Category Archives: Books

New Prime Membership Benefit: Audible Channels (and some Audiobooks)

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, then your membership just became a little more valuable. Amazon prime now includes free access to Audible channels, which includes Original Audible Series, curated playlists, and a rotating list of about 50 books.

I am one of those poor slobs who has a work commute, in my case it’s up to 40 minutes a day each direction, and long ago I started using the time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, but I’ve never taken the plunge and signed up for an audible subscription.

I am, however, a long time prime member, and I’ll have to say, I see this as a huge plus. I’m always looking for more great content to make the commute go faster.

Audible channels were rolled out in July, and are available to non-prime subscribers for $4.95 a month, or free to audible members.

It isn’t obvious how often the list of 50 books will get rotated, I would guess once a month. Of course, I’m also interested to find out if they have any mechanism to let listeners know that a book will no longer be available after some date, I would hate to start listening to a book and have it made unavailable half way through.

To access the benefit you’ll need the mobile Audible App, which you can get from your friendly neighborhood app store.

Hopefully the ColdFire Trilogy will be available soon 😉


Audible Original: Bedtime Stories for Cynics is absolutely Checking Out

Great Website for Book Reviews–Good Reads

The other day I wrote about the Coldfire Trilogy, and was thinking about some of the other great books I’ve read, and I realized that I should take a look through my bookshelf on goodreads and see which other great books I would recommend.

Then I realized that not everyone in the world knows about Good Reads. I need to fix that, well, at least for whoever reads this article.

Goodreads is the self described “largest site for readers and book recommendations”, and their mission is to “help people find and share books they love”. As of this writing, there are 30 Million members.

Goodreads has quickly become my go to site for looking up book info. Along with the website, they also have a mobile app. Here are the two biggest reasons that I love them:

Good Reads makes it easy to find what series a book is in, and what’s next.

I’ve always had issues finding what series a book falls in, and what order I should read the books in. Good reads takes care of that. Just look up the book you want, in this example I’ll use “Black Sun Rising” by C.S. Friedman.


As you can see, it’s the first book in the list, and directly below it is the series it’s in. In this case, I’m going to click on the book.

The title of the book is followed by the series name in parenthesis.


The best part? It’s a hyperlink to the series’ page. Just click on it.


The screenshot above shows that “Dominion” is book .5 in the series (a prequel), then “Black Sun Rising” and after that there’s two German language versions, followed by “When True Night Falls”, which is book 2.

The only bad part about this is that at the time of this writing, it doesn’t work on the Android version of the app. I don’t know about the IOS version.

Goodreads makes it easy to keep track of what you want to read

In the screenshot above, you can see that each book has a “Want to Read” button next to it. If you have already read a book, you can mark it as “Read”, and the button will be labeled accordingly.

However, marking it as “Want to Read” will put in on your to-read shelf, which you can sort in the order that you would like to read things.

Way more reasons than this

There are many, many reasons to love GoodReads. For example:

  • you can “Friend” people, and see what they think of books, as well as what’s on their list.
  • Each book has a list on it’s page of books that “Readers also enjoyed”. I’ve found quite a few great books from those lists.
  • When you mark a book as “Read” it goes onto a list of books you’ve read. Every need to find the name of that book that was so  good? It’s on that list.
  • There are a huge number of lists of books, such as “The best of epic fantasy”. It’s easy to see what lists a particular book is on, and then find other great stuff there too.
  • Discussion groups, book clubs, the list goes on and on.

Really, check them out.

The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman

Not too long ago, someone who enjoyed fantasy asked me for a book recommendation, and immediately the Coldfire Trilogy came to mind.

These have to be one of my absolute favorite series of books.

The series seems to take place in your standard magical type of fantasy world, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by letting you in on this, but what really happened was that mankind left earth, and ended up on the planet  Erna, where thoughts are unknowingly shaping the planet’s energy, creating what we think about.

This may sound great, but all of the popular monster stories that we’re told start creating the monsters that used to be fictional. The use of machinery becomes impossible, because worrying that it won’t work, makes it not work. Thinking that your gun may backfire, makes it backfire.

Mankind is reduced to using only the simple tools that our minds can easily grasp, swords, axes, saws, etc.

The planet was colonized 1200 years before the stories start, and our origins have been forgotten, and mankind has just continued on with their lives. The end result is the medieval world of swords and sorcery that is the backdrop for the story.

My wife was never into reading Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but I talked her into giving these books a try. Now she’s hooked and she pretty much only reads fantasy now. If you like that type of stuff, I really suggest you check them out.

Post image for Dominion

What I didn’t realize until I wrote this post is that there is a prequel story. It looks like at Amazon it’s only on Kindle, and right now it’s $1.99. The main series was released between 1991 and 1995, but this prequel was released in 2011.

Post image for Black Sun Rising

The first book is “Black Sun Rising”, it’s available on Amazon here in kindle format, as well as paperback and audiobook.

Post image for When True Night Falls

The second book is “When True Night Falls”, available here on Amazon in the same formats.

Post image for Crown of Shadows

The third book is “Crown of Shadows”, available here on Amazon in the same formats.

C.S. Friedman’s page about the Coldfire Trilogy has some really nice summaries, and you can also read the really long Wikipedia article about the series.

Where to Get some Free eBooks?


My family reads quite a bit, and since my kindle has the ability to store so many books, I like to keep lots of stuff on it.

I believe it was my mother in law that introduced me to BookBub, and I sure am glad that she did. Sign up is easy, just enter your email address, and away you go.

Tell them which book categories that you enjoy, and what type of e-reader you have, and every day they will send you an email with a whole slew of free and cheap books. The list of genres is pretty impressive, and if a book is free and you don’t like it, just delete it, you can’t lose.

As a bonus, since I look at the email they send most days, I’ve had a number of books that I’ve already read come up on the list, and I really liked getting the digital version for free.

I’ve been introduced to several new authors that I really enjoy, and have started several series of books that I would never have heard of if it wasn’t for the offer in Bookbub. Go ahead and check them out.