Archives for: December 2011
Christmas Eve 2011 5 comments

Today is a special day. It’s Christmas Eve and the air is filled with a magic and excitement that you can practically feel.
 
As Christians, we’re two cheap chicks who will be celebrating this holiday with special meaning. This is Susan and I wanted to share a little something that happened last year on Christmas Eve, when we went to church. The service was simple and moving, two teenagers portraying Joseph and Mary, gifted musicians singing old carols and new worship songs.
 
In the row behind me, young Emily started getting restless. It’s hard to sit through a church service when you’re just 2 years old, especially on Christmas Eve. She wiggled down out of the seat and peered around the chair to watch the stage, intrigued by the scene, especially when a doll was laid in the straw.
 
The pastor read the passage that described Jesus being laid in a manger, the angels who announced his birth and the shepherds who came to worship him. But Emily was not listening. Her dad put her on his lap and shushed her, which only made her squirm and fuss more. Exasperated, she told her dad very plainly about the situation.
 
“There’s a baby up there and I want to see it.”
 
Her innocent voice cut through all the extra layers surrounding Christmas and went straight to the point. Why pay attention to anything else when there is a baby?
 
Emily’s advice has helped me to keep my focus this holiday season. All the presents and cookies and lights are nice, but is my greatest desire to see the Savior and to be near Him? This Christmas, I pray that you can catch a glimpse of the baby and see Jesus for all he is.

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Housekeeping – Catching up and Cheap Reads 0 comments

We are frantically getting ready for the holiday. Housekeeping is going to be quick this week, think of it as a small plate of mini-desserts. Oh, that sounds divine! Let’s take an informal poll of the best holiday treat.
 
Getting around the site
We have added a Users Guide tab to our page to help visitors become familiar with the site. Our goal is to provide the best possible site for our users, while still presenting a wide variety of books for you to peruse.
 
Hold on to your hat, the cheap reads just keep coming
Publishers are cutting prices with a very sharp knife as the Christmas holiday approaches. We will be posting as many as possible and will try to present them in creative ways. You may feel a bit bombarded, but we want to make you aware of every book possible. It’s not too late to drop hints about wanting or needing an Amazon gift card for all the bargains.
 
Midnight posts
This month we have had a midnight post of three books selling for only 99 cents each. These novels are great reads at supercheap prices from nearly every genre. In the last week the subjects have been thrillers, women’s fiction, classic Westerns, contemporary romance, Christian fiction whodunits and dark fantasy. Scroll back through the posts to find them or click on the SuperCheap Free tab.
 
Here are three Christmas reads for only 99 cents each – a story of redemption,  a duet of romance and murder mystery novellas in one book, and a fun read for all ages.

 
 
Jane Austen Fanfiction even cheaper
We featured a post of many Jane Austen fanfiction books last week on her birthday. Many of those books are now priced even cheaper at $1.79 – including the contemporary romance Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy and historical Darcy Christmas.

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Book Review: The Merchant’s Daughter – Young adult Christian romance – $1.99 3 comments

I just read this book and am delighted to tell you it is being offered for $1.99 on the Kindle.
If you believe in fairy tales, or just enjoy the magic of romance, you’ll love Melanie Dickerson’s newest book The Merchant’s Daughter.
This Christian fiction is loosely based on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. Like her first novel, The Healer’s Apprentice ($1.99) inspired by Sleeping Beauty, this story is set in medieval Europe, this time in England.
Anabel is the daughter of a merchant, but after his death her family does not fulfill its obligation to work in the lord’s fields. She is forced to become an indentured servant for three years at the home of Lord Ranulf le Wyse. Rumors swirl about the irritable Lord le Wyse, who lost an eye and the use of his hand when he was mauled by a wolf. Anabel longs to join a nunnery, so she can read the Bible and escape marriage to Bailiff Tom, which her brother is trying to force upon her.
When Lord le Wyse protects her against the bailiff’s advances, a fragile friendship grows between them and Anabel believes he may not be the beast the servant girls whisper that he is.
This is an enchanting story with engaging characters, although at times I was frustrated with Anabel’s indecision. This is actually Christian fiction for young adults, so it reads quickly and the romance is tender, yet I thoroughly enjoyed it. A very interesting part of the story explored the challenges for people who didn’t have access to the Bible and priests who did not preach the word.
The Merchant’s Daughter is SuperCheap at just $1.99 on Kindle.

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Housekeeping – Giving Credit, Fire Update; Big Deal Sale; and Games and Active Content Sale 0 comments

We are posting a bonus Housekeeping this week, but if we get busy shopping, wrapping presents, preparing for out-of-town guests, decorating, making candy and cookies, hiding candy and cookies, and the daily routine of life, this may be the only Housekeeping post this week.
 
Credit where credit is due
Everyone loves to find a bargain and pass along the great find to others. If you see a book on DailyCheapReads that you want to share with others, please tell them you saw it on our site. We work hard to find these books and prepare the posts. Please help reward our work by sending Kindlers to our site.
 
How’s Your Fire?
A software update is in store for the Kindle Fire, the tablet Amazon launched in November.
The over-the-air update will address privacy issues and other bugs such as sluggish navigation, according to an article on CNET. Some users have had trouble accessing Wi-Fi networks, slow and erratic scrolling and inefficient apps.
The Kindle Fire is estimated to have sold more than 2 million units.
I’ve been having fun figuring out the Fire, despite disappointments with the ability to stream video. I’d chalked the problems up to my wireless internet, but I’d be thrilled if this update remedies the problem. It’s expected to be released within two weeks.
 
The Big Deal Sale – Just a few days and it’s over
Big Deal Sale has hundreds of books for 99 cents, $1.99, $2.99 and $3.99. The sale ends December 23 and some books may not be available in all geographical regions. The three books below are selling for 99 cents each:
 

 
Games and Active Content Sale through January 2
The price on the 25 Best Kindle Games & Active Content of 2011 has been reduced to 99 cents each through January 2. Before buying, confirm that the game or active content is available on your Kindle device. Not all games play on all devices. Three popular games are below:
 

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Guest Book Review: Under Witch Aura by Maria E. Schnieder – $2.99 1 comment

LuvMyKindle is an avid reader constantly in search of escape, flitting from book to book like a hummingbird searching out the best nectar. Here is LuvMyKindle’s review:
 
I consider myself a devoted fan of Maria E. Schneider’s books. I love her writing style, vivid imagination, and the distinctive personalities she brings to her characters. Under Witch Aura, the second in the Moon Shadow series, delivers all that and more. The magic in this book seems to be a multi-dimensional character in itself as –it could be protective, healing, peaceful, and fun, or hungry, greedy, self-centered, and violent. Just like people, the magic is not always perfect and may be flawed and dangerous if one doesn’t use talent wisely.
 
Many of the varied paranormals from the first book are back, including Lynx. Adriel, the main character, is a bit more gutsy and edgy. Of course, there are new mad, bad, and dangerous evils and a bunch of creepy-crawlies. And, as much as I vehemently dislike seeing or reading about creepy-crawlies, I have to admit they made for some gripping (and itchy) moments in this story. I could tell a lot of research was done for this book and found the descriptions of the stones and their purposes very enjoyable and informative. I love the spin of witches and magic in this series, which I interpret as having its base in natural elements, herbs, stones, bonding, motivation, and confidence. It makes me think with the right supplies, determination, and knowledge of the corresponding rules, I, too, could perform a few spells.
 
In any case, I highly recommend this series to cozy paranormal/urban fantasy fans and dare readers not to be bewitched by Maria E. Schneider’s story-weaving magic. Purchase the book today for only $2.99.
 
The first book in the Moon Shadow Series is also available for $2.99:
Adriel should have known that with a werewolf, it never stopped with just one body. She would have gone to the police after witnessing Dolores’ death, but she wasn’t certain the killer she saw was responsible for the other murders. Besides, the police didn’t believe in werewolves, and they weren’t going to believe she was a witch either so what could she tell them?

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Housekeeping – Personal Note; Return for Refund; Bookstore Sales; and Cheap Reads 1 comment

A Personal Note
Last year at this time, my husband Tiger was very ill, facing a major surgery in just two days. I was functioning on pure adrenaline as I had not slept but a few hours nightly for more than six weeks. When I posted on the site about our situation, your responses of prayers and concern were welcome springs of refreshment to our spirits.
Tiger received excellent health care from skilled surgeons, therapists and others who worked to restore his health. He became an amazing healing man, and through this past year, he has continued to recover and return to his wonderful self.
Yesterday we visited Tiger’s surgeon for the test results of his one-year follow up visit. God continues to answer our prayers as there is no sign of recurrence. Our holidays will be merry and bright.
 
Return for Refund Option on Manage Your Kindle Page
Amazon continues to improve and simplify the customer experience. By adding a Return for Refund option on the Manage Your Kindle page, you no longer have to call Customer Support to return a Kindle book purchase. The feature is only applicable for e-books purchased within the previous 7 days.
When the return option is selected for a book on the page, you must select a reason for the return. You may choose:
–Wrong item
–Found a better price elsewhere
–Quality issues
–Compatibility issues
–Download problems
–Defective content
–Unwanted purchase
–Digital rights restriction
–Accidental purchase
–Offensive Content
–Other
While this is a valuable feature in saving time to call Customer Support, I would advise caution when returning a book. Some people believe that Amazon monitors customer return activity to prevent customers from overusing the return option. Unscrupulous customers might abuse the 7 day grace period by purchasing a book, reading it, and then returning it for a refund.
 
Bookstores having a strong holiday season
The holiday season is improved this year for traditional bookstores according to this New York Times article.
Reporting for sales during Thanksgiving week, both chain stores and independent booksellers saw double-digit percentage sales increases compared to last year. The article sites one independent bookstore that has seen a 30% increase in sales in November.
Non-fiction books have proven to be popular selections this holiday season. “Sleeper surprises” selling well this year are glossy, expensive hardback photography and art books. If I were buying a photography or art book, a physical copy would be my preference, too.
   
Cheap Reads – Each novella/short read is 99 cents

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Housekeeping – extra helping this week – E-mail for the jr. Edition; Helping Santa, and Christmas Book Reviews 0 comments

This week we are posting an extra helping of housekeeping to keep you up-to-date. We all enjoy extra helpings this time of year, don’t we?
 
Daily e-mail for jr. edition and DCR UK
We are happy to announce that the jr. edition of DailyCheapReads and our UK DailyCheapReads site are now available by e-mail subscription. Just complete the little form in the right sidebar of each site and then confirm and activate to complete the process. If you are a parent or grandparent giving Kindle books to a child or teen, the jr. edition provides an easy way to see what is available to purchase. We respect your privacy and will only use the e-mail address for the daily distribution.
 
Helping Santa’s Helpers
A user sent us a note about her wonderful husband. He purchased her a Fire for Christmas and gave it to her early. She wanted us to know that he didn’t know to order through our site.
She suggested we give you tools for you to provide to your Santa’s helpers so they can order their gifts through us. When you are making that list, here are a few URLs you can include that will allow us to receive the sales credit and keep this site going well after the holidays:
 
Kindle Fire: http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Color-Multi-touch-Display-Wi-Fi/dp/B0051VVOB2/?tag=dailycheaprea-20
Kindle 3G Keyboard: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004HZYA6E/?tag=dailycheaprea-20
Kindle Touch 3G: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005890G8O/?tag=dailycheaprea-20
Touch Wi-Fi: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005890G8Y/?tag=dailycheaprea-20
Kindle, 6”: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0051QVESA/?tag=dailycheaprea-20
Kindle accessories: http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Accessories/b/ref=sv_kinc_6?ie=UTF8&node=1268192011/?tag=dailycheaprea-20
Amazon gift cards: http://www.amazon.com/gp/gc/?tag=dailycheaprea-20
 
Reviews of Christmas Reads
The Cat Before Christmas by Lynn Michaels is a movie just waiting for a producer to select the cast and start filming.
Wiki, an incorrigible Siamese, doesn’t want to spend Christmas at the vet’s office while his owner Cary skis in Colorado. What begins as an innocent attempt to keep her home becomes an adventure that almost separates Wiki and Cary for good. The good news for Wiki is that this is a holiday story and all ends well after a few anxious days for Wiki.
Ms. Michaels states that the characters in the book are fictional, which is true of the human characters. The cat, however, is the real personality that is one of the nine lives in every feline. If you love cats, you will enjoy the story and nod and chuckle at Wiki’s adventures because you will know a cat just like him. If you don’t particularly care for cats, then you will be justified in your feelings as you read about the stress Wiki causes his mistress.
The Cat Before Christmas is selling today for only 99 cents. I recommend reading the novella now before the movie comes to a local theater.
 
Robyn Carr’s latest Christmas novel in the Virgin River series, Bring Me Home for Christmas, is another great book in the series. Becca Timm and Denny Cutler were seriously involved as young adults when Denny’s life abruptly changed with the death of his mother and an identity crisis while he searched for his biological father. Becca was involved in the college scene, didn’t understand Denny’s struggle, and their relationship ended.
With unresolved feelings and another man hinting at marriage, Becca travels to Virgin River to confront Denny. The story unfolds somewhat predictably, but I enjoyed watching Becca mature from her protected world of privilege to realizing that her talents could be used for the greater good. She finally catches up to where Denny, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, has been for some time. Now they are compatible beyond a physical attraction.
This book doesn’t hint at or set the stage for another book in the series and that could be because Ms. Carr’s Christmas novels can be stand alone installments. The town of Virgin River rallies around the spirit of community once again this holiday season and this story adds to the appeal of small town camaraderie. The book is selling today for $5.24.

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Housekeeping – Saying Thank You; Book Reviews; Cedar Cove Christmas; Cheap Reads 4 comments

Saying Thank You
Site users and readers often send us notes of appreciation about how they have found great books through our site and how they enjoy their Kindle so much more because of the books we have posted.
We do enjoy hearing from you and one way you can show your appreciation is to spread the word about our site to other Kindlers or those who will be given Kindles this Christmas. Every time you come to our webpage and click through to Amazon, if you buy a Kindle book, a gift card, a yacht (just kidding; Amazon doesn’t sell those – yet!) we receive a commission on that sale. You are enabling us to continue with the site and to be motivated to provide you the best product possible.
 
You can’t judge a book by its cover, but can you judge it by its reviews?
As this article points out, digital publishing is changing the way reviews are written and perceived. Particularly for indie books, which we often feature here on Daily Cheap Reads, objective reviews are critical to deciphering if a book is worth your time and money.
The article suggests online book reviews are like the Wild West. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there are plenty of reviews posted by people bent on discrediting writers – especially in books with a political or religious tone. We’ve also encountered authors who must have bribed every family member to write a two-sentence review praising it as the greatest literary work ever to grace a page. (Our advice to these indie authors is to just stop it. Seeing reviews like that is a turn off and an embarrassment.)
The challenge for retailers is to generate traffic to spur sales, while keeping a lid on impostor reviews. Amazon, the article notes, requires a new customer to make a purchase and wait two days before posting a review.
Some tips from the article to sift out legitimate reviews: Look for a mix of positive and negative reviews. Avoid sweeping generalities, such as the best (or worst) book ever read. And remember that each reviewers opinion is just that and people’s tastes differ.
 
If you want to write meaningful reviews, this book may be helpful to you. The price is reasonable as it is selling for only $1.99 today.
Book description: This book was written not only with the aspiring reviewer in mind, but also for the established reviewer who needs a bit of refreshing and also for anybody–be they author, publisher, reader, bookseller, librarian or publicist–who wants to become more informed about the value, purpose and effectiveness of reviews.
Click here to purchase The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing
 
Cedar Cove Christmas
In October we featured a post of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Series. At that time 1225 Christmas Tree Lane was priced at over $6. Just in time for your holiday reading, the price is now $4.79.
Also, if you have been watching the holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel, Ms. Macomber’s holiday romance, Trading Christmas has been airing this season. You can purchase the novel for the Kindle in one of two options: Trading Christmas ($5.72) or Home for the Holidays ($5.54). Both appear to be the same books, just packaged differently.
 
Cheap Reads – 99 cents each
You will want to check the extra posts that we are featuring each day just before midnight. As more and more people are buying the Kindle, we are posting popular books that are selling for only 99 cents. Here are three cheap reads by Karen Cantwell, including her latest holiday short (35 pages), It’s a Dunder-Bull Wife starring the always entertaining heroine Barbara Marr. Each one below is selling today for only 99 cents.

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Review: Kindle Touch 16 comments

On my “old” Kindle 2, sometimes I’d actually touch the screen to try to pull up a book instead of using the five-way button.
So I was very excited about upgrading to the Kindle Touch with 3G.
Although its cousin the Kindle Fire has gotten most of the attention lately, this is one very nice piece of equipment.
The Kindle Touch is small and lightweight. It only has one button which is really a fine layer of fins that slide softly under your finger. Choosing a book is as simple as touching the title on the homepage, a nice step up from the five-way button. I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally deleted a book on my old Kindle because of that.
 
Reading
The Touch gives two options for turning a page – slide your finger, reminiscent of flipping the page in a book, or tap the screen, which is what I usually do. Tap on the left to go back a page and at the top to pull down a menu. The screen is sensitive and I’ve often turned a page without meaning to, but no more so than with the button on the previous model. According to the users’ guide, the e-ink page refreshes more quickly and it does seem to be a bit faster. The Touch is designed so you can hold it and turn pages in one hand. (I’d like to see paperback that can do that!) This works without a hitch for me.
The dictionary feature is one of my favorites on the Kindle. It works beautifully on the Touch – just tap the word you want to know and a full definition pops up. The highlighting feature, however, is more difficult to navigate. I’ve tried it a few times and instead of highlighting, end up turning pages. The font size button is easy to handle and has options for spacing.
 
Games
The Kindle Touch is a big step up for playing games. Only a few are offered free on the Touch, but those that do load quickly and are so easy to play that if it wasn’t so nice to read books on the Touch, I’d be playing games all the time. If a keyboard is needed, it pops up on screen, so I don’t miss the keyboard at all.
  
Special Offers
Special offers are the bomb! I got the Kindle 3G with advertising for $149, as opposed to $189 without the advertising. (The WiFi Touch is just $99 with special offers; $139 without.)
So worth the $40 savings in many ways. For one thing, it’s $40. For another, the ads are only on the screen saver, so you don’t really see them. For one more, the ads are more attractive than the portraits of petrified writers. And one last thing, the offers give really good deals. Click on the ad to respond and Amazon sends the offer to your email. I got a book for $1 on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
 
Cover
Not too many covers were offered in the Amazon store when I ordered the Touch. I picked up this leather one for $39. It’s similar to a phone case in that the Kindle fits snugly inside. I was disappointed, because it was not as sturdy as I expected. Next time, I would order one with a strap that holds it closed. Also, the Touch only comes with a USB charger. If you don’t already have one, I’d recommend a power adapter ($9.99).
Overall, I am very pleased with the ease of use and features on the Touch. It would be great for new Kindle users or old pros looking to upgrade. I tap the Touch a “thumbs up.”

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Book Review: Christmas With Tucker 0 comments

Christmas With Tucker was a gift from my friend last year. A box of Kleenex later, I made it through this touching story that still warms my heart.
Christmas With Tucker is a pre-quel to Greg Kincaid’s very popular A Dog Named Christmas ($9.99). It’s 1962 in eastern Kansas and young George McCray is living on the farm with his grandparents. George’s dad was killed in a farm accident that summer. His mom and older sisters moved to Michigan, but his mother sensed he needed to stay on the farm for a bit longer. As he tries to adjust to the aching holes in his life, Grandpa brings home an Irish setter who belongs to a neighbor serving a sentence in jail.
Grandpa warns George not to get attached to the dog, which he promptly ignores. The dog fills some of the void in his life and guides him through a classic coming of age scenario.
A major element of the story is Grandpa’s job driving the county road maintainer. As a former country girl, I know full well the happiest sound on a winter day is the sound of the road grader opening a snow drifted road. Kincaid does an amazing job capturing that memory. I also appreciated the way he portrayed Grandma as a warm and caring, but hard working farm wife.
Christmas With Tucker is sentimental with a strong backbone and the accurate description of rural life gives it strong appeal to wide audiences. It’s available today for $9.99.

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