Monthly Archives: September 2012

As You Wish

Happy 25th anniversary to The Princess Bride (movie, not book).  The movie inspired me to read one of my very first (non-children’s) fantasy fiction stories, The Princess Bride, by William Goldman.  Erm, I mean, by S. Morgenstern, abridged by William Goldman.  Sorry.

Between my husband and I, we’ve read the book so many times I’ve had to replace it twice.  It has everything you could want in a fantasy, as the book itself says: “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.”

I can’t even count how many times I’ve quoted that movie and book.  If you haven’t seen it, go watch it.  If you haven’t read it, go read it.  Then, go slap your friends and family for letting you go this long without it.  Inconceivable!

Now, you too will want to greet people with “Hello, my name is <insert here>, prepare to die”.

Welcome to the club.



Just so you’re extra impressed with the movie, aside from the somersaults, Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin actually did that whole fencing scene themselves, after instruction from a master swordsman.


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Casual Vacancy

On the eve of Casual Vacancy’s release (it’s still sealed and padlocked, in the back of the store), I’ve been considering it as a book quite a lot.

The plot: small town politics, murder, and the secrets and conflicts that lurk behind the doors of the most picture-perfect families.  Essentially, the English novel.

It’s such a departure from Harry Potter that I can’t really imagine it, possibly because I keep trying to superimpose H.P. style writing into a different book.   I’m not sure I’m going to like it, and we’ll see what the reactions from the legions of rabid Harry Potter fans have to say about the departure.

I will say, though, that I was really impressed by an interview with her that I read in Jezebel, in regards to making the leap to a different genre with a different audience:

And it’s [the business] a real bore. Should I be more diplomatic? Oh, I don’t care. No, there is literally nothing on the business side that I wouldn’t sacrifice in a heartbeat to have an extra couple of hours’ writing. Nothing. That sounds hideously ungrateful because it’s made me an awful lot of money, and I’m very grateful for that. But it’s not something that interests me, and there have been lots of opportunities to do things that make more money, and I’ve said no.

She also explained that one of her biggest fears was that her post-Potter book would get picked up by a publisher immediately, on the strength of previous success:

Absolutely, that was my worst nightmare. The moment I said I’d finished a book, I knew what would happen. There would be a bidding war, and I would end up with someone who’d got the fattest wallet, who had bought it because I’d written Harry Potter. That would have been why.

In a sense, Rowling said, writing such a different book — which she considered publishing under a pseudonym — without anyone to impress but herself was a bold way to go about moving on from her work on the Potter series:

But in some ways I think it’s braver to do it like this. And, to an extent, you know what? The worst that can happen is that everyone says, ‘Well, that was dreadful, she should have stuck to writing for kids’ and I can take that. So, yeah, I’ll put it out there, and if everyone says, ‘Well, that’s shockingly bad – back to wizards with you’, then obviously I won’t be throwing a party. But I will live. I will live.

Whatever I think of the new book, the lady’s got guts, and I admire that.


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The Word On The Street

This coming Sunday, the 23rd of September, is Word on the Street, the national book & magazine festival.  It will be in Toronto, as well as Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener & Halifax.  I’m jealous of Vancouver, where the festival is taking place over three days, starting next Friday the 29th.

There will be tons of things to see and do, with authors, publishers, workshops, food, with venues aimed at adults and those aimed at kids.

I have posted a link to the official page for more information below.  Since it’s basically a combination of festival, book club, and street party, it should be a good time.  Also, giant outdoor bookstore!


Toronto | The Word On The Street.

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Library Books Desperately Needed!


I’m blatantly asking for money here, or a little time, even.

The school my book store has adopted desperately needs a library makeover.   Books are expensive, and they have very little budget.  If you can donate anything that would be great.  Follow this link: Donate To Agincourt Public School .  Even if you sign up to spread the word, without donating, it would be a big deal!  If we get enough points and money to win, the  library would get a full makeover.

Every child should have a chance to learn to love reading.  Thanks for your help!


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The Maze Runner

I finally got around to reading The Maze Runner, the first of the trilogy by James Dashner.

It slots neatly into the trend of dystopian teen novels, and has been a huge seller, along with Divergent (excellent) and Hunger Games (if you haven’t heard of it, you’re not only living under a rock, you’re living under a really remote, subterranean one).

The book has a teenage boy as a protagonist, who at the beginning of the book wakes up with no memory of his past life, knowing only his name.  He is in a place with other teens, in the middle of a giant, deadly maze.

Dashner does a great job of maintaining the suspense of the mystery, while advancing the plot.  I was a little surprised at how violent the book is – this is definitely for older teens, considering how quickly the body count mounts.    That same body count does a good job of illustrating what it’s like to make decisions when your decisions can get someone else hurt or killed, however, and is not purposeless.

In many ways the book reminds me of Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, which is one of my favorite sci-fi novels (see previous review).    I will be reading the next two novels in the series, plus the recently released prequel, next, so I’ll let you know how they go.

I recommend this for anyone who likes the dystopian genre, although I would say that this is aimed, despite the violence, at a fourteen or fifteen year old, from the style of writing.  If you have a teenager who loved Hunger Games or Divergent, or The Knife of Never Letting Go, this will probably hit the spot.


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Psychedelic Text: Art, or Crap?


Most books, once you get to the inside, look the same.  Black print, off-white paper.  What’s actually written is the only thing that is different.  There are a few, however, which are definitely different.  Where the author feels that the way those words are printed is part of the story too.   It seems to either be wildly successful, or incredibly annoying, and which one it is seems to depend on the person reading it.

There are books with only minor changes, such as coloured type.  The two I think of off the top of my head are Sacré Bleu, by Christopher Moore, and The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende.   They were both printed with coloured ink, in the case of Sacré Bleu, in, you guessed it, blue .  Because blue is so central to the story, the blue ink was a masterly touch.  In the edition of The Neverending Story that I had, it was printed in red and green, depending on which point of view was being used in the story at the time.  It was incredibly effective at making you feel like you truly were a part of the story.

Then there are books like The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, and  The Fifty Year Sword, by Mark Danielewski.

The Raw Shark Texts was pretty amazing.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  It is incredibly difficult to describe, except that it is based around the premise that creatures have evolved that live in thoughts, and ideas, including the thoughts in your head as well as those in books.  Those creatures include predators.  You have to be in the right frame of mind to read it, and it certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but have you ever read something that made your brain excited?  This did that for me.  The text of the book is warped and changed to give you an idea of what creatures made of words and ideas might look like.  The word “fish” printed in the shape of a fish, for example – literally the idea of a fish.  Anyways, just read it.

The Knife of Never Letting Go begins in a village where everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts.  The more intense and emotional, the “louder” the thought.  The book has overlapping words, done in what looks like messy, angular handwriting, to try to get across the idea of having multiple thoughts all being inflicted on you simultaneously, on top of your own.   Although it is technically a teen book, the ideas in it are certainly interesting enough to occupy an adult.

The Fifty Year Sword is going to be out in October (yay for ARCs, advanced reading copies).  It’s a novella, set on a night in Texas, where “five orphans gather to hear a story about a quest for a terrible weapon.”  So far, I haven’t gotten past the first few pages.  The entire thing is in dialogue, and there are quotes set within quotes, people interrupting each other and quoting other people. There are strange sketches on the facing pages.  I find it so annoying and confusing I have given up, at least for now.  To me, the way it is being presented has ruined the story for me, and I just can’t keep going, much as I hate not finishing a book.  I may try again when I’m feeling more patient (so probably never), but for now, I’m giving this one a pass.

In conclusion, sometimes it’s art, sometimes it’s crap, and all the cool printing in the world can’t make a great story, but terrible printing may ruin a good one.


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The 2013 Fantasy Pin-up Calendar: Announcing our Authors

The 2013 Fantasy Pin-up Calendar: Announcing our Authors.

What a great idea!

For a little sneak peek:

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New Kindles Released

Kindle announced their new lineup today, probably not a coincidence that it’s the same day Kobo announced theirs.

I hate Amazon as a company, but if you want to read about Kindles, go here:

and let us never speak of this again.



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New Kobo Line Announced

Here’s the press release from Kobo, just posted this very minute!  I promise to give you more as soon as I have it.


An eReader for Everyone – Kobo Breaks Ground for eReading with New Family: Kobo Mini, Kobo Touch, Kobo Glo, and Kobo Arc

Starting at $79.99 the New Kobo Family will be available at World’s Largest Network of Booksellers and Leading Retailers including Best Buy and Walmart

September 06, 2012

Kobo Family - Hi Res

Kobo Family – Hi Res

Kobo, a global leader in eReading, today unveiled its new Kobo Family of eReading devices:  the Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, Kobo Touch and the Kobo Arc – a 7” Android tablet. Designed by booklovers for booklovers, the new Kobo Family starts at $79.99 and provides readers with more choice and more ways to personalize their eReading experience than ever before – including new stylish colors, accessories, lighting and multimedia options.

Launched in 2009, with a vision to transform the world of reading, Kobo remains focused on delivering a superior eReading experience. Today, Kobo has more than 10-million users in 190 countries, and offers one of the world’s largest eBookstores with nearly 3 million books across 60 different languages.Kobo pioneered the affordable eReader in May 2010 and is now introducing for the first time its new Kobo Family – offering an eReader for Everyone. The company is a driving force behind the adoption of eReading around the world with its award-winning eReaders and tablets, free apps for tablets, PCs and smartphones, and extensive network of booksellers and leading retailers.

“Our focus has remained firmly on delivering a superior experience for booklovers around the world.  With 11,000 booksellers and leading retail partners across five continents, we are bringing the new Kobo Family to booklovers everywhere,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. “The new Kobo Family provides more choice for booklovers and a superior eReading and content discovery experience – truly, an eReader for Everyone.”

This announcement follows last week’s news of Kobo’s partnership with the American Booksellers Association, empowering up to 2,000 bookstores across America.  U.S. independent bookstores join Kobo’s global network of leading booksellers including Indigo (Canada), WHSmith (UK), FNAC (France), Mondadori (Italy), Libris (Netherlands), Collins (Australia), Whitcoulls (New Zealand), Rakuten (Japan).

“The launch of Kobo’s new Family of eReading devices represents a bold step for both Kobo and Rakuten,” said Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani. “This reinforces our commitment to expanding digital goods and e-commerce services to new markets around the globe through beautiful and exciting devices.”


The new front-lit, Kobo Glo is the next generation in comfortable eReading. It offers innovative soft, even and adjustable ComfortLight technology to enable consumers to read anytime – day or night. Its durable screen and customizable page-turning features make it the perfect eReader for the booklover. The Kobo Glo uses E Ink technology, customizable fonts and a no-glare XGA high-resolution 6” E Ink screen that is just like reading print on paper, and connects easily to Wi Fi allowing consumers to explore and discover recommendations in the Kobo eBookstore. The Kobo Glo eReader comes in Black or White and a selection of stylish colours – Pink Sunset, Blue Moon, Silver Star – and will be available starting October 1st for $129.99 MSRP.

KOBO MINI – SMALL IS A BIG DEAL                        

The Kobo Mini is the world’s smallest and lightest full-featured E Ink eReader available today, offering the full Kobo experience at a great value. Proving that great things come in small packages, the 5” Kobo Mini easily fits in your purse or pocket and is loaded with all the amazing features Kobo customers have come to know and love. Just like reading print on paper, the no-glare 5” E Ink screen is easy on the eyes – even in bright sunlight. The Kobo Mini comes in black or white and offers a selection of three stylish Kobo SnapBacks in Teal, Ruby Red, and Purple.  Perfect for people on-the-go, young adults, and easy for first-time readers to hold and read, the highly portable Kobo Mini holds up to 1,000 eBooks.  The Kobo Mini will be available starting October 1st for $79.99 MSRP.


The new Kobo Arc offers booklovers a competitively featured Android 4.0 multimedia tablet with a new way to discover content – books, movies, TV shows, music, web pages and more.  With a Kobo-developed interface called Tapestries, Kobo Arc gives consumers an exciting new way to discover content.  Using an intelligent cross-media recommendations engine, Tapestries responds to the user’s “pinned” content to recommend related videos, movies, books, webpages and other related content. Tapestries makes it easy to discover new personal multimedia recommendations with little effort as the engine learns what consumers love – and brings them more. The 7” high-definition display delivers crisp, sharp text and with 16-million colours bring photos and videos to life. With front-facing speakers with SRS TruMedia, a built-in microphone and high-resolution 1.3 MP camera to take photos and videos, the Kobo Arc offers up to 10 hours of continuous reading or video play, and two weeks on standby.  With Google® Play, Kobo Arc users have access to more than 600,000 apps and much-loved pre-loaded apps including Facebook®, Twitter®,  Rdio®, Zinio® and PressReader®. The Kobo Arc is available in Black and White with Blue and Purple interchangeable SnapBacks.  The Kobo Arc will be available this November, starting at $199.99 (8G) MSRP and $249.99 (16G) MSRP.


The award-winning Kobo Touch, named Wired’s #1 eReader in 2012, and the industry’s first touch-screen eReader is available in stores around the world– and is now $99.99.   The Kobo Touch includes Kobo’s latest software with more ways to personalize the reading experience, get recommendations and discover new content.  The Kobo Touch is available in seven languages including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, and Japanese.


Kobo’s global network of 11,000 booksellers will be offering the Kobo Family starting in October.

Starting today, the Kobo Glo will be available for pre-order from the following retail partners around the world:

Leading booksellers around the world will be carrying the new device lineup including: Indigo, WHSmith, FNAC, Libris Blz. Mondadori, Collins, Whitcoulls, and at leading independent booksellers across America.  Other retailers include: Staples, Target, Wal-mart, Best Buy, Future Shop, Asda, the Source, Sears, Toys “R” Us, Frys,, Dixons, Argos, John Lewis,, Euronics, Electronic Partners, Medimax, Media Markt, Saturn, Redcoon, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming, and Swindon.   In addition, Kobo can be found in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Austria, Ireland, France, Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and many more countries soon.

For more information and availability on the Kobo Family of devices, visit

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Which Alien Abduction Was That?

Labour Day weekend here in Canada was… interesting.  There were more eccentric characters than usual wandering around my bookstore, and some excellent stories they made, too.

  1. Do you have any books about that alien abduction two days ago?  The first thing to do here is not to look like you think this is a weird question.  Also, try to refrain from making comments like “The one two days ago?  No, sorry.  Three days ago, no problem, but not two.”  They’re fun to think up later, though.  Also, apparently aliens have the ability to publish books and then send them back in time.  If so, I would like them to take over the third book of the Divergent series, and anything by Terry Pratchett, Guy Gavriel Kay, Mercedes Lackey… no more waiting for books!
  2. They’re monitoring everything from an RFID chip in your underwear.  It’s Walmart doing it.  If you don’t believe me, the proof is on YouTube.  Okay, first of all, why are you still shopping at Walmart, then?  Secondly, frankly, I didn’t need to know you were commando.  And don’t even get me started on “proof on YouTube.”
  3. How to have sex like a lesbian, if you’re a man.  What’s actually more surprising is I found a book for him to order.
  4. The CEO of my bookstore chain is behind the local movie theatre shutting down.  Right, that’s what CEO’s do in their spare time, go around conspiring to close down random movie theatres.  Also, it’s more likely the $16 movie tickets.

So you’re up to date on the new hot releases – or at least ones I noticed:

No Easy Day by Mark “no longer anonymous” Owen
Thank you to whichever publishing staff member pointed out that launching this autobiography about killing Osama Bin Laden on September 11th as a marketing ploy might not be such a great idea.

Diary of a Submissive by Sophie Morgan

Non-fiction, cashing in on the Fifty Shades phenomenon. I’m guessing she didn’t send Grandma a copy.

The third in the I Am Number Four teen series by Pittacus Lore, who managed to turn his embarrassing outing as a fraud in non-fiction into a successful career as a fiction writer.

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

This involves Terry Pratchett, therefore I am currently reading it. So far, as a writing duo, they’re pretty great. Plus, it involves travel through parallel universes, via potato. Why would you not read it?  I will also mention that while reading it, I have also read Nation (an amazing, amazing YA book which you should read immediately) and Men At Arms, both by Terry Pratchett, on my Kobo.  I think I have a problem.


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