Monday, October 31, 2011

New this Week

Hey all, it's been awhile. I've been out of sorts lately and I'm still not back to my old reading routine. I guess that's what happens when life changes a bit. I'm still enjoying the delightful works of Ms. McGuire, but I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with Ethan in the upcoming Chicagoland book. I vote for it all being just a dream. I'm probably dead wrong, just like I was wrong with the ending to Lost. Oh well. I'm going to have to re-read the last book soon, as I got distracted and gave up about half way through.

Drink Deep
Book #5







Death Magic
Book #8







Last Breath
Book #11/YA







Magic on the Line
Book #7







Heart of Steel
Book #2/PNR







Also just released:

Great Hexpectations
Book #3







Trance
Book #1

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Demon Slave is now up for grabs

Demon Slave is Book #2 of Kiersten Fay's Shadow Quest Series. This series is a cross between Sci-fi and Romance. For those that have read the Scarabaeus Books, it reminds me a lot of that, but with a little bit of sexy. I really enjoyed her first book, Demon Possession. Book #2 continues the story, but with another couple sitting center stage.  You can check out a sample the book here.  I would suggest reading the books in order, to better understand the world.

Demon Possession (Shadow Quest Book 1)Shadow Quest
Book #1
A great mix of Sci-Fi/Fantasy Adventure and Romance. Great plot construction and character ARC. The romance itself was endearing & hot, and didn't feel rushed in anyway like with most romances.

After being enslaved on the spaceship for most of her life, Analia has no memory of her life before, and has lost all knowledge of her people. Her mysterious gift and pointed ears are the only indication that she is different. By chance Analia escapes her captors, and hides herself on a merchant ship. When Analia is found by a handsome demon and captain, she must adapt to her new role on the ship, and try to control her newly awakened desire for the brutal, and devastatingly erotic demon.

                                  1-Demon Possession (Chap 1-3)
                                  2-Demon Slave (Chap 1-3)

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Cutting the Cord


For those who are regulars or know me, you know that I just recently moved cross-country. With that, I decided to officially cut the cord from Cable and Satellite Tv. Spending $60+ a month on service I rarely used is quite ridiculous. Especially when that monthly donation is going to such a greedy company. They are such vultures, they showed up on my door-step while I was moving into my new place, ready to provide service, and I never called them!  I also had to threaten to take legal action, after they wouldn't stop calling my cell to sell the same service, stating that I called them asking for it.  Satellite isn't as bad as the evil cable company, but I still had issues with them as well.

I've spent the last couple of months planning my escape and I think I'm fairly satisfied with the outcome. Any station or show I don't catch on tv, I just watch on my computer. No biggie, and I don't miss Cable/Sat. Now if there was a way to cut the strings altogether and pick up a over-the-air internet feed, I would be all over it.  I currently, still have my Direct-tv DVR, which I plan on returning after my 6 month vacation hold.

The Following is from my recent review on the paper thin Leaf Antenna and my journey towards salvation.


After being burned and wasting money on cable and satellite the last couple of years I wanted to look for an alternative, especially because I don't really watch tv all that much. I'm a apartment dweller, and often move once a year for work. I wanted to buy a strong outdoor antenna, but stringent rules on cabling and mounting of such an antenna, made it difficult. I wanted to try my luck first with a couple of indoor antennas, before shifting to the outdoor route.

I purchased this item, due to the high ratings. I was completely disappointed when this item didn't work for me right out of the box. I called their CS, and they were very helpful. I assumed my 7yr old Sony HDTV had a digital turner and wouldn't need a converter, but I was wrong.

When I finally got my digital converter box and hooked up the Leaf, I was able to detect about 22 channels, but not all that well. Most cut in and out. I also purchased a few other items to supplement this product, and after playing around a bit with placement and set up, I now get 17 channels at 100%, and there is only 12 full-pwred stations in the surrounding cities in my area. I also get quite a few channels in High Def. There is only one VHF channel in my area, but I get that one at 100% with the Amp I'm using. The picture is better than I've ever been able to receive with Cable or Satellite. I can't believe I'm finally utilizing my tv's HD capability, and I'm not paying a dime.

I said it works But because I was able to receive almost the same amount of channels with the $8 rabbit ears I bought at the same time and I also wouldn't suggest using this item alone. However, if I had to choose either one, I would definitely go with the Leaf. Less adjustment is needed and it gets a stronger signal overall. But I would suggest adding a amp and maybe a extra VHF antenna for the best possible signal from an indoor antenna. I'm planning to buy the PCT 2-Port Bi-Directional Amp/Splitter to eliminate the extra cabling and to boost my signal.

Update: I was still curious about how many channels I could possibly get in the area, so when I went to Lowes I picked up the GE Outdoor/Indoor Antenna on a whim for almost $50. The box claimed the strongest signal, with its 20db built-in amp, but I only got about a third of what I got with the Leaf, even with it outside.

Update II: I have since received the PCT 2-Port Bi-Directional Amp and now this works like a champ. I didn't realize this amp has two outputs not inputs, so I can only connect one antenna without a additional splitter. Well, it doesn't seem to matter, because this amp boosts the leaf enough to use alone. The signal is so strong now, there is no pixelation and everything is pretty much looks HD without any signs of noise, which the RCA Amp couldn't do. I'm going to purchase the PCT 1-Port Bi-Directional Amp, to see if that helps even more.

Update III: I tried the PCT 1 Port Bi-Directional Amp with this Antenna, but it definitely under performed in comparison with the heavy duty 2-port PCT amp. I don't recommend wasting your time on the 1-Port Amp, even though it advertises to be double the amplification. Don't believe it.

My Final Set-up after trying multiple equipment:
PCT 2-Port Bi-Directional Amp/Splitter.
Viore Digital TV Converter Box ($34 Walmart)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pleasantly Surprised

Archangel's Blade
This one took me a while to complete, but not because it was lacking, but because of life and what not. I don't have a lot of time to discuss this book tonight, but suffice it to say, it ultimately exceeded my expectations, as far as a book from this series is concerned. It started off a bit shaky, with shifting POVs and flashbacks. The dialogue and writing, also seemed a bit trite for me at the beginning.  But after delving further, I either got used to it or just started to grow on me.

The story itself was good and the couple was pretty darn hot. However, I thought they dwelled a little too long on the abuse angle, which seems to be a common theme among books of these types. I also didn't like the hokey connection between the couple the author came up with or for the somewhat curt ending. Again, overall not bad and definitely a big step up from the last book. I didn't think I would have cared or wanted to read Dmitri's story, but this book proved me wrong. I'm back to looking forward to reading another book in the Guild Hunter series.  Hopefully it will deliver.
************
In the intensely dark, violent, and romantic fourth Guild Hunter novel...Singh focuses on the 1,000-year-old vampire Dmitri, lieutenant to the archangel Raphael, and Guild Hunter Honor, still recovering after a rogue vampire kidnapped and tortured her for two months...a heart-pounding and strongly emotional read.
-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Software update for Kindle 3

The update is for what Amazon calls the "Kindle Keyboard", which is actually the K3. For those with the K3, this upgrades the software from version 3.1 to 3.3.  You can either go here to get your update or wait for it to be delivered wirelessly. I usually manually download these updates, since I never seemed to get them when others do.  It may also have something to do with not having my wireless continuously on.

Enhancements or fixes from this update include:

--Download your archived Personal Documents on Kindle Keyboard: You can now view and download your archived personal documents to your Kindle Keyboard conveniently anywhere at any time. Your personal documents will be stored in your Kindle library until you delete them from the Manage Your Kindle page at www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle.

--Whispersync for Personal Documents on Kindle Keyboard: Just as with Kindle books, Whispersync automatically synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks and annotations for personal documents (with the exception of PDFs) across the Kindle devices. Learn more about Kindle Personal Document Service on www.amazon.com/kindlepersonaldocuments.

--AmazonLocal deals - Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers users in many regions can now view, purchase and redeem AmazonLocal deals directly from Kindle Keyboard - no computer, no printer, no hassle. AmazonLocal offers savings up to 75% off products and services from businesses in your city, national chains and online merchants. Learn more about AmazonLocal on www.amazonlocal.com.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Rambling

I'm a avid reader, to the point of obsession sometimes. But since I've had my mind on other things in my life, I really haven't been able to get back into my old reading routine. For those that have lives outside of reading, like children and spouses, this ain't nothin' but a thing. But for me this is important stuff. It sort of like suffering from a bout of insomnia. Yeah, I'm sort of worried. But just like any other dysfunction, it doesn't help to dwell on it or put added pressure on yourself into performing. Well, you know what I mean.

Anyways, here is some things I missed while I was moving and stuff.

Sookie #12 has a name and a small synopsis. Deadlocked (May 01, 2012) Sookie gets kidnapped by a man that Charlaine thought was dead, isn't?

More Lover Reborn Leakage. Okay that sounded wrong on so many levels.

Fever is not over by a long shot. First up is a trilogy featuring Dani, Christian MacKeltar, Ryodan, and the mysterious Dancer. The first book, Iced, is set to be released on Oct 30, 2012.  Then after that, two more back in the main fever world with Mac & Barrons center stage.  Additionally, it is highly likely that DreamWorks will be taking on this story for an upcoming movie project.

Drink Deep Sneak Peak and Spoilers.

Fair Game Prolugue.

Almost Human Book #5, Descendant of Darkness, gets more Snippets and we finally move a bit closer to its release, but no official date just yet.  Book #6 gets a title, Destined for Divinity.

And be sure to check out the snippet of Third Grave Dead Ahead.

And Oh how I wish I can be at this year's NY ComicCon. I would love to see some of my favorites like Patricia Briggs(Mercy Thompson), Kim Harrison, Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey), Marjorie Liu (Dirk & Steele), Jeaniene Frost (Night Huntress), Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires), & Melanie Nowak, just to name a few. Such as life.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Ramblings and Show & Tell!

I finally got around to developing all the photos I took on my last cross country drive. I sort of lost steam with picture taking around the time I hit Texas. Maybe there just wasn't that much to photograph.

Tell me if I'm wrong, but I do believe I visited a literary landmark. Wasn't the Church in Sedona, Az a setting for part of the Weather Warden books? It wasn't at all what I imagined.  I swear I read about a million different steep steps leading up to the thing.  I think I was imagining some ancient Aztec set of stairs leading to a very old looking church.  I don't want to say too much for those that haven't read the books yet, but intend to.

Anyways here is a couple that made it past the cutting floor.  The first couple are of Sedona, NV, then Hover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and US Hwy 395.  And for those that are curious, yes I'm still working on the same darn book the last couple of weeks.  Yo, I got other stuff on my mind besides reading right now, like moving.  Speaking of reading...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yep, Tangler is Down



Update II: Tangler came back up yesterday Oct 17th, but it's still loading slow for me, which is making me nervous. Hopefully it won't be crashing again anytime soon.

Update: This is the email response I received from Tangler today, regarding the issue:

Dear Steph

Thanks for your email. We greatly apologise for all the inconvenience during this protracted but temporary outage. Our network operations are hosted in the US and limited weekend resource has exacerbated the issue.

May we write to you again in 24 - 30 hours time (US PST Monday) with advice as to when users can expect the outage to be resolved.

Kind regards, Alex
Tangler Pty Ltd
************************
I have no idea why our favorite forum has been down for almost a week. It's not working for anyone it seems. I just sent a email to Tangler's listed email addy, but they are based out of Australia, so it might take some time to get a response. Here is a link to their contact info and blog, which hasn't been maintained for over a year.  http://blog.tangler.com/?page_id=8

Here is their FB Pages: http://www.facebook.com/TanglerLive?sk=wall  & http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tangler/7105450827

I'll post an update, once I learn more.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

K4-Great little Ereader, but I'm all Thumbs


I just received the new non-touch Kindle with Offers. This must be the lightest ereader that's currently being produced. Even lighter than Border's ultra light Kobo ereader. The other things that I like is that the margin spacing is utilized well, just like with the previous Kindles, as opposed to the Nook Touch I tried in the store. And while I do like that the keyboard is no longer in the way of being accidentally pressed by my hand, I don't like the excessive need to use the 5-way controller to perform any sort of action besides page turning.

I have the unfortunate luck to have been born with an abnormally large thumb on my dominate right hand. This makes it extra cumbersome to complete any task on this version, compared to the previous. The controller on this version is also a tad more flush and smaller than the K3's. And because I never had a need to use it all that much on my old Kindle, I never noticed how hard it is to use. So I either have to work on getting a phalangy surgery or train at becoming excessively skilled at ambidexterity.

And while I think this is a great ereader for the money, I don't think it's the right one for me long term. For those with petite thumbs and some patience with set-up, I think this is an excellent choice for those who love to read, travel, and don't want to spend a lot of money.

Having said all that, I plan to enjoy my new toy while I wait for the Kindle Touch.  For more IRL customer photos of this device, go here.  And here is a nice presentation/preview on the Kindle Touch.

So here is my likes:
-Extremely Light
-18% Smaller (fits in a quart sized Ziplock)
-Extra Font Choices
-New Lighter Grey Case color
(I find it blends to the background better)
-Same Page controls and a added back button on the bottom
-Same great Contrast 
(Some claim it's lighter, but I don't see it)
-Easy book transfer

I just hooked up both my Kindles to my CPU and copy/pasted the non-amazon files I wanted moved to the new one, including the .mbp files to retain book data on current reads (such as last page read and bookmarks). Accessing Amazon bought books is also a cinch, because when I registered the new Kindle, it uploaded all my archives.

Observations:
I didn't see a big change in the Page Turning Speed.  It still sort of flashes IMO.

Ad Annoyance:
Not reader specific but still truly annoying is the stupid notifications on the screen saver and home screen, when you don't turn on your wireless after a extended period of time.  It reminds you in a dialogue box that you need to connect wirelessly to download the latest Special Offers.  It's more annoying than the ads themselves and the warning box doesn't go away until I connect.  At least it doesn't flash.

What I don't like
-The "Next Page" buttons are harder to press.  (Not as loose)
-Power button is more recessed.
(Making it more difficult to press as well.)
-Controller Keyboard 
(Not conducive to big hands or thumbs)
-Takes too much time typing out words

Note: I posted the following images for those not familiar with the Kindle.  But if you've owned a Kindle, most will look very familiar.