Category: Housekeeping
Housekeeping: The Deep Freeze: Fill the slow cooker and snuggle in with a great book 2 comments
Baby, it’s cold outside
Here in the Midwest the coldest weather of the season is barreling our way. The holiday week has already been cold, but highs over the coming few days probably won’t be above zero.
Thankfully we will be able to stay in during the worst of the cold snap. Activities across the area are being cancelled or rescheduled to keep people inside.
Most of our meals have been prepared in the slow cooker – ham and beans; beef stew; chicken and noodles – recipes such as are in the book below.
We have several great books on our Kindles and are snuggling in for the duration. Hope you are warm, eating well and reading your favorite authors this New Years weekend, too.

 

 
Book Description: Finally, all in one handsome volume, the best 1400 slow-cooker recipes!
Collected from some of America’s best home cooks.
Tested in real-life settings.
Carefully selected from thousands of recipes.
Eight small “galleries” of full-color photos of delectable slow-cooker dishes from the collection add sparkle throughout the cookbook.
This is the perfect BIG COOKBOOK! Easy to understand, easy to use. Buy it today for only $1.99.
Click here to purchase Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook

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Housekeeping: Upgrading your Kindle readers – Paula’s thoughts 20 comments
Upgrading your Kindle
Last week DonnaC dropped a note saying that she is going to upgrade her Kindle reader and asked my opinion on which Kindle device is the best.
Serious readers need to invest in the best tool they can afford to enjoy the hours spent engrossed in great books. I commend DonnaC for recognizing that means a dedicated e-reader. The quality of the resolution and the unique screen lighting is superior to a tablet for hours-long reading.
I don’t recommend the lowest priced Kindle for anyone who is an avid reader. Children and casual readers are good candidates for the low-end Kindle. If you want a second Kindle to throw in the purse or vehicle, it’s a good choice.
 
Amazon offers three higher quality readers with built-in lighting. To me, the Paperwhite and Voyage are similar, with their outer appearance a major difference.
The Paperwhite surface is glass with a case surrounding. That inset glass is a catch-all for dust and whatever is around. Example: I had my Paperwhite on the table when my husband and I went to breakfast at a local diner. I found donut glaze in the corner later that evening. If you are a neat-nick, this device’s casing might frustrate you.
The Paperwhite is also entirely touch-driven. Without buttons to advance or reverse, it is not always convenient or comfortable. In the winter months when I’m snuggled deep under the covers, swiping a finger across the screen upsets the cocoon I’ve created.
 
The Voyage is a flat front with solid glass surface that is easier to clean. With buttons (PagePress) on both sides for forward and backward, this device has easier navigatation. The PagePress buttons give a silent haptic response (slight vibration). The screen also accepts touch page turns.
As far as clarity, the resolution is the same in the Paperwhite and Voyage.
 
I purchased the original Oasis, but do not use it. The device is small and doesn’t have heft or presence compared to the PaperWhite or Voyage. Honestly, you can lose it in a sweater pocket. The viewing screen is the same size as the Paperwhite but the surrounding frame is smaller. I use my Kindle readers without a cover and that may be why I’ve not taken to the Oasis.
The new Oasis has a 7” screen which tells me that readers wanted to see a bigger page. If anyone reading this has the new Oasis, please comment how you like it.
 
I recommend that that anyone considering a new device visit here to read Amazon’s comparison of the four readers selling now. Scroll down the page to the grid.
 
Amazon is offering a Black Friday deal on the Paperwhite, cutting the price to $89.99 ($30 savings). The Voyage and Oasis are not listed in their Black Friday week deals.
 
DonnaC – to answer your question:
If you have budget considerations, the Paperwhite is the best device.
If you are able to purchase any of the three devices, I recommend the Voyage ($199.99).
 
What device would you recommend to Donna C? Please comment with your preferred device and any words of wisdom, plus or minus, you have about the devices.
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Housekeeping: A bit of book fun 4 comments

Name the genre
An actual first line of a book blurb in the Kindle Store:

BOOK TITLE is a gripping, nonfiction novel combining absolute realism, humor, and a moving, supernatural twist.

 
Seriously, how many nonfiction novels have you read?
 
Find-and-replace fail
I recently read a novel about a young man named Peter, which must have been the author’s second choice for the hero’s name. He was originally Tom. How did I know this? Because the global change in the word processing program gave it away:

When it was over, he tried to kiss me but our braces became tangled together. Anxiety twisted in my sPeterach at the memory.

 
An apple and a book a day
Research confirms what you already know: Reading is good for you. Read this article to learn the six scientific reasons why.

 

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Housekeeping: Kindle Fatigue and Dictionary Fun 16 comments
Kindle Fatigue
Amazon just announced the latest Kindle e-reader – the All-New Kindle Oasis E-reader ($249.99). This one has several improved features:
• Higher resolution – at what point does this become indistinguishable?
• Thin and light design with an aluminum back – no joke, this was listed as the second feature on the press release
• The first waterproof Kindle – for the very few Kindle owners who sometimes use their Kindles in the tub, close enough to the pool to get wet or on the beach as the tide is rolling in
• Audible built in – for the 2% of the population who doesn’t have 2, 4 or 6 Fire tablets to listen to their audiobooks
If I’m sounding a bit snarky, it’s because I’m suffering from Kindle fatigue. Amazon has introduced new and improved Kindle readers year after year. The Paperwhite was the last significantly improvement over prior models. The Voyage and Oasis are fine devices, but not remarkably different. The Oasis is especially designed for those who read for hours at a time, which is probably a small percentage of all Kindle users.
Are you excited about this new and improved e-reader? Or did you yawn and move on?

 

Words for the Bookish
Dictionary.com has a fun slide show titled Words All Book Lovers Should be Using. Take a few minutes to read through the presentation to test your vocabulary.
If you are a logophile, Dictionary.com has a wealth of fun learning presentations.
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Housekeeping: Romance readers, get a $3 credit to spend on select books 0 comments
Credit for romance novels
You can get a $3 credit to redeem on select Romance Kindle novels sold by Amazon Publishing.
Simply click here, sign in and the credit will be applied to your account.
Browse the large selection of romances click here. I redeemed my credit on three novels priced at just 99 cents each.
Click on this link; sign in to redeem the credit and choose a book or two or three.
The $3 credit must be claimed and redeemed by September 30th.
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Housekeeping: kindle.amazon.com is merging with Goodreads 12 comments
Amazon Tracking to end
I’ve infrequently used Amazon’s tracking system to record what I’ve read or decided wasn’t worth the effort. The system lists every book – Kindle and print – you have purchased through Amazon.
A recent visit to the website notified me that the data will be merging with Goodreads, an Amazon-owned website.
The good news is that Amazon will send you a spreadsheet of every book you have purchased from them. I received my list just a few minutes after submitting the request.
If you are not familiar with the feature, go to https://kindle.amazon.com.

You may need to sign in. You may need to select Your Books to display your purchases. On the far right, you can limit the selections to Kindle only or choose to view all books.

To request the download of your book list, you need to click on Learn more in the gray box (Important information about kindle.amazon.com) at the top of the page. You will be linked to a page that explains what is happening with Goodreads and giving you options to link your two accounts and send your book list to Goodreads.
Even if you choose not to track your reading on Goodreads, I strongly encourage you to request the booklist.
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Housekeeping: Prime Members: Win an Echo and Just How Dangerous Is Alexa? 1 comment
Prime Members: Win an Echo
Eligible Prime members who listen to any Audible selection on a list of devices (Fire tablets, Echo devices, Audible App on other devices) from July 5-11 are entered into a drawing for 100 free Echo devices. You can enter each day just by listening for more than 5 seconds.
You can download a Prime-exclusive audiobook Funny Amazon Reviews for free if you need help selecting a title.
Read more about the opportunity here. Official Rules apply.

 

Just how dangerous is Alexa?
We don’t recommend you register to win an Echo if you have a fear of your conversations being recorded. Shelly Palmer has written an article regarding Alexa, privacy and the 60 seconds recorded before you say the wake word.
It’s an interesting read and may assuage some of your concerns or keep you awake at night. The technology, the data gathered and what is done with that data is fascinating thinking.
Shelly Palmer is the CEO of The Palmer Group, a strategic advisory, technology solutions and business development practice. Mr. Palmer is also Fox 5 New York’s on-air tech and digital media expert, writes a weekly column for AdAge, and is a regular commentator on CNBC and CNN.

 

Prime Day 2017
We will be here at 6:00p.m. PDT on Monday evening (July 10), posting the first Prime Day deals. I won’t be able to keep track of what is selling all day long, but we expect some deals to be good the full 30 hours. You can shop some deals now by going here. Go to this page to see the daily deals prior to Prime Day.
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Housekeeping: Kindle Touch Security Hole and Short and Sassy Reviews and Cheap Reads 0 comments

Kindle Touch Security Hole
If you have a Kindle Touch, you need to read this article.
Lynn alerted us to a news item on Tuesday regarding a security issue which could mean trouble for Kindle Touch owners. A German company heise (sic) Security found that there is a NPAPI plug-in that can execute administrative privileges on your Touch if you access certain webpages.
What’s that mean to the average Touch user? If you go to one of these webpages via your Kindle, a hacker could erase everything on your Kindle or access your Amazon account information.
Not wanting to waste the security hole, a browser-based hacking program has become available that will allow you to install unauthorized software. So if there is a rogue Sudoku game you have to have on your Touch. . . .you can now do it.
Until the announcement this week very few people knew about the security issue so widespread hacking does not appear to be a problem. Amazon has been working on a solution known as a patch, but don’t hold your breath. Amazon has known about problem for three months.
Check your firmware version on your Touch. If you have version 5.1.0 you might want to refrain from web browsing just to be safe. There’s no solution for you to download to fix this problem. If you just purchased a Touch, your device may have version 5.1.1 which does not have the security flaw.
 
Short and Sassy Reviews
Over the last few months I have read many short pieces and will be sharing short and sassy reviews in the weeks to come. Hope you can find a few short reads to enjoy this summer.
 

Upstaged by Republicans (99 cents) by Bob Olson: In this very short story set in 1938, the author’s parents hosted the local Republican party members for an Independence Day picnic. The author and his friends created a play for the evening’s entertainment. Before the curtain rises, the young acting troupe is upstaged by the Republicans. An amusing, very short story to read this election year.
You Again ($1.99) by Carolyn Scott: A dynamite young woman from a notorious crime family and a by-the-book cop are reunited when the young woman breaks into a house and the cop comes calling following the crime. Lily is trying to make up for the sins of her father; Luke wants to make up for pushing Lily out of his life two years earlier.
This novella is well-written, moves at a good pace and is on the spicy side. Set in Melbourne, Australia, this contemporary romance is worth the money. There was one small typo – a critical word was left out of the next to the last paragraph. OOPS! Download includes an excerpt from Surrender ($2.99) by C.J. Archer.
The Peach Pies (free) by Erik Martin: An amusing story that may or may not have its genesis in an actual event or person. If you have ever baked late into the night to make the perfect item for the bake sale, you will identify with the mother in this story. She was determined to bake perfect peach pies to upstage the woman who always contributes the “must buy” item. The story is a bit predictable, but the woman has a genius solution to her dilemma. I would have stopped the story right there, but the bake sale was at a parochial school so confession was probably necessary.
If you have ever been the mother who longs to be the perfect baker, you must read this story. You will find the perfect solution when you have a peach pie-type dilemma.

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Housekeeping – Name Changes, Rumors, and Cheap Reads – Short Story Collections 1 comment

Name Game
Mentalfloss.com’s recent post identified seventeen literary characters whose working names didn’t make it to the final publication.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s just would not have been the same if Holly Golightly had been named Connie Gustafson. The book description on the Kindle Store webpage states:

Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape.

 
“Connie Gustafson” could have never pulled that off.
My personal favorite was Gone with the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara, who narrowly escaped being Pansy. Really? Rhett Butler could not have fallen for a woman named Pansy. Ashley, yes. But Rhett, never.
Who doesn’t love Little Orphan Annie, but Little Orphan Otto? Thank goodness curly red hair brought about the name and gender change.
I’ve read books with characters whose names just didn’t work for me. My own little quirk is that grown men should not be known by names like Ricky, Billy, or Jimmy. They sound childish to me as I prefer the more grown-up names of Rick, Bill and Jim.
Predictable names don’t bother me – cowboys named Dusty and Buck or Englishmen named Sebastian and Clive. Lead male characters named Lucifer, Demon, or Trinity are just creepy.
Women characters named Destiny, Chastity, or Nevaeh (Heaven spelled backwards) – too cutesy. In historical novels, the name has to match the period. A Regency heroine named Heather ruined a book for me. Ditto for the contemporary novel starring Lavender.
Have you read a book where the name just didn’t fit in your mind? Or couldn’t finish a book because of the names? What about a name you fell in love with and named your child or pet the same? Tell us about it.
 
Rumors and more rumors
The Wall Street Journal through wsj.com has a story about the upcoming Kindle Phone, which is supposedly being developed and will be larger than four inches.
•pcworld.com has an article about the look of the next Kindle. Backlit and color e-ink are features being rumored.
•Finally, technobuffalo.com reported on a survey where more than 50% of Kindle Fire owners intend to purchase an iPad 3. My personal opinion is that once you become a tablet user, you integrate the device into your life and start looking for a tablet with more features. If the Kindle Fire draws a consumer to buy a tablet and they then buy an iPad, does Apple owe Amazon a 30% commission?
 
Cheap Reads – Short Story Collections
HarperCollins has reduced the price on short story collections normally priced above $10 to just $1.99 each. The three books below are available to download now for $1.99 each.
 

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Housekeeping – Five things learned about publishing and Cheap contemporary reads 1 comment


Five things learned about publishing
O’Reilly Radar, an emerging technology blog, wrote a post of the five things learned about publishing last year. The first item was this: Amazon is a disruptive publishing competitor. The article sited several items that Amazon has implemented in the last 18 months:
• Expanded tools for self publishers – Providing even more options and opportunities for authors to create, publish and promote their works.
• Their own imprints – Montlake for romance, 47North for science fiction, Thomas & Mercer for mystery were added to AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing. Amazon also purchased Marshall Cavendish to expand their children’s books beyond Amazon Children’s Books.
• Kindle Owners Lending Library – Speculation is that this innovative program may have caused irreparable damage to the publisher-library relationship as problems were already surfacing between traditional publishers and libraries.
• Kindle Single – Magazines must now compete with Amazon for quality short fiction and non-fiction as Kindle Single opened a market for short pieces. The Kindle Single sales channel may be more lucrative than magazines.
The second thing learned is that publishers aren’t necessary for publishing. No one wants to hear they are no longer needed. Publishers are going to have to re-think and re-tool to remain relevant in the current environment. I believe that the current environment of self-publishing without editing will be short lived in that readers are going to demand a minimum standard for e-books and Amazon will be forced to respond. The process will be evolving, but will eventually build a better inventory of books.
You won’t be surprised by the third thing publishers have learned: Readers sure do like e-books. We can safely say that e-books are not a passing fad. They are here to stay in some form. E-book readers will buy more books as they cannot sell or purchase e-books on a secondary market.
Numbers four and five are about the e-reader technology: HTML5 is important to publishing and DRM (Digital Rights Management) can be a negative too. DRM on Kindle books means that the customer has to have a Kindle or Kindle app to read the book. While that limitation has sold a lot of Kindles, if a competitor did not have those restrictions and sold e-books that could be read on any e-reader device, readers would have options to shop for their books.
Bottom line: There’s been a total shift in the publishing landscape and readers, not just the publishers, are the cause.
 
Three novels – Contemporary Fiction – $2.99 each

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