Reading Lists

Themed lists to help you find your next reading adventure

Ways to Read DRM-Free

The idea for this post came to me as I was searching for blog posts or articles on the latest in the DRM battle. I hoped that I could read library e-books without Adobe Digital Editions (the software required to download library books) collecting information such as how long I read a book and what percentage of a book I read. This, by the way, is in ADDITION to the regular information that is gathered by many apps these days: your IP address, your device ID, your account ID, and the app you use.

For those of you who don’t know what it is, DRM stands for Digital Rights Management – and it’s the protocol set in place that is supposed to prevent book piracy. The American Library Association explains the issues better. For the 101 course, go here. Interested in joining the fight against DRM? See Defective By Design.

Personally, I don’t see myself forgoing entirely reading library e-books or downloading free review copies from NetGalley and Edelweiss that have DRM and require me to use a program that makes me uncomfortable. However, I will continue to increase my vigilance when I make e-book purchases.

Collected below are ten resources you may find useful in your own search for DRM-free content:

  1. Book View Cafe. I’ve mentioned this one before, and this probably won’t be the last time. A group of authors set up this site to sell their works directly to their readers, DRM-free. This means Big Brother isn’t peering through your e-reader screen, and it also means you often get the books at a discount.
  2. Closed Circle. I only just discovered this one, but as another site founded by three authors (one of them C.J. Cherryh!), and focusing on fantasy, it looks like an excellent place to search for DRM-free books by the three authors (that’s Cherryh, Lynn Abbey, and Jane Fancher).
  3. Tor/Forge. As of 2012, Tor/Forge began publishing its e-books without DRM. YES. Binti, The Last Witness, Domnall and the Borrowed Child, The Builders, and Witches of Lychford are on my to-read list.
  4. Calibre. Open-source e-reading app that it is, Calibre supports DRM-free. They even have a catalog online.
  5. Baen. Super publisher of science fiction and fantasy, Baen has published e-books without DRM for a while. They also have a Free Library!
  6. Project Gutenberg. The original. In Canada? They have it there, too.
  7. OpenBooks. With a business model that relies on the honor system, you read first and then pay the author according to how much you believe the book is worth.
  8. Double-Dragon Publishing. An e-book publisher that is included in Calibre’s library, but whose website says nothing about being DRM-Free, they have an interesting and unfamiliar list of titles.
  9. Kevinbenyon.com. This site lists a number of DRM-free online shops and publishers that are entirely new to me.
  10. BookReader. Lastly, here is a more comprehensive list of places to find DRM-Free books for purchase, and for free! Dive in, adventurers. Dive in.

Do you know of any resources for readers looking for DRM-free genre fiction? Share in the comments!

Top 5 Friday: Lady Detectives

The mystery genre is a favourite of mine. There’s something about the mystery formula that just works for me. The bad guy is always caught and the hero or heroine always get their man. The particular feature that is my catnip is the concept of the lady detective. Whether it’s a historical or contemporary setting, I always enjoy a story that features a woman detective. She doesn’t have to be a super sleuth but she does have to solve crimes. Happily there are many books out there that feature this type of character. My list for today is my current favourite lady detectives that I’ve read so far.

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My Currently-Reading List

Full disclosure: Sometimes I don’t finish books. Sometimes I put a book down to pick up another that strikes my fancy more immediately. Sometimes I begin self-improvement or skill-teaching books, with the objective of, well, improving my skills, and then never get further than the first two chapters.

And sometimes, I end up reading six different books at the same time, because my attention span won’t hold for the length of a full novel.

Often, this doesn’t have anything to do with how good I think the book is, or how much I’m enjoying it… I just get distracted by the next shiny cover, scintillating romance, rollicking plot, or magical world.

Does this ever happen to you?

Anyway, that’s where I am today, and that’s why today’s post is not a review, but a reading list. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Fantasy

The Witches of Eileanan has been sitting on my bookshelf for a decade or thereabouts. This year, my goal is to whittle my bookshelves down to three (I’m down to three shelves and 3-5 boxes). In order to get rid of some of them, I need to read them first, to find out if I want to keep them. This one is really interesting, with a headstrong young heroine (The Chosen One), whose destiny is big and troubles many. She’s just started off on her journey across the land to find a new mentor witch and begin further studies in magic.

So far: recommended.

This one could be fantasy, could be urban fantasy. It’s a police procedural (cop drama) in a medieval-ish world that focuses on the heroine’s struggle to fit in in male-dominated profession as she and her new partner investigate a mysterious murder of a mage. It’s good, complex, and the world building is solid.

So far: recommended.

 

Urban Fantasy

Trailer Park Fae, which I just purchased at the bookstore because getting my library to buy books often takes ages. Already in the second chapter, the mundane vs. faery worlds are intriguing, and the main characters have some intense emotions that haven’t really been explained yet. I like that the main character is a hero, instead of the more common heroine.

So far: recommended.

Magic Slays is a re-read, because a little while ago I started feeling the need for comfort reading. I love Kate Daniels, heroine of this series by Ilona Andrews. Curran and Kate have accepted their feelings for each other and are beginning their new cohabiting, domestic life of bliss (yeah, right), when she finally gets a client for her new private investigations firm. Of course, the case is strange and extremely dangerous…

So far: recommended.

 

Gaslamp Fantasy

The Shadow Revolution: Crown & Key – another urban fantasy with a male main character. This should be good, but for some reason I’m just not that interested. Playboy Simon and his friend/mentor solve magical crimes in gaslamp London.

So far: not recommended.

 

Historical Fiction/Romance

Without a doubt, my favorite thing about Elizabeth Bennett is her sense of humor. My other re-reading kick comes from watching Pride and Prejudice again (with Colin Firth, obviously). “Sequels” of novels written by different authors are often weird, and can the new authors really do the original characters justice? However, I have really enjoyed Elizabeth Aston’s continuation of P&P. Her books have the same witty vibe, fantastic characters, and strong romances, but with a modern, independent-women twist. Also, Elizabeth and Darcy are always off in Europe, so at least I don’t have to worry about them not fitting the mold. The Darcy Connection is cute, although I’m discovering this time around it has basically the same romantic plot as P&P. Sigh.

So far: recommended with reservations.

 

Nonfiction

One of those self-improving, skill-teaching books I sometimes tell myself to read and never finish: Ask for it. I haven’t gotten very far, and I disagree with the argument that the gender wage gap exists because women don’t ask for things and men do, but it has some interesting tips and it looks like the worksheets at the end will be helpful.

So far: undecided.

Top 10: Spies & Spying

Spies and spying is another popular trope that’s used across genres, and it’s one that I’ve learned to have a healthy appreciation for. It’s also a trope that I’ve actually read across the many subgenres of romance. Yes, it’s shocking to know that I read something besides historical romance. *sigh*

To date, the following are the top ten books that I’ve read that feature a spy or the act of spying. As usual, it’s a mixed bag of stuff from across genres, of course historical fiction (well, historical romance) is well represented.

The Deception of the Emerald Ring (Pink Carnation, #3) Master of Crows (Master of Crows, #1) Enemy Within (Enemy, #1) Phoenix Rising (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, #1) Touch of Steel (Clockwork Agents, #2) (more…)

Book Adventures in Egypt!

Today, Jaclyn, our friend Koren and I have teamed up to bring you our Top Ten Favorite Adventures in Egypt. Mystery, history, and romance backed by lush and exciting scenery. So, if you’ve ever wanted to go to Egypt, or you’ve been, and you miss it, or even if you just want to read about an exotic, historical locale this summer… check out one of these books!

Jaclyn’s picks

The Other Guy's Bride (Braxtons 32)

The Other Guy’s Bride by Connie Brockway. If you enjoyed The Mummy at all, you will find this historical romance an absolute fantastic adventure. This book is funny and romantic and exactly how I fantasize an Egyptian adventure would unfold. This one likely isn’t the most historically accurate of the bunch, but it’s a whole lot of fun.

Shadows on the Nile

Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall. Although I read this one quite some time ago, it has continued to stay with me. It’s set just after the first world war and has more of a mystery element to it. Quite a bit of the novel actually takes place in London, England, but I loved seeing the heroine’s reaction to traveling to Egypt.

Resurrection

Resurrection by Tucker Malarkey. Is another Egyptian adventure that’s similar to Shadows on the Nile. However, the novel is set completely in Egypt. What I liked about this one is that readers are treated to a more involved look at colonial life in Egypt. Again, there’s a dash of mystery here, but on the whole, Resurrection is much more introspective.

The Sacred River

The Sacred River by Wendy Wallace. I recently reviewed this one and I recommend it if you’re looking for a quieter adventure. While on the surface this one is an adventure to Egypt for three very different women, this journey is a metaphor for the internal transformation that each woman goes through. This one is beautifully written.

Koren’s picks

Memoirs of Cleopatra

Memoirs of Cleopatra: This is a long haul, but worth it. A dying Cleopatra recounts her life following her personal and political struggles (sometimes one and the same) up until her suicide. George paints a brilliant, detailed picture of Egyptian court life and politics during this period, from the relationships between the pharaohs to the strengthening hold of Rome over the country. If you really want to get to know Cleopatra, Memoirs does a great job of connecting the reader with the famous pharaoh.

The October Horse: A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra (Masters of Rome #6)

The October Horse is the sixth book in McCullough’s Masters of Rome series and though the title suggests this is the story of Caesar and Cleopatra, that is only a portion of the book. It also covers Caesar’s dictatorship and assassination, as well as the rise of Octavian. Cleopatra and Caesar’s relationship is a different than what is usually portrayed – it is a lot more calculated (on his part) and Cleopatra comes off as more of a girl in love than a “sex-pot” set on securing her own power. McCullough makes ancient history so readable. She’s able to take oft-dry topics of ancient politics and military campaigns and makes them come alive.

The Queen of the Damned (The Vampire Chronicles #3)

The Queen of the Damned is the third book in Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Akasha, the titular “Queen of the Damned”, is an ancient Egyptian queen who is cursed to become the mother of vampires. I love Rice’s vampires – sparkly they ain’t – and this origin story is fascinating.

The Red Tent

The Red Tent is the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah (and Rachel, and Zilpah, and Bilhah). Through the teaching of Rachel and others, Dinah becomes a skilled midwife. Her life takes her into Egypt where, unknown to her, her brother Joseph (of the technicolor dreamcoat) is prime minister. There’s only a brief mention of Dinah in the Bible, but Diamant has fleshed out her story so that we have a vivid picture of the lives of women in the ancient world.

Stacey’s picks

Mara, Daughter of the Nile

Mara, Daughter of the Nile is an enchanting ancient historical romance about a proud, determined young slave named Mara. In her quest for freedom, she becomes a double agent, spying for two masters – and finds herself falling in love with one of them. I loved this quick, evocative tale that brought to life not only this clever young slave, but also the world of ancient Egypt. Marked as, and written for, young adults, it works equally well for adults.

The Beacon at Alexandria

The Beacon at Alexandria features a woman who disguises herself as a man to enter a “man’s” profession, travels to Alexandria and moves on to become a doctor on the Roman war front in Thrace. It is a wonderful tale that will surely please historical fiction fans. Bonus: it covers ancient Roman history and the war with the Visigoths.

 Honorable Mentions (by Stacey)

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile

Twelve Rooms of the Nile – the fictional tale of a passionate meeting between Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert as they both travel down the Nile. Based in fact – they both traveled up the Nile at the same time – it weaves in a beautiful story of how they might have met and become soulmates. I’ve only read part of this one, but what I did read had wonderful imagery and great, boating-on-the-Nile pace.

Cleopatra and Antony

I haven’t read Cleopatra and Antony yet, but it appeals to me because the focus (even in the title) is (supposedly) on Cleopatra. This is a historical nonfiction, about the life and times of Cleopatra, Octavian, Caesar, and Antony. Have you read this? Did you like it? What were your impressions?

Online tools to help you plan your next book adventure

magnifying glassIf you’re like me, you sometimes have trouble finding your next reading adventure. That’s what we’re all about here at The Book Adventures – making it easier for our readers and fellow adventurers to find new books! To that end, I have that series you might be familiar with, where I list free and cheap online reading outlets, and snippets of works that authors put on their websites. This post is related to that: I list online resources that will help you select your next read.

We’ll start with Books Set In, a site that connects books based on their setting. Search for the location of your upcoming vacation, or a place you want to visit but haven’t been able to yet, and scroll through the lists of books that will take you there without ever leaving your cozy armchair. It’s not exact, and sometimes irrelevant books show up first, but it’s a great way to introduce new novels based on geography. (more…)

More Free SF/F on the Web: Airships and Spaceships, Aliens and FBI Agents

Since we love sharing our book adventures with you, I’d like to continue posting a series of lists where you can find free snippets, serials, and short stories online. If you haven’t already read my first itinerary, you might find it worthwhile. But before I get too deep into a series of posts you may not enjoy, do you like reading about places to find new adventures? Do these links appeal to you? What kinds of links would you like to see? In the interest of providing content our readers enjoy, we’d love your feedback!

We’ll start with some fantasy romance about interspecies relationships by Grace Draven. In this one, two scions of royal houses, each from a different species, are joined in marriage to cement a relationship between their two species in order to join forces against a third race encroaching on both their territories. I really like the protagonists’ open-minded and humorous approach to their situation – each species finds the other repellent to look at. (more…)

Happy Fourth of July! Now, go read these…

Just three days after Canada Day (happy birthday, Canada!), its southern neighbor celebrates its own origins. Often, with barbeques, friends, family, and fireworks. I’m here to add books to your list of ways to enjoy the holiday. Most of these are historical fiction, but I’ve thrown in a graphic novel, a couple of histories, and an alternate history, too.

Into the Wilderness (Lake in the Clouds #1) Celia Garth Blindspot Jack Absolute (Jack Absolute #1) The Dreamer: The Consequence of Nathan Hale The Shadow of Albion (Carolus Rex #1) Thirteen Moons Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America The Turncoat (Renegades of the Revolution) Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Happy Canada Day!

Today’s Canada day, so I thought I would take the time to offer a list of my favourite Canadian books as well as two that I’m looking forward to reading for my book club. I always try to make an effort to read Canadian content, and often get requests for Canadian recommendations at work, so here’s my recommended reading list. And I will stay away from Anne of Green Gables despite the fact that it’s one of my favourite books, it just seems a tad obvious to include that here.

I’ve included both fiction and non-fiction, and while not all feature a Canadian setting, they are all by Canadian authors. Happy Canada Day! Hope that you’re enjoying it with a book in hand (as I will be!).

Three Day Road The Blind Assassin Creeps In the Skin of a Lion The Haunting of Maddy Clare

Adventures in Solitude: What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck and Other Stories from Desolation Sound Lakeland: Ballad of a Freshwater Country The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America

Reading Free and Cheap on the Web: SF/F

Hello fellow adventurers!

Today I take you down yet another road to science fiction and fantasy. There are a few places out on the web where authors, publishers, and others share bits and pieces of their writing, unpublished stories, or samples of published works.

The first place we’ll stop is the Liad. On Liad, the authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller share tons of information about their books, tours, releases, awards, and themselves. If you scroll to the bottom of the secondary menu, you’ll see a link to the Splinter Universe. The Splinter Universe has a number of stories written for the web by these authors. Go on, take a peek! I dare you.

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