Category: Book Reviews
Book review: Wife by Wednesday by Catherine Bybee – 99 cents 1 comment

Marriage of convenience is one of the most popular story plots by readers who want a happily-ever-after in their romances. Most novels using this plot are historical romances set in Regency England or the American West. Catherine Bybee has written a charming contemporary romance using the plot to perfection.
 
Wife by Wednesday is complete with the scorned other woman, plotting relatives, nosy lawyers, conflict between the newlyweds, misunderstandings and, of course, the happily-ever-after. The hero Blake is money and royalty and needs a wife. Samantha is debt-burdened and shunned by society because of her felonious father and is not looking for a husband. You just know that all the energy of being complete opposites will eventually lead to a team working together.
 
This romance probably won’t change your life, touch your soul, or make you cry. You will like the characters, appreciate the smooth flow of the story, and the slightly steamy romance. Do yourself a favor – put on a fresh pot of coffee or brew your favorite tea and treat yourself to a little romance this weekend – Wife by Wednesday , selling today for only 99 cents.
 

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Housekeeping – I write short stories for our 5,000th post 7 comments

Housekeeping/e-Ramble is the post where I (Paula) write about whatever I want as long as it is related to books, Kindle or reading. It’s been awhile – the last e-ramble was in January.
As I’ve stated before, I’ve fallen in love with the short story. This literary form has been reborn with e-readers and hurried readers. Fifteen minutes and a story has gone from cradle to grave. A tidy gift in a small package.
I came upon The World’s Shortest Stories Of Love And Death in the Kindle Store. It’s a bit over cheap at $5.23, but every story is only 55 words long and the idea of a 55-word story was fascinating. I purchased the story collection and quickly read through the pages.
The stories are about the general topics of love and death. Some were dark, others poignant, a few were funny, and some I didn’t understand, but that could be a reflection of my lack of life experiences. The story titled Late Charge by Jennifer Saylor is the most clever story. I still chuckle thinking about it.
The idea of a 55-word story so intrigued me that I grabbed a notebook and started penciling my thoughts. After numerous word counts, re-writes, and input from Tiger, here are my first four 55-word stories, one each in the adventure, suspense, contemporary fiction and true romance categories.
Man-to-Man
Young men. Face to face. Nearly nose to nose. Heavily drawn breath, but no retreats, no flinching. At the signal, they charge, each determined to be victorious. They struggle against each other, muscles bulging, teeth gritted. They stop, step back to do it all over again.
The referee’s whistle has blown. Second down and five.
 
Jim
Jim looked over his shoulder – again. He felt nervous, sweaty, pained in his stomach. Why had he behaved so recklessly? Someone would find out. His career could be over. He had to live with this for forever.
He looked over his shoulder, saw the Harley tattoo, smiled. “Let the congregation talk,” thought Reverend Jim.
 
In fairness, this story probably should have been labeled Christian fiction, but that would have given away the ending. I apologize for any offense.
 
Girl Crazy
“Twins.”
“You sure?”
“Yes, I’m a doctor.”
“Females?”
“Too early to tell. You hoping for two more girls?”
“Yeah. Emily and Anna are heading off to college in two and three years.”
“I understand,” the vet said as he pulled off his gloves and stepped out of the barn. “You will need the milk money.”
 
Newlyweds
“I do.”
“I will”
“Till death do us part.”
He held her hand, grinned at her. She smiled. Guests at the wedding, they had known poorer, now were comfortable. They had weathered sickness, enjoyed years of health.
“You may kiss your bride.”
He squeezed her hand. Newlyweds. They are still today, twenty some years later.
 
Preparing this post, I realized I had written nothing about the Kindle. Out came the notebook and the pencil. Here’s a Kindle story that I’m categorizing as chick lit:
Kindle + Me = Forever
I bought a Kindle, named it Jason. I love him. Free books? Cheap books? Games? More love for Jason.
Jason is always with me. I said to Mother, “Evenings and weekends, I’m with Jason.”
She misunderstood. She thinks I’m dating a nice young man. Mom’s happy. There’s no more nagging.
I love Jason even more.
 
Do you have a 55-word story just waiting to be written? Titles don’t count in the word count. I used Word as the official tally on my stories. Have fun and you are welcome to leave a comment with your story.

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Veterans Day – A personal post and a book review – Last Known Position 5 comments

Today is Veterans Day, a day to remember the men and women who have served in the military around the world. The two ladies who run this website are proud of their father, an American veteran. Please allow us to tell you about him.
 
Dad began his military service in February 1942. He was assigned to the Army Air Corps based in Kunming, China, as a mechanic on B-24 aircrafts. The China-Burma-India Theatre fought the Japanese who were attacking China. The only way to deliver supplies to the troops fighting in China and north of the Himalayan Mountains was to fly over the Hump, a perilous journey on any day. The planes that carried the supplies were the B-24 airplanes my dad serviced. He returned to the United States in October 1945.
 
Last week my father and 62 other WWII, Korean, and Vietnam veterans participated in an Honor Flight – a non-profit organization whose mission is to take every able veteran to Washington, DC, to see the national monuments which honor their service. Just a few weeks shy of his 92nd birthday, my father took his first commercial flight ever, spent a whirlwind day with comrades and volunteers touring the capital city, and returned to a 200-member motorcycle escort and a thousand well-wishers. The top picture is Dad at 22; the lower picture nearly 70 years later.
 
Only my father could get me to read military fiction. As Veterans Day was approaching, I began searching the Kindle Store for a book about where my dad had served. Last Known Position is just the book. Written by William L. Heath, the book was published in 1949. Mr. Heath received the Distinguished Flying Cross for service in the CBI Theatre and flying the Hump.
 
The book is short. The story is powerful. Four young men, the flight crew of a B-24, must deliver fuel to troops stationed north of the Hump. Each of them could be someone you know – a nephew, a neighbor, the young man working in a store you frequent, your son. They have been thrown into a war and, even though they don’t understand all the implications of the world struggle, they know their responsibilities and perform them well. Each has a method of escaping the present to cope with the stress of war.
 
The story requires detail of the plane and the flying process. This is all woven into the story and doesn’t read like a technical manual. The story is suspenseful and I whispered a prayer for these young men, hopeful all would end well yet fearful that it wouldn’t.
 
Dad read the book on his Kindle. He said it is factual and that he knew the places in the book. I strongly recommend this book this Veterans Day. You will meet four young men who fought to preserve freedom in the world and you will remember that freedom isn’t free. God bless every man and women who has served to protect the world.
 
Book description: The planes these men flew were called tankers – B-24’s with the guns and turrets removed and four large containers of gas in the bomb bays instead of bombs. They flew these planes with a minimum crew of pilot, copilot, radio operator, and engineer; and they went out on their missions unescorted and defenseless, crossing the dangerous mountain terrain day and night in all forms of weather, most of it bad.
 
It was not as bad a war as some men fought, but there were times when it was bad enough. And since the real adversary was the weather through which these men flew, their most gallant campaigns aloft were reduced to lonely, private struggles for survival. The book is available today for $2.99.

Click here to purchase Last Known Position

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Guest Book Review: Straight to Hell by Michelle Scott – 99 cents 0 comments

This guest book review is by Maria Schneider, author of Catch an Honest Thief ($2.99).
 
A cheap read and a good book to boot! Just finished reading Straight to Hell, the first book in The Lilith Straight Series by Michelle Scott. It’s a bit chic-lit, a bit paranormal, and a whole lot of heart. At 99 cents, it’s a “You can’t go wrong!” — only in the story, there are times when it’s all the heroine can do to get herself back on the straight and narrow. There’s temptations and bills to pay and kids to mother–and the devil trying like hell to hook her soul.
  
Straight to Hell is a story of redemption, hope and romance all rolled into one. It reminds me of Holly Lisle’s Sympathy for the Devil , which is an excellent read (and not a bad price at $2.99)
  
The humor and pacing in Straight to Hell only gets better as the book goes along–and more heart-rending the more you get to know the characters. The story takes on a little more seriousness towards the end as well.
  
The book comes across as light-hearted chic-lit, but it’s really dealing with more serious issues of…decisions and consequences. What would you do if your child was in danger? What would you REALLY do to save her?
  
But I didn’t even realize it until after I finished because the book is extremely well-written. It stays in a fast-paced mode and is funny in spots and throws in a touch of romance so you’re distracted from the seriousness.
 
My only gripe is that it’s one of those “to be continued.” Not enough was resolved for me by the end of the book, but that kind of fits the nature of the story. Soon as you solve one problem or beat one monster in life, another one appears. Maybe bigger. Maybe it’s just the monster that was there all along. It’s weird cleverness hiding behind light reading.
 
Recommended for chic-lit lovers looking for a story with heart, plot, romance and humor, but be warned that the plot is not fully resolved in book one.

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Book Review: Sex, Orgasm, and Coochies: A Gynecologist Answers Your Most Embarrassing Questions By Lissa Rankin, MD 0 comments

Oh, my! This isn’t your mother’s book discussing feminine health. This excerpt (about 225 pages) from What’s Up Down There? ($9.99) isn’t for everyone. If you want your medical education to be clinical, don’t buy this book.
 
The sub-title of the longer book is Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend. That pretty well describes this book. You probably wouldn’t ask these questions if you were sitting on an exam table and your white-coated doctor had just said, “Do you have any questions?” You just wouldn’t.
 
Dr. Rankin gets down to the business at hand, using street names for body parts and openly discussing intimate details of intimacy. Through all of this, she keeps the conversation light and engaging. This isn’t a biology lesson, but more like a roadmap of the female anatomy; how it functions alone and, um, with someone; and how to take care of things. Dr. Rankin tells of her personal experiences and sometimes the tone of the book is humorous.
 
Dr. Rankin doesn’t pass judgment in this book. Her goal is to educate women to keep them healthy – physically and mentally. A common theme throughout the chapters is that every woman should accept herself as she is and be happy in that.
 
I recommend this book for all women, especially young women. However, if you are easily offended by candid, no-holds-barred conversation of women’s health issues, take a pass on this book. Sex, Orgasm, and Coochies is selling today for only $1.99.
 
Two other books on the topic of women’s sexual health excerpted from larger publications are available for purchase for supercheap prices:
Fertility, Pregnancy, and Childbirth: ($1.99) Written by Dr. Lissa Rankin and excerpted from What’s Up Down There?, this is a life-changing little ebook that answers:
– How late is too late to get pregnant?
– Is it true that sex can stimulate labor? Is so, will having sex make me deliver early?
– Is natural childbirth really worth it? I mean, I’m sure it hurts like the dickens, so why would you do it? Is it really that much better for you and your baby?
And so much more! As outrageously funny as it is empowering, this book reveals how to love yourself and your body—and will have you recommending it to every woman you know.
  
Myths About Sex & Pregnancy: (99 cents) People have more access to medical information than ever before, and yet we still believe “facts” about our bodies and health that are just plain wrong.
– Men with big feet have bigger penises
– If you shave your hair, it will grow back faster, darker, and thicker
-The average person swallows eight spiders in a year
– You are more likely to have a boy if you have sex in the middle of your cycle
– Flying on a plane is dangerous to your unborn baby
With the perfect blend of authoritative research and a breezy, accessible tone, Myths about Sex and Pregnancy is full of enlightening, practical, and quirky facts that will debunk some of the most perennial misconceptions about out bodies. This book is excerpted from Don’t Swallow Your Gum! ($9.99)

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Housekeeping: It’s My Birthday and I’m Picking the Books 11 comments

Today is my birthday. I’m not exactly happy about that, but I’ve found that trying to ignore aging doesn’t make it go away. So since I’m getting older any way, let’s make a party of it. (By the way, this is Susan, the other cheap chick. Paula wants to make it clear that she is not getting older.)
I’m doing my best to fill this birthday with good things — good friends, up-beat music, ice cream, new jeans, a light schedule at work, Daily Cheap Reads and some of my all-time favorite books. Since it’s my birthday, I’m not paying any attention to price. Join the celebration by chiming in the comments with your favorite books or in the discussion over at Goodreads.
 
I read Once Upon A Summer ($5.59) when I was about 11. It’s about an orphan growing up with his grandpa, great-grandpa and Aunt Lou during the Great Depression. Janette Oke and her touching stories inspired me to be a writer and I was able to meet her at a conference last year. For you cheapskates, you can get the four-book Seasons of the Heart Series bundle with an updated cover for just $9.99. The bundle includes Once Up a Summer.
 
Once upon a summer of my own, I was so bored my mom convinced me to read a Zane Grey book. I got hooked and read the whole collection that summer. You can get six of his Western classics for just $1. It includes my favorite, Riders of the Purple Sage.
Click here to purchase The Greatest Hits of Zane Grey
 
As a journalist, I thoroughly enjoyed Rick Bragg’s “autobiography” of growing up in the rural South and becoming a New York Times columnist. Later, some of Bragg’s story was called into question, but it’s still a good story, even if it isn’t true and priced at $11.99.
 
Click here to purchase All Over But the Shoutin’
 
I just read One Thousand Gifts this summer. Life changing. The artistic writing style is beautiful and the message of gratitude goes deep. It’s $9.99, but this book has made me richer.
 
In my old age, I’ll probably be sitting at home, sipping tea and reading my Kindle a lot. The Sweetest Thing is on my “to be read” list at the strong recommendation of one of my writer friends. It is priced at $9.68.
 
 
 
Halloween Active Content – 99 cents each
The Halloween-themed active content 99 cent sale ends October 31. Don’t wait too late to miss these frighfully low prices. Check out all the fun and the seven games you can get for your Kindle in this post.

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Book Review: Bad Boys – a Western adventure 0 comments

Whether in a movie or a book, sometimes I just love a good Western. I’d read an interview with author Frank Roderus and decided to check out his book Bad Boys
 
It’s a bit different from the typical gunslinger showdown story. Danny Southern is introduced in the beginning as a reformed “bad boy” whose past has caught up with his clean-living present.
 
The story then goes back to recount the day Danny and his friend Henry met Red when he moved to their small town in eastern Kansas. After beating each other up, the trio became fast friends. Red introduced the other boys to petty theft and other mischief for which they never seemed to get into trouble. With disturbing accuracy, Bad Boys shows how the young men progressed to more violent crimes.
 
The gang developed a near fool-proof procedure, until a failed stagecoach robbery injured Danny and his best friends left him to die on the side of the road.
 
But Danny survived and had to figure out how to make it in the West with few useful skills. This transition made for an interesting story, as Danny’s ethics proved relative. It’s not until the very end of the story that Red and Henry show up and intrude on Danny’s plans to propose to his lady friend.
 
The showdown in the street takes awhile to get to, but it was definitely worth it. I would have liked more time spent with Danny coming to terms with his past and deciding how best to deal with his old friends. It is currently selling at just a bit above cheap at $5.99 on the Kindle.

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Book Review: The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer – $1.99 0 comments

A weekend of traveling gave me the opportunity to finish The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer. A classic British whodunit set in the 1930s, the arrogant Sir Arthur Billington-Smith and his weak, timid wife Fay host a weekend house party, attended by an eclectic group including Fay’s sister Dinah; a social-climbing couple; Sir Billington-Smith’s dim-witted son and his self-centered starlet fiancé; and a guest with the last name of Guest who just happens to be in love with Fay.

Everyone has a motive to murder Sir Arthur. Ms. Heyer sets the stage such that any one of the houseguests could have been the guilty party. An inspector from Scotland Yard comes to investigate the murder by working through the clues, most notably the unfinished clue found on Sir Arthur’s desk, written in his own hand.

While entertaining, this isn’t a nail-biter, suspenseful mystery. According to Wikipedia, Ms. Heyer’s husband often provided basic outlines for the plots of her thrillers. She developed the story from there and this one proved that nothing uncovers the deepest buried secrets like a murder. The English aristocracy is not exempt from familial dysfunction, either.

I read the book over several weeks. The many characters were identified by their first names in some places and their formal name in others and I struggled to remember who was who. With so many characters, Ms. Heyer did not develop any of them deeply. To be honest, I didn’t like most of the crowd – which worked out nicely as I wouldn’t have minded if any of them had been the murderer. The book is selling today for only $1.99 and has been at that price since Ms. Heyer’s birthday in mid-August. The book is well worth that price just to resolve the unfinished clue.
Click here to purchase Unfinished Clue

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Book Review: A Most Unsuitable Match 0 comments

Stephanie Grace Whitson is my new favorite author. Not that she is new, but I’ve just discovered her. I chose to read A Most Unsuitable Match because this historical novel is set on the Missouri River. (My hometown even got a shout out!)
Fannie Rousseau has grown up in the sheltered comfort of her wealthy parents’ home in St. Charles, Mo. After her mother’s death, Fannie sorts through papers and finds letters from an aunt she never knew existed. She and her maid take a steamboat to Fort Benton, Montana, the location of the last letter posted by Aunt Edith.
On the river, Fannie encounters tragedy, but also the friendship of Samuel Beck, who has escaped his abusive father and is looking for his runaway sister.
Samuel and his new companion, a former slave, watch out for Fannie when they make it Fort Benton. In this rough frontier settlement, Fannie sets to find her aunt and discovers herself and love in the process. It’s this second half of the book that is the most interesting.
I enjoyed the swift-moving story that had some predictable points but also several surprises. There was an inordinate amount of fainting, but otherwise an entertaining historical.
I received a copy of A Most Unsuitable Match through Bethany House’s book review program. It is selling for $9.22 in the Kindle store.
In addition, I read Whitson’s Sixteen Brides which was offered free on Kindle this summer.
This is most unusual twist on the “prairie romance.” Each of the brides had a secret to hide and it wasn’t easy to predict who the brides would end up marrying. It is now $8.54.

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Housekeeping: Inspiring reads, mistake correction, and cheap reads 1 comment

Inspiring Reads
I had been feeling a bit down lately. That must have been why I picked out a couple of non-fiction books, which are not my normal fare.
Heaven Is for Real is a best-seller and a cheap read at $4.98. Small-town pastor Todd Burpo writes about his family’s ordeal as their 3-year-old son was deathly ill. A few months after his recovery, Colton started talking about his trip to heaven. I appreciated Burpo sharing his skepticism at first, as well as some of the humorous insights of a child describing the afterlife. As a children’s Sunday School teacher, this book was instructive. As a pilgrim with an eye toward home, it was an invaluable gift.
 
Written by Michael Hingson, Thunder Dog describes how he and his guide dog escaped the World Trade Center on September 11. The account was interspersed with Hingson’s reflections on his experiences growing up in a sighted world. The description of the fire and destruction of 9/11 are vivid but not disturbing. This would be an appropriate read for someone as young as middle school or someone who needs motivation or inspiration. The book is selling today for $7.99. 
If you have read an inspiring book, please leave a comment about the book on this post. 
Once in a while, I goof. . .  
That’s not news, but this time I’m confessing to it. Earlier this month I posted a book review by Mark, a site user who had read Stone in a Sling by Scott A. Meehan. The book is a non-fiction autobiography of Major (Ret.) Meehan’s life as a missionary kid through marriage and family and his service around the world in the United States military. I mis-categorized the book as fiction and corrected the category recently. You can read the review and purchase the book for $2.99 today.
 
Reminding you of a few cheap reads
Yesterday we featured eighteen 99 cent books. Scroll back through the posts. You are sure to find a couple of books to read during the rainy, cooler weekends and evenings this fall. Here’s another cheap read. Libby Fischer Hellmann’s Toxicity is only 99 cents today. A dark police procedural and thriller, this book is a prequel to the Georgia Davis PI series – Easy Innocence ($2.99) and Doubleback (99 cents).
 
Toll-Gate: by Georgette Heyer can still be pre-ordered for $1.99 with delivery October 1. Captain John Staple, back from the battlefront, is already bored with his quiet civilian life in the country. When he stumbles upon a mystery involving a disappearing toll-gate keeper, nothing could keep the adventure-loving captain from investigating. But winning her will be his greatest yet…
 
  
More than twenty of Georgette Heyer’s books are still priced at $1.99, including seven of her mysteries. I’m continuing to read Unfinished Clue ($1.99) and have come to totally dislike the pompous man who meets a deadly fate. The cast of characters in this whodunit is an entertaining lot and every one of them has a reason to snuff out the nasty man.
You can page through all of Georgette Heyer’s books here, including the mysteries. The $1.99 books are on all four pages.

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