Category Archives: book shopping

Chasing Tale for September 29th, 2011: Ray Bradbury, Shock Totem, Sarah Waters …

Where the heck did summer go? Man, that was fast. Oh well, autumn is my time to shine, as opposed to summer which is my time to swelter. This time of year is great for another reason: Halloween!
I don’t go crazy over Halloween, but it is a very cool holiday when you think about it. As a kid, you get to disguise yourself and prowl the neighborhood with friends and extort junk food from strangers. Try that any other day of the year and you’ll be labeled a delinquent. And as a man, you get one day of the year to dress up as your favorite Sailor Moon character without that specter of shame hovering over you at the supermarket. Did I write Sailor Moon? I meant Iron Man–yeah, Iron Man.
Kids have to be careful these days, though. The streets are dangerous with bullies and pedophiles, and apparently apple juice if Dr. Oz has anything to say about it. It was a safer time back in my day, when the worst I had to worry about was a razorblade in my candy apple. Ah, memories.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury – I’ve wanted this one for a while, mentioning it way back in Wish List Wednesday #52, and actually found a copy at a used-book shop. I’ve seen plenty of copies of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, but this was the first copy of Something Wicked I’ve ever seen on a store shelf. About f–king time if you ask me. And I do believe this will be my Halloween read this year.

Lockdown: Escape from Furnace by A. Gordon Smith – I recently hosted a giveaway with this book as the prize courtesy of Macmillian Publishing. I’ve had it on my wish list since last year, since YA horror doesn’t seem to be as prevalent as I’d care to see. I finally received my review copy in the mail, so I’ll have to tear into it soon.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters – I mentioned this book in WLW #74 and actually had a chance to borrow it earlier in the year, but I still wanted my own copy. Thankfully, I found a hardcover copy of it at the annual library book sale. It was the only one of the few books I bought that I had on my watch list, the rest I just grabbed at random and got out there due to the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. I hate crowds, so I count myself lucky to have gotten one book I wanted.
Shock Totem #4 edited by K. Allen Wood – I won a signed copy of Shock Totem’s fourth issue from Lee Thompson, one of its contributing authors, and a rising name in horror. I recently read and reviewed the inaugural issue of Shock Totem, which was first published back in 2009. And that issue really got my taste buds craving more of the macabre. I suspect this will satiate my appetite … for a little while. I’ve already read a couple of the stories (Lee’s included), and this issue might be even better than the first.
That’s what’s new on my bookshelf. What did you add to yours?


Filed under Alexander Gordon Smith, book shopping, books won, Chasing Tale, Lee Thompson, Ray Bradbury, review copies, Sarah Waters, Shock Totem

It’s Buy a Book Day! Did YOU Buy a Book Today?

Philip Athans, over at Grasping for the Wind, clued me in to a special occasion for today: Buy a Book Day!
If you’ve got a bookstore in your neck of the woods, especially an independent bookstore, today’s the day to pay them a visit. And, if you’re like me, it’s probably been a few months since you’ve set foot in a bookstore–not counting used-book shops.
Thanks to Book Depository, Smashwords, and Amazon‘s Kindle Store, online book shopping has been shamefully convenient–and a lot cheaper thanks to a bounty of bargains. But, there’s a personal experience to visiting a brick-and-mortar store that you just don’t get from clicking on a “Buy” button.
For one thing, there are actual people you can interact with as you browse. Maybe you already know what book you want, but when you are looking for something to jump out at you, yet you don’t exactly know where to turn, there’s usually someone working in that store that can offer an opinion and make a few recommendations. And, more often than not, those recommendations work out a wee bit better than Amazon’s “People who bought this also bought …” feature.
There’s also the simple, tactile experience of holding a book in your hands. Inside a bookstore, you can pick up a book, flip through its pages, even feel the weight of it. The books are tangible items. Online, you may as well see each book behind a glass case as if in a fish tank behind a velvet rope. Imagine buying a pet or groceries that way. If books are impersonal, disposable items for you, it’s no big deal, but readers often build attachments, even relationships, with the stories we read. And, those bonds with books are made all the stronger from those initial contacts we make by physically holding them. Sounds kind of weird to put it like that, I’ll admit, but am I wrong?
When I go to the bookstore, I won’t really know ahead of time what book I’ll get. I have a wish list a mile long, but there are no huge bookstores where I live, so the shelf space is limited. It’ll be unreasonable to expect many, if any, dark fiction titles I have my eye on to be shelved. So, I’m counting on finding a book I might otherwise not consider to jump out at me. I’ve discovered some very entertaining books that way. And, if that doesn’t work, I’m sure there’s someone there who can point me in the right direction.
Wish me luck. Bookstores are closing every day around the world. We need to support them. Why? Well, imagine a world without them. That’s a cringe-inducing prospect.


Filed under book shopping, buy a book day, Grasping for the Wind

Chasing Tale for August 31st, 2011: Emma Donaghue, Richard Kadrey, Lucy A. Snyder …

There is something wrong with Canada Post. That’s the only conclusion I can come to, because an unusually high number of books addressed to me are not showing up in my mailbox. I ordered a book from Book Depository back in April and it never arrived until this month. Book Depository had to mail the book three times before I got that one copy. As you’ll see, I received a few books in the mail, but there are even more that I should have received by now. And it seems I’m not the only one having trouble with Canada Post, because all you have to do is search #canadapost on Twitter and you’ll see a litany of similar complaints from people and businesses.
Now, I don’t blame the postal workers. I blame the people signing their paychecks, because they’re the ones that locked those workers out in June and basically brought mail delivery to a screeching halt across the country. Then, once the postal workers were brought back on the job, they were left with the task of making up for lost time and weren’t permitted sufficient overtime–I don’t think they received any overtime at all, frankly. There are a ton of packages and letters sitting in some kind of limbo now, and there’s no real guarantee those items will ever get to their destinations.
I remember Canada Post touting how it was a profitable and efficient business. This year, I’m left to wonder how that is possibly true, as I take each successfully mailed book to be its own small miracle.
Bah, enough of my bellyaching. Let’s see what book actually did appear in my mailbox:
King Maker by Maurice Broaddus – I won this from Bryan Schmidt who oversees Twitter #SFFWRTCHT, which is a sci-fi/fantasy chat for writers/readers every week on Twitter. I’ve already read and reviewed the sequel to this book, King’s Justice, and despite enjoying the book I felt like I’d appreciate it better if I read King Maker. Now I’ve got a copy at my disposal.
Room by Emma Donoghue – I’m hard-pressed to think of a book that was talked about more in literary circles last year as Room. While I am an unabashed genre fan, I do enjoy the literary side of things, and there is enough quirkiness to the premise of this book to intrigue me. So I consider myself fortunate to have won this copy from Redneck Girl.

Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar by Clay & Susan Griffith – I entered a trivia contest at the start of July, hosted by the podcasts, I Should Be Writing, SF Signal, and Adventures in SciFi Publishing. And, hey, I won something from Pyr Books. It’s an alternate history tale with some sci-fi, fantasy, and horror elements thrown in, and it looks really promising.

Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey – I have been looking forward to this one ever since I read Sandman Slim. The first book offers a great blend of urban fantasy with horror, and I suspect an equally rewarding experience with this novel. I talked about it a bit in Wish List Wednesday #88, and I have a strong feeling the third book in the series, Aloha from Hell, will be on my wish list in due time.
Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder – I took Book Depository three tries to mail this book to me, but it finally arrived. Nobody bats a thousand, I guess. Anyway, I mentioned my interest in this book back in Wish List Wednesday #83, and it’s nice to finally have it added to my to-be-read pile.
Cinema of Shadows by Michael West Seventh Star Press has been branching out with a few new authors and novels over the last year, but this is the first instance I can recall where a novel has been all-out horror. Michael West’s novel about a haunted theater and the paranormal investigators who skulk through it one night ought to be a fun read, as I’m a big fan of ghost stories.
And those are the books that arrived in August. What gems did you find in your mailbox this past month?


Filed under Book Depository, book shopping, books won, Chasing Tale, Emma Donaghue, Lucy A. Snyder, Maurice Broaddus, Michael West, Richard Kadrey

Chasing Tale (Digital Edition) August 16th, 2011: Robert J. Duperre, Mark Hodder, Lisa Mannetti …

I wonder how much longer we have to wait before we get a universal format for e-books. I mean, how long did it take for Bluray to beat out HD DVD? Not long, I’ll bet, since I’m probably the only one left who even remembers HD DVD. Amazon has things pretty much locked down with the Kindle formats, but those other formats just aren’t going anywhere it seems. So, if these people refuse to pick one format and run with it, then I want an e-reader that’s going to read all the formats. How hard can that be? If Kindle could read an EPUB file, it’s be case closed. Am I wrong?

Jaded Mistress by Gary Charles – I caught a special offer via Shaun Jeffrey on Twitter, where Gary was giving away this novel on Smashwords for a limited time. I like free, so I gave it a peak, and considering it’s a retelling of the Medusa myth from her point of view, I figured I could take a chance on it.

Silas by Robert J. Duperre – Robert will be stopping by the blog on September 9th as part of his blog tour. I was provided a review copy of his novel, though I’m doubtful I’ll be able to read it by then. But, given its speculative fiction involving a dog, I’m definitely interested in reading it eventually.

The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder – Mark won the Phillip K. Dick Award for this novel not too long ago. I’ve read a couple good reviews for it already, so when I saw it on sale for two bucks on the Kindle Store, I got it.

The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn by Lisa Mannetti – Lisa has a new novel out, but this one is a departure from haunting historical fiction. Two cats, the resurrected embodiments of Tom and Huck. What? Yeah, this should be interesting.

The First Tale by Icy Sedgwick – After I won a writing competition at the Feckless Goblin, I found out the story judge has a couple books for sale on the Kindle Store, so I bought this 99 cent novella to test the waters.

Shock Totem #1 edited by K. Allen Wood Shock Totem has their first issue online as an e-book finally, just as issue #4 comes out in print this summer. And at only a couple bucks, it was an easy purchase for some quality short fiction.

So what interesting e-books have you found lately?


Filed under book shopping, Chasing Tale, Gary Charles, Icy Sedgwick, Kindle Store, Lisa Mannetti, Mark Hodder, Robert J. Duperre

Chasing Tale (August 4th, 2011): Alex Bledsoe, Christa Faust, Gary McMahon …

I found out in July that my favorite online bookstore, The Book Depository, was bought out by Amazon. Since then, book prices at Book Depository have been going up. If they get rid of the free worldwide shipping and Paypal payment method … well, I think Amazon will have effectively quashed their competition, not just acquired it.

And Amazon, despite their best efforts, ain’t the only show in town. Not yet, anyway.

While I got a couple of bargains from Book Depository, I also won a couple books over the last couple of months that turned up in my mailbox.

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe – I won an ARC copy of this book from Alex, a promising fantasy/horror novel coming out in October through Tor, about a Iraq war veteran who returns to her hometown in Tennessee, followed by an ominous spirit, and receives dire omens. I’ve got one of Alex’s novels on my wish list, a vampire tale called Blood Groove, so until I get my hands on that one, I’m pleased to have a chance to read his newest work.

Money Shot by Christa Faust – After reading a couple recommendations for a book called Chokehold, I did some Googling and discovered it was a sequel to this book. After checking out the cover and the pitch for it, I couldn’t resist. A porn star out for revenge? Yup. I’m gonna get a kick out of this one.

Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock – Teresa wrote a guest blog post in July titled, “Wicked WomenRule,” as part of her blog tour to promote this novel. I’ve since received a signed copy for review and will be diving into it very soon.

The Concrete Grove by Gary McMahon – I won this book via a giveaway hosted by The Lucky Ladybug. Considering the good reviews this author has gotten for previous works, I am very interested to see how good this one is, which is supposed to be the first in a trilogy (or series).

Mistification by Kaaron Warren – Every once in a while a story about a magician will captivate me. Peter Straub’s Shadowland and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter being to prime examples. So, when I heard about this book, which was released earlier in the summer, I put it on my wish list and was fortunate enough to win a copy from Ruth over at My Devotional Thoughts.

Loss of Separation by Conrad Williams – At the start of the year, I highlighted five anticipated horrornovels for 2011, which included this one. As it stands, this will be the first of those five that I’ll get to read. Conrad Williams is an author whose work gets recommended now and again, but is also one of those authors that doesn’t get any real estate on the shelves of bookstores in my neck of the woods.

So, that’s what came in this month.

Where do you go online when you shop for books? Are there any websites you refuse to buy from?


Filed under Alex Bledsoe, Amazon, Book Depository, book shopping, Chasing Tale, Christa Faust, Conrad Williams, Gary McMahon, Kaaron Warren, Teresa Frohock

Chasing Tale (Digital Edition) July 28, 2011: Ray Banks, Lee Goldberg, Layton Green …

There are a few reasons I enjoy reading novellas. One reason is that they’re just long enough to read off a computer screen without that feeling my eyeballs are going to melt–especially since I spend so much time in a day looking at a computer screen anyway. Another reason is that they are idyllic for a quiet evening, or if you’re going to be someplace doing next to nothing for an hour or two (hospital waiting rooms spring to mind).
And another added bonus is that novellas are a great length for testing out new authors. Like that novella by Tom Piccirilli I reviewed a couple days ago, Every Shallow Cut. If you’ve never read his work before, that is a great place to start, because it’s a superb story and will take you no time at all to read it.
Some folks love those giant moose-stunner novels. You know the ones. The kind of books, especially the hardcovers, that feel like you’re reading stone tablets. They’re not my cup of tea, though they’d probably be more palatable with an e-reader. But, for me, I’m turning into a novella lover more and more. I downloaded a couple of them this past month, and I’ve found they sneak their way up the reading pile quicker than novel length works.
Let’s take a look:
Gun by Ray Banks – Right after the Fourth of July weekend, I started seeing a few authors on Twitter hyping the availability of a free novella called Gun. Free is in my price range, so I got myself a copy from Ray. I get the feeling it’s about a gun, but I could be wrong.
Jinn Nation by Caroline Barnard-Smith Caroline asked if I’d care to take part in her blog tour, which will be swinging by this blog in mid-August, as well as review her new dark fantasy novel. I’m still bogged down in review commitments, but she was generous enough to offer a review copy anyway. It may be 2012 by the time I read it, though.

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes – I was trolling through the Kindle Store last week and stumbled across Lauren’s novel, which was being promoted by Amazon’s The Big Deal promotion. Only 99 cents at the time for an award-winning title. Eff yeah.

Die Lover Die by Lee Goldberg Lee sent me one of his novelettes for review. It’s a ten thousand word powder keg by the looks of it, so it ought to make for a fun evening some time late in the summer. It’s associated with the Top Suspense group I’ve seen Lee and other authors promoting this year. Not a bad way to get the word out.
The Egyptian by Layton Green Green’s previous novel, The Summoner, was one of those novels I didn’t expect to enjoy quite as much as I did. So, Layton has provided me with a review copy of its sequel. The review for this one ought to appear in late August, presumably, but don’t hold me to that.
Peter the Wolf by Zoe E. Whitten Zoe seems like the kind of author who enjoys quirk. She’s written zombie erotica, even a pair of novellas through Belfire Press called The Life and Death of a Sex Doll. Not too sure what this dark fantasy is about, but I’ll bet there’s some quirk to it.
How about you? Do you have a preference on story length? Anything good that you’ve downloaded recently that you would recommend to a guy like me?


Filed under book shopping, Caroline Barnard-Smith, Chasing Tale, e-books, Layton Green, Lee Goldberg, Ray Banks

Chasing Tale in June: Victor Gischler, Duane Swierczynski, Kaaron Warren …

There was a postal strike in June up here in Canada so my mailbox collected nothing but dust for the last three weeks. I got a hunch the next Chasing Tale blog post will have a lot of books due to what’s out there in mail room limbo still trying to find its way to me. Before the postal workers got locked out by management though, I did get a few books to add to my to-be-read pile.

Shotgun Opera by Victor Gischler – In Wish List Wednesday #92, I mentioned a novel by Victor Gischler called Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse. The title says it all. Well, I haven’t added that one to my shelf yet, but I did manage to snag a copy of this crime novel about a man and his nephew warding off a slew of assassins on his farm. If I like this book half as much as I love Gischler’s flare for book titles, then I’m gonna love it. Available via: Book Depository and Amazon.

Off Season by Jack Ketchum – I won this paperback courtesy of Martha’s Bookshelf. I’ve read three Ketchum novels so far (She Wakes, The Girl Next Door, The Woman), so when a chance arises to get my hands on another one, for free at that, I’m happy.

Though Not Dead by Dana Stabenow Donna Freedman hosted a big giveaway on her blog a while back, in which she was giving away a slew of prizes from sponsors. I entered and wound up winning a signed hardcover edition of this Kate Shugak novel. I’ve never read Stabenow’s work before, but the cover and premise for this book are enticing. And, considering she mailed it all the way from her neck of the woods in Alaska, I will certainly make it a point to read this book sooner rather than later, as well to share it with any mystery lovers in the family. Available via: Amazon and Book Depository.

Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski – I mentioned this novel back in Wish List Wednesday #46, and after I was wowed by Swierczynski’s Fun and Games which I reviewed a few weeks ago, I knew I had to read more of his work. I first became aware of his work when Brian Keene listed this novel as one of his favorite novels from 2009. A good enough recommendation for me, and wouldn’t you know I managed to finally get myself a copy. Available via: Amazon and Book Depository.

Slights by Kaaron Warren Wish List Wednesday #94 had me expressing interest in this title. I got it and was a bit surprised at how hefty it is, weighing in close to five-hundred pages, but that’s of no consequent really since the premise is so damned intriguing. I’m not one who normally expresses any kind of brand loyalty towards publishers, but like Chizine Publications and Belfire Press, I’m consistently impressed by the quality of stories coming from Angry Robot Books. I suspect this one will be no exception. Available via: Amazon and Book Depository.

So, what have you added to your book collection lately?


Filed under Book Depository, book shopping, Chasing Tale, Dana Stabenow, Duane Swierczynski, Jack Ketchum, Kaaron Warren, Victor Gischler