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10 Last-Minute Ebook Gifts For Under $5

December 11, 2014 2 comments

It’s time for the second gift list here at Opinions of a Wolf (see the first, 10 Non-book Gifts for Book Lovers here).  I thought with Hanukkah next week and some holiday parties already happening that it would be interesting to provide a list of cheap ebooks.  Ebooks make great last-minute gifts, as you can purchase them literally on your phone on the way to the party and have them arrive in your recipient’s email with them none the wiser that you waited until the last minute.  Since you can schedule when the gift email arrives, no one needs to know that you scheduled it only 5 minutes ago.  Ebooks are also great because you can find them for very cheap but a reader who loves ebooks doesn’t care how much the ebook cost.  A book is a book is a book!  I’m not just going to tell you a list of cheap ebooks though.  I’m also going to give you a little reader’s advisory–tell you who the book would be best for.  Without further ado, here is the list, in order of cost from least to most.

For the lover of YA who enjoys a touch of fantasy:

A bunette wearing a white dress with blue embroidery gazes at a blue pixie. The book's title and author's name are on the cover in blue and white lettering.
Initiate by Tara Maya
$0
Dindi is about to undergo her people’s initiation test and ceremony that not only welcomes her to adulthood but also will determine whether or not she is a member of the Tavaedi.  The Tavaedi are a mix of religious leader, healer, and warrior who cast magic spells by dancing.  Since Dindi can see the pixies and other fae, she thinks she has a chance.  But no one in her clan has ever successfully become a Tavaedi.  Meanwhile, an exiled warrior, Kavio, is attempting to shed his old life and the haunting of his father’s wars and his mother’s powers.  But he slowly discovers a deadly plot that brings him directly to Dindi’s initiation ceremony.
This is a unique piece of YA fantasy set in a tribal world inspired by Polynesia.  The romance is light and slow-building, and the focus is primarily on growing up and becoming an adult.  See my full review here.

For the urban fantasy reader without a lot of time:

Woman with short hair in a red shirt in profile.
Cursed by S. A. Archer
$0
London works for hire doing investigations mostly for parahumans, and her best friend is a vampire who keeps hoping she’ll consent to being turned.  Her life isn’t run-of-the-mill, but it isn’t too bad either, until one day she gets Touched by a Sidhe and finds herself sucked into the Fey world bubbling just beneath the surface of the regular one.
This fast-paced novella is perfect for the reader without a lot of time who still wants to get some urban fantasy into their day.  See my full review here.

For the lover of the style of classic scifi:
A dime sits on a black background between the title and author name, both of which are on a marble background.
The Coin by Glen Cadigan
99 cents
When Richard’s physicist professor uncle dies tragically in a plane crash and leaves him his coin collection, he is shocked to find a brand-new dime from 2012.  The only thing is, it’s 1989.  A note from his uncle states that the coin is important.  Richard thinks the answer to the mystery might be in his uncle’s personal diaries he also left him, but he’s not a physicist and can’t decipher them.  As the year 2012 approaches, Richard increasingly wonders what the coin is all about.
This novella is a fun new take on the storytelling methods of classic scifi.  The science is strong enough to be interesting but not too challenging, and the result of the mystery is surprising.  See my full review here.

For zombie fans who enjoy a touch of romance:

Brain in a bowl.
Hungry For You by A. M. Harte
$2.50
A collection of zombie-themed short stories and poetry with the twist that they all have to do with romantic relationships in some way, shape, or form.
This short story collection is different and fun simultaneously.  It will appeal to zombie pans, particularly women.  See my full review here.

For the reader of lesbian romance who loves fairy tale retellings:

Girl's hair with flowers and ribbons braided into it.
Braided: A Lesbian Rapunzel by Elora Bishop
$2.99
A lesbian retelling of Rapunzel.  Gray, a witch’s daughter, visits Zelda every day.  The witch switched Gray’s fate into Zelda, so now Zelda is the one entwined with the spirit of the tree that the people worship.  She must live on the platform and every day lower her hair for people to tie ribbons and prayers into.  Gray feels horrible guilt over their switched fates, but she’s also falling in love with Zelda.
this is a fun retelling of Rapunzel, particularly if you’re looking for a non-heteronormative slant or enjoy a more magical feel.  Note that this is part of a series entitled Sappho’s Fables, which consists of lesbian retellings of fairy tales.  The novellas may be mixed and matched.  See my full review here.

For the reader of women’s fiction with an interest in Scotland:

cover_emotional geology
Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard
$2.99
Rose is a textile artist with bipolar disorder who for years found her medication dulled her ability to work.  After a stunning betrayal that landed her in a mental hospital, she has moved to a quiet, extraordinarily rural island in Scotland in an attempt to control her illness with as little medication as possible so she may still create her art.  Her life isn’t quite as quiet as she imagined it would be, though, with a warm neighbor, Shona, who introduces her to her brother, a teacher and poet.
This is an emotional, challenging, touching read for fans of contemporary fiction with a heart.  See my full review here.

For the horror fan:

Eyes behind a beaker.Gargoyles by Alan Nayes
$2.99
Amoreena is determined to be a doctor and help people.  She’s a hard-working, scholarship student on the pre-med track in her third year of college.  Unfortunately, her single mother just got diagnosed with metastatic cancer and lost her health insurance.  With no time for a job and no money for the bills, Amoreena is grateful when she is approached by a surrogacy clinic to be a surrogate for $50,000 with payments upon successful insemination and each trimester.  But after she’s successfully inseminated, Amoreena becomes increasingly concerned that something is not quite right with her baby.
If your horror fan loves Rosemary’s Baby and is particularly freaked out by evil pregnancies, they will love this book. See my full review here.

For the lover of noir and urban fantasy:

Man in a hat standing next to a Europeanish buildingOne Death at a Time by Thomas M. Hewlett
$2.99
Jack Strayhorn is a private eye and a member of Alcoholic’s Anonymous.  Only, he’s not an alcoholic, he’s one of the vampires who meet in a secret vampire group that exists under the umbrella of AA to learn how to control their urges and feed on humans without killing them.  He’s just returned to LA, his death site that he hasn’t been back to since he had to run in 1948 after becoming a vampire.  When his current missing person case shows up dead next to a Fae politician, Jack gets dragged into a mixed-up underworld of Faes, werewolves, drugs, and a group of vampires determined to rule the world.
This is a delightful mix of urban fantasy and noir and is a strong first entry for a new series.  See my full review here.

For the reader of thrillers and fans of Gone Girl:

Title against a foggy image of a man walking in the woodsI’ll Sleep When You’re Dead by E. A. Aymar
$3.03
Tom Starks has not been the same since his wife, Renee, was brutally murdered with a baseball bat in a parking lot.  He’s been struggling for the last three years to raise her daughter, who he adopted when he married Renee.  When Renee’s killer is released after a retrial finds insufficient evidence to hold him, Tom becomes obsessed with dealing out justice himself.
This is a unique thriller, with its choice to cast the opposite of a bad-ass in the role of the main character.  This grounds the typical revenge plot into reality, lends itself to more interesting, unique plot twists, and has the interesting aspect of a flawed, nearly anti-hero main character that the reader still roots for.  See my full review here.

For readers of multi-generational family dramas and GLBTQ lit:

Road during a rainstorm.The Value Of Rain by Brandon Shire
$4.99
Charles hasn’t been home since his mother and uncle sent him away to an insane asylum at the age of fourteen after he was found in the embrace of his first love–Robert.  Now, ten years later, his mother, Charlotte, is dying, and he comes back to take his revenge.
This is one of those genre-defying books.  Shire explores the devastating effects of prejudice, hate, secrets, and lies throughout family generations, and that is something that is simultaneously universal and tragic.  See my full review here.

I hope this list helps you find a read for yourself or a gift for another.  Feel free to ask questions about any of these books or ask for recommendations for books for particular recipients in the comments!

10 Non-book Gifts for Book Lovers

November 13, 2014 8 comments

With the holiday season almost upon us, I thought it might be fun to put together some helpful gift idea lists for you all.  First up is 10 Non-book Gifts for Book Lovers.

Maybe you have a reader in your life, but you’ve already picked out a couple of books for them and now are stumped.  Or maybe you just want a stocking stuffer, and your reader loves chunksters that don’t exactly fit in a stocking.  Or maybe your reader loves ebooks, and you want something physical to wrap along with a note about the impending ebooks they’re about to get.  If any of these are you, read on for some gift ideas, in no particular order!

six reading themed magnetsBook Lover Magnets
($5.67 plus shipping)
The perfect decoration for an office, dorm, or kitchen.  And maybe the recipient will even hang up the holiday card from you with one.  This shop also offers a cute bookworm magnet set, for the kawaii readers among your loved ones.

book page iphone casePassage From a Book Phone Case
($19 to $27, depending on type of phone, plus shipping)
The case in the picture features a passage from Frankenstein with the quote “Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful” highlighted.  Empowering and literary!  If Frankenstein isn’t your recipient’s style, there are many other classics to pick from, including Jane Eyre, Little Women, Dracula, and many more.

book locket made out of little womenMini Book Locket
($20.19 plus shipping)
Maybe your book lover also loves jewelery.  This mini replica of a book that doubles as a locket necklace is an adorable piece that will surely brighten up their day.  Other books are also available, including Les Miserables, Harry Potter, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

book quote pillow coversBook Quote Throw Pillow Cover
($16.99 plus shipping)
Give your book lover a book quote themed cover for their favorite snuggly throw pillow.  They’ll think of you every time they curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.  This cover’s quote is from Louisa May Alcott, “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” Other literary quotes are available too, however.

Handcrafted statue of JavertHandcrafted Literary Figurine
($48 plus shipping)
If you know a few of your book lover’s favorite books, you could get a handmade figurine of one of the characters.  This is Inspector Javert from Les Miserables.  Isn’t the detailing on him amazing?  This shop has many literary characters available, all in exquisite detail, and at a very reasonable price considering all that work!

Image of a clutchAuthor Names Clutch
($26.99 plus shipping)
For the more femme book lovers on your list, this clutch could be ideal.  It features over 200 author’s names in a beautiful font.  The shop also has clutches for all four Harry Potter houses, as well as clutches themed around individual works of literature.

image of a soy candleBook Themed Candle
($15 plus shipping)
A slightly tongue-in-cheek gift that is sure to make a candle-loving reader smile.  This candle is made of eco-friendly soy and is designed to smell like a bookstore, mixing the scents of timber, driftwood, hazelnut cappuccino, and leather.  Other bookish scents can be found, such as “old book smell” or scents based on literature, such as what the butterbeer from Harry Potter or Sherlock’s study might smell like.

fingerless glovesBook Excerpt Fingerless Gloves
($26.00 plus shipping)
If your reader is from a cold climate and works on computers a lot, some literary-themed fingerless gloves might be just the ticket.  They feature excerpts from well-loved classics, such as Sherlock Holmes, Picture of Dorian Gray, or Wuthering Heights.

image of a blue tshirtEntire Text of a Book Artistic Tshirt
($34.00 plus shipping)
If you know one of your recipient’s favorite books, you could get one of these awesome tshirts featuring the entire text of a book worked into an image that represents the book.  The one in the image above is The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe but many many more are available, and there are many color options as well.

go awayReading Themed Mug
($13 plus shipping)
No reader likes to be bothered when they’re reading.  Many readers sip a hot drink while they’re reading.  This mug both tells folks to leave them alone and gives them a mug to sip from.  It’s the ideal reading accessory.

 

Cross-Stitch #4: The Molecular Structure of Chocolate Christmas Chocolate Box

January 9, 2014 4 comments

After making the Avengers logo and pixel Thor, I got to change things up a bit for my present for my partner’s mother.  She teaches chemistry at a community college and loves chocolate (who doesn’t), and so I thought a stitch of the molecular structure of theobromine (chocolate) would be a fun present.

I found a variety of patterns of theobromine online and repurposed them to my own pattern.  When I finished, I discovered that my completed design was too big for my hoop (I didn’t think my plan through), so instead, I attached it to the cover of a Christmas box.  It’s now a nerdy box for Christmas chocolates.

Image of the top and side of a box with the molecular structure of chocolate cross-stitched on the top.

Friday Fun! (December: Michigan for the Holidays and NYE in Boston)

January 2, 2014 2 comments
A disassembled Model T at the Henry Ford Museum.

A disassembled Model T at the Henry Ford Museum.

Hello my lovely readers, and a happy 2014 to all!

Everyone’s always busy around the holidays, and I certainly was no exception.  I cross-stitched six presents and made homemade fudge for a bunch of folks as well, in addition to everything else that comes with this time of year.  My partner got us a lovely tree that we got to decorate with both of our ornaments for the first time.  We had an early Christmas together, because the week of Christmas, we went out to Michigan to see his family.  The drive from Boston to Michigan took us 13 hours, and the drive back took about 12.  We had a lovely vacation with his family, and I was made to feel 100% welcome and part of the family.  It was truly a lovely Christmas.

I’d never been to the midwest, so while we were out there, my bf made sure I got to do a bit of sightseeing.  My favorite excursion was to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.  Henry Ford invented the assembly line, in addition to starting to the famous Ford car company.  The museum featured displays of cars through time, the history of racing, the history of airplanes, the history of trains, and the history of manufacturing in America.  It also had a display on the history of Civil Rights in the US, as well as a display showing key items from the different decades of the 20th century.  The museum also has the Dymaxion House. A model house made in the 1960s as a fully automated house of the future. Only two were ever made.  In addition to all of these, there was also a special display of Presidential limousines, including the one JFK was shot in.  There was so much amazing US history.  We spent five hours in the museum and still didn’t see it all.

We got back to Boston and spent some time just relaxing at home, and then we got ready for New Year’s.  We decided to go out to see the First Night activities and the early fireworks.  Boston has one set of fireworks at 7 and the other at midnight to allow for folks who want to be inside earlier to still see a display.  First Night featured a lot of interactive art this year in the Common, as well as a parade, ice skating performances, and the typical ice sculptures.  The fireworks display was actually better than the 4th of July ones I’ve seen the last couple of years.  Then we went home and had a quiet dinner in just the two of us.  I’d spent the day making gnocchi from scratch, plus homemade sauce and cheesey garlic bread.  I loved the combination of seeing the festivities and getting to celebrate inside in the warmth just the two of us.

Coming up on the blog this month, I’ve got three books from 2013 that I still need to write reviews for.  I’ll also be announcing what 12 review copy submissions I decided to accept for 2014, and I’ll be doing my reading stats 2013 post, as well as a round-up of the best reads of 2013.  I also have five more cross-stitches to show off to you guys.  It should be a busy month here.

Happy reading!

Book Review: Animal Rights Poetry: 25 Inspirational Animal Poems, Vol 1 by Jenny Moxham (Series, #1)

Drawng of a little girl hugging a pig next to a goose.Summary:
A collection of 25 poems focusing on a variety of animal rights issues by British animal rights activist Jenny Moxham.

Review:
I picked this up because one of the blogs I follow mentioned it was on sale (for 100% off), and I figured there had to be at least one poem in there that I would find inspirational.  Of course, there was.

The poems are mostly written in rhyme, a vibe that feels very similar to Mother Goose style children’s poetry.  Some of them worked better than others, but it’s certainly a fine style choice.  It’s easier to remember rhymes than almost any other sort of poetry.

Personally, I preferred the poems that contained solid arguments to use when debating animal rights issues.  My favorite, is this one:

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
I’ve often heard it said by folk
Who relish eating meat,
“The animals were put on Earth
For human beings to eat.”

Well if God made them just for us,
Explain it, if you can,
Why they arrived one hundred million
Years ahead of man

(location 95)

I was less of a fan of ones addressing particular events, because I think those would be less useful in more general animal rights work.  I also was surprised by how many of the poems were about Christmas.  Perhaps Christmas is a meatier affair in the UK, but in a book with only 25 poems, having five about one holiday felt like a bit much.

Overall, Moxham’s talent and passion do shine through, but a more varied and longer collection would have been more enjoyable.  Recommended to those with an interest in memorable phrases to use in animal rights work.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Amazon

Buy It

Friday Fun! (Happy Festivhanumas!)

December 23, 2011 4 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  Yes, I totally made up that amalgamation of the three holidays I’m celebrating this year, but I think it works, yes?

For Festivus, which is today, I mostly just air grievances.  I suppose I could wrestle my cat like my friend Sara does with hers, but I do that quite a bit anyway, so not so special.  I will be airing grievances on twitter today (I can just hear my twitter followers saying AS USUAL ahem), but I also will air a few book and book blogging related ones here.  I hate that horrible stupid books like The Help and Twilight get all the acclaim and backing from publishing houses while non-white, non-western, and non-traditional ones get ignored.  I really can’t stand that stupid Waiting on Wednesday meme, and I honestly do not get it.  I hate it when bloggers don’t write their own book summaries and instead grab them from Amazon or GoodReads or what-not.  I honestly do not like Book Blogger Appreciation Week. It reminds me a lot of the voting for homecoming king and queen in highschool.  I hate it when authors and/or publishers either read your review requests rules and ignore them or skip reading them altogether before contacting you.  *exhales*  See why Festivus is awesome?

Thankfully Chanukkah involves 8 crazy nights, so I have lots of chances to celebrate it both contemplatively alone and with friends!  I’ve already been lighting my candles (very late) when I get home from the gym with my kitty.  She’s been pretty good about not tackling the menorah.  So far.  But this weekend I will be celebrating with three different friends–Nina, Josh, and Sara.  Josh I haven’t seen in um….two years? So I’m super-excited for his visit!  I am also looking forward to making latkes and having an excuse to eat sour cream.  Also to reading The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, which is now a tradition since my dad gave it to me last yearish. It may have been the year before.

Comparatively, my Christmas is low-key this year, since I spent Thanksgiving with my family.  I finally pulled out my (short fake) tree last night, but still need to decorate it.  The cat, however, is very pleased with the ability to hide behind and just generally sniff it.  I’ve already watched The Grinch and Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas.  All that’s left for the annual viewing is Claymation Christmas.  I still have some gift swapping to do with friends and some to hand out to those folks you’re supposed to give gifts to (like landlords), but I’m very close to being done!  And then it is

ON TO NEW YEAR’S MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY AND THIS YEAR @BITCHYLIBRARIAN IS VISITING ME FOR IT AHHHHHH

 

Why New Year’s Is My Favorite Holiday

December 28, 2009 3 comments

Christmas is finally over, which means it’s time for my favorite holiday: New Year’s!  All week on the blog I’ll be doing a few special New Year’s related posts, starting out with why it’s my favorite holiday.

People often ask me why, out of all the holidays, my favorite is one where you don’t even get presents.  Well, there are a lot of reasons.

It’s secular. Everyone can celebrate without any of that religion or country worry and mumbo jumbo.  Even people and cultures who follow the lunar cycle can still also acknowledge the change of the Gregorian calendar.

You’re supposed to drink. Any holiday that largely revolves around drinking cocktails and champagne gets my vote.

There’s no societal expected norm as to who you should spend it with. It’s perfectly acceptable spend it with friends as opposed to family, but you can still spend it with family if you want to.  Nobody is going around asking me why I’m not off in some other state visiting family, and also my friends don’t all simultaneously disappear for the weekend.

Reflection. It’s a regularly occurring time to reflect on yourself, your actions, your life and have a palaver with yourself and make sure your life and your behavior are what you want them to be, which leads to

Resolutions. I am all about being a self-made person.  I’m about deciding who I want to be and working to be that person instead of just laying back and playing with the hand I was dealt in life, aka nature and nurture.  I take initiative and choice and use it to kick nature and nurture’s butt.

Clean slate. The new year isn’t exactly a clean slate, but you can make it one if you want to or need to.  You can also just make a clean slate in certain areas of your life.  Maybe there’s a friend you need to come to terms with or a habit that’s bad for you that it’s time to get rid of.

New Year’s is great in that it asks you to celebrate and enjoy life, but it also asks you to take a good look at your life and make sure it’s what you want it to be.  New Year’s is the best of both worlds–celebration and accountability.