I am surprised – in a good way. The very cheap 7″ Kindle Fire tablet ($49.99) is worth the money. It’s not a $200 tablet selling cheap. Rather it is an entry-level tablet at a great price.
The clever packaging gives the feel of opening a gift. Unlike recent Kindle device purchases, this one includes both the USB cord and power outlet. It was fully charged right out of the package.
After selecting language and signing into wi-fi, the Fire downloaded the latest software update. I was cautioned to have the device connected to power as the battery might not be sufficient to complete the process. The download took more than 30 minutes.
I quickly flipped through the tutorial without paying attention – shame on me! When the home page opened my first thought was, “Where is the carousel?” Call me silly, but I really liked flicking my finger through the covers of books, audiobooks, music, games and anything else on my Fire. The home screen on this Fire is like a phone – small icons and lots of them.
The good news is that you can rearrange those icons. The Washington Post icon was the first one on the first row – probably because Jeff Bezos owns it. I quickly moved it to the bottom row.
Regarding the physical device: This Fire has good weight and does not feel flimsy when holding it. The front screen is glass and slick. The back has minimal texturing and no indentation so there isn’t a gripping factor. A younger user would need a case to protect the device as smaller hands could easily drop it.
The physical controls are on one end – power, USB port, microphone, volume control and headphone jack. I consider this an improvement as I’m not turning the device around and around trying to find the control on the side or the other end. The memory slot is on the side while the microphone is on the back lower corner.
So far the battery has held up well. The update download took 35% of the power but the general playing around consumed 10%.
Downloading games takes longer and response times lag the more expensive models. My biggest disappointment is that certain games I have purchased are not available on this Fire – Monopoly, Scrabble, Uno and Boggle.
I did have a bit of a problem with a book. I downloaded it and proceeded to open, close, run the speed reading, text-to-speech and tried everything imaginable in short order. Then the problems started. I would open the book and it would immediately close back to the home page – repeatedly. This device doesn’t have a big brain and I think I might have overdone it. After a reboot, all was well.
You will need to buy a memory card as device doesn’t have much usable storage. Most of the 8GB is used for the internal workings of the Fire.
Honestly, I haven’t had the chance to explore all the options on this small Fire. I plan to play with it in the weeks ahead and give more of my opinion in future Housekeeping posts.
When this device was announced, Charlene sent a note asking if she could get text-to-speech on this low-priced model. I searched and searched, but couldn’t find the answer. My only advice was that she could order one and return it if the device didn’t meet her needs. Charlene sent a note on Saturday that text-to-speech is available on eligible books. She also listed features she was glad to have:
• Word Runner – a speed reading option
• Two cameras – front and back
• Memory slot
I’m ordering more for members of the family using the buy five, get one free offer. I will test each one to confirm all is in good working order. With a 90-day warranty, one cannot delay running it through the paces. If something is not working, I’m sending it back and asking for a replacement.
This Kindle Fire is worth the price for the books, music, videos, games and audiobooks that you can enjoy on it. Just remember it is a low-price version of the Kindle Fire, not a top-line tablet selling for a low price.
BTW – A software update will be forthcoming that will enable Prime Music to be stored on the microSD.
Please leave a comment about what you like and don’t like about the new $49.99 Kindle Fire.
Cheap Reads – Fantasies for $1.99 each
The Queen of the Tearling ($1.99) Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.
The Invasion of the Tearling ($1.99) With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling.
By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, Kelsea has crossed the brutal Red Queen, who derives her power from dark magic and who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what she claims is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.
Pre-order the third book in the series, The Fate of the Tearling for $14.99. Delivery is June 7.
For Paris Gibson, her popular late-night radio show is both an escape and her one real contact with the outside world.
Since moving to Austin to ease the pain of past, tragic mistakes, she has led a life of virtual solitude, coming alive only when she hosts her show. To her loyal listeners, she is a wise and trusted friend who not only takes their music requests but listens to their problems and occasionally dispenses advice.
Paris’s world of isolation is brutally threatened, however, when one listener — a man who identifies himself only as “Valentino” — tells her that her on-air advice to the girl he loves has caused her to leave him and that now he intends to exact his revenge.
Joined by the Austin police department, Paris plunges into a race against time in an effort to find Valentino before he can carry out his threat to kill — and to kill again.
Tense and compelling right up to the chilling climax, Hello, Darkness is suspense at its very best and you can buy it today for your Kindle for $2.99. Audiobook: $3.99.
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Ginny Young is on a plane, en route to see her mother, whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to for thirty-five years. She thinks back to the summer of 1958, when she and her sister, Sharla, were young girls. At that time,a series of dramatic events–beginning with the arrival of a mysterious and sensual next-door neighbor–divided the family, separating the sisters from their mother.
Moving back and forth in time between the girl she once was and the woman she’s become, Ginny at last confronts painful choices that occur in almost any woman’s life, and learns surprising truths about the people she thought she knew best.
This literary novel is selling for $1.99 today.
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In the unseasonable heat of a spring morning in 80 B.C., Gordianus the Finder is summoned to the house of Cicero, a young advocate staking his reputation on a case involving the savage murder of the wealthy, sybaritic Sextus Roscius. Charged with the murder is Sextus’s son, greed being the apparent motive. The punishment, rooted deep in Roman tradition, is horrific beyond imagining.
The case becomes a political nightmare when Gordianus’s investigation takes him through the city’s raucous, pungent streets and deep into rural Umbria. Now, one man’s fate may threaten the very leaders of Rome itself.
This historical thriller is selling for $2.99 today. Audiobook: $3.99.
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In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.
Elsewhere, in an land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it — should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.
But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands… and not even the people they trust.
Buy this epic fantasy for only $1.99 today. Audiobook: $3.99.
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Zeke Coulter has no intention of getting married–until he buys a ranch next door to Natalie Patterson, a sexy divorcee with two kids, a zany extended family, and a philandering ex-husband involved in shady business dealings. When Natalie’s twelve-year-old son vandalizes Zeke’s property and she is unable to pay for the damages, Zeke offers to let the boy work off the debt.
As Zeke struggles to instill a sense of responsibility and self-worth in the troubled youngster, he finds his life being turned upside down by Natalie, whose sultry singing voice and striking eyes disguise her underlying lack of belief in herself or in her dream of becoming a professional singer.
With rugged determination, Zeke undertakes to bolster her confidence, revive her ability to trust men…and thoroughly seduce her. But just as their attraction begins to blossom, a twist of fate gravely threatens their life together….
Buy this contemporary romance for only $1.99 today.
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Free now: Fatal Affair – Romantic suspense from Carina Books
Always confirm price before purchase. Many free and reduced books are offered for a limited time only.
Washington, D.C., Metro Police Detective Sergeant Sam Holland needs a big win to salvage her career–and her confidence–after a disastrous investigation. The perfect opportunity arises when Senator John O’Connor is found brutally murdered in his bed, and Sam is assigned to the case.
Matters get complicated when Sam has to team up with Nick Cappuano, O’Connor’s friend and chief of staff…and the man Sam had a memorable one-night stand with years earlier. Their sexual chemistry still sizzles, and Sam has to fight to stay focused on the case.
Sleeping with a material witness is another mistake she can’t afford–especially when the bodies keep piling up.
Click here to purchase Fatal Affair
Edward Savill, a London clerk from the American Department, is assigned to New York to investigate the claims of dispossessed loyalists caught on the wrong side of the American War of Independence.
Surrounded by its enemies, British Manhattan is a melting pot of soldiers, profiteers, double agents and a swelling tide of refugees seeking justice from the Crown.
Savill lodges with the respected Wintour family: the old Judge, his ailing wife and their enigmatic daughter-in-law Arabella. The family lives in limbo, praying for the safe return of Jack Wintour, Arabella’s husband, who is missing behind rebel lines.
The discovery of a body in the notorious slums of Canvas Town thrusts Savill into a murder inquiry. But in the escalating violence of a desperate city, why does one death matter? Because the secret this killing hides could be the key to power for whoever uncovers it…
Buy this historical mystery for $1.99 today.
Click here to purchase The Scent of Death
If there’s anything Anna Madison knows, it’s how to turn life’s lemons into a lemonade cocktail served in a vintage glass. So when her beloved Briar Creek café burns down, she sees it as an opportunity to start fresh. But the only kitchen available to her is in the diner down the street-owned by her sinfully sexy ex.
If Anna thinks she can take over his greasy-spoon kitchen with her high-end cuisine, Mark Hastings is about to set her straight fast. Their breakup is his biggest regret-not that he’ll ever admit it to her. Nope, he’d rather show her exactly what she’s been missing. With desire set on a high simmer, their menu is about to get a whole lot spicier . . .
This contemporary romance is selling for only 99 cents today.
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This touching, uplifting novel spans decades of loyalty, anger, regret, and love in the lives of the Chance family. A father whose dreams of glory on a baseball field are shattered by a mill accident. A mother who clings obsessively to religion as a ward against the darkest hour of her past.
Four brothers who come of age during the seismic upheavals of the sixties and who each choose their own way to deal with what the world has become.
By turns uproariously funny and deeply moving, and beautifully written throughout, The Brothers K is one of the finest chronicles of our lives in many years. Buy this sports saga for $1.99 today. Audiobook: $4.99.
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