Archives for: October 2011
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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Housekeeping – Speed reading, Polling data, and Pre-Ordering 8 comments

Tortoise or Hare?
I finished a book recently that I had been reading for, like, forever. Although not the fastest reader – hats off to all you book-a-day addicts – it rarely takes me two weeks to finish a 300-page novel.
This one seemed promising with a well-known author, a little romance, historical setting, spy intrigue. But getting through that thing was torture. Well, it couldn’t have been that bad because I was just enough interested that I wanted to see how it ended. Thankfully, it did at least end.
When I finally read the last page, I slapped it closed and tossed it in the box to donate to the library for the annual book sale. And then realized what may have been the problem. I had read this book in its “original” paperback format, instead of on the Kindle.
As I thought about it, I believe I read faster on the Kindle and am more inclined to skip slow or boring parts. It’s just so easy to hit that next page button. It’s also not such a burden to step away from a book part way through. While a printed book will lay on the night stand laying a guilt trip til the bookmark moves closer to the end, I don’t feel so bad to choose another book on the Kindle homepage, with a promise to get back to that other book later. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but no one but me will ever know.
Do you think you read faster with Kindle books than with printed ones? Vote in the poll below and leave a comment if you would like.

Polling Data Results
Thanks to everyone who participated in the poll of the genre of your life story. Mystery/Suspense/Horror – trying to find the answers to life’s mysteries has the most votes. A few readers provided genre in the “other” category:
Helpful hints – new uses for old things
Fiction: One story after another!
Travel – the road of life, bumps, potholes and detours
Sci-Fi/Fantasy – whatever I want it to be!
Sit-com with every day a strange happening, like Lucy, Ethel, Laverne, Shirley
Adventure – Every day brings a new one
Fiction — Making it up as I go!
Comedy of Manners
Pre-ordering books – How far out should we go?
Many publishers offer their upcoming books for pre-order and we gladly feature those books when the prices are right. But how far out should we post the pre-order opportunity? Two weeks? A month? As soon as the pre-order is available even if the release date is months away?
For some pre-orders the publishers don’t provide any information until the last minute. In looking through pre-order opportunities, some are set to deliver November 1 and still don’t have a cover or product description. Are you willing to place a pre-order without that information?
Alana sent us a heads-up about a trilogy available to pre-order – The Assassin Trilogy: The Silver Bear, Columbus, and Dark Men by Derek Haas. Three suspense novels in one e-book file selling for only $2.99 when pre-ordered. The delivery is January 15 – nearly three months from now.
This book does have a description, but no cover yet.
An e-original omnibus of three suspense novels by the Barry Award-nominated novelist and co-screenwriter.
He calls himself Columbus. His real name never meant much to him anyway. He never knew his father, an earnest young congressman and rising star in the Democratic Party named Abe Mann, or his mother, a prostitute whose involvement with Mann would prove dangerous.
All Columbus cares about is his next target. And considering that Columbus is a hit man who quickly made a name for himself as one of the best despite his years, you can be sure he’ll fulfill whatever contract’s been given him. Even if those who put out the hit have other plans in mind.
In THE COLUMBUS TRILOGY, the first three novels by Barry Award-nominated author Derek Haas, Columbus squares off against the shadow of his father, Czech crime lords, drug dealers, a prostitution ring, and more, in three acclaimed suspense novels by rising master of the genre. All three novels for $2.99 today.
Click here to purchase The Assassin Trilogy: The Silver Bear, Columbus, and Dark Men
Cheap reads – 99 cents each on these books

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Housekeeping – Cheap reads for the season, 47North, and Kindles in the wild 4 comments

Vampires, Ghosts, Werewolves, Horror and More
Now is the time of the year when publishers offer great prices on books intended to scare you witless. In the coming days, you will see many books about vampires, werewolves, horror, ghosts, fantasy, and all things grisly and ghastly. Children’s books are also discounted this month and we are featuring them on our jr. edition. The three books below are for children, tweens and teens and selling for $1.99 each.

Amazon announces another publishing imprint
Amazon recently announced the launch of their own publishing imprint for science fiction, fantasy and horror – 47North. The name is based on the latitude coordinates of Seattle, the location of Amazon’s corporate offices. Click here read the full press release.
Among the authors who will have books released in the next few months are Lee Goldberg, Dave Duncan, Arik Davis, Stephen Leather, and BV Larson.
The first books under the imprint will release later this month. You can pre-order the first book in the Dead Man series by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin today with delivery scheduled for October 24.
Face Of Evil: ($2.99) Matt Cahill is a widower leading a quiet, solitary life-cutting wood at a lumber mill in the Pacific Northwest, watching out for his trouble-prone friend Andy, and making his first, tentative attempt at romance with Rachel. But a trip with Rachel to a ski resort goes tragically wrong and he is killed in an avalanche. That should be the end of his story. But for Matt, it’s only the beginning, the first step in a horrifying odyssey across a dark world that exists within our own…and where he must confront a violent, supernatural entity that spreads evil among us like a plague…
Sitting in the Designated Kindle Row
Jean Brashear sent this wonderful picture and told us the story behind it:

I was flying Southwest Airlines, returning from being the retreat speaker for Romance Writers Ink in Tulsa. There was already someone in the aisle seat, and I sat down in the window seat and immediately pulled out my Kindle because I was getting close to the end of the book. Then another young man came to sit in the middle and said, “This is funny.” I looked up and realized all three of us were reading Kindles!
I asked them if we could get a picture, and the man across the aisle helped out. He was grinning, too. He asked, “So are all of you reading the same thing?” Uh…nope! I was reading a historical romance, Aisle Guy was reading Game of Thrones, and I don’t know what our middle seatmate was reading because there *is* a no-snooping etiquette, right?
I finished my book and was delighted to be able to download another while in the air, thanks to Southwest’s WiFi–go, Kindle and Southwest!

Jean has three indie-published books available for the Kindle. The romance novella and novels below are selling for 99 cents, $2.99, and $3.99, respectively:

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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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Housekeeping: E-mail subscription, new poll, CHEAP read, and million-Kindle-book authors 0 comments

E-Mail could be coming your way soon!
We are happy to announce that you now have the opportunity to receive a daily e-mail of the posts from our site. The e-mail will be distributed between 3:00-5:00pm Central US time (Chicago time) and will include all posts since the previous day’s e-mail. Subscribe using the small form on the right sidebar.
As always, we respect your privacy. We will not sell or provide your e-mail address to any other party and we will not use the address for any reason except to send our daily e-mail.
My life is a book poll
We recently purchased a poll widget that will give us much more flexibility in our on-line polls. A new poll is on the right sidebar asking you to identify the genre of book which best describes your life.
Steven Jobs – a visionary
Today the world is mourning the death of Steve Jobs, a visionary who led a company to produce products that have changed the world’s use of technology. Through his leadership, Apple, Inc. innovated and created the user devices to empower individuals. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his company’s employees.
When I came upon this book selling for only $1.99, it had to be posted in the Housekeeping post. A book promoting cheapness. The Kindle price is practically a steal compared to the other versions available. Buy the book, bask in your cheapness, and know that we have been part of the cool crowd all along.
Cheap. Cheap suit. Cheap date. Cheap shot. It’s a dirty word, an epithet laden with negative meanings. It is also the story of Lauren Weber’s life. As a child, she resented her father for keeping the heat at 50 degrees through the frigid New England winters. But as an adult, when she found herself walking 30 blocks to save $2 on subway fare, she realized she had turned into him.
In this lively treatise on the virtues of being cheap, Weber explores provocative questions about Americans’ conflicted relationship with consumption and frugality. Why do we ridicule people who save money? Where’s the boundary between thrift and miserliness? Is thrift a virtue or a vice during a recession?
In answering these questions, In Cheap We Trust offers a colorful ride through the history of frugality in the United States. Readers will learn the stories behind Ben Franklin and his famous maxims, Hetty Green (named “the world’s greatest miser” by the Guinness Book of Records) and the stereotyping of Jewish and Chinese immigrants as cheap.
Weber also explores contemporary expressions and dilemmas of thrift. In Cheap We Trust teases out the meanings of cheapness and examines the wisdom and pleasures of not spending every last penny. Spend only $1.99 to buy this book. You might learn a few new ways to save a few pennies.
Click here to purchase In CHEAP We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue
Selling-more-than-a-million Club, Inc. recently announced that best-selling author George R.R. Martin is the latest author to sell more than 1 million Kindle books in the Kindle Store. Martin’s most recent novel in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance with Dragons ($14.99), debuted in the #2 spot on the Kindle Best Seller list and has remained in the Top 50 for more than 100 days. You can read the complete announcement in the press release.
Other authors who have sold more than 1 million Kindle books and their most popular book sold are:
Stieg Larsson – The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest $12.99
James Patterson – Kill Me If You Can $12.99
Nora Roberts – The Fall of Shane MacKade $4.99
Charlaine Harris – Dead Reckoning: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel $14.99
Lee Child – Second Son (Kindle Single) $1.99
Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games $4.69
Michael Connelly – The Black Ice $1.99
John Locke – The Love You Crave 99 cents
Janet Evanovich – Smokin’ Seventeen: A Stephanie Plum Novel $13.99
Kathryn Stockett – The Help $9.99

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