Monday, July 21, 2014

What Did You Eat Yesterday? (manga, vol. 1) by Fumi Yoshinaga, translated by Maya Rosewood

What Did You Eat Yesterday? is a slice-of-life and food manga. It's published by Vertical.

Review:

I've had this on my “To Buy” list ever since I saw it was by Fumi Yoshinaga. The price was a bit steep considering the thinness of the volume, but I've learned that Yoshinaga's stuff is usually worth it for me.

Shiro Kakei is a lawyer who loves to cook. Every day, he leaves work as soon as he can, so he can hunt down the best grocery bargains and make good meals for himself and his boyfriend, Kenji Yabuki. He and Kenji seem like complete opposites. Whereas Shiro is a saver, Kenji's a spender. Everyone at the salon Kenji works at knows he's gay and has a boyfriend. Shiro's still in the closet at his workplace.

This volume has eight chapters showing aspects of and events in Shiro and Kenji's daily lives. In every chapter, Shiro makes something delicious, thinking about the process and the ingredients as he does so. The chapters each end with a bit of cooking-related advice or a recipe. The translator converted all the temperatures and measurements so that they'd be even easier for Americans to follow. Part of me wished that I had easy access to all the ingredients Shiro mentioned, but I suspect I'd be too chicken to try making any of the meals included in this book. I'm primarily a baker for a reason – I don't do “add a dash of this and a pinch of that, and then let it simmer until X has happened.” I need exact instructions, at least the first few times around, or I'm a nervous wreck.

For the most part, it was nice getting a peek into these characters' lives. If I had to state an overarching theme for this volume, it'd be “The process of cooking a good meal lets you emotionally reset yourself.” Or at least that's the case for Shiro and, to a certain extent, Kenji, as the recipient of those meals. Some of the chapters showed stressful moments in their lives, but Shiro's daily cooking ritual managed to calm things down.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Paratwa (book) by Christopher Hinz

The Paratwa is a science fiction book, the third in Hinz's Paratwa Saga. I got it via interlibrary loan.

This review contains enormous spoilers. I've included another warning just before they start.

I've opted not to list any read-alikes. If you'd like some, you can check out my post for Liege-Killer. Just be warned that they don't entirely work as read-alikes for this book.

Review:

I really liked Liege-Killer, the first book in this trilogy. The pacing was great, and I enjoyed the sci-fi mystery and suspense aspects. Ash Ock, the second book, wasn't as good, but I reminded myself that it was the second book in a trilogy, and Hinz probably needed to do some setup for the events of the third book. Now that I've read the third book, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to stop at Book 1.

This book was incredibly painful to get through. For long stretches, all anyone seemed to do was sit around and talk. Timmy, Susan's mentor, lectured Susan, Gillian, and Empedocles about Sappho's origins, motives, and plans for almost 100 pages. Information necessary for certain scenes to make sense wasn't revealed for hundreds of pages. For example, the Os/Ka/Loq were mentioned long before they were explained, and the phrase “This kascht reeks of the lacking” was overused before it even meant anything to me.

The other reasons why I didn't like this book are almost entirely enormous spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Protector of the Small: First Test (book) by Tamora Pierce

First Test is a YA (middle grade? I've seen it marked as both) fantasy school story. It's the first in Pierce's Protector of the Small Quartet, and part of her Tortall universe.

My read-alikes list is the same one I used in my First Test audiobook post from several years ago, because I am lazy.

Review:

I almost burst into tears when I finished this book. My reaction took me by surprise because I've read First Test at least four or five times. It shouldn't still affect me like this, but it does. It's a fairly simple story, but I love it so very much, and I adore Kel.

The only thing I can recall being interested in when I was younger that was "for boys only" was comics. There was this comic shop right near my high school that I used to go to during my lunch period. It had a fabulous bargain section, perfect for someone just starting out and still trying to figure out their tastes. I'd buy something every week or two and put up with the grumpy guy who owned the place. Except I eventually figured out he wasn't grumpy with everyone, just me. He was nice and helpful towards adults and teenage boys, while I got lectured about the way I touched the comics, or about being in the store too long without buying something. After a while, I stopped buying individual comics and just read graphic novels, which I could get at bookstores or libraries. No more grumpy comic shop guy.

Kel dealt with a lot more than just lectures. After Alanna the Lioness became the first female knight (by spending several years pretending to be a boy), it was proclaimed that girls could become pages. Ten years later, Keladry of Mindelan became the first girl to request to become a page. Her request was granted, but, to satisfy Lord Wyldon, the hidebound training master, she was put on probation for a year.

Like I said, this story was pretty simple. There were no “dark political intrigue” subplots, just “can Kel make it through her training and be accepted back next year?” She had an uphill battle. The boys wrecked her room, hardly anyone wanted to be her sponsor, and bullies picked on her whenever the teachers weren't looking. No one expected her to be around next year.

Of Swine and Roses (e-short story) by Ilona Andrews

Of Swine and Roses is a short, self-published fantasy (urban fantasy?) story. It's only 20 pages long on my Nook.

No read-alikes for this one. It'd probably take me longer to come up with the list than it did to read the story.

Review:

Alena Koronov reluctantly agrees to go on a date with Chad Thurman after her mother tells her it will increase their family's chances of getting a desperately needed loan. The date goes badly and ends with Alena covered in clay and coal dust, in possession of a pig, and possibly in trouble with the Thurman family. But even bad dates can have some good consequences.

I bought this a long time ago, I think from All Romance Ebooks, although it doesn't appear to be for sale there anymore. It's such a short story that I'm not really sure what I can say about it without spoiling things.

The world was filled with magical family politics that was so sensitive a teenager's date could make or break an alliance. I liked Alena and was glad things turned out well for her in the end. This was a quick, cute read with a resolution that reminded me a little of a fairy tale.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Promise of Romance (book) by Kyoko Akitsu, illustrations by Tooko Miyagi, English translation by Translation By Design

A Promise of Romance is m/m romance. It's published by Digital Manga Publishing and Taiyoh Tosho Publishing.

Review:

The first two thirds of this were better than I expected. The writing wasn't great, and details about English culture tended to be clumsily inserted, but the translation was fairly smooth and easy to follow. There were only a couple instances of misused commas and confusing pronoun usage. The premise was silly, but I was fine with that. Then one particular scene happened, and it ruined everything.

Edward, an English nobleman, is in a bind. If he doesn't get married before he turns 26, he'll lose control of the family estate and fortune. He doesn't actually mind this, because he figures his cousin Gordon (who'll get control of everything) will take care of him. However, others are planning on forcing him to get married, so he concocts a plan. He'll find the woman to whom he gave the family ring, pay her to marry him just long enough for him to secure his inheritance, and then pay her to divorce him. The situation becomes more complicated when he learns that the woman has already died and left the ring in the hands of Satsuki, a Japanese theater student. Eventually, Edward convinces Satsuki to dress as a woman and pretend to be his fiancee, in exchange for the equivalent of $600 a day.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Snakecharm (book) by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Snakecharm is YA fantasy. I got it via interlibrary loan.

Review:

I finished this a month ago but didn't get around to reviewing it until now.

This is the second book in Atwater-Rhodes' Kiesha'ra series. The peace between the serpiente and the avians is still holding, at least until Danica is pronounced pregnant. Avian and serpiente cultures are very different. Will the baby be raised as an avian or as a serpiente? Will Zane and Danica's people be able to put up with a future leader who is half serpiente, half avian?

Further trouble arrives in the form of Syfka, a falcon. Syfka is looking for a falcon criminal, who is probably using falcon magic to hide amongst the serpiente or the avians. Although she demands that the criminal be found, she refuses to say anything about what the falcon might look like or what crime he or she committed. Among the falcons, simply cursing in the Empress's presence is considered a crime punishable by being tortured to death. Zane and Danica want Syfka gone but are worried they might send an innocent person (according to avian and serpiente laws) to their death. Unfortunately, the longer Syfka stays, the likelier it becomes that she'll learn of Danica's pregnancy. Falcons value children, but only if they are pure bloods.

I liked the first book in the series, Hawksong. Unfortunately, Snakecharm didn't work nearly as well for me. While I was interested in finding out the identity of the secret falcon and the crime he or she committed, there were so many things in this book that did not add up.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Spice & Wolf, Vol. 2 (book) by Isuna Hasekura, illustrated by Jyuu Ayakura

Spice & Wolf vol. 2 is a fantasy novel set in a world much like Europe in the Middle Ages. I dislike the cover image I'm using in my post, but, thankfully, Yen Press wised up. This more "realistic" image is a dust jacket - underneath is a manga/anime-style cover.

Review:

The first volume of Spice & Wolf was one of the better light novels I've read. I finally decided to read the second volume. If you've seen the anime: the second half of season 1 covers the events of this volume. It's been long enough since I last saw the show that I'm not entirely sure which details differ, but the general events are the same.

Holo and Lawrence are still traveling together, and, with Holo's help, Lawrence is able to get a really good deal on a wagon-load of armor. Lawrence knows that, at this time of year, armor sells pretty well at their next stop, Ruvinheigen, and the money would bring him one step closer to his dream, settling down and opening a shop.

Then things turn very sour. Lawrence learns that his wagon-load of armor is now worth one tenth what he'd estimated. He has two days to repay his debt to the Remelio Company, which is itself close to bankruptcy because of armor's sudden drop in value. The guild Lawrence is associated with can't lend him money, and neither can other guild members. If he can't repay his debt, he'll be sold into slavery. Holo could transform into a wolf and help him escape the city, but his life as a merchant would be over and he would be on the run forever.

A good chunk of my description could be considered a spoiler, because Lawrence doesn't find out the bad news about the armor until halfway through the volume. That was one of the things I didn't like about this book: the pacing. Although the introduction of Norah, the shepherdess, was necessary, and it was nice to see Holo and Lawrence bickering and flirting, I wish Hasekura could have tightened all that up. The first half of the book was a bit of a slog for me, as I waited for something to actually happen. The second half was much more exciting.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Evans Above (e-book) by Rhys Bowen

Evans Above is a cozy mystery. I checked it out via Open Library.

Review:

According to my records, I've skipped around in this series. I previously read the fifth and tenth books in the series. With Evans Above, I'm finally getting around to reading the first.

Bowen's Constable Evans series takes place in a small village in Wales called Llanfair. Constable Evan Evans is a relatively new addition to the village, having left his original position in a bigger city. He prefers living a quieter life, even though the village squabbles and attempts to set him up with eligible ladies sometimes get on his nerves. However, just because Llanfair is quieter doesn't mean it's crime-free.

In this book, Evans finds himself dealing with a couple dead hikers. While Evans' boss thinks their deaths are just a tragic coincidence, Evans isn't so sure. Even after he learns that both men were in the Army, however, he still can't quite make things fit. Meanwhile, Evans' superiors are busy with a high-profile case involving child molestation and murder, and one of Llanfair's residents is convinced her neighbor is spying on her and trying to ruin her garden.

Nine Goblins (e-novella) by T. Kingfisher

Nine Goblins is a self-published fantasy story. It's 41,730 words long.

Review:

I learned about this one when M.C.A. Hogarth posted some lovely fan art of a couple of the characters. However, T. Kingfisher is a pen name for Ursula Vernon, who is a friend of Hogarth's, so I initially passed Nine Goblins by. It's maybe not fair of me, but I tend to assume that rose-colored glasses are in play when authors recommend works written by their friends. Then I heard that Sings-to-Trees was an elven veterinarian, a very tempting detail. I tried the excerpt, liked it, and bought the whole thing. I'm so glad I did. This novella was wonderful, and I really hope the author publishes more works set in this world.

The story starts off split between two sets of characters: Sergeant Nessilka and her goblin troops, and Sings-to-Trees and his various patients. Goblins have been at war with humans and elves for some time, mostly because they don't have much of a choice. When humans moved into goblin lands, the goblins, preferring to avoid conflict, moved out. Eventually, though, there were no other places they could move. A few disagreements and misunderstandings later, and the war began. The elves joined in as allies of the humans.

When Sergeant Nessilka and eight of her troops accidentally end up trapped behind enemy lines, her goal is to get everyone safely home. Although Sings-to-Trees is technically an enemy, he's a very unusual elf. He's more concerned with taking care of his animal patients than with the war, and he has fond memories of the goblins that used to live near his home. He might be able to help, but first he and the goblins have to deal with whatever is mysteriously emptying out nearby farmhouses and villages before it gets them too.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Jokka Coloring Book (book) art and setting by M.C.A. Hogarth

I recently bought M.C.A. Hogarth's The Jokka Coloring Book, so of course I had to get myself some crayons. I went all out and got a box of 120 different colors, because why not? This post includes my first two attempts at using them. My favorite is the first picture. My scarlet crayon is magical.

It feels a little odd to review a coloring book, but I try to review as much of my entertainment as possible, so here goes. This book has 22 pages total (counting the title page, which has a small picture you could color). There are 17 full-page line drawings, two of which I've shown here.

Four pages are informational or activity pages. One page has a couple paragraphs on the three Jokka sexes (neuter, female, and male), plus illustrations of each. One page has information about coloring the Jokka, which basically boils down to “have fun, and color them however you want.” There are a couple small line drawings on that page as well. The last page identifies which characters in the coloring book pages come from specific Jokka stories. (ETA: Whoops, forgot one! There's also an activity page where you can write your name using the Jokka alphabet.)

The character page and info on Jokka sexes made me want to try these stories and books, so they're now on my TBR. The coloring book itself has been fun to use, and I've been getting a kick out of sorting through my crayons and selecting colors (“almond,” “pink sherbert,” “unmellow yellow,” and so many more!). My only complaint is that some parts of the illustrations are so tiny, and my crayon tips, even when they're at their sharpest, cannot stay between the lines. Much woe! But I'm learning to accept and enjoy coloring outside the lines every once in a while.

Examples of my coloring below:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Misty Morgan (e-book) written by Stephen Cosgrove, illustrated by Robin James

Misty Morgan is a fantasy children's book. I checked it out via Open Library.

I decided not to include a read-alikes list. Writing the review felt weird enough.

Review:

I've been trying out Open Library, and this was the book I used to test out Open Library PDFs. I'm not a fan of PDF e-books, so I figured shorter was better. I chose Misty Morgan because I remembered having it and other Serendipity children's books when I was younger.

Misty Morgan is about a workaholic princess and her unicorn friend. The princess spends her days running around her castle, winding up her many clocks and doing various chores. Morgan, her unicorn friend, wants to play with her, but she doesn't have time. Eventually, the annoyed princess shouts at her friend, who, distraught, wanders into the Misty Meadows. Some time later, the princess realizes the horrible thing she has done and goes after Morgan, but it may be too late.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Babylon 5: The Gathering (live action movie)

Rather than argue with someone on the Internet about this series, I opted to do a Babylon 5 re-watch project instead. We'll see how long I can keep it up.

I decided to begin at the beginning, with The Gathering, the series pilot and the first movie. I had forgotten how bad it was.

The Gathering is both a mystery and an introduction to the world of B5 and most of the main characters. I could probably fill half a page with details, but the basic story is that a new ambassador is scheduled to arrive at Babylon 5, a space station built by humans and intended to accommodate both humans and all known alien races. The new ambassador, Kosh, is a Vorlon, an alien hardly anyone knows anything about. Within minutes of arriving on Babylon 5, Kosh collapses, the victim of an assassination attempt. Efforts to learn who attacked Kosh and what poison they used lead to the revelation that Sinclair is the most likely culprit. Sinclair insists he's being framed. Unfortunately, he only has a short period of time to prove his innocence before the Vorlons arrive to take him away for trial on their home world.

Had I started my B5 experience with this movie, I don't think I would have gone any further. The story felt very choppy until the point of it all was finally made clear (with the attempt on Kosh's life). The series' creator, J. Michael Straczynski, tried to cram too much detail into the script. Then there were the visuals: the makeup and prosthetics looked sloppy, and I had forgotten how simplistic the CGI sometimes was.

Commander Sinclair was stiff, even with his girlfriend around to try and humanize him a little, and Commander Takashima seemed like she was trying too hard to sound commanding. I didn't dislike everyone, though: Garibaldi and Londo were probably my most favorite characters in the movie.

The occasional attempts to add “sexiness” were cringe-worthy. Sinclair's girlfriend's comment about having picked up some “completely frictionless” bedsheets was stupid – think about it for two seconds, and you'd realize you couldn't even sleep on those sheets, much less have sex on them. And G'Kar's offer to pay Lyta to either sleep with him or allow him to harvest her DNA so that the Narns could develop their own telepaths was both gross and not well thought out – Lyta and G'Kar sleeping together is unlikely to produce any children at all, considering that they're two entirely different species. I was not amused when G'Kar said Lyta could opt to either be conscious or unconscious during the sex – he would prefer conscious, but “I don't know what your...pleasure threshold is.” Ugh. No.

As far as the murder mystery aspect goes, I still don't understand how the poison was administered to Ambassador Kosh in the first place. Lyta, the telepath who “witnessed” the attack via Kosh's mind, saw a patch put on Kosh's wrist. However, 1) I don't think Kosh has wrists, glowing or otherwise, and 2) one of the characters stated that Vorlons could not be outside their encounter suits or they would die. The series later shows that #2 isn't exactly true, but, at the very least, Vorlon secrecy should have prevented Kosh from showing a part of his body to a human, even Sinclair.

All in all, I don't recommend this movie to anyone except die-hard B5 fans. It has many, many rough edges and, besides, several details introduced in this movie are dropped in the TV series. It would probably be less confusing for B5 newbies to skip this entirely and start with the TV series. The main things people would be missing out on are the introduction of the mystery of Sinclair's "lost time" at the end of the Earth-Minbari War and a wicked little joke played on Ambassador G'Kar.

Extras:

The one extra for this movie is a commentary track featuring J. Michael Straczynski and John Iacovelli (production designer). There was a lot of information in the commentary that I didn't know, such as explanations for why Johnny Sekka (Dr. Kyle) and Tamlyn Tomita (Commander Takashima) disappeared after this movie and were not a part of the TV series. JMS also discussed why Delenn's original makeup made her look so androgynous - he had originally intended for her to be a male who morphed into a female at the end of Season 1. Those familiar with the history of the series will also recognize several attempts to avoid directly naming Deep Space Nine. For the record, I watched and enjoyed both shows, although I was a much more religious viewer of B5.

A Lot Like a Lady (e-book) by Kay Springsteen and Kim Bowman

A Lot Like a Lady is a Regency romance published by Astraea Press. I'm not sure about the word count, since the e-book version no longer appears to be available from any online retailer. The paperback version can still be purchased through the Amazon Marketplace for about $12, but otherwise this book appears to be out of print.

Review:

The writing was okay, if bland. I only noticed a couple typos/misused words. Unfortunately, this still managed to be a completely and utterly terrible book.

When Lady Annabella's mother tells her that she's being sent to her stepbrother, Grey, the Sixth Duke of Wyndham, in order to spend the Season in London and find a suitable husband, Annabella throws a fit (no, really – despite being almost 21, she has a tantrum and breaks things). Later, Annabella concocts a plan to send Juliet, her maid, in her place. Grey hasn't seen Annabella since she was a child, but Juliet does such a terrible job of pretending to be Annabella that he realizes something's going on almost immediately. Since Annabella's great aunts insist that Juliet is who she says she is, Grey sends a friend to investigate the situation and find the real Annabella. This frees him up to take “Annabella” to parties and give her presents and to look into troublesome evidence that Annabella's mother is siphoning off the family's money.

There are two ways that some parts of this story might have been saved, or at least made less horrible, and both would have involved changes early on in the book.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

To Catch a Virgin Ghost (live action movie), via Netflix

To Catch a Virgin Ghost is a Korean horror-comedy. For those who are nervous about watching horror movies: it's really not that scary. A few creepy moments, and that's it. There was only one scene I couldn't bring myself to watch, in which a character inadvertently pounded a nail into someone's forehead. But that's me, the horror wimp.

This movie started off boring and mediocre, then became a bit like watching a train wreck, and then morphed into something that was actually pretty decent and included several surprises.

At the beginning, we see Seok-tae, who has betrayed Yang-e, a fellow gangster, and run off which a baggie of diamonds. He gets into an accident and ends up at a tiny village where everyone lives in a single large house. While there, he accidentally conks his head and is presumed dead. Except he's not. Seok-tae goes through a lot during the course of this movie. Anyway, the villagers find one of the diamonds inside his nose. They decide to keep it, sell it, and share the money.

Unfortunately, first they have to survive Yang-e and his thugs. Yang-e tracks Seok-tae's phone to the village and knows he's probably there, but the villagers refuse to talk. Yang-e doesn't have a lot of time – if he doesn't get the diamonds back in three days, his boss will kill him. He's not inclined to be nice. However, the villagers aren't the only thing he has to deal with. He keeps spotting a freaky long-haired girl who may be a vengeful virgin ghost.

Like I said, this movie didn't quite work for me at first. Initially, I could sympathize with the villagers' desire to keep the diamond they found on Seok-tae's body. That one diamond represented more money than they'd seen in a long time, maybe ever. However, when Seok-tae regained consciousness and the villagers decided to continue going through with their plan, no matter what they had to do, I was horrified. I found it difficult to believe that they didn't feel a twinge of remorse, regret, or even worry. Yang-e and his men were scary, but I couldn't help but think that the villagers deserved to be scared – they were at least as bad as the gangsters.

I thought this was going to be a black comedy in which Yang-e tried to scare the truth out of the villagers before eventually being run off by the virgin ghost. I can't say much without spoiling things, but that's definitely not how it all went. The twists later in the movie were pretty good, even though I was never able to completely buy into the “gangster with a heart of gold” bit.

All in all, I wouldn't call this a great movie, but it was better than I expected and turned out to be an okay way to spend the time. I laughed when the big, tough gangsters tried to scare off the virgin ghost by running around naked (one man remembered hearing that virgin ghosts are afraid of men's "things"), and the ending was kind of sweet.

The Laundress of Silver Lake (e-short story) by Julie Jansen, plus some Freading app first (and last?) impressions

“The Laundress of Silver Lake” is a short science fiction story. It was one of my public library e-book checkouts.

There is a slight spoiler near the end of the review. And there's no read-alikes or watch-alikes list for this one.

Review:

Ever since Freading “upgraded” their site, the only way I've been able to open their e-books on my tablet is with the Freading app. I currently have this story and a novel checked out via Freading, and I decided a short story would be a less daunting way to try out the app.

This story is very short, only five or six pages according to the app. The main character, Arvid, is investigating sightings of the Laundress of Silver Lake. Josephine Fritzkiev, the legendary Laundress, was able to get clothes amazingly white. No matter how often people asked her, she never shared her secret. When Silver Lake and all its inhabitants were vaporized by a massive solar flare in 2270, it was assumed that Josephine's secret had died with her. Now, over a decade later, people swear they keep seeing her out and about, washing dirty laundry. Those who have tried to find her have never returned. Arvid is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Arvid was not a very intelligent person. Either that, or he was a complete and utter urbanite who had somehow never learned that nature could be dangerous.

The secret to Josephine's clothes whitening abilities was mildly humorous (in a dark sort of way), but I was left with a lot of questions. If a solar flare had somehow destroyed the town of Silver Lake, would there really have been that many animals and that much greenery left in the area? Can solar flares even do something like that? Prior to the solar flare, how did Josephine manage to deal with the significant drawback of her clothes whitening technique without anybody noticing? After the solar flare, why did she stick around? Was doing laundry really her only purpose in life? And what kind of purpose is that, when there's no one else around who has laundry that needs doing?

I might have enjoyed Josephine's secret more if I hadn't seen Jurassic Park. “The Laundress of Silver Lake” reminded me a little too much of one particular scene.

Additional Comments:

Now, the verdict for the Freading app itself. I like its night mode, which features light gray text on a black background. I am less enthusiastic about how visual display options must be applied. Unless there's some kind of setting I'm missing, everything from text size to background and font color must be changed by going into “Settings.” No pinching in and out on the text to increase or decrease font size, no swiping to change the screen brightness.

While the Freading app allows users to highlight text and take notes, it has its own annoying aspects. Highlighting color, like all other visual settings, must be changed in the “Settings” screen. That is, if you can get the change to stick. I tried changing my highlighting color from yellow to green and every new thing I highlighted kept showing up as yellow.

Highlighting text activates an annoying “text magnifier.” Mantano Reader also did this when I first installed it, but I was able to change the setting and make it go away. This doesn't appear to be possible in the Freading app.

All in all, while this app can do many of the things my other reading apps can do, it does them in a very clunky way. I haven't yet decided whether having access to library e-books is worth having to deal with this app. It's not like I don't have lots of e-books of my own to read, and I can finish up the Paratwa Saga via ILL. Still, I'll miss being able to try out something new in seconds, without having to buy it.
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