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Phoenix/Arc Manor is offering for September these four novels for as low as $4.00 (plus being added to their mailing list):
Warklock in Spite of Himself (book 1),
King Kobold Revived (book 2),
The Warlock Unlocked (book 3 of Warlock of Gramarye) so the complete trilogy by Christopher Stasheff, and
Threshold of Eternity by John Brunner (original, 1957) with 2017 updates by Damien Broderick.

All book links are to their Amazon pages. These books can be purchased separately during this sale for $1.50 each.

These e-books are available in epub (Apple) and mobi (Kindle) formats.
StoryBundle is offering these THREE collections of e-books for September:

The 2018 Adventure Sci-Fi Bundle of 5 books for as low as $5 OR for a minimum purchase of $15 they will add 8 more for a total of 13. This offer is valid until 11:59 pm EDT, September 19th.

The Anarchist Bundle with the same numbers of books and prices as above. This offer is valid until 11:59 pm EDT, September 26th.

This is a bit older because I think it was first offered in August (and I am still new to StoryBundle's offers and still figuring them out): the Best of Joseph R. Lallo Bundle with 3 books for as low as $5 OR for a minimum purchase of $15 they will add 6 more books for a total of 9 OR for a minimum of $25 they will add 6 MORE books for a total 15. This offer valid until 12:59 am, September 13th (unclear as to why there is a difference in ending time here). This offer was packaged by Lallo himself and he is offering three random purchasers three different bonus prizes.

Sorry, too many titles and just authors to list here. Click on the above links to see for yourself. Each of the book covers at the linked pages is a link to a description with some reviews and an opening sample (to one of the stories for anthologies).

All books are in epub (Apple) and mobi (Kindle) formats. They will require a valid e-address for delivery.

Do note that signing up with StoryBundle to get their notifications is NOT required.
I've been enjoying Jack McDevitts work, mostly the Alex Benedict and the Priscilla Hutchings/Acedemy series. Both is post space aged archeology based which is interesting, with the former focused on uncovering conspiracies while the latter is surviving some pretty epic disasters (stuck on a world about to collide, saving a species from a devastating space maelstrom, etc). They're both pretty engrossing reads.
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (2018).

TL;DR: the conclusion in a future history trilogy on Earth. Worth your time to read.

This is the first time EVAR that I was reading a book that became that year's Hugo Award winner for Best Novel. I've read plenty of books that were PAST winners and only a handful that became winners but only after I read them.

Jemisin's "The Broken Earth" trilogy is basically a future history of OUR Earth, though of course with certain special things happening. One of the three narratives making up "Stone Sky" is placed approximately 500 years in our future and deals with the events which will lead to that Broken Earth. Those other narratives are the (mostly) separate accounts of a mother-daughter pair which takes place about 40,000 years beyond that earlier one (though note that while the precise narrator in those sections varies, they will be a person very close to either the mother or daughter if not either of them).

Throughout "The Broken Earth" there is a specialized form of telekinesis called "orogeny". Huh, up to THIS moment I hadn't even considered that this might be an actual word, but my Apple Dictionary has:
Quote:
orogeny noun: Geology
a process in which a section of the earth's crust is folded and deformed by lateral compression to form a mountain range.

Jemisin applied this term to the telekinetic power which can be used to literally move the ground to various degrees and to the people with this power. Relatively few people are orogenes, and most are limited to small stuff (though not without potentially large consequences like moving enough stone to precipitate a landslide down a hillside). And even such small uses requires that power be drawn from SOMEWHERE. Lacking any formal understanding or an adult orogene such as a parent watching over them the tendency is for young children to draw that power from the heat energy around them, literally icing people (or only parts of them) because they are a convenient heat source near them.

Which is why in that society in the far future the decision made by most groups is to kill such children before such "rogga" (as they are known) became powerful enough to direct their power.

BUT in a few cases such as being in a relatively remote outlying house in a small village SOME roggas do survive into early childhood. If their parents can do so, they will contact representatives of the Fulcrum, an institution that was first set up some centuries before by the empire (which had gone under different names) to formally teach orogenes (only an impolite person--perhaps with a death wish--would knowingly refer to an orogene as a "rogga" to his face) how to apply their powers.

And these powers are absolutely needed for the Broken Earth. While most orogenes never get beyond basic levels such as being able to alter underground water sources to (stop) feed(ing) a well, there are a handful who have extraordinary powers such as quelling major earthquakes, and stopping or at least redirecting volcanoes (though it should be noted that there are some with this level of power who never benefit from the formal discipline from the Fulcrum and for whom there is a much uglier fate).

The story of the mother--who was one of those luckier children--was told in"The Fifth Season", and her story not quite concludes in "The Stone Sky".

Admittedly not a strong recommendation from me, mostly because I think Jemisin isn't my kind of storyteller, but I do recommend "The Broken Earth".
Time for the next free e-book from Tor Books: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. Like most of these offerings, this is the first book in a to-be series with the next book, "The City in the Middle of the Night", set to be released on February 19, 2019.

This download must be completed by 11:59 pm EDT, September 21st, or before any unscheduled withdrawal of this offer.

I have not read anything that I can recall by Anders.
Anders is great. All the Birds is really well written and I found it to be a great story. I suspect you will enjoy it.
maurvir Outlier
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I read the first few pages and was sold.

Update:
Dafuq did I just read? That was the most awesomely surreal story I have read in ages. Highly recommend. :up:

Last edited by maurvir on Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:37 am.

user Stupid cockwomble
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I've been reading one of the Dresden novels (Turn Coat, number 11) and realizing that so much is tied in from earlier that I want to start the series over (Jim Butcher is highly recommended by me as an excellent author). Just tried to check some out from the public library but got a server error - probably storm related.

The thing about Jim is that he gives you the feeling that these things bumping in the night are very powerful and very dangerous.
I'm just about to dive into The Alchemyst, the first in the Nicholas Flamel series.
Warin posted:
Anders is great. All the Birds is really well written and I found it to be a great story. I suspect you will enjoy it.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Just to be sure: when I make any sort of comment like "I have not read anything that I can recall by Anders", I am very deliberately trying to make a NON-endorsement, but sometimes that is difficult especially when given only text and attempting to brief. I absolutely do mean that I haven't read anything by that specific author and thus I cannot personally recommend him or her, but all such statements should not be taken in any way negatively, only a simple and limited statement of fact.
StoryBundle has a Dark Fantasy bundle now available. For a minimum of $5 you can get 4 e-books by various authors, or for a minimum of $15 you can expand that to a total of 10 e-books with more authors. Of these I have read only science fiction books by Kevin J. Anderson.

This offer is valid through 11:59 pm, October 12th.
justine Elitist Beer Lover
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Anyone else going to get Full Disclosure? :D
justine posted:
Anyone else going to get Full Disclosure? :D

You mean this book by Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti set to be released in October?

While I do believe that she is fighting the good fight against an evil--a term that I don't use lightly--man, there is still the troublesome aspect that all-in-all what she and Avenatti have done is basically publicizing Trump. Sure, not all complimentary, BUT before the details which interwove her tale into the 2016 election I was all-but-certain that Trump himself was actually pleased by this story: "Not only are people talking about me (ME ME!) but they are talking about BIG DONNY too!" (do you imagine that Trump would NOT have given his penis a such nickname?).

I have zero interest in reading anything so personal about Trump so I will give this book a pass.

Heh--BTW at first I tried to figure out what you meant as reflected by my immediately previous post on the Dark Fantasy bundle from StoryBundle.
user Stupid cockwomble
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I'd rather get Woodward's book.
justine Elitist Beer Lover
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I'm mostly curious about her, but also what she has to say about 45. I'm not sure i would get Woodwards, because i'm thinking it's going to be too political for my tastes.
Phoenix/Arc Manor is offering this book deal for Nancy Kress books for October. The main book is "New Under the Sun" which is being republished under the Stellar Guild series which teams up known authors with relative unknowns, in this case Therese Pieczynski who wrote a companion novelette which predates the main text.

While you can get this e-book for free (minimum recommended is $0.99), there is a larger deal for this book along with another seven Kress "books" (two are novellas) for a minimum of $7.50.

I've read Kress' An Alien Light, though this was a while back and upon reading the Amazon summary I clearly have no recollection of it, but I can say that I liked it enough to easily recall her name. <sigh> another book to re-read beyond the 70+ e-books I still have pending on my to-be-read virtual shelf.

Heh. I have 100 items in iBooks though I have read only 9 of them, so 91 incomplete e-books on my iPhone now.
I just finished Neptune's brood. That was a very interesting book, main character was a posthumanoid banker on a treasure hunt while people were trying to kill her..
For anyone planning to participate in National Novel Writing Month for November, StoryBundle has this 2018 NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle. It is the usual deal: a base offer of 4 e-books for a minimum of $5, or a total of 12 e-books for a minimum of $15. This offer is set to end at the end of November.

I do not plan on getting this particular bundle.
Aurora Resonant by G.S. Jennsen.

TL; DR: a satisfying conclusion to this 10-book--9 novels and a short story anthology--series.

Actually there isn't much more that I can add. You can get "Starshine", the first book of the series and reviewed by me here, for free from the author. If you are not captivated by the super-wide-ranging story within the first 100 e-pages then you are a different type of SF reader from me. While the ultimate solutionS at the end were a bit contrived, Jennsen ends her story open-ended enough for literally whole universes to be told, and I wouldn't be surprised if sometime in the future she might return to this.
Tor Book's free e-book for October is The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle. Usual limitations and restrictions apply, though this does NOT appear to be the first book in a series with the next book soon to be released. Downloads available through 11:59 pm EDT October 12th (though it can be withdrawn early).

I do not recall reading anything by Lavalle.
I'll try the ebook, but my collection is completely physical so I don't have a Kindle. Starshine is currently free from Amazon books, at least in Canada
Betonhaus posted:
I'll try the ebook, but my collection is completely physical so I don't have a Kindle. Starshine is currently free from Amazon books, at least in Canada

I should note that I have found NONE of Jennsen's books in dead-tree format at my local bookstore. The nine novels of "Aurora Rhapsody" can be purchased in paperback form at Amazon (though not its accompanying short story anthology).
I don't want to do ebooks, because if I do I'll end up pirating as many as I can.

But Starshine starts intriguingly.
A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab (2016).

TL; DR: well, THAT'S different. To me, a somewhat disappointing follow-up to the first book, "A Darker Shade of Magic" reviewed here.

OK, being the middle book in a trilogy almost by definition meant that Schwab must leave some stories incomplete, but while told well enough I was somewhat disappointed especially considering how good "Darker Shade" was. I am still recommending this but ultimately my overall review will depend upon the final book in this trilogy (which I will read, just not now).

You are a person who has been thrust into not just a different culture but a world which was completely unknown to you, one in which "the royal tongue" (AKA English) is at least known if not well-spoken or understood by many people in the Arnes capital of "Red" London but most people speak only Arnesian which apparently only shares (most of?) an alphabet with English: what would you do?

Me? I would spend at least a couple of weeks (or--more likely--years) learning the native language and culture to get an understanding of just basic life, but then I am super-cautious that way.

Lila Bard? Apparently right after the end of "Darker Shade" not only does she immediately turn her back towards Kell and Rhy (sorry, I misspelled the crown prince's name with an ending "s" in that review of the first book), but sets out on an adventure though this part of her tale gets recounted after this book opens with Lila sitting in the open sea in a small boat that is slowly filling due to the hole in its bottom.

Sounds intriguing, yes? It was to me too but when completely told this was rather disappointing because I believe that Schwab completely misleads the reader. Since this book was told as first-person narratives (though from different people in various parts) the READER'S impression is that Lila is in trouble because of others rather than setting a trap of her own device. Unfortunately this left me with a bad flavor which somewhat discolored the entire book.

There is a lot going on. London is set to host the triennial Aven Essen--literally the "element games"--where 12 people selected from each of the "European" (in quotes because there is nothing named "Europe" in the world of Red London) powers of Arnes (western Europe), Faro (eastern Europe--the line dividing this from Arnes was never defined by Schwab) and Vesk (more-or-less Scandinavia) meet in a "magic olympics". As one of his first duties officially as an adult, Crown Prince Rhy had been put in charge so all of his efforts went into having a spectacle that will be unmatched by previous games.

Of course Kell would not be allowed to participate as one of the people from Arnes since Antari would be instantly recognized as having an unfair advantage over all other competitors. Part of the plot of "Gathering" is how Rhy gets Kell entered under an assumed name and the efforts they must go through to allow him to compete (part of which being how Kell must limit his magical abilities to fit with the games).

In the meantime Lila has been aboard the Saren Noche or Night Spire for about a half-year frankly scaring half the crew who had become convinced that she is one of the Sarows of sea-legend. The captain, Alucard Evens, is completely different. Not only is he well-educated and completely acquainted with the royal tongue but he is also well-versed in magic and had been selected as one of Arnes' 12 competitors. Of course this gets the full attention of Lila who gets Alucard to teach her how to do magic having no previous experience with it herself. Their ship docked in London shortly before the games begin.

Of course Lila could not possibly be involved in the games being completely unknown in magical terms to the person in charge of selecting the Arnes competitors. Another chunk of the plot of "Gathering" is how she schemes to get in with some partially involuntary help from Alucard.

So a complex story, but one of MY disappointments was that story BETWEEN Kell and Lila is basically paused for 3/4th of this book. Yes, there are points where each of them thinks of the other but they are unable to act. While Kell could perform a location spell that could pinpoint her and even allow him to teleport to her, he declines to act on this; on the other side Lila is reluctant to let anyone on the ship know of her significant relationship with Kell and Rhy if only in her effort to fit in with Alucard's crew.

Part of the compexity is how Kell and Lila are complete opposites while longing to have a taste of that opposite. Having been Rhy's older brother since joining the royal household, Kell had been the responsible one. As a result of some of his actions in the first book, Kell is now quite literally responsible for Rhy's life and spent most of the intervening half-year walking on eggshells.

Though limited by money and social standing, Lila otherwise had been free to do as she wanted, taking chances that Kell would see as clearly insane.

BUT while desiring opposites--stablity for Lila, freedom for Kell--each recognizes that they only want a taste, not the full lifestyle.

I'm not sure what Schwab will do to resolve this conundrum for this couple, but I will look forward to this (but in a bit).
DEyncourt posted:
Betonhaus posted:
I'll try the ebook, but my collection is completely physical so I don't have a Kindle. Starshine is currently free from Amazon books, at least in Canada

I should note that I have found NONE of Jennsen's books in dead-tree format at my local bookstore. The nine novels of "Aurora Rhapsody" can be purchased in paperback form at Amazon (though not its accompanying short story anthology).

Well, the first ebook was free through Amazon, the second one from the publisher, and by then I was hooked and just finished all nine books. Now I need to detox badly.

Also holy crap that review was a tl;Dr. I can summarize the Aurora trilogies as "cybernetic girl meets black ops boy, who then have a hard time keeping their hands off each long enough to halt an interstellar war so they can fight off multidimensional invaders, then follow the invaders back to their home galaxy to kick ass. Also dragons, but they're not important."
StoryBundle is offering this this Halloween bundle. It is the usual deal: $5 minimum for 4 e-books, $15 minimum for those 4 plus 6 more. Valid until 11:59 pm ET, November 6th. Click on the book covers for details (including an excerpt). I do not recall reading anything by the authors in this offer.
The Brooklyn Public Library has a free service which will send you every 2 weeks a list of 5 books based on your preferences.

I heard about this through Cory Doctorow's post at BoingBoing.net, so if you do sign up for the BookMatch service please use that link for the last entry ("How did you hear about the BookMatch service?").
justine Elitist Beer Lover
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I'm currently reading a collection of Stephen King short stories.
StoryBundle now has this 2018 "Truly Epic Fantasy" Bundle. The usual deal: a base of 5 e-books for a minimum offer of $5.00, but you can get a total of 13 e-books for a minimum offer of $15. Click on any of the book covers to see a synopsis, some reviews, and an excerpt. It should be noted that the 5 base books and at least 2 of the bonus books are the first volumes of their series. This deal is set to be on offer through 12:59 am EST, Nov. 16th (dang that daylight savings time shift!).

Of the authors I have read only Kevin J. Anderson (who is the "curator" of this bundle) and only some of his science fiction.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (2018).

TL; DR: a LONG and complex tale. Not as good as Novik's Uprooted but don't take that as any sort of condemnation: this is definitely worth your time. Do note that "Silver" is completely unrelated to "Uprooted" except through the general theme of melding and re-rendering of classic fairy tales. The female characters here use more guile and wisdom, so is more traditional in overall style than Agnieszka's use of her own substantial magical power in "Uprooted"

While there is the temptation to say that "Silver" is based on "Rumplestilskin", perhaps for this version that could be renamed "Rumplestilstein". Miryem Mendelstam actually begins "Silver" with a short but (for her) REAL version of THAT tale: a miller borrows from a moneylender a ring and necklace for his pretty daughter to wear to help catch the eye of the son of a wealthy and powerful lord at a dance. That is successful, and for a while the couple dally with each other such that the young man feels obligated to kill that (now) EVIL moneylender. Unfortunately after some time the young man returns to his parents and goes on to marry the daughter of another wealthy and powerful lord that all the parents had all agreed upon, while the girl goes back to her village now owning that jewelry which serves as a dowry towards her wedding to the village blacksmith, with only bad people taking any notice of that too-short time between that wedding and when they have their first child.

Miryem holds this version rather personally because she IS the daughter and granddaughter of Jewish moneylenders. She is the only child in the only Jewish family in the small village of Pavys. Unfortunately for her family her easygoing father is not pushy, having developed the reputation of being the easy moneylender who only every now and again asks back for the money he lent out to the people of Pavys, as a result Miryem spent her childhood poor and hungry. The one good thing that her father did was keep excellent records of his lending, so when Miryem's mother becomes desperately ill, Miryem goes out to collect some of that lent money which she uses to pay for medicine and food to help her mother back to health.

After that Miryem becomes the moneylender and she finds that she is quite good at running her father's former business despite the looks of scorn she now gets from some people in Pavys. At one point she brags to her mother that she had turned silver into gold by buying for a silver coin each a pair of fine dresses from a dressmaker in the ducal city of Vysnia only to sell them for a goin coin each to a rich merchant in a village near Pavys.

Not much of a fairy tale, you complain, an ECONOMIC tale of turning silver into gold? Well, the above is just the preliminary story is to set up the REAL fairy tale because that brag has serious consequences for Miryem. To come there are a fire demon, a king of winter, magical promises to be kept and to be interpreted, a kingdom in a parallel universe (never called this by Novik, but if you think about it that is what is going on here)...all sorts of magic. And while there will be a literal turning silver (coins) into gold (coins) through Miryem's hands, she is capable of metaphorically turning other things from winter silver into gold for herself.
Phoenix Pick has this deal for November though unfortunately the details are a bit confusing. The base deal is for "The River of the Dancing Gods" by Jack Chalker and you can get this e-book for free (although they suggest a price of $2).

OR you can add 4 (or 5?) more e-books. That question mark comes from that fact that as I type this the COVERS of the books pictured are the remaining 4 books to complete the Dancing Gods series BUT the descriptions are for books 2, 3, and 5 plus "Midnight at the Well of Souls (Saga of the Well of Souls: Book One)" which is the first book in a completed 7-book series. For this expanded deal the suggested price is $15 but the minimum accepted is $7.50.

I have the first 3 "Dancing Gods" books. I guess I liked the first book enough to pick up 2 more books, BUT when I read the book descriptions at the link I realized that I simply have no recollection of these books. This is somewhat unusual in that for most of my books I can recall at least a bare thread of the storyline (though with long series like the Travis McGee mysteries by John D. MacDonald the exact story within a specific novel will be much more fuzzy, which isn't helped by the fact that it has been over a decade since I've read any of those).
Phoenix Picks has corrected their page for the "Dancing Gods" series. NOW it has all 4 of the later "Dancing Gods" books in that (total of) five e-book deal along with the correct descriptions.
StoryBundle has this "Valor: Military Science Fiction Bundle". The usual deal: a minimum of $5 for four e-books, or a minimum of $15 for a total of ten e-books. Click on the book cover at the link to get a description, some reviews and a sample. Valid through 11:59 EST on Nov. 29th.

I have not read anything by any of these authors, or at least by Dean Wesley Smith--the curator of this bundle--writing under his own name since he mentions that he has written a lot under other pen names (though it appears that he did this for various "Star Trek" novels). I haven't read any of those books.
The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi (2018).

TL;DR: a very satisfying book 2--this can be read only AFTER The Collapsing Empire--in a to-be-continuing series. My only regret is NOW I will have to wait another 18 or so months for the NEXT book.

As with most of Scalzi's writings, this is a very complex tale with a LOT going on. I could try to summarize but I find that basically I have to retell all of it. Let me leave you with this: if you liked The Collapsing Empire then you will like this one. If you haven't read the first book, try it.
The November Tor.com’s eBook of the Month is The Black Tides of Heaven (2017) by Jy Yang.

Oddly the current above link as I post this is VERY sparse on details:

1) there isn't the usual description of this book, so here is this book's page at Amazon.

2) there is no mention that this is the first book in a three book series (another Amazon link) called "The Tensorate Series". From the Amazon page for the third book it is unclear if this series may continue beyond that third book. Jy Yang's Amazon page does not mention any upcoming books in this series but that may be Ms. Yang hasn't had a chance to write anything considering that third book was just published this past July.

3) there is no mention of when downloads will be ended, although the e-mail I got from Tor said that downloads must be completed by 11:59 pm EST on November 16th.

There were the other usuals: this offer is available only to people in the US and Canada, the download will require you to sign up for Tor.com's newsletter, and this offer may be withdrawn at any time.

I have not read anything by Jy Yang.
"8 Tips For Overcoming 'Reader's Block'", a reader's block being defined as losing the desire to read anything or to continue reading a given book.

I already apply the author's "3. [try] A DIFFERENT GENRE" regularly in that I vary my reading from SF to fantasy to non-fiction (in my order of preference).

I violate her "5. DON’T FEEL OBLIGATED TO FINISH A BOOK IF YOU’RE NOT ENJOYING IT". I will COMMIT to a book and almost never completely abandon it (though I could take years to eventually complete some). I have less than a dozen titles on my totally abandoned list if that many. She does link to this GoodReads page of "Popular Abandoned Books". Of the 50 books on the first page of that list (at the start there is "Showing 1-50 of 1,250" but it is unclear to me how to see beyond the first 50), I have read 11 of these (though to be sure: "Wuthering Heights" was a book I read for a univerity class and I have practically no desire to re-read it...although perhaps I should give it another chance. It has been over 4 decades and undoubtedly my reading tastes have changed), but had abandoned only "A Confederacy of Dunces" because the main character was totally unlikable for me (from comments made by others I believe they thought this book can only be read satirically but :shrug: ). I cannot say if I will ever try the other 38, well, except for "Cloud Atlas". That might be unfair since my lack of desire to read the book is due to TRYING to watch the movie (which I thought was an incoherent mess and had abandoned watching about 45 minutes in).

I slightly disagree with her "6. LISTEN TO AN AUDIOBOOK". While I agree that an audiobook isn't a total surrender of one's imagination, there IS the loss of imagining the voices of the characters especially when being inflected by that character's emotions.

Of course I cannot use her "7. DISCONNECT FROM TECHNOLOGY" considering that have around 100 e-books to be read on my iPhone. While driving I listen to various podcasts.
StoryBundle is now offering a Winter Power-Up Game Bundle. These books are "about video game history and culture". The usual sort of deal: a minimum $5 for the base set of 4 e-books or a minimum $15 for a total of 11 e-books. Click on the book covers to get a summary, some reviews and an excerpt. Unless withdrawn this offer will be available through 10:59 pm EST (dang daylight savings time Image ) on December 6th.

Not my thing so I will not be getting this.
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