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Old 05-12-2012, 04:07 PM   #13197
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Posts: 11,052
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Roundworld
Device: Kindle 2 International, Sony PRS-T1, BlackBerry PlayBook, Acer Iconia
Another bunch of stuff recently finished that I've been kind of lazy updating* the list for.

Anyway, might as well start with the stuff that's still free/on special offer:

Yorkshire, 1st in the Richard & Rose series of historical romantic mysteries by Lynne Connolly is currently still free in multiple venues from publisher Samhain, but likely not for much longer.

Unlike the standard for romantic suspenses, these follow the same couple around for several books and so the relationship drama takes 2nd place to the actual mystery plot, instead of being the primary focus because of the need to get the couple together and settled by the time the whodunnit is revealed.

I like that R&R's inevitable developing relationship is handled reasonably gradually (and other people sensibly telling them that it's a stupid idea to court gossip and social compromise and breach of contract lawsuits by being so obvious about their feelings in more-or-less public before the complications are resolved, which they kind of ignore due to their overwhelming uncontrollable passions and incipient sex addiction, naturally) and with a certain amount of uncertainty as to how it will all ultimately work out, although I think some of the complicating factors were resolved and shunted offstage a bit too readily, unless it's something that's to come back to haunt them in future books.

Anyway, this was a nicely done Georgian-era English aristocratic countryside manor murder mystery which is centred around an unfortunate carriage "accident" which substantially rearranges the living circumstances of several of the characters, who then become secret suspects to be worked around once the amateur sleuths discover evidence that shows that murder had been intended, but whose, as any number of people could have been targeted, but merely injured in the attempt.

Medium recommend. I overall liked this, with the usual no-romo reservations about relationship stuff that seemed silly and drawn out, but the narrative flowed well, the historical setting was reasonably detailed and felt realistic enough, and the motivatory pointers for various suspects and the ultimate whodunnit resolved decently, even if the sleuths only really bothered seriously considering "uncouth low-class people we don't like" for culprits during discussion.

I'll be looking at the rest of the series if I can pick them up during a good sale.

Recently-expired deals which may go on sale again:

Bought and read Nancy Kress's excellent recently-released short story collections which were offered at a discount as part of a Phoenix Pick Press tie-in promo which they'll probably repeat in a few weeks when they freebie-ize another of Kress' novellas. The Body Human: Three Stories of Future Medicine and Future Perfect: Six Stories of Genetic Engineering contain some of Kress' older short stories and novellas, many of which I already own in paper collections and have already read, though there were at least 3 new-to-me.

As usual, Kress does a very good job with exploring the personal and social consequences of biotech and cognitive-alteration/brain chemistry-adjustment procedures. Themes of sibling rivalry , long-term destructive knock-on effects of short-term gains, and alternate consciousness states seem to abound.

Best stories: The Flowers of Aulit Prison, one of my personal favourites and a truly excellent look at "shared reality" social contracts and criminal acts undertaken within and without, Dancing on Air about the implications of the transformation of ballet, a notoriously body-destroying artform, due to mitigating biotreatments to reduce or bypass the damage of human anatomic limitations and how far people will be willing to go for professional achievement. Also liked Margin of Error, a short, sharp, tale of desserts best served cold.

There were some interesting cautionary tales about the potential future as a result of the overuse of antibiotics for frivolous reasons and the routine denial of health care access to the genetically impaired who thus become uninsurable due to potential "pre-existing conditions". Plus a rather good mystery involving the effect of trial pharmaceuticals on brain function and whether that led to certain deaths or if those were the results of somebody "tidying" up after failed trials.

Highly recommended, as Kress' shorter works are often her best. Too bad these don't include the explanatory introduction notes which I've seen on the ones which were reprinted in her old Beaker's Dozen paper collection.

Paulo Coelho recently persuaded his publisher for US & Canada to drop 12 of his novels to just 99 cents (price has gone back up, but to a lower level than before, I think, and he said that if it works out, he may be able to negotiate a lower regular/discount sale price for his novels from his other publishers in different regions as well, which seems to have partially happened).

I scooped the lot of them at 99 cents after reading Brida, which I'd gotten for free as part of last year's Mother's Day promo from Kobo.

It's one of those mystical journey of self-discovery things, which merges reconstructed New Age ancient pagan witchcrafty tradition with Christian scriptural teachings, with a dash of physics and astronomy tossed in, and was moderately interesting and reasonably well-written. Tropes about having to find your own answers and how spiritual authorities are really only just guides on your journey (though you will have to pay attention to them and not flout their guidelines needlessly for your own selfish purposes) and the usual sort of revelatory insights you'd expect from one of these. Though I still think that potential love triangles in any text should resolve themselves into threesomes instead of minorly angsting over who might end up with whom.

Medium recommend if you like this sort of thing. Not really my style, but okay enough that I was willing to go get Coelho's sale books on the strength of it.

* Also in the process of switching to the new Sony PRS-T1 as a supplementary reader, with the annoying discovery that it apparently ignores the opf:file-as attribute and there seems to be no way to have it sort by author last name without having to manually edit the last name to display first with intrusive commas instead of displaying properly as unpunctuated single entry.

Or possibly, mess with the database using Calibre, which is something I'd rather not have my added-to-device library be dependent upon.

Why is this simple basic functionality not there?! It's been in the damn ePub spec for ages.

Last edited by ATDrake; 05-12-2012 at 04:17 PM.
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