More Than You Know ($2.99 Audiobook $2.99) Kindle Book: New York Times bestselling author Nan Rossiter weaves a poignant, empowering novel in which three sisters gather to celebrate their mother’s life–and find new inspiration for living their own. . .
The Princess Spy ($0.99) Kindle Romance: Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story. Young adult title.
Accused ($1.99 Audiobook $3.99) Kindle Non-Fiction: This is the true story of a woman who prevailed against the most heinous accusations imaginable.
The Oversight ($1.99) Kindle Sci-Fi/Fantasy : Once there were hundreds of members of the Oversight, the brave souls who guard the borders between the mundane and the magic. Now there are only five.
Shame ($1.99 Audiobook $1.99) Kindle Mystery: Although it’s been many years since the death of his father—an infamous serial killer known as Shame—Caleb Parker still struggles to free himself from his father’s dark shadow.
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DonnaC sent a note asking us to share our impressions of the Amazon’s Echo ($179.99) after having the device for a few months. Echo is the hands-free speaker you control with your voice and is a grown-up version of Siri or Okay Google on Apple and Android phones. In addition to accessing the internet, Echo also connects to your Amazon music and audiobooks.
DonnaC asked this question:
Has Alexa (voice of the Echo) become a part of your household, or is she that visiting relative who won’t leave?
The answer is: It just depends. My husband and I often ask Alexa for the temperature and the weather forecast. We ask for sports scores and team schedules. We listened to local basketball games by asking Alexa to play the call letters of the station. We could listen to any radio station that is partnered with IHeartRadio. I ask her to spell words and she has helped us resolve a few crossword conundrums. When it comes to joke telling (which are really riddles) 50% are actually funny.
Alexa has the ability to search the internet to find answers to questions. The finesse in asking the question increases the probability of a reply. I have not spent enough time with her to have developed the art of asking the question correctly. I’ve read a few books about Alexa, however, the writers just slapped some basic facts on the page and didn’t give meaningful advice.
Alexa is used most at our house for music. With the huge Prime music library and play-lists, the selections are near limitless. Sitting on the loveseat and giving the voice commands to play, skip, pause, and increase or decrease volume is sweet. Christmas music filled our house during the holidays.
Over the last few weeks while we have contemplated our father’s life and his declining health, instrumental hymns played throughout our home were soothing to our tired souls.
One disadvantage is that the Echo must be connected to a power source. Alexa sits in the den where we spend the most time. Our house is large, but she responds to our voice from the rooms adjacent.
I have sent feedback to Amazon regarding the audiobook feature. I listen at 3x the speed of the narrator. I have not yet found a way to increase the reading speed.
I believe the Echo is worth the price even though we don’t use the full capabilities such as controlling our house lights or keeping our shopping list. Amazon is constantly working to improve the Echo and adds new features regularly. Each week I receive an email of new content, apps and uses. Another bonus with Echo is that the product continues to improve and expand, but I do not pay an additional monthly fee.
Voice-activated technology is the wave of the future and practicing with the Echo is putting me ahead of the average person.
My Alexa Tap ($129.99) arrived several weeks ago. This portable Alexa can be taken anywhere and needs only a wi-fi or hotspot connection. The big negative is that I must push a button and then speak to activate it. After the hands-free Echo, pushing a button seems old-school and awkward, even if it saves the battery life.
My husband had a recent 4-day stay in the hospital and I packed the Tap along. I connected to the open wi-fi using an app on my Fire. The instrumental music I chose from Prime provide white noise to mask the hospital and to allow him to rest. I worked from the small table shown in the picture. See the Tap?
Younger users who gather in outdoor venues might enjoy the portability more. Simply set up a hot spot on a phone, connect the Tap via the app and then add a wireless speaker. Instant party music.
The Dot, which can only be purchased via voice shopping from the Echo, is a slimmed down version of the original. The little thing is only about 2” inches high. I have one in our kitchen where the Echo voice commands don’t reach. The Dot does all the things the Echo does and is voice activated. The speaker quality is less because of the small size.
Amazon made a limited supply and says that when the supply is gone, that’s it. I will admit that the Dot was a frivolous purchase but once I was in, why not go whole-hog? The Dot is in an upstairs bedroom to play music and listen to news and weather.
To answer DonnaC’s original question: Alexa is a part of our every-other or every-three day life. That’s our fault, not Alexa’s. We haven’t spent the time learning all that she can do. She’s welcome in our home anytime because we just don’t know when we might need her.
director at one of New York’s top colleges. That is, until the dead body of a female student from Heather’s residence hall is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft.
The cops and the college president are ready to chalk the death off as an accident. But Heather knows teenage girls . . . and girls do not elevator surf. Yet no one wants to listen even when more students start turning up dead in equally ordinary and subtly sinister ways. So Heather makes the decision to take on yet another new career: as spunky girl detective!
You can buy this first book in the Heather Wells light and fun mystery series for $1.99 today.
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Who are you? you must be wondering. I am your soulmate, your old friend, and I have come back to this city of sixteen million in search of you.
So begins the first letter that falls into Wang’s lap as he flips down the visor in his taxi. The letters that follow are filled with the stories of Wang’s previous lives—from escaping a marriage to a spirit bride, to being a slave on the run from Genghis Khan, to living as a fisherman during the Opium Wars, and being a teenager on the Red Guard during the cultural revolution—bound to his mysterious “soulmate,” spanning one thousand years of betrayal and intrigue.
As the letters continue to appear seemingly out of thin air, Wang becomes convinced that someone is watching him—someone who claims to have known him for over one thousand years. And with each letter, Wang feels the watcher growing closer and closer…
Buy this historical Asian fiction novel for $1.99 today. Audiobook: $3.99.
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Maud Heighton came to Lafond’s famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris, she quickly realizes, is no place for a light purse. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling decadence of the Belle Epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, she stumbles upon an opportunity when Christian Morel engages her as a live-in companion to his beautiful young sister, Sylvie.
Maud is overjoyed by her good fortune. With a clean room, hot meals, and an umbrella to keep her dry, she is able to hold her head high as she strolls the streets of Montmartre. No longer hostage to poverty and hunger, Maud can at last devote herself to her art. But all is not as it seems.
Buy this historical mystery today for only $2.99.
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For anyone who has been to Italy, the fantasy of living the Italian life is powerfully seductive. But to truly become Italian, one must learn the language. This is how Dianne Hales began her journey. In La Bella Lingua, she brings the story of her decades-long experience with the “the world’s most loved and lovable language” together with explorations of Italy’s history, literature, art, music, movies, lifestyle, and food in a true opera amorosa—a labor of her love of Italy.
Like Dianne, readers of La Bella Lingua will find themselves innamorata, enchanted, by Italian, fascinated by its saga, tantalized by its adventures, addicted to its sound, and ever eager to spend more time in its company.
Buy this book today for only $1.99.
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New York Times health columnist Anahad O’Connor teams up Food Network chef Dave Lieberman for The 10 Things You Need to Eat—a hip, straightforward, and appealing guide for understanding and incorporating the 10 most healthy foods into your diet, with more than 100 easy and delicious ways to prepare them.
A fun and unintimidating approach to Super Foods—filled with mouth-watering, user-friendly recipes—The 10 Things You Need to Eat is ideal for foodies and non-foodies alike who want to be healthier, look better, and live longer without having to sacrifice when it comes to taste.
Buy this cookbook for only 99 cents today.
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A lifeboat crashes on the shore of a small fishing village, leaving all three of its passengers dead. A tragic accident—perhaps—but Detective Marjory Fleming is not so sure …
The steep decline of the fishing industry has brought a new and bustling drug trade to town. Were the victims in over their heads? Or was this the work of a person so determined to kill one of the crew that he took two innocent lives?
The depressed, impoverished community is clamoring for justice, and Fleming is determined to unravel the mystery before the body count rises.
Buy this Scottish crime fiction novel for only 99 cents today.
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Kathryn West has it all–she’s a confident, bestselling author living it up in New York City. Too bad she doesn’t actually exist, and is only timid Maddie Sawyer’s pseudonym. Determined to attend her high school reunion with a man right out of one of her racy romance novels, she plots to find a sexy bad boy who’s up to Kathryn’s standards.
She finds Mr. Perfect shooting pool in a biker bar. He’s a blue-collar hunk who just happens to look great in leather. But the mysterious Scott Brady has some rules of his own: he won’t agree to her deal unless she poses as his girlfriend in front of his family and friends first.
As the reunion nears, Maddie tries to maintain her carefree façade, knowing she’ll soon face some old ghosts. She’s torn between her growing attraction to Scott and the nagging feeling that he’s hiding something important. Will she still want him when she finds out his secret? What about when he discovers hers?
Buy this class reunion romance for only 99 cents today. Audiobook: $2.99.
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Today is a difficult day for the two ladies who bring you this site. Our father, age 96, passed into heaven’s gates early Sunday morning. An amazingly healthy man for being well past 90, his physical health failed in the last month. His mind remained sharp.
Dad prepared us for this day as he led us to a faith in God, not putting our faith in anything or anyone on this earth – not even him. There is no greater gift.
He lived a life of integrity. He served his country honorably as a member of the Flying Tigers during World War II. He loved the land and was a farmer all of his life. The farm still has 12 cows because he just wasn’t ready to sell the last of the herd.
He was married to our mother for 44 years and a widower 21 years. He had four sons and four daughters; 12 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. His greatest desire was that his children have a happy childhood.
He was a natural teacher. He taught us to work on the farm, in the garden and in school. We always had chores and we could never get out of doing them.
Dad encouraged us to read by being an example. The highlight of his day the last 10-15 years was the mail delivery when three local and regional newspapers would arrive. Dad also read books – many, many books. The last 20 years of his life, he often read a book a day. Our challenge was finding a constant supply of garage sale bargains and library discards. He had a Kindle, but the controls were frustrating in his later years.
Paula has a special memory of Dad as a teacher: When I was five, kindergarten was not mandatory in our state. Children could attend for half-day classes, but the parents were responsible for transporting the child home. Because we lived eight miles from the school, they decided I would start school with first grade. Dad was worried that the other children would be ahead of me. That winter he taught me to read from a book called Come Play with Us. I learned basic addition and subtraction and simple spelling words. When first grade started, I was months ahead of the students who had attended kindergarten.
Today we will gather with family and friends to celebrate his life. We will laugh and cry as we remember his character and personality. And each time we read a book, we will think of Dad.
We have written about our father in previous posts that can be read here and here.