemisphere for the summer. More stories waiting.

The final featured story set a new record for the number of reviews for a single title. On January 1, 2012 Carina Press re-issued Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey, in both print and ebook. Exclusively Yours is the first book in Ms. Stacey’s Kowalskis series, and was originally published during Carina Press’ launch in 2010. Between the reviews from the initial publication, and the interest generated by this relaunch, there were 34 reviews for this contemporary romance!

That much talk deserves some attention. But it’s more than that. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive–the equivalent of a B- grade or higher. Generally the reviews a lot higher. People didn’t just read this book, they liked this book. They liked it a lot! If you enjoy contemporary romance, and you haven’t read Shannon Stacey, take a look at some of these reviews, and then find yourself a copy of Exclusively Yours.

Dreamspinner Press is up next week with their January 2012 books. See you then!




What’s on my (mostly virtual) nightstand? 2-12-12

I need to be more careful when I write about the weather. Not only is it  36° outside, the windchill makes it feel like 27°. And tomorrow night we might even see some of what I call “freezy, skid stuff”. In other words, rain mixed with sleet and snow.

Sounds like the perfect night to stay in and read!

Looking ahead to next week, the things I have to review are definitely not the usual suspects.

There’s a reason my nightstand is mostly but not totally virtual–two of my upcoming books are print.

I have a print galley of Matthew Pearl’s The Technologists. This is a historical thriller that takes place just after the Civil War. The setting is Boston, during the founding years of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The description of the book makes it sound like a cross between Young Sherlock Holmes, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (except using engineering as a substitute for magic), and CSI. I’m looking forward to it.

Speaking of print books, I just picked up my copy of Apocalypse to Go, by Katharine Kerr from the post office. I’m the lucky recipient of one of the Goodreads First Reads copies. This is my first one. Apocalypse to Go is the third book in Katharine Kerr’s Nola O’Grady series. I read the first book License to Ensorcell, last year when the series started, but I didn’t get to the second book, Water to Burn. Although the Nola O’Grady series is urban fantasy, Kerr is best known for her epic fantasy series set in the land of Deverry. Daggerspell and Darkspell are two of my all-time favorites. Stories about the cost of magic and power always get me.

I have one other review due next week, and I did get this one from NetGalley. I’ve discovered that once you get involved in a mystery series, it’s very hard to stop. I’ve read or listened to all of the Hamish Macbeth mysteries by M.C. Beaton, because I started listening on audio. Mysteries are great in the car. After 27 books, I still have to find out what’s happening to all the people in Constable Macbeth’s tiny Highland village, besides the annual corpse. So I’ll be reading M.C. Beaton’s Death of a Kingfisher and savoring my annual glimpse of Scottish rural life, and death.

I’m going to confess that I got totally sidetracked yesterday. I read a glowing review of Merrick’s Destiny, the new novella in Rogers’ Bloodhounds series at The Book Pushers. Although the review is fantastic, it was the cover that really got my attention. Compare these two pictures and you’ll understand why. (The picture on the far right is Cmdr. Riker from Star Trek Next Gen)  After I got over the double (triple) take, I read the review again. Since Merrick’s Destiny is book 1.5 in the series, I took a look at the first book, Wilder’s Mate. The summary sounded a lot like Shona Husk’s Dark Vow (reviewed here), but more emphasis on the sex and less on the angst. The Bloodhounds series is turning out to be a fantastic sidetrack!

Looking back at last week, I can see where things ran right over me this past week. I did send my review of Danger Zone to Library Journal, and I also queued up a longer review to appear on these very pages, so that’s done. I really enjoyed both of Ms. Adams’ books, and I’m looking forward to the third story in the Adrenaline Highs series sometime this summer.

The weekends are never long enough, but that means that tomorrow will be Ebook Review Central. It’s time to turn our freezing brain cells to 2012, and the January titles from Carina Press.

The Two Towers: Apple iBooks Author EULA vs Amazon KDP Select

Before the announcement on January 19, the hope was that Apple’s iBooks Author program would somehow kick Amazon where it hurts. Assuming that anyone can find a location that actually causes Amazon any monetary angst, that is – hunting expeditions for this locale have so far been unsuccessful.

A publishing platform that would make ebook creation easier for the educational market was another “Holy Grail” that some pundits hoped that Apple was about to tackle. I had heard some theorizing that Apple was going to “revolutionize” ebook textbook publishing with the announcement.

And it did, but not in the way that anyone had expected.

By now, you may have heard the chatter (samples here, here and here) about Apple’s Author End-User License Agreement (EULA) for producing books (iBooks) with their new program. If an author wants to be recompensed for the blood, sweat and tears they have put into their book, and they want to create it using Apple’s new program, which is supposed to be so cool, they have to be willing to sign over exclusive, absolutely exclusive, distribution rights to their work, forever. Not for a period of time, but forever. Authors can’t even sell their books on their own sites.

Now if authors want to give the book away, they can distribute it wherever they like.

Some people wanted Apple to give Amazon a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Why? Because of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program, also known as Kindle Digital Selects. As a librarian, I have some issues with the program, because the public face of this program is the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, where Kindle Owners can, well, borrow an ebook from Amazon without buying it. Just like at their local library.

But from the authors’ side, this appears to be a way better deal than Apple. A very detailed analysis of the pros and cons from an author’s perspective was written by Carolyn McCray and posted at Publishing Perspectives. There have also been some recent sales statistics made available by Amazon at Digital Book World showing that there is a positive ripple-effect to participation in the program, because it includes promotion on Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deal mailing, which has pretty big circulation.

Authors want their books to get read, and they want to be fairly compensated. Whatever one might think about Amazon’s practices, or what they might morph into in the long-term, in the short-term, there are reports that indicate those goals are being accomplished.

And Amazon doesn’t expect a lifetime commitment when authors sign up. 90 day exclusivity may not be for everyone, but it is a much shorter term than forever. No matter how you count the days.

But a lot of people are more worried about the long-term than the short-term. Amazon is playing a very long game. As a recent NPR story put it, Amazon’s tactics are seen as ‘predatory’, because Amazon is not just an extremely huge bookseller, but they are also a publisher. Not just an ebook publisher, but a print publisher. They have more clout in more places in the publishing and bookselling business than anybody. Ever.

People were hoping that Apple’s announcement on January 19 would stick Amazon where it might hurt.

Instead, we have a situation resembling the one in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers. On the one side, the dark tower of Amazon, with their huge distribution network and their “predatory” practices and their consumers locked-in to their Kindles.

On the other side, we have the white tower of Apple, signing their authors into permanent contractual servitude, telling eager potential iBook textbook creators that if they want to use the cool Apple product they either have to give their work away for free or they have to let Apple own the rights to their work forever.

And in the middle, us poor consumers, hunkering down while the electronic salvos fire overhead.

Remember that in Tolkien’s story, the white tower didn’t turn out to be any less self-serving than the dark tower once the truth was revealed. White just turned out to be the new black.


What’s on my (mostly virtual) nightstand? 1-22-12

I am in Dallas at the American Library Association Midwinter Convention. Connectivity is decent, so this post is coming to you from my room, and not from the hotel bar. I’m not sure whether that’s the good news or the bad news.

The biggest problem with any kind of ALA Conference is the exhibit hall floor. The exhibits are miles and miles of carpet over concrete, and endless walking. There is no thrill of victory, there is only the endless agony of the feet.

And, because I want to get on more publishers’ direct lists for reviews, I left my card at every fiction publisher’s booth…and I picked up Advance Reading Copies. Well, I couldn’t very well say I wanted to review their books without actually picking up some books to review, now could I?

I just took a look at what’s on my TBR (is that To Be Read or To Be Reviewed?) list for January 31 and February 1 and wanted to avert my eyes. Then I scrolled through the rest of February and decided it’s not so bad after all. There’s a lot for 1/31 and 2/1, but not much after. I’ll catch up. But let’s just deal with the 1/31 books this week. February is a whole other month, right?

How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins caught my eye on NetGalley because the heroine is a wallflower and a bluestocking and involved an exclusive academic society. It reminded a tiny bit of Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody Emerson books. Whether the heroine does or not, well, the reading will be the proof of that.

Horizon is book 3 in Sophie Littlefield’s Aftertime series. Aftertime is a dystopian series about one of the few survivors of the zombie apocalypse, and I heard a lot of terrific things about the series. When this book popped up on NetGalley, I grabbed it. But in my usual completist fashion, I need to read through the series to get to it, so before Horizon, there is Survivors (prequel novella), Aftertime, and Rebirth ahead of me.

And slightly out of the usual for me, I have The Mountain of Gold by J.D. Davies. This is adventure on the high seas, similar to Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series, which I read and loved, all 20 books of it. The difference is that O’Brian’s series took place during the Napoleonic Wars, and Davies series concerns the Restoration period, about a century and a half earlier. Yes, I said series. The Mountain of Gold is the second book. I still need to read the first book Gentleman Captain. (At least I don’t have to worry about running out of time on The Mountain of Gold from NetGalley. I found a print ARC at the conference.)

As I expected I haven’t been able to take many books off my nightstand while I’ve been at the conference. Too many meetings, too little time.

I did finish up Todd Grimson’s Stainless, because I started it on the plane from Atlanta. The story was weird, mostly in a good way. Obsessive love, obsessive hate and an endless quest to feel anything at all make for quite a story. I’m reviewing this for Book Lovers Inc, and I’ll write it up after I get home.

I’m in the middle of The Canvas Thief by P. Kirby, and so far, I like it better than a lot of the other reviewers did.  I’ve also finished The Stubborn Dead by Natasha Hoar, and that review will be up early this week. My short take on The Stubborn Dead is that it is excellent but too darn short!

I’ll need to pick one of the ARCs off the pile for at least part of the trip home. It is so annoying when they make me turn off my iPad. It’s not just any electronic device–it’s a book!

Tomorrow is Dreamspinner’s turn on Ebook Review Central, with a whopping 59 titles for December 2011. Don’t forget to tune in!




What’s on my (mostly virtual) nightstand? 1-15-12

Martin Luther King Day is tomorrow. No mail. No school. It’s a day off for a lot of people. But I’ll be working, Galen will be working. There’s no rest for the wicked, as my mom usually says to me. (And I fully recognize the implication!)

Mid-January in this library household means one other thing–the impending doom of the American Library Association Midwinter Conference. January 20-24, this year in Dallas, Texas. At least it might be warm? (2010 was in Denver, 2013 will be in Philadelphia, this point is very much NOT moot.)

ALA Midwinter is a major household disruption. We bring out suitcases. The cats hate suitcases. The suitcases take their people away! They might have to train new staff. This is very bad.

But the conference represents major headaches all the way around. In June in New Orleans, our hotel did not have connectivity in the rooms, so I only posted once, using Galen’s iPhone as my net connection. Not fun. This conference, I admit I’m going to queue up as much as I can, just in case connectivity is a tad “iffy”.

On the one hand, plane rides are still a terrific opportunity for reading. Not to mention that lovely extra two-hour wait ahead of the flight for “security”. On the other hand, ALA conferences are a sea of Advance Reading Copies, unfortunately all print. What’s a girl to do?

I have four books to read on the airplane on my way to and from Dallas, because these are scheduled for release January 24. Except I really only have three.

Heiress Without a Cause by Sara Ramsey popped up on NetGalley as a historical romance debut that just sounded interesting. According to the blurb copy, it was selected by Barnes & Noble for an exclusive release on the NOOK beginning Jan. 23rd.

The Stubborn Dead by Natasha Hoar was featured in January 2012 print issue of RT Book Reviews as one of the five debut authors not to miss in 2012. So I couldn’t resist picking up first book, about a “rescue medium” when it appeared on NetGalley. Whether this is urban fantasy or paranormal romance or a combination, it looks like a terrific start for this new author.

Daughter of the Centaurs by Kate Klimo is the first book of the Centauriad. It’s YA and it’s something I pulled from NetGalley when I was researching YA genre lit for a table talk I did for the South Carolina Collection Development mini-conference. Since this is definitely fantasy, I’m going to give it a try.

Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee is the last book on my calendar for January 24. I had downloaded it from NetGalley because I liked the premise, an urban fantasy about a half-banshee detective solving a serial killer murder. Sounded cool. Then Book Lovers Inc asked me to review it for them. Cool beans, I already had it.  I’ve read it, loved it, and written both reviews already, one for my blog and one for BLI. Done and dusted. I just can’t queue anything up here until the BLI review is posted.

And now for putting the cap back on the old recap.

My review of Nick Marsh’s Soul Purpose is already scheduled to post on Tuesday. I’ll get to Past Tense after I come back from Dallas. BLI says I can have two months. I promise I won’t take anywhere near that long! Besides, Soul Purpose was too much fun for me to wait that long to read the sequel. I want to see what happens next.

And I received an unstained copy of Todd Grimson’s Stainless this week. Woo-hoo! I take one “dead-tree” book with me on the plane, so I have something to read for those horrible minutes when they make me turn off my iPad. Stainless might be it.

I also finished A Lady Awakened and Don’t Bite the Messenger from last week, so reviews for both those books will be part of this week’s postings.

Reaching back, to the Christmas Nightstand, I’m in the middle of J.L. Hilton’s Stellarnet Rebel. As a blogger, and a science fiction fan, I’m caught up in the story on multiple levels. I mean wow, living on a space habitat, kind of like Babylon 5 or Deep Space 9. And, earning your living by being a blogger, live, full-time pretty much, total life immersion blogging. 3,000 posts or 3 years until she can go back to Earth. And will she want to?

Going even further back, I took a look at the 12/17/11 Nightstand and read Forever Mine, the prequel novella to Delilah Marvelle’s Forever and a Day. Yes, I’m a completist. I have to read the whole series.

That’s all we have time for in this pre-conference madness issue of the Nightstand. We’ll see you next week, live from Dallas, hopefully not blogging from the hotel lobby. The bar, on the other hand…

Tomorrow will be the Carina Press December 2011 edition of Ebook Review Central. And it will seem like Christmas all over again.

Ebooks in Public Libraries: Whither, Which, How

The Digital Public Library of America discussion list has kicked into high gear again, in anticipation of an in-person meeting at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in mid-January, 2012 in Dallas, Texas.

The piece of the discussion that has caught my interest concerns the future availability of ebooks for public libraries to loan to patrons — and whether lending ebooks to patrons should be part of any public library future.

Statistics are showing double the ereader penetration in the US population from this time last year, not counting multi-function tablet (i.e. iPad) use. Libraries really don’t have the luxury to pretend this isn’t happening. The question remains what they can do about it.

The other question is, what do libraries provide? The “Big 6” publishers are increasingly skittish about providing ebooks for public libraries to lend.

  • Only Random House just plain lets libraries buy their ebooks to lend to patrons.
  • Harper Collins sells to libraries, and every time the copy has been checked out 26 times, the library has to buy it again.
  • Which puts Harper Collins ahead of Penguin and Hachette, who have both stopped selling ebooks to libraries.
  • And even further ahead of Simon and Schuster and Macmillan, who have never sold ebooks to libraries.

But back to the DPLA, which has been discussing the future of ebook publishing as it relates to libraries. There’s been a particular thread about commercial fiction and public library patrons.

The assumption that keeps niggling at me is that all the current trends will continue, and that the only changes we will see will be for the worse from the perspective of the library as institution.

My interpretation of the trendline being predicted is that the publishers will continue their unfortunate circling of their wagons, and that the lending rights that libraries have traditionally enjoyed with physical materials will disappear in the electronic age as publishers attempt to preserve their profit margins. Brilliance Audio’s scheduled January 31, 2012 withdrawal from the library download market is another step in this trend, as is the support of many, many publishers in the library marketplace for SOPA.

Publishers are worrying about their profits because those profits are based on a physical distribution model, and the physical distribution model is collapsing. And the publishers are becoming less optimistic about digital being their savior than they used to be, at least according to recent reports out of Digital Book World. So they are hanging on to every penny they can. Publishers have always feared that books borrowed from libraries have represented sales lost. But with physical books, sales to libraries were impossible to prevent.

With ebooks (and e-audiobooks) publishers don’t have to sell to libraries. So some of them are increasingly choosing not to — especially the big ones who believe that their authors don’t need libraries to help them develop a following.

But there are a lot of authors who do want their books, especially their ebooks, in libraries. I was interviewed by author Lindsay Buroker for an article on her blog about how self-published authors could get their books into their local libraries.

Self-published authors and authors who are published by small independent publishers are searching eagerly for ways to get their books into libraries. Increasingly those books are exclusively ebooks. Many of those authors would even be willing to donate a copy to their local public library (maybe not every public library, mind you, but the one in their own hometown) just to get readers.

In the print world, they used to be able to donate actual books. But in the digital world, what’s the mechanism? They don’t want to donate rights, they want to donate a couple of copies, and quite likely DRM-free copies at that, but how can they do it?

And for anyone who doesn’t think there is money in self-published authors, remember that Amazon has offered special incentives for self-published authors to make their work exclusively available through the Kindle Selects Program for 90-day periods.

This a a world that is changing faster than the “Big 6” can keep up with, which is why they are circling those wagons.

So, in this corner, we have the big publishers who either haven’t entered the library market or are sounding a retreat.

And in this corner, we have a lot of independent publishers and self-published authors who would love to enter the library space and are hungry for readers–readers that libraries know how to provide.

Libraries need  the equivalent of Smashwords for libraries. This may turn out to be something like what OverDrive will be when the big publishers have dropped out of the library market, with the addition of a method for self-published authors to donate copies or for libraries to buy copies of their work and lend it.

From a library institutional perspective, the library would miss the big blockbuster books. But we may not be able to keep those no matter what we do.  What we would get is a lot of popular content of the type that public library patrons read, popular genre fiction of all types. It would even cost less for the library than the current model. It might even be possible to have enough material so that people would have to wait forever for an ebook.

Yes, it would be different from how public libraries do ebooks now. But the future is going to be different. The question is, can we work toward making it different in a way we can have some control over? Can we have a future with a chance at a win-win?