Monday, August 30, 2010

Book Review: Animythical Tales by Sarah Totton

Title: Animythical Tales
Author: Sarah Totton
Trade Paperback: 126 pages
Publisher: Fantastic Books (27 February 2010)
ISBN 10: 1604599324
ISBN 13: 978-1604599329

"In this elegant volume, award-winning author Sarah Totton takes her readers on speculative journeys of the heart and mind that will both challenge and engage you. Within these tales, readers will learn the meaning of darkness and pain and fear. Yet they will also learn about love and happiness and laughter. Sarah Totton explores the full kaleidoscope of the human heart and peels it back, one layer at a time. She offers her readers a full palette of emotions and stories to sift through, never settling, never holding back, and never flinching. Whether she is writing about the loss of innocence through dark revelations, the point to which a human mind can be stretched before succumbing to the magic of faerie, or something as preposterous as cloud-fishing in a world with pink yaks, the stories in Animythical Tales are always told with an eye toward revealing something important about the human condition. If you have ever yearned to fall into fabulous adventures in unforgettable worlds, Animythical Tales is the collection for you."

Please find the rest of the review on Speculative Book Review...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book Review: Hawkwood and the Kings by Paul Kearney

Title: Hawkwood and the Kings
Author: Paul Kearney
Paperback: 704 pages
Publisher: Solaris (5 Aug 2010)
ISBN 10: 1906735700
ISBN 13: 978-1906735708
Series: The Monarchies of God - Volume 1

The western world is burning...

For Richard Hawkwood and his crew, a desperate venture to carry refugees to the uncharted land across the Great Western Ocean offers the only chance of escape from the Inceptines' pyres.

In the East, Lofantyr, Abeleyn and Mark - three of the five Ramusian Kings - have defied the cruel pontiff's purge and must fight to hold their thrones through excommunication, intrigue and civil war.

In the quiet monastery city of Charibon, two humble monks make a discovery that will change the whole world.

Aekir, the Holy City, has fallen and all now seems lost, but even on the eve of destruction the Faithful still war amongst themselves...

Please find the rest of the review on Speculative Book Review...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sony's New e-Readers

If this news from engadget is true, the new Sony e-readers will rock.

The pictures look like they were taken during an internal presentation. So we don't know if this is the real deal but it only makes sense that Sony soon commercializes new and better reading devices responding to the recent launch of Amazon's Kindle 3, which is using the new E Ink Pearl display giving the reader 50% better contrast (You can check this article on iReader Review to see the difference between Kindle 2's and Kindle 3's displays).

On the picture above, you can clearly read 6 very interesting characteristics of the new Sony readers:
  • Full clear touch screen
  • Multiple language dictionaries
  • Faster page turn
  • Increased built-in storage capacity
  • Intelligent zoom
  • Enhanced battery life
Of those six, three made my heart beat faster:

Full clear touch screen: No additional layer over the E Ink display means that the glare that the touchscreen devices were cursed with won't be there anymore. So the reader won't have to hold her device in strange angles to avoid the nearest source of light.

Multiple language dictionaries: This is awesome! I read in a few different languages and I'm not at all lazy about checking words or terms that I'm not familiar with. This especially in Spanish which happens to be my weakest language.

Enhanced battery life: This is not as important as the two above however longer battery life is always a good enhancement. Furthermore 25% of improvement is quite significant.

The remaining three characteristics are good to have but I, personally, am not too excited about them:

Faster page turn: Page turns never bothered me that much. Once the user gets used to her device, it becomes automatic to click the page-turn button a few words before the end of a page so that right after the last few words are read the page turns.

Increased built-in capacity: 1200 e-books in 2GB of memory. This is a significant investment in terms of books (I know there a lot of public domain ones). I've yet to come close to fill my device's memory with my e-books, web articles and work-related documents. For me it's a matter of organization. I usually get rid of the Web articles and work documents once I'm done with them.

Intelligent zoom: I have to see this working before being able to comment about it. I usually don't read PDFs so I'd better leave that uncommented but it seems like it is a good feature to read newspapers and magazines.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Depository

I've been buying my books, personal and professional alike, on Book Depository for a while. And on every occasion I've been telling people how satisfied I am with their service and with their prices.

This morning, I was very happy to read that Book Depository's sales have increased by more than 20%. They have deserved this kind of success.

I'm sure most of you know them already. However if you don't, have a look at their Web site and compare the prices and the availability of some of the titles that you are interested in. They may be based in the UK however they offer free worldwide shipping.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Preview Chapter of The Ragged Man by Tom Lloyd

Tor just posted a preview chapter of Tom Lloyd's upcoming book. The Ragged Man, book four of the Twilight Reign will be released by Gollancz in the UK on 19 August 2010, and by Pyr in the US on 24 August 2010.


Continuing the powerful epic that started with THE STORMCALLER; the Lord Isak is dead, his armies and entire tribe in disarray. It falls to King Emin to continue the war alone, and the Menin are only too happy to meet his challenge. In Byora, Ruhen is developing his 'Saviour' persona. The Harlequins start preaching in his name and many of the pilgrims who flock to him are recruited to be 'Children', disciples who spread Ruhen's message. All over the Land people are starting to see Ruhen as the answer to their troubles. A showdown is coming: battle lines are finally drawn and the atrocities quickly mount. The spectre of the Great War looms, but in this age the Gods cannot and will not come to King Emin's aid. With the peoples of the Land turning against Emin and his few remaining allies, their only chance for survival lies in the hands of a dead man.

Click here to read the preview chapter on

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Review: The King's Bastard by Rowena Cory Daniells

Title: The King's Bastard
Author: Rowena Cory Daniells
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Solaris (31 June 2010)
ISBN 10: 1907519017
ISBN 13: 978-1907519017
Series: Book 1 of King Rolen's Kin Trilogy

"Cloaked in silent winter snow the Kingdom of Rolencia sleeps as rumours spread of new Affinity Seeps, places where untamed power wells up. Meanwhile, King Rolen plans his jubilee unaware of the growing threat to those he loves.

By royal decree, all those afflicted with Affinity must serve the Abbey or face death. Sent to the Abbey because of his innate Affinity, the King’s youngest son, Fyn, trains to become a warrior monk. Unfortunately, he’s a gentle dreamer and the other acolytes bully him. The only way he can escape them is to serve the Abbey Mystic, but his Affinity is weak.

Fiercely loyal, thirteen year-old Piro is horrified to discover she is also cursed with unwanted Affinity. It broke their mother’s heart to send Fyn away, so she hides her affliction. But, when Fyn confesses his troubles, Piro risks exposure to help him.

Even though Byren Kingson is only seven minutes younger than his twin, Lence, who is the king's heir, Byren has never hungered for the Rolencian throne. When a Seer predicts that he will kill Lence, he laughs. But Lence Kingsheir sees Byren’s growing popularity and resents it. Enduring loyalty could be Byren’s greatest failing."

Please find the rest of the review on Speculative Book Review...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Review: Black Hand Gang (No Man's World) by Pat Kelleher

Title: Black Hand Gang (No Man's World)
Author: Pat Kelleher
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Abaddon Books (16 Jun 2010)
ISBN-10: 1906735352
ISBN-13: 978-1906735357

On November 1st, 1916, nine-hundred men of the 13th Battalion of The Pennine Fusiliers vanished without trace from the battlefield, only to find themselves stranded on an alien planet. There they must learn to survive in a frightening and hostile environment, forced to rely on dwindling supplies of ammo and rations as the natives of this strange new world begin to take an interest. However, the aliens amongst them are only the first of their worries, as a sinister and arcane threat beings to take hold from within their own ranks!

Please find the rest of the review on Speculative Book Review...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

News from Abercrombie's "The Heroes"

Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes is probably one of the most anticipated books for me. I love his style, I love his characters, I love his stories and I just can't wait for his next book. It is going to be a long 167-day period.

In the meantime, you can read the exciting blurb of The Heroes on the author's blog:

"They say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they’ve brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he’s far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it’s his own.

Prince Calder isn’t interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he’ll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn’t have to fight for it himself.

Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him?

Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail...

Three men. One battle. No Heroes."