Friday 29 June 2018

Book Review: 11.22.63 by Stephen King

My word, but this book is long! It's good, don't get me wrong, but it's long. It took me exactly a month to read it, and I'm not exactly a slow reader.

I watched the TV series a few years ago when it came out, and I thoroughly enjoyed that. But then, I remember thinking that THAT was a bit long too--only six episodes, sure, but each one was about 58 minutes. That's long for an episode of a TV series.

The book is way longer. There's so much more depth than on TV (which is no surprise), and I particularly enjoyed the references to It in 1958 Derry. All that extra depth, though, while enjoyable and flavourful, weren't really necessary to tell the story, in my opinion.

Yoh, this book is long. I guess it wouldn't have bothered me so much if there were more (but shorter) chapters. What got to me was getting to the end of a particularly long chapter, and having this feeling of achievement because it took two full days of reading sessions to finish, and then starting the next one and having Kindle tell me something like "1 hr and 10 mins left in chapter".

I mean, really?!

My review: 4 / 5 Stars

About the Book

WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless . . . 

King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life - a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

With extraordinary imaginative power, King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense.

Click here to find out where you can buy the book.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Changing E-Mail Providers: Goodbye Mailchimp; MailerLite, here I come...

I've been using MailChimp to run my e-mail list since I sent out my very first one, back in early 2013. From the beginning, their "Forever Free" plan roped me in; I would never pay them a cent, as long as I had fewer than 2 000 subscribers. And of course, back then, I was so small that I never imagined I'd ever get anywhere near that number. Plus, it was easy to use, and I liked the cute chimpanzee that was their logo.

But over the years, their interface has gotten clunky, busy, and slow. They've added loads of new features which I will probably never use. Some that I probably would use, to be fair, but they're for paid accounts only.

For the past few months, I've been hearing lots about this new kid on the block, called MailerLite. The interface is clean, slick, and fast loading, and their feature set is more suited to the things an indie author might actually use. Their free plan only covers the first 1 000 users (as opposed to Mailchimp's 2 000), but in the first place, I don't even have that many, and in the second place, every single one of their features is included in the free plan. Yes, even a few of the features that Mailchimp charges for.

Plus, it was super-easy to export my list from Mailchimp and import it into MailerLite. MailerLite is also fully-GDPR compliant, plus their form builder's easier to use than Mailchimp's.

Oh, and did I mention MailerLite's 24-hour live chat support is open to everyone, too? With Mailchimp, that support costs extra.

I think this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Memoirs of a Guardian Angel: Paperback Approved!

So this arrived in my postbox on Friday...

Finally. I ordered this thing on 5 May 2018, and it finally arrived on 15 June.

The purpose for me ordering it was to proof it and make sure everything was formatted correctly. This was also the first book that I've actually had a proper wraparound cover done for, and I was eager to see what it looked like.

It's amazing!

I've approved it now, so it should start showing up in all sorts of online stores in the coming weeks. And who knows, maybe some brick-and-mortar ones too, if they decide to buy stock.

As I find it in more places, I'll be adding links to the book's official page on my website, so check there often, and click "Paperback" under "Buy Now" to see them all.

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Let Me Know: Where Do You Buy Your Paperbacks?

I ordered a proof copy of Memoirs of a Guardian Angel from Lulu on 6 April. Because it's coming from the states, and our postal service isn't the best in the world, I haven't gotten it yet. It should be coming soon, though--hopefully within the next week or so.

As soon as it arrives, I'll check it for errors, and hopefully the layout and format will be right. If so, I'll approve it for distribution, and it will start showing up in bookstores all over the world in a few weeks.

That got me thinking: since I haven't personally read a book in print in a really long time, I'm completely out of the loop with where people shop for them these days.

I think here in South Africa, Exclusive Books is by far the most popular bookstore, but I've also heard good things about Book Depository because they offer free international shipping on all their orders, all the time. Loot also seems to be quite popular.

Internationally, though, is Amazon still king?

Where do you buy your print books from? Let me know in the comments, and let's start a conversation.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

South African Provincial E-Libraries

Since I discovered the Gauteng E-Library a year ago, I've been fascinated with the concept of people logging into a website with their library card number and borrowing e-books. When you think about it, it's a groundbreaking concept.

So I've been looking for other South African libraries which offer this service, and there are precious few of them. Some private school libraries have e-lending facilities, as do some companies (although the latter mostly stock non-fiction books related to the industries in which they operate).

Last week, I went on Overdrive (an online library distributor), and went out of my way to search in each of South Africa's nine provinces. This is what I found:

Out of nine provinces in South Africa, only four have e-libraries, that I could find. And the Eastern Cape isn't even completely covered; you can only borrow e-books if you happen to live in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Maybe I didn't look hard enough, so if you know of any provincial e-libraries I missed, please let me know, and I'll update this post.

If you've never logged into your local e-library before, but you have a library card, give it a try. Once you're logged in, you can recommend all my books... and Gauteng already owns a copy of Memoirs of a Guardian Angel!

I'd love to hear your opinions on this. Do you have a library card? When last did you visit a physical library and borrow a book? Have you ever borrowed a book from an e-library?

Hit me up in the comments, and let's start a conversation.