Sunday, December 14, 2014

NQAC: Biweekly Update #5 A Kindle Fire HDX... Possessed?

You may have heard me brag about a refurbished Kindle Fire HDX during last time's Not Quite a Confession. Shortly after I posted about it, the HDX went 'down the rabbit hole' crazy. Areas of the touchscreen were completely dead, the screen would zoom in and out while my fingers weren't even touching it (as if possessed by a... hacker), and if I got it to work properly for two minutes, I was lucky. So I eventually chatted with an Amazon associate who convinced me to restore the factory settings (for the third time), and I couldn't even get through the initial setup. Long story short, I sent it back for another refurbished Kindle Fire HDX, which is performing perfectly... but I've only had it for a week.

I also chose to name this new/old HDX, in hopes it will live longer than the possessed one. I'm still holding onto my original 2013 Fire HD which may be slower (and have half the storage), but hey- it still works, thirteen months after I first bought it.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

The Martian by Andy Weir
Everyone is blogging about this book, therefore, I want to blog about it too. Plus, the blurb is pretty enticing, and a tad name-droppish:
'Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.'
I hope it is brilliantly ingenious. Or just plain ingenious. Way to raise my expectations, blurb-writer!

This cover looks better than the ebook edition cover.
The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
I actually bought another book by this author a while back, but had forgotten to add it to my invisible pile shelf. This is apparently about Nefertari, Nefertiti's niece, who later weds Ramses the Great- you know, that guy from Exodus (who is being played by a white actor in the upcoming film? Ugh). Anyways, it sounds like something I'd like to read for my Travel the World in Books Challenge, and hopefully learn a little more about Ancient Egypt (in the interest of full disclosure, I had a teacher who made us mummify an orange to learn about Egypt- because mummification is everything you need to know).

The Girl Who Came Home (A Novel of the Titanic) by Hazel Gaynor
I may not be as obsessed with the Titanic as everyone else in the world, but early 1900s history is fascinating to me and this was a very affordable ebook ($0.99 + tax). It is one of those past/present books which aren't always winners with me, but again- affordable = I must snag it for my hoard pile.

Cyber Monday Deals:

The Phoenix Guards (The Khaavren Romances #1) by Steven Brust
A fantasy version of the Three Musketeers, that I've heard good things about but have never found in my thrifty book searches. And the man on the cover in front of the phoenix is all 'en garde!' which kind of displays the book's title perfectly without having to read it.

Lilith's Brood (Xenogenesis #1-3) by Octavia E. Butler
Synopsis from Goodreads:
'Lilith Iyapo is in the Andes, mourning the death of her family, when war destroys Earth. Centuries later, she is resurrected -- by miraculously powerful unearthly beings, the Oankali. Driven by an irresistible need to heal others, the Oankali are rescuing our dying planet by merging genetically with mankind. But Lilith and all humanity must now share the world with uncanny, unimaginably alien creatures: their own children. This is their story...'
I had to buy one of Octavia E. Butler's trilogies because I haven't read anything of hers and she sounds like an interesting author. Lilith's Brood beat out the other set in ratings, and the summary was more intriguing to me.

The Sun Wolf and Starhawk Series: The Ladies of Mandrigyn, The Witches of Wenshar, and The Dark Hand of Magic (Sun Wolf and Starhawk #1-3) by Barbara Hambly
Synopsis for the first book, The Ladies of Mandrigyn, from Goodreads:
'When the women of the City of Mandrigyn, led by Sheera Galernas, hired the mercenary army of Captain Sun Wolf, to help them rescue their men from the mines of evil, he refused. Little did he realize how insistent the ladies could be, and how far they would go to persuade him to train them against the evil of Altiokis....'
I'm always looking for more fantasy books by female authors, as female authors are generally the ones I like more. And also, there is less chance of sexism and female characters being extant or simply in the background. Seriously- in some fantasy books they are relegated to the broodmare/happy homemaker category and rarely seen beyond the kitchen, healing chamber, or harem. That's not what I want to read about, so female authors in fantasy are a must.

Currently Reading:
A Passage of Stars (Highroad Trilogy #1) by Kate Elliot
Kind of a quirky sci-fi: a robot named Bach and a tattooed street urchin named Paisley are both sidekick-type characters.

The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber
I actually am not currently reading this, but will be in January. I want the book fresh in my mind for when I write the review

And I'm considering reading another of my TBR Lottery Picks, but I'm trying to squeeze in as many books as I can before 2014 ends. I really liked the second book of the Kate Daniels series, so I may pick up the next in the series Magic... Something. I'm sorry, but the titles for the series may be hard to remember in order- at least I know it starts with Magic.

*Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews
So far I love it. I'm highlighting every other quip for posterity. I started it last night after I finished this post, and I'm already 40% through.

Finished These Books:
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) by Ilona Andrews
This was better than the first book- Kate makes me laugh with her observations, and even though it starts slow, it builds. This is probably my favorite new urban fantasy series this year... sorry Dresden.

The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter (The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #1) by Rod Duncan
This is steampunk that treads the line between YA and Adult- people have shelved it as both on Goodreads. I really liked this one- to the point I almost gave it five stars. An unexpected gem that's easily devourable (I almost read it in one sitting) and has a plausible crossdressing scenario.

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles #1) by Anne Rice
The vampire doth wax poetic eternally. It took me a long time to read this, and although the characters were awesome, they were also a bit... moody. You wouldn't think vampires as being too emotional, but Louis kind of was. Still a solid four star read, but... I may have liked The Wolf Gift (another four star read) better. And everyone hates on that book.

In the Blogosphere:

Haley of My Addiction: Books writes a scathing DNF review of Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck, something I never plan on reading, despite one of my favorite animals gracing the cover.

Kristen of BookNAround guest posts on I'm Lost in Books's Holiday Extravaganza about the stressors of the season quite snarkily. It made me grin.

Karina of I, fat robot reviews The Queen of the Tearling, which I'm hoping to read in January, and her take on it gives me hope that I'll like it too.

La La of (Fa La La) La La in the Library posts her Tell Me Tuesday about a rather disheartening author encounter on Twitter. I guess I don't believe in writing just for the money, maybe because I've been writing books ten years simply for my own entertainment.

In My Life:

Nothing much has happened with me, other than my dogs getting a photo op for the holiday card I made, in addition to my guest post on I'm Lost in Books about crafting bookish ornaments, both of which can be found here.

I did manage to put a few ornaments on my tree, which sort of reflects my color scheme for this blog:

That's actually a nice size tree, but with the ceilings being so tall downstairs it looks sort of small. I couldn't find blue tinsel to match the color of the ornaments within my budget, so last year I picked up some cheap purple/silver tinsel. With our living room being profusely yellow (not the best color for me), the purple probably works better than blue anyhow.

Also, I may be headed back to Montana for Christmas, which is a feat with two dogs and no one to stay with. Hopefully I will be able to stop by my favorite thrift shops there for books, as where I'm at in Idaho doesn't have much selection. I'm not sure I'll be around much on the blog during Christmas/New Year's weeks, but it depends on how exhausted I get during my travels.

Did anyone else get good deals on books during Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales? What are your plans for the holidays?


  1. Oh gosh the Martian! I'm reading that one right now and loving it! Watney is a fantastic narrator and I'm loving all the humor peppered into everything. Good pick and I hope you enjoy it!

    As for Interview with the Vampire Louis really is moody! He's one of my favorite characters from the Vampire chronicles, but even I chuckle when he's mentioned in later books as still brooding and hiding from civilization. Most of the rest of the series follows Lestat along with some other books in between that detail the backgrounds of other characters. I personally recommend Blood and Gold (back story for Marius, one of the best characters).

    For Cyber Monday deals I picked up a few books from Amazon which I had listed in my November Wrap Up post. There were so many deals last month I picked up so many. x_x

    Otherwise for the holidays I'm going to be spending it with family and my new boyfriend, who I'll be moving out with and getting an apartment hopefully next month! So the holidays are really exciting for me actually. :)

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday!!

    1. Yes, the Martian- everyone seems to rave about it, so I picked it up. Also the cover art is amazing.
      I would say I probably understood Lestat more than Louis because Lestat does as he pleases, even if the results aren't what he expects. As for the rest of the Vampire Chronicles, I'll have to keep an eye out for them- it seems like whenever I buy something full price, I find it for two bucks at a thrift store.
      For Cyber Monday, I only allowed myself ten dollars to spend. Otherwise, the-invisible-pile would now have twice as many books as I picked up then.
      Enjoy your holidays, and as always, thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)
      ~Litha Nelle

  2. Haha Anne Rice and her moody vampires yes! LOL gosh its been ages since I read those. I need to get to the Kate Daniels series. But I just started Gail Carrigers Parasol Protectorate! Which i loved the first book of.

    I want to get into reading the Bullet Catcher's Daughter - I had started it one day and then set it aside for another higher priority book but I hears its a gem not to be missed. ahh and I keep meaning to try Kate ElliotT!

    1. I am so addicted to the Kate Daniels series that I've read almost three in a row- it's crazy. I've heard a lot of good things about the Parasol Protectorate, and it's set in the Victorian era, so I must get to it at some point.

      The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter was a lot better than I expected it to be, steampunk being not my usual choice of genre. It seems I've started an unofficial collection of Kate Elliott, having 4+ of hers I haven't read yet on my shelf: sci-fi as well as fantasy (her Crown of Stars series). I admire authors who work in two of my favorite genres.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Tabitha!
      ~Litha Nelle


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