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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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Daily Deals: The Naming and Clown Ball

The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor (Pellinor Series)Today Amazon offers The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor (Pellinor Series) by Alison Croggon just for $1.99

In the classic spirit of epic fantasy comes this glittering saga of a young girl who learns she possesses an uncanny gift – and is destined to use it to save her world from a terrifying evil. Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child when her family is destroyed in war. She doesn’t yet know she has inherited a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the noble School of Pellinor and enables her to see the world as no other can. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true identity and extraordinary destiny unfold. Now, she and her mysterious teacher must embark on a treacherous, uncertain journey through a time and place where the forces of darkness wield an otherworldly terror.

Some words about the Author

Alison Croggon is an acclaimed Australian poet and playwright. She is the Melbourne theatre critic for The Australian and has received the Geraldine Pascall Critic of the Year award. To date, she has written and performed nine works for the theatre. Her young adult fantasy quartet, the Books of Pellinor, have been published around the world to much praise. She was inspired to write them when her oldest son started reading fantasy novels, reminding her of how much she enjoyed the genre and of her ambition growing up to write a fantasy novel herself.

 

Clown BallAs usual Amazon also offer to download an application to your Kindle Fire for free today only. And today it is Clown Ball.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls…

Fans of marble rolling games like Super Monkey Ball, Labyrinth, and Neverball will love Clown Ball with its fantastic tilt controls. If you enjoy playing marble maze or marble labyrinth games you’ve got to give it a try. You’ll be tickled pink.

Swerve through mazes as you roll your ball past hammers, through tunnels, and over balance beams in this 3D circus game. Try your acrobatic skills on the trampoline, or dare to be fired from a circus cannon. Challenge your mind as you unravel some deviously tricky puzzles.

Kids love Clown Ball because the intuitive tilt control is easier to use than a touch screen. Parents love the game because it’s good, clean circus-themed fun for the kids…and for the adults. Children can simply play through each level, while adults can attempt the more difficult challenges, such as getting all the stars or finishing before the bonus timer runs out.

 

Windows 8 Release Preview to Ship Today

Keep an eye on our Windows 8 Release Preview post for updates on download links and hands-on review.

UNO Now Available on the Kindle

UNO is such a fun game for all ages.  It was just added to the ever expanding Kindle game list.  There are a number of popular board games and card games available on the e-reader.  There is an edition for both the Kindle Fire and the regular e-ink Kindles.

The Kindle Fire edition uses full color and is formatted more like the traditional UNO game.  It is about 99 cents and has okay reviews.  The version for the e-ink Kindles is brand new and is showing promise.

If you’re unfamiliar with the game of UNO, basically you match up different numbers and color cards until you run out.  You have to say “uno!” before any other player if you have one card left, or you have to draw.  There are special cards: reverse, draw 2, and wild cards.  It can get pretty crazy, especially if a lot of people are playing.

Gameloft, the developer, worked around the color issue by creating shapes to identify the different cards.  You will see this on a lot of the Kindle based card games.  I noticed a good point in the product description.  By eliminating color, it makes the game accessible for people who are color blind.  That’s a good perk.

The Kindle version of UNO includes a variety of play modes and game types.  You can set up customizable rules and enter different challenges.

I’m a fan of traditional card games, but putting them on the Kindle definitely adds some portability to the game.  You don’t have to worry about spilling the cards everywhere in the car or other similar situations.

UNO has good reviews overall.  There really aren’t that many up yet.

If you are looking for a good bargain, check out this week’s sale on the classic hit, Yahtzee.  In addition to that one, there is a slew of other fun games that are either free or just 99 cents.

 

 

Daily Deals: The Last Good Day and Homerun Battle 3D

The Last Good DayToday Amazon offers The Last Good Day by Peter Blauner just for $1.99

When a decapitated corpse washes up on the banks of the Hudson River, a New York suburb is sent into an uproar. Commuters waiting for the morning train into Manhattan in the small Hudson River town of Riverside are the first to see the body. She drifts out of the river, naked and headless, shocking the onlookers before they board their train to work.  Riverside Police Chief Harold Baltimore can’t get away from her so easily. A black chief in a white town, he’s new to his job and not at all sure he’s suited to it. At first it looks like a routine mob murder, but when one of his detectives identifies the corpse as a local woman, the news rocks quiet little Riverside—and the town won’t ever be quiet again.  This ebook features an illustrated biography of Peter Blauner including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

Some words about the Author.

Peter Blauner is the author of Man of the Hour, The Intruder, and Slow Motion Riot. A native New Yorker and former New York magazine reporter, he lives with his family in Brooklyn.

 

Homerun Battle 3DIf you like to play on sport virtually it can be interesting for you: Homerun Battle 3D. Today only you can download this game for free.

You’re on deck! Are you prepared to go head-to-head with more than ten million big sluggers in Homerun Battle 3D? The incredible graphics, realistic sound effects, and real competition will make you feel like you’ve joined the big leagues. Take a couple of practice swings because you’re about to step up to the plate.

Uniforms and Equipment

Outfit your rookie with more than 100 items from hats and uniforms to cleats and bats. As you move up in the ranks, earn better equipment. Choose from official baseball wear like DeMarini CF4, Voodoo, and other M2M bat equipment.

Statistics and Game Modes

Play in 4 different game modes: Online Match up, Arcade, Training, and Classic. Login to the Com2uS hub and your play data will automatically be saved in. Enjoy a game on multiple devices with the same ID and all data is saved in your personal hub account. Guest Play allows you to play a game without logging in.

Recognition
  • More than 10 million players in more than 300 million match-up games
  • The Best of the Best Apps Awards Winner
  • Nominated as IMGA’s Best Game

Amazon Signs a Deal With Paramount

Amazon Prime Instant Video has hit a growth spurt again.  This time, the major online retailer has signed a deal with Paramount.  This is huge, because some of the most popular movies of all time come from this production company.

Forrest Gump, one of my favorite movies, is part of the list of newly added selection.  Other well known titles include: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Top Gun, Mission Impossible 3, and Mean Girls. moreMean Girls is another favorite of mine.

The benefits of paying for a separate Netflix plan are shrinking rapidly.  For $79 a year, you can get free two day shipping, check out a book a month on your Kindle, and enjoy unlimited movie streaming.  I take advantage of all three of these services quite frequently.

I’ve found some popular Kindle books such as the Hunger Games Trilogy in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.  The downside is that you have to wait a month to get the next book in the trilogy.  I’m okay with that, but I know many Hunger Games fan want to jump in to the following books immediately.

In addition to popular series, there are also a ton of books by independent authors that are fresh discoveries.  Kindle Direct Publishing has opened up a new world of publishing, and has given many authors a chance to excel.  In the past, authors were an elite group.

In the first half of 2012, Amazon Prime Instant Video has grown from roughly 13,000 to 17,000 titles, and is still growing.  Earlier deals include Viacom and Discovery.  These two production companies, along with Paramount bring an eclectic collection of movies that spans across many different genres.

Prime Instant Video is compatible with both PC’s and Mac’s.  If you have a Kindle Fire, you can also enjoy them on there as well, for more portability.

Daily Deals: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating and First Puzzles HD Pro

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: A MemoirToday Amazon offers The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: A Memoir by Elisabeth Tova Bailey just for $1.99

“The hero of this story enters . . . well . . . rather slowly. It doesn’t don a cape or sport a lightening bolt on its chest, but its effects are monumental. The actions of this tiny mollusk become all-consuming . . . Everything about this slip of a book is unassuming, yet its petite size, prose, and characters rise like quiet giants from its pages.” — BookBrowse.com

In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her uncommon encounter with a Neohelix albolabris -a common woodland snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater under standing of her own confined place in the world. Intrigued by the snail-s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, providing a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal. Told with wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence and provides an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.

Some words about the Author

Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s essays and short stories have been published in the Missouri Review,Northwest Review, and the Sycamore Review. She has received several Pushcart Prize nominations, and the essay on which this book is based received a notable essay listing in Best American Essays. She lives in Maine.

 

First Puzzles HD ProAlso you can get a cool game for your kids on your Kindle Fire which called First Puzzles HD Pro.

Clever Kids First Puzzles HD Pro is a fun and simple educational game for children from 2 to 10 years old. Kids will learn new words, shapes, and correct spellings as they explore such exciting places as the farm, the ocean, and the world of the dinosaur.

Playing is simple: drag the pieces of each puzzle around to create a picture, and fill in the animals that inhabit each scene. This app will also help your child spell each word.

On the Farm, Under the Sea, or Back in Time

Kids can choose from three fun puzzle worlds to work in. Down on the farm, familiar characters like cows, pigs, and hens are waiting to be placed in their correct puzzle positions. In the ocean, you’ll find lots of friendly undersea creatures like an octopus, crab, starfish, and sea turtle.

And if you’re feeling especially brave, go back in time to the domain of the dinosaurs! This prehistoric world features a smiling Stegosaur, affable Apatosaurus, and remarkably un-scary Tyrannosaurus Rex, along with several other lovable dinos.

Whichever puzzle your child decides to work first, she or he is sure to have fun. Get started now and see which puzzle becomes your kid’s favorite!

IPG Titles Return to the Kindle After 3 Months

It has been an interesting few months of discussion, debate, argument, and drama, but The Independent Publishers Group has finally arrived at terms with Amazon that will allow their titles to return to the Kindle Store.  This comes as welcome news to the many authors and publishers who rely on the IPG and is likely even more welcome to the many readers who have been unable to enjoy this content thanks to the ongoing conflict.

The terms that have been reached are as yet undisclosed.  The only way we know anything of this is thanks to a mass email informing IPG publishers that as of May 25th their titles are back on the digital shelves.  Anything that isn’t made it back into circulation should be restored “in the next day or two”.  It will be interesting to see what exactly comes out about this new agreement since IPG CEO Curt Matthews has been blogging at length throughout this about the many evils of editor/publisher disintermediation.

I don’t agree with many of Matthews’s arguments.  I think he is very persuasively trying to hold onto the past by ignoring a lot of important aspects of the eBook transition we have going on right now.  Whether or not you buy into his points, though, clearly he has no interest in giving up any ground to Amazon.  To hear him talk, Amazon is deliberately trying to destroy all publishing and the independent authors their self-publishing program enables are universally talentless amateurs.   Taken not terribly out of context, his opinion is pretty well conveyed by this passage from the IPG Blog:

“One of the most important functions of publishers, distributors, and booksellers (book agents and reviewers too) has always been to assure a certain level of quality, not necessarily as high a level as we might want, but at least a baseline far higher than the abysmal standard—in fact the non-existent standard—set by the new electronic vanity presses.”

Details are mostly unimportant to both customers and publishers at this point, however.  What matters is the fact that the books are available for the Kindle again.  In order to take some of the edge off of the months that publishers have had to endure with no Amazon sales, IPG has chosen to forgo their fee on everything sold from June 1st through August 31st of this year.  100% of all revenue will go directly to the publishers.

The best that can be said about this whole situation is that it draws attention to the problems that exist in the power balance between distributers and publishers, as well in the mechanisms of the publishing industry.  Publishers have a purpose and provide a great deal of value.  Perhaps not as much as they want people to believe, but it is obviously going to be in their best interest to make that case.

Amazon is doing an amazing job of maintaining their place as the primary distributer of digital reading material and, despite the fact that they are doing most of that by simply creating in the Kindle the best platform there is right now, they are using that position in ways that don’t necessarily serve customers.  It needed to come out, and hopefully things will be better as a result.

Daily Deals: The Summer Son and Bedside Alarm Clock

The Summer SonToday Amazon offers to get The Summer Son by Craig Lancaster just for $0.99

When Mitch Quillen’s life begins to unravel, he fears there is no escape. His marriage and his career are both failing, and his relationship with his father has been a disaster for decades. Approaching forty, Mitch doesn’t want to become a middle-aged statistic. When his estranged father, Jim, suddenly calls, Mitch’s wife urges him to respond. Ready for a change, Mitch heads to Montana and a showdown that will alter the course of his life. Amid a backdrop of rugged peaks and valleys, the story unfolds: a violent episode that triggered the rift, thirty years of miscommunication, and the possibility of misplaced blame. In Craig Lancaster’s powerful novel, The Summer Son, readers are invited into a family where conflict and secrets prevail, and where hope for healing and redemption is possible.

Here are some reviews on this book:

“Lancaster has crafted a novel that offers readers the most valuable gift any work of fiction can offer: an authentic emotional experience. The Summer Son will grip you with its pathos and insight, propel you mercilessly forward with its tension and suspense, and then wow you with an ending you won’t see coming. And when the experience is over, The Summer Son will stick with you.” — Jonathan Evison, author of West of Here and All About Lulu

“Lancaster’s characters drill into the earth in search of natural gas, and so too do they burrow into their pasts, hunting for the pockets of explosive angst that define who they are today. A compelling dose of realism and a vicious reminder that ancient history is always close enough to kiss us.” — Joshua Mohr, author of Some Things That Meant the World To Me and Termite Parade

The Summer Son is a superb and authentic exploration of family ties and the delicate relationships between fathers and sons, husbands and wives, and the past and present. Lancaster writes from the heart in clear and powerful prose, exposing his characters flaws and strengths in heartbreaking detail and giving readers exactly what we want from contemporary fiction: characters we believe in from the first page, laugh and cry with throughout, and, finally, deeply understand at the end.” — Kristy Kiernan, award-winning author of Catching Genius and Between Friends

Some words about the Author

Craig Lancaster, a journalist and novelist, is the author of 600 Hours of Edward, named a 2009 Montana Honor Book. He lives in Billings, Montana, with his wife, Angela, and two rambunctious dachshunds.

 

Bedside Alarm ClockAlso you can download to your Kindle Fire and install Bedside Alarm Clock. Today only it is free.

Your alarm clock shouldn’t just be an alarm clock anymore. With the Bedside Alarm Clock app, your Android device can double as your new-and-improved, feature-packed, wake-up call. Fall asleep and wake up to your favorite music and enjoy a gorgeous LED display, among many other features that your old alarm clock could only dream of.

Customize Your Clock

It could be the last thing you see before you drift off to sleep, so you should at least like the way it looks. The Bedside Alarm Clock app has a stylish LED display with customizable LED color. Display the day of the week, and choose to use a 12-or 24-hour time display. Additionally, it looks great in either portrait or landscape orientation.

As you drift off to sleep, play music from your music library or choose from five relaxing soundtracks. Set the timer to play the sleep- inducing sounds for up to three hours.

Wakey, Wakey

Just as pleasantly as it sends you off to sleep, it should wake you from your peaceful slumber. Choose from 14 high-quality alarm sounds, or use a song from your music library. Set unlimited, customizable repeatable alarms. For those notorious for accidentally turning off their alarm, the slide stop helps to prevent over-sleeping. Don’t worry, you can always use the snooze button, and set the duration for your preference.

Personal Finance for Dummies

I just finished a book called Personal Finance in Your 20′s for Dummies on my Kindle.  I recommend this getting started guide for anyone setting out in the working world, or those who are looking for learn more about financial matters.

This book covers everything from health insurance to investing.  It is geared for high school or college graduates more so than someone in their late 20′s like myself, however, many of the tips ere very relevant since recent graduates are having a harder time finding jobs.  That in turn puts them getting into the workforce later.  The work force also looks a lot different now than it did even 10 years ago.

The book also gives suggestions for different companies or organizations that are good options to use in each category.  It includes a variety of choices, so there’s something for everyone.

There is another one called Personal Finance for Dummies, as well as Investing for Dummies.  Those go more in detail on the the topic than the 20′s one does.

Seems like there’s a Dummies book for everything.  The language used is written in a way that explains whatever the topic is, really well.  It takes good writing for me to stay engaged, and these do.

You can about all of these on the Kindle for less than $10.  I’ve been switching between my Kindle and iPhone Kindle app a lot.  Quite handy since I use these books as a reference for both personal and professional reasons.

Aimee Elizabeth


“This book covers a wide variety of general personal finances. It’s a great starter book for anyone just getting out of school, just entering the workforce or better yet while still in school, before any financial mistakes have been made! And also a great book for anyone to read BEFORE they get their first credit card or any other type of debt. Highly recommended!”

 

 

Daily Deals: Seven Norwegian Crime Novels and The Floor Is Lava

Today Amazon offers Seven Norwegian crime novels just for $1.99 each. All books were written by Karin Fossum herself or with cooperation with another write Felicity David. Karin Fossum is know as the author of the internationally successful Inspector Konrad Sejer crime series. Her recent honors include a Gumshoe Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for mystery/thriller.

Here are the list of books:

Don’t Look Back (Inspector Sejer) by Karin Fossum and Felicity David;

He Who Fears the Wolf (Inspector Sejer Mysteries) by Karin Fossum and Felicity David;

When the Devil Holds the Candle (Inspector Sejer Mysteries) by Karin Fossum and Felicity David;

The Indian Bride (Inspector Sejer Mysteries) by Karin Fossum;

Black Seconds (An Inspector Sejer Mystery) by Karin Fossum;

The Water’s Edge (Inspector Sejer Mysteries) by Karin Fossum;

Bad Intentions (Inspector Sejer Mysteries) by Karin Fossum;

 

The Floor Is LavaAlso you can download The Floor Is Lava for free. It is a game for your Kindle Fire or any other Android device.

The Burning Man concept is fine for a big party in the Nevada desert; otherwise, it’s best not to take the term literally. Keep this in mind as you play The Floor Is Lava, a red-hot 3D puzzle game for your Android device.

In The Floor Is Lava, your job is to cross a series of floor tiles and cause them to fall into the bubbling lava below. But it’s not as simple as you might think! Unless you want to plummet into the lava, too, you’ll need to be clever of mind and fleet of foot.

Don’t Look Down

Numbered tiles must be crossed multiple times in order to make them fall, and walls between tiles are impassable and must be navigated around. Choose your path carefully, because if you end up trapped, you’re toast.

Oh, one more thing. If you take too long to clear a level, then the lava will slowly begin to rise until it engulfs both the tiles and yourself. So you’d better hotfoot it!

At the end of each level, you’ll be rewarded with sparkling gems that fall from above. Catch them for extra points (and take a breath before facing the next fiery challenge).

Will Nvidia’s Kai Platform Hurt the Kindle Fire?

The most recent development in tablet technology seems to be coming from Nvidia this time around.  Rob Csonger, a VP from the company, explained that the new line of tablets they are developing will be able to keep costs down in the $199 range, allowing them to compete directly with the Kindle Fire on price.

The Nvideo Kai platform, which incidentally is unlikely to be the final name of the new product when it is released, is meant to take advantage of a lot of the Tegra 3 design.  Low power consumption, inexpensive components, and a lot of power for the money are characteristic of the chipset.  While this could bring around a fair amount of interest, given that the Kindle Fire has driven prices down on 7″ tablets to a point where other products are having trouble competing, it remains to be seen who will take advantage of the new technology and when.

Many are speculating that the first major offering to make use of Kai will be the Google / Asus project that we have heard a great deal of speculation about.  Google’s I/O conference is coming up and would make a perfect occasion to present such a device.  They already had to set back its release when they were unable to make a decent tablet around the $200 price range to compete with the Kindle Fire.  That would make a Kai tablet ideal for both Google and Nvidia to show off what they can do and perhaps pull some of the Android market away from Amazon’s control.

There isn’t anything to say that Amazon would be unable or unwilling to make use of the same technology, naturally.  They are going to be facing stiff competition when introducing a larger Kindle Fire tablet that will undoubtedly draw comparisons with the market-leading iPad and having the extra power that a quad-core design offers might well be important.  Toward the end of the year, when the first Windows 8 tablets are released, this will be even more important.  Android is nice, but it doesn’t quite measure up in terms of performance right now so every advantage is welcome.

No matter how much some people might want it to be, this will not spell the end of the Kindle Fire.  At best, it will help keep all-purpose Android tablets relevant as we move forward into a world of far more intense competition.  The option to buy larger, cheaper, more powerful tablets is likely to be appealing to many people.  These won’t replace tablets designed for pure consumption like the Kindle Fire unless they can severely undercut on price, which they can’t, but it would be even worse for the Kindle Fire to kill off the rest of the Android tablet market than it would be for the Android tablet market to shut out the Kindle Fire.  Competition is good for the consumer.

Daily Deals: God is an Englishman and Bubble Scoop

God is an Englishman (Swann Family Saga)Today Amazon offers God is an Englishman (Swann Family Saga) by R. Delderfield for $1.99

The first novel in the epic God is an Englishman series, this book is a stirring saga of England in the 19th century, as the Industrial Revolution takes hold, forever changing the landscape of England and her people.

Adam Swann, scion of an army family, returns home in 1858 after service with Her Majesty’s army in the Crimea and India, determined to build his fortune in the dog-eat-dog world of Victorian commerce. Swann is soon captivated by Henrietta, the high-spirited daughter of a local mill owner. As Swann works to build his name, he and Henrietta share adventures, reversal, and fortune.

A beloved novel by a beloved author, God Is an Englishman is a treasure both for Delderfield fans and the growing legion of fans of historical fiction.

Here are some reviews on this book:

“R. F. Delderfield is a born storyteller.”
Sunday Mirror

“A book to get lost in… An epic historical novel artfully contructed.”
New York Times Book Review

“A novel in the grand tradition of Thackery and Dickens.”
Milwaukee Journal

“A delightful bounty of characters fairly jumps from the pages of God Is an Englishman.”
Columbus Dispatch

 

Bubble ScoopAlso you can get Bubble Scoop for free today only.

Bubble Scoop is a cheery variation on the classic match-3 puzzle game genre. Shoot scoops of ice cream from an ice cream truck, and match scoops of the same color to remove them from the board. Clear levels to win stars, and collect all the cherries to make a sundae and complete each level.

Frozen Challenge

But you need to be quick. More ice cream keeps arriving, and if the scoops reach the bottom of the board, it’s game over. At higher levels, you’ll find new colors, frozen scoops, faster pacing, and other hazards.

With 90 different levels of increasing difficulty, Bubble Scoop starts out easy, but will challenge players of all ages. Can you unlock all the levels and earn three stars in every one?

Bubble Scoop is fun for casual gamers of any age and great for kids. Every level you complete is automatically saved, so you can pick up and play anytime and not lose your progress. Bubble Scoop is calorie-free and guaranteed not give you an ice cream headache.

How the Kindle is Contributing to a New Way of Looking at the World

It is occasionally amazing exactly how far we’ve come over the years.  It’s an inane observation but not, I think, an inaccurate one.  This came to me recently while reading Halting State by Charles Stross.  I enjoyed the book immensely and can’t recommend it enough, but it occurred to me about halfway through that much of the “science fiction” being employed was realistic enough to give me pause.  Augmented reality glasses, arguably the major liberty Stross takes with real life, are hardly unlikely if Google is to be believed.  The idea that technology increasingly mediates our interactions with the world around us brought to mind some thoughts about how the Kindle has changed our perceptions.

The trend toward digitization of print media is ongoing and not isolated to anything Amazon has done.  What they made with the Kindle platform, however, was the first real method for instantly accessing any eBook in circulation at a moment’s notice (acknowledging certain exceptions, of course).  If you saw an interesting ad, you could grab the book from your phone and have it with you the next time you wanted to read.  If somebody recommended a book, you could immediately check the reviews and give it a shot.  If a student forgot their book, they could often fix the problem immediately rather than sitting around bewildered.

The effect has been extensive in obvious ways.  Libraries are having to adapt to the eReader presence, for example.  Not only that, they were in a fair amount of trouble while OverDrive adapted to the Kindle since the vast majority of eReader owners prefer the Kindle platform.  Bookstores are feeling the press as well, being forced to compete, choose sides, or go the way of Borders.

The more subtle effects are more interesting, though.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that many book stores are having trouble unloading “classics” these days.  Where a faux leather cover on a book that was probably never going to be read might have been enough to sell a bargain bin title in the past, customers are increasingly aware that they can have those older titles for free and don’t have the incentive to have them on hand purely on principal anymore.

Reading in public is also becoming more common.  It has never been uncommon, of course, but now the ability to read without openly displaying your book preferences makes the Kindle a smart buy for people with guilty pleasures of a literary nature.  We’ve seen something of a romance novel boom reported as a result.

There are all sorts of little ways that this comes into play.  When you take into account the fact that the Kindle platform is available on any smartphone in circulation at the moment, we’re basically talking about the most wide-spread literary revolution since the move to codex-style books.  Maybe I shouldn’t attribute the whole shift to the Kindle, but if you have to put a name to it then Amazon’s product is the one to spring to mind.

Without trying to sound clichéd, any thoughts on how the Kindle platform and eReading in general has changed our lives?  I was expecting more from the instant Wikipedia access anywhere that Kindle devices offered so early on, but it seems in retrospect that this was the least profound impact of the lot.

Daily Deals: Greyhound and Quote Unquote

GreyhoundToday Amazon offers Greyhound by Steffan Piper just for $0.99

11-year-old Sebastien Ranes is taking a trip. He doesn’t exactly understand why, but he accepts it. His mother often seems too emotionally detached to care for him. Her latest boyfriend Dick takes cruel pleasure in mimicking the boy’s stuttering, and wants to live his life without “somebody else’s kid” getting in the way. So it’s no surprise when they pack his bags to send him away. It is a surprise when they send him alone.

Ushered from his Stockton, California home, Sebastien must fend for himself and travel two thousand miles across the country to live with his grandmother and sister in Pennsylvania. Along the way, he learns that sometimes caring, guidance and understanding can come from some unlikely people.

Marcus is a man who has been neglected more by society than his family. As a young black ex-con, he is not the epitome of the person most would pick as a chaperone for their child’s cross country trip. Yet rather than be held apart by their differences, Marcus and Sebastien are drawn together by the things that make us all alike. As both guide and protector, Marcus imparts his own style of wisdom while showing Sebastien that, despite the darker side of the human condition, people can and do care for one another.

Greyhound is the story of the journey taken by a young boy into manhood, and by the reader into his world. Like every trip, there are many stops along the way. But this journey differs in the way young Sebastien arrives at his destination.

Some words about the Author

Steffan Piper was born in Pennsylvania and raised in England and various parts of Alaska. During his time in Alaska, the Mayor of Nome asked him to ‘leave and never return’, due to a minor misunderstanding. Steffan currently lives on the outskirts of Los Angeles with his family. Most of his writing occurs in the dead of night.

 

Quote UnquoteAlso Amazon makes  Quote Unquote free to download today only.

Quote Unquote, a word game for your Android device, is a unique mix of crossword-style clues and pithy quotations. Solve clues by searching for the answers within quotes from some of the greatest minds of all time–and some of the not-so-great ones, too.

Some quotes are famous, some are wise, some are funny, and some are lies! See how savvy a player you can be as you work through puzzle after fun puzzle.

Winning Words of Wisdom

In Quote Unquote, every quotation becomes a puzzle waiting to be solved. Build the answers, solve the clues, and go for perfection by using every last letter!

Additional puzzle packs are on the way. Have fun!

10.1 Inch Kindle Fire, is it a good idea?

I have watched so many people who otherwise wouldn’t consider a tablet purchase a Kindle Fire this year because of the great price and good company brand.  In addition to the $199 regular price, you can find deals for refurbished Fires for $139.  The Kindle has certainly come a long way in 5 years.

The Kindle Fire took the tablet out of the niche market and into the hands of your average consumers.

The 7″ Kindle Fire is a good compromise for those who want the advantages of a smartphone and tablet in one device.  You don’t have to worry about a data plan, and the app store boasts a robust collection of Android based apps for the tablet.  It is portable and less than half the price of the low end model iPad.

With all of that said, I question the need for a larger Kindle Fire at least for the time being.  I don’t doubt that Amazon has the means to produce a good quality, competitively priced one.  There is a rumor going around that a 10.1 inch Kindle Fire will be released later this year, and plans for a smaller, second generation one will be put on hold.  That is the part I’m skeptical about.  If Amazon wants to reach out to a full audience, it needs to appeal to both markets.

Larger tablets lose portability.  The iPad is not easy to hold for long periods of time.  The computing power would need to be stronger.

So, to sum it up, I think that the first generation Kindle Fire fared quite well with room for improvement.  Those improvements such as a built in camera, faster browsing, screen quality, etc, can all be addressed in the next generation.  Working from that, a larger version is a good goal to work towards.

But, that’s just my opinion on it.  The tablet market as a whole is exploding.  The competition is fierce and we are most likely headed for tablet centered computing.

Rumors will fly and lots of times you can take them with a grain of salt, but it will be interesting to see what really happens in the next few months.

 

Daily Deals: It Happened on the Way to War and My Sketch

It Happened on the Way to WarToday Amazon offers It Happened on the Way to War by Rye Barcott just for $1.99. This book has warm reviews from readers - 4.8 out of 5 stars. There is only 1 negative review unhappy with the high price of the book.

In 2000 Rye Barcott spent part of his summer living in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. He was a college student heading into the Marines, and he sought to better understand ethnic violence-something he would likely facelater in uniform. He learned Swahili, asked questions, and listened to young people talk about how they survived in poverty he had never imagined. Anxious to help but unsure what to do, he stumbled into friendship with awidowed nurse, Tabitha Atieno Festo, and a hardscrabble community organizer, Salim Mohamed. Together, this unlikely trio built a non-governmental organization that would develop a new generation of leaders from within one of Africa’s largest slums.

Their organization, Carolina for Kibera (CFK), is now a global pioneer of the movement called Participatory Development, and washonored by Time magazine as a “Hero of Global Health.” CFK’s greatest lesson may be that with the right kind of support, people in desperate places will take charge of their lives and create breathtaking change. Engaged in two seemingly contradictory forms of public service at the same time, Barcott continued his leadership in CFK while serving as a human intelligence officer in Iraq, Bosnia, and the Horn of Africa. Struggling with the intense stress of leading Marines in dangerous places, he took thetools he learned building a community in one of the most fractured parts of Kenya and became a more effective counterinsurgent and peacekeeper. It Happened on the Way to War is a true story of sacrifice and courage and the powerful melding of military and humanitarian service. It’s a story of what America’s role in the world could be.

 

My SketchAlso you can download My Sketch for free today only. With that application you can transform your photos into beautiful, realistic sketches. Also you can create unlimited high-resolution sketches from the photos taken by your Android’s camera or those stored in your photo album.

Photo Goes In, Sketch Comes Out

It’s easy to change your photos into works of art. Choose a photo from your Android device’s gallery, or snap a photo from within the app. Crop the photo to your preference. Now you’re ready to get to work.

Endless Sketching Options

Select from 20 different and unique sketch styles. Your options include color contrast, smooth, canvas, smudge, rough, classic frame, and many more. Tap on a selection, and you’ll get a preview of how your new “sketch” will appear.

After you’ve transformed your photo, adjust the brightness and contrast to your exact specifications with a slide bar. Next, select the image ratio (100% to 25%).

Share Your Art

Share your sketches via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumbler, and e-mail. Your friends and family will be astonished at how different your photos appear. These photo sketches made great mementos, decorations, and additions to greeting cards.

Save sketches in a high resolution for beautiful, quality printing. Each sketch retains the original high quality of the photos without destroying or distorting them. Sketching has never been this simple.

 

Kindle Prices Still Too High!

The Kindle line basically started the digital reading revolution.  They were neither the first nor the best when they appeared, but Kindles were the driving force behind it.  Amazon got too powerful, customers likes affordable eBooks too much, and publishers freaked out to the point of getting involved in what seem to be fairly illegal activities while trying to counter all that.  We’ve been over all that before.  The big question now is “Why are Kindle eBook prices still so ridiculously high?”

I’m not just talking about the results of the DOJ suit against the publishers over their adoption of the Agency Model.  I’m glad that’s happening, and I wish them all the luck in achieving a decisive conviction, but even those publishers who have chosen to settle already will not have had much of an effect just yet.  I’m more concerned with common sense.

The most obvious side of this is the obvious dislike of the format.  Publishers want physical media to be favored because it is more easily controlled.  eBooks are too convenient and most especially too easily pirated, so we have to expect these publishers to try to persuade people to stick to proven methods, right?  Some variation on this argument is likely to come up in any defense of the Big 6.

I’ll be honest, I’m not even going to address it at length here beyond saying that it flat out ignores the facts.  Study after study demonstrates that piracy either increases  or fails to affect overall spending as a trend.  It’s unintuitive, so I don’t blame them for being slow to catch on, but surely somebody employed by these companies could do some research that goes beyond ominous warnings of the dangers of piracy like those thrown around by the MPAA.  Maybe I’ll go into more detail on that another time.

Even assuming that was too hard to grasp, however, there is plenty of easy to understand information about adapting to a market that does away with the concept of limited supply.  The most dramatic example comes from the video game industry where Valve CEO Gabe Newell explained a while back that briefly discounting media by 75% had unexpectedly resulted in sales numbers jumping by a factor of 40.  I’m not saying the two industries are directly analogous, but clearly there are signs that digital distribution needs to be approached a bit differently.

There have been a few signs that publishers were tentatively trying to figure all this out.  Some short-lived discounts have popped up, and last summer’s Kindle Sunshine Deals promo comes to mind as a large effort to feel out the market.  It still seems like the biggest motivator for these publishers is a desire not to change.

They have a good thing going and can basically control the entire publishing landscape when they work together.  The Kindle, along with its eReader competitors, is an unknown.  If it were embraced, somebody else might figure out how to do things better and that would be bad.

I have no idea when this will change, but it can’t come soon enough.  All that publishers have managed to accomplish with this ridiculous behavior is temporarily setting back Amazon by shooting both themselves and their customers in the foot.

Nobody really wants traditional publishing to be completely out of the picture, but lately they’re doing more harm than good.  One of these days they will have to realize this and Kindle owners everywhere will breathe a sigh of relief while stocking their digital libraries.

Daily Deals: Mystery Walk and CrossMe

Mystery WalkToday Amazon offers Mystery Walk by Robert R. McCammon just for $1.99 This book is about how two young psychics do battle with an ancient evil.

Billy Creekmore was born to be a psychic. His mother, a Choctaw Indian schooled in her tribe’s ancient mysticism, understood that the barrier between life and death is permeable. She knew how to cross it, and used that knowledge to help the dead rest easier. She passed that power on to her son, and he has spent his whole life learning how to communicate with the dead to prevent them from meddling with the living.

Though his powers are the same, Wayne Falconer’s background could not be more different. The son of a prominent preacher, he would be disowned if his father learned he was using supernatural powers in service of the church. Though they don’t know each other, Billy and Wayne share a recurring dream—and a common enemy. When a nightmarish monster descends on their community in Alabama, mankind’s fate will rest in their hands.

Some words about the Author

Robert McCammon is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen novels, including the award-winning Boy’s Life. There are more than four million copies of his books in print.

 

CrossMeAlso Amazon offer to get CrossMe which is a game for training your brain.

Cross Me is a Japanese crossword known as a Nonogram. The objective is to discover a hidden image by marking cells or leaving them blank, according to the numbers displayed on the side of the grid.

Facing a grid of cells, you will carefully determine which cells to mark and which to leave empty. The darkened cells will begin to take shape and reveal an image.

What Will You Reveal

Look at the numbers displayed across the top and the left-hand side of the grid. Each number represents the number of filled cells in that row or column. Fill all cells in the correct way to solve the picture. All numbers should have a strike-through after filling in the appropriate cells. If you tap on a cell, it will be filled. If you tap on that cell again, it will be crossed. If you tap on that cell one more time, it will be empty again.

A few simple crosswords are provided for you to learn how to play the game, as well as the step-by-step tutorial. Those familiar with Japanese crosswords may skip this and go to more challenging larger pictures. All crosswords have been checked.

Tip: To fill the line of cells at once, tap and hold the cell. A ring will appear and after that, move it. You can find other tips in the game rule.

Waterstones Embraces the Kindle

It wasn’t all that long ago when UK Bookseller Waterstones was bragging that they had their own eReader in the works that was going to be a dramatic improvement over the Kindle line.  While I think it is safe to say that the failure of such an eReader to appear is unsurprising, the fact that the news of plans being changed comes along with the announcement of a partnership with Amazon for selling the Kindle is rather impressive.

In keeping with a redesign of the stores themselves, Waterstones customers can expect to see dedicated areas of the outlets set aside for digital reading purposes.  Presumably this will include easy cafe access and free WiFi.  Other than the fact that Waterstones will now be able to jump into eReading in some small way, however, it is hard to say exactly what their plan of attack will be here.

Details, aside from the abandonment of previously reported Waterstones efforts at eReader design, have not yet been made available to the public.  They will not be available, in fact, until this fall.  Considering that James Daunt, the guy in charge of Waterstones at the moment, declared just months ago that Amazon “never struck [him] as being a sort of business in the consumer interest” and called the online retailer “a ruthless, money-making devil”, it must have been a fairly impressive deal.

We know that Waterstones will not be selling the Kindle hardware any cheaper than Amazon’s own store or any of their other partners.  Not only was that obvious anyway, Daunt himself confirmed that it would not be happening.  Everything they pull off will have to be related to the sales of the media.  This opens up a whole field of speculation.

It is definitely possible that this will be an opportunity to finally bring together hardcover book sales and digital reading.  Customers have long asked for an opportunity to acquire their eBooks at a discount when they already own the physical copy and if Waterstones was to start selling bundles priced roughly equal to the cost of a hardcover book it would give them a major edge in marketing alone.

This would also be a good opportunity for Amazon to test out some of Barnes & Noble’s tricks.  Using the Special Offers aspect of the Kindle to display coupons and other such deals any time a user is connected via the Waterstones WiFi would be a start, for example.  It wouldn’t hurt to put together the same sort of free access to entire eBooks that Nook owners get in B&N outlets, but that might be stretching things a bit.

Without knowing more about how the partnership is structured we can’t say anything for sure.  This doesn’t seem like the smartest move for a major Brick & Mortar chain, though.  Amazon is many things, often many positive things, but kind to physical outlets would not be one of them.  The whole arrangement smacks of a last ditch effort to test out possible ways to keep physical book stores from losing traction in the face of the overwhelmingly popular Kindle.  In that respect, as a fan of the bookstore, I can only offer my sincere hope that they succeed in finding one.

Daily Deals: The Gaijin Diaries and Alphabet Coloring

Tune In Tokyo:The Gaijin DiariesToday Amazon offers Tune In Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries by Tim Anderson just for $0.99

Everyone wants to escape their boring, stagnant lives full of inertia and regret. But so few people actually have the bravery to run — run away from everything and selflessly seek out personal fulfillment on the other side of the world where they don’t understand anything and won’t be expected to. The world is full of cowards. Tim Anderson was pushing thirty and working a string of dead-end jobs when he made the spontaneous decision to pack his bags and move to Japan, “where my status as a U.S. passport holder and card-carrying ‘American English’ speaker was an asset rather than a liability.” It was a gutsy move, especially for a tall, white, gay Southerner who didn’t speak a lick of Japanese. But his life desperately needed a shot of adrenaline, and what better way to get one than to leave behind everything he had ever known to move to “a tiny, overcrowded island heaving with clever, sensibly proportioned people that make him look fat?” In Tokyo, Tim became a “gaijin,” an outsider whose stumbling progression through Japanese culture is minutely chronicled in these sixteen howlingly funny stories. Yet despite the steep learning curve and the seemingly constant humiliation, the gaijin from North Carolina gradually begins to find his way. Whether playing drums on the fly in an otherwise all-Japanese noise band or attempting to keep his English classroom clean when it’s invaded by an older female student with a dirty mind, Tim comes to realize that living a meaningful life is about expecting the unexpected…right when he least expects it.

Some words about the Author

Tim Anderson has done many amazing things in his life. Well, two amazing things. OK, one thing that he did twice. But he’s got nothing on his older brother, who can play his teeth like a xylophone with his thumb. As for Tim, he is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he was inducted into both Phi Beta Kappa and the Golden Key National Honor Society. (These honors have yet to pay off.) He has worked as a waiter, a data-entry clerk, a photocopier repairman, a freelance writer, a music editor, a middle-school teacher, and a depressed employee of the state of North Carolina. He dreams of one day being an underwear model/bookie. Until then, he will keep working as an editor and living in Brooklyn with his boyfriend, his cat Stella, and his viola, which he plays in the band Simple Shapes.

 

Alphabet ColoringAlso you can download Alphabet Coloring for free today only.

Alphabet Coloring is a fun way to help kids practice their ABCs. It includes 26 beautiful custom made coloring pages for each letter of the alphabet. In addition, each coloring page has a professionally recorded voiceover. A is for Apple…B is for Butterfly…C is for Cat!

Features:
  • Simple user interface
  • Curated color palette
  • White and black canvas
  • Multiple undos
  • Tons of stickers
  • Multiple erasers
  • Multi-touch support
  • Adjustable stroke size
  • Share artwork via e-mail or save to gallery

Daily Deals: A Small Furry Prayer and Factbook

A Small Furry PrayerToday Amazon offers A Small Furry Prayer by Steven Kotler just for $1.99

Steven Kotler was forty years old, single, and facing an existential crisis when he met Lila, a woman devoted to animal rescue. “Love me, love my dogs” was her rule, and Steven took it to heart. Spurred to move by a housing crisis in Los Angeles, Steven, Lila, and their eight dogs-then ten, then twenty, and then they lost count-bought a postage-stamp-size farm in Chimayo, New Mexico. A Small Furry Prayer chronicles their adventures at Rancho de Chihuahua, the sanctuary they created for their special needs pack. While dog rescue is one of the largest underground movements in America, it is also one of the least understood. An insider look at the “cult and culture” of dog rescue, A Small Furry Prayer weaves personal experience, cultural investigation, and scientific inquiry into a fast-paced, fun-filled narrative that explores what it means to devote one’s life to the furry and the four-legged. Along the way, Kotler combs through every aspect of canine-human relations, from humans’ long history with dogs through brand-new research into the neuroscience of canine companionship, in the end discovering why living in a world made of dog may be the best way to uncover the truth about what it really means to be human.

Some words about the Author

Steven Kotler is the author of the novel The Angle Quickest for Flight, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, and West of Jesus, a 2006 PEN West finalist. His work has appeared in the GQ, Wired, New York Times Magazine, National Geographic and elsewhere, and he writes The Playing Field, a blog about the science of sport for PsychologyToday.com. Kotler runs the Rancho de Chihuahua dog sanctuary with his wife in rural New Mexico.

 

FactbookAlso you can download Factbook for free today only.

FactBook is an app that literally puts the world at your fingertips. Want to know what the population of a country is? How about their standard of living and the general life expectancy? What are their military expenditures? How many people own a cell phone?

These are only a sampling of questions with ready answers in Factbook. You will find a wide range of information on every country in the world, grouped into the general categories of Geography, Population, Geography, Government, Transportation, and Military. A carefully crafted user interface allows easy and intuitive navigation.

Research, explore, and compare information for nations all over the world. The application processes statistical data to produce charts and graphs that provide more appealing and easy-to-digest representations of the information. FactBook allows you to quickly compare all countries with respect to a particular statistical category. For instance, you can compare the GDPs of all countries and the app will generate a graph that clearly shows how each stacks up to the others. An embedded Share key in the hard menu makes sharing information easy through messaging, email, or any other networking program you wish you use.

FactBook draws its WorldStats information from the CIA World Fact Book and from the United Nations world database.

Tis the Season for Beach Reads

When I have a lot going on, I tend to go for lighter reading.  Several books I’ve read lately make great beach reads.  If you’re looking for some mostly inexpensive books to take to the beach, I recommend books by Karen McQuestion.  Other bestselling authors to note of are Jennifer Weiner and Sarah Pekkanen.

Karen McQuestion, the author of the bestselling Kindle e-book, A Scattered Life, has a new book out called The Long Way Home.  Four women of varying ages embark on a road trip to Las Vegas.  Along the way, they face past fears and tragedies, form close bonds, and of course have the adventure of a lifetime.

A good author puts you into the circumstances and gives you a full idea of their character’s personalities.  McQuestion does a good job of this in The Long Way Home.  There is even a supernatural element to the story.

Sarah Pekkanen writes classic chick lit, but I enjoyed These Girls more than most chick lit books I’ve read because the characters had real personalities.  It also boasts great reviews.  They dealt with real issues and showed compassion for each other.  There wasn’t a snooty tone to this book like there usually is in a book about working at a magazine.  That’s not to say that These Girls doesn’t give insight to the cutthroat nature of the competition for higher jobs within a magazine.

Jennifer Weiner is the bestselling author of In Her Shoes.  It was developed into a hit movie a few years ago.  I think my favorite part about Jennifer Weiner’s books is the humor.  Usually she writes from the point of view of a “second best” who give their funny take on another popular, “have it all” type, that doesn’t really have it all.  Her latest, Then Came You deals with fertility issues from different perspectives.

All of these books are $9.99 or less in the Kindle Store.  Karen McQuestion’s book is available in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.  Happy reading!

Daily Deals: The Mongoliad and Farm Mess Pro

The Mongoliad: Book One (The Foreworld Saga)Today Amazon offers The Mongoliad: Book One (The Foreworld Saga) by Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson, Mark Teppo, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Cooper Moo and E.D. deBirmingham just for $0.99

The first novel to be released in The Foreworld Saga, The Mongoliad: Book One, is an epic-within-an-epic, taking place in 13th century. In it, a small band of warriors and mystics raise their swords to save Europe from a bloodthirsty Mongol invasion. Inspired by their leader (an elder of an order of warrior monks), they embark on a perilous journey and uncover the history of hidden knowledge and conflict among powerful secret societies that had been shaping world events for millennia.

But the saga reaches the modern world via a circuitous route. In the late 19th century, Sir Richard F. Burton, an expert on exotic languages and historical swordsmanship, is approached by a mysterious group of English martial arts aficionados about translating a collection of long-lost manuscripts. Burton dies before his work is finished, and his efforts were thought lost until recently rediscovered by a team of amateur archaeologists in the ruins of a mansion in Trieste, Italy. From this collection of arcana, the incredible tale of The Mongoliad was recreated.

Full of high adventure, unforgettable characters, and unflinching battle scenes, The Mongoliad ignites a dangerous quest where willpower and blades are tested and the scope of world-building is redefined.

A note on this edition: The Mongoliad began as a social media experiment, combining serial story-telling with a unique level of interaction between authors and audience during the creative process. Since its original iteration, The Mongoliad has been restructured, edited, and rewritten under the supervision of its authors to create a more cohesive reading experience and will be published as a trilogy of novels. This edition is the definitive edition and is the authors’ preferred text.

Some words about Authors

Neal Stephenson is primarily a fiction author and has received several awards for his works in speculative fiction. His more popular books include Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, Cryptonomicon, The Baroque Cycle, and Anathem.

Erik Bear lives and writes in Seattle, Washington. He has written for a bestselling video game and is currently working on several comic book series.

Greg Bear is the author of more than thirty books, spanning the thriller, science fiction, and fantasy genres, including Blood Music, Eon, The Forge of God, Darwin’s Radio, City at the End of Time, and Hull Zero Three. His books have won numerous international prizes, have been translated into more than twenty-two languages, and have sold millions of copies worldwide.

Joseph Brassey lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two cats. He teaches medieval fighting techniques to members of the armed forces. The Mongoliad is his first published fiction.

E. D. deBirmingham studied comparative religion and theatre at Harvard University and believes they are pretty much the same thing. She has written historical fiction and screenplays under various pseudonyms, much to the dismay of her mother, who wishes hers was a household name. She lives in rural Massachusetts with her husband and the world’s best dog.

Mark Teppo is the author of the Codex of Souls urban fantasy series as well as the hypertext dream narrative The Potemkin Mosaic.

Cooper Moo spent five minutes in Mongolia in 1986 before he had to get back on the train—he never expected to be channeling Mongolian warriors. In 2007 Cooper fought a Chinese long-sword instructor on a Hong Kong rooftop— he never thought the experience would help him write battle scenes. In addition to being a member of The Mongoliad writing team, Cooper has written articles for various magazines. His autobiographical piece “Growing Up Black and White,” published in the Seattle Weekly, was awarded Social Issues Reporting article of the year by the Society of Professional Journalists. He lives in Issaquah, Washington, with his wife, three children, and numerous bladed weapons.

 

Farm Mess ProAlso you can download Farm Mess Pro for your Kindle Fire for free today only.

Farm Pen Puzzler

Oh no! Your farm is a complete mess. Your mission is to restore some order to your agricultural enterprise. Are you up to the task of sorting out these mixed-up farm animals?

Keep Them Doggies Rollin’

You must move the animals to their correct places within the pen. The horses belong with the horses, the cows with the cows, the pigs with the pigs, and so on. You sort the animals two ways: Tap three small animals to rotate them, or tap a large animal so the smaller animals around it rotate.

For every level, you’re allowed to make a specific number of moves. If you exceed the number of taps, you’ll have to start that level over. Essentially, these animals act as a challenging puzzle of rotating cogs.

Plenty of Puzzles

Farm Mess contains 54 levels and three levels of difficulty. Choose from small, medium, and large boards. Every board features a relaxing farm scene with funny animations, but your brain will be far from relaxed trying to puzzle out these progressively more difficult boards. So get those goats in order, or you’re out of the farming business!

 

Kindle Fire Welcome Screen Ads to Sell For $600,000+

Bringing advertisements to the Kindle line changed the way that eReaders were priced.  The competition has only recently been able to begin matching Amazon’s listings.  Interestingly, Amazon has also surprised customers by offering advertisements that occasionally bring genuine value to them beyond the initial price drop in hardware purchase.  Integration with Amazon’s local advertising only serves to make this more effective, of course.  The success that the Kindle w/ Special Offers as a program has enjoyed made it almost inevitable that the Kindle Fire would be included eventually and it seems that the time has come.

The Kindle Fire is Amazon’s best-selling product, as their first-quarter earnings release made clear.  It shouldn’t take anybody by surprise, then, to find out that they intend to make sure advertising space on the device comes at a premium.  According to Ad Age, that premium might be an even more expensive one than we could have predicted.  Amazon is said to be looking for $600,000 to run an ad on the Kindle Fire’s Welcome Screen.  For a variety of reasons, some of which are apparent, there has not been a great deal of enthusiasm for the idea among advertisers so far.

In addition to this being an impressively high charge for something like this, there was a great deal that was left unsaid.  For one, nobody seems to be quite sure whether or not these ads would be served to the millions of Kindle Fire owners who have already bought their tablets.  Having purchased a new product at full price with no indication that it would be used by Amazon to serve up advertisements, doing so would definitely upset some people and potentially undercut the benefits of buying the ad space.  This isn’t exactly a situation where Amazon is incurring obvious costs on existing units, as the Kindle Fire lacks 3G access.

Also, the company seems to have failed to clearly define what they consider to be the “Welcome Screen”.  Is this the Lock Screen, or something else?  This could very well be a sign that Amazon is getting ready for the next Kindle Fire and the Welcome Screen is something that will be included specifically for the purpose of creating a space for ads.  Unlike the Kindle eReaders, persistent advertisements would not be possible when the tablet is powered down which creates the need for a more creative solution to make the ads worth buying.

If subsidized by advertising, the next Kindle Fire model could be impressively inexpensive.  Existing Kindle w/ Special Offers options are 30% cheaper than their counterparts.  If the same sort of trend applies to the Kindle Fire, it could mean a $150 7″ Kindle Fire or better yet a $200 9.7″ option.  Now they just need to clarify the details to attract some interest.  It is probably a smart buy for many advertisers, but how can they be sure of that when so many things are left unsaid?

Daily Deals: Those Who Save Us and 6 Games: Hybrid Mind

Those Who Save UsToday Amazon offers Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum just for $1.99

For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy’s sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald. Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother’s life. Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

Some words about the Author

Jenna Blum is of German and Jewish descent. She worked for Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation for four years, interviewing Holocaust survivors. She currently teaches at Boston University and runs fiction workshops for Grub Street Writers.

 

6 Games: Hybrid MindAlso you can download to your Kindle Fire 6 Games: Hybrid Mind.

Six great games from Hybrid Mind Studios all come together within one low-priced app.

Orange You Glad features 20 levels of citrus madness, ten special power effects, and 25 unique and humorous items to avoid. Can you gobble enough oranges with your tongue to advance to the next level? It’s not as easy as it sounds. Find out how to reach Orange Frenzy mode–it earns double points.

Power Vacuum is a fast-paced puzzle game. Help the atom recover its lost electrons on each level by carefully guiding the electrons around the white energy areas, but don’t let them touch. There are 20 levels available, and ten are picked at random each time you play. You have 60 seconds per level to get the electrons to your goal.

Avoidal offers a simple but exciting premise: use your enemies to destroy as many blue stars as you can. Activate red seekers and yellow spikes, then get out of the way as they plummet towards the blue stars. Earn bonus points by destroying the blue stars as quickly as possible.

Contentric gives you just 10 seconds to collect the blue squares, refill your time limit, and avoid the black squares and borders. How long can you last? Contentric is a fast-paced agility game in which you avoid obstacles and collect items in a race against the clock. The obstacles you avoid are indirectly controlled by you, which adds a zen-like quality despite the game’s frenzied pace.

See how many robots you can destroy in Robot Reaction, a fast-paced chain reaction game. The ten exciting levels with six different robot types support online leaderboards for high score competition. Each of the robots explodes in a different way, and you only get once chance in each round, so think quickly and choose carefully.

In For the Twin, a simple, fast-paced matching puzzle game, find your example’s identical twin from among the dancing aliens. A game that both kids and adults can enjoy, it features six unique challenges with ten levels each, 30 different dancing aliens, an offbeat electronica soundtrack with seven original songs, and online leaderboards for competition. Who knew that aliens were all twist-and-turn tango twins?