A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

Thoughts?

I’m rethinking doing the diverse romance challenge. No one has said anything negative to me, but I’m starting to feel uncomfortable with the bingo square format in this context. Am I overthinking?

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Feeling Very Happy Tonight

Also, rather prescient.

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huh

“Since it was the beginning of October, he decided he would read Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. It was one of his favorite books about a fruit bat that was raised by birds.”

I  had no idea there were numerous books with that plotline.

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Today in Scanning Errors

“Who rims Cressida?”

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To Mary Sue or Not to Mary Sue

I’m reading Song of a Wren by Emma Darcy, and trying to decide whether the main character counts as a Mary Sue or not. I think my problem is that it’s such a pejorative term and I’m not sure it’s one the character really deserves, in that sense. She’s not bland, she’s just drawn that way. Or more specifically… I don’t think she’s a bad or dislikable character, in herself. It’s the combination of her thinking herself very ordinary and everyone around her lauding her to the skies that turns me off.

Perhaps I especially dislike it because it’s just the sort of fantasy I would’ve gone for when I was an adolescent. Which really gives me a much better understanding of the whole “Twilight” phenomenon.

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And The Hits Just Keep On Coming

My reviews are being stolen, posted under other people’s names, and used to sell books.

I give up.

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Review of the Kobo Mini ereader

My Nook Touch pretty much turned into a doorstop while I was on my review vacation, so I wound up doing a lot of reading on my Kobo Mini, which I hadn’t previously used much.  I wanted to share my impressions.  This post is not “sponsored” in any way — the Kobo Mini was purchased by me.

Pros:

The home page shows the 5 most recent books you added to your library, so it’s simple to switch between books. (Assuming you most want to read the books you recently added.)  And this includes sideloaded books, not just books purchased from Kobo. I prefer this to the way my Nook treats sideloaded books as inferior content.

UPDATE 7/20/15: The home page no longer works like this. It now shows just the book you’ve last read, plus a bunch of stats and other stuff Kobo wants you to look at. A real turn for the worse, in my opinion.

You can delete books from the ereader! A huge improvement over the Nook Touch.

You can choose to see all the books you own in your library, or just the ones currently downloaded. Another huge improvement over the NT.

The screen asks you if you want to connect to your computer when you plug it in, and has a screen reminding you that it’s connected.  (See also cons.)

There are numerous ways to customize a book’s appearance. (See also cons.)

Battery life seems to be comparable to other current generation ereaders.

The reader is very thin and light, but the “quilted” back gives it a little bulk for a nicer hand feel.

The Reading Life program is very silly, but cute. You get what are basically girl scout badges for reading at certain times of day, reading a lot of pages, and so on. My son loves seeing the new “awards” as I “earn” them.  The program works even with wifi off.

I was going to say that the exchangeable snapback feature is really dumb — the idea is you color coordinate with your outfits or something — but I just noticed I got a bad ink stain on the back of mine and I might buy a new one. (Yes, I am anal.)

The screen is not so small that it’s hard to read, but small enough that I can (usually) swipe forward while holding it in my left hand. (And I have small hands.) You can also set it to swipe in different areas.

There’s a slow but functional web browser which I actually used a fair bit, and a cute little sketch program that puts your finger sketches in your book library. This is an awkward but workable way to take a note if you have nothing else available. Adding a keyboard pop-up to the sketch program would make it awesome.

There are lots of options and ways to access them. This is also a con, because they get confusing and are not always intuitive.

All of the off screens — sleeping, powered off — have smiley faces on them. Okay, so my life is a little difficult at times.

Cons:

Oh, the slowness and unresponsiveness! It’s not so bad while reading, but when making any kind of change, such as to the font size, it’s excruciating.  The customizing features lose their allure when you have to keep futzing with them to get what you want.

The ereader skips a page regularly. I think this may be connected with the “page redraw” function, since it seems to happen about every six pages.

In addition to being unresponsive to actual touches, it’s very responsive to ghost touches. Definitions of words like “to” and “book” keep showing up on the page. Thanks for that.

Although I haven’t used Kobo customer service in regards to the ereader itself, my experiences with it in regards to ebooks have been fairly dismal. (Though still better than the cesspool that is B&N.)

When I disconnect the reader from my computer, the screen that says it’s connected stays on, which is disconcerting. It also takes a while to adjust after sideloading books.

Although it basically works with ADE and Calibre, there tend to be Issues.

There’s a “wifi” box to check, but you still need to go to another screen and scan for networks, at least the first time. I kept thinking I had wifi because the box was checked. The indicator is confusing.

No indicator light to show it’s charging. Hard to see what the battery life is.

UPDATE 7/20/15: There actually is an indicator light, it’s just at the top where I couldn’t see it.

The plug outlet is upside down. Just when I finally had that one figured out.

I didn’t realize there was more than one color choice and bought the white one. It’s shiny and glares. I much prefer dark colored, matte ereaders.

I had a problem initially with the reader not going to sleep automatically and consequently draining the battery very quickly. I’m not sure why it happened and it hasn’t happened since.

The details we see on the page change from book to book — presumably a publisher setting. Some books show all pages in the book, some show how many pages left in the current chapter. I hate that.

The process to see your library of books seems longer than it needs to be. First you bring up a menu, then choose from several mostly pointless options.

There aren’t many case options available. I’m using a cute little fabric one my mom made for me, because nothing I could find didn’t add a lot of bulk, ruining the whole point of a small ereader.

Conclusions:

On the whole, since I got this for $40 on sale AND used bookstore credit to buy it, I’m pretty happy with it. I’m not sure I’d buy another Kobo though and I certainly wouldn’t buy another Mini for full price.  If there’s another great sale, I just might buy the black one. 🙂

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Groupthink — the good kind

BookLikes, which is exceptionally responsive to user requests, now has discussion groups! They’re a little low-function so far, but I think that will improve in time — and they’re very easy to create and administer. Have it it!

I’ve created a Harlequin group, of course, and a book bargain group.

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Review: Reversal by Cara McKenna

What tickled my fancy: The progression in the relationship is becoming really exciting.
What ticked me off: Nothing, though I seem to prefer the stories written in Caroly’s voice over Didier’s.
Who might like this: Readers who enjoyed the previous stories. Start at the beginning.

Continuing the pattern of alternating between voices, the fourth book in the “Curio” series is narrated by Didier, the agoraphobic Parisian prostitute. But the pattern breaks with the title — all the previous books began with a C — and I think this is deliberate, since the theme of the book is, obviously, reversing the usual order of things.

As the book begins, Didier is dealing with the shameful aftermath of having a brave attempt go badly wrong; hoping to surprise his lover Caroly with a present from a shop he hasn’t been able to visit in years, he instead got lost and is now a nervous wreck. Didier has begun to want a more regularized relationship with Caroly, to even live with her — which would pretty much require changing jobs. But his failure makes the whole idea seem impossible.

When Caroly arrives, Didier attempts to soothe himself by devoting himself to her pleasure, as usual. But Caroly objects to being used for distraction, and proposes that she take charge, for a change.

I enjoyed this more than the first story narrated by Didier, which felt a little too flowery to me.  He’s very vulnerable here, which is touching, and the descriptions of his anxiety were illuminating. The suspense about their relationship is intense — although I was happy with the end of Curio as it stood, seeing them move closer to admitting they’re in love and perhaps to an exclusive relationship is making my romantic heart go pitter-pat.  I’m torn between wanting to dive into the last two stories and knowing I should stretch them out so as to properly enjoy them.

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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

 I give a B- to One Thousand and One Nights by Ruth Browne at Dear Author.

What tickled my fancy: Moody, beautiful writing. Half-Iranian heroine.

What ticked me off: The ending made me go “huh?” Also, the cover keeps tripping me up. I think she has this unusual hairstyle, then I realize it’s a hand!

Who might like it: Readers seeking a new voice; fans of zombie apocalypse stories; fans of storytelling as metaphor.

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