Archives for:
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.

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

Name Game’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 has a story about the upcoming Kindle Phone, which is supposedly being developed and will be larger than four inches.
• has an article about the look of the next Kindle. Backlit and color e-ink are features being rumored.
•Finally, 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.

Read More..
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

Read More..
Housekeeping: A personal tale, Kindle Fire 2, How much for that book? and Cheap read to pre-order 3 comments

Gone with the Wind
The two ladies who bring you this website grew up on a farm in a rural Midwestern community. Our parents encouraged reading for our entertainment and we didn’t go to the movies like the kids who lived in town.
In the mid-70s, Gone with the Wind was re-released to theaters and our mother told us that it was one of the only movies she had seen as a teen. This was long before movies were readily available through mass-marketed video tapes or DVDs. Even though it had been more than 30 years since she had seen the classic, Mom remembered many details and she expressed a desire to see it again.
The Friday night the movie was showing in town, we jumped in the car, bought tickets at the same theater where Mom had seen it 35 years earlier and were enthralled by Scarlett O’Hara’s story on the big screen. We loved the splendor of Tara, laughed at Prissy’s “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ babies!”, and agreed that Ashley was a wimp, Rhett was all man and Scarlett wouldn’t have lasted a week in the Midwest.
More than 30 years have passed since that Friday night adventure. Though the details of the movie have faded, I fondly remember the only time that Mom and I went to the movies together.
Margaret Mitchell’s beloved novel, Gone with the Wind was first released in 1936 and just became available for the Kindle earlier this month. You can purchase this nearly 1,500 page tome for $13.99. The sequel to the classic, Scarlett (800+ pages) is selling for $7.99. Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig is a modest 500 pages and sells for $4.99.
Is there a book that evokes memories for you that you would like to have on your Kindle? Tell us about it by posting a comment.
Kindle Fire 2? is reporting that the Kindle Fire 2 may be ready to launch soon – even as early as July 31. Rumors are that the new 7” tablet will have even better resolution, a camera and volume buttons replacing the touch volume control on the current Kindle Fire.
The article also reports rumors of the new tablet still being priced at $199 with the price of the current Kindle Fire being lowered to $149.
If the Kindle Fire 2 does launch later this summer, it should be a hot item.
You won’t see this happening with a Kindle book
It was used, but it was a first edition. This story in Publishers Weekly mentions that a physical copy of Live and Let Die, the second James Bond book written by Ian Fleming, sold for $21,258, exceeding the $6,000 estimate. That price may be cheap considering that Winston Churchill’s personal copy, with a personal message from Fleming to Churchill, sold for $71,700 in 2002. Are you feeling the need to scavenge through boxes of old books at garage sales now?
More than a dozen James Bond novels are available on the Kindle. None of them are priced cheap, but each is a classic.
Cheap read to pre-order – Painting Naked
Macmillan launched an imprint in 2006 known as New Writing with the aim of discovering superb new novelists writing in all genres. It publishes one novel per month. The perfect-for-the-beach novel here was originally published as Beachcombing in 2009. Hence, the cover has one title while the webpage has another.
Book Description: Jillian Hunter treasures her independence. She’s raised two sons by herself, launched a small business, and restored a tumbledown beach cottage in Connecticut. Finally, at fifty-two, she’s ready for another shot at love, but soon discovers most single men her age prefer women in their twenties. Then a trip to London reunites her with Colin – an old flame she hasn’t seen in thirty-five years – and Jill falls for him all over again. This could be her chance for a new beginning, one she never expected, and certainly not at her age. But Colin isn’t quite the boy Jill remembers and she ends up risking everything she’s worked for – her business, her home, and her two closest friends – to make a life with him. And when faced with the risk of losing Colin as well, Jill is forced to take an uncomfortably close look at the woman she’s allowed herself to become and figure out a way to win herself back.
Funny, sophisticated, and wise, Painting Naked is a coming-of-middle-age story about girlfriends when you’re no longer a girl, about growing up when you’re already grown up, and the price you’re willing to pay for the love of your life. Pre-order this summer read today for $2.98 and receive it on August 1.
Click here to purchase Painting Naked

Read More..
Housekeeping: What I love/not so much about my Kindle and Cheap reads for the longest day of the year 26 comments

What I love about my Kindle: Using the dictionary to instantly look up words I don’t know, instead of making a mental note that I should look that word up, but never doing so. Kindle makes me smarter!
Not so much: It’s really hard to skip ahead to see how a book ends, just to make sure the hero saves the day and the guy gets the girl.
Love: Nobody knows what book I’m reading.
Not so much: I can’t see the book cover and sometimes I forget what book I’m reading.
Love: Free books!
Not so much: I have 500 free books in my archive. I can’t stack them in a pile by the bedside in the order I want to read them.
Love: I can make the font size bigger. Not that I need to, of course, but every once in awhile, before bed after I take my contacts out, I may occasionally make the font size bigger. This is no indication that I’m getting older or my eyesight is getting weaker. It just means I want to use all the features on my Kindle. Because I can.
Not so much: I can’t read while taking a relaxing bath for fear of both steam and dropping it in the water.
Love: Highlighting certain passages that I like or want to use in a book review.
Not so much: That moment of panic when I can’t find my Kindle and thinking I didn’t lose a 25 cent paperback I bought at a garage sale, I lost every book I’ve ever purchased in the last two years.
Love Not having to hunt up a book mark and ending up sticking a flier from the carpet store in the book to mark my place.
Not so much: When reading in public, everybody wants to look at it and play with it. Do you mind, I’m reading here?
Love: “Borrowing” a book without having to wonder where the library book has been as I cradle it against my body reading in the recliner.
Not so much: Not being able to skim back through the book to re-check facts. I know this is possible, but it’s not easy.
Love: Tweeting lines of books that I really like and impressing the Twittersphere with my scope of reading.
Not so much: Talking about how much I enjoy my Kindle, then having to listen to someone rant for 20 minutes about how much they love the feel of books and they can’t understand why anyone would give them up.
What do you love about your Kindle? And what is not so much? Leave a comment and tell us.
Cheap Reads for the Summer Solstice
Google reduced the price on several books as a “longest day reading” promotion. Amaazon matched some of those reductions. The question in 2012 is which day really is the longest day – June 20 or June 21? The great price of $1.99 each for the books below may not last very long.

Read More..
Housekeeping: What book descriptions really mean; Big day next week; and Cheap Reads 5 comments

If the book description states. . .
. . . different from any book you have ever read, it means that all grammar, language, and plot structure rules have been abandoned.
. . . complex, interwoven tale, it may mean little or no plot.
. . . for fans of Famous Author, it may mean the book is a knock-off with a familiar plot.
. . . his long awaited book, it may mean he didn’t meet deadlines.
. . . full of twists and turns, it may mean the author wrote herself into a corner and had to get out somehow.
. . . a roller-coaster ride of an adventure, it may mean you will feel nauseous while reading the story.
. . . realistic characters, it may mean they are modeled after family and friends.
. . . written for adult readers, it doesn’t mean you will enjoy it more the older you get.
. . . suspenseful historical paranormal romance, see “full of twists and turns” above.
. . . a born story teller, it may mean the author is a liar.
. . . techno-thriller, it may mean that the technology will go right over your head.
. . . gritty coming-of-age novel, it may mean the protagonist experiences ten times more angst than the average person.
Feel free to leave a comment of any book description phrases that you have given a unique meaning.
Our big day is coming next week!
Daily Cheap Reads will be celebrating two years of our blog on Wednesday, June 20. We are working on special posts for the day. Not to give anything away, but think in twos.
The decision hasn’t been made yet of what birthday treats we are going to enjoy. Cake? Ice Cream? Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie? Snickerdoodles? Gooseberry Pie?
Take our poll and vote for your favorite birthday party treat.

A treat – cheap reads!
Three books – a biography, a mystery, and a romantic suspense – only 99 cents each.

Read More..
Housekeeping: Kindle upgrade, Avalon Books coming to the Kindle, and Very Cheap Reads 1 comment

Exciting update to the basic Kindle
A software update for the basic Kindle will make the device even more appealing for young readers and their parents.
Among the new features in the update is a parental control that will allow parents to restrict access to the Web browser and the Kindle store. This is a welcome feature so parents can let their children read on the Kindle without fear that they’ll discover materials not meant for young eyes or rack up a credit card bill buying video games.
In addition, the software will support children’s books with text pop up and comic book panels, as well as support for books with the more complex Kindle Format 8.
Children’s books are becoming increasingly popular for the Kindle, with extras such as video, audio, choose-your-own-adventure story lines and games. We feature these books on the Daily Cheap Read Junior Edition.
The software improvements and the affordable $79 price level will likely mean even more summer reading for kids. The update will be delivered automatically to Kindle owners via wi-fi in the coming weeks. You can also download direct following the instructions on the software update webpage.
Amazon buys Avalon Books
Amazon continues to purchase smaller publishers as Amazon grows to become a major player in the book world. Recently acquired Avalon Books, based in New York City, publishes romances, mysteries, and Westerns. The purchase includes more than 3,000 back-list titles which Amazon is going to publish under their imprints, such as Montlake Romance and Thomas & Mercer. Read more about the sale in this article.
Avalon’s website provides this information about their books based on the information in their author guidelines:

A. No cursing throughout all of our books. Nothing heavier than a “hell,” “damn” in Westerns and Mysteries. We don’t like cursing at all in our romances. We do not accept racial epithets, no harsh language, and no sexy talk.
A. In our Romances keep it minimal, if any. In our Westerns and Mysteries it is okay within reason.
A. Sexual tension is fine but not more than a kiss or embrace is allowed.

Speaking of romances. . . Cheap reads
June, the month of all things bridal, is here and the publishers are lowering the prices on romances. You will see quite a few on the site over the next few weeks. Here are six historical romances by Margaret Moore selling for only 99 cents each. In spite os the overwhelming similarity of the book covers, six different books are featured.

Read More..
Housekeeping: E-Advertisements with a Poll, Amazon Housekeeping, and a bundle of children’s books 7 comments

E-Advertisements, I mean, publisher samples
Publishers have developed the equivalent of grocery store samples of crackers and cheese. More and more short stories or prequels are being offered for the Kindle either free or for 99 cents or $1.99. The publishers have become clever in their titling of these unconventional pieces – introductory prequel, short story, bonus scene, thoughts on BOOK TITLE, and special e-book edition.
These short works usually include a sample of the larger book hoping you will have to know the resolution of the conflict and buy the complete higher priced book.
I think of these as advertisements – some thinly veiled, others obvious. Reader reviews have been very critical on some of these items:

I knew this was short, but I expect at least a bit of story.

While billed as a “bonus story,” it just stopped in the middle of the 24 pages.

Please do not give us a portion of a book and then ask us to buy the ending under a different title. Makes us not want to look at any of the other books you offer!

Publishers are also offering free samples of a particular genre or an author’s books in a compilation usually titled something similar to Mystery Teen Sample or The Author Name Sampler. These snippets of bundles are easy to produce and cost the publisher very little.
When you download a sample from Amazon, it is always the first bit of a book. When the publisher produces the sample, the best of the book is presented, usually stopping at a critical point, hoping the reader is enticed to buy the larger book.
Last week Microsoft offered a free book which was basically a user’s manual for one of their software products. A great way to get the user’s manual in the hands of the users, but also a clever way to advertise their product and allow potential users to read about the features.
Even if the publisher offers them free, are they worth it? I’ve read a few of the prequels and teasers. They weren’t groundbreaking, satisfying, or even worth the investment of my time when so many great reads are unread on my Kindle.
How do you feel about these optional items offered by publishers? Do you like them? Are they valuable to you in making reading choices? Or are they just annoying? UPDATE – Added an option to poll based on a comment.

Amazon is doing a little housekeeping, too
According to this article Amazon will be removing some books from the Kindle Store. We have written before about the books that anyone can download and market as their own – private label rights. Removing these and other readily available free content from the Kindle Store is a good move and we appreciate Amazon’s action.
Cheap bundle of books for children
The bundle description says stories. I wondered if this was just a collection of short reads and downloaded the e-file to confirm. Much to my surprise, this file is more than 6,400 locations. The books individually sell for $5.99 or $6.99 each. Written for children ages 9 and up, this bundle for $2.99 is definitely a great buy. The content sounds a bit yucky. . . but the bundle is still a great purchase.
Bundle description: What happens when your mother feeds you more roughage in a week than a health farm dishes out in a year? How will Macca “iron gut” Mactavish’s mates make him throw up? How will Gumby Mason score a boogie from his football Coach? If you’re a fan of cockroaches, vomit, boogie, and turds – then So Stories is the e-book for you. Three of the funniest and most revolting stories ever – So Gross, So Ferel, and So Sick. All three only $2.99 today – a SuperCheap price!
Click here to purchase Three Stories from the So series

Read More..
Housekeeping – Disappearing posts, Front lit Kindles, and a Cheap Read 4 comments

Where, oh, where, have our posts gone?
A reader brought a small technical issue to our attention. On days when we have several quick posts in succession such as on typical Monday, earlier posts disappear from the homepage. The most recent 10 posts are on the first page and the second page begins with posts from 24 hours before, dropping 4-6 posts. You can find the posts by selecting a category or searching on a title. If you wait patiently, the posts will reappear later in the day.
We don’t want you to miss a single posts! Our IT support is looking for a solution. If you know the answer to our conundrum, please leave a comment.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
A month ago Barnes & Noble released the NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™. IT apparently has been successful as the website states it is temporarily out of stock and will ship on May 30, 2012. B&N is marketing the e-reader in this way:

NOOK’s GlowLight illuminates your screen with a soft light that is perfect for bedtime reading. With advanced lighting technology not available on any other reader, GlowLight lets you stay up late reading in total comfort. . .

Amazon has clearly left Kindle owners in the dark. Reuters has published an article stating that will be offering a “monochrome e-reader with front lighting” as one of its new versions of the Kindle e-reader and tablet. The new Kindles will be in the stores in July according to the article.
The downside of front lighting is that the battery will need recharging more frequently. That’s still preferable to the replacing the batteries in an external light.
A cheap read
In this second book of Kathryn Magendie’s much-praised series about the journey of a woman dealing with the ghosts of a dysfunctional family, Virginia Kate Carey seeks the loving commitment that eluded her in Tender Graces ($8.00 now; was offered free on May 10).
“Vee” is idealistic and naïve despite the witness she has served to the fractured heritage of her parents’ and grandmother’s dreams. Vee continues her journey toward wisdom, building small bridges over the chasms of hurt and longing. The inspiration of hope lingers in her.
Tender Graces and now Secret Graces explore three women’s lives: Daughter, Mother, Grandmother, and passes through the fulcrum of Virginia Kate’s emerging life as a lover and mother and storyteller, chronicling the heart ache and hope of her family and herself. You can buy this novel for only $1.99 today – a great price for a sequel.
Click here to purchase Secret Graces

Read More..
Guest Book Review by Amber Drake: All The Paths of Shadow by Frank Tuttle – Now only $3.99 0 comments

Amber Drake, an avid reader of everything including cereal boxes, reviews for BSC Reviews and tries to keep track of her life and thoughts on her blog, (Dragon Ashes), provided this review:
The Paths of Shadow by Frank Tuttle: You need to read this book. Why, you ask? Because I give it five stars for doing a bang-up job of keeping me entertained throughout. This is a wizard fantasy but with a cozy mystery-like atmosphere and has magic, ghosts, talking plants, feuding wizards, mysterious towers and just a touch of mayhem. In addition, there are no cliffhangers or unnecessary and/or inappropriate scenes. It is chock full of good reading.
Book description: As the newly appointed mage to the Crown of Tirlin, Meralda Ovis has no choice but to undertake King Yvin’s ill-conceived task. Tirlin’s first female mage, and the youngest person to ever don the robes of office, Meralda is determined to prove once and for all that she deserves the title. The Tower, though, holds ancient secrets all its own. Secrets that will soon spell destruction for all of Tirlin—unless Meralda can unravel a monstrous curse laid by a legendary villain seven centuries before she was born.
An ancient curse. A haunted tower. A clamorous gathering of nobles, mages, and kings from the Five Realms come together in Tirlin for the fifth-year Accords. Meralda finds herself facing far darker foes than any mere shadow of the tower. You can buy this fantasy today for the reduced price of $3.99.
Click here to purchase All The Paths of Shadow

Read More..
Next Page »