Category: Housekeeping
Housekeeping: Typos and grammar errors, Tee-shirts for readers and Cheap Reads 3 comments

broom.panTypos and Grammar Errors
Those nagging typos, grammar errors and misplaced modifiers! Read this blog often enough and you will find plenty of them in either the book blurbs from Amazon or my ramblings.
Here are blurb excerpts and titles I’ve found recently:

Jordan was married to the love of her life. Together they were building the “Happy Ever After” future they’d both dreamed of. When a stalker becomes obsessed with her and brakes into her house intending to take her for his own sick desires.

Weswestern Historical Romance

With taught prose evocative of Laura Lippman’s Life Sentences and Dennis Lehane’s Moonlight Mile

Just today, the non-fiction book in the Daily Deal is identified as Paradise Rex (scroll down-the Science Daily Deal on the left) instead of Parasite Rex.
Tee-shirts for readers
If you want to let the world know you are a reader, you might want to purchase one of these tee-shirts now selling on I typed in “reading shirts” to find these three. NOTE: We do not receive commissions from Etsy.

Many of you have already found the typo/grammar error on the shirt above that I missed. I was a bit tired when I put this post together last night. It’s a long story that involves my 95-year-old father, cows on the road and barbed-wire fence repair.
Cheap Reads
Buy these three mysteries for only 99 cents each.
Night Hush (99 cents) In this gripping and action-packed debut, an Army Intelligence officer and a Delta Force soldier must race against the clock to stop a catastrophic terrorist attack …
A Killing at the Creek (99 cents) Prosecutor Elsie Arnold loves her small-town home in the Ozark hills, but she’s been waiting for a murder to come along and make her career. So when a body is found under a bridge, throat cut, Elsie jumps at the chance to work on the case, even if it’s alongside the brash new chief assistant, Chuck Harris—and her latest flame, Detective Bob Ashlock.
Race to Death (99 cents) A man plummets to his death during the York Races. Despite the large crowds, no witnesses are able to help confirm whether the death was a suicide or a murder. Newly promoted, Detective Ian Peterson is plunged into the complex case that splashes across the headlines.

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Housekeeping: Not really great; Dash Button and Cheap Reads 2 comments

broom.panNot really great
While looking for great reads to post on our site, I scan many reader reviews. Helpful comments will tell me if the writing drags, the plot has flaws, the characters are underdeveloped and even spoilers.
I recently read this comment posted by a reader:

Some of these kindle books are not really great. I wish they reviewed these a bit closer before they put them out there for purchase.

My first thought was, “Really?” Not knowing if the reviewer was referring to grammar errors or the quality of the writing, it is hard to know what should be reviewed.
If you look at just about any book with more than 20 reviews, some readers will love it while others will give it a thumbs down. Some will mention definite reasons for their favorable or unfavorable rating. Others say “What an awesome book!” or “I just couldn’t get into it.” If books were reviewed before becoming available, whose opinion determines which books make the cut?
With more than 3.5million items in the Kindle Store, Amazon will not be reviewing books before putting them out there for puchase. The company is counting on you to let your fellow readers know if the book is worth their time. Let the buyer beware.
Amazon Dash Button
Dash buttonAmazon recently announced the Dash Button – a wireless ordering option that will place an order with Amazon to replenish household items. Currently only Prime members are being offered this unique opportunity.
To learn what some are saying about the concept I recommend you read these articles The Amazon Dash Button Fiasco (watch the video) and The Horror of Amazon’s New Dash Button.
Have I ever wished for such a device when in a pinch? Yes. Would I use this device regularly? No. But I enjoy the shopping experience – finding the best value for the price and comparing brands and products.
I’ve been contemplating how this idea would work for the Kindle. Would it download the next book in the series? Another book by the same author? Same genre? The idea just isn’t ready for the Kindle yet.
Cheap Reads
Enjoy a cozy mystery for just $1.99 each.
It Takes a Witch ($1.99 Audiobook $3.49) Darcy Merriweather has just discovered she hails from a long line of Wishcrafters-witches with the power to cast spells by making a wish. She’s come to Enchanted Village to learn her trade but finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation…
Murder Is Binding ($1.99) When she moved to Stoneham, city slicker Tricia Miles met nothing but friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial.
Boiled Over ($1.99 Audiobook $3.49) For Julia Snowden, the Founder’s Day summer celebration in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, means helping her family’s clambake company to prepare an authentic taste of New England seafood. Any Mainer will tell you that a real clambake needs wood for the fire . . . so why is there a foot sticking out of the oven?

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Housekeeping: Amazon Cloud is changing; Down Memory Lane and Cheap Reads 0 comments

broom.panAmazon announces changes to Cloud Service
Amazon recently announced changes to their cloud service. If you are a Prime member or Fire owner, you will continue to have unlimited space for pictures. At least for now. :)
If you need storage, the prices are reasonable:
• Unlimited Photos Plan (free 3-month trial, then $11.99 per year—equivalent of less than $1 per month): Store an infinite number of photos inCloud Drive without worrying about taking up space on phones, cameras, or other devices. Customers can upload existing collections and store all future photos taken. This plan also includes 5 GB of additional storage for videos or other documents and files.
• Unlimited Everything Plan (free 3-month trial, then $59.99 per year—equivalent of less than $5 per month): Store an infinite number of new and existing photos, videos, files, documents, movies, and music in Cloud Drive.
Take a trip down Amazon’s Memory Lane
Amazon has become such a part of America’s culture and everyday life that it’s hard to believe the company started just 20 years ago in 1995. Business (a publication in which Jeff Bezos is an investor through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions) has provided a trip down memory lane to show us how the face of Amazon has evolved through the years. To think that we could be shopping on or
You might have missed it yesterday, but Amazon had a 1999 webpage as their home page for April Fool’s Day as shown below. Remember those little tabs across the top?
1999 Amazon
Cheap Reads
These three suspense-filled novels by Lisa Jackson are selling for just $1.99 each.
The Morning After ($1.99) Another body is found. And another. Each gruesome discovery unnerves Nikki a little more. Now, as a serial killer pulls her ever deeper into his sick game, she has no idea how close she’s getting to the truth–or how deadly it will be. . .
Wicked Game ($1.99) Twenty years ago, wild child Jessie Brentwood vanished from St. Elizabeth’s high school. Few friends suspected that Jessie was hiding a shocking secret-one that brought her into the crosshairs of a vicious killer…
Ready to Die ($1.99) His blood quickens as he stares at the photographs. Six faces, all guilty–and detectives Regan Pescoli and Selena Alvarez are at the top of his list. One by one, he’ll stalk them, then he’ll squeeze the trigger, savoring the way each lifeless body crumples to the reddening snow. One down already. And then there were five. . .

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Housekeeping: Forgotten Books, Improving the Fire TV Stick and Cheap Reads 4 comments

Finding forgotten books in the archive
While doing everything possible to delay the paperwork for the tax accountant, I browsed through my Kindle library to select books to add to the to-be-read list, specifically looking for great reads that I had forgotten.
Here are just a few great books – all purchased for under $5 each – that are back on the list:
Behold, Here’s Poison ($9.99) – Historical mystery by Georgette Heyer (Love the cover!)
Glitter Baby ($5.99) – Contemporary fiction by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Killer On A Hot Tin Roof ($5.38) – Cozy mystery by Livia Washington
The Negotiator ($9.99) – Inspirational suspense by Dee Henderson
11/22/63 ($11.99) – Alternative history by Stephen King
I need an app that randomly selects a book from my archive each week, loads it to my default Kindle and sends an e-mail reminder.
Do you have forgotten books languishing in the archive? How do you keep your to-be-read list fresh?
Amazon Improving the Streaming Video Experience
Earlier this week Amazon announced a a free, over-the-air software update in the coming weeks to the Fire TV Stick that includes:
• Expandable USB storage on Amazon Fire TV–You can now use a connected USB mass storage device to expand your Fire TV storage for downloaded apps and games.
• Connect to your hotel or dorm room Wi-Fi with captive portal support out of the box–Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are the first streaming media devices to enable you to connect to Wi-Fi that requires web authentication–this includes Wi-Fi at most major hotels, as well as some universities.
• Private listening on Fire TV–Support for wireless Bluetooth headphones to Fire TV lets you listen to your movie, TV show, or music without bothering others in your household.
• Browse and search Prime Playlists–Prime members can now take advantage of hand-crafted Prime Music playlists directly from Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.
• Hidden PIN entry–The new PIN entry screen that hides the numbers selected.
• New shortcuts–Quickly put your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick to sleep or enable display mirroring by pressing and holding the Home button on your remote.
Cheap Reads
These three cozy mysteries are only 99 cents each.

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Housekeeping: Unsolicited advice for authors, Literature Jeopardy and Cheap Reads 0 comments

broom.panUnsolicited advice for authors: Whoa there!
Our father has enjoyed and worked with horses all his life, beginning when he farmed with a team in the 1930s. He won our mother’s heart by insisting she ride his favorite mount, Susie Belle.
Anyone who works with horses knows that the animals respond to word commands. Dad often uses those same expressions with his children.
When we were young, we would bubble over in our excitement to tell a story. Our high-pitched voices firing at rapid speed would prompt Dad to say, “Whoa there! Not so much all at once.”
I have the same unsolicited advice for authors: Whoa there!
Recently I’ve read novels that take on multiple social and economic ills and offer a solution to most of them in 300 pages or less.
If an author is passionate about a topic, then write an issue-based novel with a compelling story that incorporates the subject. If appropriate, introduce the other side of the issue to build conflict. Become an expert on the issue, going beyond just giving an opinion.
But please – Don’t take a position on gun-control, corporate farming, eldercare, home-schooling and climate change in the same book! A single novel with so many issues will offend every reader at some point .
As Dad would say, “Whoa there! Not so much all at once.” Tell your story, but practice restraint when it comes to pushing social issues.

What is Literature Jeopardy? has culled the Jeopardy archives and created more 40 sets of Jeopardy answers that relate to literature. The nine answers are followed by the nine questions, so don’t scroll down too far when you check out the fun here.
This is one answer that I questioned correctly (if that is the proper way to describe the process):
A: Mother of Bonnie Blue, she ran a sawmill after the Civil War.
Q: Who is Scarlett O’Hara?

Cheap Reads
Buy these three mysteries and thrillers for only 99 cents each – a great price.

Bone Valley (99 cents) In her never-ending quest to log more billable hours, Sarasota lawyer Lilly Cleary agrees to defend Angus and Miguel, two fervent environmentalists who are being sued for libeling . . . an orange!
Point Doom (99 cents) Failed private investigator JD Fiorella was a pro at finding trouble. Mixing it up with the wrong people in New York, he escaped to L.A.—only to hit rock-bottom after too many nightmares and too much booze.
Lineup (99 cents) A brutal rape in a quiet Tel Aviv neighborhood has the police baffled. There are no witnesses, suspects, or clues, until the victim’s father steps in and finds overwhelming evidence pointing to Ziv Nevo.

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Housekeeping – Reading season, Word trivia and Cheap Reads 0 comments

broom.panPeak reading season
The months of January, February and March are my peak reading season. The cold weather means indoor activities and reading is my favorite pastime. Looking back over the last few years reading records, about 40% is completed in the first quarter. To date in 2015, I have read or listened to 44 books.
We often use the phrase “beach read” when describing a light-weight, fun novel that many readers enjoy while on vacation or when taking a break from their usual fare. The summer months are when I read the least.
Is there a particular time of the year when you read more? Take the poll below to let us know.

Word Trivia regularly publishes slideshows of word trivia. Enjoy these shows from literature.
Science fiction novels have added a wealth of words to our every day language. Check out the 10 Words Coined in the Sci-Fi Universe.
Have you visited any of these 9 Imaginary Lands from Literature?
More words coined in literature: Discover nine novel English neologisms now
If you are writing a review and the book was lackluster, failed to keep you engaged or was just plain boring, find the perfect word to use when you check out 5 Fun Ways to Say Boring.
Cheap Reads – Cozy Mysteries
Enjoy these cozy mysteries selling for great prices – the bundle has three first-in-series books for $2.99. All other books are $1.99 each.

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Housekeeping: Dr. Seuss book found and Cheap Reads 0 comments

broom.panFound: A new Dr. Seuss book
Random House Children’s Books has announced that they will release What Pet Should I Get? ($13.22 hardcover) on July 28. The full text and illustrations were rediscovered in the office space of the late Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, by by Geisel’s widow, Audrey Geisel, and his longtime secretary and friend, Claudia Prescott, in fall 2013.
The book features the siblings from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish ($3.99 Kindle version) as they attempt to choose a pet.
“We believe that he wrote and illustrated What Pet Should I Get? somewhere between 1958 and 1962,” said Cathy Goldsmith, v-p and associate publisher at Random House Books for Young Readers.
The book is only available in hardcover editions on July 28.
Cheap Reads – Reading Circle Picks
Random House Reader’s Circle is dedicated to publishing the very best for book groups—thought-provoking books selected because they have a compelling narrative guaranteed to spark a lively discussion.
Each book includes a discussion guide in the back—with author interviews, discussion questions, and author biographies—providing unique opportunities for readers to expand their knowledge of the author and their writing. The three books below are selling for $1.99 or $2.99 each.
The Three Miss Margarets ($1.99) Miss Peggy, Dr. Maggie, and Miss Li’l Bit, friends and confidantes for nearly a lifetime, find it funny and bewildering that they have become icons in Charles Valley, Georgia. Little does the rest of the town know that beneath the irreproachable façades of its three doyennes lies an explosive decades-old secret that is about to be revealed.
Thirty-odd years ago the three Miss Margarets did something extraordinary, clandestine, and very illegal.
The Speed of Light ($1.99) For most of their lives, Julian Perel and his sister, Paula, lived in a house cast in silence, witnesses to a father struggling with a devastating secret too painful to share. Though their father took his demons to the grave, his past refuses to rest. As adults, brother and sister struggle to find their voices.
Every family has a story. Every story, eventually, must be told.
The Wives of Henry Oades ($2.99) When Henry Oades accepts an accountancy post in New Zealand, his wife, Margaret, and their children follow him to exotic Wellington. But while Henry is an adventurer, Margaret is not. Their new home is rougher and more rustic than they expected—and a single night of tragedy shatters the family when the native Maori stage an uprising, kidnapping Margaret and her children.
Exploring the intricacies of marriage, the construction of family, the changing world of the late 1800s, and the strength of two remarkable women, Johanna Moran turns this unusual family’s story into an unforgettable page-turning drama.

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Housekeeping: Expiring credit, Daily Deals in December and Cheap Reads 2 comments

broom.panCredit expires soon
If you received credit on your Amazon account for the antitrust settlement, you must use it by March 31, 2015. My larger-than-expected credit was spent within a couple of weeks of the notice last March.
Click on this page to get an instant accounting of your credit. If you have a balance, don’t let it slip away.
Daily Deals in December
Let’s talk about the daily deals offered in early December. Drawing from the 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime and Best Books of 2014 lists created by Amazon editors, the Twelve Days of Christmas promotion featured one selection from each list each day.
While offering a wide variety of fiction genre and non-fiction, the selections were not that amazing to me. Most of the books had been featured in previous sales at Amazon. The selection could also have been interpreted to have a political and/or social agenda. The Best of 2014 Collection included several books with an average 3-star reader rating.
Print book daily deals weren’t even deals. Several books were only a couple dollars less than the regular price.
To Amazon’s credit, the after Christmas Daily Deals were much better with multiple books by popular authors. Next Christmas I want great deals before and after the holiday. With millions of books, surely Amazon can find great reads at great prices.
A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird
Last week we wrote about Go Set a Watchman ($12.99 pre-order; delivery July 14), a sequel of sorts to To Kill a Mockingbird ($3.99).
You can purchase Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird for only 99 cents today. Mary McDonagh Murphy has written a lively appreciation that examines how the novel has left its mark on a broad range of novelists, historians, journalists, and artists. In compelling interviews, Anna Quindlen, Tom Brokaw, Oprah Winfrey, James Patterson, James McBride, and others reflect on when they first read the novel, what it meant to them, and how it has affected their lives and careers.
Cheap Reads
Buy four Hamish MacBeth mysteries by M. C. Beaton for only $1.99 each.
This series of novels is set in the Scottish Highlands, in the fictional village of Lochdubh, in the real county of Sutherland. Although Lochdubh and the neighbouring town of Strathbane are fictional places, the series refers to real Scottish towns such as Dornoch, Dingwall and Inverness. Hamish Macbeth is a fictional police officer who serves as his villages constable. Enjoy this cozies for a great price today. We posted Death of a Policeman ($1.99) earlier this week.

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Housekeeping: Too good to be true, Harper Lee’s first novel and Cheap reads 0 comments

broom.panToo good to be true
Monday on a fluke I clicked on the Buy a Kindle link on a Kindle book webpage. Amazon’s newest e-reader, the Voyage, was priced at $59 – $140 less than normal. Quick as a wink, I one-clicked to buy the maximum of two. The order sailed through and a confirming e-mail arrived.
I then put the great deal on the DCR blog. Within a few minutes of the post going live, I received a note that the price was back to $199. Then yesterday I received this e-mail from Amazon:

We’re contacting you about order #XXXX. We recently learned that an error caused the following item(s) to be displayed at an incorrect price: Amazon Kindle Voyage with Special Offers, Wi-Fi.

In this case, we’re unable to offer this item for the incorrectly posted price. Therefore, we’ve cancelled your order for this item. We’re sorry about this. At any given time, despite our best efforts, a small number of the millions of items on our site may be mispriced.

To make up for any inconvenience, we’re adding a $20 promotional certificate to your account.

As a friend noted, I one-clicked an order and made $20. That’s a good return on my time, but I would have much rather that all of us could have purchased the Voyage at that great price.
Harper Lee to publish another novel
Harper Lee, age 88, has announced that she wrote a sequel of sorts to follow her American literary masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird ($3.99). The irony is that she wrote this novel first.
Go Set a Watchman ($12.99 pre-order; delivery July 14) takes place 20 years later than To Kill a Mockingbird and is set in the same fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Scout, the heroine of To Kill a Mockingbird, returns to care for her ailing father.
Friends of Ms. Harper have expressed concern that her health has declined and that she may not be of sound mind. Read more about this controversy here.
I plan to read To Kill a Mockingbird, this summer before Go Set a Watchman is available. If the price of a pre-order decreases before release, Amazon will honor the lower price on all orders.
Cheap Reads
Valentine’s Day is Saturday. Buy these romances for 99 cents each.

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Housekeeping: Bestseller with the movie, More 2014 reads and Cheap reads 0 comments

broom.panBestselling book when the movie debuts
During the week when the movie American Sniper ($17.99/$24.99 pre-order DVD/Blu-ray) debuted in theaters, the book sales skyrocketed – selling nearly five times more copies than the next most-popular book. HarperCollins released an enhanced version of Chris Kyle’s story ($5.86) that was the top-seller in Apple’s iBooks store. Amazon lists the text version ($5.86) as 8th on its bestsellers list this morning.
More 2014 reads
Two weeks ago I listed my top four books of 2014. Limiting the list to so few was challenging. Today I’m sharing more great reads. All books were purchased; none were provided to me free.

A Dog Named Christmas ($7.99) Greg Kincaid has written another charming tale for anyone who loves pets. More upbeat than Christmas with Tucker ($7.99), this novel is a family holiday read. I enjoyed the excellent audiobook version.
The Rosie Project ($9.99) Graeme Simsion’s love story for geeks is laugh-out-loud funny and refreshingly different. I’ve already purchased the sequel The Rosie Effect ($9.99).
Thunder Point Series by Robyn Carr ($1.99 to $7.19) I read the first three romances and am looking forward to reading books 4 -6 this spring. I just pre-ordered books 7 and 8: One Wish ($5.99-delivery February 24) and A New Hope ($7.19-delivery June 30).

The Q Manifesto ($2.99) Alan Schleimer’s debut suspense novel is a complex tale of an attempt to disprove the Christian faith. A large cast of characters requires the reader to stay engaged.
Maisie Dobbs ($8.61) In 2014 I read a dozen or more books centered around the two World Wars. Jacqueline Winspear’s historical mystery introduces Maisie Dobbs, a private investigator in 1929 London who must investigate a home for war veterans.
Curve Ball (99 cents) Angelica Kate has penned a charming inspirational romance that features a harried professional mother and the last bachelor in a family of five men.
Romance and Cheap Reads
February is a month for all things romantic, including great prices on romance novels. The publishers have slashed prices. The romances below are selling for only 99 cents each.
The Wicked Ways of Alexander Kidd (99 cents) As the sheltered niece of a Highland chief, Caitrina Grant longs for adventure beyond the lush hills of Scotland. So when a pirate ship glides into the loch, Trina sneaks aboard. But she is unprepared for the consequences. . .
Love and Other Scandals (99 cents) Joan Bennett is a breath away from being a spinster. She’s had four seasons without a suitor. After reading a shockingly sensuous book, Fifty Ways to Sin, Joan decides perhaps it’s time to stop being proper.
Forgotten Sins (99 cents) From the moment Josie laid eyes on sexy, mysterious Shane Dean, she was in love. Their desire ignited a passionate affair, and within weeks, Shane had slipped a ring on her finger. It seemed her every fantasy was coming true . . . until her new husband disappeared without a trace.

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