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Latest, greatest reads . . .

14 Apr

The fact that some of my favorite authors actually take the TIME to write good books is somewhat annoying to me.  And, yes, I am clear on the contradiction in my statement.

I love that they write great books.  I just wish they could do it REALLY quickly.

I found a new author that I love.  Patricia Briggs.

She’s written a lot of books but the ones that I fell in love with are her Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series.  They are set in the same world with overlapping characters which is sort of like taking everything I like about series books and magnifying it.

Mercy Thompson is an auto mechanic with some real problems.  For one thing, she hangs out with werewolves, vampires, and other magical creatures.  For another, she’s a Native American shapeshifter who turns into a coyote.  Yup, her world is complicated especially when you add in all the interest she’s getting from her werewolf neighbor whose the Alpha in his pack.

The Alpha and Omega series is set in the same world and there are crossover characters and situations.  The Alpha in this situation is another Native American but this one is a werewolf.  He falls in with and rescues a female Omega wolf.  I won’t go into the details (because Briggs does a much better job of it than I can) but suffice to say that the Omega is very special and they click.

These books are edgy as urban fantasy and/or paranormal romances tend to be but they aren’t over the top edgy.  I found them very well written and compelling.  The women are strong but may need help from time to time.  The men are VERY strong and definitely need help from time to time.

I burned through these books in record time (not a surprise for me).  I read fast, especially when I’m reading something I really enjoy.  However, that gives me lots of time to go back and re-read which I also love.  I am most unhappy that I’ve read all the books in these series.  I have read the descriptions of her other works and it sounds good, just not what I’m wanting to read right now.  The good news is that she plans more books in both series.  The bad news . . . she seems to write slowly.  I’ll wait but I won’t be patient about it.

Cry Wolf is the first book in the Alpha Omega series, however, you should start with the novella that started it all: Alpha & Omega: A Companion Novella to Cry WolfMoon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1) is first in Mercy Thompson’s series.  You can start with either series.  Be aware that Alpha-Omega starts prior to the first Mercy Thompson book but overlaps it somewhat.

I am a shlub . . .

31 Aug

But, I’m an unabashed shlub.

kindle stock photo

I have a degree in English Language and Literature. By rights, I should be staying up too late reading high literature.  My literary decisions should be between re-reading Moby Dick (not gonna happen, folks!) or some obscure poet translated from his or her original language (probably not going to happen either).

Instead, I read for fun.  I read to relax.  I read for pure pleasure.

One of the many, many reasons I’m glad I have a Kindle is that I can read for pure pleasure and no one has any idea what I’m actually reading.

I can read a hot, steamy romance novel that borders on the pornographic or I can read a quick, intense mystery where the evil doer is clear to all from page 3.  And, it looks just the same as if I am reading Sherlock Holmes (which I might also be doing, thank you very much).

I have friends who love to recommend books.  I was looking at my overloaded bookshelves the other day and realized that I have six books sitting there that were highly recommended, that I started, that I couldn’t bear to finish.

My bumper sticker should say, “Life is too short to read painful, dull, obtuse books.”

I like my books to be fun, well-written, with great characters and humor and if I feel something while I’m reading, all the better.  Make me laugh.  Make me cry.  Make me frown with anger.  Make me pant a little at your hot monkey sex.  I’m a fan!

I am also a devoted reader.  If your books work for me, I’ll read them all.  I’ll buy them and read them and often re-read them.

I just found an author who I love.  I’m working my way through her books right now.  Her name is Kristan Higgans.  Her books are light and frothy but also make me laugh, cry, and all of that other stuff.  She writes with a delicacy that is refreshing.  She’s definitely a niche writer . . . her books have a similar feel to them but wow do they work for me.

See, here’s the thing.  I love to read.  I want to be transported away to another place and live another life.  I want to cry with the heroine when things are bad but with Kristan Higgins, I also find myself laughing out loud as I read too.

This, of course, annoys the heck out of Greg as I tend to read in bed while he’s asleep.  Oh well.  If any of this appeals to you, check out Kristan Higgins’ books and give her a try.  If not, find something that does work for you but for goodness sake, read!

And, me, I’ll be the one a little bleary-eyed with my students today because I read a little too long in bed last night.  Yawn!

What I’m Reading

24 Nov

Kindle with bag
I’ve been finding time to read before I fall asleep at night.  This is, in my opinion, one more reason to love a Kindle.  When I read a REAL book until I fall asleep, I often wake up with a closed book in my hand, having fallen asleep mid-sentence.  Then I have to dig around to find my place.  Not so with a Kindle.  When I fall asleep mid-sentence with a Kindle, I wake up to find a turned off Kindle and my place is forever saved.  Hurrah!

So, I’ve been reading a bit lately.

I finished reading Diana Gabaldon’s new book (and the one before it as I needed to refresh my poor memory).  I can’t recommend her books enough . . . they are quite simply excellent!

Then, I was reading a Regency romance written during the Regency period.  It’s called Marriage
and it’s written by Susan Edmonstone Ferrier.  It’s interesting but a bit slow and draggy.  She certainly didn’t aspire to the “show, don’t tell” school of writing.  So, I’ve put it aside . . . not sure I’ll finish it.  Still, with the Kindle, it was cheap so no worries there.  The hardcover version is $30.  The Kindle version . . . $1.50.  LOVE IT!

Amazon is so good about sending mail when a fav author has something new so I was happy to learn that Nora Roberts had a new book in her latest series about 4 friends who are wedding planners.  It’s called Bed of Roses (The Bride Quartet)
. It’s a good read — Nora Roberts is always a good read. I just like her stuff.

Even when she writes under another name. The other name she writes under is J.D. Robb — she has the Eve Dallas series under that name. It’s set in the not-too-distant future. Eve is a cop in NYC. She and her husband, Roarke, clean up crime in their own inimitable way. I like this series because the character development grows from book to book and I like the characters. The latest book is called Kindred in Death. The cool thing is that in February, there’s another one coming out too. Yippee!

All those links go to the not-Kindle-versions of the books I recommended.  Not sure why Amazon won’t let me link to the Kindle versions themselves but they won’t (well, they won’t if I want to get $$$ for your buying these books on my say-so).  So, anyway, there’s the full disclosure piece.  If you click on those links and buy a book, I get a cut.  A small cut to be sure but there you are.   And, would it surprise you to learn that my cut is put directly into an Amazon gift card so I can buy more books to read?  😀

P.S.  I promise to find time this weekend to take pictures of the bathroom remodel and share them with you.  Promise!

Worthy of Kindle and Print?

28 Sep
An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

I have very few books that I have both Kindle copies and real-world-copies. But, I found a new one this weekend . . . Diana Gabaldon’s latest book An Echo in the Bone: A Novel.  Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is one of my all-time favorites.  I believe my step-mother, Babette Donaldson, first recommended her to me saying that everyone she’d suggested read Outlander had not only liked it but made a point of thanking her — male and female alike.  I can say the same thing.  I have turned a lot of people on to Diana Gabaldon’s books over the years and no one has told me they wished I’d kept my recommendations to myself. I stayed up too late last night reading this latest book . . . #7 in the Outlander Series . . . and wish I could call in sick today and continue reading! Really, I wish I could read them all over again and then stay home and read the latest one . . . they are that good.

So, her latest and long-awaited book just came out on September 22nd.  I agonized over which way to buy it.  I have hard copies of all her books . . . .but I really prefer reading on the Kindle.  What to do?  What to do?

My mother-in-law told me it was an easy call.  Buy the hardcover . . . and then I can lend it to her.

I had pretty much decided to do that and then I got an email from Amazon.

Seems that my blog posts on the Kindle are “paying off.”  When I blog about a book or device on Amazon, I use their “Associates” service.  That means I get a tiny commission if you buy something I recommend from my link in my blog.  Amazing.  So, please buy up!

Amazon sent me a gift card payment that was enough money to buy BOTH copies guilt-free and I still might have enough money to buy my newly trumpeted son a music stand.  Amazing!

And, so, I thank you.  And my mother-in-law thanks you.  And, my son will probably thank you as well!

Gage's face

I love to read.

27 May

I love to read on my Kindle2.

I love to read series fiction.

I love to read series fiction on my Kindle2.

And, I have a new favorite author to add to my list.

Deanna Raybourn writes the Lady Julia Grey series. Raybourn creates memorable, likeable characters who are involved in interesting mysteries with hint of romance.  Set in Victorian England, this series explores lifes of the wealthy in this time period and compares it to those who are less fortunate, including Gypsies, prostitutes, and servants. Lady Julia and her madcap family are thoroughly engaging.

There are three books in the series so far Silent in the Grave , Silent in the Sanctuary and Silent on the Moor.  I’ve read the first two and I’m in the middle of the third.

Best of all, they are available for the Kindle in an enhanced version.  Love them!  Oh, and there’s a contest on Raybourn’s website where the prize is a Kindle2!  Go get one!

If you find you are loving Lady Julia, you may want to check out her more serious, less romatic cousin, Lady Emily. She is similarly a recent widow who solves mysteries in Victorian England.  These books are written by Tasha Alexander and while they are similar, there are also lots of differences as well — mostly in tone and style.  I have read the first in the Lady Emily series:  And Only to Deceive.  I enjoyed it and will read more but I didn’t have to get the whole series and read it over a long weekend.

Oh, Amazon has given Kindle a new feature: The Amazon Reading List webpage.  You will see a list of your Kindle books.  Oddly, at first, I only saw 7 of my books until I chose the option to show more books and then all my books showed up.  You can give a review.  This feature will also allow you to access your highlights and annotations.  This new web service is synched to your Kindle which allows you to see (but not change) these highlights and annotations.  You can also review your books with star ratings and see the overall ratings of the same books.

To get to your Amazon Reading List, just enter http://kindle.amazon.com into your web browser address bar, then log into your account.

Got money to burn?

19 May

Amazon has opened it’s Kindle Publishing for Bloggers site and now for just $1.99 per month, you can subscribe to my blog on your Kindle.  Honestly, I don’t recommend you do that.  First of all, my blog is free on the Interwebs.  Secondly, as the “publisher” I will get 30% of that monthly fee and Amazon will keep the rest.  Thirdly, while I know my blog if utterly fascinating . . . still, paying for a subscription?  I’m not feeling it.    But, if you’ve got money to burn . . .

Update: No longer is the price an outrageous $1.99 a month . . . now, I’m a BARGAIN!  Just $0.99 a month! But wait there’s more . . .

Kindle Update!

22 Apr

If, like me, you only turn your Kindle2‘s WhisperNet on when you are purchasing something, go ahead and do so now.  Amazon is rolling out software update version 2.0.3 for the Kindle via WhisperNet right now.  I learned about it from one of the Kindle blogs I read, Blog Kindle. You can learn more about the Kindle2’s wireless updates here. Evidently, the update will download automagically and then when you Kindle goes to sleep, the update will be installed.  Ta Da!

The key is that they roll out their updates to groups of users so when you turn it on, it may not be your turn yet.  So you might have to wait patiently, turning your WhisperNet on now and again until the update happens.  While there is a way to update manually, I’m not interested in messing with my Kindle2 too much so I’m going to leave that to others who are willing to “brick” their Kindles. I’ll let mine update on it’s own, thank you. Nobody here but us chickens!

Kindle with bag

In other news, the Kindle Store is now carrying some of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, including The Hobbit, all three Lord of the Rings books, and his last work (edited posthumously by his son), The Children of Hurin.  If you haven’t read these amazing works lately (well, I haven’t read the last one at all) . . . now’s your chance!

Camping with a Kindle

18 Apr

Camping with a Kindle

Now, I know that many people don’t consider camping in a motorhome really caming but . . . what can I say, it works for me.  And, I know from camping.  I’ve done the backpacking thing.  I’ve done the tent camping thing.  I’ve done the 5th wheel trailer thing.  And for me and mine, motorhome is the way to camp.

We camp in RV parks and state parks and friends’ driveways.  We camp with full hook-ups and we “dry camp”.  We do several camping trips a year.  We are a camping family.

When I got the Kindle2, I didn’t think much about the camping thing.  I just sort of assumed it would work for camping.  Our most recent trip to Disneyland was my trial run for Kindle Camping!  And, it worked beautifully!

One of the biggest problems with camping is that you have no room . . . even in a motorhome, you don’t want to bring along unnecessary items.  But, one of the joys of camping is that you have downtime to do things like reading.  And, sometimes you want a choice in what you read.  I’ve been known to bring 4 or 5 books with me when I go camping.  With my Kindle, I had more like 20 books with me and they took up less space than 1 magazine.

In our motorhome, we tend to leave our bed set up most of the time.  The kids sleep on bunks above us (see the picture above).  I tucked the Kindle into the magazine rack next to my pillows.  I hooked my Mighty Bright Light
on the magazine rack.  I was all set to read myself to sleep each night.

Some of the time, on our trips, we had power because we had hookups at campgrounds.  However, other times we were camping in campgrounds without power.  The Kindle stays powered up for days, particularly if you turn off the Whispernet feature when you aren’t actually uploading or downloading items.  Camping without power does not mean that I don’t have access to my Kindle.  (Besides, we have an inverter that I can use in an emergency.)  To be clear, I used my Kindle2 for 8 days on the camping trip.  I downloaded a book while we were gone.  I read for several hours a day (I read 4 books and started a 5th on that trip).  I read a LOT.  And, I only charged it up twice.  Neither time did it NEED it.  I charged it up because I could, not because I had to.  Pretty darn cool, if you ask me!  The Mighty Bright booklight also works on batteries or power.  I never did plug that one in — I used batteries the whole time.  It is a necessity to have a booklight because the eInk screen that makes the Kindle so readable does not have a backlight and therefore you must have an external light source.

There were also days when we camped without access to cell-phones or 3G networks or Whispernet but there were plenty of days that we camped with ready access to such luxuries.  On our trip, I finished reading the 2nd book in a series.   When I’d originally purchesed that book, the 3rd in the series wasn’t available.  It was pure joy to check in at the Kindle store and find that the next book was indeed available and download it within minutes.

The Kindle is lightweight, small, and lasts for days on one charge.  I think it’s a natural for camping.  I know it works for RVs.  I would absolutely find it useful for tent-camping.  In fact, I think I would be able to justify the weight and space for a backpacking trip.

Who would have thunk it?  Kindles are the ultimate camping tool!  Go buy one and camp!!!

Kindle Love!

26 Mar

I love my Kindle2!  Lest there be any doubt about a honeymoon period and the wearing off thereof, let me say it again . . . I love my Kindle2.

I have a huge number of books on it.  It’s insane.  One reason is that I waited to get some books from favorite authors until I got the Kindle2.  Then, another favorite, Dana Stabenow has released some old out-of-print books on Kindle for great prices — she is doing this at the same time her latest book is out on Kindle, as well.  I have also gotten books by Nevada BarrJD Robb, and Patricia Cornwell.

Now, if only I had time to actually READ!

Birds on my Kindle2

Kindle Accessories — Gilding the Lily

9 Mar

One of the funnest things about getting a new toy is accessorizing it. But, I am “tool woman” — if I start a new hobby the first thing I do is figure out what I need to buy in order to have the best of everything I need.  It’s something of an illness.

So, of course, I want to find and get accessories for my Kindle.  And, I’m sure you do too!  😀

The Kindle 2 doesn’t ship with a case of any kind and at $360, I think it’s too vulnerable to not be protected.  The first accessory I got was a case.  There are various cases available on Amazon ranging from $30 to a $120.  But, I wanted something unique and personal.  So, of course, I went to Etsy.  I found my case there from the store Borsa Bella.  It’s really just a quilted sleeve but it was exactly what I need.  My Kindle can be in my bag all day and stay clean and unscratched.  It doesn’t scream “I’m a Kindle, steal me!” which is a bonus point.

Kindle with bag

If I were to get another type of cover, I would probably go for the M-edge Platform Jacket for the Kindle 2.  It is a nice, leather case that folds back and can create a stand for the Kindle.  Looks handy for hands-free reading although I question how often I would need that sort of thing.  Still . . . the m-edge also has a booklight option that integrates into the case.

Speaking of lights, one benefit of the Kindle is the easy reading screen.  However, because it is not backlit, you need a light to read the Kindle at night.  I have gotten a Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 (in pink, of course) with a power adaptor (not included) so that I can avoid using tons of batteries.  I will mostly use it when we are camping either with batteries or plugged in, depending on the type of camping we’re doing.  Honestly though, I’d recommend a silver one for most Kindle owners.  Pink is de rigeur for me but might not be everyone’s first choice!

Another form of accessorizing is adding a skin.  Decalgirl is a good source.  This is the one I’m thinking about for my Kindle2.

Pink Tranquility Skin from DecalGirl

Pink Tranquility Skin from DecalGirl

In terms of practical accessories, I always recommend keeping an extra power cord on hand.  I keep one where I plug my device in all the time and another in my case for being out and about and needing power unexpectedly.  And, of cousre, one needs a car charger.  A stand for the Kindle might also be a nice touch.  This one seems pretty useful as it has a hole for the power cord so it could be both a stand for reading as well as a charging station.

Stand for Kindle 2

Stand for Kindle 2