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Review

E-book review: The Chronicles of the Kencyrath is fun, dark fantasy
May 26, 2014 | 2:22 pm

godstalkIf you’re looking for something interesting to read, I’m going to talk about an underappreciated, inexpensive series of e-books from Baen that I’ve grown to love. It’s called the Chronicles of the Kencyrath, and the first book, God Stalk, was written by Patricia C. Hodgell back in 1982. Go and buy and read it right now, links are at the bottom of this post. You want me to tell you more about it? What, don’t you trust me? Well, all right. I first came across God Stalk back in the late ‘90s, as one of the top-ranking books...

Book Review: Every Short Story 1951-2012, Alasdair Gray, Canongate Books
May 25, 2014 | 2:00 pm

With the near-destruction of the renowned Glasgow School of Art building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, it's a good time to celebrate one of its most famous alumni: Alasdair Gray, artist, author, polemical Scottish nationalist, and dyed-in-the-wool Glaswegian. He started writing in the late 1950s, although he only began seriously publishing in the 1980s, with his landmark novel Lanark appearing in 1981. And Every Short Story 1951-2012 collates every published story in his five published collections: Unlikely Stories, Mostly (1984), Lean Tales (1985), Glaswegians (1990), Ten Tales Tall and True, (1993), and The Ends of Our Tethers: 13 Sorry Stories (2005). The Endnotes,...

Kindle Paperwhite In-Depth, Part 3: The Final Verdict
May 21, 2014 | 12:25 pm

kindle paperwhiteYesterday, I highlighted some Kindle-only features I particularly liked. Today, I will talk about some quirks which were less appealing, and then give my final verdict. Will I be keeping the Kindle Paperwhite, or will I continue trucking along with my Kobo Glo? Firstly, let's talk about one feature I do miss from the Kobo---Pocket integration. The Kobo did this very well. You could save articles from sites like Longform, straight from the on-board web browser! And you had full control over what to do with them when you were done---delete from both the device and the server, archive, save to favourites...

Kindle Paperwhite In-Depth, Part 2: Kindle Features Up Close
May 20, 2014 | 12:25 pm

kindle paperwhite in depthIn Part 2 of my Kindle Paperwhite review, I am going to look more closely at some of the Kindle's features. You can do a lot more than just plain read on this thing! Here are some features which jumped out at me. 1) Goodreads Integration This was not a huge deal for me because, while I do use Goodreads, I don't just rate the book but I review it too. That's a lot easier to do from a computer! But if you just want to shelve and star your books, and you get most of them from Amazon, then having this feature...

Kindle Paperwhite In-Depth, Part 1: Kindle vs Kobo
May 19, 2014 | 10:25 am

kindle vs koboI recently found out that my sister had a Kindle Paperwhite 2 she wasn't using, and further, that she was having a timely visit with my mother which would enable her to get it to me without us having to pay to ship it. My Kobo Glo has been a little glitchy lately and I found that, given my dislike of the iOS Kobo app, I was really missing the ability to coordinate my reading across my devices. Perhaps I was ready to return to the Kindle fold? I resolved to take in my sister's abandoned Kindle (she reads on her...

Book Review: Burnt Black Suns by Simon Strantzas, Hippocampus Press
May 10, 2014 | 10:02 am

Regular readers of TeleRead will probably have seen by now coverage of Canadian dark fiction author Simon Strantzas. His latest collection, Burnt Black Suns from Hippocampus Press, is doing a good job of confirming him as one of the premier writers in the field. He has written very well and eloquently elsewhere on the current state of dark fiction and horror, and here is his latest creative contribution to the debate. This is a collection that is very much about variety, as well as some very assured paying of dues and tributes. “Beyond the Banks of the River Seine" is a homage...

Follow-up: Reading A-Z.com. Almost a month later
April 25, 2014 | 4:24 pm

reading a-zI wrote earlier this month about a great reading website I recently subscribed to on behalf of my school. The website has printable ebooks at a variety of levels, some of which include worksheets and bonus content, and I thought it would be a good resource for teachers to use with their students. Almost a month in, how is it going? Great, actually! There have been a few small hiccups and complaints, but I've seen several other teachers besides me printing and using these cute little books. Here are some examples: 1) To level up an accelerated student This has been MY use...

Accessory Review: Fintie Kindle Paperwhite case
April 22, 2014 | 2:38 pm

fintie kindle paperwhite caseAfter my last experience with trying to purchase a case for my Kindle Paperwhite, I took a few weeks to figure out what I wanted in a case, and I went to KBoards for a recommendation. They came through with a great little case: the [easyazon-link asin="B009S2CXJC" locale="us"]Fintie Kindle Paperwhite[/easyazon-link] folio case. When I purchased my first case, I thought I wanted one that didn't cover the bezel, and I still do like that style of case. However, after I returned the first one, I discovered that I enjoy sometimes reading my device "naked," and I decided I wanted something that was...

Accessory Review: Snugg iPhone pouch case
April 12, 2014 | 10:46 am

snugg iphone pouch caseMy husband says if I had my way, I'd change cases and covers for my devices like other people change clothes. He's probably right. Good thing I occasionally get review copies for free, like this one: [easyazon-link asin="B0091T1HQ2" locale="us"]Snugg iPhone 4 / 4S Leather Pouch Case in Black[/easyazon-link] Let's get the "leather" claim out of the way. The case isn't real leather. It's synthetic leather, and it does have an odor, however, I don't find it unpleasant. I've been using the case for almost two weeks now, and the smell has faded. I do wish companies would stop including leather in their...

Book Review: Fear of the Dark: An Anthology of Dark Fiction
April 11, 2014 | 4:25 pm

fear of the darkI'm not generally a short story reader. I prefer to curl up with a novel-length work, but when a friend lets you know his story is in an anthology, what do you do? Well, if you're me, you buy it. [easyazon-link asin="B00IU6MHOS" locale="us"]Fear of the Dark: An Anthology of Dark Fiction[/easyazon-link], published by Horror Bound, is an anthology of 20 stories with the theme of, well, like the title says, fear of the dark. Some of the stories match the theme better than others, but, with just a few exceptions, the stories were excellent. "Dark Horse" was my favorite, since it is...

Review: FlipBelt. Who needs pockets anymore?
April 1, 2014 | 4:25 pm

flipbeltSince I've been listening to more audiobooks because of my FitBit, I've run into the problem of how to carry my phone on my walks. I don't like armbands, and the belt clip case is fine, assuming I'm wearing a belt, but what if I'm not? Fortunately, the folks at FlipBelt anticipated my needs and sent me one of their products to review. What is FlipBelt? This image demonstrates it pretty well. (And no, I'm afraid my stomach doesn't look anything like that.) Basically, it's a way to keep phone, keys, money and other small items secure while you're on the go....

Kindle Paperwhite Case Review: Magnetic Leather Smart Case
March 24, 2014 | 12:20 pm

kindle paperwhite case reviewI hadn't planned to review this case. I purchased it because it was cheap, and I returned it because I was dissatisfied. As far as I was concerned, there wasn't enough of a "story" to make it worth my time to write or your time to read. Then I received an email from the seller that changed my mind. Let's start with the case itself. As you can see from the picture, it's a standard magnetic cover in synthetic leather (which is not clear from the name of the case, but real leather rarely costs $11.99, so I wasn't expecting the...