Saturday, October 31, 2009
1. The obvious Manage My Kindle page. Here I can keep track of Kindle editions purchased as well as Blog & magazine subscriptions.
- Manage subscriptions
- Books arranged in date order
- Quick link to product details, to view or add review on Amazon
- Search by title or author
- Nowhere to write personal notes
- No way to include non-Amazon downloads
- Limited to reading material only
2. Personal Kindle reading list (login required)
Keeps a record of all your Kindle purchases, including any notes & highlights you've made within your Kindle eBook (requires Whispernet).
Let's you add personal ratings of books as well as see customer ratings & reviews.
Using search, you can add books that aren't just on Kindle.
Doesn't allow you to add more notes.
3. Amazon's My Media Library
- Automatically includes all Kindle editions, paper books, music, videos & DVDs purchased on Amazon.
- Allows you to add to your collection with non-Amazon purchases
- Add personal notes, add tags - such as "To Be Read" to help you manage that ever growing list & quickly sort through what you want to read next. Or read again.
- You can share content with other people or make select items private
- Sort by particular items, type of items, tags
- Add items to a gift list
- Print sorted lists
4. My current favorite: Visual Bookshelf on Living Social which I have added as an application to my Facebook.
This isn't limited to media at all - you can have collections of books, music, restaurants, TV shows, movies, iPhone apps - even beer! So far I am just using it for books.
Within books, it separates out my Already read, Currently Reading and Want to Read selections. I can write reviews or just give a personal start rating. Within that you can select if they are books you own, had on loan, want or don't want.
Even better is importing & exporting. This tool allows you to import your own personal lists either from Amazon Wish Lists (as long as they are not private) or entering ISBNs. (Coming soon: Quick CSV import of your own database.
As for exporting, you can get an RSS feed for your blog, or simply make a csv file of your collection, as back up or to add to your existing database.
If you use it within Facebook, you can select your privacy settings so everyone, only your friends or no-one at all can see your collections. And depending on your friend's settings, you can view their collections, what they recommend.
So far, I seem to be adding more and more to my Want list each day with this application, either from seeing what my friends are reading or from the automatically generated recommendations list!
View more Kindle Tips & Tricks
Organizing your Kindle
Friday, October 30, 2009
We're having a prolonged Halloween this year, with our local township picking last night, 29th, as Trick Or Treat night for the neighborhood kids. Our schools having their Halloween parties today and of course, the kids will want to do something tomorrow night for a true Halloween.
I didn't really do Halloween as a kid. It's far more celebrated here in US than it was back home in England growing up. Sure, we carved pumpkins with triangle eyes & nose with a jagged mouth (or turnips, so we could carry them around) & we bobbed for apples with our hands behind our backs. But rarely would you see decorated homes, elaborate Jack O'Lanterns or dressed up adults sitting on their graveyard porches with smoking buckets of chocolate & sweeties!
So I kind of enjoy the novelty (bar being dragged round the streets in the cold by my 10 year old little Witch). We carve pumpkins, the kids dress up & we gorge on mini snickers bars and fruit rollups. This year we'll also be reading scary stories - my kids have inherited my love of horror! - and some Kindle buys will help with some last minute preparations!
All of the following are available in Kindle Edition or DTB
Extreme Halloween: The Ultimate Guide to Making Halloween Scary Again
All new diabolical ideas from the bestselling author of Extreme Pumpkins- the ultimate guide to reviving the grisly true spirit of Halloween.
From baking hemorrhaging desserts to burying family and friends alive, the outrageous projects in this guide will inspire readers to transform the house, the yard, the kids, and the wardrobe for the scariest Halloween ever. Some of the spooky ideas include:
• Alligator in the Leaf Pile
• Toilet Bowl of Candy
• Fog Your Yard
• Buried Alive
• Turning a Garage into a Haunted House
• A Cake that Bleeds
• Costumes to Disturb and Amuse
For any fan of Halloween, this extreme celebration will spook, inspire, and help freak out the neighbors.
How To Haunt Your House
If you are looking to raise the coffin lid a little higher this Halloween, try out some of these spooky projects and tips. From simple to advanced there is something here to make your next Halloween party or home haunt even spookier. Halloween is for grown-ups too-- the projects in this book are not intended for children, but for the creative, adults who want to handcraft their own Halloween home haunt and graveyard fun.
The Book of Hallowe'en
A Vintage medley of spooky fascination and fun for every grown-up who still thrills to the sight of carved pumpkins, straw witches and the eerie promise of a full, golden moon crowning a crisp October night!
In Ruth Edna Kelley's THE BOOK OF HALLOWE'EN, you'll discover the roots of our modern Halloween holiday in the religious and cultural traditions of the ancient Celts, Irish, Scots, Welsh, Britons, Germans and other Peoples of Old Europe, while also catching an enticing firsthand glimpse of how the holiday was enjoyed during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, in both Europe and America.
Dracula by Bram Stoker.... the original & classic vampire story, suspense & horror.
A true masterwork of storytelling, Dracula has transcended generation, language, and culture to become one of the most popular novels ever written. It is a quintessential tale of suspense and horror, boasting one of the most terrifying characters ever born in literature: Count Dracula, a tragic, night-dwelling specter who feeds upon the blood of the living.
Night Shift by Stephen King
A superb collection of short stories, containing some of the creepiest I have ever read: Children of the Corn and Graveyard Shift are two that I wouldn't read in in the dark again!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
It's Not About The Cookies by KA Thompson is a family drama, contemporary fiction. Not my usual style of book at all, but one that I truly enjoyed. Thompson's characters are always rich in detail and personality, and in this case, easy to enjoy.
Samantha Stark has spent years picking at the emotional scabs of her life, reflecting on her parents, family and her life; at what's gone wrong and why. Sam analyzes her emotional turmoil through conversations with her brother, Steven, a character who it's easy to forget is dead. And she tries to face the most crucial questions of her mother's relationship with Steven and why no-one else has spoken of him for over 20 years.
As Sam tells stories of her childhood & relationships, and also wonders how much she might have messed up her own son Simon, I think many readers could find themselves relating to some of the stories. "My mom did that," or, "Have I said that to my child?!" Or maybe that's just mothers heaping on the self-guilt, wondering am I doing enough? Am I doing too much?
"It's Not About The Cookies" is a very moving story, not only because of these reflections but because the reader begins to miss Sam's brother Steven just as much as she does. And as she begins to resolve her issues - and learns that memories play one-sided tricks - will she be able to forgive her family or herself for her own failings?
- Read what the author has to say at Thumper Thinks Out Loud
The bad news is that us Kindleers must still wait until December 24 before we can start reading, but it now available for us to pre-order at the low hardcover pre-order price of $9.00
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Like the idea of a Kindle but don't want a standalone e-Reader device? That's okay. While some of us want a dedicated e-Book reader, others like to have just one or two devices to do everything. The iPod Touch & iPhone have an optional free Kindle application that allows you to buy & read Kindle editions.
If you already have a Kindle, you can also use it as a side-by-side device by having your iPod or iPhone connected to your Kindle account so you have access to all of your eBooks. If you're out & about without your Kindle, or simply want to share your eBooks with your kids, you can still read your books.
Monday, October 26, 2009
- 9, yes NINE, K2i
- 1 Kindle DX
- Amazon Kindle leather covers (for all 10 Kindles)
- Accessories set - with a gorgeous Cole Haan handwoven patent leather case, cases by M-Edge and Patagonia, as well as 2 eBook lights and a spare adapter
- 1 of the Kindles will be preloaded with 10 Fiction Bestsellers, 10 Non Fiction Bestsellers, 10 Oprah picks plus a year's subscription to the Kindle edition of The Economist and NY Times.
Seems like one entry per person (yeah, I tried....)
From October 26 through November 1, just create, add to, or share a Wish List, and you'll be invited to enter - just click to accept. Read more in the FAQ. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
If you don't see the Add to Wish list for a Kindle edition..... click the link that shows customer reviews beneath the title. When it takes you to the review section, a Wish List button appears on the right on the screen.
This promo also works if you use the Universal Wish List. Don't have it? The Universal Wish List sits on your tool bar & allows you to add any product from any website to your Amazon Wish List. So you can keep track of everything you want in one place!
When I originally posted the link, the product page on Amazon was titled simply as Book 1. However, in recent days that changed to "Preview", despite still implying it was a full ebook download, stating print length at 320 pages.
With today's release date, the pre-ordered copy winged its way to my Kindle. Alas, a preview is all it is. A 600+ location sampler of the full book being released in December. Although this was a free preview, apologies to those who ordered it through this blog thinking it was a full book freebie.
I guess this free preview was an opportunity to generate some great reviews & so increase holiday sales. Alas, so far it's only generated six 1 star reviews based on some unhappy campers who believed they were getting a full book. I'm sure Mr Patterson will be very disappointed to these 1 stars, and I expect whoever made this boo-boo will be in the doghouse today!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Like many Outlander fans, I was anticipating this release with much excitement. And like many reviewers on Amazon, I was left a little cold throughout most of this long, long book. That's not to say it was a terrible book: for the last 1/3 of the book, I'd give it a 4/5 stars. For the first third, just a measly 2 stars.
And my reason's surprise even myself.
Diana Gabaldon usually does a pretty good job introducing side characters. Ian Murray, Fergus, Lord John & others have been characters I've come to love and could happily read about. And I don't know how she did it, but DG turned Lord John into one of the stuffiest & most boring men in the book - coming back into character only in the last chapters.
A disproportionate amount of time was given to Lord John & his son William. And sadly, the characters were not developed sufficiently to care very much about their stories. Only towards the end, did I start to care at all about either of them & I very much wanted to skip some of their chapters. Indeed, there became so many side-stories and sub-plots, it became somewhat confusing.
As we know, Brianna & Roger are back in present day Scotland. We still get to read about them, mostly about their re-adapting to the 20th century and their connection to Jamie & Claire through letters, and perhaps a bit of time traveling telepathy. I like that. I like Roger & Bree, so I'm quite happy to read about them.
Claire & Jamie seem to be the side characters for much of the book. Switching from 1st person narrative to 3rd, when reading about Claire, was a little disconcerting at times. And without giving too much away, 61 year old Claire's heroics weren't quite so believable anymore.
Having said that, some plots were very good. As usual, Jamie can't say no to a battle. As usual, they find themselves fugitives, hunted for murder and treason. Can they get on a ship and just take a voyage? I don't think so. Old characters re-enter stage right. New characters enter from the left. And the links, coincidences and convoluted family trees just get thicker and thicker.
By the last 1/3 of the book, it certainly heats up though. And you know what? DG manages - despite the drudge & long winded parts - to make me want the next book. Right now!
Alas, we'll be in for another 4 year wait I am sure. And there will be another - there were enough cliffhangers at the end of this one to be sure of that,
In the meantime, DG plans on an Outlander graphic novel and, I believe, another LJ book.
Discuss the series at the Outlander Book Klubs
[Edited to add Under the Dome paperback edition will be released July 6, 2010]
Stephen King posted on his site a few days ago
Dear Constant Readers,
Please don't believe the press reports that the e-book reader price for Under the Dome will be $35. This was the result of confusion from a press release from the publisher, what Big Jim Rennie would call a clustermug. It is true that you cannot order the book as an e-download until December 24th, but the physical book, which is a beautiful thing, you can pre-order for less than $9--so who's better than us?
So, on the one hand - good news. It won't be $35 (although how much will it be?). On the other - December 24th will be the release date. Seriously? Seriously?? November 10th has been on my calender for MONTHS! Why are eReaders being left out?
I'm aware that Sai King likes his Kindle, with his short story UR being only available in a Kindle edition when released (now also available in audio) - so why this? Are some publishers treating it like a later paperback release, hoping to get the HB sales first? I find this an odd strategy because, other than really die-hard fans, most Kindleers & e-book fans, will wait for the e-book release regardless, perhaps even more so that those who wait for the paperback. We've simply become too attached to reading them in e-book format.
Book sales in brick & mortar stores? Well that could be an argument for the independent book sellers, but I don't believe a simultaneous release would have a great impact on them. Ebook readers are still heavily in the minority, many will simply wait for the Kindle edition & of them, what proportion would have been buying in an independent bookstore? Of all the book buyers out there, that's a small number I'm sure. And with a pre-order price of only $9 for the hardcover, I'm still struggling to see how this minority group of eReaders could negatively impact sales or profit.
I'm very interested to hear the publishers side on this decision. Unless they believe that the die hard King fan will end up with both copies anyway. And in all honesty, I might end up doing that anyway. If I'm going to boycott these silly publishing decisions, I might not be strong-willed enough to start with a much-awaited King book. Maybe that's really what they are counting on.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Both identical in design, the functional difference being availability abroad. The upside is that all Kindle latest generation has Whispernet capabilities at home or traveling abroad.
The possible downside? The K2i uses AT&T instead of Sprint. AT&T might be super-duper for international users, but what about US readers?
Below: AT&T coverage map
(click either for interactive maps)
Clearly, Sprint has more high speed coverage & fewer dead spots.
Many white spots overlap; others are better off with AT&T. Not me though. Until recently, our area was poor for all networks. With an AT&T phone, Verizon wireless laptop & Sprint Whispernet, we were cut off from the wireless world when at home. And recently..... I discovered the joys of Whispernet access right at home. Sitting in bed, I can download new books. Woot!
I'm a little surprised at Amazon ditching the K2 with Sprint. Whispernet is a big plus over most e-readers, and with B&N bringing out nook with wi-fi, why would Amazon knock new US customers back to an inferior service?
Having planned to by a Kindle for my daughter within the next year, and knowing we won't get Whispernet if we get the K2i, I will be keeping my eye on the pricing of used models (Currently, none available on Amazon!)
Kindle 2 refurbs are still being sold at $219, and will still receive full tech support.
Note.... refurbs currently show only 1 available. A little tip - to see how many they really have, I added one to my shopping cart & changed quantity to 999, it says: "We're sorry. You've requested more of Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, U.S. Wireless), than the 700 available". They won't be running out of stock today!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Barnes & Noble would like you to "Meet the World's Most Advanced eBook Reader" - the nook. And indeed, at first glance it seems to have a slight edge on the Kindle...
What they have in common:
- E-ink screen
- Wireless book downloading
- Small & compact, 6 inch screen
- Adjustable text size
- Store up to 1500 books
- Built in dictionary
- Free eBook samples
- Pricing $259
- Newspaper & magazine subscription
- DRM (see exceptions*)
- iPhone & iPod applications
What nook has that Kindle doesn't:
- Optional SD memory card (additional cost)
- color section to view book selections (but not on main screen)
directly download pdf rather than conversion required (available with Kindle DX) - now available on Kindle 2, and with rotatable screen (Nov 2009 update)
- personalized screensavers
- qwerty touchscreen keyboard (possibly a positive but it's small & personally I don't want grubby fingers on my screen)
- mac readability (**coming soon to Kindle - Kindle for PC is already available)
- *LendMe technology - send your eBook to a friends device for a 14 day loan. This acts just like a dtb loan - it's taken off your device for 14 days & returned to you after that period.
Important to note though, that each e-book can be lent one time only, according to reps on the B&N help forums. So you can't be passing it around your family & friends, and whoever borrows it must finish it within the 14 day time period.
What Kindle has but the nook doesn't:
- .doc support & downloading
- regular keyboard for note taking
- 5-way controller: highlighting, annotations, search feature, dictionary look-up
- International option
- Text to speech option for many books (publisher permitting)
- Basic web browser (experimental)
Looks like the competition is hotting up - a device with comparable features, a few extras on one hand but a few less on the other. Nonetheless, it's an option that is surely worthy of consideration.
Now, if only Amazon would permit real ebook sharing & maybe introduce a full color e-ink screen, then I think they'll be wiping the competition off the screen.
For me, the nook's biggest plus is the LendMe technology, albeit very limited lending capabilities. I've read many complaints about being unable to share eBooks with DRM limitations & apparently, the nook has a limited answer to that - as long as your friend has a compatible device (you couldn't share your nook eBook with a Sony eReader, for example) and reads it within the 14 day time limit.
On the other hand, lack of scrolling for highlighting and especially word definitions is a big downer. The few times I've read a paperback over the past few months have been odd experiences... the oddest being trying to stop myself going for the 5-way to look up a word. I'd seriously miss that feature if I had to switch to another device.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Under The Dome, Stephen King's November release, has a new hardcover pre-order price of just $9! This surely bodes well for us Kindle readers, and although it's not yet available for pre-order on Kindle, I'll certainly be watching this space....
But that's not all.... Amazon are presumably vying for top book retailer this holiday season with not one, not two but a whole Christmas-list worth of goodies at a low $9 pre-order price!
On the $9 list.... and yes, some are available for Kindle pre-order!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
An end-of-the-world/ The Mist / survival story, Surviving the Fog tells the tale of a group of teens, isolated by the fog & forced to create their own society in order to survive. After most of the adults leave the mountain to find out why they no longer have outside communication, the kids wait for days in denial that they may be completely alone.
Reminiscent of Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a clear leader emerges, hunters (spears) & fighters train, rules are made & leadership is challenged as they learn to cope, and realize that not only do they have a harsh winter ahead but they might not be the only survivors. And not all survivors have the same goals in mind.
Mike makes a likable & believable leader, strong in the face of some of the horrors, & instills strong rules and severe punishments for those who step out of line, or who bring different ideals to the camp. As they come into contact with other survivors, Mike must decide who becomes part of the camp, who they should avoid & who is punished.
Very enjoyable book & at just $1 for the Kindle edition, a bargain too!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Although I'll always have a soft spot for the original and excellent Charybdis, I personally think The King & Queen of Perfect Normal by K.A. Thompson is one of the best in the 4 book series.
Of course, I am in love with both Terry & Chip - they have a remarkable & enviable relationship - nearly 30 years married & more hopelessly in love than ever, and despite their mistakes along the way, have raised a wonderful family. That absolutely shines through in this book; their unconditional support for one another even when they can't stand the sight of each other, or when faced with some frankly embarrassing and awkward problems!
"The King and Queen of Perfect Normal" has a slightly different tone - maybe a little more mellow than the rest - but that's fine. As each book has progressed to the next, they've all changed somewhat. But it keeps the style of multiple narration, and the characters have stayed completely true to themselves. Reaching middle age, Terry & Chip are still passionate, still fiery, & still as pushy as ever, and they've passed those traits along to their kids. So when they hit some major hurdles, and both also have to face awkward questions and answers about their past, they deal with it as we know they will: strong, forgiving and together.
Very well written, and a joy to once again peek into their lives.
Kindle Price $2.99
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I am not much of a cook - in fact, I really don't get a great deal of pleasure from cooking at all & every day, approaching dinner time, I go into a mild state of panic.
Running 2 businesses, a home, 2 kids, a husband, 8 chickens, a cat & a dog - not to mention an endless list of books that must be read - doesn't leave much time to experiment in the kitchen. But I still suffer much guilt if I serve frozen oven meals, and refuse to put MSG-laden meals or corn syrup substitutes on the dining table. Experimenting, for me, has very varied results. There's usually at least one family member at the table who doesn't like what I cook. Unless it's homemade spaghetti bolognese.
So, fictional cooking.... Amongst the very many novels I've read over the years, I'm often envious of some of meals whipped up by the stories' characters. Kay Scarpetta's meals, in Patricia Cornwell's long running series, have me salivating, but truly, her Italian cooking is way beyond my capabilities.
I recently read Al Past's fun & dramatic sci-fi series, Distant Cousin where the main character - Ana Darcy from a distant planet - has a great fascination for Earthling foods, and wastes no time whipping up some experimental delights. One of these was a meatloaf recipe - and I have to be honest, I've tried about 2 dozen meatloaf recipes. Being from England, I'd never had meatloaf until I came to America 6 years ago. I love meatloaf, but with hundreds of "Grandma's recipes" out there, I frequently experiment with it.
Mr Past recently announced a challenge on Ana Darcy's blog - to re-create Ana's meatloaf recipe! It is an entirely fictional recipe, never before tested, and uses an Egyptian grain called Kamut. I've taken up his challenge, although living in rural Pennsylvania, I guess I'll be looking for a readily available Kamut-substitute.
Off shopping I go! I'll post my results later!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Fans of Ana Darcy & her wonderful Mendez family won't be disappointed with this latest sequel! Distant Cousin: Regeneration, the most recent book in the Distant Cousin series, skips a few years since we last saw Ana, Matt & the kids hidden in New Mexico, enjoying a wonderful happy & full life. We're treated to some great chapters on how that life has developed, how the gifted children are growing, and how Ana has settled into her role on Earth, as well as developing the stories of those around Ana - Julio & Clio, Clio's new friend Harry, our old friends Rob and Michelle. And while it's natural to want our heroine to be the center of every plot, their lives are interesting enough to care about these side characters & to want to know more.
But we know from the outset that Ana's peaceful life won't be left alone for long... that an enemy from the past is seeking bitter revenge & that Ana's life might not ever be the same. How can she keep herself, her family & her own life safe? Ana might not be able to rely on her skills alone & she has to face some of the harsh realities of the world - the violence, the tragedies & worst for all parents: the fear of not always being able to protect your children.
This great story not only provides some of Ana's action-packed fighting skills, but the sensitive issues of battling insecurities, past & present horrors & even homesickness, that remind us the Ana is not an all-knowing all-fighting alien, but a human being; trillions of miles from home, here on an impulse to save the world & subject to all the same fears & weaknesses as the rest of us. And even with Matt by her side, can she handle them?
Distant Cousin by Al Past - series of 4. Action/ drama with some light sci-fi.
Read with the author at Kindle Boards or visit Ana Darcy's Distant Cousin blog
That's okay. Over the past few years of living in rural Pennsylvania I've become used to no cell phone signal, no wireless internet & of course, no Kindle Whispernet.
So imagine my shock & awe last night, sitting on the sofa, e-book in hand to suddenly see the little bar at the top of my screen say "Items Downloaded." HUH? I think I gave my poor hubby a bit of a fright with my sudden shriek - followed by him shaking his head as I exclaimed "I got a signal!! 5 BARS!!!!" Was he shaking his head at my apparently over enthusiastic shrill of excitement? Or at the thought of 24/7 Kindle Store access??
Either way, I was ecstatic. Then I was scared. What would happen if I turned it off? Would my lucky streak disappear & be replaced by a Cannot Connect message!
Alas, after some (very brave, I must say) experimenting with the power slide, it sunk in... and it is my great pleasure to announce that I have Whispernet!! WOOT!!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
The first bit of great news for US customers is the 2nd price drop in as many months - now at a much more affordable $259! Just in time for Christmas shopping, I might even get one for my daughter now!
And secondly, I am sure to the delight of many, Amazon have also launched an International Kindle at a very reasonable $279.
U.S. and International Coverage
Uses GSM technology—the most popular mobile wireless standard—with wireless coverage in over 100 countries. See wireless coverage map for availability.
Travel Internationally with Kindle
Travel internationally and still get books in under 60 seconds. Download books wirelessly in over 100 countries around the world. Stay in touch with news from home by having your newspaper and magazine subscriptions delivered wirelessly while you travel. See wireless coverage map for availability.
For U.S. customers traveling abroad, a $1.99 fee currently applies when downloading books or single issues of periodicals wirelessly from your Archived Items or the Kindle store while roaming internationally. For details on periodicals and personal documents, click here. To avoid any fees, you can always download books, periodicals, and personal documents via your computer and transfer to your Kindle using USB.