EXTRA! EXTRA! Extra posts today!
Scroll all the way down the page and continue on to Page 2 as we have extra posts today to make up for being off-line on Thursday. You will find mysteries, histories, romances, and more to read this holiday weekend.
Enjoy this Independence Day, celebrate our country and the bounty we have been given. Wave the Stars and Stripes and praise or criticize our government, remembering we have that freedom.
Read a newspaper, watch a news broadcast or shout at the radio as you remember the freedom of the press.
Sing a rousing chorus of God Bless America or The Battle Hymn of the Republic and remember we have the freedom of religion.
Shake hands with a neighbor, relax at the lake or enjoy a baseball game and remember we have the right to gather as we please.
Light a few firecrackers, put a punk to a sparkler and write your name in the nighttime sky Marvel in the beauty of the fireworks large and small, get a crick your neck, and smile at the wonder in the children’s eyes.
Revel in the delight of summertime foods – grilled meat and vegetables, corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, ice cold watermelon, homemade ice cream and fruit pies.
Hug those you love, listen to a story told by an older person and thank anyone who has served in the military. Be kind to one who may not deserve it, smile at everyone and visit or call someone who needs a friend.
Celebrate the wonderful United States of America. She’s the grandest nation on this earth, bar none. We are blessed to live within her borders.
Eight Myths about Audiobooks
In the last two years I have become a huge fan of audiobooks. In the first half of this year, I’ve listened to more than 60 books.
Bookriot.com published an article titled “Listening to Books is Cheating” and 7 More Myths About Audiobooks. The author counters the comments often made by people who prefer books over audio.
The first myth: I’ll miss out on something if I don’t read the print. Yes, I’ve been distracted, tuned out, or even talked over the narrator when listening to books. When reading a traditional book, I’ve also skimmed pages and read the words without paying attention. I learned quickly to be a better listener to hear the important passages.
Another myth: Audiobooks narrators have super annoying voices. Having listened to more than 200 audiobooks, I’ve encountered one super annoying narrator. The men and women who read books are professionals. Listen to enough books by the same narrator and they become a friend.
If you haven’t tried audiobooks, I encourage you to take advantage of the Audible free trial. You receive two free audiobooks just for checking it out. You might become a hugs fan, too.
This Independence Day weekend might be the perfect time to read this book. In this shattering and iconic American novel, PEN prize-winning writer, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion and anarchy, brilliantly depicting our nation’s disquieting and violent contradictions.
Fourth of July Creek ( $1.99 ) After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face to face with the boy’s profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times.
But as Pete’s own family spins out of control, Pearl’s activities spark the full-blown interest of the F.B.I., putting Pete at the center of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed.
Number of review or percentage?
Amazon recently changed how they identify the reader rating of a book. The graphic below on the right is the new presentation; the graphic on the left is the previous format. Note: Presentation is for two different books.
My thoughts on the new method:
1) Why change it? What is gained by this new way of reporting?
2) If a book has 10 reviews and 2 are negative, that’s 20% in the new method. Two low reviews are not enough for me to reject a book, but 20% seems worse to me.
3) Most of us think in numbers, not percentages. This method isn’t buyer friendly. I find it confusing rather than helpful.
Improvement on the Manage Your Content Page
Amazon has improved the Manage Your Content page for those of us who have more than one, two, or even ten devices on our account. Now we can send a book to multiple Kindles, Fires and Kindle apps at the same time.
If you regularly read on more than one device or want to share a book with two people on your account, you will welcome this feature.
The Charlie Bradshaw Series, hard-boiled mysteries – $1.99 each
Stephen Dobyns wrote the ten books in the Charlie Bradshaw series from 1976-1998. The everyman detective, Bradshaw lives in Saratoga Springs, Florida, and finds himself embroiled in one murder after another. Buy the ten books in the series for $1.99 each today. Some have audiobooks, too.
Yesterday Amazon introduced the all-new Kindle Paperwhite, updating its most popular and best-selling Kindle with the highest resolution Paperwhite display, the exclusive Kindle font Bookerly, and a new typesetting engine for more beautiful pages. Even with these improvements, the price remains the same, starting at $119. Pre-order today for shipping beginning June 30.
The all-new Kindle Paperwhite is for the serious reader. Amazon has created an electronic device that mimics the look of print books through typesetting and presentation – and the presentation is preserved when a reader selects a larger font size.
The new Kindle Paperwhite offers an all-new typesetting engine that lays out words just as the author intended:
• Hyphenation and improved spacing–Kindle Paperwhite adds hyphenation to break words at the right place, creates paragraphs with consistent lines, and adjusts the space between words
• Improved character placement–New kerning and ligatures automatically adjust character spacing to make it easier and faster to recognize words at any font size.
• Beautiful page layout–Print books often use drop caps to add emphasis and beauty to the first page of a chapter. In eBooks, this is challenging to replicate given the ability to adjust font size and line spacing. The new typesetting engine presents drop caps, text, and images on Kindle just as the author intended, and dynamically adjusts the layout as the reader changes the text size.
• Large fonts, without compromises–Kindle Paperwhite automatically adapts when a reader chooses the largest font sizes, customizing the margins, columns, indents, nested lists, borders, and drop caps to keep the page easy to read.
The Bookerly font was “designed from the ground up for reading on digital screens.” According to the press release the font “introduces a lighter, more graceful look and outperforms other digital reading fonts to help customers read faster with less eyestrain.” View the font and read more here.
Same day or pay more
A recent Daily Deal was for the first three books in the Mia Quinn suspense series by Lis Wiehl. On the day the books were only $1.99 each, the companion audiobooks were also $1.99 each. I didn’t buy the audiobook at the same time as the Kindle book and now the audiobooks are $3.47 or $4.49 each. The great price on the audiobook used to last for several weeks.
While some audiobook prices may last longer, I suggest you buy daily deal audiobooks the same day to get the best price.
These two family sagas set in London are selling for only $1.99 each.
The Soldier’s Bride ($1.99) Torn between love and duty…Letty Bancroft longs to be married but her father has other ideas – he wants his daughter to stay at home and help run his East End shop.
Heartbroken, Letty must remain unwed while her sweetheart goes off to fight in France. But her love affair has had consequences that will see her more determined than ever to be a soldier’s bride…
Poppy’s Dilemma ($1.99) Sixteen-year-old Poppy Silk is one of the navvy community – a group of poor, rough-living men who work the railways and take their families wherever the tracks lead. When Poppy is left fatherless, her world becomes fraught with danger, men vying to claim her as their own.
Her one ray of hope is Robert, a young engineer, who she meets one day by the tracks. But his wealthy family have different plans for him… Can Poppy ever hope to win his heart?
And would she give up her whole way of life for him?
Girl on the Train Review
A couple of months ago we featured The Girl on the Train ($6.99) and many of you purchased this very popular book. I finally read it this past week. My first thought was “How did so many dysfunctional people come to live on the same street?”
Gripping? Unputdownable? Up-all-night reading it? None of those describes my reaction. The book seemed a bit tedious.
The women narrators did not appeal to me. Rachel, Anna and Megan were guilty of self-inflicted and avoidable trauma and drama in their lives. Their weak personalities were tiresome before the book ended. Historical romance readers have an expression for them – TSTL – too stupid to live. As a reader I just wanted to get in their faces and say, “Don’t be such a bowl of mush!”
The story was suspenseful, the ending wasn’t quite what I expected and I’m glad I read it. But it was a 3-star read for me.
What’s your opinion of the book? Did you love it? Did you think it was over-hyped? Let us know.
Amazon.com Announces the Most Well-Read Cities in America
On June 2, Amazon.com announced its fifth annual list of the Most Well-Read Cities in America – just in time for summer reading season. The ranking was determined by compiling sales data of all book, magazine and newspaper sales in both print and Kindle format from April 2014 to April 2015, on a per capita basis in cities with more than 500,000 residents.
The Top 10 Most Well-Read Cities are:
1. Seattle, Wash.
2. Portland, Ore.
3. Las Vegas, Nev.
4. Tucson, Ariz.
5. Washington, D.C.
6. Austin, Texas
7. San Francisco, Calif.
8. Albuquerque, N.M.
9. Denver, Colo.
10. Louisville, Ky.
Read a mystery or thriller this summer. These two are only $1.99 each today.
Assassin ($1.99 Audiobook $3.99) Fearless intelligence operative Lord Alexander Hawke matches wits with a cunning and bloodthirsty psychopath in a desperate race to avert an American Armageddon. Hawke must call upon resources deep within himself. He must enter a race against time to stop a cataclysmic attack on America’s most populous cities and avenge the inexplicable and horrific crime that has left him devastated.
Kiss of the Bees ($1.99 Audiobook $3.99) Twenty years ago, a darkness rose up out of the blistering heat of the Arizona desert and descended upon the Walker family of Tucson. A personified evil, a serial killer named Andrew Carlisle, brought blood and terror into their world, nearly murdering Diana Ladd Walker and her young son, Davy. Now much has changed. The monster is dead, but his malevolence lives on . . . in another.
Predictions that didn’t pan out
PC Magazine recently listed the 8 Dumb Tech Predictions From Smart People. Clifford Stoll, author and astronomer, doubted that Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab had made a correct prediction in 1995 when he said “we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight from the internet.” Read more of unfulfilled predictions in the article.
I have no expertise in making predictions, so I won’t make the bold statement that Amazon will not introduce another e-reader. I do wonder what more Amazon might do to improve the Kindle. The Paperwhite and Voyage meet my needs of being reader friendly, the right size, and reliable. I would like some way to quickly indentify a book as read, but that’s not worth buying a new device.
Do you have a prediction? What could Amazon do to make a better e-reader than what’s available now? Where will we be buying our books and newspapers 20 years from now?
Goodreads 100 Books
The readers who use Goodreads voted on the best books ever. Most of the books are classics and a surprising number have been written for children and young adult.
If you enjoy a cozy mystery, you will want to buy these three for your summer reading. Only $1.99 each.
Murder in the Mystery Suite ($1.99) Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural western Virginia is the storybook resort of Storyton Hall, catering to book lovers who want to get away from it all. Resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together. But when the winner of the scavenger hunt is found dead in the Mystery Suite, Jane realizes one of her guests is an actual murderer.
Nightmares Can Be Murder ($1.99) Business consultant Taylor Blake has returned to Savannah, Georgia, to help her sister Allison turn her dream of running an old-fashioned candy store into a reality. Allison invites Taylor to her Friday night Dream Club. When a local dance instructor is found dead in his studio, and the murder scene has an eerie resemblance to one of the dreams shared at their meeting, Taylor can’t help but be intrigued.
State of the Onion ($1.99) Never let them see you sweat-that’s White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras’s motto, which is pretty hard to honor in the most important kitchen in the world. She’s hell-bent on earning her dream job, Executive Chef. There’s just one thing: her nemesis is vying for it, too. Well, that and the fact that an elusive assassin wants to see her fry.
Finally we are enjoying summer weather and outdoor activities and Daily Cheap Reads is going to a summer schedule.
We will post the Daily Deals and 5-6 additional posts around 6:30am Central US time. The jr. edition will feature 1-2 posts each day in addition to the daily deal.
I’m frustrated by a couple of technical issues right now – Windows 8 updates that make my laptop useless and Amazon changing their images so that I can no longer access book covers to make posts. I am hopeful that I can find solutions quickly. If not, then I have to make tough decisions about the viability of the site.
Short Story On-Line Read
Have just a few minutes? “Mercy at Gettysburg,” by John Jakes is available to read on-line. A lost son, a vengeful father, and a rebel soldier are caught up in the saga of North vs. South. Read the story in just a couple of minutes here.
Words, Words, Words
Just a few phrases I’ve read in the last few weeks:
He was starch raving mad. Hmmmm – Light, medium or heavy starch raving mad?
Her voice went up an active. If you don’t know the word. . . . get active and look it up!
Eight years ago she left town riding on a greyhound. Here’s an image: a woman riding the racing dog sidesaddle.
Our hearts are broken
The two ladies who bring you this blog of cheap reads are sisters. Suddenly yesterday afternoon our 45-year-old brother John suffered a fatal massive heart attack. Our loss is great; our hearts are broken.
John worked for years at the local General Motors dealership, managing the parts department and body shop and most recently in sales.
He served in his state’s National Guard for 27 years; including deployments in Afghanistan and Kosovo. John had a wide circle of friends and knew just about everyone in his hometown.
His family lived with our 95-year-old father. John tended the cattle and all things around the farm so Dad could continue to live there.
John’s wife of just a few years is devastated as are his children and step-children. If you are a praying person, please pray for his widow Sherrilyn and his children Jessi, James, Nicole, Sara and Abby. Please pray for Dad, too.
I’ve taken the comment moderation off so that you can post without my approval. I’m sorry if spam comes through. The site may be a bit shortened the next few days as our family gathers to cry, remember and grieve together.
We are John’s sisters –
Paula and Susan
Cheap Reads – Fantasies
John’s 13-year-old daughter Jessi loves to read fantasy. These cheap reads are two of her favorites.
The Lightning Thief (99 cents) Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe.
Artemis Fowl [Kindle Edition with Audio/Video] ($1.99) Twelve-year-old Artemis is a millionaire, a genius-and above all, a criminal mastermind. But Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of the bedtime stories-they’re dangerous!
WESTERN ROMANCE: The Attraction Between Me And Him Were Beyond This Planet
I’ll agree there is something that is beyond this planet, but it isn’t an attraction.
The description of the story includes this phrase:
…the woman who had his heart since they were tiny tykes toddling around the prairies
I lived on the prairie for a decade and never saw tiny tykes toddling around.
This is the most concerning line in the description:
He was heading back to his home town and hoping to catch up with his family and friends after having a long adventure with just his horse and a couple of men.
Before you think the worst, the next sentence is:
They had gone over west to help his uncle with his cattle ranch.
Even though I haven’t read this short story, I don’t recommend it. However, last Friday 11 people have posted 5-star reviews and two have posted 4-star reviews. What do I know?
Did you hear about the fellow who was recently crushed by a pile of books? He’s only got his shelf to blame.
Need a Cover Up?
An Office Max store in our area is closing very soon. In its waning hours, most of the remaining inventory is covers for e-readers, tablets and phones selling at very low prices. I purchased the leather cover at left for the Fire HD 7″ for $10. If a store is closing in your area, you might call to confirm they have Kindle covers and last date the store will be open.
A follow-up to my crossbody Kindle bag: Several of you asked. I purchased it at Kohl’s.
An eclectic collection of fiction and non-fiction, these three books are only 99 cents each.
The Fence (99 cents) Dick Lehr’s The Fence, subtitled, “A Police Cover-up Along Boston’s Racial Divide,” is a shocking true story of racism, brutality, official lies and negligence, when the truth about the savage beating of black plainclothes policeman by white officers was hidden behind a “blue wall of silence.”
The Good Neighbor (99 cents) When Francie and Colt Hart drive past an abandoned 150-year-old farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania, they both fall head-over-heels in love with it — but for entirely different reasons. The more they learn about the house, and especially the tragic history of its previous occupants (whose descendants are their new neighbors), the more it threatens to drive them apart.
Blood Music (99 cents) New York City is caught in the cold grip of a brutal serial killer who savagely rapes and murders his young, blonde victims. As the death count rises, he sends taunting notes to the newspapers, all with unsettling references to his obsession with classical music. The media is titillated and has dubbed him the “Symphony Slasher.”
Sunday is the day to honor mothers and mother-figures in our lives. I’d like to tell you about my mom.
She spent countless hours reading to her children as we didn’t have television or videos to entertain us. We wore out a set of Books of Knowledge and a Big Book of Bible Stories as she read from one of those just about every day.
She was a mother to seven children and a farm wife who didn’t have time to read much for herself while we were young. If she read the newspaper the same day it was delivered, she was happy. As the older siblings moved on to adulthood and the youngest ones became more independent she returned to the peaceful pastime of reading a book of her choice. She especially enjoyed Janette Oke, author of inspirational historical novels.
Mom passed away just over 20 years ago on a cold March morning. When my husband and I went to the family home to be with Dad, I noticed her book on the end table, the bookmark at about 1/3 through. It’s a sweet memory I have of her love for reading.
Did your mother influence your love for reading or the genre of books you read? Do you swap books or recommendations about great reads now that you are both adults? If your mother is no longer living, do you ever read a book and think that a character reminds you of Mom?
Authors and Mothers
Check out this slideshow of authors with their mothers or authors who are mothers. I had not heard of a few that are featured here, but all of us can recognize the mother’s touch.
100th Anniversary of the Lusitania Sinking
RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner, holder of the Blue Riband, and briefly the world’s largest passenger ship. When the RMS Lusitania left New York for Liverpool on what would be her final voyage on May 1, 1915, submarine warfare was intensifying in the Atlantic. Germany had declared the seas around the United Kingdom a war zone. On the afternoon of May 7, RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-Boat, 11 miles off the southern coast of Ireland causing the deaths of 1,198 passengers and crew. –Wikipedia
Barnes & Noble has reduced the price of a book of history of the Lusitania and her passengers. As of the time of this post, Amazon has not yet priced matched. Let’s hope Amazon quickly offers this book for only $1.99. I’ll keep an eye on them and update this post. Please check back later in the day to see if the price has changed.
Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy (Hoping it is soon price matched to B&N for $1.99; original price $11.49) In her riveting account of this enormous and controversial tragedy, Diana Preston recalls both a pivotal moment in history and a remarkable human drama. The story of the Lusitania is a window on the maritime world of the early twentieth century: the heyday of the luxury liner, the first days of the modern submarine, and the climax of the decades-long German-British rivalry for supremacy of the Atlantic. Above all, it is the story of the passengers and crew on that fateful voyage-a story of terror and cowardice, of self-sacrifice and heroism, of death and miraculous survival.
The Paper Magician ($1.99 Audiobook $1.99) Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.
The Glass Magician ($1.99 Audiobook $1.99) Three months after returning Magician Emery Thane’s heart to his body, Ceony Twill is well on her way to becoming a Folder. Unfortunately, not all of Ceony’s thoughts have been focused on paper magic. Though she was promised romance by a fortuity box, Ceony still hasn’t broken the teacher-student barrier with Emery, despite their growing closeness.
Shopping with Tiger
The handbag that I had carried for three years was worn out. I dreaded finding a new one. Men may not understand the trauma of replacing a purse: if you can’t find a place in the new bag for all the items that were in the previous bag, something has to go.
While my husband and I were recently driving by a large retail area, I casually suggested we stop to look for a new purse. Suprisingly Tiger made the left turn into the parking area.
I knew the brand I wanted and just had to choose the model to buy. Though it is smaller than the one I was using, I chose the one on the left.
While I was looking through it to determine where everything would fit, Tiger said, “Why don’t you get this one, too? You could put your Kindles in here when you travel.” My husband is a genius!
On a recent weekend trip I packed the 8.9″ Fire, Voyage and Samsung tablet into the crossbody bag shown at right. The large Fire fit completely inside. This slim bag isn’t a space hog in the car, either.
Tiger and I recommend that you consider buying something similar for your reading devices.
HarperColllins and Amazon sign agreement
HarperCollins joins Simon & Schuster, MacMillan and Hachette Book Group to reach an agreement with Amazon to continue the availability of their books on Amazon’s website. No details have been released, but Business Insider published an article stating that HC was not going along with the terms Amazon offered. Other publishers agreed to be able to set prices on most books, but would be given incentives to sell at lower prices.
HC imprints include Harper, HarperCollins, Avon, Harlequin, Ecco, William Morrow, Zondervan, Thomas Nelson and many more.
Penguin Random House is the only large traditional publisher that has not yet signed a new contract with Amazon.
Brian McGilloway is a popular Irish author who has enjoyed popularity in the United Kingdom. His first novel, Borderlands, published by Macmillan New Writing, was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger 2007 award. The second novel in the series, Gallows Lane, was shortlisted for the 2009 Irish Book Awards/Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year.
The first DS Lucy Black novel, Little Girl Lost, became an Amazon Kindle No 1 Bestseller in 2013.
If you enjoy crime thrillers, these two by Mr. McGilloway are selling for only 99 cents each.
Someone You Know: A Lucy Black Thriller (99 cents) Just before Christmas, the body of a sixteen-year-old girl is found along the train tracks on the outskirts of a small town. As Detective Lucy Black investigates the teenager’s tragic last hours in search of clues to her death, she realizes that some of the victim’s friends may have been her most dangerous enemies—and that whoever killed her is ready to kill again.
The Rising: Inspector Devlin Mystery (99 cents) When Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin is summoned to a burning barn, he finds inside the charred remains of a man who is quickly identified as a local drug dealer, Martin Kielty. It soon becomes clear that Kielty’s death was no accident, and suspicion falls on a local vigilante group. Former paramilitaries, the men call themselves The Rising.
When another drug dealer is killed, Devlin realises that the spate of deaths is more complex than mere vigilantism. When personal crisis will strike at the heart of Ben’s own family, and he will be forced to confront the compromises his career has forced upon him.