Tag Archives: Amazon

Divergent, A Book I’m Using As A Diversion From Everyday Stresses

First, it must be credited that my good friend (from Kristinaradke) mentioned this book to me many months back. While I put it on a “To-Be-Read” list in my head, that, like most things in my life, became cluttered with other nonsensical mismash. So, while I “discovered” the title for myself by browsing the iBookstore, it did technically come highly recommended by a person of substantial reading reliability 🙂

The first book in the Divergent series.

So, I shall refrain from going into the ENTIRE soliloquey that is my grown-up-life stress. For those of you who are young, living with roommates, paying bills in a big city, and owing a great deal of money to the Student-Loan Sharks, I’m sure you understand that life has been daunting (*pun unintended but amusing)/tiresome/frustrating/emotionally draining. Therefore, last Fall, The Hunger Games became my escape from reality, and a temporary reprieve from responsibility (ironic). When that ended, I roamed aimlessly in the land of historical romance (no judging you book snobs :P), humor audiobooks, and a little manga. Nothing, however, could fully relieve me from my everyday worries and anxiety.

Then comes Divergent. Now, I will in no way claim this to be as-good-as OR better than The Hunger Games. As it is the first book in a trilogy, and I still have 1/4 of the ebook to read, I cannot justify such a monumental statement.

However, consider these factors:

  • This is a debut novel. I generally find debut novels to be lacking, mostly because the author is trying so hard to say so much, their work often times comes across as exhaustingly complex.
  • This is a rapidly growing sub-genre. YA Dystopian novels are explosive right now. This is not in any way a NEW sub-genre, but thanks to some of the titles that have come out these last couple of years, it is gaining speed and attention for many readers, especially adults. In my experience, 80% of the titles that come out in a “new” or “popular” sub-genre are COMPLETE crap. This, in my opinion, isn’t one of them.
  • The author is 22. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have to momentarily put aside both your astonishment that anyone at that age has the skills to NOT bore you with mellow drama, as well as your not-so-subtle loathing for someone else accomplishing something so monumental as being published at such a young age. This is an impressive piece of work for someone so young and so new to the game. Color me envious.

The characters are relatable, the storyline is interesting and exciting, and the social structure created w/in this futuristic world is rather engaging. I have to say, I’m seeing a lot of promise for both the series and the young author. So if you want to escape for a bit, try Divergent by Veronica Roth.

BTW: This was the first ebook read on my new toy, the iPad. Gotta say, love the experience, but STUNK to try and read outdoors. Will still be keeping/using/loving my Kindle…they’re like my two children: I love them equally, just in varying ways.

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Filed under Digital & Mobile, Ebook, Fiction, Picks by nycbookgirl, Recommendations, Reviews, YA & Children's, Young Reader

A Discovery of Good Fiction

Yes, my post’s title is a play on a new release’s title. Yes, I am feeling THAT little creativity today…(usually “bite me” would be inserted here, but w/ the Bronx Zoo Cobra thing, probably not a safe expression at the moment).

As per usual, I finished one of my genre binges this past month (I was on a big historical kick, focusing first on Edwardian, then Victorian, then going back to Medieval). Having done so, I went to my ever-reliable managing editor at work, requesting a new suggestion. Her response, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.
A Discovery of Witches (Kindle Edition)
Now, when she recommended this title she described in the following way: “It’s like The Historian meets the Twilight series.”

If you’re response to that sentence was discomfort and silence, don’t worry. So was mine.

But, seeing as she’d yet to lead me astray, and she’d been the miracle worker to introduce me to The Hunger Games, I figured I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. Have to say, second greatest choice I’ve made (first being to borrow her Kindle one weekend last Fall, leading to my love of ereaders and utter consumption of all things ebook).

If you’re like me, you enjoy a little of everything in your “Contemporary Fiction”: mystery and intrigue, romance (but not bodice ripping), adventure and excitement, and as nerdy as it sounds, something new to learn. I’m a major history fan—though I have absolutely NO brain capacity to remember anything I learn. This explains my love of biographies, sports books, and certain Dan Brown novels (no judging).

So if you are in fact like me, I absolutely recommend this one. I don’t like giving too much away, but here are some fun facts to look forward to:

  • References to the Salem Witch trails, the Crusades, the Templars, and MANY more historical conflicts
  • Travel: US (New England and New Orleans), UK (mostly Oxford w/ a little Scotland), France
  • Witches, Vampires, and Demons (oh my!)
  • Yoga, Rowing (think Crew), and a little Chess (no, its not a sport)
  • A surprisingly more comprehensive translation of Darwin’s On the Origins of Species
  • Alchemy and geneology
  • And of course—here’s where the Twilight reference comes in—forbidden love

Check it out, but be forewarned (I discovered this too late), this WILL be a series, and this first book was released in Hardcover last month. For those of you not sure what that means, it’s going to be a long wait for book two (well, long if you read more than one book a year).

Enjoy!

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Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Picks by nycbookgirl, Recommendations, Twilight

Return of the Prodigal Daughter

Holy Crow it’s been a long time!

In my defense (though, really, there shouldn’t be any excuses), since I’ve been gone—morphed Kelly Clarkson lyrics—I’ve completed my Capstone for grad school (like a thesis for normal master’s students); I’ve GRADUATED from grad school w/ my MS in Publishing (*grins*); I’ve started working full-time for an ebook publisher; and I’ve moved from very South Brooklyn to more Midway Brooklyn. So there is SOME reason behind my slacking off…

Quick update on recommended books/series I’ve been reading in the meantime:

*The Hunger Games: Yes, I, like so many others, have fallen victim to this FANTASTIC series. And really, why wouldn’t you? It’s only 3 books long, so it’s not like the Harry Potter epic all over again. It’s fantastically fascinating in a “this-should-NOT-be-labelled-YA”. And it is definitely NOT another Twilight thing: 1) it does not distort the myth of a well-loved society of otherworldly creatures; 2) none (well, some but very little) of that obnoxious teen-angsty drama; and 3) at the end of book three, you actually feel complete. Besides, they’re doing a movie now, w/ the author co-writing the script, so GET TO IT!

*Solo: Okay, go ahead and blame me for promoting my own works’ ebooks, but I have to admit: I went into this one fully expecting to want to shoot myself in the face 10 pages in. Didn’t happen! I think it probably helps that I’m a closet Classical music fanatic, and this title happens to have a lot of references for some great pieces, but it was also pretty thrilling. (Go figure, since it IS a “thriller”.) If you haven’t checked out Jack Higgins before, like most of my generation/friends, try this one on for size. It might just be one-size-fits-all (though that is debatable).

*Girl in Translation: A Falling-to-be-a-Successful-Book-Club Book Club pick. A great read, especially for those of you who enjoyed Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. Compelling store; great mother-daughter dynamic; wonderful first-account view of an immigrant in modern America; and amazing written!

*Midnight’s Master: Well, really, ANYTHING by Cynthia Eden is fantastic, but I thought I’d stick to a single title, though I LOVED the entire Midnight Sins series. She’s yet another author who has taken the vampire/shifter (werewolves and such for you non-paranormal readers)/demon/etc. world. But she does it in a way that doesn’t make me cringe w/ embarrassment for the publisher (*cough* Twilight*cough*) or shudder w/ disgust at the OBVIOUS stench of OVERDOING IT (*cough*Twilight*cough). Fun, humorous, and an overall feel-good-at-the-end read!

That’s all for now. Hopefully you’ll be hearing more VERY soon. (fingers crossed!)

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Filed under Twilight, YA & Children's

What Puts the Indie in Independent Bookseller?

With all the talk about the Price Wars of ’09 and Border’s closing of 200 Waldenbooks stores in the new year, it seems about time to take a closer look at those quaint little retailers known as the indies.

Like Godzilla on his rampage, the major chains seem to be taking over the book world as we know it, especially the online market moguls like Amazon. So do who really needs the Independent booksellers anymore?

We do.

It’s not the fantasy-land, glass-half-full ideal that indies care about the book as a book, not as a means of profit; nor is it the intangible, feel-good loyalty and trust that the 1998 chick flick “You’ve Got Mail” was dead set on encapsulating.

No, it’s a much more corporate concept: Indie’s sell the unsellable book.

Anyone can push a unit of Stephen Kings, James Pattersons, and Stephanie Meyers. But it takes the skill and tenacity of an Independent to apply the right debut author to the right niche market. With hundreds of books coming out each season of each year, it’s a wonder readers don’t have the NYT Bestseller list memorized. How else can you get in and out of the mammoth bookstore with a guaranteed good-read, and NOT spend hours scouring the shelves?

Enter the Independent. Like the Caped Crusader, these stores swoop in unexpectedly, saving us from the shallow, trashy $7 paperbacks and the $30 bricks of predictable plot-lines. Instead we discover the next Garth Stein, Greg Mortenson, and Michael Pollan. Why does it work? Because Indies have a target audience, and know, it isn’t anyone who can read. They know their books like they know their alphabet; and when it comes time to buy from the publisher, their numbers are small, but they can play a huge roll in making or breaking your book.

Let me put it this way, when buying your vegetables, who do you trust more: the Stop & Shop CEO, or the gentleman at the Farmer’s Market? (I’ve always been a bit of a farmgirl myself.)

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Consumers and Publishers Beware…ABA & the DOJ v. Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart?

As if these three sellers don’t offer enough threat of mark-downs and discounts, now there’s suspicion of a Price War?

The American Booksellers Association issued a request for investigation to the Department of Justice yesterday, concerning the predatory price slashing that Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and Target have been battling over. Here are the essentials:

“[I]n the consumer and trade press this past week, Amazon.com, WalMart.com, and Target.com have engaged in a price war in the pre-sale of new hardcover bestsellers, including books from John Grisham, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Sarah Palin, and James Patterson. These books typically retail for between $25 and $35. As of writing of this letter, all three competitors are selling these and other titles for between $8.98 and $9.00.” (for the full letter, click here).

As noted in the letter, books are a special kind of product. Their prices are printed right on the book by the publisher. Not to mention book units are already sold at a discount to the retailer.  This means retailers only have a limit to how much they can earn.

Why are these three retailing moguls doing this? From the looks of it, they’re fighting to claim as much market share as possible. Why worry about this? Because not only are smaller, less capable booksellers’ businesses threatened, but publishers need the diversity to remain in some control over how much of a discount they need to sell their products at.

This is definitely a story to keep an eye on.

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Filed under Books and Government

Queer Theory, Amazon, and Twitter…Oh My!

Thanks to my good friend’s tweet, I discovered what this post would discuss, though briefly so as not to continue beating this poor dying horse.

Enter “#amazonfail”-If you’ve been under a rock, or more predictably out of the twitter loop, this story has probably gone over your head. Honestly, I hadn’t heard it myself until reading one friend’s message on the ever faithful and current reporter, Twitter (scary but true).

So the gist of it is that there was a noticeable trend of Amazon sales rankings disappearing from certain sales materials (books featuring gay and lesbian themes/characters). The amazing thing is how quickly this all came about: it was noticed this weekend, and an Amazon rep has already addressed the topic with Publishers Weekly. As PW reports, “an Amazon spokesperson said that a glitch had occurred in its sales ranking feature that was in the process of being fixed.”

Now what I found interesting was another report on this story, found on jezebel.com. While they approach the same topic (with a few more expletives thoughts about the matter), they also provide some interesting comparisons on what WAS showing rankings, and what wasn’t.

Ex. “Queer theory books, books on coming out, and feminism books lose their rankings, but A Parent’s Guide To Preventing Homosexuality gets to keep its rank?”

The list of what did and did not make the cut was a rather surprising and controversial collection. And to think I wouldn’t have bothered to read PW about this until tomorrow if not for my skills in social networking procrastination. As my good friend pointed out on her message, “the debacle started, grew and finished across 1 SUNDAY… Twitter gets results!” (Thanks for the update PanDAng!)

*Also, check out an interesting theory presented by another social network correspondent. It’ll keep you conspiracy theory people happy, and the rest of us informed.

So be it mass genocide, natural disasters, celebrity tid-bits, or righteous equality actions against e-tailer discrimination, turn to your Twitter kiddies! It’ll let you know whats hot or not.

Having said all that, and in light of it being Easter, I leave you with this Bob Hope quote: “The good news is that Jesus is coming back. The bad news is that he’s really pissed off.”

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