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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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Kindle Fire HD 8.9” First Impressions

Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD 8.9” tablet is now shipping out to many of those who got their preorders in early.  While new customers will have to wait until at least December 3rd for their new devices to be mailed, it’s a good time to take a look at what Amazon has done here and what the chances are that they will be able to mark a success in the large tablet section of the market.

Mostly I’m looking at the actual experience of using the new tablet.  Now that it’s possible to play with, we can get a good idea of how it’s going to go over with customers throughout the holiday season.

Display

The visuals are nice.  We’re working with a much higher resolution now and it shows.  The colors are basically the same as you find on the smaller model.  Not much more to say than that there is absolutely nothing to complain about here, even when it comes to watching HD video content.

Sound

Maybe it’s just because of how impressive the last Kindle Fire I had in hand turned out to sound, but I was looking forward to hearing what this one could do. The quality is almost exactly the same.  There might be some small improvement over the 7” model when it comes to the effectiveness of the stereo speakers but if so it’s minimal.  Still, both Kindle Fire HD models stand above every other tablet on the market today when it comes to sound quality.

General User Experience

The 8.9” model is a bit harder to use one-handed but it’s still not bad in that respect.  In every other way I find it superior to the 7”.  The weight is little enough that long use isn’t a problem.  The larger screen makes for better browsing and app usage.  The size is about as large as it can get without becoming as unwieldy as an iPad.  Not bashing the iPad, this is just going to see a lot more regular use than mine by comparison because of the slight decrease in size.

Overall

This would make a good selection for anybody wanting a slightly more powerful consumption tablet.  It’s smaller than either the Nexus 10 or the iPad, but larger than the less expensive budget tablets that Amazon is known for dominating.  The price is right at $299, though I would recommend springing for the extra storage available at $369 if the option is available.

If you want a portable device to watch video on, this is likely to be the best thing on the market for a while.  The Kindle Fire HD 8.9” combines sound, video, and streaming quality to make a truly excellent experience.

If you’re looking for a functional tablet for productivity, it’s still ok?  The iPad (and now Microsoft’s Surface) is the leader in terms of tablet productivity for a reason.  Make no mistake, Amazon isn’t intruding there yet.  This should be viewed purely as a means to tap into their ecosystem and the media sources it can link you to.  What it tries to do, however, the new Kindle Fire does very well indeed.

Daily Deals: My Mother Was Nuts, Three “Horrid Henry” Books and Velocispider

My Mother Was NutsToday Amazon offers My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall just for $1.99

Most people know Penny Marshall as the director of Big and A League of Their Own. What they don’t know is her trailblazing career was a happy accident. In this funny and intimate memoir, Penny takes us from the stage of The Jackie Gleason Show in 1955 to Hollywood’s star-studded sets, offering up some hilarious detours along the way. My Mother Was Nuts is an intimate backstage pass to Penny’s personal life, her breakout role on The Odd Couple, her exploits with Cindy Williams and John Belushi, and her travels across Europe with Art Garfunkel on the back of a motorcycle. We see Penny get married. And divorced. And married again (the second time to Rob Reiner). We meet a young Carrie Fisher, whose close friendship with Penny has spanned decades. And we see Penny at work with Tom Hanks, Mark Wahlberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, and Whitney Houston.Throughout it all, from her childhood spent tap dancing in the Bronx, to her rise as the star of Laverne & Shirley, Penny lived by simple rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun.” With humor and heart, My Mother Was Nuts reveals there’s no one else quite like Penny Marshall.

Some words about the Author

Penny Marshall is an actress, producer, and director. From 1976 until 1983, she starred as Laverne DeFazio in the classic TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley. She went on to direct films such as Big (1988), the first movie directed by a woman to gross in excess of $100 million at the U.S. box office, Awakenings (1990), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and A League of Their Own (1992), which also made over $100 million in the U.S. More recently, she has directed episodes of United States of Tara (2009) and guest-starred on Portlandia (2011).

Horrid HenryAlso Amazon offers 3 books written by Francesca Simon, who is one of the world’s best-loved children’s authors and winner of the Galaxy Book Award in the United Kingdom. Each book in her best-selling Horrid Henry chapter book series contains four easy-to-read stories with hilarious illustrations by Tony Ross, and today only they’re just $0.99 each (80% off). Here is the list of the set:

1. Horrid Henry

2. Horrid Henry Rocks

3. Horrid Henry’s Underpants

Some words about the Author

Francesca Simon spent her childhood on the beach in California, and then went to Yale and Oxford Universities to study medieval history and literature. She now lives in London with her family.

 

 

VelocispiderVelocispider is a free game for 1 day only.

Part Spider, Part Velociraptor, it’s Velocispider!!! Take control of a heavily armed araknasaur in this retro arcade shoot-em-up.

Your delicious endangered eggs have attracted the taste buds of the evil CEO of the Robot Seafood Corporation. He will stop at nothing to feast on your eggs, defend them from his relentless army of aquatic robot beasts.

Protect your eggs through 20 levels of awesome retro arcade style action. Many different types of enemies will attack from many different patterns, keeping you on your toes the whole time. It is simple to pick it up and play for a few minutes, but so engaging that you’ll want to play the whole thing straight through!

Be careful: this game can take your real money from your pocket.

Tablets Help Visually Impaired Readers Read More Quickly

Before e readers and tablets came around, blind and visually impaired readers had to rely on braille, large-print, or audiobooks.  Now, the visually impaired can use a Kindle or other e-reader or tablet to enlarge the font right in the screen.  I can attest first-hand that reading a Kindle is much less tiresome on the eyes than reading print books.

That is definitely a huge step up from lugging large books around.  No more bulky travel bags.

The font adjustments in the Kindle are very helpful for creating a less tiresome reading experience, not only for the visually impaired, but for people who don’t have any vision loss.  That in turn enables us to read for as long as we want to.  As long as time permits, of course.

The latest studies show that people who have central vision loss can benefit from reading on a tablet such as the iPad or Kindle Fire.  The level of contrast between the text and background helps speed up the reader’s reading levels.  The sharpness and clarity of the text on the background is important.  On tablets, you can use either black on white, or white on black.  There is also a more neutral setting that doesn’t create such sharp contrast.  So, the added customization can fit the needs of more readers.

Overall, e readers have a lot of potential for opening up a world of reading and literacy for people who otherwise wouldn’t have that opportunity.

With that said, the technology still has a ways to go to meet the needs of all readers.  Text-to-speech is currently a controversial service, and isn’t offered on some Kindles.  Including audio menu navigation and the ability to read books via audio on the Kindle go a long way for those who can’t read print at all.

 

Daily Deals: 14 Kurt Vonnegut Books, Stolen and ShisenSho

Welcome to the Monkey House (Kurt Vonnegut series)Kurt Vonnegut is one of the greats, and today’s Kindle Daily Deal features 14 of his books for just $1.99 each (75% off). From Vonnegut’s short-story collection “Welcome to the Monkey House” to his satirical novel “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater,” today’s deal is perfect for Vonnegut fans and those just discovering his work. Here is the list of the set:

1. Welcome to the Monkey House (Kurt Vonnegut series)

2. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

3. Bluebeard (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

4. Galapagos (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

5. Deadeye Dick (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

6. Jailbird (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

7. Mother Night (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

8. Player Piano (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

9. Slapstick (Kurt Vonnegut series)

10. Timequake (Kurt Vonnegut series)

11. Bagombo Snuff Box (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

12. Fates Worse Than Death (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

13. Hocus Pocus (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

14. Palm Sunday (Kurt Vonnegut Series)

Some words about the Author

Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) is one of the most beloved American writers of the twentieth century. Vonnegut’s audience increased steadily since his first five pieces in the 1950s and grew from there. His 1968 novel Slaughterhouse-Five has become a canonic war novel with Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 to form the truest and darkest of what came from World War II.

Vonnegut began his career as a science fiction writer, and his early novels–Player Piano and The Sirens of Titan–were categorized as such even as they appealed to an audience far beyond the reach of the category. In the 1960s, Vonnegut became closely associated with the Baby Boomer generation, a writer on that side, so to speak.

Now that Vonnegut’s work has been studied as a large body of work, it has been more deeply understood and unified. There is a consistency to his satirical insight, humor and anger which makes his work so synergistic. It seems clear that the more of Vonnegut’s work you read, the more it resonates and the more you wish to read. Scholars believe that Vonnegut’s reputation (like Mark Twain’s) will grow steadily through the decades as his work continues to increase in relevance and new connections are formed, new insights made.

 

StolenStolen is a book for young readers. It was written by Vivian Vande Velde and cost only $1.99.

The same day that the villagers of Thornstowe finally hunt down a witch with a reputation for stealing children, a 12-year-old appears in the woods with no memory of her past. Is there a connection between Isabelle, the girl who doesn’t know who she is, and the girl the witch stole six years earlier? One of the few things Isabelle remembers is a chant that keeps running through her head:

Old as dirt,
dirty as dirt.
Ugly as sin,
mean as sin.

Don’t let the old witch catch you!

Could Isabelle have been stolen by the old witch of the woods, or has she lost her memory as the result of an accident? And what about the baby the witch stole right before the villagers attacked? Did either the witch or the baby survive the fire the villagers set?

“Isabelle heard no sound beyond the faintest shivering of leaves in a gentle breeze. No sound of pursuit. But surely something was wrong, or she would know who and where she was. So she resumed running. But it wasn’t as effortless as before. Her worry weighed her down as she tried to list the things she knew—and found the list of things she didn’t know longer by far.”

Some words about the Author

Vivian Vande Velde’s books have won many awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Never Trust a Dead Man. She is also the author of Ghost of a Hanged Man. She lives in Rochester, New York.

 

ShisenShoAlso Amazon offers ShisenSho. It is a game and you can get it for free today only.

ShisenSho, sometimes known as “Four Rivers”, is a single-player, tile based board game, where the objective is to remove all tiles from the board.

Following a major update, ShisenSho now has many new features, including “pattern” layouts, “multi-layer” layouts and “blocking” wall tiles.

ShisenSho has 45+ challenging and varied layouts and has been designed to provide an appealing but challenging experience for the user. The user interface is clean and easy to use and, with a choice of tile-sets and the inclusion of high resolution backgrounds, the game is visually stunning.

Game Mode options are:

Standard – normal game, high scores are maintained by board layout;
Race – race against time to get on the high score board;
Chase – tiles reappear on the board as the game progresses;
Memory – match hidden tiles, seriously difficult..!

It is an excellent game for all age groups, providing stimulation and a mental challenge.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9” Takes on iPad But May Face Other, Unexpected Competition

We’ve recently talked about the release of the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9”.  It’s a solid device that gives every indication of being worth an investment.  While not quite as versatile as many Android tablets due to Amazon’s proprietary software configuration that prevents access to the Google Play service, there is little else to complain about and a lot to be excited for.  Some reports indicate that between this and the 7” model, Amazon’s tablets will outsell the iPad Mini 2 to 1 over the upcoming holiday season.

All that sounds great for Amazon and it’s definitely a sign that they will remain a major part of the Android tablet scene for some time to come.  They may be in trouble as time goes on, however.  The problem is not what many people have expected.  The iPad is hard to compete against, but the surge in video game consoles with touchscreen accessories may hit Amazon in a major way.

The Wii U just dropped, which is what brings this to mind.  Nintendo’s new console comes with a controller that doubles as a tablet.  It offers a supplementary second display that should come in handy in everything from game play to movie watching.  Sure, it requires a Wii U console to work, but that also allows the user to tap into a wide selection of content associated with that system.

Microsoft is also said to be working on a 7” tablet to supplement the Xbox 360 and the as-yet unannounced Xbox 720.  Their Smartglass software already allows anybody with a portable device (smartphone or tablet), or even a convenient PC, to tap into the console experience.  The Xbox Tablet, as it’s being called, will offer many of the same benefits that the Wii U controller boasts as well as serving the role of standalone portable.

Now, the main use of the Kindle Fire line is in consumption.  Amazon designed them for that purpose and there has been no real effort to make them into anything but a convenient gateway into Amazon’s digital content selection.  This means that in many ways the same customers they are looking at attracting are also likely to be interested in gaming and entertainment consoles, for obvious reasons.  If we’re looking at a class of devices that are exceedingly popular and tie into their own proprietary tablets, as in the case of these consoles, it may cut into Kindle Fire prospects.

While this is all speculation, I can’t help but feel that Amazon is going to have to come up with some special service that distinguishes their hardware offering in the next year or so.  The budget tablet market is still going strong, but there are a lot of big names that seem about as well equipped as Amazon who are set to enter the market.  Since all the digital content sold through the company is meant to be platform-agnostic, there’s going to need to be something special done.  Otherwise it’s only a matter of time before the iPad is just one of many strong competitors for the Kindle Fire HD.

Amazon Offers Unity Plugins to Kindle Fire Developers

Amazon has been making an effort to interest app developers, especially game developers, in their distribution platform lately.  As has been mentioned here in the past, their GameCircle will allow for all sorts of social features to be integrated into just about any game without much trouble.  Before this, many of the more popular Android games were unable to make use of their full feature set because of the Kindle Fire’s disconnection from Google services.

Moving forward along the same lines, Amazon has released plugins for the popular Unity game engine that should make it easier than ever for developers to add some in-app purchasing to their productions and build GameCircle into their games.

There are a number of reasons that this will be attractive.  According to the press release regarding these plugins, in-app purchasing averages more than twice the revenue generation of paid app sales per transaction.  Developers who can interest their users enough to encourage the occasional purchase will benefit from ongoing sales and therefore enjoy a fairly nice stream of income.

The GameCircle features help with this.  GameCircle’s main attractions are Leaderboards, Achievements, and Whispersync for Games.  The first two are easy ways to nudge players into spending more time immersed in the app.  More exposure and more personal time investment means more likelihood of making a casual purchase.  The latter feature, Whispersync for Games, encourages use of multiple devices and allows players to pick up where they left off even if they delete local data.  That means that there is a far lower bar to replay should somebody be interested in running through their favorites a second time.

This will be both good and bad for the players, but mostly good.

By bringing these features to the Kindle Fire, Amazon has finally provided all the tools that developers will need to properly prepare their apps for distribution via the Amazon Appstore for Android.  This will lead to more games, and apps in general, being made available for the Kindle Fire.

Whispersync for Games should go a long way to encourage quality game design as well.  Since there is reason to hope that users will keep coming back now that their progress and achievements can be saved even after deleting an app temporarily, there is more reason to provide ongoing support and updates.

Of course the ease with which in-app purchases can be offered also means a slew of new apps meant to do nothing more than milk microtransactions out of every user.  These types of lazy designs are a big presence on Google Play, but there’s been nothing keeping them away from Amazon aside from the extra effort it would take.  I’m not referring to the genuinely malicious software, of course, but even the merely bad can be obnoxious to watch out for.

Expect to see more games with more features springing up in the months to come thanks to these plugins.

Kindle Fire Accessory Review: Plantronics BackBeat 216 Stereo Headphones w/ Inline Mic

I was recently offered the chance to try out a pair of Plantronics BackBeat 216 headphones and figured they were worth a shot.  The Kindle Fire practically demanded good headphones to get good sound and while the Kindle Fire HD has more than made up for its predecessor’s shortcoming there are still plenty of times when you’re going to want to watch a movie on your portable device without filling a whole room, car, or train with the sound from it.

First Impressions

At a glance these seem to be a nice enough purchase.  For $37.99 they’re not going to break the bank compared to high end options, but the build quality seems high and the cloth-covered wire makes a nice aesthetic touch.  The silicone earbuds left me slightly nervous since those are not my preference, but it was worth a try.

Listening Sound Quality

As far as earbuds go, I’ve rarely found a set that offered better sound.  They seemed quite tinny at first, but after changing to a slightly smaller set of silicon tips and seating them more firmly in place I found the experience excellent.  My usual listening preference involves a fairly bulky set of Sennheisers, but these could easily stand in temporarily when more mobility is needed.

Skype Sound Quality

My experience with the conversation applications of the BackBeats has not been so positive.  As far as hearing a conversation goes, you get a mixed bag.  The silicone earbuds cancel out a lot of the noise that otherwise interferes with calls, but the cloth wire transmits every bit of friction straight to your ears.  Shifting slightly in your chair can result in enough wire on shirt contact to drown out the person you’re talking to.  The mic is also less than impressive.  Stick with the Kindle Fire HD’s built-in and you’ll get better recording.

Usability

As I mentioned, the comfort was better than expected.  For people with particularly small ears they will likely be uncomfortable, but other than that I would expect no complaints.  Using these for stretches of 3-4 hours at a time has caused no problems.

The in-line controls are useless.  I tried to use them on multiple occasions and got nothing.  Plugging in an iPhone, since that’s what Plantronics was designing for, didn’t improve things much.  I got erratic volume changes and track skipping on music but no reliability.  Overall it was actually better to use on anything but the iPhone it was designed for.

The Verdict

As far as listening to music or movies goes I don’t hesitate to recommend these headphones to any Kindle Fire user.  The experience is more than worth the money and they will be kept with my tablet for as long as they last.

If you’re looking for a headset with in-line mic for Skype then these probably aren’t the best.  There is too much noise transfer when listening to conversation and the mic is not very good.  The noise from cable friction doesn’t come through except in such quiet situations, so I don’t think it’s a factor for other applications.

If you’re interested in these, the Plantronics BackBeat 216 Stereo Headphones w/ Inline Mic can be found with a large selection of other Kindle Fire HD Accessories at:

http://www.mobilefun.com/29053/electronics/kindle-fire-accessories.htm

Kindle Black Friday Specials for 2012

Every year Black Friday sales get more hyped and involve more ridiculous deals.  In some cases that’s a bad thing, especially when it involves camping outside stores for silly amounts of time to get a chance at one of the only two units available in a particular sale.  In many others it’s just a great time to save some money.

Since we know that a sale is on the way let’s take a look at what to expect as far as discounts this week.

According to Buyer’s Review, we can expect the following deals in brick & mortal stores this Friday:

  • Best Buy: Amazon Kindle Fire – $159.99 bundled with free $30 Best Buy Gift Card
  • Office Depot: Amazon Kindle Fire – $159.99 bundled with $25 Visa Card
  • Staples: Amazon Kindle Fire – $159, bundled with $20 Staples Gift Card
  • Office Max: Amazon Kindle Fire – $159
  • Best Buy: 16GB Amazon Kindle Fire HD – $199.99 free $30 Best Buy Gift Card included
  • Office Max: 16GB Amazon Kindle Fire HD – $199, bundled with $25 Office Max Gift Card
  • Staples: 16GB Amazon Kindle Fire HD – $199, bundled with $20 Staples Gift Card
  • Staples: 32GB Amazon Kindle Fire HD – $249, bundled with $20 Staples Gift Card

We do have every reason to believe that Amazon will use this opportunity to further promote the Kindle line directly through their own storefront as well, though.

Sadly, we’re not going to be seeing a sale on the Kindle Paperwhite.  The eReader side of things has proven so popular since the Paperwhite was released that an order today will take over a month to get to its destination, just barely making it in time for Christmas if you spring for 2-day shipping.  In a matter of days it will likely be impossible to order a Kindle Paperwhite and have it before 2013.

We will certainly be seeing this sale day used as an opportunity to promote the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD, however.  An effort was clearly made to get the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” out before Black Friday, which indicates that the larger tablet will be a part of the promotion as well.

Looking at the store offers above, nobody is actually discounting the Kindle Fires themselves.  All that is being added is a promo gift card.  Given all the blowback Amazon has been getting from these same retailers about showrooming, I expect that the online deal will go a bit further.  How much further is difficult to predict, but 10-20% off the price would create a huge surge of interest.

Remember that Amazon is using the Kindle Fire as a cheap option for content sales.  They’re not making much on the devices themselves.  As such I don’t think we can expect to see a $99 Kindle Fire, even using refurbished 1st Gen models.  Since recent teardowns point to there being a bit more profit than the earlier generation allowed for in a single unit, however, they have some leeway.

I know that I’ll be watching for a $160 Kindle Fire HD and I would be surprised if I don’t see one by the end of the week.

Daily Deals: The Charlestown Connection, Promise the Night and Cooking Conversions

The Charlestown ConnectionThe Charlestown Connection by Tom MacDonald is cost only $1.99 today only.

Dermot Sparhawk, a former All American Boston College football hero, is stacking cans in a parish food pantry in Boston’s Charlestown, when his godfather, Jeepster Hennessey, shows up with a knife in his back and dies at Dermot’s feet. Once slated for a professional football career, now a recovering alcoholic, with a torn-up knee, Dermot sets out to solve the murder of his godfather with the help of his Micmac Indian cousin, his paraplegic tenant, and a former teammate. Dermot’s investigation has him tangling with members of the IRA, FBI, and the Boston mob. He also is forced to contend with Charlestown’s code of silence and the norms of the neighborhood where he grew up. Feeling like he did at the height of his game, Dermot uses his Native American intuition and Irish good looks to help him uncover clues. Dermot stumbles upon bits and pieces of information that he cobbles together into an unlikely theory which leads him on an unexpected trail and to a new mystery that could cost him his life.

Some words about the Author

Tom MacDonald has Boston in his blood. Born, raised, and living in the Boston area, Tom knows of what he writes. As Director of Social Ministries at St. Mary’s-St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Charlestown, he brings his fictional work to the page of The Charlestown Connection. Tom has a B.A. in sociology from Stonehill College, a MBA.

 

Promise the NightPromise the Night by Michaela MacColl is offered by Amazon just for $1.99.

This fascinating story will capture any young reader with a thirst for adventure. Like MacColl s Prisoners in the Palace, Promise the Night propels the reader into an evocative story with an unforgettable protagonist, while bringing the setting and time period to life. Immediately compelling and action-packed, this work of historical fiction explores the life of Beryl Markham, the fist person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west from England to North America. From raising horses and hunting during her childhood in Africa to learning to fly as a young woman, Beryl s inspiring life and adventures will keep readers voraciously turning the pages.

Some words about the Author

Michaela MacColl studied multi-disciplinary history at Yale University, which turns out to be the perfect degree for writing historical fiction.

 

 

Cooking ConversionsCooking Conversions is a free and useful application for your Kindle Fire for everybody who deals with a kitchen.

Over 300 cooking conversions including
- 70 volume conversions found in the kitchen (cups, teaspoons, pints etc.),
- 5 temperature conversions,
- 22 weight conversions,
- over 200 ingredient conversions and even
- 10 butter conversions (convert between sticks of butter and grams, cups, tablespoons etc.),
- oven and yeast conversions

Amazon Kindle Turns 5

As of November 19th, the Kindle is five years old.  Since its first incarnation we have watched it go from a fairly clunky attempt at introducing something new into the market to an elegant piece of technology that continues to deserve its position at the top of the same market it helped popularize.  We’ve been watching this progression since the beginning (our first post here was less than a month after launch on December 15th 2007) and it’s been a great time.

Looking back at the first generation Kindle is a great way to help understand why it hasn’t been just the hardware keeping the line going.  Amazon made a fairly good eReader, but even at the time there were superior options.  The first Sony Readers to be released in the US were lighter, faster, and generally more pleasant to use.  Still, Amazon pulled off a “good enough” device and supported it with the best digital reading content anywhere.

The Gen 1 Kindle had a resolution of 800 x 600, less than a quarter gigabyte of storage space, was uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time (compared to newer models, though it was great at the time), and would run you around $400 without a case or any books included.  About the only thing it had going for it compared to future products was the SD card slot, which was eliminated in the second generation.

That’s not to say it was a bad device so much as to illustrate how far things have come.  When new, the first Kindle captured the attention of huge numbers of people despite the price and was often held up as a valid alternative to the iPad.  That comparison is nonsense, but it illustrates how interesting people found the idea.

For comparison, you can now get the Kindle Paperwhite (assuming you can find one since they are in short supply at the moment) for $119.  It has a 6”, 212PPI display running with a 758 x 1024 resolution.  Battery life will last you over a month at a time in many cases.  The internal storage us up to two gigabytes and you can download your books on your home WiFi.  There is lighting for the screen without any of the problems that E Ink was solving compared to lighted screens in the first place.  Five years has meant a lot of progress.

Most importantly, the Kindle Store and Amazon’s support for its associated features have expanded even more.  The whole publishing industry has been forced to take digital distribution seriously and nobody does it better.  Kindles now enjoy a presence in millions of homes around the country and we expect to see even more of them in organizational settings like libraries now that central management tools have been released.

What is still to come for the Kindle is open to debate.  Some people expect a move away from eReaders to concentrate on the Kindle Fire tablet line.  Personally, I doubt it.  The Kindle eReader is what put Amazon on the map in terms of computing devices and it will continue to be a major point of interest in the future.  The only real question is how much further they can take it and in what direction.

Daily Deals: Berlin Diary, Ginger Pye and Turkey Stuffin’

Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941 by William Shirer L. is the first book in today’s daily deals set with price $1.99.

A radio broadcaster and journalist for Edward R. Murrow at CBS, William Shirer was new to the world of broadcast journalism when he began keeping a diary while in Europe during the 1930s. It was in 1940, still a virtual unknown, that Shirer wondered whether his reminiscences of the collapse of the world around Nazi Germany could be of any interest or value as a book.

Shirer’s Berlin Diary, which is considered the first full record of what was happening in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich, first appeared in 1941. The book was an instant success. But how did Shirer get such a valuable firsthand account? He had anonymous sources willing to speak with him, provided their identity remained protected and disguised so as to avoid retaliation from the Gestapo. Shirer recorded his and others’ eyewitness views to the horror that Hitler was inflicting on his people in his effort to conquer Europe. Shirer continued his job as a foreign correspondent and radio reporter for CBS until Nazi press censors made it virtually impossible for him to do his job with any real accuracy. He left Europe, taking with him the invaluable, unforgettable (and horrific) contents of his Berlin Diary.

Berlin Diary brings the reader as close as any reporter has ever been to Hitler and the rise of the Third Reich. Shirer’s honest, lucid and passionate reporting of the brutality with which Hitler came to power and the immediate reactions of those who witnessed these events is for all time.

Some words about the Author

William Shirer (1904-1993) was originally a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and was the first journalist hired by Edward R. Murrow for what would become a team of journalists for CBS radio. Shirer distinguished himself and quickly became known for his broadcasts from Berlin during the rise of the Nazi dictatorship through the first year of World War II. Shirer was the first of “Edward R. Murrow’s Boys” – broadcast journalists – who provided news coverage during World War II and afterward. It was Shirer who broadcast the first uncensored eyewitness account of the annexation of Austria. Shirer is best known for his books The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich which won the National Book Award and Berlin Diary.

 

Ginger Pye (Young Classic)Ginger Pye (Young Classic) written by Eleanor Estes is the second book. Today’s price is only $1.99.

Eleanor Estes’s Ginger Pye, a 1952 Newbery Medal winner, is a warm, witty mystery set in a small-town American community. Ginger Pye, the star of the show, is the very smart dog that ten-year-old Jerry Pye buys for a hard-earned dollar. The most famous pup in Cranbury (a town between Boston and New York), Ginger knows many tricks, is as loyal as he is smart, and steals the hearts of everyone he meets . . . until someone steals him! Will Jerry and his sister Rachel ever be able to find their beloved terrier?

Don’t miss the sequel, Pinky Pye!

Some words about the Auhtor

Eleanor Estes won the Newbery Honor for ‘Rufus M.’, ‘The Middle Moffat’ and ‘The Hundred Dresses’. She also won the prestigious Newbery Medal for ‘Ginger Pye’.

 

 

Turkey Stuffin'Turkey Stuffin’ is a game for your Kindle Fire. Today it is free. But only today.

Start stuffing stuff in a turkey in TURKEY STUFFIN’, a hilarious holiday warmup!

You’re on the clock to jam this fine foul full of tasty concoctions and prove your poultry stuffing prowess by creating the fattest, tastiest turkey in the world!

But Turkey Stuffin’ ain’t all rosemary and yams. Overstuff the bird and you’ll yield a massive mess that no Pilgrim should ever have to witness.

Use the correct combinations of items to mix secret foul fattening recipes including The Turdrunken, Fowl Language, Return to Sender and Butter Ball. You’ll even earn Game Center Achievements for getting your hands and elbows dirty.

Turkey Stuffin’ truly is a… load of fun!

Product features:

  • Purdy Pictures: A humorously illustrated turkey.
  • Tons o’ Stuff-ins: Scads of stuff-ins including finger foods, condiments, silverware, electronics and more!
  • Silly Sounds: An extensive soundtrack of silly and stupid turkey sounds.
  • Scores Galore: A pitiful excuse of a rating system that tells you exactly how tasty and fat you made your turkey.

Daily Deals: Against the Law, Ralph Tells a Story and F18 Carrier Landing

Against the Law (The Raines of Wind Canyon)Today Amazon offers Against the Law (The Raines of Wind Canyon) by Kat Martin just for $1.99

At thirty-two Dev is “mostly retired” from Raines Investigations, content to run operations from his sprawling Arizona home. But Dev has never been able to say no to a beautiful woman, so when Lark Delaney comes to him for help, the former U.S. Army Ranger from Wind Canyon gets back in the game.

Lark is sexy, successful and dedicated to tracking down the baby girl her sister gave up for adoption. It should be a straightforward case, but it’s not long before Dev uncovers a shady adoption ring and worse—the child’s parents have been murdered and the little girl has been taken.

As the case grows dangerous and Lark needs him more than ever, Dev can’t ignore his growing attraction for her. He also can’t trust his judgment with women or the emotions he’s long-since buried. But there’s a chance, if he gets this right and saves Lark’s niece, that he’ll end up saving himself, too.

Some words about the Author

Kat Martin began writing in 1985 and quickly became a New York Times bestselling author. She’s written over 50 romantic suspense, historical and contemporary novels, and is the author of over 11 trilogies that range from the historical to the paranormal. Her works have been published in 12 languages and more than 24 countries. She’s married to Larry Jay Martin, an author, screenplay writer and blogger. Fans can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and Squidoo.

 

Ralph Tells a StoryRalph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon costs only $1.99.

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut. Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers. An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8) Kirkus, September 2012

Some words about the Author

Abby Hanlon has a master’s degree in early childhood education from the City College of New York and bachelor’s from Barnard College, Columbia University. Abby has taught creative writing and first grade in the New York City public school system. Inspired by her students’ storytelling and drawings, Abby began to write her own stories for children. Determined to illustrate her stories, Abby taught herself to draw after not having drawn since childhood. Ralph Tells a Story is her first book. Abby lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and their two children.

 

F18 Carrier LandingF18 Carrier Landing is a free game for 1 day.

Mobile Aircraft Carrier Landing Simulator.

Landing on a flight deck is one of the most difficult things a navy pilot will ever do. The flight deck only has about 500 feet (about 150 meters) of runway space for landing planes, which isn’t nearly enough for the heavy, high-speed jets F/A-18 Hornet. Like a Top-Gun pilot enjoy afterburner, tonneau, loop.

You will be the pilot of F/A-18 Hornet, F-14 Tomcat and C-2A Greyhound aircraft flying in virtual environments with a stunning graphic. You will have the possibility to see again your performances with 30 seconds REPLAY function with the possibility of changing the point of view switching between several cameras and immediately share personal screenshots on Facebook and Twitter!
And when you will reach your best score let share it in the GameCenter. For a worldwide challenge!

Happy landing!

Product features:

  • Multi-camera replay function.
  • Carrier/Airbase landing with advanced weather conditions settings (wind, rain, fog) and different scenarios (day, dawn, overcast, night).
  • Free flight mode.
  • F/A-18 Hornet, F-14 Tomcat and C-2A Greyhound cockpit view mode.
  • I.F.L.O.L.S. approaching system.

Daily Deals: Silent Tears, Between and Word Stack

Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese OrphanageToday Amazon offers Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt just for $1.99

Irrepressible memories. Vacant eyes. A child being dangled from a third story window. A boy tied to a chair. Children sleeping in layers of clothing to fight off the bitter cold. An infant dying from starvation. Some things your mind will never allow you to forget.

Silent Tears is the true story of the adversity and triumphs one woman faced as she fought against the Chinese bureaucracy to help that country’s orphaned children.

In 2003, Kay Bratt’s life changed dramatically. A wife and mother of two girls in South Carolina, Bratt relocated her family to rural China to support her husband as he took on a new management position for his American employer. Seeking a way to fill her days and overcome the isolation she experienced upon arriving in a foreign country, Bratt began volunteering at the local orphanage. Within months, her simple desire to make use of her time transformed into a heroic crusade to improve the living conditions and minimize the unnecessary deaths of Chinese orphans.

Silent Tears traces the emotional hurdles and daily frustrations faced by Ms. Bratt as she tried to change the social conditions for these marginalized children. The memoir vividly illustrates how she was able to pull from reservoirs of inner strength to pursue her mission day after day, leaving the reader with the resounding message that everyone really can make a difference.

Some words about the Auhtor

Kay Bratt grew up in the Midwest as the child of a broken home and later, a survivor of abuse. Facing these obstacles in her own life instilled in Kay a passionate drive to fight for those that had been dealt an unfair hand. Upon arriving in China on an expatriate assignment with her husband in 2003, she was immediately drawn to the cause of China’s forgotten orphans. Moved beyond tears by the stories of these children, she promised to give them the voice they did not have. In 2008, she self-published her memoir Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage to do just that. With the help of her readers, Kay continues to raise awareness and advocate for at-risk children. In China, she was honored with the 2006 Pride of the City award for her humanitarian work. Now residing in the states, she is an active volunteer for An Orphans Wish (AOW). Kay currently resides in Georgia with her husband and her daughter.

 

BetweenBetween by Jessica WARMAN is the second book in the today’s daily deals set. It costs only $1.99.

Elizabeth Valchar-pretty, popular, and perfect-wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday party on her family’s yacht, where she’d been celebrating with her six closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, what she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life, her friends, and everything in between. As Liz begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding her birthday night, she will find that no one around her, least of all Liz herself, was perfect-or innocent. Critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman brings readers along on a roller-coaster ride of a mystery, one that is also a heartbreaking character study, a touching romance, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go.

Some words about the Author

Jessica Warman writes poetry and short stories, as well as young adult fiction. Between is her third novel for young adults. She lives in Pittsburgh, USA, with her husband and children and has a passion for long-distance running.

 

Word Stack - Fun and Addictive Word AssociationWord Stack – Fun and Addictive Word Association is a free game for today only.

Challenge your brain and have some fun with our new word association stacking game. Be careful, it’s addicting!

Laugh… Giggle.
Smile… Frown.
Key… Board.
King… Queen.

Stack and match words that are associated to each other!

Words can be synonyms.
Words can be antonyms.
Words can be compound words.
Words just have to be related!

Warning! Caveat! As stacks get harder, a word can be matched to multiple different words, so you’ll have to get the right combination to complete the stack correctly.

Word Stack comes with 7 stack packs! That’s 280 playable stacks.

Enjoy!

Daily Deals: Freeman, Promises to the Dead and Hidden Differences

FreemanToday Amazon offers Freeman by Leonard Pitts just for $1.99.

Freeman, the new novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr., takes place in the first few months following the Confederate surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Upon learning of Lee’s surrender, Sam–a runaway slave who once worked for the Union Army–decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and set out on foot to return to the war-torn South. What compels him on this almost-suicidal course is the desire to find his wife, the mother of his only child, whom he and their son left behind 15 years earlier on the Mississippi farm to which they all “belonged.”

At the same time, Sam’s wife, Tilda, is being forced to walk at gunpoint with her owner and two of his other slaves from the charred remains of his Mississippi farm into Arkansas, in search of an undefined place that would still respect his entitlements as slaveowner and Confederate officer.

The book’s third main character, Prudence, is a fearless, headstrong white woman of means who leaves her Boston home for Buford, Mississippi, to start a school for the former bondsmen, and thus honor her father’s dying wish.

At bottom, Freeman is a love story–sweeping, generous, brutal, compassionate, patient–about the feelings people were determined to honor, despite the enormous constraints of the times. It is this aspect of the book that should ensure it a strong, vocal, core audience of African-American women, who will help propel its likely critical acclaim to a wider audience. At the same time, this book addresses several themes that are still hotly debated today, some 145 years after the official end of the Civil War. Like Cold Mountain, Freeman illuminates the times and places it describes from a fresh perspective, with stunning results. It has the potential to become a classic addition to the literature dealing with this period. Few other novels so powerfully capture the pathos and possibility of the era particularly as it reflects the ordeal of the black slaves grappling with the promise–and the terror–of their new status as free men and women.

Some words about the Author

Leonard Pitts, Jr., is a columnist for the Miami Herald and the recipient of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, in addition to many other awards. He is also the author of the novel Before I Forget; the collection Forward From this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994–2009, and Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood. Leonard lives in suburban Washington, D.C., with his wife and children. Sean Crisden is a multitalented actor who has narrated audiobooks in almost every genre, from science fiction to romance. He has also voiced characters in numerous video games, such as the award-winning ShadowGun, and appeared in many commercials and films, including The Last Airbender. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sean now resides in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

Promises to the DeadPromises to the Dead by Mary Downing Hahn is a book for kids and costs only $1.99

When Jesse went down to the marsh on that fateful day, he expected to find a turtle for terrapin soup. Instead, he comes across a dying slave woman who makes Jesse promise he’ll take her young son, Perry, to a relative in Baltimore. Aiding and abetting a slave is against the law, and it also goes against everything Jesse has been taught to believe. But he can’t break a promise to the dead, and, more important, he has to follow what he knows in his heart to be right.

The journey is more treacherous than Jesse ever imagined. At the crossroads of a country about to plunge into civil war, danger lurks around every corner. Will these boys on the run ever find a safe haven?

Some words about the Auhtor

Mary Downing Hahn, a former children’s librarian, is the award-winning author of many popular ghost stories, including Deep and Dark and Dangerous and The Old Willis Place. An avid reader, traveler, and all-around arts lover, Ms. Hahn lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her two cats, Oscar and Rufus.

 

Hidden Differences: Haunted MansionsHidden Differences: Haunted Mansions is a free game today only.

Hidden Differences: Haunted Mansions is a fun, traditional game of Spot the Difference or Photo Hunting where your object is to find all the differences in the various haunted, creepy, and scary mansions!

Explore various venues from around the world, with creepy houses, haunted stairwells, and mysterious clocktowers!

Play 2 different modes of play, either Free Play, or Timed Mode depending on your skill level! Timed Mode lets you rack up the highest score, whereas free play allows infinite time to find all the hidden differences in each photo!

Over 24 Gorgeous Photographs of various Haunting places, mansions, houses, clocktowers, stairwells, and more!

Some differences are easy to find, whereas others may be more difficult – very well balanced play for players of all ages!

Detailed and gorgeous photos along with addictive gameplay make this a must have game for kids and adults!

Curl up on the couch and play solo, or grab a friend and see if you can find all the differences!

Send to Kindle Becomes Browser Staple

For the most part Amazon’s “Send to Kindle” program has worked out extremely well for them.  It creates a convenient means to send just about any readable content you have on hand to your Kindle with no hassle.  Anybody with an internet connection can use it and there is absolutely no complexity to the interface.  You simply select your document and send it.

Apparently that wasn’t enough.  Now it is possible to pick up Send to Kindle for Firefox.  This takes a slightly different approach, though it delivers much the same functionality as the desktop integration we’ve had a chance to get used to.

Initial reviews have largely been positive.  There was some concern with compatibility as the browser plugin was not properly updated to account for one of Mozilla’s frequent software updates and that seems to have cost Amazon a large share of its overall rating in the Firefox Extensions rating system.  Since the last software update there have been few written complaints.

Rather than replicating the experience of the desktop app, Send to Kindle for Firefox takes on the likes of Instapaper.  It will allow the preservation of web pages for viewing at the reader’s convenience without the need for perpetually open tabs or being stuck in front of the computer at all.  Content can be read, preserved for reference, or even archived in the user’s Kindle documents.

The only real problem that seems to have come up so far, at least based on my own experience, is the inability of the new extension to push documents to the whole range of Kindle apps.  Kindle for Windows 8 is unable to retrieve these documents as is the Kindle Cloud Reader.  These are two of the most-used options available when a Kindle device is not on hand and neither will even acknowledge anything that isn’t purchased directly through the Kindle Store.

That’s a problem that has been needing attention for a number of reasons for quite some time now.  While it is a problem that these apps can’t access user content, it is hardly fair to let that color a review of an unrelated service beyond the obvious noting of such a problem.  If you need to have access to saved content in places beyond your mobile device or eReader, it might be best to avoid getting too excited about this one.

This will be of the most interest to people who truly despise ads in the web reading.  It allows you to conveniently read anything you want on your Kindle ad-free without recourse to tedious copy/paste options.  There are still some problems, especially in badly coded or complexly formatted sites, where you can end up with jumbles of code.  It isn’t a perfect application and you’re certainly not going to be able to consider it completely finished just yet.  As it stands, however, this is a valuable tool and adds a great new feature to the “Send to Kindle” application toolset.

Daily Deals: No Mark upon Her, Chalk and 9 Innings

No Mark upon Her (Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James)Today Amazon offers No Mark upon Her (Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James) by Deborah Crombie just for $1.99.

New York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie makes her mark with this absorbing, finely hued tale of suspense—a deeply atmospheric and twisting mystery full of deadly secrets, salacious lies, and unexpected betrayals involving the mysterious drowning of a Met detective—an accomplished rower—on the Thames.

When a K9 search-and-rescue team discovers a woman’s body tangled up with debris in the river, Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid finds himself heading an investigation fraught with complications. The victim, Rebecca Meredith, was a talented but difficult woman with many admirers—and just as many enemies. An Olympic contender on the verge of a controversial comeback, she was also a high-ranking detective with the Met—a fact that raises a host of political and ethical issues in an already sensitive case.

To further complicate the situation, a separate investigation, led by Detective Inspector Gemma James, Kincaid’s wife, soon reveals a disturbing—and possibly related—series of crimes, widening the field of suspects. But when someone tries to kill the search-and-rescue team member who found Rebecca’s body, the case becomes even more complex and dangerous, involving powerful interests with tentacles that reach deep into the heart of the Met itself.

Surrounded by enemies with friendly faces, pressured to find answers quickly while protecting the Yard at all costs, his career and reputation on the line, Kincaid must race to catch the killer before more innocent lives are lost—including his own.

Some words about the Author

A native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland, Deborah Crombie is a three-time Macavity Award winner, an Edgar Award nominee, and a New York Times Notable author. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, including the recent Necessary as Blood and Dreaming of the Bones, which was selected as one of the 100 Best Crime Novels of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. She lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.

 

ChalkChalk by Bill Thomson is a book for kids with great discount. Today it costs only $1.99.

A rainy day. Three kids in a park. A dinosaur spring rider. A bag of chalk. The kids begin to draw. . . and then . . . magic! The children draw the sun, butterflies, and a dinosaur that amazingly come to life. Children will never feel the same about the playground after they experience this astounding wordless picture book and the power of the imagination. Bill Thomson embraced traditional painting techniques and meticulously painted each illustration by hand, using acrylic paint and colored pencils.

Some words about the Author

BILL THOMSON lives in Southington, Connecticut, with his wife, Diann, and their three sons. He is Associate Professor of Illustration at the University of Hartford.

 

 

 

9 Innings: 2013 Pro Baseball (Ad-free)9 Innings: 2013 Pro Baseball (Ad-free) is a free application for today only.

Uses real data and photos of 1,400 players in 30 teams through official license contract with Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA)! Only in 9 Innings: 2013 Pro Baseball!
9 Innings: 2013 Pro Baseball is the greatest reality baseball game presented by one of the global leaders of mobile games ‘Com2us’.

One of the greatest mobile baseball game, 9 Innings: 2013 Pro Baseball is finally here!
The only baseball game that uses names name, photos, data, and league schedule of real baseball players!

Com2uS’ very own player card system, dynamic and real game graphic, and controls optimized for smartphones
Meet the greatest baseball game ever made!

01. The only baseball game that reflects on reality!
- Uses real data, photos, and biorhythms of 1,400 players in 30 teams
- Provides latest player data and constant roaster updates!
- Standard player and the Monster Season players!
- You can meet them only in 9innings: Probaseball 2013!

02. Card development system created by Com2uS based on years of experience!
- More varieties in player/cheerleader/equipment cards and draw/combination/enhance system!
- The completion of the card system! Easy card exchange between the players through the network exchange market
- You can exchange cards and points with friends through inbox

03. Easy, fast, and Realistic!
- Real graphic, smooth motion and outstanding game engine!
- Quick gameplay through auto (supports attack and defense only)
- Play against 16 teams through friendly, league, home run derby and special mode!
- Carry out 100 challenges and go for card and point rewards!
- Rookie players can quickly adapt to the game through tutorial.

Amazon Expands Android Game Development With “Air Patriots”

It’s clear that Amazon has an interest in building popularity for their gaming features through the site’s Appstore for Android.  Social gaming is a huge attraction for customers as evidenced by the popularity of Achievement systems on various gaming platforms and the success of Farmville and its many imitations.  In order to draw developers into creating content specific to Amazon’s own platform, it only makes sense that they would go out of their way to create some content of their own that can serve as an example.  As far as examples go, the new Air Patriots app is an exceptionally good one.

As a game, it’s fairly interesting.  While the basic description would be “tower defense”, Air Patriots does a lot to vary the now-familiar formula in a way that keeps it interesting and helps keep your attention during play.

The basic concept is simple.  You get tanks coming in and have to map out flight paths for your planes to attack them before they can make it to the end of the line.  Your “towers” are always on the move.  Since they can also collide, this means that there is a lot of coordination that needs to be done.  The emphasis is on adapting to the changing needs of the situation rather than just maximizing the advantage of natural choke points.

The implementation is clearly meant to highlight the most useful capabilities of Amazon Game Circle.  Syncing is the first thing featured in a new installation.  A prompt for activation appears on the first run.  This removes the need to keep personal save files on your device, allowing for better storage management.  That goes along with the leaderboard and achievement functions, which are also available at the touch of a button from any point in the game.

In-app purchasing is also quite prominent.  For the most part all important features are available in the game without real money payments.  Specific maps and planes are only attained by way of cash transaction, however.  There is a lot of content for a free game even without that and this isn’t an app designed to leech microtransactions out of users, but the additional available content will be appealing enough to attract interest.

What makes this a smart move on Amazon’s part, especially if we disregard any potential income from the game itself, is the quality.  If they had just come up with an app that included the features in question, this would be a footnote.  Since Air Patriots not only implements Game Circle well but also switches up a popular but often uninteresting game concept enough that it can appeal even to experienced players, it becomes something more.

If Air Patriots becomes a hit, which it quite likely will thanks to the free status and the interesting implementation, the benefit is much greater than the sum of the in-app transaction income.  It proves that the Game Circle services manage to equal the best of the competition.  Since the feature set is almost identical to the iOS alternative, setting up Apple’s as the competing ecosystem, it gains Amazon significant ground.

As a recommendation, I’d advise anybody who owns a Kindle Fire or equivalent tablet to give this a try.  They did a good job here, even if that was likely a secondary goal.

Daily Deals: Freedom from Fear, Potty and Jellyflop!

Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States)Today Amazon offers Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States) by David M. Kennedy just for $2.99.

Between 1929 and 1945, two great travails were visited upon the American people: the Great Depression and World War II. This book tells the story of how Americans endured, and eventually prevailed, in the face of those unprecedented calamities.

The Depression was both a disaster and an opportunity. As David Kennedy vividly demonstrates, the economic crisis of the 1930s was far more than a simple reaction to the alleged excesses of the 1920s. For more than a century before 1929, America’s unbridled industrial revolution had gyrated through repeated boom and bust cycles, wastefully consuming capital and inflicting untold misery on city and countryside alike. Freedom From Fear explores how the nation agonized over its role in World War II, how it fought the war, why the United States won, and why the consequences of victory were sometimes sweet, sometimes ironic. In a compelling narrative, Kennedy analyzes the determinants of American strategy, the painful choices faced by commanders and statesmen, and the agonies inflicted on the millions of ordinary Americans who were compelled to swallow their fears and face battle as best they could.

Both comprehensive and colorful, this account of the most convulsive period in American history, excepting only the Civil War, reveals a period that formed the crucible in which modern America was formed.

Some words about the Author

David M. Kennedy is Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University. He is the author of Over Here: The First World War and American Society, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger, which won a Bancroft Prize. He lives in Stanford, California.

 

Potty (Leslie Patricelli board books)Potty (Leslie Patricelli board books) is a second book in today’s deal set. The book was written by Leslie Patricelli and cost only $1.99.

There comes a point in a toddler’s life when going in one’s diaper is only one possible option, and the question must be raised: Should I go in my potty? With pitch-perfect humor and pacing, Leslie Patricelli follows the inner dialogue (sure to have little ones shouting responses) and hilarious actions of everyone’s favorite Baby, winding up with an over-the-top look of surprise and delight that will have both parents and offspring laughing out loud. “I did it!”

Some words about the Author

Leslie Patricelli is the creator of a series of best-selling board books starring her adorable bald baby. She is also the author-illustrator of two picture books about the Patterson Puppies as well as HIGHER! HIGHER!, a BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Honor winner. She lives in Ketchum, Idaho.

 

 

Jellyflop!Jellyflop! is a free today’s game.

Can Jellyfish fly? Well, sort of…

As a rule, jellyfish are better at flopping than flying, but like the old saying goes, “once a jellyfish sets his mind on something he cannot be swayed,” and this jellyfish really wants to fly.

Help Jelly (a little guy in a big jam!) find enough feathers and gadgets to take to the sky in this action-packed, physics puzzler! Draw lines with a swipe of your finger and let gravity do the rest!

Use powerful fans and space-time bending teleportals to send Jelly bouncing and flopping through a world filled with predators, spikes, and other perils!

Help Jelly fulfill his dream of soaring like a bird amongst the clouds!

Product features:

  • 5 zones and 100 levels of high-flying fun!
  • Fun and addictive physics system!
  • Draw lines anywhere to solve puzzles!
  • Earn achievements and unlock stylish hats!
  • Meet quirky characters along the way!

Kindle Paperwhite Update Improves Overall User Experience and Comic Reading Specifically

We already know that Amazon intends for the Kindle Paperwhite to set the new standard for eReader hardware in every way they could manage.  Some people might still wish for physical page turn buttons (I certainly do) but other than that it is a clear step ahead of all of the competition right now.  That’s referring entirely to the US markets, of course, which may be a good reason that they have decided to update the Paperwhite firmware with some specific comic-related improvements in mind.

On a November 8th release, the new software improvements were made available for download.  If you have a Paperwhite and haven’t gotten everything automatically delivered to your device at this point, check out the side-loading instructions located here.

Foremost in the advertised improvements is the list of optimized fonts.  Palatino, Baskerville, and Futura have all been made sharper and smoother.  It’s a small thing in many ways, but the change will stand out for anybody who prefers to use these fonts regularly.

The ability to remove Recommended Content from your Paperwhite’s home screen is now also included.  This has become a point of annoyance for many users, but the ability to remove this particular advertising stream was added not long ago to new Kindle Fire models and was inevitable here as well.  A more interesting update would have been producing the same stream for older models on demand, honestly.

The settings menu has been brought to the front of things a bit more as well.  You can now jump straight into this menu directly from the menu while reading a book with no need to return to the home screen.

Perhaps most importantly, given the recent push into Japan, is the improved manga/comic display capability.  A new Fit-to-Screen option will stretch images to fill the entire screen, addressing many situations where small panels were practically unreadable previously.

The Paperwhite is also now able to retain a manga/comic specific setting for page refresh preferences that is completely separate from the same options for book reading.  This makes it easier to choose the proper setting to maximize both battery life and reading quality in two areas with distinctly different visual representation needs.

In preparation for a move beyond Japan into China, Simplified Chinese is now included as a font option.  It’s a small note now, but could be vital in the long run.

The only other really notable change is in book samples.  When picking up the full version of a given book after reading the sample you will now start off at the last position accessed in the sample.  The sample itself will be removed from the library.  Organization will be greatly improved as a result for anybody who regularly samples their books.

Many of these updates are small things, but added together they make for a great update.  There is more than can and likely will be done to improve things, especially with regard to comic-reading.  Now that we’re seeing a much bigger effort to get graphic storytelling into the Kindle marketplace, however, it’s safe to assume that a wider audience will demand attention and genre-specific features that will quickly optimize the eReaders as best a black and white display can be optimized.

Daily Deals: Lit, The Elephant’s Child and Kids Trucks

Lit (P.S.)Today Amazon offers Lit (P.S.) by Mary Karr just for $1.99

The Liars’ Club brought to vivid, indelible life Mary Karr’s hardscrabble Texas childhood. Cherry, her account of her adolescence, “continued to set the literary standard for making the personal universal” (Entertainment Weekly). Now Lit follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner’s descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness—and to her astonishing resurrection.

Karr’s longing for a solid family seems secure when her marriage to a handsome, Shakespeare-quoting blueblood poet produces a son they adore. But she can’t outrun her apocalyptic past. She drinks herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide. A hair-raising stint in “The Mental Marriott,” with an oddball tribe of gurus and saviors, awakens her to the possibility of joy and leads her to an unlikely faith. Not since Saint Augustine cried, “Give me chastity, Lord—but not yet!” has a conversion story rung with such dark hilarity.

Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober; becoming a mother by letting go of a mother; learning to write by learning to live. Written with Karr’s relentless honesty, unflinching self-scrutiny, and irreverent, lacerating humor, it is a truly electrifying story of how to grow up—as only Mary Karr can tell it.

Some words about the Author

Mary Karr is a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. She has won Pushcart Prizes for both verse and essays, and is the Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University. Her previous two memoirs, The Liars’ Club and Cherry, were New York Times bestsellers.

 

Today’s price of Elephant’s Child, The (Rabbit Ears: A Classic Tale (Spotlight)) by Rudyard Kipling, Tim Raglin is $0.99.

Rudyard Kipling’s story of how the elephant got its trunk has always delighted children with its playful use of language and sense of high adventure. Never has there been a more satisfying rendering of Kipling’s most beloved “Just So” story, which explains what the world was like “in the beginning of years when the world was new and all…” Ages 5 and up

 

Kids Trucks: Puzzles - An Animated Truck Puzzle Game for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Young ChildrenKids Trucks: Puzzles – An Animated Truck Puzzle Game for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Young Children today is free.

Do your kids love trucks? Do they love puzzles? Look no further. Kids Trucks: Puzzles is a fun animated puzzle game for toddlers, preschoolers, and kids from ages 1 to 6.

Product features:

  • Does not contain ads
  • Does not contain links to social networks
  • Does not use data collection tools
  • Does not contain any in-app purchases

 

Kindle Paperwhite Hands-On Review

Having used the Kindle Keyboard for quite some time and enjoyed it to the point of returning my Kindle Touch when it didn’t quite meet the same standards (it was fine and had its own perks, but wasn’t as strong in some of the areas I cared about), I didn’t jump on the Paperwhite when it was first available.  I’ve played with it enough to know what I’m talking about in various capacities, but only recently have I picked up my own.  Aside from one small complaint, it’s exactly what I was hoping it would be.

Screen Quality

The contrast of the Kindle Keyboard was pretty much ideal for me.  It created the experience of reading an old, familiar paperback.  The new screen was troubling at first because the contrast was actually too extreme.  I would say that it more or less resembles a newer high-gloss trade paperback.  Not my favorite presentation, but it was very simple to get used to and quickly became a non-issue.  All the other benefits of E Ink displays were naturally still around.

Lighting

The Paperwhite’s signature feature is obviously the front-lighting technology.  It was definitely an improvement over the Nook Simpletouch w/ Glowlight.  The light was more evenly distributed and brighter without creating a greater drain on battery life.  The issues with banding on the bottom of the display are not exaggerated necessarily, but they also have little effect on reading.  I found it somewhat annoying to have trouble seeing the progress bar at some points when reading in complete darkness, but the dark areas are still readable and don’t tend to extend into the text in any meaningful way.

Reading Experience

The overall experience beyond simply the screen is also worth noting.  The loss of 1.2 ounces compared to the Kindle Keyboard makes a small difference overall, but I could see it being meaningful over long reading sessions for some people.  As a reader used to holding the old model for hours at a time, it didn’t stand out as particularly useful (especially if you’re using a case anyway) but the reduction was still big enough to note.

The “Time to Read” meter is better than expected.  It comes up with an accurate measure of your reading pace after a few minutes, basically enough time to fall into a measured pattern, and generally gets things right from there.  Obviously it can’t account for breaks and distractions, but how could it?

Recommendation

If you’re in the market for a new eReader, the Paperwhite is the only real option at the moment.  Nothing else comes close to offering the same quality.

Is it enough to consider going out of the way to upgrade from a previous model?  Under most circumstances I would say yes.  The only really obnoxious shortcoming the device has is a lack of physical page turn buttons.  In every other way it’s a functional upgrade.  For me, the weight of the accumulated features made the Paperwhite an appealing option, but it isn’t at all unreasonable to consider that a make or break factor.  If you can, give it a try and find out for yourself.

Daily Deals: Robert Kroese’s Hilarious Mercury Trilogy, The Named and Trainyard

Mercury FallsToday Amazon offers By turns epic and explosive, Robert Kroese’s Mercury trilogy draws inspiration from the impertinent, side-splitting, and madcap adventures of Douglas Adams’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” The books chronicle the universe-saving slacker angel, Mercury. Destined to be cult favorites, today the Mercury Trilogy books are only $1.99 each (80% off).

1. Mercury Falls

While on assignment in Utah, Christine Temetri isn’t surprised when yet another prophesied Apocalypse fails to occur. After three years of reporting on End Times cults for a religious news magazine, Christine is seriously questioning her career choice. But then she meets Mercury, a cult leader whose knowledge of the impending Apocalypse is decidedly more solid than most: he is an angel, sent from heaven to prepare for the Second Coming but distracted by beer, ping pong, and other earthly delights. After Christine and Mercury inadvertently save Karl Grissom—a film-school dropout and the newly appointed Antichrist—from assassination, she realizes the three of them are all that stand in the way of mankind’s utter annihilation. They are a motley crew compared to the heavenly host bent on earth’s destruction, but Christine figures they’ll just have to do. Full of memorable characters, Mercury Falls is an absurdly funny tale about unlikely heroes on a quest to save the world.

2. Mercury Rises

Jaded religion reporter Christine Temetri and Mercury, a renegade angel, have just thwarted two diabolical plots to destroy the world. But their work isn’t finished yet: mysterious powers outranking even the Heavenly bureaucracy seem intent on keeping the Apocalypse on track. While the world is plagued by natural disasters and nations prepare for war, crazed billionaire Horace Finch plots to use a secret device hidden beneath the African desert to discover the deepest secrets of the Universe—even if he has to destroy the Universe to do it. Meanwhile, unassuming FBI investigator Jacob Slater tries in vain to find a rational explanation for the mysterious destruction of downtown Anaheim—a quest that ultimately brings him to Kenya, where he meets Christine and Mercury. Together, the three must stop Finch from activating the device and tearing reality to pieces. Uproarious and wildly entertaining, Mercury Rises proves that the devil is in the details!

3. Mercury Rests

Mercury Rests: The epic conclusion to the Mercury trilogy!

After foiling an attempt to destroy the universe, Mercury has gone missing. And with the devil already putting the final fiendish touches on his next scheme to bring about the apocalypse, all that stands between Lucifer and his dreams of a hellfire holocaust are two misfit humans: jaded religion reporter Christine Temetri and mild-mannered forensic analyst Jacob Slater.

But the pair soon realize that the Prince of Darkness has set his sights higher than they can reach; he’s planning to bring his battle for domination straight to the pearly gates. They’ll need the wisecracking, ping-pong loving, apathetic angel Mercury to help save the day, the world, and heaven before the clock ticks down to the End Times…if they can find him.

By turns epic and explosive, Mercury Rests concludes the trilogy that Booklist describes as a “hilarious romp” that has “cult favorite written all over it.”

 

The Named (Guardians of Time)The Named (Guardians of Time) by Marianne Curley is a book for young readers with ages 10 and up. Today’s price is only $1.99

Magic blooms in Angel Falls, the setting of this promising launch to Curley’s (Old Magic) time travel trilogy. At the edge of a national forest, where two worlds co-exist, 16-year-old Ethan Roberts guards time or, more specifically, history (“My job is to make sure it all happens the way it’s supposed to, the way it already did”). As one of the Named, a Guardian of Time, he has been doing this since age four, not long after his 10-year-old sister, Sera, was killed. Her murderer, an evil half-faced monster, Marduke, is an Order of Chaos minion who wishes to alter the past in order to change the future-and to avenge his own losses. As the novel opens, Ethan is given an Apprentice to train, 15-year-old Isabel Becket, younger sister of his ex-best friend. With the help of Arkarian, a 600-year-old Guardian who lives deep inside the mountain, Isabel quickly takes to the apprenticeship, and her power to heal strengthens. But the forces of good and evil are headed for a Final Conflict foreseen by the Prophecy found in Veridian, the ancient city hidden deep under Angel Falls. No machine is required for time travel here; a strange “sleep” is the conduit between worlds past and present. Told in convincing alternating chapters by Isabel and Ethan, the novel reveals a mystery, the clues to which unfold via the duo’s trip back in time to John of Gaunt (during the reign of Richard II) and details of Sera’s death. Readers will likely be swept up by the ever-growing complications and want to return for the series’ next installments.

Some words about the Auhtor

Marianne Curley is a native of Australia. After marrying and having three children, Marianne and her young family moved to Coffs Harbour, a small coastal city. It was there, surrounded by beaches, rainforests and fresh clean air that Marianne began to write. Today she has three teenage children, whose conversations and experiences inspire her writing. They are also her fervent critics.

 

TrainyardTrainyard is a small logical game for your Kindle Fire which you can get for free today only.

Trainyard is a puzzle solving game unlike any that you’ve ever played. It’s easy to learn but very tough to master. Your job is simple: get each train to a goal station. Red trains go to red stations, blue trains go to blue stations, etc. You control the trains by drawing track for them to follow. There isn’t a time limit or even a score; the only thing you need to do is figure out a solution for each puzzle.

The first few puzzles are almost too easy, but as the difficulty increases you’ll be thankful that you were able to practice the fundamentals of drawing track. As the game progresses, you’ll have to use colour theory to combine trains of different colours, use timing to merge and split trains, and use every inch of your brain in your quest to beat the game.

Product features:

  • Innovative and challenging puzzle mechanic
  • Smooth difficulty curve
  • 100 main puzzles and over 50 bonus puzzles
  • Hundreds of ways to solve each puzzle
  • Colour-blind mode

Daily Deals: Books to Commemorate Veterans Day, Hero Dad and Stunt Bunnies Circus

From the voyages and raids of the Viking tribes in the 10th century to the healing sought by Vietnam War soldiers decades after the conflict, today’s deal presents a collection of stories about war and its aftermath. Today’s thought-provoking books are from $1.99 each (up to 89% off). Here is the list of these books:

1. Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II (P.S.) by Mitchell Zuckoff

2. The Only Thing Worth Dying For (P.S.) by Eric Blehm

3. The Long Ships (New York Review Books Classics) by Frans G. Bengtsson, Michael Chabon, Michael Meyer

4. We Are Soldiers Still by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

5. Tonight We Die As Men PB: The Untold Story of Third Batallion 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment from Toccoa to D-D (General Military) by Ian Gardner

6. Red Eagles: Americas Secret MiGs (General Aviation) by Steve Davies and General J. Jumper

7. SEALs: The US Navy#s Elite Fighting Force (General Military) by Mir Bahmanyar

8. No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland?s Forces in World War II (General Military) by Kenneth Koskodan

9. Runescape: Betrayal at Falador by T. S. Church

 

Hero DadAlso Amazon offers Hero Dad by Bryan Langdo, Melinda Hardin just for $1.99.

Some superheroes wear rocket-propelled boots, drive super-powered cars, and have X-ray vision. But other superheroes wear army boots, drive tanks, and go away for long trips to make the world a safer place. It’s a tough job, but that’s what superheroes have to do. With Melinda Hardin’s simple text and with Bryan Langdo’s endearing watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, Hero Dad makes a difficult and tender subject more accessible to children with parents serving far from home.

Some words about the Auhtors

Author Melinda Hardin lives in Clinton, Massachusetts. She received a degree in secondary education from Western Michigan University. She has traveled extensively and enjoys time with her family.  Hero Dad is her first book and is about being the child of a military father, from the child’s point of view.

Illustrator Bryan Langdo lives in New Jersey. He has illustrated nearly thirty books for children, and wrote two of them.

 

Stunt Bunnies CircusStunt Bunnies Circus is a free application for your Kindle Fire for today only.

The Stunt Bunnies Circus is in town and Jet Bunny needs your help! Wow the crowd and pluck the tumbling circus rabbits from certain death.

Ringmaster Claude Reynard, like all sly foxes, cares little for the safety of the cute Stunt Bunnies troupe. With each show he introduces more fiendish death defining acts for them to perform. Fail in your task and they’ll be cooked with the carrots.

Stunt Bunnies: Circus is the first in a series of cute, pick up and play action-packed games featuring cute Bunnies hell-bent on self-destruction whatever the setting.

With a single finger tap, players send Jet Bunny flying through the air to catch his falling furry long-eared friends. Chain together saves to score more points and land safely to earn your coins. The stunts will become more and more complex, involving cannons, tight ropes, flaming torches, lions and a variety of funny bunnies with different behaviours. There’s a small set of unlockable power ups that can make Jet Bunny’s job easier: Crash mats, Fire jackets, Rocket fuel and the magical ‘bullet-time’ green carrot!

DC Comes to Kindle Store & More, Ending Comixology Exclusivity

While DC Entertainment is insisting that the move is not necessarily a switch away from Comixology, the publisher has now made the transition to offering its weekly content directly through the Kindle, Nook, and iBooks stores.  There is now very little reason to expect anybody to continue using the Comixology apps given that their main selling point was exclusive access to DC content.

This change in distribution model comes at a time when digital distribution is up nearly 200% over 2011’s numbers.  For comparison, DC has stated that their physical volume sales are up just 12%.  Given the already comparatively strong sales of the weekly comics in question it is a lot simpler to increase the audience for digital content by an impressive percentage, but this also comes at a time when many publishers are seeing digital distribution begin to overwhelm their traditional sales market.

The plan for rollout is essentially what you would expect.  The new titles, especially those that are part of DC’s “New 52” franchise reboot, will be available immediately as they are released.  Over an as-yet undetermined period of time they will begin issuing the back catalogue.  A DC spokesperson claimed that the only real reason that it would take some time to get to content that wasn’t brand new was the limitation of bandwidth.  The more interest digital content generates, the faster they will get the whole library converted and available through the various stores.

While there is not yet any way to get the DC catalogue in a readable format for a black and white eReader like the Kindle Paperwhite it is possible that this situation may change in the not too distant future.  Representatives of the company are interested in the idea of making their content available to eReader owners and see little reason for that to be prevented if a positive experience with black and white reading can be confirmed.  Senior VP of Digital for DC Hank Kanalz went so far as to explain his position:

“We’re taking a look at whether we like how it looks in the black-and-white space. My attitude is that if you’re stuck on a train, and you only have your Paperwhite or other black-and-white device, you can read it then and see it in color later”

This should go a long way toward both increasing interest in digital comic distribution and proving that an online distribution model will work for such a large publisher of graphic storytelling.  Seventy titles are already present in the Kindle Store and more will be around soon.  Perhaps it’s a matter of personal opinion, but I doubt there will be much concern over the end of Comixology’s reign when it comes to comic content being served to Kindle Fire owners.  It’s only a matter of time now before everybody else catches on.

Daily Deals: Fast Food Nation, Puss in Boots and ABC Slate

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American MealToday Amazon offers Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser for $2.99.

On any given day, one out of four Americans opts for a quick and cheap meal at a fast-food restaurant, without giving either its speed or its thriftiness a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems as American, and harmless, as apple pie. But the industry’s drive for consolidation, homogenization, and speed has radically transformed America’s diet, landscape, economy, and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways. Eric Schlosser, an award-winning journalist, opens his ambitious and ultimately devastating exposé with an introduction to the iconoclasts and high school dropouts, such as Harlan Sanders and the McDonald brothers, who first applied the principles of a factory assembly line to a commercial kitchen. Quickly, however, he moves behind the counter with the overworked and underpaid teenage workers, onto the factory farms where the potatoes and beef are grown, and into the slaughterhouses run by giant meatpacking corporations. Schlosser wants you to know why those French fries taste so good (with a visit to the world’s largest flavor company) and “what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns.” Eater beware: forget your concerns about cholesterol, there is–literally–feces in your meat.

Schlosser’s investigation reaches its frightening peak in the meatpacking plants as he reveals the almost complete lack of federal oversight of a seemingly lawless industry. His searing portrayal of the industry is disturbingly similar to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, written in 1906: nightmare working conditions, union busting, and unsanitary practices that introduce E. coli and other pathogens into restaurants, public schools, and homes. Almost as disturbing is his description of how the industry “both feeds and feeds off the young,” insinuating itself into all aspects of children’s lives, even the pages of their school books, while leaving them prone to obesity and disease. Fortunately, Schlosser offers some eminently practical remedies. “Eating in the United States should no longer be a form of high-risk behavior,” he writes. Where to begin? Ask yourself, is the true cost of having it “your way” really worth it? –Lesley Reed

Puss in Boots (Rabbit Ears Set 4)

 

Puss in Boots (Rabbit Ears Set 4) by Eric Metaxas, Pierre Le-Tan is offered with price $0.99.

Charles Perrault first published his collection of classic French folk tales 300 years ago, including “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and this entertaining story about a most clever feline. In Puss and Boots, a poor miller dies and leaves his youngest son nothing but a cat. The son is none too happy about it, either; ” …once I’ve eaten my cat and made a muff out of the fur, I’m sure to starve,” he says. But what a legacy the bequeathed cat turns out to be! The cat in tall boots creates a new identity for the youngest son — the Marquis of Carabas, complete with fine clothes, fields of wheat, a castle stolen from an ogre, and in the end, the respect of the king and the hand of the king’s daughter. The story itself is gracefully and humorously told, and the text, set in large gray type, adds an old-fashioned air to the tale.

Fred Marcellino’s illustrations for Puss in Boots — a Caldecott Honor Book — are infused with golden light and summer warmth in the sun-dappled woods and beside the fields of ripe grain. Many of his paintings show a masterful use of perspective; the reader sometimes looks down on a scene as though from a balcony, or from below, at a huge charging lion. Marcellino has also illustrated a version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier and two books by Tor Seidler, A Rat’s Tale andThe Wainscott Weasel. Young listeners won’t soon forget this crafty character of a cat, who has a great deal of charm despite his less-than-honest means of helping his master. (Ages 5 to 9)

Some words about the Authors.

CHARLES PERRAULT (1628–1703) is considered the original creator of the fairy tale, having written such classics as Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella.

FRED MARCELLINO (1939–2001) began his career in illustration with A Rat’s Tale (available from Farrar Straus Giroux). Puss in Boots was his first full-color picture book and a Caldecott Honor winner. He continued to win awards and receive critical acclaim for his children’s books until his death in 2001.

 

ABC SlateABC Slate is a small application for teaching handwriting skills for kids.

Do you have a preschool child just learning how to recognize and draw their ABCs? If so, loading up the ABC Slate app into your Android device will give you a mess free, and highly mobile, virtual chalk board. This interactive chalk board helps guide children on how to properly recognize and write the English alphabet in either upper or lowercase block letters.

Trace and Learn

Simply trace the letter forms, or write them free-hand, on the simulated writing paper below ABC Slate’s example. If your child becomes stuck on recognizing the letter, a voice prompt may be pressed that sounds out the letter with a pleasant, child-friendly voice.

As Easy As ABC

The practice paper uses solid or dashed paper lines with optional follow-the-dot lines for each letter. ABC slate is easy to use for children with responsive touch control to avoid confusing your child. Your little tot will be successfully writing letters before you know it.

Product features:

  • Practice area for writing features solid and dashed writing-paper lines
  • Letter work on portrait and landscape layouts saves automatically
  • Finger tracing aided by optional follow-the-dot lines for each letter
  • Voice prompt option reminds young students of the letter to trace
  • Upper and lowercase letter formats