Paper Pages

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I love books. Get to know me a bit better and you’ll know that I am what is known as a “reader.” Get to know me even beyond that and you’ll discover that I have a … distaste … for e-readers.

However, in the month of March I had decided I enjoyed the book club quite a lot in February, and they were reading a book I’d been interested in for a while, and I managed to get in on it at the beginning of the month when the book was offered for free by the author. So I thought, “Hey, I’ll save some money and read this one on my iPad!”

It was the first time I’d ever read a full e-book on an e-reading device (and I have since been told that I picked the wrong device for this experiment, but I do not own any other options). I have read books on my computer for ARC and editing and beta-reading purposes… but I do not do that very often because I dislike it so very much. But in this case, I thought perhaps it would be good to at least try reading an e-book. That way, if I hated the experience, at least I could say that I’d tried. Right?

The problems with reading an ebook are many.

1. The thing is awkwardly shaped for holding. I have mastered the art of holding a book, even a big hardback book like “The Aeronaut’s Windlass” in one hand, and can even manage to flip the pages that way. This is not possible on the iPad. It is a 2-handed operation, which is annoying. I read so fast and the screen is so small, that switching from one hand to two in order to advance the pages didn’t make sense, so it had to be held a very specific way with two hands.

2. I use a very different part of my brain when reading words on a screen versus reading words on paper. It is a bit difficult for me to remember much about the book: names, events, etc… where I do not usually have that problem when reading.

3. The light from the screen was hard on my eyes and often gave me a headache. (Apparently this does not happen with other e-readers, but I can’t speak to them)

4. The iPad often had a hard time saving the page I bookmarked to stop at. This made finding my spot difficult at times, which took up precious reading time that I will never get back.

5. I don’t like seeing random dotted underlines of quotes other people liked, and I have no idea how to turn that off so I don’t see it.

6. When I am reading a paper-pages book, none of my children try to take it from me so they can play games on it or watch Netflix. This is definitely a deal-breaker for me.

7. No paper smell. I know this is probably a bit on the silly side, but it didn’t smell like a book.

8. When something awesome happened, or when the book ended… I couldn’t “hug” it… I mean, I could, but the iPad is cold and a bit standoffish.

9. If something awful happens, you can’t throw it across the room. (I don’t throw books as a general rule, but sometimes it’s warranted, and you just can’t do that with something you’ve paid hundreds of dollars for).

10. I didn’t like not being able to see my progress or easily gauge how far I had left to read. The little “you are on 66894573 out of 1111223304058587474″ makes little sense to me, and the percentage number was highly dissatisfying.

11. The thing is COLD! Setting it on my knees was not an option if I was wearing shorts!

12. Our iPad is old, okay? So if it was out of battery, I had to plug it in and wait a good 5-10 minutes before it had enough juice to turn on so I could start reading my book.

13. If I ever meet the author, I can’t have him sign my copy…

All of this just adds up to one thing. I’m going to stick with paper pages. Some of these complaints may be addressed by getting a different device, but not all of them. However, all of these issues are solved by just picking up a good, old-fashioned, book.


How about you, dear Reader? Do you have an ereader you really love? Do you prefer paper pages? Let me know in the comments!

~ jenelle

Beggar Magic

Beggar Magic by H.L. Burke was the April read for the Fellowship of Fantasy book club. I zipped through this book in less than a week and loved every word of it. Burke has a sweet, easy to read, fun writing style that has not disappointed me yet. I tried to summarize the story myself, but I feel like I’m making a hash of it, so I’ll just share the blurb from the back of the book and then move on to my thoughts about the book.

In Gelia City, magic is music: a constant ever-changing melody known as the Strains. Hereditary ability to use the Strains divides the city into two classes: the wealthy Highmost, who can access the full potential of the Strains, and the Common tradesmen, who are limited to mundane spells, known as beggar magic. With the help of the Strains, Common teen Leilani rescues and befriends a gifted Highmost girl, Zebedy. The girls’ friendship opens Leilani’s eyes to the world of the Highmost. She’s intrigued by Zeb’s close relationship with the Strains, and longs to know them as she does. Zeb, in turn, comes to depend on Leilani’s strength and intelligence, making them an inseparable team, ready to take on anything with the Strains at their back. As their unlikely friendship strengthens and endures, Zeb draws Leilani further into the Highmosts’ intrigues. Beneath the polished, academic facade of the Highmost manors lurks a threat to the Strains. An unknown force consumes their music, leaving only heart-rending silence behind. Leilani and Zeb will do anything to save their beloved Strains, but as the silence grows, they face danger their previously sheltered lives could never prepare them for. Whoever is behind the death of the Strains is willing to kill to keep their secret safe. To preserve the Strains, the girls may have to sacrifice their friendship, or even their lives.

This is a well-paced adventure story. A stand-alone, the story wraps up rather nicely, though I feel that there is definitely room for more stories set in this world. While we get a fair view of Gelia itself, we only get a glimpse of the wider world Gelia is part of, and many questions about the world and the Strains are left unanswered. I loved the fantasy feel with a hint of steampunk flavor to the world, as well.

The characters are delightful and quite real. I enjoyed the stark differences between Leilani and Zeb, and the way that it affected their friendship throughout the story. I liked that the drama moments did not get too drawn out. When Leilani and Zeb had a fight, they sort of stomped off to their corners and dealt with it, and then returned to being friends without too much unnecessary angst dragging on. I liked that Leilani’s parents were cautious and strict, but not in a way that made them into caricatures in any way. They were very real, despite being fairly small roles in the story.

There is a sweet splash of romance in the book as well, between Leilani and my very favorite character who was one of the deaf guards – which was done very well. I don’t think I’ve actually ever read a fantasy story that included a deaf character before and I felt that Burke did a wonderful job with it. She also created her own form of sign language for the guards (most of them are deaf) because she felt that certain signs in ASL would not have the correct context in her fantasy world, so I appreciated the world-building aspect that this element brought into the story.

It is a very dear little tale, of friendship, betrayal, pride, and loyalty. And while you may be able to figure out some of the twists before the big “aha!” moment, I don’t think you’ll mind, because you’re going to be reading this book for the characters and the world. But if the mystery takes you by surprise as it did me, that’s just the cherry on top.

As an added bonus, the writing style has a flow to it that lends itself well to reading out loud, which I always appreciate.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but I kind of feel like it’s hard to write about. My blogging friend, Deborah, did a much better review of this one, and I agree with her write-up and like it better than my own… so I’ll just send you over to her site! DEBORAH’S REVIEW

And despite the noticeable lack of dragons in the story, I give this one Five Dragon Eggs


~ jenelle

The End

Last night, I typed “The End” on the manuscript I’ve been working on for the past year! It is an odd feeling, finishing a rough draft. There is a mixture of elation, accomplishment, relief, satisfaction, and happiness… but it also comes with a strange feeling of being at loose ends. Whenever I finish a manuscript, I feel a little like Inigo Montoya when he says, “I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I don’t know what to do with my life.”

Perhaps next I’ll take up piracy.

Or not… I mean, just because a rough draft is complete does not in any way mean that it is FINISHED, there’s a lot of work yet to be done. And more stories to be written. But for just a moment here, there is a void. A sense of “what next?”

This second installment in the Turrim Archive clocks in at 117, 423 words. Though I have every reason to believe that this may be the first time ever where my rough draft will actually be shorter than the finished product.

In the past 8 days I wrote 11,549 words, which may be the fastest I’ve written in a very long time.

With Derek’s help, I came up with a title for the story… and since I am feeling all joyous and generous with the achievement of my goal, I thought I’d share it with you:

Mantles of Oak and Iron


What do you think? I think it goes well with THE ORB AND THE AIRSHIP, which is the title of the first book in the Turrim Archive series.

Want a few snippets? Here you go:

Turrim Archive Quote - Seasons Fragile 1LineWed


1linewed Open Lorcan - Names



Now it’s time to lay this story aside for a short time while I dive into the final edits of Minstrel’s Call! But… I might take a few days off, first…

~ jenelle