Friday, October 09, 2009

bookfinds @ Kittling: Books and a Concern

A week has gone by, and I've discovered a few more goodies courtesy of the Poisoned Pen's monthly newsletter. It remains to be seen how my new book acquiring will be changed in view of the FTC's newest regulations. I'm going to stop including links to bookstores and to start telling everyone the provenance of each book I review while waiting for the dust to settle.

It's only been in the past few months that the world of Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) has opened up to me. Before then I had absolutely no trouble acquiring books to read, and if I should be forced to stop accepting ARCs, I'm sure I can return to the old ways with scarcely a hitch in my stride. What does worry me is the effect this may have on writers and publishers and the whole business of getting books out there... talked about, bought, and read.

If the FTC believes being given an ARC which cannot be resold is being paid or compensated for a good review, I know of a "few" book bloggers who could prove this bunch wrong. I've tried to sell books on eBay in the past, and they won't move unless they're dirt cheap. (It's why I became a member of Paperback Swap!) I certainly can't afford to read ARCs and mail them back to publishers, and I doubt that many of us can.

If many book bloggers have to stop accepting advanced reading copies, how is this going to effect writers and publishers who've already seen newspapers cut them out of the loop? This is what concerns me most because I love books and I want everyone to pick up books and enjoy reading them. We shall see what happens.

To get back on track, here are four new books that have caught my eye. If you find one that looks good to you, you're going to have to track it down yourself, since I'll no longer be including links, but one thing I do know is that dedicated readers won't let a piddly detail like that slow them down! (By the way, the book descriptions are from the Poisoned Pen newsletter.)

Ghost à la Mode by Sue Ann Jaffarian. "Granny was famous for her award-winning apple pies-- and notorious for murdering her husband Jacob at their homestead in Julian, California. The only trouble is, Granny was framed, then murdered. For more than a century, Granny’s spirit has been searching for someone to help her see that justice is served—and she hits pay dirt when she pops in to a séance attended by her great-great-great-granddaughter, modern-day divorced mom Emma Whitecastle. This sleuthing duo begins work on Granny’s unjust murder rap in the final days of the California Gold Rush. A new series start from the author of the Odelia Grey series."

The Godfather of Kathmandu by John Burdett. (One of my favorite series.) "Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep’s travel through three cases evoked a spellbinding city [Bangkok]. So, while Sonchai’s 4th case is no less inventive nor rooted in violence (here the drug trade battle between Police Colonel Vikorn who has just named Sonchai his consigliere having been studying The Godfather on DVD, and Arm General Zinna), it’s more reflective. We’ve got a cop who can’t recover from the grief of losing his son in a street accident and his wife to a nunnery for her own path, and the arrival of an exiled Tibetan lama based in Kathmandu who becomes Sonchai’s guru once he arrives in Nepal. The enlightened Tientsin can initiate Sonchai into “apocalyptic Buddhism” while offering $40M in heroin to fund his design. Sonchai meets Tara, a Tantric practitioner with otherworldly techniques, further screwing up a clear path to Nirvana. It’s an interesting test of our man in Bangkok as a man, a Buddhist, a (former) husband, a (also former) parent, and a cop."

Girl With Skirt of Stars by Jennifer Kitchell. "A murdered Navajo grandfather, symbolically marked, is found in the strange landscape of the hoodoos. Lilli Chischilly’s woos spiritual balance, at the heart of her culture, and wonders why her boss at the Navajo Nation’s Historic Preservation Department is (literally) sending her down river with a front-running Mormon political candidate."

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris. (Another of my favorite series.) "A new case for Harper Connelly. Harper you recall was struck by lightning and now has unusual powers, plus a dysfunctional set of relatives and friends in that Southern style, and a lot of oddball incidents thrown her way.

These are my new picks this week. I hope one or two appeal to you as well!

As for the new FTC regulations, do any of you have any concerns about the way things might change?


  1. Some fabulous finds. I just love the cover of Ghost A La Mode. I didn't realise Charlaine Harris had another series of books out too.

  2. Looks like you have a nice haul this week Cathy.

    As for your FTC I wouldn't worry too much. Perhaps it's easier for me to be relaxed as I'm watching all this from a distance but the words tempest and teacup come to mind. Seriously it looks like bureaucrat posturing from where I sit because I can't imagine a scenario where taxpayers will be asked (or would accept being asked) to fund the blogging police (the thing that's always forgotten is that stupid ideas require policing).

    But in the worst case scenario - i.e. that some moron actually tries to turn this nonsense into law - publishers who 'get' what sending ARCs to bloggers does for their authors will send ARCs to bloggers with a reply paid envelope for return of same - so they wouldn't be giving them away but would be loaning them for review. Bloggers would miss out on free books but would not be out of pocket and would still get to read the books and the conversations in the blogoshpere and beyond would still take place. There's always more than one way to skin a cat.

  3. I love the cover of Ghost a la mode too! As to the FTC thing, I'm Canadian so it doesn't involve me. But I think that once the hub bub and hype dies down, book bloggers will not be affected. They are after bigger fish than unsalable ARCS full of spelling and grammatical errors. It's a great big money waster and books will be the least of their worries, in the end. If I was an American I wouldn't change a thing I was doing at present.

  4. Those really do look like interesting books! I wonder, too, about the FTC, but I agree with Bernadette and Nicola that this is going to blow over. No doubt about it, though: ARCs are an important way in which we learn about books that are out there, and in which authors get some necessary exposure. That's especially true for new authors whose work may be good, but who don't have the "following" that established authors have.

  5. Ghost a la Mode looks like fun to me. As for the FTC, a most inane idea. Doesn't the government has better things to do? What bothers me is the Big Brother aspect of it all. It's another ludicrous thing. I don't know why and it saddens me greatly, to see how common sense in our leadership has flown the coop.

  6. I fully intend to read Harris's "other" series when I finish with Sookie.

    FTC: I provide affiliate links to books when I post reviews or spotlights. I have clearly stated that they are affiliate links in my review policy. In a year, I've made less than $10 total and no money has been transferred into my bank account, so I'm not worried about the FTC or the IRS!

    I have a review policy and I have clear statement or two about the nature of my reviews. I feel fully protected. The only change I made to my blog is that I now note whether the book is bought, borrowed, or a review copy.

    The rules go in effect on December 1. If I make any further changes, I'll do so then.

  7. All of these sound interesting. I'm not a fan of the Sookie series (think I'm entirely alone in this...and I'm from Shreveport!), but I like the Harper Connelly series a lot. Go figure!

  8. Like Jenclair, I don't care for the Sookie series, but I really do like the Harper Connelly series, so thanks for the heads up...i'm off to find that one.

    As for the FTC, I guess that given the spotlight, 'govmint' officials have to find something about which to bloviate! I'll worry about it when it really happens.

  9. Girl With Skirt of Stars reminds me of the the Tony Hillerman books. I like those so I'll check this one out. Thanks for sharing your finds.

  10. Mmmm! Great covers.

    But I will follow my usual routine and wait for your review, before I make up my mind.

    And with regard to "Mama does Time" it was a combination of cover, car and quotation :D

  11. Great post, Cathy. I have read a few posts the past days about the FTC, and I like Bernadette, I am also thinking about this from another place - I don't receive any freebies or ARCs or anything, but I plan to link to any bookstores/authorpages/etc as I have done all the time!

  12. PS. I am going to check out that Charlaine Harris-series as well!

  13. Another great list - I'll be hunting most of these ones down, definitely. Re the FTC thing, I wouldn't worry about it much. As long as you mention the fact, when reviewing or talking about an ARC or review copy, that it was given to you by the author/publisher/publicist, you're following the guidelines. You were already doing that, so I don't think you have anything to worry about.

  14. Ghost a la Mode is a fun book. Very humorous. I truly enjoyed it and look forward to more in the series.

    I keep meaning to pick up the first book in that Charlaine Harris series. I was reading her Aurora Teagarden and Lily Bard (Shakespeare) series many years ago. Charlaine has done very well.

  15. As Belle mentioned, I don't think that we book bloggers really have to worry about anything. As long as you mention that the books reviewed was sent to you from a publisher, a publicist or an author (which I have been doing even before this whole bruhaha happened) you'll be fine. But I also get what you're saying about not really worrying too much about ARC's not arriving any more, I also provide the books for myself (meaning I purchase them mostly) so it wouldn't hurt all that bad.

  16. Vivienne-- Harris' Lily Bard and Harper Connelly series are my favorites. I've never dipped into Sookie; I've never wanted to. :)

    Bernadette-- I'm sure that it is a tempest, but I suppose we'll all have to wait until the dust settles to find out.

    Nicola-- I'm only going to make a couple of slight changes, and I'm good to go. It's always interesting to hear other people's opinions about something like this.

    Margot-- Those are precisely the authors I worry about, so I hope the FTC doesn't do anything to make their jobs any more difficult!

    Kaye-- In a way, I don't blame the government so much for this latest tempest. Evidently this all started from people complaining about not realizing that "mommy bloggers" were getting free merchandise and services in payment for their reviews of products.

    On the one hand, people seem ready to believe the worst about anyone and anything, and on the other hand, they seem to believe anything they read--especially if it's on the internet. To me it makes no difference if the review is from someone who does it for love or from someone who does it for money. I read the information and make up my own mind!

    Beth-- Like you, there are few changes I have to make.

    Jenclair-- You're not alone in not caring for Sookie. I'm right there with you!

    Tina-- Good to meet yet another reader who likes Harper!

    Margot-- Girl With Skirt of Stars reminded me of Hillerman, too!

    Dorte-- I haven't gotten any of these books yet. They're merely on my wish list. As for Mama Does Time... now I know that you like big old convertibles! ;)

    Louise-- You don't have to change anything, since you live outside the US. I'm fortunate in that there are few changes for me to make.

    Belle-- I'm not worried-- just wondered what other people were thinking. :)

    Kay-- Thanks for the thumbs up on Ghost a la Mode. :)

    Lilly-- For me, no ARCs would be removing temptation from my path because it drives me nuts when the ones I have all have the same "due dates"!



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